Patterico's Pontifications


More Of This, Please

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:37 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In the outrage culture in which we find ourselves now living, it’s a breath of fresh air to read about Lamar University and how the institution handled a situation that seems to flare up with regularity in this technological age:

Lamar University has become aware of a tweet with a racial slur was tweeted by an individual 5 years ago.

That tweet was retweeted this week on social media by another twitter user. Lamar is addressing the issue because the individual who tweeted the racial slur 5 years ago is a current Lamar University student.

Instead of kowtowing to the default demand for punishment, Lamar University’s President Kenneth Evans handled it correctly by acknowledging that the comments, although hurtful, were protected speech:

Today I became aware of hurtful and careless comments posted on social media by one of our students and additional negative remarks by others in response. Such comments do not represent the values of Lamar University or our students, faculty and staff, who form one of the most diverse campus communities in the country.

While LU has been called to take disciplinary action against the students, personal comments made on private social media accounts, offensive as they are, are protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. I deeply regret that these comments have offended members of our campus community and tarnished the good reputation of our university. However, as a public educational institution, we are required to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America but are also uniquely positioned to educate individuals to the insensitivity of such remarks.

Thank you for standing together as proud Cardinals and supporting a culture of inclusion that has made Lamar University successful for nearly a century.

Of course, not everyone agrees with President Evans response. Consider the Lamar NAACP:

The historically hateful statements used by Lamar Students must and will be address! We can assure everyone that Lamar NAACP will be immediately working on addressing this issue and we will keep you all updated on our progress with this issue. #notmylu

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Trump Considering Purchase Of Greenland?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:30 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Apparently, the president has become fixated on the idea of purchasing the Danish territory, not that it’s known to be up for sale:

In meetings, at dinners and in passing conversations, Mr. Trump has asked advisers whether the U.S. can acquire Greenland, listened with interest when they discuss its abundant resources and geopolitical importance, and, according to two of the people, has asked his White House counsel to look into the idea.

Some of his advisers have supported the concept, saying it was a good economic play, two of the people said, while others dismissed it as a fleeting fascination that will never come to fruition. It is also unclear how the U.S. would go about acquiring Greenland even if the effort were serious.


While the United States hasn’t added to its territory for decades, and more or less reached its present size before the end of the 19th century, there is precedent for the U.S. purchasing a massive Arctic wilderness.

In 1867, the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, an amount that now would be equivalent to about $125 million.

Also, this wouldn’t be the first time the United States has thought about purchasing the territory:

The US has apparently considered purchasing Greenland… as recently as 1946 when president Harry Truman offered $100 million in gold to purchase it. Alas, poor Harry, he did not succeed in buying the ice sheet–covered landmass, but the US does have a military base there where it basically has free reign…

Denmark, which makes Greenland’s foreign policy and security decisions, has not commented on whether they have been approached about selling the territory, nor has the State Department confirmed whether the U.S. has brought up the subject with the Danish government.

While one’s first reaction to Trump wanting to purchase Greenland might be eye-rolling amusement, it may not be an impulsive I-want-the-bright-shiny-object moment. Quite likely he is thinking about the competition with Russia and China for control of the natural resources in the Arctic:

With more than half of all Arctic coastline along its northern shores, Russia has long sought economic and military dominance in part of the world where as much as $35 trillion worth of untapped oil and natural gas could be lurking. Now China is pushing its way into the Arctic, announcing last month its ambitions to develop a “Polar Silk Road” through the region as warming global temperatures open up new sea lanes and economic opportunities at the top of the world.

At play is between one-fifth and a quarter of the world’s untapped fossil-fuel resources, not to mention a range of mineable minerals, including gold, silver, diamond, copper, titanium, graphite, uranium and other valuable rare earth elements. With the ice in retreat, those resources will come increasingly within reach.

Greenland is now viewed as a key component of Beijing’s emerging ‘Ice Silk Road.’

Here are a few upside-downside items concerning the possible purchase of Greenland being purchased by the United States:

[T]he US has been in competition with Russia and China over resources in the Arctic… Greenland apparently requires over $500 million from Denmark annually just to keep on keeping on…. 56,000 people liv[e] in Greenland… if the US purchases their land — would they gain citizenship or just become another territory without representation? — or what sort of environmental harm [would] the US cause when extracting the resources that Greenland possesses…

Postscript: Trump is scheduled to meet with Denmark leaders next month. Included in the visit will be meetings with Denmark’s new PM Mette Frederiksen, who said that she “looked forward to… discussing global issues such as security, Arctic dilemmas, trade and investment” with Trump. He is also scheduled to meet with leaders from Greenland while there.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Biden’s Allies Concerned About His Verbal Gaffes, Say He Needs To Pace Himself

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Because Joe Biden’s age (77) is already seen as a liability, especially when coupled with his regularly-occurring gaffes, there are now discussions taking place with his allies and donors about possibly scaling back the candidate’s schedule to help him avoid the “late afternoon” gaffes. However, Biden’s campaign staffers are not in agreement:

The allies, growing increasingly nervous about Biden’s verbal flubs, have said it’s an approach that’s been suggested to campaign officials on the heels of the former vice president’s stumbles.

