Patterico's Pontifications


Thursday Night Music: Das Wandern by Schubert

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:25 pm

A version sung by Peter Schreier. What makes it special is the guitar accompaniment. Somewhere I have the whole album of Schreier doing this song cycle in the studio accompanied by the guitar, and it was always one of my favorite recordings.

Kidnapped Los Angeles Judge Rescued

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:19 pm

Just heard about this:

Authorities in Colombia say they have safely rescued a Los Angeles-area judge who had been kidnapped almost a week ago while on vacation in the South American nation.

Police say Judge Benny Osorio’s captors had demanded a $33,000 ransom for his release. An elite anti-kidnapping unit using intelligence information rescued the judge Thursday in the popular tourist city of Cartagena. Four suspected kidnappers were arrested and several firearms seized.

Osorio was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 2008 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This hit home for me, because I know Benny Osorio. He used to be a DA. I have not spoken to him in years, but he is one of those guys whom everyone likes. I went to his enrobing — and I never go to those things.

I’m very, very glad he’s OK.

Trump Names Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor: Reports

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 pm

Multiple outlets are reporting that Donald Trump has offered Michael Flynn the post of national security advisor. Frustratingly, the reports — like virtually everything about the Trump transition lately — are based on an anonymous source. L.A. Times:

Donald Trump has offered retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn the job of national security advisor.

That’s according to a senior Trump official.

The official wouldn’t say whether Flynn has officially accepted the job. Flynn has been a close advisor to Trump throughout the presidential campaign and has worked with him on national security issues during the transition.

The national security advisor does not require Senate confirmation. The job is based in the White House and its occupant has frequent access to the president.

If you have a long memory, you may recall that Flynn appeared on This Week in July and described himself as being from a “very strong Democratic family,” adding: “abortion, I think it’s a thing for women.” This is not important for a national security advisor, of course — but what is important is the way he then went flop flop flippity flop on the issue because he was hoping to be VP.

That did not say much for his integrity . . . which makes him a good match for Trump — as does his Special Affinity for Mother Russia. National Review:

Flynn’s attendance alongside Russian president Vladimir Putin at a gala hosted by the Russian-owned television station RT, and his frequent appearances on that network, have drawn fire from foreign-policy experts at both ends of the political spectrum. In an interview with the Washington Post, he said his speaker’s bureau had arranged his trip to Russia. He also dismissed the criticism his appearances on RT had generated, comparing the state-run network to CNN and MSNBC and saying he wanted to “help out to make sure they understand that we have people in our country who aren’t going to apologize for who we are.”

Then there’s this:

Being on your guard against Islamic extremism is common sense. “Fear of Muslims” is . . . not.

Nothing about any of this is surprising. Flynn was expected to be offered the position. And part of me would like to see us get along better with Russia.

But given Putin’s penchant for flattering Trump, it would be nice to have some hard-headed people close to Trump who could keep him from rolling over every time Uncle Vladimir wants to scratch his belly.

Michael Flynn is not that guy.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Report: Cruz Foolishly Interested in AG Position

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:36 pm

No no no no no!

Ted Cruz has told confidants he’s interested in serving as attorney general in the Trump administration, according to two sources familiar with the conversations.

Speculation that the Texas senator could become attorney general began Tuesday after Cruz met President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

Ted Cruz is not immune from mistakes when it comes to Trump, but . . . no, Ted! It’s a mistake!

Amanda Carpenter explains why:

Yeah . . . no. Just no.

Fortunately, Trump can more easily and quickly humiliate Cruz by nominating someone else, now that Ted has expressed interest . . . supposedly. According to anonymous sources.

I think the quick and easy humiliation is the better option.

The Brilliance of Paul Ryan’s Putinesque Approach to Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:00 am

Paul Ryan’s rejection of earmarks, discussed here this morning by my colleague Andrea Ruth, is a brilliant example of learning from Vladimir Putin about how to deal with Trump. Putin, a ruthless and cunning politician, has figured out that Donald Trump is a very, very simple man. Flatter him, and he’ll love you, no matter how awful you or your policies are. Insult him, and he’ll hold a grudge.

What does this have to do with Paul Ryan and earmarks? Well, I’m not going to portray Paul Ryan as the greatest foe of earmarks in U.S. history, but opposition to earmarks has been his position for years. His 2012 campaign Web site said:

With pork-barrel spending corrupting Washington, I have been a leader in the fight against earmarks. I have pledged not to submit any new earmark requests until the abusive spending process is cleaned-up in Congress.

But Congresscritters love earmarks. They get to brag about bringing home the bacon. They miss them. What to do?

Ryan has found that he can get what he wants — and get in Trump’s good graces — by saying: “Hey, Donald Trump said he was going to drain the swamp and this is part of it.” That way, Ryan achieves what he wanted anyway . . . by giving Trump the credit.

This is, of course, a standard negotiating skill: you get further with people when you’re nice. And politicians are skilled at getting along with people. It’s just that Donald Trump is far more susceptible to flattery than most.

The problem is, both sides realize this . . . and the smarter Democrats, rather than whipping up their base by demonizing Trump, will praise him as a way of achieving their own goals. They have a better chance with Trump than they would have with a President who had core principles, and/or who could see through opportunistic flattery.

Take Obama. Trump railed about NATO for months, making our support sound very tenuous and conditional. Then Obama spent an hour and a half with Trump, lavishing attention and insincere compliments on him — and the next thing you know, Obama was telling the world that Trump’s commitment to NATO is unwavering.

The next four years are going to be a sickening display of flattery by politicians seeking the support of Donald Trump. I couldn’t do it myself, which is one of over a thousand reasons I will never be a politician.

But GOP politicians will succeed more often if they can follow the example of Ryan and Putin, and flatter Trump. If they can portray conservative principles as Trump’s own, and any conservative position as something the People asked for in voting for Trump, we may get some good things done.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

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