Patterico's Pontifications

2/29/2020

Biden Destroys Sanders in South Carolina Primary

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:04 pm



Relative sanity has a chance tonight:

Former Vice President Joe Biden decisively won the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday, claiming his first victory of the 2020 race and giving a crucial boost to his struggling campaign ahead of Super Tuesday.

The victory tracked with polls indicating that Biden, buoyed by support among black voters, had a significant lead in the state for months over Sen. Bernie Sanders and others, despite the surging Vermont senator beginning to close the gap after early primary wins that rocketed him to front-runner status. Fox News projects Sanders will finish second, followed by wealthy progressive activist Tom Steyer — who ended his campaign within hours of polls closing.

Tonight’s delegate count:

The Bernie juggernaut still looks to be scary on Super Tuesday, especially in my home state of Leftistfornia. I’ll be voting in the Democrat primary for Joe Biden.

And I don’t really like Joe Biden.

UPDATE: New York Times:

Mr. Biden, the former vice president, captured just under 50 percent of the vote, well ahead of Mr. Sanders, who had 20 percent. Tom Steyer, the California billionaire, was a distant third, followed by Pete Buttigieg and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The victory enabled Mr. Biden to significantly narrow Mr. Sanders’s pledged delegate lead, but he did not appear poised to overtake him.

Biden is not to be discounted.

Court of Appeal Vindicates the House’s “Obstruction of Congress” Article of Impeachment, as Trumpists Run False Victory Laps

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:35 am



The federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a ruling yesterday that unequivocally vindicates the theory behind the House of Representatives’s “obstruction of Congress” article of impeachment of President Trump.

You wouldn’t know that from reading most media reports or from cruising Trumpist Twitter. The president’s defenders are actually running victory laps, claiming vindication from a decision that actually proves that the House was constitutionally authorized to impeach Trump for obstructing Congress. In this, they are aided by a news media that is not telling its readers the truth about what the decision says.

Put simply, the dispute in Congress between Trumpists and supporters of the obstruction article came down to this: when a president defies a congressional subpoena, should Congress have to run off to the courts to resolve the president’s objections to the subpoena? Or can Congress enforce such a subpoena on its own, using its powers up to and including impeachment? In the House, Democrats unequivocally argued: no, we don’t have to go to court. After all, the president has said that there will be zero give and take, and that he is not cooperating with a single subpoena of ours, but instead will fight “all the subpoenas.”

So we don’t have to go spend months in court. We have our own powers for dealing with this sort of blanket obstruction, and one of them is impeachment. And we are going to exercise that power.

That is what the Democrats said. And yesterday’s court decision vindicates that position. Wholly, utterly, and completely.

Virtually every headline you read in the Fake News Media™ about the holding of yesterday’s decision in the McGahn congressional subpoena case is wrong. Wrong, moreover, in a way that favors Donald Trump and his defenders. Here are some sample headlines:

Washington Post: Former White House counsel Don McGahn does not have to testify to House, appeals court finds. Wrong.

CNBC: Former Trump White House lawyer Donald McGahn does not have to testify to House, appeals court rules. Not even close.

CNN: Appeals court says Don McGahn doesn’t have to testify in major win for White House. Nope!

I could go on and on and on. Trust me.

The court did not address whether McGahn has to testify. The whole point of the ruling is that the court refused to address that issue. The court addressed whether the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives was constitutionally entitled to invoke the jurisdiction of the federal courts to enforce its subpoena. The court held that “Article III of the Constitution forbids federal courts from resolving this kind of interbranch information dispute.”

If the appeals court had held that McGahn does not have to testify, as all these media reports claim, the court would have been resolving the interbranch dispute, in McGahn’s (and the executive branch’s) favor. Which is precisely what they say in the opinion they will not do.

So does the court say Congress is out of luck, and has no authority on its own to enforce the subpoenas? Not only does the court not say that, it says the complete opposite. In fact, the decision lists several options that Congress has, and guess what is among the options listed by the appeals court as a power Congress has to enforce its subpoena? Why, impeachment for obstruction of Congress! The court even specifically cites the “obstruction of Congress” article of impeachment against Trump as an example of the kind of power that Congress has to deal with the executive resisting a subpoena. You think I’m making that up? Here is a screenshot from the opinion:

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 10.24.06 PM

Focus on the last five lines. The court is explicitly saying: Congress is not powerless in the face of resistance to its subpoena, because Congress has political tools to address that resistance — like, for example, when they impeached Trump for obstruction of Congress.

