Patterico's Pontifications


Bundys Acquitted

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:43 pm


Armed antigovernment protesters led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy were acquitted Thursday of federal conspiracy and weapons charges stemming from the takeover of a federally owned wildlife sanctuary in Oregon last winter.

The surprise acquittals of all seven defendants in Federal District Court was a blow to government prosecutors, who had argued that the Bundys and five of their followers used force and threats of violence to occupy the reserve. But the jury appeared swayed by the defendants’ contention that they were protesting government overreach and posed no threat to the public.

In a sign of the tension that ran through the trial, Ammon Bundy’s lawyer, Marcus R. Mumford, frustrated that the Bundys were not being released, was restrained by four United States marshals after an outburst.

Not just “restrained.” He was tased and placed into custody for a brief while.

It’s a fool’s errand to speculate on the reasons for this verdict without knowing the details. So I won’t.

Ed from SFV Votes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:39 pm

[Guest post by Ed from SFV]

Today was a cold, showery, and quite blustery day in Northern Indiana. A perfect moment for me to live out my dread in this election. I went to a government building and voted.

The location was on the western edge of downtown Mishawaka, IN. The town boomed right after WW II as a white flight from contiguous South Bend, home of the Studebaker plants which were attracting thousands of Southern minority emigrants, took hold. It’s claims to fame are, in some order, the place where the kick-ass Humvees are built; the shopping mecca for our region (envisioned by a staunch, Thatcher-like Republican Mayor in the 70s); the hometown of one of the soldiers General Patton famously slapped in a field hospital during WW II.

I arrived just before 2 PM, hoping to avoid any lunch rush. Success! There was a sign commanding NO CELL PHONES on the pane of an automatic sliding door. Huh? That’s some Homeland Security overreach. Maybe the TSA would be manning the checkpoint which had a metal detector, located a few yards inside the door. Nah. It was an older County Brownie (policeman). The TSA may have been a better alternative.

There were three seasoned citizens ahead of me. One was going through the detector, the other were a couple who had been married for over 50 years. He was an infirm Army vet who fought in the Korean conflict. He was trying to muster some strength as he leaned on his cane, and wall in the small entrance. The wife delayed handing her bag to the deputy and entering the detector. She was obviously concerned that she would be separated, even for a minute or two, from her struggling husband. I was happy — no, check that, I was honored — to wait. The deputy, not so much.

I was the end of a non-existent line. He grabbed her bag and ordered her through. She was confused and concerned. I wanted to jump ahead, but there was no real opportunity. She also wondered aloud about the cell phone she had in her bag. “Oh, said the deputy, if you are here to vote, we have a special today – you can have one.” Just perfect.

I checked with the vet to see if he was ready to go through, but he waved me off with a smile. His wife was calling after him and he told her he was OK. So, I dumped the contents of my pocket, including my cell phone, and with deep and obvious sarcasm looked the functionary in the eye and said how lucky I was that, “Today! There is an election special.” Of course, I waited to share that with him after I had successfully navigated the detector.

Parenthetically, back in the day, I was a proud auxiliary member of the FOP lodge associated with this county police department. Today, I wonder what the hell has happened to that force.

About a minute later, the vet made his way through without incident. From there, he joined us in a small line in the lobby of the small building where a makeshift polling station had been setup. There were two tables at a 90 degree angle, with two clerks each. The first table was to check-in, the 2nd to receive your ballot.

The vet’s wife wanted to be able to go up to that first table with her husband, which was just fine with me as I made sure to get behind him in that new line. A clerk overheard her and snippily snarled she would only allow one person at a time.

Our brave new world was disfunctioning perfectly in this fortunate and prosperous small town in the Rust Belt. I was more determined than ever to not vote to strengthen the hands of those who would completely subjugate us given any chance or opportunity to do so.

Now comes something very right. First, paper ballots. Indiana does not screw around when it comes to identifying voters at the polls. You must present a government-issued photo ID and it must match the roll to claim an unfettered ballot. Each verifying clerk had two tablets. One for them, and one for us. They were connected to the official voting rolls. I presented my Driver’s License and it was swiped. The woman looked at her screen and then turned the other around, asking me to verify that the information was correct, and there were no changes. There were not. I was then given a special felt-tipped pen and instructed to sign the bottom of the tablet to formally acknowledge what I had told her. She checked that signature against my DL! She then gave me a big smile and softly apologized for her colleague’s rudeness and insensitivity towards the Vet couple. She handed me an affidavit and a receipt which indicated the precise type of ballot I was to receive (all voters from all county precincts were voting here). If there were any hiccups to my process, I would have been offered a provisional ballot to fill out, subject to later authentication by the County Clerk.

