Patterico's Pontifications


REUTERS: Walmart says higher China tariffs will increase prices for US shoppers

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 8:05 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Walmart says higher China tariffs will increase prices for U.S. shoppers:

Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said in an interview that higher tariffs will result in increased prices for consumers. He said the company will seek to ease the pain, in part by trying to obtain products from different countries and working with suppliers’ “costs structures to manage higher tariffs.”


“It’s not just tariffs. Transportation costs are up, labor costs are up. It’s an inflationary environment,” Del Monte CEO Greg Longstreet told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference. “A lot of that’s going to have to be passed on. The consumer is going to have to pay more for a lot of critical goods.”


HEADLINE: Former employee arrested for stealing $14K in Disney costumes

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 8:00 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

ORLANDO SENTINEL — Former employee arrested for stealing $14K in Disney costumes from Magic Kingdom, Epcot, deputies say:

A former Disney employee was arrested Friday after he stole about $14,000 worth of costumes and memorabilia from the back rooms of the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, according to an arrest affidavit.
Deputies began investigating in August after the animatronic “Buzzy” and its clothing including a bomber jacket, headphones and green hat, went missing from the closed “Cranium Command” attraction at Epcot.

Far, far more at the link, including that he became a suspect “when he started posting pictures of Buzzy on his Twitter account @backdoordisney.”


HOUSTON CHRONICLE: Intruder found outside of 13-year-old daughter’s bedroom …

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 7:55 pm

[Headline from DRJ] has a complex story that no headline could fully capture, but this one tries:

Intruder found outside of 13-year-old daughter’s bedroom dies after gunshots, self-inflicted wounds


Rep. Justin Amash: First Congressional Republican To Claim President Trump “Engaged In Impeachable Conduct”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:34 am

[guest post by Dana]

After reading Mueller’s redacted report in its entirety, Michigan Republican Representative Justin Amash publicly shared his reaction yesterday. Ultimately, he believes President Trump did indeed “engage in impeachable conduct”. His conclusion is entirely at odds with the “No Collusion! No Obstruction!” party line lead by the President.

I’m going to post Rep. Amash’s full comments rather than summing them up. One general point he makes that stands out to me is the danger of allowing party loyalty (and loyalty to a president) to supersede loyalty to the Constitution. I’ve been harping about this forever: Loyalty to one’s party (and the President) is a faulty starting point for being able to accurately and objectively assess our elected officials and hold them accountable. It’s worth noting that Rep. Amash is being entirely consistent in his stated beliefs about the role of an elected official:


From Rep. Amash:

Here are my principal conclusions:
1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
4. Few members of Congress have read the report.

I offer these conclusions only after having read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely, having read or watched pertinent statements and testimony, and having discussed this matter with my staff, who thoroughly reviewed materials and provided me with further analysis.

In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings.

Barr’s misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies, which he hopes people will not notice.

Under our Constitution, the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” While “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust.

Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.

In fact, Mueller’s report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.

Impeachment, which is a special form of indictment, does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g., obstruction of justice) has been committed; it simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct.

While impeachment should be undertaken only in extraordinary circumstances, the risk we face in an environment of extreme partisanship is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct.

Our system of checks and balances relies on each branch’s jealously guarding its powers and upholding its duties under our Constitution. When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the Rule of Law—the foundation of liberty—crumbles.

We’ve witnessed members of Congress from both parties shift their views 180 degrees—on the importance of character, on the principles of obstruction of justice—depending on whether they’re discussing Bill Clinton or Donald Trump.

Few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report; their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation—and it showed, with representatives and senators from both parties issuing definitive statements on the 448-page report’s conclusions within just hours of its release.

America’s institutions depend on officials to uphold both the rules and spirit of our constitutional system even when to do so is personally inconvenient or yields a politically unfavorable outcome. Our Constitution is brilliant and awesome; it deserves a government to match it.

President Trump, unsurprisingly, came out swinging:


It’s too soon to say whether any other Republican lawmakers will come out in agreement with Rep. Amash. As of this posting, I could only find one Republican lawmaker who has commented on Rep. Amash’s statement. This was Sen. Mitt Romney to Jake Tapper this morning:

My own view is that Justin Amash has reached a different conclusion than I have. I respect him, I think it’s a courageous statement.

The American people just aren’t there. The Senate is certainly not there, either.


