Patterico's Pontifications


Trump 2010: In China They Would Have Shot the Spies from Wikileaks Within 24 Hours

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:30 pm

As noted by Susan Wright yesterday, Donald Trump said of Julian Assange in 2010: “I think there should be, like, death penalty or something.” (Trump now says he loves Wikileaks — an evident display of hypocrisy.) After J.D. Durkin at Mediaite termed this a “joke” that was being overblown by CNN, Andrew Kaczynski released more evidence showing that Trump was not joking at all:

During [an] interview with Fox Business Network’s “Follow the Money,” Trump, who was considering a run for president, brought up WikiLeaks on his own accord as an example of a decline of America’s prestige. At the time, WikiLeaks was publishing classified material leaks to them by Pfc. Chelsea Manning, who was then known as Pfc. Bradley Manning.

“You look at WikiLeaks, I mean, in China, if this would’ve happened the people would get a bullet through their head within 24 hours and here in this country we’re embarrassed, everybody’s embarrassed,” Trump said. “We’re calling the leaders of other countries horrible names — how do you go back and negotiate with people with that. That’s just not the way life works. As far as I’m concerned it’s spying, it’s espionage.”

“They should try that young — they call him private first class — I call him private last class. They should try that young private and they should frankly either put him in jail for the rest of his life or maybe get the death penalty,” continued Trump. “You know, in the old days if you were a spy and that’s what he is you’d get the death penalty.

During a rally in October of this year Trump exclaimed “I love WikiLeaks.” The organization was at the time leaking emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and had previously released emails from the Democratic National Committee.

That Trump and other Republicans defend this is an example of how tribal politics causes people to defend anything and anybody these days. Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson has a good piece about this at the Washington Post:

Not long ago, Trump recommended the death penalty for Assange. Now he publicly sides with him against U.S. intelligence services. Palin urged the United States to go after Assange “with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda.” Now, we have seen her abject pleading: “Julian, I apologize.” Hannity once called for Assange’s “arrest.” Now he provides a sympathetic platform for Assange’s (and thus Vladimir Putin’s) views.

Let’s be clear about what this means. The president-elect of the United States is elevating a man whom the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., holds responsible for putting the lives of operatives in direct danger. The 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee is bowing and scraping to the man who materially aided the Taliban. Fox News is now an outlet for the Russian version of events.

All this raises practical questions. If I were a prospective intelligence asset — an Iranian nuclear scientist, say, or a North Korean general — why in the world would I cooperate with a country that can’t keep secrets and apparently doesn’t care to? How will the CIA and other intelligence agencies deal day to day with a president who distrusts and publicly defames them?

But the most illuminating question is this: What changed about Assange between these dramatically evolved judgments? Nothing. Except that Assange hurt John Podesta, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

It would be difficult to formulate a purer example of motivated reasoning and tribal politics. We are dealing with political and moral argument at this level: Trump is good. Assange helped him. So Assange is good.

That’s about the size of it.

As a good right-wing pundit I am expected to offer defenses of Trump’s rank hypocrisy.

I’m expected to, but I won’t. I’m sick of partisan bull****.

All that said, I do owe Donald Trump a debt of thanks.

I thank Donald Trump for showing me how badly partisan hypocrisy has infected the body politic.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

The Chicago Tribune Starts Filling in Details

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:24 pm

[guest post by JVW]

This is pretty interesting: the Chicago Tribune has started to fill in the details of events leading to the ugly actions of the torture squad earlier this week. According to their reporting (and we should be careful about swallowing this whole since the accounts might be coming entirely from the accused), the 18-year-old mentally disabled victim not only was a schoolmate of one of his tormentors (as reported earlier), but the two might even have been friends:

Police said [accused torturer Jordan] Hill knew the victim because they had attended the same school in Aurora. On Saturday, the victim’s family dropped him off at a McDonald’s in Streamwood to meet Hill, with plans to spend the night at his place.

Hill stole a van before picking up the victim and passed it off as his own, police said. The pair drove to Chicago’s West Side, visiting with friends for two days. The victim slept in the van before arriving at the apartment on Lexington apartment where the Covington sisters lived on Tuesday.

That’s an interesting twist: apparently the victim had planned to sleep over at Hill’s house. Again, this apparently comes from police and is based upon their interviews with the accused, but it certainly provides the answer to why the victim’s family dropped him off at McDonald’s on Saturday but didn’t report him missing until Sunday night. More from the article:

Hours into the visit, the victim and Hill were engaged in a “play fight” when it got out of hand, police said. The sisters got angry and tied him up, police said. “That’s when the attack begins,” Duffin said.

They beat, stomped and cut the victim and made him drink water from the toilet, he said. The victim was tied up for four or five hours until he escaped. After police found him on the street, they discovered that he had been reported missing on Sunday. He was taken to a hospital and reunited with his family.

Again, this whole idea of a “play fight” might be a self-serving explanation for what was otherwise a vicious and premeditated beating, but it’s worth noting that this will probably form the basis of any defense that the accused may choose to lodge. It might also help explain why one of the accused (18-year-old Brittany Covington, I think) chose to film and post this on Facebook. She might have been under the deluded idea that the victim would not make a big deal of his treatment and would just accept it as his place in the ghetto pecking order.