I had hoped to be able to vote against a $25 million millage increase for schools, but it appeared I was jusssst outside that district. The clerk began to give me the desired, but wrong, ballot! She caught herself. Drat.

Each ballot required each of the two issuing clerks to initial it, and then it was stamped with the signature of the County Clerk. Each voter must sign and date an affidavit attesting to the information therein, and that they are eligible to vote. I signed and was handed my ballot, along with a small manila envelope, which I also had to sign and date. I was instructed to go over to a booth and when finished, to place the ballot in the envelope, seal it and return it to her.

If there is to be any fraud involved with early voting in my county, it will require a pretty good conspiracy.

I looked over, and my heart was warmed as the couple had the only two seated voting positions, right next to each other, and violated the RULES with impunity by talking to each other. Hah!

I then quickly realized that the other 6 booths were occupied! What? How? This ballot was unnecessarily complicated. It really did require a careful handling. A spot soon opened and I began.

There is no rhyme or reason as to where the various offices were placed. One thing caused me to chuckle a bit…in all contests, the Republican name was listed first. I made sure to begin with a YES vote on amending the Indiana Constitution to ensure hunting rights. Then, it was time to vote for president. I simply could not bring myself to even look at the printed names. My disgust and anger was very great. I searched for the Write-In line and the corresponding bubble to fill in. I wrote in “Evan McMullin,” the conservative who may end up taking Utah. Unfortunately, he was not timely and he is not an “officially declared” candidate here. Any votes for him, like mine, will not be counted. However, at least to me, those votes matter.

I voted for Young (Senate), Holcomb (Governor) and a fierce Libertarian named Arthus for the Indiana Senate (he has zero chance). I refused to vote for the incumbent Boehner-ite Walorski for Congress. I believe she earned a proctology degree she was so far up his butt. She is fabulous on veteran’s issues. Truly. But, she will cave on the big things, as she has already demonstrated.

I had no idea on retention of judges, so I left those blank. I went straight GOP on all other state and local contests.

I folded my ballot into the envelope, sealed it, and returned it as instructed. I was able to inquire as to the turnout in the fortnight since EV began. “Well over 10K votes” was the reply. Wow. I quickly glanced over to the now happy couple as they were still working through their ballots. I walked out past the brownie jerk, refusing to look his way.

As the automatic doors opened and I exited, greeted by a chill blast of moist air, I checked myself. What was I feeling? I was stunned to realize I was happy. I was proud. I was also glad that I have avoided what promises to be a nightmare of delays for voters on the 9th.

This has been the worst election cycle in my lifetime (First vote was for Ford.) The twisted contortions we are being made to endure are unprecedented. If HRC wins, with a Chuckie Schumer Senate, I am absolutely convinced there will be no saving our country. Yet…

For this one, last? time, I voted with a clear conscience. There were a few excellent folks whom I could trust to do as they have promised. I kept the faith. I refused to go along with the entrenched and establishment elitists running under the banner of my former party, and running roughshod over our sacred Constitution. I was able to actually appreciate a sadly ever more rare legitimate voting process. My chance encounter with that vet and his wife was a perfect reminder of what was at stake, and the incredibly profound privilege I had to exercise my rights.

Soon enough, it’ll be back to despair for me. Not today, though. No. Thanks be to God. Not today.

— Ed from SFV

Editor Exposes Dishonest Underpants Of Biased Media

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:23 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Whether a supporter or non-supporter of Donald Trump, it’s likely everyone can agree that media bias is baked into this election. Unlike Democrats, and per usual, Republicans have to push the big rock uphill without the help of the mainstream media.

With that, there is a great take down of the mainstream media and their obvious bias by Frank Miele, managing editor of The Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Montana. In his column, Miele exposes the subtle, manipulative reporting which easily blurs the line between reporting the facts and opinion writing:

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column about what Donald Trump calls “the dishonest media,” and I did so because as a member of the news media myself, I feel a sense of obligation to hold my profession to the same standard of accountability that I would expect for any public servants.

There are many decent, ethical highly professional people who work in journalism. I am happy to say that I work with a number of them at the Daily Inter Lake.

