Patterico's Pontifications

8/25/2020

Angry Youth Unwittingly Campaign For Trump

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:50 pm



[guest posts by Dana]

n Adams Morgan, protesters screamed at Lauren B. Victor for several minutes for refusing to raise her fist with them.

“Are you a Christian?” a female protester demanded.

“Good for you — you stood your ground,” Chuck Modiano said sarcastically as the crowd moved on.

Modiano, who had been yelling at Victor and moments later identified himself as a citizen journalist who writes for @Deadspin, told Victor he couldn’t understand why she was the only diner in the area who wouldn’t comply. “What was in you, you couldn’t do this?”

“I felt I was under attack,” Victor, an urban planner, said, adding that she felt there was something wrong about being coerced to show support.

“In the moment, it didn’t feel right,” Victor said, adding that she also could understand their anger. “I wasn’t actually frightened. I didn’t think they’d do anything to me,” she said. “I’m very much with them. I’ve been marching with them for weeks and weeks and weeks.”

Given many comments regarding protesters’ races, it’s worth noting that a young Black woman leading the protest Monday asked White protesters to step forward, as seen here. This direction was given more than once.

Idiots. They haven’t got a clue that their outrageous bullying is not only devouring a righteous cause, but it is also providing Donald Trump with the visual he needs – especially during convention week – to convince average Americans why they need to re-elect the self-professed law and order president .

And yes, Ms. Victor was indeed under attack. She was being bullied and shamed and being strong-armed into submission. If that isn’t being under attack, I don’t know what is. No wonder it didn’t feel right. Everyone should be allowed to think about an issue, work through it, let it marinate, and draw their own conclusions in their own time and on their own terms. Further, only that individual should make the decision about whether to even make their views known to others.

Here’s my unpopular take: I don’t care who you are, and what your cause is: Do not approach me during a pandemic when I am masked-up, minding my own business, and having drinks and/or waiting for a meal while supporting a local establishment with my hard-earned money. There is a righteous concern at the root of the protests, but these jokers are working to obliterate it with their strong-arm tactics. They are trying to *force* compliance from a fellow American and make that individual bend and conform to their will, right then and there. Obedience to the cause. Approved speech only. Submit now. Do it, or be labeled a heretic and known from this point on as a racist who clearly hates black people and thinks it’s dandy that another black man was killed by the cops. This is what constitutes reasoning these days. Both sides of the aisle play this twisted game with their pet causes as they furiously try to convince the masses that they have landed on the “right side of history.”

So, my reaction to the angry youth in the video or anyone trying to force me into submission: Me and my brown skin say fuck you to any kind of bullying. I’ll think what I want to think, I’ll believe what I want to believe, I’ll say what I want to say, and I’ll decide when and where I make my stands. All of this because God gave me a brain to think for myself, and I don’t need any mob telling me how to think and what to say. And don’t you dare try to force my hand in such an authoritarian manner. Seriously, just who do you think you are? Let me eat my damn waffle in peace. I owe you nothing.

For those who have falsely framed the scenario as: If the women in the video don’t pledge their allegiance to the cause when demanded, then they obviously don’t care that another black man was killed by law enforcement. To them I say: It is possible to hold two thoughts in one’s head at the same time, even two seemingly opposing thoughts. Adults do it all the time.

–Dana

Politicians and Journalists Leap to Conclusions About Shooting, Sparking Riots

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



There are riots in Wisconsin, with looting and burning, over the perceived injustice of this shooting:

In Kenosha:

By late Monday, a truck had been lit on fire, recreating a scene from Sunday’s protests that saw city trucks on fire. The danger appeared to build deeper into the night: Several structures, including a Wisconsin Department of Corrections building, were set on fire in Kenosha. A local furniture store was also completely engulfed in flames.

In Madison:

Madison Police confirmed Tuesday morning in a press release that they arrested six people during Monday night protests, including one person armed with a handgun. Overall, the release said, about 500 people attended the protests.

Arrests started after people started lighting fires in dumpsters, breaking windows and looting businesses, in addition to throwing rocks, bottles and other objects at officers throughout the night. The release confirmed the use of chemical agents on protesters again.

The guy had a warrant for his arrest:

Blake had an open warrant stemming from a domestic case in May, but police officials have not said if the officers were aware of the warrant when they responded to the call Sunday. Online records indicate a warrant was issued in the case in early July.

You know who knew he had a warrant? The suspect. By the way, the “domestic case” involvedsexual assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse.” Officers were apparently yelling “drop the knife” as he walked around the vehicle. They had tried to tase him without success.

David A. Graham at The Atlantic tells us that it is irrelevant whether the individual was going for a gun:

A great deal remains unclear about the incident. … Was Blake involved in the original disturbance? What was his connection to the women? What happened before the video starts? When and why was he tased? What did officers say to him? Why was he going to the car? Why did officers shoot? Was there a gun in the car?