Another passage:

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 10.32.45 PM

Now that you have a clear understanding of what the appeals court did and did not say, behold the reaction of the Trumpist commentariat. I would like every honest person reading this to compare the decision actually issued by the court, and in particular the passages screenshotted above, with these tweets:

The sleight of hand here is breathtaking. In Congress, Trump argued “you should not be impeaching me for obstruction. Instead, you should have gone to court.” In court, DoJ argued “this is no place to resolve interbranch disputes such as the executive’s ability to resist congressional subpoenas. Enforcing those subpoenas is Congress’s job.” These are opposite positions, which is a point that Adam Schiff made in his closing arguments: the president is saying we should have gone to court, but his lawyers are arguing in court that the court is not the place to resolve these disputes. The court vindicated the latter position and Turley implies that ruling vindicates the former, opposite position.

Or, to put it Twitter-style:

The exact same sleight of hand is used here:

Turley spells out his thoughts more thoroughly in a column at The Hill, but the same confusion pervades the piece (I said all along Trump had privilege arguments; Trump won in court; now I am selling the false implication that because he won in court, he was correct on those privilege arguments).

The one thing Turley says that I agree with is that he believes the court is wrong to say these are not justiciable matters. For example, in Zivotofsky v. Clinton (h/t to University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck), the Supreme Court confronted a case where the issue was as follows:

Congress enacted a statute providing that Americans born in Jerusalem may elect to have “Israel” listed as the place of birth on their passports. The State Department declined to follow that law, citing its longstanding policy of not taking a position on the political status of Jerusalem.

Like the appeals court in the McGahn case, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the government in Zivotofsky that the case was not the type of matter in which Article III courts should involve themselves. Without providing a resolution to the underlying dispute, instead sending it back to the lower courts for a substantive decision, the Supreme Court in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts rejected the idea that this was not a matter for the courts, writing:

Resolution of Zivotofsky’s claim demands careful examination of the textual, structural, and historical evidence put forward by the parties regarding the nature of the statute and of the passport and recognition powers. This is what courts do. The political question doctrine poses no bar to judicial review of this case.

The McGahn case does not present the exact same scenario, but I think the same principle applies. I am not persuaded by the distinction drawn by the appeals court in the McGahn case between their decision and the U.S. v. Nixon case — that enforcing subpoenas in criminal cases is a matter for the courts, but enforcing congressional subpoenas is not. Here, the courts confront a clash between branches: the executive and the legislative. The High Court in Nixon confronted a clash between branches: the executive and the judicial:

However, neither the doctrine of separation of powers nor the need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances.

. . . .

The impediment that an absolute, unqualified privilege would place in the way of the primary constitutional duty of the Judicial Branch to do justice in criminal prosecutions would plainly conflict with the function of the courts under Art. III. In designing the structure of our Government and dividing and allocating the sovereign power among three co-equal branches, the Framers of the Constitution sought to provide a comprehensive system, but the separate powers were not intended to operate with absolute independence.

. . . .

Since we conclude that the legitimate needs of the judicial process may outweigh Presidential privilege, it is necessary to resolve those competing interests in a manner that preserves the essential functions of each branch.

Here it is the legitimate needs of the impeachment process rather than of the judicial process, but there is no reason that the judiciary cannot resolve such a dispute here when it did in Nixon. As in Nixon, “neither the doctrine of separation of powers nor the need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from [congressional] process under all circumstances.” All I did there was substitute the word “congressional” for “judicial.” Zivotofsky proves that the political question doctrine doesn’t kick in simply because the branches in question are Congress and the presidency (as opposed to Article III courts and the presidency, as in Nixon) — even if the executive has a dispute with Congress over whether a congressional action impinges on the executive’s constitutional powers.

After all: this is what courts do.

So, like Turley, I believe the McGahn is justiciable. But unlike Turley, I don’t think Congress is required to go to the courts for enforcement, just that they are entitled to.

I think the Committee should appeal this to the Supreme Court. Some people are saying they should go en banc, and maybe that is a better or wiser course of action, but I really want a final resolution of this issue from the nation’s highest court. It’s an important issue.

