Patterico's Pontifications


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:24 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Buckle up!

First news item

MTG explains the co-opting of the Republican Party :

1. There are a lot of people that need to hear this.

We Conservatives in the @HouseGOP aren’t the fringe.

We actually represent the base of Republican voters, which is approximately 70%.

And when the party learns to represent Conservative Americans, we will never lose again.

2. All the so called political experts always push Republicans to the middle to get the “swing voters.”

All that has done is create the Uniparty, which has led us to this disaster.

Do you want to know why Trump is the most popular Republican in history?

3. Because he appeals to the common man and woman.

You can’t fool them, they see through the bull-shitters.

When Republicans learn how to truly represent the workers, traditional families, & restore rural America with #AmericaFirst policies then the party will earn their vote.

Second news item

This needs to stop:

“I just want to tell you Officer Brown, you’re taking money out of my kids’ mouths,” Stephen Lara said as Nevada Highway Patrol officers confiscated his life savings.

Police pulled over Lara near Reno on February 19. After he consented to a search, the officers discovered nearly $90,000 in bundled cash in Lara’s backpack. Although Lara was not arrested or charged with a crime, the officers claimed the money was drug trafficking proceeds and seized through a practice known as civil asset forfeiture.

It was only after Lara sued the DEA for blowing its deadline to either give him his cash back or file a forfeiture case against it in federal court, and only after The Washington Post post reported on his case, that the government agreed to return his money. Lara is still pursuing lawsuits against the DEA and the Nevada Highway Patrol.

“I find it even more concerning that if this could happen to me, as a combat veteran who served overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, this could happen to anybody,” Lara says in the Institute for Justice video.

This, even though the report notes that the officers said there is nothing illegal about carrying large amounts of cash:

“So, as you know, right—I’m a vet, he’s a vet, you’re a vet—it’s not illegal to carry currency or have currency,” the officer says. “It does make us ask questions about why someone has $100,000. I can understand why someone doesn’t trust banks in this day and age.”

“I have nothing to hide from you,” Lara responded. In fact, he had years of bank receipts documenting cash withdrawals.

Video at the link.

Third news item

Discussing China, and the West’s increasing concern over tennis star Peng Shuai, sports commentator Bob Costas criticizes the IOC for being bed with China, and their affinity for the authorian regime. He also calls out Nike, the NBA, and others who have lucrative deals with China and remain silent in the face of CCP’s human rights abuses:

Interestingly, back in 1996, Costas found himself in hot water for making similar comments during the Olympic opening ceremonies:

“Every economic power including the United States wants to tap into that huge potential market, but of course there are problems with human rights, property rights disputes, the threat posed to Taiwan.″

NBC ended up apologizing to China for his comments.

Fourth news item

If Alec Baldwin didn’t pull the trigger, then how did the bullet from the gun that he was holding kill the cinematographer?:

When Stephanopoulos pointed out that it wasn’t in the script for the trigger to be pulled, Baldwin replied, “Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger.”

“So you never pulled the trigger?” Stephanopoulos responded.

“No, no, no, no, no,” Baldwin said. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never.”

His claims don’t necessarily line up with those who were there when the incident happened:

…according to search warrant affidavits released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, after authorities arrived on the scene the day of the shooting, Oct. 21, they wrote that “the prop-gun was fired by the Actor Alec Baldwin.” From the hospital, Souza also told investigators that Baldwin had been sitting in a pew in the building and was practicing a cross draw when suddenly there was a “whip and then a loud pop.”

Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor who was standing 4 feet away from Baldwin and called 911 to report the shooting, said in a lawsuit that the actor “intentionally, without just cause or excuse, cocked and fired the loaded gun even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of a firearm.” According to her complaint, the script did not call for the gun to be discharged.

While Stephen Gutkowski says it’s possible Baldwin didn’t pull the trigger,

In Baldwin’s case, though, the claim is at least somewhat more believable. That’s because the gun involved is more prone to firing without the trigger being pulled. And, even though it’s a modern replica of an antique design, it’s possible it did not include modern safety devices.

However, a single-action revolver with the old-style firing mechanism can fire without either the hammer being cocked or the trigger being pulled. When the hammer is down on that kind of revolver, the firing pin protrudes and, if a live round is loaded in the chamber underneath, a sharp enough jolt can cause the pin to strike the round’s primer with enough force to set it off.

it’s hard to square that with what he said later in the interview:

Baldwin claims he acted at the direction of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins when he accidentally shot and killed her.

“I cock the gun. I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?’” Baldwin told ABC. “And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes off.”

This version of events is even more difficult to square with the idea that Baldwin never pulled the trigger.

When the hammer is pulled back on a single-action revolver a series of sears on engaged which prevent it from moving back towards the chamber without the trigger being depressed. There are scenarios where the gun might be able to fire after the hammer is pulled back but without the trigger being pulled. However, they’re even more unlikely than a misfire with the hammer all the way down.

Fifth news item

Saving a nine-year-old child bride in Afghanistan:

Driving through a snow-capped mountain pass, the young mother huddles together with her six children in the backseat of a car after leaving their makeshift camp in northwestern Afghanistan.

Carrying only a blanket for warmth, 9-year-old Parwana Malik balances on her mother’s lap beside her siblings, as the family is rescued by an aid group that saves girls from child marriage.
“I am really happy,” Parwana said during the journey. “The (charity) rid me from my husband and my husband is old.”

