Patterico's Pontifications


Email Purporting to Be from John Cornyn: Trump “Did Nothing Wrong”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:34 pm

I got an email today from the email address It purports to be from Texas Senator John Cornyn, and bears his name at the end of the email like a signature. It seeks money for Rep. Elisa Stefanik, a partisan Republican hack who has been throwing dust in the air for Trump during these hearings. Cornyn describes her as someone whom the Democrats are trying to destroy “all because she had the audacity to stick up for a president we all know did nothing wrong.”

Cornyn Says Trump Did Nothing Wrong

Pay close attention to what Cornyn is saying here: not just that Trump didn’t commit an impeachable offense, but that he “did nothing wrong.” And that “we all know” it.

He’s not even pretending to withhold judgment until the evidence is in.

This is a political exercise, to be sure. And in this political exercise, voters are entitled to watch the evidence come in, knowing that the Republican Senators do not care in the slightest what the evidence says.

I’m sorely tempted to send my first check to a Democrat. Not because I think Stefanik’s opponent is a better candidate. She almost certainly would support fewer of my policy views than Stefanik has. (Putting aside anything having to do with Donald Trump.) But she’s one of 435, and people are seeing this fundraising contest as a proxy for support for Trump’s corrupt actions in bending the foreign policy apparatus of this country to his own personal political advantage.

To hell with Trump and to hell with Elise Stefanik. And to hell with John Cornyn and the rest of the Republicans. If they go down in flames in 2020 I will do a dance. And then cringe at the policy nightmare to follow.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Chick-fil-A Caves To Pressure From LGBTQ Activists

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:40 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The news broke this week:

[T]he charitable arm affiliated with Chick-fil-A revealed that it had overhauled its donation strategy and had stopped giving money to several organizations — donations that had long angered LGBTQ activists.

The Chick-fil-A Foundation announced in a statement that it planned to concentrate its giving in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger, and that it planned to work with a smaller number of charities than it had previously. It plans to reassess its giving annually, instead of entering into multiyear arrangements with charities, it said. The groups it gives to “could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities,” the foundation said.

But the bigger news was which organizations would not be getting millions in Chick-fil-A money: A representative confirmed to The Washington Post that it had ceased giving to Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army, two religiously affiliated charities, after multiyear commitments ended in 2018.

It’s particularly sad to see the Salvation Army on the donation hit list, given their incredible service to those in need. Whether one is a victim of a natural disaster, or hungry, in need of shelter, combatting addiction, unemployed, homeless, elderly, or a victim of domestic abuse or human trafficking, the Salvation Army stands at the ready. But the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and this time it’s the LGBTQ activists selfishly protesting Chick-fil-A’s support of the wonderful organization because hurt feelings. Oh, boo-hoo. This makes me angry. When one considers that Chick-fil-A’s support of the charity has allowed untold numbers of hurting individuals to be helped, those complaining should be ashamed. Would these activists wish that the untold numbers helped by the Salvation Army via Chick-fil-A’s financial support, not have been helped but instead left to continue in their suffering? Would they take back those meals, the shelter, the clothing, the life-saving efforts made on behalf of the wounded and lost? Will they themselves now step into the breach with the same help and service to any in need? Will their hands be willing and open to anyone, of any faith, of any color or stripe, as are the Salvation Army workers? It’s tragic that this decision comes as a result of a selfish group of angry activists who hate Christian organizations that won’t toe the required line of wokeness and instead dare to brazenly go about the quiet business of offering love and hope, and lending a hand to those in need.

And how does the Salvation Army feel about the LGBTQ folks? Let’s read the organization’s own mission statement specific to that group:

Because LGBTQ Americans living in poverty often experience unacceptable homophobia and transphobia, many become homeless.

A majority of homeless LGBTQ people end up on the streets before they turn 18, and one in four is homeless before turning 16.