None of this is fully known, but regardless of what preceded the shooting, and even if Blake ignored a police command to stop, it’s nearly impossible to imagine any way that his shooting was justified.

It’s easy for me to imagine a way the shooting was justified: if there was a gun in the car (one of the questions Graham says is unanswered), if the reason the individual was going to the car (another unanswered question) was to get the gun, and if the reason the cops shot (a third unanswered question) was because he was getting a gun, that would be a possible way that the shooting could be justified.

(I can imagine other scenarios, too, but stick with the obvious one for now.)

Luckily, the governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, is not jumping to conclusions or fanning the flames:

Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kathy and I join his family, friends, and neighbors in hoping earnestly that he will not succumb to his injuries. While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.

Oh. Never mind. He is.

I don’t know whether this man was going for a gun. Neither do the rioters, or David A. Graham at The Atlantic, or Wisconsin governor Tony Evers.

The media entities and politicians who suggest, without evidence, that shootings like this re unjustified … well, they might as well be themselves lighting the matches that burn down Wisconsin businesses.

8/24/2020

Jerry Falwell Resigns From Liberty University (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:24 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Today:

Jerry Falwell Jr. the embattled president of Liberty University and one of the biggest champions of President Donald Trump, has resigned, Religion News Service has learned.

His resignation came within hours of the publication of a news story that alleged he and his wife Becki had a years-long sexual relationship with a business associate.

Falwell had been placed on indefinite leave earlier this month after posting, then deleting, a provocative Instagram photo of him posing with his arm around a woman at a party with their zippers down and midriffs showing.

Following the Instagram post of him with the other woman and their pants unzipped, there was a wide call by former faculty members for him to resign. There had already been a list of complaints against Falwell for offensive comments he had previously made.

Just this morning, a Reuters published a story that Falwell’s wife had been engaged in a years-long affair with one of Falwell’s business partners, and that, according to the business partner, things went south, in part, when he told the couple he wanted cut ties with them and then “fell into a business dispute with them”. It’s a sordid tale of broken vows, kinky sex, and even extortion. From what I’ve read and observed of Falwell over the years, this all seems to fit: a cheap grifter masquerading as an honest broker. Or perhaps to put it in religious terms: a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Given the seedy particulars, I’m not too inclined to write much of a detailed post about the matter, suffice it to say that things fell apart in a spectacular way – as these things tend to do:

…as Reuters was preparing to publish this article, Jerry Falwell issued a statement to the Washington Examiner in which he said that his wife had had an affair with Granda and that Granda had been trying to extort money from the couple over the matter. Granda denies any such intent, saying he was seeking to negotiate a buyout from a business arrangement he says he had with the couple.

Other more recent text messages, such as an exchange from this June that Granda provided to Reuters, show Granda growing angry and frustrated as his relationship with the Falwells frayed.

“Since you’re okay with ruining my life, I am going to take the kamikaze route,” Granda wrote to Jerry Falwell. “It really is a shame because I wanted to reach a peaceful resolution and just move on with our lives but if conflict is what you want, then so be it.”

In the same message string, Falwell replied: “You should by now understand that I will not be extorted. I have always treated you fairly and been restrained in response to your threats because I did not wish to ruin your life. Going forward, stop contacting me and my family.”

Granda said that while he entered into the sexual relationship with the Falwells willingly, today he feels the couple preyed upon him. “Whether it was immaturity, naïveté, instability, or a combination thereof, it was this ‘mindset’ that the Falwells likely detected in deciding that I was the ideal target for their sexual escapades,” Granda said.

The full report leads to some interesting speculation about how Falwell’s support of Trump may have come about:

It raises an important question too about whether or not the Trump campaign used knowledge of the Falwells’ affair to pressure Jerry Jr. to endorse Trump. Former Trump legal fixer Michael Cohen told Tom Arnold that he handled a situation down in Florida in which somebody had some compromising boudoir shots of Becki Falwell that he (Cohen) had to obtain. Funnily enough, right after that, Jerry Jr., who was lined up to endorse Ted Cruz for president, flip-flopped to Trump. Amazing, eh?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Trump campaign “pressured” Falwell into an endorsement for Trump. Because as we’ve witnessed, those in Trump’s orbit – you know, the best and the brightest – often are revealed to be just as corrupt as their boss. Birds of a feather…

One another note: It’s sad to see the implosion of a marriage, even if the people involved are not individuals for whom we hold any respect. Family members and kids will be hurt by this very public moment of destruction. What a reminder to see how easily we can stray from the righteous path before us, and how far off that path we willingly wander. If the Falwells really are the believers they have claimed to be, then they face a more grueling reckoning than losing employment, dignity, self-respect, and the respect of others. Receiving the loving forgiveness of God is one of the most joyous experiences in the Christian’s life. But it doesn’t stop there. True restoration follows repentance, and it includes an incredibly painful and necessary heart surgery by the hand of God in order to bind the self-inflicted wounds, apply the healing salve, and then begin the agonizing journey toward wholeness.