At the time, Parwana’s father Abdul Malik said she cried day and night before, begging him not to sell her, saying she wanted to go to school and study instead…

Even before the Taliban took over, hunger was rife in the impoverished country, and now young girls are paying the price with their bodies — and their lives.

“Afghan young girls (are) becoming the price of food,” leading Afghan women’s rights activist Mahbouba Seraj told CNN. “Because otherwise their family will starve.”

Heartbreaking and horrible:

Seraj said…that some girls forced into marriage die during childbirth because their bodies are too small to cope. “Some of them can’t take it. They mostly die pretty young.”

Sixth news item

Parents charged:

A prosecutor filed involuntary manslaughter charges Friday against the parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan High School.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.

The semi-automatic gun used in the shooting was purchased legally by Crumbley’s father last week, according to investigators.

“The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons,” Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said Thursday. The gun “seems to have been just freely available to that individual.”

She said then that the parents’ actions went “far beyond negligence.”

Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism.

Seventh news item

Nikki Haley looks to 2024:

NIKKI HALEY finally landed a one-on-one with DONALD TRUMP after he rejected her request for a sit-down in February, following her condemnation of his actions on Jan. 6. While Haley faced the prospect of being one of Trump’s sworn enemies ahead of a potential 2024 presidential campaign, she praised him during a recent speech in Iowa and said she won’t challenge him in a primary (something Florida Gov. RON DESANTIS hasn’t done).

So last week, nearly 10 months after the first snub, Trump finally granted her a visit to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring. “He doesn’t see the point in making enemies,” a source close to Trump said, adding that the former president is still skeptical of Haley because of her back-and-forth statements about him. “He likes teasing people,” another aide said.

Eighth news item

Omicron here:

A Hawaii man has tested positive for the super-mutated Omicron variant of the coronavirus despite having no history of traveling outside the state. It brings the number of cases detected in the U.S. to at least eight. The man in Oahu is aged under 65, previously had COVID, and is only experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. However, the fact he hadn’t left the state indicated that Omicron has been widely circulating in the community for a while.

Omicron there:

Norwegian officials said at least 50 people have been infected with the new omicron variant of the coronavirus, The Associated Press reported

Officials said on Thursday the new cases were connected to a company’s holiday party at a restaurant in the capital of Oslo.

Via the New York Times, you can see which state/country have current cases of the Omicron variant:


Ninth news item

Playing politics during a genocide:

This week, a private U.K.-based investigative panel released what it says are classified Chinese government documents that appear to show how Chinese President Xi Jinping personally laid the groundwork for the systematic forced assimilation of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. It’s the most damning proof to date of the ongoing Uyghur genocide. So why can’t Congress pass a simple bill to stop the products connected to that genocide from ending up in U.S. homes and businesses?

Yet the Democrat-led Congress can’t seem to get the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which passed the Senate unanimously in July, to President Biden’s desk. Pointing to procedural issues and promises of future action, Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate can’t seem to agree on a strategy to pass the bill through both chambers, despite publicly claiming they support it.

On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the co-sponsor of the Senate’s version of the bill, pushed to add it as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass piece of legislation. Senate Democrats objected under a procedural rule that bars amendments that affect appropriations. Rubio called that a dodge.

“This is about the fact that they don’t want this bill to pass over at the House,” Rubio said on the Senate floor, referring directly to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Rubio also said U.S. corporations that profit from forced labor in China, such as Apple and Nike, have been lobbying against the bill, which is true.

Meanwhile, Biden administration officials have been quietly telling lawmakers to slow down. Administration sources confirmed that in an October call between Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the other co-sponsor, Sherman made it clear that the administration prefers a more targeted and deliberative approach to determining which goods are the products of forced labor. She also told Merkley that getting allied buy-in was critical and more effective than unilateral action.

“To be clear, the Department of State is not opposing this amendment,” a State Department spokesman told me. “We share the Congress’ concerns about forced labor in Xinjiang.”

In other words, while the administration supports the legislation in public, they are asking Democrats to essentially water it down in private. Sherman’s specific criticism relates to a part of the bill that would require a presumption that all products coming from Xinjiang are tainted by forced labor unless the importer can prove otherwise. This happens to be the exact provision corporations are also objecting to. Maybe it’s a coincidence.

Tenth news item

Whatever the rules are, they should be applied equally across the board, and it should not matter who is behind the wheel, or who the victims are. No matter what anyone’s race, religion, sex, or favorite ice cream flavor is, reporters just need to report the known facts, clean and simple. But, as a point of fact, SUVs are unable to make a decision to plow into a crowd:

CNN was the center of intense backlash on Sunday over a tweet suggesting that the SUV involved in the Waukesha parade attack was responsible for the massacre that resulted in six deaths.

Darrell Brooks was charged with intentional homicide after driving his red SUV through a crowded street commemorating the holiday season, claiming six lives of those ages 8 to 81 and injuring dozens more.

On Sunday however, CNN appeared to place the responsibility on Brooks’ vehicle, making no mention of the career criminal behind the wheel.


Other examples:





A rising star among the UK’s passionate “detectorist” community has found a buried hoard of 65 objects, many of which are bronze axes.

