Patterico's Pontifications

8/15/2020

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:00 am



[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items from the week. Feel free to share anything you might think readers would find interesting. Please make sure to include links.

First news item

Cue the Q qwazy:

Trump celebrated the victory of Marjorie Taylor Greene, who defeated a fellow Republican by 14 points Tuesday, advancing to what is likely to be a win in November for Georgia’s 14th congressional district seat. Greene believes in QAnon…“Well she did very well in the election,” Trump said during a White House press briefing Friday. “She won by a lot. She was very popular. She comes from a great state and she had a tremendous victory, so absolutely I did congratulate her.” When a reporter from the Associated Press tried to press him on whether he agreed with the candidate embracing QAnon, Trump moved on to another reporter.

Second news item

Mask-up, Georgia. What have you got to lose?

President Trump’s coronavirus task force warns that Georgia continues to see “widespread and expanding community viral spread” and that the state’s current policies aren’t enough to curtail COVID-19.

The task force “strongly recommends” Georgia adopt a statewide mandate that citizens wear masks, joining a chorus of public health officials, Democrats and others who have warned that Gov. Brian Kemp’s refusal to order face coverings has plunged the state into deeper crisis and will prolong recovery.

“Current mitigation efforts are not having a sufficient impact,” the report said.

Third news item

Apparently, only Florida mail-in voting is safe::

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have reportedly requested mail-in ballots for Florida’s upcoming primary election, even as the president has railed against mail-in voting as supposedly being rife with fraud. Citing records of the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, CNN’s Ana Cabrera reports that the ballots were mailed to Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday.

Related: Dr. Fauci on in-person voting:

“I think if carefully done according to the guidelines, there’s no reason that I can see why that not be the case…There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to vote, in person or otherwise. You can do that…If you go and wear a mask, if you observe the physical distancing and don’t have a crowded situation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do that…He said people who are at higher risk or don’t want to take the chance can have a vote-by-mail option.

Fourth news item

Peace with Israel is a dream come true:

Believing in conspiracies like the idea that Israel was the true mastermind behind 9/11 or that Israel is funding ISIS was prevalent, mainstream, part of the culture. It was a hate taught and passed down through generations by people who had never once interacted with a Jew.

It’s so weird looking back at it now, trying to understand how it is that I had this hate in my heart for an entire group of people I had never met.

I myself didn’t meet a Jewish person until I was about 25 years old and traveling through New York. He also happened to be an Israeli.

I’m not going to lie: I was nervous when he first told me where he was from. I didn’t know how to feel about, if I was supposed to walk away, or punch him in the face.

But something came over me, a curiosity, a deep desire to know more about this person I was taught to just hate. We talked about a wide range of topics in the short time we spent together, but the one that interested me the most was Israel.

You could tell he loved his country; there was a glow about him when talking about his favorite bakery that he would go to on the marina, or how he enjoys his chicken shawarma with pickles and garlic paste — just the way I would eat it as a kid in the UAE.

When I told him where I was coming from and that I was Lebanese, he smiled and said he would love to one day visit Dubai or the beaches in Beirut. And then, he quickly realized, as I did, that this would probably never happen in our life time.

Fifth news item

Yikes,Yale!

A Justice Department investigation has found Yale University is illegally discriminating against Asian American and white applicants, in violation of federal civil rights law, officials said Thursday…Yale denied the allegation, calling it “meritless” and “hasty.”…The two-year investigation concluded that Yale “rejects scores of Asian American and white applicants each year based on their race, whom it otherwise would admit,” the Justice Department said…

Sixth news item

Stay classy, America:

A teen who shared a photo of a crowded hallway at her Georgia high school last week says she has been receiving threats after the image went viral.

North Paulding High School sophomore Hannah Watters told CNN she and her family and friends have been receiving screenshots of group chats with threatening language against her.

One message said “I know where this girl lives,” she said. Other threats included, “We’re going to jump every girl named Hannah in the tenth grade,” and, “Hannah is going to have a rough day at school on Monday,” Hannah told Boris Sanchez Sunday night on CNN’s “Newsroom.”

Seventh news item

To Russia with love: Hard pass:

Russian officials in Moscow…have offered “unprecedented cooperation” with Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the US multi-agency body set up to accelerate access to effective Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.

But the officials told CNN that the “US is not currently open” to the Russian medical advances.
“There is a general sense of mistrust of Russia on the American side and we believe that technologies — including vaccine, testing and treatments — are not being adopted in US because of that mistrust,” one senior Russian official told CNN.

Other US officials told CNN the Russian vaccine is considered so half-baked in the United States that it hadn’t even piqued US interest in a serious way before the rollout. “There’s no way in hell the US tries this (Russian vaccine) on monkeys, let alone people,” one US government public health official said.

Eighth new item

Golden State gouge:

…Neil Cavuto questioned California State Assemblyman Rob Bonta…over his proposal to institute a 0.4% wealth tax on Golden State residents worth more than $30 million.