ADDED: Uh-oh:

UPDATE Via Politico:

–Dana

Trump, The RNC, And The Big Week Ahead

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:17 am



[guest post by Dana]

With the GOP convention beginning today, the RNC has decided to back the Trump agenda of “core priorities” rather than adopting a new platform for 2020. Reports says that the break from tradition is the result of pandemic protocols restricting convention practices.

Here is Trump’s second-term agenda, which the campaign says “build on the incredible achievements of President Donald J. Trump’s first term in office… under the banner of “Fighting for You!” I’m posting the full list of goals:

Create 10 Million New Jobs in 10 Months
• Create 1 Million New Small Businesses
• Cut Taxes to Boost Take-Home Pay and Keep Jobs in America
• Enact Fair Trade Deals that Protect American Jobs
• “Made in America” Tax Credits
• Expand Opportunity Zones
• Continue Deregulatory Agenda for Energy Independence

ERADICATE COVID-19
• Develop a Vaccine by The End Of 2020
• Return to Normal in 2021
• Make All Critical Medicines and Supplies for Healthcare Workers in The United States
• Refill Stockpiles and Prepare for Future Pandemics

END OUR RELIANCE ON CHINA
• Bring Back 1 Million Manufacturing Jobs from China
• Tax Credits for Companies that Bring Back Jobs from China
• Allow 100% Expensing Deductions for Essential Industries like Pharmaceuticals and Robotics who Bring Back their Manufacturing to the United States
• No Federal Contracts for Companies who Outsource to China
• Hold China Fully Accountable for Allowing the Virus to Spread around the World

HEALTHCARE
• Cut Prescription Drug Prices
• Put Patients and Doctors Back in Charge of our Healthcare System
• Lower Healthcare Insurance Premiums
• End Surprise Billing
• Cover All Pre-Existing Conditions
• Protect Social Security and Medicare
• Protect Our Veterans and Provide World-Class Healthcare and Services

EDUCATION
• Provide School Choice to Every Child in America
• Teach American Exceptionalism

DRAIN THE SWAMP
• Pass Congressional Term Limits
• End Bureaucratic Government Bullying of U.S. Citizens and Small Businesses
• Expose Washington’s Money Trail and Delegate Powers Back to People and States
• Drain the Globalist Swamp by Taking on International Organizations That Hurt American Citizens

DEFEND OUR POLICE
• Fully Fund and Hire More Police and Law Enforcement Officers
• Increase Criminal Penalties for Assaults on Law Enforcement Officers
• Prosecute Drive-By Shootings as Acts of Domestic Terrorism
• Bring Violent Extremist Groups Like ANTIFA to Justice
• End Cashless Bail and Keep Dangerous Criminals Locked Up until Trial

END ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND PROTECT AMERICAN WORKERS
• Block Illegal Immigrants from Becoming Eligible for Taxpayer-Funded Welfare, Healthcare, and Free College Tuition
• Mandatory Deportation for Non-Citizen Gang Members
• Dismantle Human Trafficking Networks
• End Sanctuary Cities to Restore our Neighborhoods and Protect our Families
• Prohibit American Companies from Replacing United States Citizens with Lower-Cost Foreign Workers
• Require New Immigrants to Be Able to Support Themselves Financially

INNOVATE FOR THE FUTURE
• Launch Space Force, Establish Permanent Manned Presence on The Moon and Send the First Manned Mission to Mars
• Build the World’s Greatest Infrastructure System
• Win the Race to 5G and Establish a National High-Speed Wireless Internet Network
• Continue to Lead the World in Access to the Cleanest Drinking Water and Cleanest Air
• Partner with Other Nations to Clean Up our Planet’s Oceans

AMERICA FIRST FOREIGN POLICY
• Stop Endless Wars and Bring Our Troops Home
• Get Allies to Pay their Fair Share
• Maintain and Expand America’s Unrivaled Military Strength
• Wipe Out Global Terrorists Who Threaten to Harm Americans
• Build a Great Cybersecurity Defense System and Missile Defense System

In an unusual move, Trump will be speaking every night of the convention to defend himself and push back against the attacks made by Democrats at their convention last week. In another unusual move, the president is scheduled to accept his party’s nomination on Thursday night from the White House. Democrats are complaining about the decision, with Pelosi saying that using the White House for a political event “degrades” it. (It should be noted that Roosevelt accepted his party’s nomination in a televised broadcast from the White House.) There are also concerns that federal employees involved with preparing the President’s speech might be violating the Hatch Act:

Democrats, and even some Republicans, have expressed concerns that federal employees who would be assisting Trump with the speech would essentially be campaigning for the president, a violation of the Hatch Act.