It’s being called a once-in-a-lifetime find, one which had to be handled by archeologists, and which is now undergoing the British government’s Treasure Review to determine if the nation will purchase the artifacts.

Milly Hardwick from Suffolk was out detecting in a field with her dad Colin, when the 13-year-old made the find.

“It was my third time out and I didn’t quite know what I was doing,” Milly told the BBC. “I got a signal and yelled at my dad and when he started digging he went ‘this could be an axe’, and he was joking around about it.”

It’s thought the axes and other objects, 65 in total, date from around 1,300 BCE. After finding the first 20, the father-daughter team had to cover the site back up until archeologists could come the next day.

Have a great weekend.


Adoptee: I Wish I Had Been Aborted Instead

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

I mean, that’s not the headline of the article, or anything said in it, but isn’t that ultimately the necessary conclusion of this argument?

On Wednesday, as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments from state attorneys seeking to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, Justice Amy Coney Barrett kept getting at one question: Why was abortion necessary, when women who do not want to be mothers can simply give their babies up for adoption?

As an adoptee myself, I was floored by Justice Barrett’s assumption that adoption is an accessible and desirable alternative for women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. She may not realize it, but what she is suggesting is that women don’t need access to abortion because they can simply go do a thing that is infinitely more difficult, expensive, dangerous and potentially traumatic than terminating a pregnancy during its early stages.

As an adoptive mother herself, Justice Barrett should have some inkling of the complexities of adoption and the toll it can inflict on children, as well as birth mothers. But she speaks as if adoption is some kind of idyllic fairy tale. My own adoption actually was what many would consider idyllic. I was raised by two adoptive parents, Alice and Terry, from the time I was an infant, and grew up in a home where I knew every day that I was loved. A few years ago, I found my biological mother, Maria, and three siblings I didn’t know I had via a DNA test and Facebook.

. . . .

If the court overturns Roe v. Wade, many women will be forced to give birth to children they did not want or did not feel that they could afford to support. While pregnant, they will undergo the bonding with a child that happens by biological design as an embryo develops into a living, breathing, conscious human. And then that child will be taken away.

The right likes to suggest that abortion is a traumatic experience for women — a last resort, a painful memory. But adoption is often just as traumatic as the right thinks abortion is, if not more so, as a woman has to relinquish, not a lump of cells, but a fully formed baby she has lived with for nine months.

I will never understand this argument: that adoption is traumatic and difficult, ergo we should just have the mother abort the child instead. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.

What’s more, to target Barrett, herself an adoptive mother, is not only obtuse, but very counterproductive to a public persuasion movement that, if pro-choice activists had any sense, would focus on Chief Justice Roberts, the most persuadable of the conservatives. So why not insult him too, another an adoptive parent? Great strategy, guys!

Thank God the pro-choicers have no sense at all.


Sinema Playing Coy on Biden Spending Orgy Capstone Vote

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:11 pm

[guest post by JVW]

CNN reports:

Kyrsten Sinema, the influential moderate Democratic senator from Arizona, did not commit to voting for President Joe Biden’s sweeping social safety net legislation in a sit-down interview with CNN on Thursday, the latest sign that Senate Democrats do not yet have the votes to pass one of the party’s top legislative priorities even as leadership hopes to approve the measure before Christmas.

Sinema indicated she plans to continue negotiating over the bill. Asked if she is prepared to vote “yes” when the legislation, known as the Build Back Better Act, comes to the Senate floor, Sinema would not say.

“I am always prepared to vote and to vote for what’s right for the interests of Arizona,” she said.

Point of order here, CNN: It seems you asked if she were prepared to vote “yes” and the way I read her response is that she is prepared to vote “yes” and she is prepared to vote “no,” depending upon what the final negotiations yield. Just because you asked her a question in a really stupid manner doesn’t mean that she failed to answer it.

In any case, when CNN pressed her for details on what changes she wants to see in the final legislation, she declined the opportunity to grandstand, replying “When you negotiate directly in good faith with your colleagues and don’t negotiate publicly, you’re actually much more likely to find that agreement and get to an achievement that serves the interests of the people of your community [. . .].” This suggests that there are in fact some things she has in mind. Sen. Sinema had earlier rejected calls for raising corporate or personal income tax rates, but unlike her colleague Joe Manchin of West Virginia, another notorious Democrat holdout, she supports including money to expand Paid Family Leave in the final bill.

The Arizona Senator also addressed a real bugaboo of mine: the ridiculous promises that are made in social spending legislation which never come close to being kept. Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a great example of this: nearly a trillion dollars spent with the promise that unemployment would be held under six percent and that the economy would grow at an annual rate of three percent by the end of President Obama’s first time, neither of which came anywhere close to coming to fruition. Hoping to avoid a repeat of the mistakes which helped disoriented and disheartened Republicans mount a strong comeback, Sen. Sinema vowed:

I would never promise something to the American people that I can’t deliver and I think it’s not responsible for elected leaders to do that. Being honest is the most appropriate way to engage in any interaction, whether it’s in a political setting or in a personal setting, but I also believe that when elected leaders on either side of the political aisle promise things that cannot be delivered it actually exacerbates the political problems we face in our country.

Of course Democrats just call every new spending proposal an “investment” in the hopes that we are behave like sucker speculators dreaming of a massive payoff that will never come. I appreciate the Senator’s candor in recognizing that.