But sadly, the standards that we try to hold ourselves to here in Kalispell, Montana, seem to be foreign to many reporters and editors on TV and at other newspapers around the country. Because of that, I could probably write a column taking my fellow journalists to task every week and never run out of material, but honestly I didn’t expect to return to the theme quite this quickly.

Miele gives us a prime example of media bias with a recent report from the AP and then demonstrates how objective reporting works:

The lead of the story was as follows:

“A beleaguered Donald Trump sought to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. presidential election on Saturday, pressing unsubstantiated claims the contest is rigged against him, vowing anew to jail Hillary Clinton if he’s elected and throwing in a baseless insinuation his rival was on drugs in the last debate.”

There are three major examples of bias in this one sentence, which would have been fine if the reporter was supposed to be writing an opinion piece, not a news article. I’m sure I don’t have to explain this to my readers, but apparently the trained journalist who wrote the story (and her editors) were completely oblivious to the difference between a fact and an opinion.

BIAS 1: Trump “sought to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. presidential election.”

Wait a minute! Does the “reporter” really think that Trump’s speech was intended to sabotage the election? That would be quite evil, wouldn’t it?

But that’s what “undermining” implies. In fact, Trump was saying that he does not trust the legitimacy of the election process. In my edited version, I wrote that Trump “questioned” the legitimacy of the election.

That was accurate, and substantiated as accurate by the Trump quote that followed: “The election is being rigged by corrupt media pushing completely false allegations and outright lies in an effort to elect [Clinton] president.”

BIAS 2: Trump was “pressing unsubstantiated claims the contest is rigged against him.”

Hold on! How did the reporter determine that the claims were “unsubstantiated”? Calls to the Democratic National Committee? A Ouija board?

I easily corrected this example of bias by simply removing the conclusory word “unsubstantiated.” If you are a reporter covering an election, you are supposed to write down what candidates say, not tell your readers whether you agree with the candidate or not.

BIAS 3: Trump threw in “a baseless insinuation his rival was on drugs in the last debate.”

There is no doubt that Trump, whether jokingly or seriously, insinuated that Hillary Clinton was pepped up on drugs during the second debate. How the reporter determined that the allegation was baseless is less certain. Did Hillary consent to a pee test for the Associated Press?

Solution: Take out the opinionated word “baseless.”

Now contrast and compare:

Original AP story:

A beleaguered Donald Trump sought to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. presidential election on Saturday, pressing unsubstantiated claims the contest is rigged against him, vowing anew to jail Hillary Clinton if he’s elected and throwing in a baseless insinuation his rival was on drugs in the last debate.

Miele’s paragraph published in his newspaper:

A beleaguered Donald Trump questioned the legitimacy of the U.S. presidential election on Saturday, pressing claims the contest is rigged against him, vowing anew to jail Hillary Clinton if he’s elected and throwing in an insinuation that his rival was on drugs in the last debate.

Miele points out that his revised paragraph is just as thought-provoking and informative, yet doesn’t presume to tell readers what to think about the information: “It’s called the difference between reporting and analysis. Or more to the point, the difference between honest reporting and dishonest reporting.”

It’s great to see a journalist actually be concerned with *not* telling readers how to think, or leading them on, or worse. And it’s even more inspiring to be reminded that there are indeed some reporters who are more interested in actual reporting rather than trying to shape public opinion by pushing a specific narrative to benefit a particular candidate or party:

Here’s a list of the “Progressive Helpers” and “Columnists/Pundits” that the Clinton campaign has that they are considered friendly and will place narratives for them in columns and news stories. You want to hear some of the names? This is in the Podesta email dump from WikiLeaks. And, again, these people come from internal memos the Hillary campaign. These are the people that are sympathetic.

They’ve had them to dinner. They’ve been invited to Podesta’s house. These are the people who, if we need to get a narrative established about Trump or about Hillary, these people will do it for us. “Dan Balz,” Washington Post. “Wolf Blitzer,” CNN. “Gloria Borger,” CNN. “Mika Brezinski [sic],” MSNBC. “David Brooks,” New York Times. The “conservative columnist” for the New York Times is considered a great resource for the Clinton campaign to place a narrative. “Gail Collins,” New York Times.

“John Dickerson”, CBS. “EJ Dionne,” junior, Washington Post. “Maureen Dowd,” New York Times. “Ronan Farrow,” at the time MSNBC. “Howard Fineman,” MSNBC. “Ron Fournier.”