2/28/2020

Weakend Open Thread

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:31 pm



[guest post by JVW]

You guys caught the pun in the headline, right?

Item Uno: I don’t believe we have mentioned the horrible shooting at the Milwaukee Molson/Coors (or, as the locals know it, Miller) plant which took place on Wednesday afternoon. A staff electrician, one Anthony Ferrill, shot to death five co-workers before killing himself. As usual, the website Heavy has the raw details without any attempt to censor the more controversial parts. Many on the right are grousing that this mass killing is not receiving all that much attention because Ferrill was African-American and may have been an Elizabeth Warren supporter — if he shared his wife’s political preferences — and this doesn’t fit the preferred media narrative of the white MAGA guy prone to gun violence.

Item Zwei: the Coronavirus continues to wreck havoc worldwide. Iran no longer vigorously denies that the virus has hit its citizens much harder than they had originally reported. Unsurprisingly, the virus has made its presence known on the West Coast of the U.S. This map is tracking the reported cases but at this moment has not been updated to include recent reports of the first afflicted patient in Oregon. Meanwhile, the stock market is of course taking a beating, once again calling into question our deep economic entanglement with China, similar to the questions that we had and then blithely tabeled for seventeen years after suffering through the SARS epidemic.

Item Trois: Joe Biden’s campaign is allegedly on the upswing in South Carolina after a no-more-disastrous-than-the-rest-of-the-candidates showing in the debate earlier this week. The Never Bernie faction among the Democrats is counting on a huge Biden win there to arrest Senator Stalin’s momentum, though at least one poll suggests it could be close which would probably be considered a victory of sorts for everybody’s favorite cranky old Marxist. Meanwhile, Fauxcahontas’s possible second-place finish in California will probably not rescue her campaign if on the same evening she loses to her northern neighbor in her home state of Massachusetts, which is a strong possibility.

Item Négy: Super Tuesday is coming up. I want to write more about this over the weekend, but I hope no Californian here is considering voting for the awful Proposition 13, one of those awful unholy alliances between unions, builders, the education establishment, and taxaholics. I will also announce for whom I will be voting in the Presidential primary (oh, what’s the use: you all know I am voting for My Little Aloha Sweetie on what will probably be her final day in the race).

Have an enjoyable weekend everybody.

– JVW

Trump Administration: Coronavirus Is Contained, So Relax and Turn Off Your Televisions

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:48 am



As the Democrats continue to hammer the stock market, it’s worth contemplating the importance of the credibility of an administration during a global pandemic. Big Media is not perfect, but in a situation like this the news media tends to perform a valuable function in terms of correcting misinformation and spreading accurate information. Calling the media “fake” and suggesting that people ignore it could actually be dangerous.

This morning I saw a couple of tweets. The first is Mick Mulvaney suggesting Americans should turn off their televisions for 24 hours.

I would suggest that paying attention to current events is increasingly important during a pandemic.

National Economic Council head Larry Kudlow says the Trump administration has “contained” the “caronavirus”, while the CDC has said of a spread of the virus in the U.S.: “It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen.”

Americans will have to decide whether the Trump administration and its top officials like Kudlow would be more likely to put Donald Trump’s interests above those of the United States, and whether they would say false things to calm markets and benefit Trump politically. There is a rich history of material from the past three years with which Americans could make such a decision. A lot of it is in books.

Hey, you know what? Maybe Americans should turn off their televisions for 24 hours, and read one of those books.

2/27/2020

Women’s Athletics: the New Frontier in Transgender Rights

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:24 pm



[guest post by JVW]

If 2020 JVW arrived in a time machine to visit 2010 JVW sometime right after the “Affordable” Care Act had passed through Congress and been signed by President Obama (a big effen’ deal, right Mr. Biden?) and told his younger, leaner, more hirsute, less grumpy, more agreeable-with-new-things self that one of the major social battles ten years hence would be accepting athletes born as males — with all of the attendant size and musculature of that gender — but now self-identifying as female into competitions heretofore restricted to girls and women, 2010 JVW would almost certainly have packed it all in and repatriated to his family’s little ancestral hometown in rural Ireland to happily sell four-leaf clover knick-knacks to unsuspecting tourists. But here we are, so let’s try to unpack how all of this has happened and try to figure out where we might go from here.