Biden has a tendency to make the blunders late in the day, his allies say, particularly after a long swing on the road, like he had last week in Iowa. They say something needs to be done to give the candidate more down time as the campaign intensifies in the fall.

“He needs to be a strong force on the campaign trail, but he also has to pace himself,” said one ally who has talked to members of the campaign team and others in the broader Biden World about how to move forward.

The ally said it was unclear whether the campaign would make any changes to Biden’s schedule, particularly because Biden was criticized recently for not doing as many events as his Democratic rivals.

“I think you’ll see the same schedule and maybe even more Joe Biden,” one ally said. “Everyone wants to see Joe Biden be Joe Biden. If he’s held back in any way, that’s almost the antithesis of who he is.”

“I think it’s the wrong approach,” the ally added.

According to Biden aides, the former vice-president made it clear there won’t be any changes to his approach, in spite of the voiced concerns:

“Joe Biden has spoken his mind his entire life, which voters know and love about him,” said Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager. “He’s a real person, he’s authentic, and that will never change. He’s going to keep taking on Trump and making the case to voters about the stakes we face in this election, regardless of how the press chooses to cover him.”

His latest gaffes include saying that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids,” and this week at the Iowa State Fair, he said “We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts.”

Candidate Bernie Sanders is the same age as Biden, and so far, has been fairly gaffe-free.

Trump (age 73) hasn’t missed the opportunity to pounce on Biden:

He accused Biden of not playing with a “full deck” and later took it a step further.

“Does anybody really believe he is mentally fit to be president?” Trump tweeted. “We are ‘playing’ in a very big and complicated world. Joe doesn’t have a clue.”

While Biden still holds a lead over the pack, he leads Elizabeth Warren (age 70) by just one point.

It doesn’t seem wise of Biden’s allies and donors to make their concerns about Biden’s verbal flub-ups public. If anything, they’ve drawn attention to it, and now the next time he misspeaks (which he will), it will be paid attention to that much more closely. It also might cause supporters, who have brushed off his verbal flub-ups, to pay attention to them more closely, and question if his age is part of the problem. Possibly, it might even sway them to look at someone less prone to making these verbal mistakes, and perhaps someone younger than Biden (which aside from Sanders, would be any of the other candidates).

While it’s expected that all of the candidates will misspeak on the campaign trail at some point in time, Biden certainly has done so more often and with more regularity than any of the other candidates.

Anyway, it’s funny to me that it is his verbal flub-ups, and not his inappropriate handsiness with females that is causing such concern.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: The American people will not tolerate a president who constantly makes gaffes.

Devil In A Blue Dress Found In Epstein’s Mansion

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Bill Clinton and blue dresses, maybe it’s a thing:


Jeffrey Epstein had an oil painting of Bill Clinton in a blue dress — lounging on a chair in the Oval Office — hanging up in his Manhattan townhouse, according to law enforcement sources.

“It was hanging up there prominently — as soon as you walked in — in a room to the right,” a source told The Post. “Everybody who saw it laughed and smirked.”


A woman who visited Epstein’s $56 million home confirmed the existence of the Clinton painting to the Daily Mail… She was able to snap a picture of the painting, which was posted online Wednesday.

In it, the former president can be seen lounging on a chair in the Oval Office — pointing toward the viewer — while wearing red heels and a blue dress similar to the one Monica Lewinsky famously donned during their White House hookup.

A piece dubbed “Parsing Bill” was painted and sold by a New York-based artist named Petrina Ryan-Kleid. Saatchi Art, an online art gallery, describes it as an “oil on canvas” with dimensions of 40 W x 40 H x 2 in. The painting inside Epstein’s home appears to be the same size, and sources told The Post it was also done with oil.

The Clinton camp has not commented on the painting.

Also, Epstein’s autopsy report revealed he had broken bones:

People familiar with the autopsy report told the newspaper the bones broken in Epstein’s neck included the hyoid bone, which is near the Adam’s apple.


This sort of break can happen when a person hangs themselves or dies by strangulation, forensics experts told the Post.


While a break in the hyoid bone is common in victims of homicide by strangulation, Epstein’s autopsy also showed signs of other neck fractures, the Washington Post reported.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said, “With multiple neck fractures, that is less likely to be strangulation alone.”

