Patterico's Pontifications


Mike Pence Talks

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:19 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Former Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Gridiron dinner in Washington D.C. this weekend. Pence, who is teasing a run for the presidency, sounded off on Donald Trump at the event. And while he didn’t hold back, his comments were made without a camera rolling. Pence not only went after Trump, but also shredded Tucker Carlson’s outlandish claims about tourists peacefully enjoying the Capitol on Jan. 6:

“January 6 was a tragic day for him. I was there at the Capitol, and let me assure you it was not, as some would have us believe, a matter of tourists peacefully enjoying our Capitol.”

He added, “Tourists don’t injure 140 police officers by sightseeing. Tourists don’t break down doors to get to the Speaker of the House. Or voice threats against public officials. The American people have a right to know what took place at the Capitol on January 6. I expect members of Fourth Estate to continue to do their job. Make no mistake about it — what happened that day was a disgrace and it mocks decency to portray it in any other way.”

Pence recounted his experience at the Capitol that day, as he refused Secret Service pleas to leave the complex to ensure his safety.

“When I was escorted off the Senate floor Secret Service told me that I had to leave the building,” Pence said. “But I was determined to stay. I believed that law enforcement would soon have the situation in hand, never imagining what would unfurl, would occur. But it was there in that small office just off the Senate chamber, there was a small television set, and we watched what was unfolding outside — the mayhem and the rioting. You could hear it echoing outside, and soon thereafter in the hallways.”

Pence then focused specifically on Trump’s behavior and the danger in which the Pence family found themselves:

”I was not afraid but I was angry. President Trump was wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day. And I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable” for what happened.

Pence’s team clearly believes that the candidate they see “occupy[ing] the adult-in-a-room 2024 lane” is speaking up at the right time:

[H]is advisers saw the Gridiron dinner as an opportunity not just to echo those sentiments but to amplify them. They also believed it would help Pence win over his most skeptical audience these days: Washington insiders and journalists who have given him short shrift in the early 2024 primary.

“This was a different audience for him,” said Marc Short, Pence’s former vice presidential chief of staff and his senior adviser…Mike is in a different place where he can be sort of free and liberated in ways that I don’t think others in the field are,” Short said. “And so I’m not looking at it as to where he is at this moment. I believe that he’s got a good pathway forward.”

In my opinion, he’s focused on the wrong audience. It wasn’t Washington insiders and journalists that bought into Trump’s lies about the election being stolen. And it wasn’t Washington insiders and journalists that stormed the Capitol on Trump’s behalf. Also, Independents and rational Republicans count for something, too. Therefore, it’s not the Washington insiders and journalists that Pence has to win over if he wants to become the nominee. But hey, it’s not hard to see why he chose a roomful of Washington insiders and journalists to try and win over:

Those close to Pence are trying to help him recapture some of that more freewheeling approach, making sure that his campaign events include fireside chats and not taking a de facto position that the press is the enemy.

The report also notes that Pence has said that it’s critical to be “transparent” about what happened on Jan. 6. If he truly believed that, he would be willing to comply with the subpoena, rather than fight against it.

P.S. Pence is already in campaign mode: New Hampshire on Thursday and Iowa on Saturday…


Academy Awards “Apolitical”? Seriously??

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:10 am

[guest post by Dana]

I boycotted last night’s awards ceremony due to the Academy’s decision to once again refuse President Zelensky’s request to speak to viewers via video. With millions upon millions of viewers worldwide, Zelensky would have been able to reach an enormous audience and remind the world why it is imperative that Russia be defeated and expelled from Ukraine, all of Ukraine, and how said the defeat would benefit the world at large. Zelensky, who has addressed a number of audiences at prominent cultural events (via video), said during the Golden Globes in January:

“It is now 2023 the war in Ukraine is not over yet but the tide is turning. And it is already clear who will win. There are still battles and tears ahead, but now I can definitely tell you who are the best in the previous year, it was you. The free people of the free world. Those who united around the support of the free Ukrainian people in our common struggle for freedom….We will make it together with a whole, free world, and I hope that all of you will be with us on the victorious day – the day of our victory. Slava Ukraini.

While no explanation was provided for this year’s snub, Variety reported that “…the Academy traditionally prefers to focus on the contributions of the filmmaking community and steer clear of anything political.” Oh…

Clearly, the Academy can’t help itself because, contrary to the assertion that the Academy prefers to avoid anything political, actor Donnie Yen, a new member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), was selected to introduce Best Original Song nominee ‘This Is A Life’ from Everything Everywhere All at Once. Despite a petition signed by more than 100,000 people demanding the Oscars Committee “cancel the invitation of Donnie Yen as a presenter for the Oscars,” Yen remained in the lineup. As CNN previously reported:

Describing Yen as a “supporter of the Chinese Communist regime,” the online petition points to several statements it claims ought to disqualify Yen from involvement in the 95th Academy Awards, which will be held on March 13.

One example listed was a profile published last week in GQ, in which Yen discussed the large and occasionally violent pro-democracy demonstrations that gripped Hong Kong throughout 2019.

“It wasn’t a protest, okay, it was a riot,” Yen told GQ of the demonstrations, which were ultimately suppressed by mass arrests and the introduction of a sweeping national security law by Beijing.


Last weekend, Yen was seen in attendance at a key Communist Party meeting in Beijing as part of an advisory body on arts and culture.

Speaking to press at the event, Yen said more Chinese action movies were needed to “become the pride of China” and “tell the story of China,” according to state-run Global Times.

He was previously criticized after performing next to Chinese leader Xi Jinping in 2017, an event Yen called a “great honor,” and for celebrating Hong Kong’s return “to motherland China” in 2020 on the anniversary of the city’s handover.

Way to go, Academy! It just doesn’t get more apolitical than selecting a member of the CPPCC to be on stage at the Academy Awards ceremony while denying a few minutes to the president of a pro-democracy country who is courageously fighting a brutal common enemy whose victory would undoubtedly pose an enormous threat to the free world!

There were, however, two positive political moments during the ceremony. “Navalny,” the stellar documentary which exposes Putin’s attempted assassination and subsequent imprisonment of freedom-fighter Alexie Navalny, won Best Documentary.

It was equally terrific to see the courageous Christo Grozev, who was pivotal in exposing the evil machinations of the Kremlin, honored during the acceptance speech. After the awards ceremony, Grozev offered his observations of the Academy Awards:

“The Academy Award is pragmatically useful. Now the film will be watched by at least another 20 million people.

This means that viewers will be exposed to the facts that we present in this film – Russia has a program to kill and eliminate its own citizens, anyone who has the courage to go against the authorities or run for president.”

And about Zelensky not being able to address the worldwide audience, Grozev said, “A large part of the things that Zelensky would say, we said them.”

Another righteous political statement was made by Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, who fled Iran during the revolution. She voiced her support for women in Iran in a unique way. Explaining her elegantly subtle but powerful form of messaging, Aghdashloo said:

I was so happy to be invited [to the Oscars], but what crossed my mind is that this was a chance to take the case of the Iranian freedom fighters to the ultimate platform of arts and sciences…I knew I wanted to wear something that would include the slogan of Iran’s freedom fighters — ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ — as they continue what’s one of the biggest human-rights efforts in history.

I think she was successful in her efforts (click on the photo):

(Embroidered on her gown are the names of three young women killed during the protests in the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement.)

Anyway, my hope is that next year there will be no need for President Zelensky to make yet a third request to the Academy because Ukraine will have already been victorious.


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