Title IX, passed in the run-up to Richard Nixon’s re-election almost a half-century ago, was intended to ensure that girls and women in educational environments had access to the same sort of programs and activities that boys and men had. Through the years the measure has yielded some remarkable results, including the expansion of athletics programs at the K-12 and college levels, even though this expansion has come at the expense of men’s programs. American women athletes are now the envy of the world, as our teams dominate in the major sports of swimming and water polo as well as those lesser-known endeavors such as basketball, soccer, track and field, gymnastics and tennis. Indeed, no other nation on earth has done more to promote female sports than the United States has done, as evidenced by women from all over the world coming here for training and competition opportunities. This ought to strike us as absolutely amazing considering that we are told by activists that without an Equal Rights Amendment to our Constitution women will always be relegated to second-class citizenship. Just as American women have long since surpassed their brethren in academic accomplishment, so too do they now officially outpace them on the international playing fields.

So naturally as we close-out the first quarter of the Twenty-first Century, it is time to let complicated notions of intersectionality ruin all of that. The latest frontier for the cultural warriors has been to allow individuals born with male biological characteristics but who are more comfortable living life as females to participate in female athletics. This idea is taking root despite some of the obvious physical advantages that these trans-women athletes possess over what we now call cis-women. Heavily-moneyed sports organization like the International Olympic Committee and the NCAA are able to apply pretty strict regulations regarding maximum allowable testosterone levels and a minimum timeframe since the transformation process began, but less well-funded entities such as high school athletics associations and masters’ sports leagues continue to struggle to define who is eligible to participate.

So I was very interested to see a lawsuit filed earlier this month by a group of Connecticut high school girls who feels that their trans-female competitors are robbing them of potential scholarships by taking spots in championship meets, thus denying the girls opportunities to be evaluated by college coaches and recruiters. This is the clash of the intersectionality matrix: where compassion for people suffering from gender dysphoria is balanced with the need to provide biological girls with opportunities to have their day in the sun as athletes. It’s a debate that has exacerbated the rift among progressives as the trans rights lobby clashes with a group that they call TERFs — trans exclusionary radical feminists — who seek to protect the “safe spaces” that have been carved out for women over the past half-century.

You can bet that politicians are being called upon to take sides, and it should come as no surprise that a certain type of politician can be counted on to ignore any nuances in the arguments on each side and just let loose with mindless virtue signaling. Behold:

Though this situation calls for compassion, and perhaps outright bans are not the best way to negotiate this minefield, the ugly pandering by Lieawatha adds nothing of value to the public debate, and it’s probably as good a reason as any why her Presidential campaign seems destined to come to a close very shortly (knock on wood). It’s going to take a great deal of reasoned compromise to figure out a way of providing opportunity for trans athletes without unfairly disadvantaging their biologically female competitors. In the meantime, it will be awfully interesting to see what twists and turns await the Connecticut lawsuit along the way.

– JVW

Trump: Stock Market Down on Fears Democrats Might Win, Even Though I Will Win

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:47 am



Donald Trump says the stock market is going down because it’s possible the Democrats could win, although he thinks he will win, and also if you ask him specifically, it could have something to do with the coronavirus as well:

REPORTER: Thank you Mr. President. You mention the stock market earlier to go back to that to be clear the Dow Jones dropped more than 2000 points this week. Are you suggesting that was overblown? Our financial markets overreacting here?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think the financial markets are very upset when they look at the Democrat candidates standing on that stage making fools out of themselves and they say if we ever have a President like this and there’s always a possibility, it’s an election you know who knows what happens, right? I think we are going to win. I think we are going to win by a lot but when they look at the statements made by the people standing behind those podiums I think that has a huge effect, yeah.

REPORTER: Did it have to do with the coronavirus?

TRUMP: Know, I think it did. I think it did but I think you can add quite a bit of selloff to what they are seeing because they are seeing the potential you know again I think we are going to win. I feel very confident of it. We have done everything and much more than I said we were going to do. You look at what we have done. What we have done is incredible with the tax cuts and regulation cuts and rebuilding our military, taking care of our vets and getting them choice and accountability all of the things we have done protecting our Second Amendment I mean they view that, the Second Amendment they are going to destroy the Second Amendment. When people look at that they say this is not good. So you add that in, I really believe that is a factor but no, this is what we are talking about is the virus, that is what we are talking about. I do believe that–I do believe in terms of CNBC and in terms of FOXBusiness I do believe that that’s a factor, yeah, and I think after I win the election I think the stock market is going to boom like it has never been before just like it did by the way after I won the last election the stock market the day after went up like a rocket ship.