Nothing that Kyrsten Sinema told CNN necessarily closes the door on her ultimately bestowing a key “yes” vote on the floundering Biden Administration, but she strikes me as someone who is principled and serious and isn’t about to roll-over and play party loyalist. (I probably just ensured it will in fact come to pass just by typing that sentence. Oh well.) With Joe Manchin clearly noticing that the new $1.9 trillion price tag exceeds by over 25% the $1.5 trillion ceiling that he committed to this past summer, I would venture to guess that Dem leadership is going to have to do some serious capitulating if they want to find those magic 50 votes.


Some Important Passages from the Supreme Court Oral Argument, or, Why I Think Kavanaugh Is on Board

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

I am still making my way through the audio of yesterday’s arguments over the constitutionality of Mississippi’s law banning abortions after 15 weeks. Between the chunk I heard yesterday morning before work, what I heard last night when starting it from the beginning, and browsing through the transcript, I have probably heard 2/3 of it (some out of context) and have a decent idea of the whole. My overall impression at this point is this:

An hour after I tweeted that, Sarah Isgur tweeted this very similar impression:

I thought I would share a couple of questions I found relevant.

This question from Justice Kavanaugh at page 106 of the transcript goes to the heart of just what the Court is doing by involving itself in these abortion cases:

JUSTICE KAVANAUGH: You — you make a very forceful argument and identify critically important interests that are at stake in this issue, no doubt about that.

The other side says, though, that there are two interests at stake, that there’s also the interest in — in fetal life at stake as well. And in your brief, you say that the existing framework accommodates — that’s your word — both the interests of the pregnant woman and the interests of the fetus.

And the — and the problem, I think the other side would say and the reason this issue is hard, is that you can’t accommodate both interests. You have to pick. That’s the fundamental problem. And one interest has to prevail over the other at any given point in time, and that’s why this is so challenging, I think.

And the question then becomes, what does the Constitution say about that? And I just want to get your reaction to what the other side’s theme is, and I’ve mentioned it in my prior questions.

When you have those two interests at stake and both are important, as you acknowledge, why not –why should this Court be the arbiter rather than Congress, the state legislatures, state supreme courts, the people being able to resolve this? And there will be different answers in Mississippi and New York, different answers in Alabama than California because they’re two different interests at stake and the people in those states might value those interests somewhat differently.

Why is that not the right answer?

I have a very strong feeling that Justice Kavanaugh thinks that is the right answer. And the above passage, while expressed without the flair and sarcasm that might have been employed by Justice Scalia, is perhaps the most Scaliaesque thing I heard in the argument.

I also found this question from Justice Kavanaugh at page 78 of the transcript to be one of the most revealing on his views of stare decisis — i.e., the effect of precedent:

JUSTICE KAVANAUGH: And I want to ask a question about stare decisis and to think about how to approach that here because there have been lots of questions picking up on Justice Barrett’s questions and others. And history helps think about stare decisis, as I’ve looked at it, and the history of how the Court’s applied stare decisis, and when you really dig into it, the history tells a somewhat different story, I think, than is sometimes assumed.

If you think about some of the most important cases, the most consequential cases in this Court’s history, there’s a string of them where the cases overruled precedent. Brown v. Board outlawed separate but equal. Baker versus Carr, which set the stage for one person/one vote. West Coast Hotel, which recognized the states’ authority to regulate business. Miranda versus Arizona, which required police to give warnings when the right to — about the right to remain silent and to have an attorney present to suspects in criminal custody. Lawrence v. Texas, which said that the state may not prohibit same-sex conduct. Mapp versus Ohio, which held that the exclusionary rule applies to state criminal prosecutions to exclude evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Gideon versus Wainwright, which guaranteed the right to counsel in criminal cases. Obergefell, which recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

In each of those cases — and that’s a list, and I could go on, and those are some of the most consequential and important in the Court’s history — the Court overruled precedent. And it turns out, if the Court in those cases had — had listened, and they were presented in — with arguments in those cases, adhere to precedent in Brown v. Board, adhere to Plessy, on West Coast Hotel, adhere to Atkins and adhere to Lochner, and if the court had done that in those cases, you know, this –the country would be a much different place.

So I assume you agree with most, if not all, the cases I listed there, where the Court overruled the precedent. So the question on stare decisis is why, if — and I know you disagree with what about I’m about to say in the “if” — if we think that the prior precedents are seriously wrong, if that, why then doesn’t the history of this Court’s practice with respect to those cases tell us that the right answer is actually a return to the position of neutrality and — and not stick with those precedents in the same way that all those other cases didn’t?

I choose these passages to show why, of the people whose votes might be uncertain — Roberts, Gorsuch, Barrett, and Kavanaugh — I have the most confidence in Kavanaugh’s position.

I could not read Barrett, at least based on what I have heard so far, but I think she may be on board. I may let you know once I have heard it all.

Gorsuch’s questions seemed designed to cut off the idea that one could reach some sort of Robertsesque compromise wherein the Mississippi law could somehow be upheld without overruling Roe and Casey. The parties weren’t having it, and none of the justices were having it except for Roberts. Hence the predictions above.

One more question to highlight, from Justice Alito:

JUSTICE ALITO: The brief for the American Historical Association says that abortion was not legal before quickening in 26 out of 37 states at the time when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted. Is that correct?