The Alameda Democrat told Cavuto the proposed tax “affects about 0.15% of the California population — not the top 10%, not the top 1%, the top .15%, about 30,000 people” and would generate $7.5 billion in revenue for the state.

Bonta added that his proposal would apply a “phased-in approach” to make sure Sacramento recoups its share of the income of a California resident who leaves the state.

“If you move in Year One, 90% of the tax bill applies…” he said, adding that the following year it drops to 80% and so on until it is phased out to zero…

Cavuto questioned whether such a move was legally feasible.

“For ten years, the wealth was accumulated during their time in California … and that is what we’re proposing in our bill. We believe we can do that, certainly we’re open to dialogue and discussion as we move the bill forward, but we think it’s a sound approach and has a strong legal foundation,” said Bonta.

Ninth news item

Let’s get this done:

(h/t Simon Jester)

Have a good weekend.

–Dana

Kamala Harris and the Troublesome Crime Lab Tells Us a Great Deal about Her Character

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:43 am



[guest post by JVW]

I’ve been very negative about Kamala Harris, long before she became the Democrat’s Vice-Presidential nominee. I’ve pointed out the unseemliness of her accepting financially-lucrative appointments to state boards when she was the paramour of corrupt California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown. I continue to question her handling of an employee in her California Attorney General office who was accused of sexual harassment and triggered a $400,000 settlement, yet who was still brought on to her Senate staff and worked in her office for 18 months until the details of the settlement were made public. All this while she was grandstanding against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. I called out her breathtakingly fast flip-flopping on whether national health plans ought to allow for private insurance, followed by her weird use of an unpopular 1970s-era social policy to establish her civil rights bona fides. And I am not alone on this blog as to my distaste for our junior Senator. Dana has questioned Sen. Harris’s weird strategy at the Kavanaugh hearing and Patterico has been astonished by the Senator’s lack of understanding of how Presidential pardons work.

But I’m not sure if any of us on this blog have written about another major issue that raises suspicions about the character of Kamala Harris when she served as San Francisco’s District Attorney. The San Jose Mercury News has a very helpful overview:

Kamala Harris was this city’s [San Francisco] top prosecutor, running to become California’s elected attorney general, when a scandal stunned her office and threatened to upend her campaign.

One of Harris’ top deputies had emailed a colleague that a crime-lab technician had become “increasingly UNDEPENDABLE for testimony.” Weeks later, the technician allegedly took home cocaine from the lab, possibly tainting evidence and raising concerns about hundreds of cases.

Neither Harris nor the prosecutors working for her had informed defense attorneys of the problems – despite rules requiring such disclosure. Harris “failed to disclose information that clearly should have been disclosed,” Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo wrote in a scathing decision in May 2010.

At first, Harris fought back. She blamed the police for failing to inform defense lawyers. She estimated that only about 20 cases initially would be affected. And her office accused the judge of bias because Massullo’s husband was a defense lawyer.

But the turmoil increased. With the local criminal-justice system at risk of devolving into chaos, Harris took the extraordinary step of dismissing about 1,000 drug-related cases, including many in which convictions had been obtained and sentences were being served.

Sen. Harris is lucky in that the San Francisco Public Defender, Jeff Adachi, was an old law school chum of hers. And though it would appear that the relationship between the two soured somewhat in the aftermath of the lab revelations, Mr. Adachi, who died in February of 2019, did not speak out against Ms. Harris during the California Attorney General election of 2010 and for whatever reason her opponent, then Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, did not make this a major issue in the campaign. Ms. Harris would narrowly defeat Mr. Cooley by less than one percent in a year in which her fellow Democrats Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer each won their statewide races by ten percentage points.

We’ve written here a whole bunch of times that Kamala Harris is remarkably unprincipled, and her ideology generally lurches in whatever direction she senses the favorable winds are blowing, but always such that she positions herself for maximum benefit. As the San Francisco DA, she prioritized protecting wealthy residents and anyone whose help she needed to move beyond San Francisco on the political ladder. As state attorney general, she ingratiated herself with powerful green groups by banding together with other left-wing state AGs to harass oil companies and other energy producers, going so far as to try to criminalize any activities that ran counter to the catechism of the achingly green. As a U.S. Senator, she cynically latched-on to the MeToo movement, even though she had to have known about the harassment escapades of her loyal lieutenant, Mr. Wallace, and as a Presidential candidate she promised vast unilateral action on national gun control and environmental regulations, even without Congressional approval. As David Harsanyi of National Review has observed, “there is no power Harris has held that she hasn’t abused.”

Dana pointed out yesterday that our President, who for whatever reason seems bound and determined to lose this easily winnable election, doesn’t seem to have the wit to make any of the above arguments and is instead falling back on a tiresome and disgraceful tactic that brought him to political prominence during the Obama Era. Just as the all-time second worst Presidential nominee beat the single worst Presidential nominee four years ago, no matter what happens in November we will see the all-time third worst candidate beating the second worst candidate. But I guess it’s the appropriate way to close out this rancid and heartbreaking year.

– JVW


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