Those dang Democrats are continuing to hammer the stock market. As of this writing it’s down 836 points for the day. That’s more than 3000 points since last Friday. Ouch. I hope you folks are weathering it.

I sold some stocks at the beginning of the year. Not as much as I would have liked to because of concerns about taxes. But of course the lion’s share of our holdings, both in hand and retirement funds, are in stocks — and a tumble like this hurts everyone. Here’s hoping it stops.

In unrelated news, South Carolina might be the last chance to head off the coming Bernie storm. Nate Silver says:

As of early Wednesday afternoon, Biden is at 31.1 percent in our South Carolina polling average, giving him roughly a 10-point lead over Sanders, who is second with 21.4 percent. Tom Steyer is third at 14.6 percent, with everyone else in the single digits. If Sanders was hoping for a post-Nevada bounce, it doesn’t seem to be happening in the Palmetto State. The most recent polls for Biden, which conducted all or some of their interviews after Nevada, actually show him with a larger lead over Sanders than the ones before Nevada. And none of the polls yet account for House Majority Whip James Clyburn’s endorsement of Biden.

Still, 10-point polling leads in the primary are not entirely safe, especially with several days left to go until a state votes.

There are some Trump supporters, like the folks at the hybrid PAC Committee to Defend the President, who clearly consider Biden to be the worst threat to Trump, such that they produced this:

The quotes you hear are from Obama, reading from his book, and of course he is not talking about Biden, but the ad tries to make it seem like he is. Obama’s spokeswoman said: “this despicable ad is straight out of the Republican disinformation playbook, and it’s clearly designed to suppress turnout among minority voters in South Carolina by taking President Obama’s voice out of context and twisting his words to mislead viewers.” She says Obama has called on TV stations to pull the deceptive ad.

If Biden pulls off a win in South Carolina, the Democrats might actually have a real chance to win. Scary news for the Dow Jones!

2/26/2020

Supreme Court Upholds Trump’s Rule Discouraging Immigrants Likely to Take Public Benefits

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:57 am



Friday night, the Supreme Court lifted a statewide injunction in Illinois against the implementation of the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule, which “discourages legal immigrants in the process of obtaining permanent legal status or citizenship from using public assistance, including Medicaid, housing vouchers and food stamps.” The decision was hardly a surprise, as a nationwide injunction regarding the same rule was lifted late last month by the high court. But Friday’s action received attention because of the dissent (.pdf) penned by Justice Sotomayor, in which she accused the conservative majority of reflexively ruling for Trump on injunctions:

Perhaps most troublingly, the Court’s recent behavior on stay applications has benefited one litigant over all others. This Court often permits executions — where the risk of irreparable harm is the loss of life — to proceed, justifying many of those decisions on purported failures “to raise any potentially meritorious claims in a timely manner.” [citations omitted] Yet the Court’s concerns over quick decisions wither when prodded by the Government in far less compelling circumstances — where the Government itself chose to wait to seek relief, and where its claimed harm is continuation of a 20-year status quo in one State. I fear that this disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decisionmaking process that this Court must strive to protect.

I respectfully dissent.

I intend here not to focus on Sotomayor’s gripes but on the public charge rule.

I heard a story on NPR recently that said that the rule could affect fully 3/4 of immigrants who accept some kind of public assistance. I was, frankly, surprised by this statistic — offered by someone who opposed the rule, as evidence of how harmful it is — and can’t immediately find support for it online. (Commenters are invited to supplement my research at their leisure!)

But I should note that Cato (a pro-immigration outfit) has a contrary view, and says that even immigrants on public assistance tend to contribute more than they take, and that the rule is overly broad because it does not concern itself with the value of what they take. In a piece titled Public Charge Rule Bans Almost Entirely Self‐​Sufficient Legal Immigrants, they write:

[I]t doesn’t even matter the value of benefits received anymore. Use alone will trigger a public charge denial.