MS. RIKELMAN: That is correct because some of the states had started to discard the common law at that point because of a discriminatory view that a woman’s proper role was as a wife and mother, a view that the Constitution now rejects, and that’s why it’s appropriate to do the historical analysis at a higher level of generality.

JUSTICE ALITO: In the face of that, can it said that the right to — to abortion is deeply rooted in the history and traditions of the American people?

This will be central to Justice Alito’s opinion, and I bring it up because the question well highlights the flaw in that silly article I critiqued at my Substack (which you can subscribe to here) claiming that there is an “originalist case for abortion.” The point here is: an originalist case for abortion cannot be shown by showing that several states allowed abortion when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted. Any such case is torpedoed by a showing that several (and actually a majority) of states banned abortion. Given that, how can anyone show that abortion meets the Supreme Court’s definition of a fundamental right — which is a right that is “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.” Those are quotes from Washington v. Glucksberg (1997) 521 U.S. 702 and you are going to see them in Alito’s opinion. (If he writes one, and I think he will — at least a concurrence.)


Open Thread: Supreme Court Arguments on Abortion

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:28 am

Going on now. I’ve not heard everything so far, but reversal of Roe is a real possibility. This may be the first day many Americans realize that. Your thoughts on the argument?


Pence 2024? See Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

Yesterday Dana posted about Donald Trump’s requirements for a 2024 running mate. Unsurprisingly, they are all about who has shown undying loyalty to him (with some other qualifications thrown in to make it look like there’s more to it, although there isn’t). The Atlantic has a piece titled Pence 2024? that suggests Pence may seek the whole enchilada on his own:

Mike Pence spent much of his vice presidency quietly catering to the whims of President Donald Trump. But on January 6, he broke with Trump by refusing to overturn the 2020 election results. And now, Pence is eyeing a presidential run of his own, even though his old boss hasn’t ruled out a 2024 campaign. Pence wouldn’t necessarily stay out of the race even if Trump jumps in.

“If you know the Pences, you know they’ll always try to discern where they’re being called to serve,” Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, told me. “And I don’t think that is dependent on who else is in or not in the race.”

I agree with the basic thesis of the article, which is: “A 2024 Pence campaign looks futile no matter the scenario.” In answer to a headline reading “Pence 2024?” I suggest the reader consult Betteridge’s law of headlines, which states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

If you’re a Trump fan, Pence is a traitor who single-handedly deprived the Glorious Leader of his rightful ability to overturn a supposedly stolen election:

If you’re a Trump critic, the way Pence enabled and toadied up to Trump is troubling and likely disqualifying.

(If you’re indifferent about Trump, check yourself for a pulse.)

Either way, no sale.

I think Pence’s actions on January 6 were heroic. He resisted leaving the Senate, and after being whisked to an underground loading dock, refused to enter the limousine waiting for him — knowing that if he got inside, they would drive him away, which was an image he did not want the world to see. He wanted to stay and finish the job, and do it in a way that honored the Constitution . . . even though it flew in the face of the wishes of the man he had refused to contradict for four years. On some level, Pence had to know that refusing to monkey with the process would torpedo his political career and his presidential ambitions with it.

All of that makes up for a lot.

But not enough. The answer is “no.”


2024: Trump’s Litmus Test For Selecting A Running Mate

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:57 am

[guest post by Dana]

We’ve talked about what 2024 might look like if Donald Trump runs for president. At this point in time, the former president remains popular with Republican voters, according to November polling data:

However, the survey found that a majority of Republicans favored the former president making a run for a second term. Sixty percent of Republicans surveyed said they felt he should run while 40 percent of Republicans surveyed said they did not want to see him on the ballot. In turn, 73 percent of independents who responded to the survey said they felt he should not run, and 26 percent said they wanted to see Trump on the ticket.

A new report discusses Trump’s strategy in looking for in a running mate. Rather than increasing his base and focusing on what might pull in moderate Republicans and Democrats, or Independents, the former president has his own unique litmus test of vice-presidential worthiness:

According to conversations with a dozen Trump advisers and close associates, the former president doesn’t feel bound by geographic or ideological considerations — or any standard political rules at all.

Those familiar with his thinking say his selection will be determined by two factors that rate highest in Trump’s estimation: unquestioned loyalty and an embrace of the former president’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

To be clear: The former president of the United States is looking for a running mate whose ultimate loyalty will be to him, not the U.S. Constitution. And said running mate must also be a true believer or at least be someone who is willing to lie and with eyes wide open, agree with the Big Lie that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen. Expectedly, integrity, foundational beliefs, and a functioning moral compass are not near the top of the qualification list. Clearly, Trump is laying the groundwork in case of an election loss. He wants to make sure that his running mate understands that, in case the unthinkable happens, they are expected to reject the results even though a vice-president does not have the necessary authority to make that decision. (I think that Trump views the 12th Amendment as little more than an unwelcome irritant, which in turn evidences how little he understands or values the Constitution.)

One of Trump’s campaign pollsters summed up the Trump and the Republican party thusly:

A lot of times, a presidential candidate will pick a running mate to balance out wings of the party. But with Trump, that’s not the issue. He is the party, basically. It’s so united behind him. So his choice, if he runs, will come down to what he wants. It would be a much more personal decision this time.