It’s all about reaching out to receptive reporters, and planting the preferred narrative:

3. They do not plan to release anything publicly, so no posting online
> or anything public-facing, just to the committee. That said, they are
> considering placing a story with a friendly at the AP (Matt Lee or Bradley
> Klapper), that would lay this out before the majority on the committee has
> a chance to realize what they have and distort it.
> On that last piece, we think it would make sense to work with State and
> the AP to deploy the below. So assuming everyone is in agreement we’ll
> proceed. It would be good to frame this a little, and frankly to have it
> break tomorrow when we’ll likely be close to or in the midst of a SCOTUS
> decision taking over the news hyenas.

And if some reporters aren’t already on the go-to list of the Clinton campaign, they might fall in the camp of those reporters willing to violate their own publication’s policy and seek out “quote approval” by the campaign.

All in the name of objective, non-partisan reporting.


All-American Non-Political (Sure!) Middle-Aged Wife & Mom Snaps [UPDATE: Bye Bye Twitter Account]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:14 pm

[guest post by JVW]

The Washington Post had an exasperating piece on Tuesday on their fairly awful PostEverything blog (which seems to be a catch-all forum in which tiresome lefties get to demonstrate that they have the same conventionally-acceptable opinions as the rest of the paper’s staff). The piece, in which a 52-year-old wife and mother in Falmouth, Maine recounts the night that she and her friends drove along their town’s major street swiping yard signs touting the GOP nominee for the Presidency. Here’s how she tries to explain it:

I committed a crime this month, along with two of my friends. I’m not the lawbreaking type. In fact, as a 52-year-old mom, my life is pretty predictable and boring. But this election, a particular candidate’s boasts about women pushed me over the edge.

In the suburban, upper-middle-class part of Maine where I live, Republicans and Democrats live together mostly in harmony. In every election cycle, there’s some tension. But the 2016 presidential campaign has been different. Tensions in my town are running at a fevered pitch.

Which is how three middle-aged moms came to be running down the road, tearing up the Donald Trump signs along our version of Main Street. We’d been talking about the infamous Billy Bush tape and the women who have since come forward to share their own stories of abuse. We were angry. Getting Trump’s name off our median strip seemed like the best way to express our rage.

In retrospect, I realize I shouldn’t be proud of my transgression. Hanging out with a bunch of moms, we started grousing about the proliferation of signs. Can you believe someone would put that many Trump signs so close together on our roads? It’s so rude. Who is this jerk? We felt assaulted by the number of signs. The idea of “cleansing” our streets seemed like the fastest way to restore balance and alleviate our election stress — at least, that night it did.

She then recounts how, unfortunately for her and her two partners in crime, a local police officer observed them in action and stopped them before they could leave the scene. The next day the woman (and presumably her friends) were informed that the signs were owned by a local businessman and that he wanted to press charges, and she was given a court summons for December. Seeming at least slightly chagrined, she wants all of us to know that this is really out of character for her:

I’m not a deeply political person. Yes, I vote, and I’m a registered Democrat, but I’m no political animal. This year, motivated to support anyone but Trump, I bought my own sign for Hillary Clinton and have it placed in my front yard. I know a lot of families who are doing the same.

Reflecting back, I realize that I momentarily snapped.

And, because we still live in psychobabble America, she wants us to know that there is a troubling part of her personal history which made her exceptionally prone to this outburst of censorious thievery. Naturally, it involves an obnoxious, sleazy man:

Like so many American women, I have my own story about a powerful man using his position of wealth and influence to demean my integrity and put my job at risk. My version of Trump was a board member of a nonprofit where I worked more than a decade ago. Over a period of many months, he called to talk about personal and board-related matters. He was married, so I never believed he had serious ulterior motives. Then, one day, he called to proposition me to enter an illicit “relationship” with him where he would fly me around the world to exclusive resorts. For sex.

[. . .]

I was afraid that declining this man’s offer would insult one of my organization’s largest donors. So I told him I needed “to think about it.” A few days later, he told me he’d made a mistake.

I should have told him to go to hell. Instead, I told my boyfriend (now husband) about it and buried the secret. I was silenced, until now.

Yep, you’ve got it. She was so traumatized by a powerful and predatory male using his power to solicit — even demand — sex from younger women who depend upon him for their livelihood that she plans to vote for the big creep’s enabling wife in twelve days.