This means that the government adjudicator could predict that an immigrant will be 99 percent self‐​sufficient and still ban them. This rule has almost no connection whatsoever to requiring immigrants to support themselves. It is entirely about banning legal immigrants who this administration sees as a threat—socially and economically.

Basically, they believe the rule is designed, not to prevent immigrants from becoming public charges, but to make it easier to deny green cards to people who don’t speak English, or have a degree, or have their own health insurance — but who would contribute positively to American society.

I would add another concern: that the rule could discourage immigrants from seeking health care, allowing diseases to worsen and making them a health risk. This is a real problem in the era of the coronavirus.

I understand all these arguments. But I come at this from a fairly hard free-market perspective, though. I don’t want anyone taking public assistance from the government. I’d rather see private charity address the problems of the needy, and see more able-bodied people work for a living. If I have a choice of who I want in this country, I want people who don’t use public assistance.

I realize that is unrealistic and makes me something of an outlier. But I don’t really have a problem with a rule that strongly, strongly discourages the use of public assistance, even if it’s done in a heavy-handed way and even if it targets only immigrants. Half a loaf is better than none, and whatever we can do to discourage the use of public assistance is fine by me.

If these folks don’t need the assistance that much, then they won’t be that harmed by the rule. If they will be severely harmed by the rule, we don’t necessarily want to be the ones to have to take care of them.

2/25/2020

Debate Open Thread

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:57 pm



[guest post by JVW]

At this point is anybody actually watching?

It seems like the object tonight of everyone not named Bernard Sanders is to try to knock Bernard Sanders down a peg or two. And no, I don’t think this entails a wishy-washy “I believe in a lot of what he believes, but I don’t think he’s electable” sort of approach; this entails going after the Vermont Senator as a crypto-Marxist who has consistently had kind words for America’s enemies while continually ascribing the most maleficent motives to our country’s actions. It means an honest appraisal of how much good the Federal Government can truly accomplish if given virtually unlimited tax resources, and whether that sort of activism has the unintended consequence of making citizens into pliable and helpless wards of that state. And finally it is, in that great assessment of Kevin Williamson, to question whether a Sanders Administration could really use Venezuelan methods to produce a Scandinavian outcome.

But I don’t think any of those other clowns have that much sand in them, so Comrade Cranky is probably going to skate right through the evening.

Feel free to add your observations in the comments.

– JVW

Bernie and Socialism Must Be Rejected; Or: Looks Like Another Protest Vote for Patterico

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am



In recent posts — and yesterday’s The Flight 93 Election in Reverse — I have expressed that I have been tempted to vote for the Democrat — any Democrat — to reject Donald Trump. The comments yesterday convinced me that this temptation was wrong, and that another stupid protest vote will be my best choice in the general election. I wanted to say a few quick words to elaborate on the temptation and why I am rejecting it.

In my view, Donald Trump has done the same great job on judges that a Ted Cruz or a Marco Rubio would have done, and has taken positive steps on immigration (witness yesterday’s Supreme Court lifting of the stay on the new green card rule, which I hope to write about soon) that Cruz and Rubio probably would have shied away from. His deregulation has done much to counteract the effects of his submoronic tariff policies. He kept his promises on things like moving our embassy to Jerusalem.

That’s some of the good stuff. But there’s way more bad stuff.

Trump has also lied more than any public figure in our lifetime. He has destroyed critical norms of noninterference with criminal justice, and behaved in every conceivable way like a criminal. He has attacked allies and given comfort to murderous dictators. He has profited off government service like the cheap grifter he is. He has made a mockery of classified information and security clearances, denying the latter to honorable former servants while granting them to his grifter son in law over the objections of screeners who saw Jared’s screaming red flags of dishonesty, carelessness with IT security, and skeevy financial dealings. I could go on and on and on. Donald Trump has always and everywhere put Donald Trump first, his immoral and ignorant children (OK, three of them) second, and America a distant third.

Because he is such an awful human and such a dangerous president, the natural inclination is to vote him out. Nothing else works. As I said yesterday:

With a two-party system in which Senators of the same party of the president will almost never vote to impeach him, it is impossible to remove him through impeachment. Given that fact, along with a Justice Department that refuses to indict a president who has not been impeached, we now know that a criminal cannot be removed from office, except through an election or through violence (which, again, is immoral, wrong, and unthinkable).