And according to Trump, there is no shortage of wanna-be veeps who are visiting him at Mar-a-Lago, and auditioning for the role:

“They’re all begging me. They all come here,” Trump boasted to one adviser…

Insiders say that the former president has whittled down the categories from which he is likely to draw a running mate:

Those familiar with Trump’s thinking say his prospective vice president selection would likely draw from three general lanes of candidates: women, conservatives of color or a trusted adviser — or a “consigliere,” as one adviser described it.

Not so different from Democrats, and not so different from then-nominee Joe Biden either.

So, in light of Patterico’s post this morning, the Republican Party must be reformed (or a new third party be formed), otherwise, it will remain on its downward trajectory and will continue to be known as the ReTrumplican Party.


“Lincoln” Project: “We Must Destroy the Republican Party”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

I put it in quotes because it’s . . . a verbatim quote:

“We must destroy the Republican Party” sounds a lot like something Lincoln’s *opponents* would have said.

It also sounds like a fairly conventional position of Democrats.

I am distressed by the direction the Republican party has taken. But absent any almost certainly doomed third party scenario (and I have endorsed the idea of forming one, more as a thought experiment than a Serious Proposal), the party needs to be reformed. I’m not sure how “destroying” it is a good idea unless the idea is to install single-party rule by Democrats. Who, you might have noticed, are not particularly sensible themselves these days.


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:30 am

[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

White House responds to new variant:

This morning I was briefed by my chief medical advisor, Dr. Tony Fauci, and the members of our COVID response team, about the Omicron variant, which is spreading through Southern Africa. As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries. These new restrictions will take effect on November 29. As we move forward, we will continue to be guided by what the science and my medical team advises.

Besides South Africa, the other countries impacted include Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi. The variant, identified this week, was found in Bostwana, Hong Kong, and South Africa. Why it’s of such great concern for the world has to do with a rapid increase in test positivity rates:

In South Africa it has been detected in Guateng province – positivity rates in Tshwane (part of Guateng) have increased massively in the last 3 weeks from less than 1% to over 30%.

Here is an informative thread about this latest variant.

Related: According to the Africa CDC, just 6% of Africa’s population is fully vaccinated.

Yes, certain letters were specifically avoided when naming the Omicron variant:

South Africa responds to the travel restrictions:

The South African Government has noted the announcements by several countries to institute temporary travel restrictions on South Africa and other countries in our region.

This follows the detection of the new Omicron variant.

South Africa aligns itself with the World Health Organisation’s position on the latest travel bans.

The World Health Organisation has pleaded with world leaders not to engage in knee-jerk reactions and has cautioned against the imposition of travel restrictions.

Dr Michael Ryan (WHO Head of Emergencies) has stressed the importance of waiting to see what the data will show.

“We’ve seen in the past, the minute there’s any kind of mention of any kind of variation and everyone is closing borders and restricting travel. It’s really important that we remain open, and stay focused,” Ryan said.

We also note that new variants have been detected in other countries. Each of those cases have had no recent links with Southern Africa. It’s worth noting that the reaction to those countries is starkly different to cases in Southern Africa.

Second news item

Just say no:

Activists are calling on 82 major apparel and retail companies around the world to commit to sourcing cotton outside of China. In a letter to “apparel industry leaders,” the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region cited a study that ties international cotton sales to accusations of brutal treatment of China’s Muslim minority…

In 2020, the United States banned the import of certain Xinjiang products, including cotton, over concerns about forced labor in the region…

Insider reached out to all 82 companies who received the letter on November 22. The brands that received the letter included retail and e-commerce giants like Amazon, Carrefour, Costco, Home Depot, Ikea, Jo Ann Stores, Kmart, Kohl’s, L.L. Bean, Macy’s, Patagonia, Sears, Target, Walmart, and Wayfair. Most of the recipients were apparel brands, including American Eagle Outfitters, Brooks Brothers, Chico’s, Duluth Trading, Eddie Bauer, Forever 21, Gap Inc., Guess, Hanes, Hugo Boss, Land’s End, Levi Strauss, Lilly Pulitzer, Lucky Brand, Madewell, Marco Polo, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Uniqlo, and Vineyard Vines.

Most did not immediately reply. JCPenney declined to comment.


What’s the holdup, Nancy?:

Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi to stop delaying a House vote on legislation dealing with Beijing’s genocide of Uyghurs and crimes against humanity targeting other minority groups in a letter today:

We urge you to stop delaying floor consideration of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). As you know, the House bill passed the Foreign Affairs Committee on April 21, and the Senate bill was received in the House on July 16. Both passed without any opposition….

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would impose a near-ban on certain products coming from the Xinjiang region, under the presumption that they were produced using forced labor. While the bill would not by any means convince the Chinese Communist Party to end its campaign to destroy Uyghurs and other Turkic minority peoples, it would help prevent Americans from being complicit in the abuses.

Third news item

Challenges to come if Trump runs again:

DEADLINE: If Trump runs again, what do you think reporters should keep in mind in covering him just given what happened on January 6?