“For the president of the United States to degrade once again the White House, as he has done over and over again, by saying he’s going to completely politicize it, is something that should be rejected right out of hand,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during an interview on MSNBC last week.

In the agency’s [OSC] initial letter, officials wrote that while Trump could deliver the speech from the White House since he is exempt from the Hatch Act, there could be Hatch Act implications “for those employees, depending on their level of involvement with the event and their position in the White House.” In the follow-up letter on Monday, the agency said it is prohibited from issuing advisory opinions on the criminal provisions of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, an apparent response to a question from the committee.

And here’s an interesting tidbit:

Also appearing at the convention this week will be:

Mark and Patricia McCloskey are set to participate in the convention on Monday…The McCloskeys garnered national attention in June for brandishing their guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home in St. Louis…Nick Sandmann, a former student of Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, is also expected to speak Tuesday…the parents of humanitarian aid worker Kayla Mueller, who was killed by ISIS in 2015; as well as Alice Johnson, a woman who was serving life in prison until Trump commuted her sentence…

In spite of all this, I am reminded:

–Dana

8/23/2020

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 92

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:41 am



It is the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn” (I have given over to God’s heart and mind):

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 16:13-20:

Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

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

Even if He tosses me into the sea,
The Lord still lives upon the high seas,
He has shared my life with me,
therefore I will not be drowned in them.

If the waves already seize me
and their fury rushes with me to the abyss,
He only means to try me,
whether I will think about Jonah,
whether like Peter I will direct my mind to Him.
He means to make me strong in faith,
He will watch over my soul
and my will,
which always wavers and weakens
in His goodness
and resembles nothing like constancy,
accustom to stand firm.

My foot shall firmly,
until the day of its last rest,
plant itself here on this rock.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

8/22/2020

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:06 am



[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items to talk about. Feel free to share anything that you think might interest readers. Please remember to include links.

First news item

Gearing up:

Operation Warp Speed – the White House-led partnership for COVID-19 answers – is pushing its partners to be ready to begin distributing a coronavirus vaccine by Nov. 1.

The date is the first concrete goal set for companies working with Operation Warp Speed be prepared to deliver vaccines to doctors and hospitals, said Wes Wheeler of the delivery giant United Parcel Service.

Wheeler said UPS and other partners will be conducting test delivery runs in September. “We’ll be ready. We have to be ready,” he said. “The world is watching. We can’t fail.”

Operation Warp Speed is comprised of federal agencies such as the CDC, the FDA and the Department of Agriculture. The initiative aims to expedite the rapid production of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. Its goal is to produce and deliver 300 million doses of vaccine by January.

Related, sadly:

Second news item

No one could have possibly seen this coming, right???

Fifteen Minnesotans who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this month have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, including one state resident hospitalized with COVID-19, state health officials say.

…Minnesotans who tested positive visited multiple campgrounds and bars at the South Dakota event, Ehresmann said, so cases apparently can’t be connected to any one location.

Seven residents of North Dakota also have cases connected to the Sturgis event, a government spokesman told the Star Tribune.

“Thousands of people attended that event, and so it’s very likely that we will see more transmission,” Ehresmann said.

At least seven Covid-19 cases in Nebraska’s Panhandle region have been tied to the rally, Kim Engel, director of the Panhandle Public Health District, confirmed in an email to CNN.

South Dakota reported 193 new cases on Friday. It’s one of several states that have seen an increase in new cases this past week compared to the week prior, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Third news item

Seattle’s Mayor Durkan says NO:

Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Friday that she will veto a rebalanced budget approved recently by the Seattle City Council that included a controversial plan to slash funding to the police department, which would sharply reduce pay for some of the agency’s top brass and eliminate an outreach team for the homeless.

But the budget plan was approved by a super majority of council members, which if it stays intact, will have enough votes to override the mayoral veto.

“There’s no plans, for example, on how the city will address encampments and RVs that pose public health and safety risk without the Human Services staff who coordinate and lead these outreach efforts that were cut by this budget,” Durkan said.

She also objected to the council’s 40 percent salary reduction of SPD command staff and the lack of plan to remove the 100 officers, which the council budget suggested.

Fourth news item

Biden talks Covid-19:

Former Vice President Joe Biden said…on Friday that as president, he would shut the country down to stop the spread of COVID-19 if the move was recommended to him by scientists.

“I would shut it down; I would listen to the scientists,” Biden told Muir Friday.