But the Democrats seem hellbent on picking Bernie Sanders. He calls himself a socialist, and I believe he is at heart a communist. It’s a bridge too far.

You are reading one of the most hardcore supporters of the free market you’re ever likely to read. Not the most articulate or knowledgeable, but one of the most hardcore. I believe the free market is the only system compatible with freedom. As I wrote in December 2008:

I’m skeptical of government intervention in economic affairs, because I believe they can lead to unintended consequences that are hard to predict. And I’m generally a believer in free-market principles. The idea is that the free market is the economic system most compatible with freedom, because rather than putting our trust in government to manage the economy, I believe we should trust the collective wisdom of consumers to make whatever decisions are best for them. As those decisions multiply, markets form as if by magic — and (in theory at least) it causes the best businesses to flourish while less useful ones fail. Put simply, a collection of choices, freely made, forms our markets.

I support “systemic processes that have evolved over time, building on the wisdom of humanity collectively — but stemming from individual decisions, not by a single group of philosopher kings, but by everyone in society.” I am “a believer in the price system, which directs entrepreneurs to move their resources into the lines of production most demanded by individual consumers. Like magic, this results in shortages being met by supply, and gluts being met by slowing demand, all providing for efficiency — but also, very importantly, in a higher standard of living for the least fortunate in society.”

Bernie is against all of that. He is for government intervention — which, taken to its logical extreme, results in true socialism: ownership of the means of production by the state. And that kills people. By the millions. History proves it.

I can’t vote for a guy like that.

But if you choose to do so, as a rejection of Trump, I will not criticize you. Let me say a little more about that as well.

I have never — ever! not even once! go back and check! — criticized anyone for voting for Trump as (in their eyes) the least bad alternative, as long as they did so with their eyes wide open to his faults. My criticism is reserved for his superfans who twist facts and logic to deny his faults. It has never been directed at sensible people voting realistically.

So yes, I can’t vote for Bernie, even as the strongest expression of rejection of Trump and his ignorance, corruption, and dishonesty. Bernie rejects some of the most important principles I believe in, and stands for too much I despise. But here’s my pledge to you. If you have decided to vote Bernie as a rejection of Trump — knowing that Bernie’s policies are destructive but believing that they will be reined in by divided government — I may disagree with your choice, but I will respect it. If you start waxing on about the glories of the state-run economy, I can’t respect that. But, just as I never once criticized the eyes-wide-open Trump voter, I will never excoriate you for taking any legal non-violent step you can take to reject Trump and Trumpism. This, I promise.

2/24/2020

Jury Finds Harvey Weinstein Guilty On Two Counts

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:43 am



[guest post by Dana]

The verdict is in:

Harvey Weinstein is behind bars after jurors found him guilty on two of five counts in his rape and sexual assault trial.

The 67-year-old was convicted on one count of criminal sexual act and one count of rape in the third degree. He was cleared of the most serious charges, including two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of rape in the first degree.

Following the verdict, Judge James Burke revoked Weinstein’s bail, and the disgraced Hollywood mogul was remanded into custody. Defense attorney Arthur Aidala told CBS2’s Alice Gainer he said, “I’m innocent” as he was placed into handcuffs.

Weinstein will be sentenced on March 11:

Criminal sexual act carries a maximum of 25 years, and rape in the third degree carries a maximum of four years.

Outside the courthouse, defense attorney Arthur Aidala commented on the conviction:

We still don’t think that the evidence supported this conviction whatsoever. We’re pretty confident that the appellate courts are going to find the same way. But you cannot discount the amount of pressure on this jury to convict him of something. It was enormous. The bottom line is: The day of jury selection, he was arrested again or re-charged in LA. I mean, how do you get a fair jury when the cover of every newspaper is the defendant in the New York case being arrested somewhere else? It just rings of unfairness.

Weinstein still faces charges in Los Angeles:

While the New York chapter of Harvey Weinstein’s criminal prosecution is over, pending an appeal and sentencing, the legal saga will soon move to Los Angeles.

Last month, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey filed charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of restraint and sexual battery by restraint.

The charges were filed on the eve of Weinstein’s New York trial, so he has yet to appear in downtown L.A.

The trial in Los Angeles is not expected to begin until after Weinstein is sentenced in March.

–Dana

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