The Salvation Army is committed to serving the LGBTQ community through shelter…job training…help with substance abuse…food insecurity…and teenage suicide.

In a statement released in response to Chick-fil-A’s decision, the Salvation Army reiterated their willingness to serve the LGBTQ community, and made it clear that their actions back up their words:

“We’re saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations — areas in which The Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed. We serve more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, we believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population. When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk. We urge the public to seek the truth before rushing to ill-informed judgment and greatly appreciate those partners and donors who ensure that anyone who needs our help feels safe and comfortable to come through our doors.”

Additionally, here is a portion of the organization’s non-discrimination policy:

“A diverse range of views on homosexuality exist within The Salvation Army — as among the wider Christian (and non-Christian) community,” the statement reads. “But no matter where individual Salvationists stand on this matter, The Salvation Army does not permit discrimination on the basis of sexual identity in the delivery of its services or in its employment practices.”

The Salvation Army stands against homophobia, which victimises people and can reinforce feelings of alienation, loneliness and despair. We want to be an inclusive church community where members of the LGBTQ community find welcome and the encouragement to develop their relationship with God.

Enraging, right??

Here is how the LGBTQ community responded to the news:

… LGBTQ activists were not immediately impressed. “If Chick-fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family,” said Drew Anderson, director of campaigns and rapid response for GLAAD, in an emailed statement. “Chick-fil-A investors, employees, and customers can greet today’s announcement with cautious optimism, but should remember that similar press statements were previously proven to be empty.”

Chick-Fil-A can certainly support whatever charity they choose, but caving in to the complaints of a small group of individuals because they don’t like the beliefs of those coming to the aid of hurting people is disgusting. Make your stand, and let the chips fall where they will knowing that the ultimate reward comes later, and is for all of eternity. Chick-fil-A consistently fills a unique niche in the evangelical community. Their supporters have long shown their loyalty to the organization that has been unabashedly pro-faith and lived out their ideals in their business dealings. All of this makes it confusing as to why they would choose to surrender to the angry mob.

I’ll leave with this thought: If I were hurting, hungry, homeless, or facing any sort of the devastating things that can happen in this life, and a group came alongside me offering a hand of hope and solace, sustenance and shelter, I don’t think I’d question their views on any social issue because, not only would that be a luxury I could ill afford, but all I would care about was that I was being handed a lifeline. I’m pretty sure my heart would be overflowing with gratitude. This offering of hope and help wedded together represents the vibrant, earth-shattering-life-changing thunderously deep, quiet love God has for His creation. Like many of you, I also know this because I’ve had any number of opportunities to be on the flip-side, and come alongside those in need. Not once did they, nor did I care about political stands or personal causes. And really, why would I? Why would the person who is in pain, and suffering? Besides providing help, all I really cared about was that they knew that at that very moment in space and time, someone cared about them. That they mattered. And judging from the responses, that’s all that people who are hurting care about too.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Gettysburg Address: 156 Years Ago Today

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:23 am

[guest post by Dana]

[Ed. Understanding that most readers have done their own extensive reading on Lincoln and this particular speech, consider this brief overview a jumping off point.]

Today is the 156th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. A little more than four months after one of the worst battles in the Civil War took place at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – a three-day battle in which the combined casualties reached a staggering 51,000 – President Abraham Lincoln marked the end of the ceremonies dedicating the battlefield cemetery with a short, 272-word speech known as the Gettysburg Address.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate we can not consecrate we can not hallow, this ground The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

As has been previously noted, it was not a well received speech at the time, and it wasn’t until quite some time later that it got a most-deserved second look:

In the days that followed Abraham Lincoln’s 272-word speech to thousands of onlookers in this small Pennsylvania farm town, few newspapers in the country immediately reported on the speech.

When they did, explains historian Michael Kraus, it was mostly dour examination, filled with misquotes of the 16th president’s words.