“I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving, until we control the virus,” Biden said. “That is the fundamental flaw of this administration’s thinking to begin with. In order to keep the country running and moving and the economy growing, and people employed, you have to fix the virus, you have to deal with the virus.”

Fourth news item

No, he doesn’t want to defund the police:

“President Trump says that you want to defund the police. Do you?” asked “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts in an interview conducted Friday in Wilmington, Delaware.

“No I don’t,” Biden said, laughing.

Biden said that while he doesn’t want to “defund the police,” he does want to eliminate misconduct and discriminatory practices.

“I don’t want to defund police departments. I think they need more help, they need more assistance, but that, look, there are unethical senators, there are unethical presidents, there are unethical doctors, unethical lawyers, unethical prosecutors, there are unethical cops. They should be rooted out,” Biden later added.

Fifth news item

Unfortunately, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey puts his money where his mouth is:

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Thursday that he was donating $10 million to Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, a project recently launched by the antiracist scholar Ibram X. Kendi.

Kendi is the author of the 2019 book How to Be An Antiracist, one of two books that attracted renewed attention following the death of George Floyd. (The other is Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility.) In a tweet, he thanked Dorsey for the grant, which came with “no strings attached.”

Here is the outrageous proposal to amend the Constitution:

To fix the original sin of racism, Americans should pass an anti-racist amendment to the U.S. Constitution that enshrines two guiding anti-racist principals: Racial inequity is evidence of racist policy and the different racial groups are equals. The amendment would make unconstitutional racial inequity over a certain threshold, as well as racist ideas by public officials (with “racist ideas” and “public official” clearly defined). It would establish and permanently fund the Department of Anti-racism (DOA) comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees. The DOA would be responsible for preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.

Sixth news item

Dear Japan, this is why God gave us wine and Netflix and online shopping:

Finding the pandemic scary? A Japanese group is trying to take people’s minds off COVID-19 – by putting them in coffins surrounded by chainsaw-wielding zombies.

Customers this weekend in Tokyo can lie in a 2-metre (6 1/2-foot) windowed box, listening to a horror story, watching actors perform and getting poked with fake hands and squirted with water.

“The pandemic is stressful, and we hope people can get a bit of relief by having a good scream,” said Kenta Iwana, coordinator of production company Kowagarasetai – “Scare Squad” – which is putting on the 15-minute shows.

Seventh news item

Just. Stop. It. God is not amused by your foolishness:

Eighth news item

Props to anyone willing to face their particular struggle head-on, and do the necessary hard work to know victory. No matter how small or how large the win, it will inspire the individual to keep on keeping on and inspire us to cheer them on.

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

8/21/2020

AB 5 Sponsor Makes Tone Deaf Comment About Californians And Evictions

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:24 pm



[guest post by Dana & JVW]

Treading on JVW’s turf, given the excellent coverage of California politics he provides readers, but I’m jumping in anyway. [Note from JVW: Dana invited me to help finish this post, so I have made some very minor contributions here and there.]

You may recall that back in December, we were reminded of California’s propensity toward passing laws that result in unintended and disastrous consequences for state residents. Specifically, Assembly Bill 5, sponsored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez out of San Diego. In part:

None of this should be surprising to anyone who has the faintest clue as to how the economy works, which of course rules out virtually all legislative Democrats in this state. Assembly Bill 5, shepherded through that body by former labor organizer Lorena Gonzales of San Diego, was controversial from the very beginning. Supporters, namely organized labor and other left-wing groups, insisted that it would prevent workers from being exploited by wealthy tech companies like Uber and Lyft who use independent contractors in order to avoid having to pay benefits such as health and retirement. The companies for their part insisted that it would force them to either limit the hours contractors are allowed to work or else turn them into full employees thus eliminating the ability of workers to schedule their own hours and determine their own flexible workday, which is one of the major benefits of the gig economy.

About AB 5, briefly:

Doctors, real estate agents and hairdressers can keep their independent contractor status. But not truckers, commercial janitors, nail salon workers, physical therapists and — significantly — gig economy workers, who will gain the rights and benefits of employees in California under sweeping workplace legislation passed Wednesday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has committed to signing the bill, which cleared the Assembly 56-15 in a challenge both to the longstanding trend toward outsourcing labor and to the business model of companies such as Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, who have threatened a $90 million fight at the ballot box.

Once signed, AB 5 would upend longstanding employment practices that have seeped into the Democratic presidential debate about how workers should be treated, particularly in today’s gig economy.

“With one clear test across our state labor laws, we will raise the standards for millions of workers and ensure they gain access to critical rights and benefits,” said Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, who presented the bill in the Senate on Tuesday night. “We can make California the global leader in protections for gig workers, janitors, construction workers and so many working people who can’t even pay their rent.”