The four accused will be in court tomorrow and it will be interesting to see what their defense lawyers have to say.


Chicago Torture Squad Charged with Hate Crimes

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:40 am

[guest post by JVW]

Fox News reports that the four black teenagers who kidnapped, bound, beat, cut, and threatened a special needs teen earlier this week will all be charged with a hate crime. Chicago Police had earlier come in for pointed criticism for initially speculating that race had not played any part in the depraved assault by the minority teens on their white victim, despite the overtly racial taunts of the four so helpfully self-captured on a Facebook video.

The two male and two female suspects — Jordan Hill, 18, Tesfaye Cooper, 18, Brittany Covington, 18, and Tanishia Covington, 24 — were set to appear in Central Bond Court on Friday afternoon.

[. . . ]

Hill was charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, robbery, residential burglary; Cooper was charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and residential burglary; Brittany Covington was charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and residential burglary; Tanishia Covington was charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Does grandma — why is it always a grandma? (strike that, we know the answer) — make an appearance to tell us that her granddaughter is really deep down inside a good person? Naturally:

The grandmother of a young woman associated with a live video on Facebook of a beating says her granddaughter “had her ups and downs,” but is “a good person.”

Priscilla Covington of Chicago says she raised the young woman “since she was a baby.” She says her granddaughter no longer lives at the family home but still lives in Chicago.

The grandmother says the video doesn’t reflect the young woman she raised.

The four will make their first court appearance tomorrow afternoon.


Big Media Shrugs at Black-on-White Hate Crime by People Shouting “F**k Donald Trump! F**k White People!”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

As you have likely heard (and I covered in more detail in this post), Chicago police have arrested four black people in connection with a racially motivated attack on a special needs white man. The attackers taped the man’s mouth shut, kicked and struck him, cut his scalp with a knife, and yelled “F**k Donald Trump! F**k white people!” They taped the torture and broadcast it live on Facebook.

As I predicted in my post last night, today Big Media is collectively shrugging its shoulders at the incident. Here is the Associated Press:

Chicago police don’t believe a man beaten in an assault broadcast live on Facebook was targeted because he was white despite profanities made by the accused assailants about white people and President-elect Donald Trump, a police spokesman said Thursday.

Charges are expected soon against four black suspects, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told The Associated Press. He acknowledged that the suspects made “terrible racist statements” during the assault, but that investigators believe the victim was targeted because he has “special needs,” not because of his race.

Guglielmi said it’s possible the suspects were trying to extort something from the victim’s family. Investigators said the victim was with his attackers, including one who was a classmate, for up to 48 hours, and the attack left him traumatized.

The video shows the victim with his mouth taped shut slumped in a corner as at least two assailants cut off his sweatshirt with a knife, as others taunt him off camera. The video shows a bloody wound on the top of the man’s head, and one person pushing the man’s head with his or her foot. A red band also appears to be around the victim’s hands.

Off-camera, people can be heard using profanities about “white people” and Trump. At least one woman is shown in the video.

I would like you to imagine a situation in which Hillary Clinton is elected. Four white people kidnap and torture a black special needs man while yelling “F**k Hillary Clinton! F**k black people!” The police then announce that race does not appear to be a motive in the crime.

A story like the above would not just include the reaction of black activists and leaders. It would make the reaction of racial grievance-mongers the entire focus on the article. There would be endless quotes about how the system ignores crimes against black people; about the protests planned for the next several days; and whether the Chicago police chief was going to resign.

The AP story above contains not one quote from any Trump voter, concerned professor, or “activist” of any stripe. It does not appear that they made any attempt even to contact such people.

The same is true of the Washington Post article on the incident, which takes eight paragraphs to get to the race of the victim and attackers:

Police declined to give the race of the attackers or the victim. In the video, the attackers appear black. The victim appears to be white.

Again, there are no outraged quotes from Trump voters, “experts,” or racial grievance industry types. (And, to be perfectly clear: I despise race-obsessed grievance mongers on both sides. My criticism is directed at the way these stories are normally handled when Big Media reports on white-on-black crimes . . . and the way that protocol suddenly changes when the situation is reversed.)

At least AP and the Washington Post bothered to report the story.

I could not find any story at the Los Angeles Times — although there does appear to be an article about what it means to be a Muslim in Donald Trump’s America. The articles at the New York Times Web site are all from the Associated Press or Reuters.

In other words: shrug.

There is zero chance you will see an outraged editorial in any of the top newspapers in the country mocking Chicago police for downplaying racial motives in a case where the attackers are shouting “F**k white people!”

They just don’t care.

The phenomenon of stories like this bubbling furiously at conservative Web sites while being largely ignored by Big Media feeds the (accurate) perception that reporters at major news outlets are out to spin events rather than cover the news. When Big Media types make a federal case out of every white Trump voter who is rude to someone on a airplane, while ignoring and/or downplaying actual hate crimes committed by racial minorities, it’s no wonder the American people don’t trust them.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

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