JONATHAN KARL: I think it’ll be one of the greatest, maybe the greatest challenge ever facing campaign reporters. How do you cover a candidate who is effectively anti-democratic? How do you cover a candidate who is running both against whoever the Democratic candidate is but also running against the very democratic system that makes all of this possible? I think it’s tremendously challenging, because you know that — especially now, more than ever — that he is just saying things that are not true, that are designed to misinform, that are designed to erode credibility and belief in our electoral system. And it’s actually dangerous. So how do you cover a debate? How do you cover a speech? How do you sit down for long live interviews with him as a candidate? I think these are really difficult questions because he is obviously not a typical candidate. He’s never been a typical candidate, but now he has been demonstrated to be a candidate that is trying to destroy the very system that makes this election possible. And yet we cover campaigns. That’s what we do. It is a very difficult, precarious situation, and I don’t know how it is going to play out, to be honest.

Fourth news item


Among the most important tools in a politician’s toolbox is the ability to dodge an unflattering question. In an interview segment released Monday, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) offered a textbook case study in how not to do it.

In the interview, Axios’s Jonathan Swan pressed Tlaib on the BREATHE Act, a bill authored by the social-justice coalition Movement for Black Lives and backed by Tlaib and fellow “Squad” member Ayanna Pressley, among others. Swan noted that the proposal would empty federal prisons—home to about 12 percent of prisoners nationwide—within a decade of passage.

Tlaib denied this (“Everyone’s like, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to just release everybody’”), but the bill’s text clearly instructs the federal Bureau of Prisons to cut the prison population in half within five years and attain “complete decarceration” within 10, in addition to “physically closing all federal prisons.” Pressed further, Tlaib hemmed and hawed, insisting that the real problem was providing mental health and drug addiction care, while never quite coming out against freeing thousands of drug traffickers, weapons offenders, and other serious criminals in federal detention.

Make sure to read the report in its entirety at the link above.

Fifth news item

‘Refund’ the police:

On this issue, Mr. Monk – a Black man from one of America’s most liberal cities – agrees with his white Republican governor. In October, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced $150 million to “refund the police.” Around two-thirds of the money would go to police aid and salary. Another one-third would fund accountability programs, neighborhood safety, and victim services.

The plan almost certainly won’t pass the state’s heavily Democratic General Assembly. But, oddly enough, it communicates some consensus. A year after widespread calls to defund or abolish the police, those options are increasingly unpopular. In Maryland, the legislature, governor, and citizens in high-crime areas like Baltimore mostly agree that law enforcement can be reformed, and needs to be.

That’s true across the country, says University of Nebraska Omaha Professor Emeritus Sam Walker. Police reform and police spending aren’t part of a zero-sum game.

“If Governor Hogan is talking about refunding police, then money becomes the leverage for doing things differently, and I think that’s an important strategic lever to change things,” says Dr. Walker. “I don’t think you have to go through the defund part to say that we want to create a modern and progressive police department that’s going to handle routine problems in a better way.”

Sixth news item

Pushing back in California:

A shareholder advocacy organization filed a lawsuit this week challenging a state law that mandates public corporations headquartered in California to appoint people of color or LGBTQ leaders to their boards of directors. The National Center for Public Policy Research filed the complaint on Tuesday, claiming “the diversity quotas injure Plaintiff’s right to vote for the candidate of its choice, free of a government-imposed race, sex, and sexual orientation quotas,” according to the lawsuit filed in the District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Daniel Ortner, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, said he aims for the courts to declare both diversity laws unconstitutional. “The state of California is intruding into corporate affairs to impose quotas based on race and sex and they don’t have a good justification for doing so,” he said. “Companies are already diversifying, without the need of the state of California forcing the matter. And doing so through a quota, in particular, is discriminatory and unlawful.”

Seventh news item

Dutch government apologizes:

The Dutch government made a public apology Saturday for a now discredited and scrapped law that required transgender people to undergo surgery and sterilization if they wanted to change their gender on their birth certificate.

“Nobody should have experienced what you have experienced. I am truly sorry that it happened,” said Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven in an emotional speech at a ceremony in the historic Knights Hall in the Dutch parliamentary complex.

The law was in place for nearly 30 years until being scrapped in 2014.

“For decades, people underwent medical procedures that they did not want at all. But they knew they had no other choice,” Van Engelshoven said. “Others have waited because of this law; they were forced to postpone becoming themselves for years.”

She said that “standards about what a body should look like do not belong in a law and a law should never force people to undergo an operation. And today I make our deeply sincere apologies for this on behalf of the full Cabinet.”

Eighth news item

Eh, charm and good looks are almost always a winning hand:

Matthew McConaughey would defeat either incumbent GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott or Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in a head-on race if he ran for governor in 2022, a new poll suggests.

In the scenario of a one-on-one showdown, the Oscar-winning actor was preferred by voters over both Abbott and O’Rourke, according to results from a new poll by the Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas Tyler.

However, in a three-way race, Abbott edges out the other two.

Ninth news item

Neither one of these is the best and the brightest, and both are inclined to show their bigoted underpants. As you recall, Rep. Ilhan Omar has made her share of anti-Semitic slurs – and then been compelled (by Pelosi) to apologize. This slur by Rep. Lauren Boebert is a direct and personal attack on Rep. Omar, as well as smearing the Muslim community at large:

She later tweeted a non-apology (at which politicians excel):

P.S. I am reading that Boebert was joking when she made the comment. Sure… Just like Omar was joking about the Benjamins… They both play to the cheap seats of their narrow-minded, bigoted bases. I want nothing to do with either of them or their fans.

Have a great weekend.