This month, California released a new report revealing that unemployment benefits during pandemic are nearing $60 billion in the Golden State:

Unemployment benefits for out-of-work Californians since this historic pandemic began now total $59.8 billion to support families and communities struggling during this economic crisis. Over the same timeframe, the Employment Development Department (EDD) has processed more than 9.7 million claims for benefits between the regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, extensions, and separate Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Just last week, the EDD paid an average of $792 million a day in unemployment benefits. That amount is a 1,033% increase over the $70 million in average daily benefits paid during a similar week at the height of the Great Recession (week ending July 31, 2010).

In the run-up to this Friday deadline, Assemblywoman Gonzalez had been tweeting about the righteousness of the legislation and the malevolence of the ride share companies, but she first set her twitter account so that the dirty unwashed public was not able to comment, only people whose account she follows. It’s a neat little feature Twitter rolled out so that intellectually lazy journalists and Hollywood nincompoops don’t have to be confronted with their flabby arguments. When challenged on her attempt to stifle dissent, she unsurprisingly went into full victim mode and sent out a typically tone-deaf message:

This lawmaker doesn’t has the slightest clue about how much negative impact AB 5 has had on the working people of Californians, and how it has played a part in Californians losing their jobs, and even lead to them facing eviction. Let’s take a look at a few personal stories about AB 5 has adversely impacted residents of the state:

Actors
David Nassau: I’m an actor and songwriter. I’m also a freelance translator/interpreter in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German. To say AB5 is a recipe for economic collapse is an understatement. Since the suicidal law went into effect , I’ve applied for 160 jobs and got about 10 interviews. Finding a job, let alone holding on to one, is not a trivial feat. My freelance gigs provided me the chance to get practical experience. Now to stay on, I have to fill out a TON of paperwork. That includes a city license, proof that I own a business or LLC, a W-2 form, a business card, a Website or LinkedIn page and Proof of advertising. All that just to keep doing what I love? It’s bad enough that at least 1 million Californians are thrown out of work, but what makes it worse: Nobody will want to hire ANYONE from California because of AB5. If this is not repealed, I may have to move out. I fear living on the streets. Bottom line: This law is a recipe for economic and social collapse. It shall make the homeless crisis even worse. It’ll cause people of all economic strata to leave the state. Business will close up shop. The amount of paperwork makes this law environmentally unfriendly. It’ll cause diseases of all kinds to spread because of a shortage of nurses. Farms will cut production or fold completely. Artists will think twice before performing in the Golden State.

Environmental Engineers
Cynthia Gabaldon: Environmental inspectors, building inspectors, draftsman, technicians. If you get a chance please let these elected know there are many more people really affected. I know of many building, environmental and other types of inspectors. We move from building to building…working for multiple companies at the same time. There are also many who are retired but work a day here or there. Lastly, what about those who do this just occasionally…for extra money. All building inspectors were told to either join a company before 1.1.20 or they wouldn’t have a job. When we work for one company that means we can’t work full time. We are not allowed the flexibility to fill in our time so we can have a full week. Please reach out concerning all workers affected by this terrible legislation.

Family Caregivers
Elizabeth M. Adger: AB5 is why I had to pack up my very ill husband with stage 4 cancer and autistic son and leave the state. There is no way I can take care of our family and work a “traditional” type job I have always worked for myself and paid my taxes. I was terrified of becoming homeless.

Forensic Nurses
Anonymous: There are many forensic RNs who work on a 1099 basis for private nursing companies and hospitals providing sexual assault forensic medical evidentiary examinations. All of this work is at risk due to AB5. Patients who have been sexually assaulted will suffer long wait times and may receive substandard forensic medical exams if provided by untrained medical personnel in an emergency department. It is not feasible for many hospitals to have a forensic nurse on duty 24/7 so they contract with us to come in when needed. We are paid per exam, and receive a 1099. The forensic nurses are free to sign up for work around their other jobs or family commitments. We also have patients who were assaulted in skilled nursing and adult care group homes. We have worked very hard to increase the number of forensic nurses in California. I also do consulting and training on best practices for forensic nursing. Vicarious trauma among forensic nurses is a huge issue in this work.”

Nurse Practitioners
Taqialdeen Zamil: This is frustrating. I lost my side job today, because of AB5.
I work as a nurse practitioner and the nature of our work in the private sector and small clinics makes it impossible to be an employee. You get paid a percentage of the revenue you generate and you pay for your malpractice insurance, benefits, and other expenses.
This law is killing our opportunity of making a living in California.

Cartoonists
Kira Davis: I’m an editor and was set to hire a new cartoonist for our national blog. She got a letter from the parent company at the beginning of December welcoming her to the team. 12/31 she got a letter from our NY-based parent company that she can no longer be hired as she is in California, and AB5 makes doing business with contractors here too dangerous. Bye bye job. Some people have theories and legal opinions about this bill. Some of us have real life experiences. Guess who’s is worth more?