I also believe that an impeachment call is not only something that relates to the law but also considers practicality and politics, and the American people just aren’t there…

And from RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, a jab at Rep. Amash, who has said that he “can’t rule out” running for president as a Libertarian.”:

It’s sad to see Congressman Amash parroting the Democrats’ talking points on Russia. The only people still fixated on the Russia collusion hoax are political foes of President Trump hoping to defeat him in 2020 by any desperate means possible. Voters in Amash’s district strongly support this President, and would rather their Congressman work to support the President’s policies that have brought jobs, increased wages and made life better for Americans.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 95

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the fifth Sunday of Easter. Today’s Bach cantata is “Christus, der ist mein Leben” (Christ, he is my life)

Today’s Gospel reading is John 13:31-35:

When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

If a shepherd now seeks his lost sheep,
how shall Jesus not find me again,
since He is my head and I am one of His members!
Thus I can now, with joyful spirit,
establish my blessed resurrection in my Savior.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Recent Media Reports on Immigrant Detention

Filed under: Government,Immigration — DRJ @ 2:46 pm

[Headlines from DRJ]

Let’s look at immigrant detention.

Where are migrants detained in the United States?

Most come across on the Southern border — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — and most detention centers are in those states. Some of the border centers, especially in Texas, are overwhelmed and migrants are being moved elsewhere:

To San Diego: CBP Begins Flying Detained Immigrants from Texas to San Diego.

And migrants have already started arriving: San Diego receiving flights of migrant families from Texas Border Patrol for processing.

And Florida, but Florida Gov DeSantis is not happy: Florida governor warns his state can’t handle an influx of immigrants from the border.

So definitely not Florida: Trump officials not sending migrants to Florida after backlash.

Where else? Torrance County, NM, may see detention centers as an economic opportunity: Torrance County to reopen detention center .

Illinois may not: ICE detainees could not be held in private detention centers under measure heading to Illinois governor.

Are your local and state governments viewing this as an opportunity or a burden?


Trump’s Influence On The 2020 Democratic Primary

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:33 am

[guest post by Dana]

Upon his announcement that he was throwing his hat in the ring for 2020, Joe Biden’s early polling numbers have consistently shown him dominating his nearly two dozen competitors. In a fractured party where many of the candidates are running from the far left lane, Biden is now viewed as the moderate Democrat. In light of this, it is interesting to consider whether candidates who have been desperately trying to outwoke each other may have actually done themselves a disservice:

It’s not just Biden’s rising poll numbers that suggest that the activist left is out of step with most Democrats; it’s the ideological makeup of the entire Democratic Party. Fifty-six percent of Democrats self-identify as “moderate” and 9 percent even embrace “conservative,” according to an April poll from the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. While leftist activists pine for the end of the legislative filibuster to grease the skids for partisan legislation, a December GW Politics poll found that 66 percent of Democrats said they prefer elected officials who “make compromises with people they disagree with” over those who “stick to their positions.” Only 36 percent of Republicans said the same.


The Democrats didn’t just underestimate Joe Biden’s personal appeal (at least so far), but it appears they also underestimated the size of his ideological lane. As Democrats stampeded left, with even more “moderate” candidates like Beto arguing for tearing down existing border walls, Biden was left largely alone to position himself as the ideal candidate for a whopping 65 percent of the Democratic electorate. Which of the “woke” candidates is best-positioned to challenge Biden for that enormous slice of the Democratic voting public? Meanwhile, the progressive (mostly white) wing of the primary is crowded and competitive.

Moreover, key candidates have made such extreme statements in the effort to appeal to what turned out to be the Democratic minority that they’ve rendered themselves more vulnerable in the general election. It’s hard to walk back pledges to wipe away private health insurance or tear down border walls, for example. It turns out that dreams of a united, energized progressive tidal wave may well die in the face of a more-moderate electorate that mainly seeks a return to normalcy, modest reforms, and an end to daily political drama.

Which leads to Rich Lowry wondering about the reality of Trump’s influence on Democratic voters:

What if Donald Trump hasn’t driven Democrats insane, sending them into a spiral of self-defeating radicalism, but instead made them shockingly pragmatic?

Biden’s early strength suggests it may be the latter, that the reaction to Trump is so intense that it has crossed some sort of event horizon from fevered fantasy of his leaving office early via resignation or impeachment to a cold-eyed, win-at-any-cost practicality.

If this is true, one of the exogenous factors that could appreciably increase Trump’s odds of reelection — a zany Democratic nomination contest leading to a nominee much too far left for the American electorate — may not materialize.