“In strangulation, while you can break the hyoid bone, it is less likely to actually break bones in the neck,” Gupta said. “By hanging, someone can break both the hyoid bone and other bones in the neck. None of these factors in isolation give you a complete story.”

The medical examiner is awaiting toxicology reports before officially ruling on Epstein’s death.


Israel Refuses Entry To Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:14 am

[guest post by Dana]

It’s no secret that Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib are vocal critics of Israel and strong supporters of the Boycott, Sanction and Divest (BDS) movement. According to Israel, this is why they will not be allowed to enter the country:

Israeli officials have decided to block U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from entering the country as part of a planned visit, a reversal that comes amid pressure from President Trump and concerns about their support for boycotts of Israel.

The country’s deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely announced the decision Thursday, despite prior assurances that the congresswomen would be allowed in.

“Israel has decided — we won’t enable the members of Congress to enter the country,” Hotovely told public broadcaster Kan. “We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle, this is a very justified decision.”


Israeli media reported earlier on discussions of barring the freshman congresswomen due to their support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Reports said Israeli Interior Minister Arye Deri already made the decision to block them, though other parties still had to weigh in.

Israeli law says those supporting boycotts of the country may be denied entry.

Waivers can be granted for diplomatic figures, however, Haaretz reported. And in July, Israel’s U.S. ambassador said the country would not bar U.S. lawmakers out of “respect” for Congress and Israel’s longtime “alliance” with the U.S. Trump expressed frustration about the decision last week, The Washington Post reported.

Early this morning, President Trump, who is a strong supporter of Israel and its right to exist, nudged Israel to remain strong in its decision to deny Omar and Tlaib entry:

“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

Here is Netanyahu’s defense of the decision:

As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prohibit the entry of people who seek to harm the country. In fact, in the past the US did this to an Israeli member of Knesset, as well as to other public figures from around the world.

Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress. Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy. For instance: they listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition.


the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.

In addition, the organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel.

He concluded his statement by addressing Rep. Tlaib:

[I]f Congresswoman Tlaib submits a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, the minister of interior has announced that he will consider her request on the condition that she pledges not to act to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit.

We are reminded that Netanyahu had approved of the congresswomen’s visit last month when he already knew that they were BDS supporters, and that Trump had privately put pressure on Israel to reverse the decision before applying public pressure on Twitter.

While there are many who are fully supportive of this decision given the congresswomen’s anti-Israel rhetoric and ardent support of the BDS movement, there are also those that disagree, saying that it demonstrates an intolerance not representative of democracy. And yet, there was also another very viable option:

What Israel should have done is to prepare a full itinerary for them — meetings with MKs and ministers, visits to important landmarks in Israel, etc. And see how they reacted to such an itinerary which Israel should have made VERY public.

UPDATE: Rep. Ilhan Omar released a statement in response to the decision:

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Trump Promised Not to Criticize Xi Over a Hong Kong Crackdown

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

The news is old, actually, but takes on fresh significance today. Financial Times, July 9:

Donald Trump told Chinese president Xi Jinping last month that the US would tone down criticism of Beijing’s approach to Hong Kong following massive protests in the territory in order to revive trade talks with China.

The US president made the commitment when the two leaders met at the G20 summit in Osaka, according to several people familiar with the meeting. One person said Mr Trump made a similar pledge in a phone call with Mr Xi ahead of the G20 summit.

Politico now reports on the reaction within the administration (Hot Air link):

The president surprised his aides when he told Xi that he would not condemn the Chinese government over a crackdown in Hong Kong. He understood it was an internal issue in which the U.S. would not interfere, he said.

The president’s off-the-cuff commitment caused confusion within the administration. For one, aides were uncertain whether there was a time horizon on the president’s vow of silence, particularly when he went on to make a statement at least mildly supportive of the protesters.

Nothing is as reassuring as Trump speaking off the cuff!

As the Chinese military conducts exercises near the border, we are reminded that Trump’s words have consequences. While he can’t stop a violent crackdown if the Chinese government is hell bent on having one, he can make one more likely by shrugging his shoulders. Which we all knew he would, because we all remember that he praised the Chinese for massacring protesters in 1989. In case you forgot, here’s his praise for that massacre:

When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak.

We know how he feels about violent crackdowns. They’re powerful and strong. Why would he feel differently now?

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

It’s the Economy and Other Headlines

Filed under: Economics — DRJ @ 7:00 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

This week:

Trump delayed tariffs in part to avoid a recession during 2020 election, says US Chamber of Commerce president Donohue.


Warnings of economic crisis as Treasury yields invert for the first time since the Great Recession sending Dow tumbling more than 600 points.

At the close yesterday:

US MARKETS: Dow tanks 800 points in worst day of 2019 .


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