And on and on it goes.

It’s as if Gonzalez has no understanding of the unintended consequences that have devastated any number of Californians. Even as we endure lockdowns, quarantines, and the closure of businesses. Does she not understand that Californians are being evicted, in part, because of the effects of her bill? Which is easier to believe: that Lorena Gonzalez is so completely ignorant of market economics that she is unable to draw a line between cause and effect, or that she knows what she has done, but her fealty to union bosses make hundreds of thousands of California workers merely collateral damage?

A threat by both Uber and Lyft to cease operations in California at midnight yesterday was averted when, as often happens in these matters, the courts intervened and gave everyone a few more months to figure it all out. Next up is a court hearing scheduled for October 13, then comes election day in which Californians will consider a ballot initiative sponsored by the ride share companies that would void AB 5 from existence. Should that fail, the companies will have a short window of time to negotiate with the legislature and governor before the court renders its decision. Or, this all goes to the Supreme Court and we get to see how Chief Justice Roberts feels about it on that given day.

Innovative and disruptive businesses should think twice about setting up shop in one-party California in this day and age.

– Dana & JVW

Trump Vows To Send In Law Enforcement Officers To Polling Sites On Election Day

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:28 am



[guest post by Dana]

Unsurprising that he would say this, given that he has repeatedly attempted to undermine the integrity of the election and issued warnings about a “rigged election,” fraudulent mail-in voting, and voter fraud:

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would send law enforcement officials to polling locations to guard against voter fraud in November’s election, although it’s not clear he has the authority to do so.

“We’re going to have sheriffs, and we’re going to have law enforcement, and we’re going to have, hopefully, US attorneys, and we’re going to have everybody and attorney generals (sic),” Trump said during an interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity.

Trump’s comments come as his campaign works to recruit tens of thousands of volunteers for what Republican officials have said could be their largest poll-watching operation. Even before Trump’s comments, his party’s plans to monitor the polls have sparked charges from Democrats and voting-rights groups that Republicans are gearing up to suppress voting in key states.

In typical Trump fashion, the President has made a claim without first doing his homework, as law professor Steve Vladeck points out:

Federal law expressly prohibits any federal officer from sending “troops or armed men” to any polling place “unless such force be necessary to repel armed enemies of the United States.”

So what Trump is proposing is not just offensive; it’s also illegal.

Vladek references 18 U.S. Code § 592:

Troops at polls U.S. Code

Whoever, being an officer of the Army or Navy, or other person in the civil, military, or naval service of the United States, orders, brings, keeps, or has under his authority or control any troops or armed men at any place where a general or special election is held, unless such force be necessary to repel armed enemies of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both; and be disqualified from holding any office of honor, profit, or trust under the United States.

This section shall not prevent any officer or member of the armed forces of the United States from exercising the right of suffrage in any election district to which he may belong, if otherwise qualified according to the laws of the State in which he offers to vote.

If Trump deployed law enforcement officers to polling sites around the country, how would it not result in legal action from Democrats and how would it not be seen as a direct effort to inhibit, intimidate, and suppress voters?

With that, the White House continues to fortify its position in a pre-emptive strike of casting doubt on the integrity of election if Trump loses:

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany did not commit President Trump to accepting the results of the presidential election, saying the president has been clear that he will “see what happens” in November.

Her comment in a White House news conference came after the president cast doubt on the election results on Monday, when he said, “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.”

On Wednesday, McEnany was asked if that comment means the president will not accept the election results if he loses.

“Is the president saying if he doesn’t win this election that he will not accept the results, unless he wins?” an ABC News journalist asked.

“The president has always said he’ll see what happens, and make a determination in the aftermath. It’s the same thing he said last November. He wants a free election, a fair election, and he wants confidence in the results of the election,” McEnany responded, before criticizing states with mass mail-in voting.

The president did indeed give a similar answer in a recent interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who asked the president if he would commit to accepting the election results.

“I have to see. Look, you — I have to see. No, I’m not going to just say ‘yes.’ I’m not going to say no and I didn’t last time either,” the president said during the interview.

Lining up his ducks, given there are only 74 days until the election.

–Dana

Chicago Mayor: “I Have A Right To Make Sure That My Home Is Secure”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:39 am



[guest post by Dana]

This isn’t just being tone-deaf. This is a self-serving elected official essentially telling city residents that her family has more value than theirs, and they can just eat cake:

Mayor Lori Lightfoot defended the Chicago Police Department’s ban on protesters being able to demonstrate on the block where she lives, telling reporters Thursday that she and her family at times require heightened security because of threats she receives daily.