[UPDATE] This is funny: the author of the piece helpfully had her Twitter handle on the WaPo piece with an invitation for all of us to follow her and, I guess, commiserate with the trials and tribulations of living near people who openly and unabashedly support the GOP candidate. Wonder of wonders: her Twitter account now appears to have been deleted. Let me state emphatically that I don’t like the idea of people harassing her, and I am certainly staunchly opposed to any moron who would make online threats against her or her family, but this goes to show what an insular echo-chamber she lives in if she really thought that her essay would be so well-received that inviting us all to communicate with her on Twitter was a particularly good idea. It’s hard to feel sorry for anyone that blinkered.


Trump Knows He’s Losing, Plans “Voter Suppression” of Blacks (Not Really)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:30 am

Donald Trump for some reason granted exclusive access to his direct marketing and social media operation to a reporter from Bloomberg Businessweek, and the result is a long and detailed article titled Inside the Trump Bunker, With 12 Days to Go. Probably the most relevant part of the story is that, yes, Trump is doing internal polling . . . and he knows he’s losing:

Despite Trump’s claim that he doesn’t believe the polls, his San Antonio research team spends $100,000 a week on surveys (apart from polls commissioned out of Trump Tower) and has sophisticated models that run daily simulations of the election. The results mirror those of the more reliable public forecasters—in other words, Trump’s staff knows he’s losing. Badly. “Nate Silver’s results have been similar to ours,” says Parscale, referring to the polling analyst and his predictions at FiveThirtyEight, “except they lag by a week or two because he’s relying on public polls.”

. . . .

Trump’s team also knows where its fate will be decided. It’s built a model, the “Battleground Optimizer Path to Victory,” to weight and rank the states that the data team believes are most critical to amassing the 270 electoral votes Trump needs to win the White House. On Oct. 18 they rank as follows: Florida (“If we don’t win, we’re cooked,” says an official), Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia.

Oof. If you read my post yesterday about early voting, you know that early voting is dismal in North Carolina, and that Republicans’ slight edge in Florida early voting in smaller than it was in 2012, when Obama (narrowly) won the state. Meanwhile, polls in Pennsylvania look consistently dismal, with the latest of several shoes dropping this morning: a Pennsylvania poll showing Clinton up by 7 points.

Another note from the story is absolutely certain to be blown up and distorted by Big Media: a Trump staffer’s claim that the campaign is engaged in “voter suppression” of women and blacks:

To compensate for this, Trump’s campaign has devised another strategy, which, not surprisingly, is negative. Instead of expanding the electorate, Bannon and his team are trying to shrink it. “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans. Trump’s invocation at the debate of Clinton’s WikiLeaks e-mails and support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership was designed to turn off Sanders supporters. The parade of women who say they were sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton and harassed or threatened by Hillary is meant to undermine her appeal to young women. And her 1996 suggestion that some African American males are “super predators” is the basis of a below-the-radar effort to discourage infrequent black voters from showing up at the polls—particularly in Florida.

This passage — with its inflammatory quote about “three major voter suppression operations” including one targeting blacks — plays into every leftist stereotype of Republicans’ attitudes towards minority voters. To “suppress” something is to “forcibly put an end to” it. But Trump’s folks are not talking about sending beswastikaed alt-righters to polling places to glower at blacks while menacingly wielding Louisville Sluggers. They’re talking about persuading leftists, young women, and blacks to not want to vote for Hillary. This is not “suppression” but (as a friend notes to me) demoralization.

(And it’s not a bad idea. Because, frankly, low turnout is generally a good thing for those of us who believe in limited government. When only the most motivated people come to the polls, you get more education per voter capita, resulting in more informed voters and better results.)

And yet, the mindless and sensationalistic repeating of this “voter suppression” claim has already started, with the New York Post running a piece titled Trump campaign organizing voter suppression operations. What Big Media has really been salivating after in this race is undeniable evidence of Trump’s racism towards blacks. They were dubiously promised a recording of him using the n-word and this wishcasting never resulted in any actual evidence, but Big Media still wants something, and I believe they will latch onto this.

So, I predict that once leftist Big Media reporters (but I repeat myself) start to become aware of the allegations in this piece, it’s all you will hear about for one or two news cycles. If my prediction comes true, remember where you read it first.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

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