“There were a lot of mistakes in those first reports. Words weren’t heard well, order was mixed up. The speech didn’t appear in every newspaper the next day, or the next day, or the next day,” Kraus said from his artifact-filled basement office at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh, where he serves as the curator.

When it finally did, the reviews were sharply critical.

“A paper in Boston ripped it to shreds; so did other papers across the North,” said Kraus.

Even the local Harrisburg paper, the Harrisburg Patriot and Union, dismissed it as mindless gibberish. “We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of,” it opined.

In truth, it took decades for anyone to think much of the speech, or even think of it all.

“It wasn’t until well over a quarter-century later that it began to emerge in the American psyche across the country that this speech was more than a speech, it defined who we were for eternity,” said Kraus days before the 155th anniversary of a speech that took less than two minutes to give and nearly a 100 years to reach the reverence it holds today.

Interestingly, President Lincoln was not the featured speaker that day. Rather, he was an afterthought:

The invited featured speaker at the dedication was Edward Everett, the former president of Harvard College and one of the 19th century’s most celebrated orators. Everett spoke for two hours. Following his long presentation, Lincoln, in a black suit, tall silk hat and white gloves, spoke for two minutes, delivering a powerful speech that has remained one of the most inspirational and eloquent expressions in the English language. From the time of its first delivery, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has stood as an American touchstone, offering comfort and inspiration to the living by honoring the sacrifices of the dead.

Lincoln formulated the Gettysburg Address with great thought, but the brevity of the President’s address was in such contrast to Everett’s long oration that the audience was surprised and slow to respond, so that Lincoln feared his effort had fallen short. Everett afterwards wrote to the President: “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as close to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”

Everett’s own Gettysburg address can be found here. And here is a wonderful thread about Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Trump Demands Mo’ Money from South Korea for U.S. to Pursue Its Own Interests There

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:55 am

It’s all about the Benjamins, baby:

The United States broke off talks with South Korea on Tuesday over how to share the cost of the two nations’ military alliance, injecting fresh tension into the relationship over Washington’s demands that Seoul pay sharply more.

President Trump has demanded South Korea raise fivefold its contribution to cover the cost of stationing 28,500 U.S. troops in the country, asking for nearly $5 billion, officials on both sides said. But that demand has triggered anger from Korean lawmakers and sparked concerns that Trump may decide to reduce the U.S. troop presence in the Korean Peninsula if talks break down.

The top U.S. negotiator, James DeHart, said the U.S. side decided to cut short the negotiations on Tuesday morning, the second of two days of planned talks. In a rare public show of disunity between the allies, he blamed South Korea for making proposals that “were not responsive to our request for fair and equitable burden sharing.”

“As a result we cut short our participation in the talks today in order to give the Korea side time to reconsider,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to resuming our negotiations when the Korean side is ready to work on the basis of partnership, on the basis of mutual trust.”

I guess our troops are still mercenaries in his eyes. The thing where he made the Marines troops for hire by Saudi Arabia was not a one-time thing.

There is a disturbing pattern here. Trump praises North Korea and antagonizes South Korea. He praises Putin and antagonizes England. He praises Erdogan, Mohammed bin Salman, and Duterte, and antagonizes the leaders of France, Germany, and Canada.

I don’t think he’s a paid stooge of Putin. But if he were, it’s hard to see how he might act differently.

P.S. Inevitably people will argue that this is just a negotiation tactic, and that Trump is just an awesome negotiator (he’s actually a terrible one but put that fact aside for the moment). If that’s the defense, it just reveals the fact that I’m bothered by the idea of cost-sharing to begin with. If it’s in our interest to have troops in South Korea, it’s in our interest to have troops in South Korea. Let’s separate the issue of cost from whether we are going to have troops there, and make cost-sharing a factor in how much foreign aid they get, not whether we are stationing troops there to begin with. There is no amount of money we should take that is high enough to do something that is not in our national interest, and no amount of money low enough that we should do something that is not in our national interest.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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