The commonsense play for Democrats has always been to nominate a nonsocialist with appeal to Obama-to-Trump voters in former blue wall states — if not necessarily Biden, then someone with a similar relatively moderate profile.

If hardly dispositive, Biden’s robust numbers at least suggest that this play is more likely than it seemed in the very early going, when candidates were stumbling over one another apologizing for sundry alleged offenses in the Woke Olympics.

If that’s not going to be the true dynamic of the race, I’m as surprised as anyone, having written often about the leftward lurch of the party. What’s extraordinary, though, is that almost every Democratic candidate might have been misreading it as well and chasing the wrong rabbit down the track.

Whether the general election ends up between these two rich, old white guys remains to be seen. As it stands now, in spite of Biden’s many liabilities, early polls focused on the general election show Biden leading Trump. Biden is reportedly going to focus on a unity v. division theme at his kickoff rally, claiming that Trump has divided the country on race, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation, and that America needs a president who represents all Americans, not just Trump’s base. Although it’s still early, Trump has locked onto Biden, with his familiar lay-him-low-from-the-get-go strategy:

[S]ome Democrats, having witnessed how Mr. Trump lampooned and eventually bulldozed the Republican field in 2016, are nervous that Mr. Trump has shrewdly chosen to define Mr. Biden as the front-runner early on, identifying him as the greatest threat in a general election.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Media: Trump will/will not require E-Verify

Filed under: Immigration,Law — DRJ @ 6:42 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

Breitbart: Trump [Immigration] Plan Mandates E-Verify, Protecting U.S. Jobs for Americans


Politico: White House may include mandatory E-Verify in immigration proposal

McClatchy: Trump administration eyes mandatory employment checks for immigration plan

Post & Courier Op-Ed: Trump’s immigration plan has one key fault:

We have generally tried to combat the flow of low-skilled, undocumented immigrants in a manner similar to that which has failed to stem the flow of illegal drugs. We try to prop up weak economies in Central America and South America to hopefully give people less reason to come. We try to stop them at the border so they don’t get here in the first place. And we raid employers and bust them if we find they are employing undocumented immigrants, always hoping the next arrest will be the last one. And, as in the war on drugs, the supply of undocumented immigrants remains.

In both cases, basic economics teaches that as long as the demand for a good is high, people will try to supply it — even as the price rises. Some immigrants might be dissuaded from undertaking the risky journey north as news of greater enforcement trickles back to their homes, but minimum wages in the United States ranging from $7.25 to as much as $15 still lure many who face paltry pay in their own country — or no work at all. Some U.S. employers might be dissuaded from hiring workers who they suspect are not here legally, but the risk of getting caught remains low, and the short-term advantage of having cheap, readily available and compliant workers usually outweighs the risks.

The president needs to recognize this and make controlling the demand for these workers as important as interdicting their supply. As I’ve said before, mandatory use of E-Verify, the government system that checks documents provided by prospective employees that supposedly prove legal status against government records, is an absolute minimum.

Will he or won’t he?



Tampa Bay Times: Florida Bar opens investigation into Clearwater lawyer …

Filed under: Environment,Law — DRJ @ 7:30 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Florida Bar opens investigation into Clearwater lawyer … who shooed raccoon off his boat:

The video that Cope posted showed a man, presumably Cope, yelling at a raccoon that he said had hidden away on the boat for several hours before revealing its presence after the boat was “well offshore” — or about 20 miles out, he wrote on Facebook.

“Get off my f—— boat,” the man yelled at the raccoon, which was scurrying around the bow. “We’re just going to have to push him off.” The man shouted more while approaching the animal. Then the raccoon appeared to fall off the boat. The video zoomed in on the raccoon paddling in the water, trying to stay afloat. “So long, sucker,” the man said.

The raccoon is presumed to have drowned.

There is also a pending wildlife investigation/complaint.


USA Today: Georgetown to expel student after he sues over its handling of college admissions probe

Filed under: Crime,Education — DRJ @ 7:00 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Georgetown to expel student after he sues over its handling of college admissions probe:

A Georgetown University undergraduate student whose dad has already pleaded guilty to paying $400,000 to the ringleader of a nationwide college admissions bribery scheme is now suing the school to try to stop disciplinary action from the university.

He is a junior and says he “had no knowledge” of his father’s payment.

Read more @ USA Today.


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