Is This Self-Defense?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:40 pm

Even putting the self-defense issues aside for a moment, this is a mess:

The widow of a Lubbock father who died in a fatal shooting in South Lubbock earlier this month is seeking custody of her step-children to keep them away from the shooter, who is also in a relationship with their mother.

Jennifer Read, through her attorney, Matthew Harris, also released video of the shooting that she recorded.

No charges or arrests have been made yet in the Nov. 5 shooting death of 54-year-old Chad Read at a home in the 2100 block of 90th Street.

Meanwhile, investigators have turned over their files to the Texas Attorney General’s Office, who is handling any potential prosecution in the case after the Lubbock County District Attorney Sunshine Stanek recused her office from the case, citing that the suspect in the shooting was related to a local elected official who could be called as a witness.

Background details are available here. The local elected official is a judge who is the ex-wife of the shooter, Kyle Carruth, who is the boyfriend of Christina Read, the ex-wife of the decedent, Chad Read. Standing outside taking video is Jennifer Read, the wife (at the time of the shooting; now widow) of Chad Read, the decedent. Got that? It’s OK if you have to read it a few times to process it.

So Chad Read showed up at the home of his ex-wife Christina Read to pick up his son (their son) at a court-ordered time. The son was not available.

During the argument, Christina could be heard saying the child was not home and that she was going to fetch him. She also said that she didn’t abide by the court ordered deadline because she wanted to see their son.

“I don’t care if you wanted to see him or not,” Chad Read said. “I get him at 3:15 p.m. If you want to see him, you see him up until 3:15. You keep trying to keep my son from me.”

Chad Read started yelling about how he was going to subpoena everyone in creation, including Judge Anne-Marie Carruth. Kyle Carruth told Chad Read to leave the property; he did not. Then Kyle Carruth emerged with a rifle.

This video shows the shooting from two angles.

As Kyle Carruth emerges with the rifle, he says: “I’m glad this is on video. I’m very glad. Leave!” Instead of leaving, Chad Read gets in Kyle Carruth’s face, and yells: “Good. You’d better fucking use it, motherfucker!” Kyle Carruth responds: “I will.” Chad Read continues: “‘Cause goddammit, I’ll fucking take it from you and use it on you!”

(I will digress for a moment to say that I have read a lot of police reports of a lot of shootings. One of the most common things said by a shooting victim right before he is shot to death is some variant of the phrase: “If you’re going to shoot, shoot!” In the annals of Famous Last Words, that is a very common set of Last Words.)

Chad Read, in Kyle Carruth’s face, demands: “Where’s my son?” Kyle Carruth responds: “I don’t have your son.” Chad Read looks down at the rifle and moves his left hand towards it as if he is about to grab it. As he is doing so, Kyl Carruth says: “Get out of my face, you” as he backs up a step and fires a shot at Chad Read’s feet. Chad Read says “think that fuckin’ scares me, bitch?” and grabs both Carruth and the weapon. Chad Read sort of pulls/pushes Kyle Carruth off the porch and Kyle Carruth steps back a couple of steps away from the house. Chad Read says again: “Think that fuckin'” — which are the last words he ever utters, as Kyle Carruth then drops Chad Read to the ground with two shots.

Everyone seems eerily calm as Chad Read lies there dead or dying. Jennifer Read says: “Call 911! I have it on video, Kyle. You did it, not him.” Kyle Carruth says: “I told all of y’all to leave.” Jennifer Read says: “We came to get his son.” Kyle Carruth response: “He’s not here. This is my place of employment. [sic] None of y’all should be here. None of y’all should be here. I asked you to leave. I did everything. I did not want to do any of this.”

The usual rules around self-defense require that one use deadly force only in response to deadly force. It will be up to prosecutors, and (if charges are filed) jurors to decide whether Chad Read’s action in trying to grab the rifle constitutes a threat of deadly force.

I remember discussing the “deadly force in response to deadly force” concept in torts class in law school. In one of the few times I ever spoke up in our larger section, I challenged the professor, who said that if you draw your weapon and someone continues to advance on you, you can’t fire at him because he has not yet threatened you with deadly force. It was my contention that continuing to advance on someone who has produced a weapon signals an intent to wrestle the weapon away and use it on the person holding the firearm. Here, Chad Read didn’t just advance on Kyle Carruth; Chad Read actually grabbed for the weapon. But that was after Kyle Carruth had already fired at Chad Read’s feet. But that was after Chad Read had threatened to take the rifle from Kyle Carruth and use it on him.

Messy. Just like the whole situation. Jennifer Read has now filed a petition to get custody of the children from Christina Read:

Through an attorney, Jennifer Read filed a petition alleging that Christina Read has endangered the well-being of two children by allowing them to be in the presence of Kyle Carruth.

“The children are aware that Kyle Carruth shot and killed their father in front of their mother, step-brother, and myself,” Read’s affidavit states. “Christina’s decision to allow either of these children to be in Kyle Carruth’s presence has caused, and continues to cause, significant impairment of their emotional well-being. The oldest child has expressed to me that he blames his mother for the shooting, and that he will run away from home if he sees Kyle there again.”

I can see a prosecutor or jury concluding that this was self-defense. But I can see a jury deciding otherwise, too. Ultimately, I think Chad Read’s threat to take the rifle and use it on Kyle Carruth is likely what will decide the case in Kyle Carruth’s favor. But you never know.

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