Lightfoot refused to elaborate on the specific threats, but said she receives them daily against herself, her wife and her home. Comparisons to how the Police Department has protected previous mayors’ homes, such as Rahm Emanuel’s Ravenswood residence, are unfair because “this is a different time like no other,” Lightfoot told reporters.

“I think that residents of this city, understanding the nature of the threats that we are receiving on a daily basis, on a daily basis, understand I have a right to make sure that my home is secure,” Lightfoot said.

…“I’m not going to make any excuses for the fact that, given the threats I have personally received, given the threats to my home and my family, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure they’re protected,” Lightfoot said. “I make no apologies whatsoever for that.”

Lightfoot has been vocal in her support of protesters throughout the city but did condemn looters as they smashed windows and looted stores in tony Magnificent Mile. However, as far back as June, Chicago residents and city officials have been vocal in their complaints about a lack of protection during the protests and riots:

The arguments from Lightfoot and Brown did not appease a handful of aldermen, who argued Monday that Chicago needs 3,000 National Guardsmen — not the 375 summoned to Chicago by Gov. J.B. Pritzker — to protect neighborhoods under siege from looters.

Aldermen Anthony Beale (9th) and Ray Lopez (15th) made the request, arguing that deploying those National Guard troops to seal off the perimeter of the downtown area had left South and West side neighborhoods unprotected.

Brown countered 375 was an “adequate number.” Adding more than that could “cause more problems than solutions” and destroy the “fragile” trust that the Chicago Police Department is attempting to build with the African-American community, the superintendent said.

West Side Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, agreed “additional resources” are needed from the National Guard to restore order to Chicago neighborhoods.

“Totally closing off the Gold Coast and downtown to access — people in our communities felt as if they were not as important as downtown and the Gold Coast. That fueled a lot of the anger and a lot of the challenges and concerns that people have,” Ervin said.

“When the decision was made, it may have made some sense. But after the fact, it seems like it fueled peoples’ anger and angst about what was going on. This is one city. Everybody deserves the same level of protection as anybody else. Some people feel protected, and others don’t feel protected.”

Pressed on whether the city had a plan to protect Chicago neighborhoods, Ervin said, “I don’t know what they had. But whatever they had, it didn’t work.”

-Dana

8/20/2020

Marvin Creamer, 1916-2020

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:14 pm



[guest post by JVW]

If you hadn’t heard of him, fear not: neither had I. But he was mentioned today in Jay Nordlinger’s Impromptus column at National Review Online, so I just had to go to his obituary in the New York Times to learn more about a remarkable man:

Had Marvin Creamer not been a geographer, he very likely would not have lived to be 104.

Professor Creamer, who died at that age on Wednesday, taught geography for many years at Glassboro State College, now Rowan University, in Glassboro, N.J.

His expertise helped him become a history-making mariner, the first recorded person to sail round the world without navigational instruments. His 30,000-mile odyssey, in a 36-foot cutter with a small crew, made headlines worldwide on its completion in 1984.

No 20th century (radio) or even 18th century (sextant) technology for him, not even some rudimentary 15th century technology such as a mariner’s astrolabe or a 12th century compass. Professor Creamer sailed as the Vikings and Polynesians, among other earlier seafaring people, had centuries before:

It is daunting enough to circumnavigate the Earth with the aid of modern global positioning technology, much less with medieval and Renaissance tools like a mariner’s compass and sextant.

But Professor Creamer, in the grip of an obsession that had held him for years, shunned even those newfangled contrivances, as well as a radio, a clock and a wristwatch. He chose instead to rely on his deep knowledge of the planet and its vagaries, and be guided by nothing more than wind, waves, the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night.

Under cloud-massed skies, he could divine his location from the color and temperature of the water, the presence of particular birds and insects and even, on one occasion, the song of a squeaky hatch.

[. . .]

His 513-day journey would entail nearly a year on the sea, plus time in ports for repairs and reprovisioning. It would take the Globe Star to Capetown, South Africa; Hobart and Sydney, Australia; Whangara, New Zealand; and the Falkland Islands off Argentina before its triumphant return to Cape May on May 17, 1984 — an event that Professor Creamer gleefully described as “one small step back for mankind.”

Along the way, he and his crew braved lashing storms and long, directionless days with no wind; found themselves trapped in shipping lanes amid thick fog and the terrifying horns of oncoming tankers; had whales bear down on them like freight trains; rounded the treacherous waters of Cape Horn entirely blind; were at one point pitched nearly upside-down and at another arrested.

“A jolly romp,” Professor Creamer called the whole thing.

In an era where so many of us don’t even want to venture out of our own homes without a fully-charged smart phone with a strong 4G LTE signal, here’s marveling at the sheer brass of a man who trusted the seas, the skies, his know-how, and his derring-do. I strongly recommend reading the rest of the obituary to learn of some amazing stories from that journey. But if you don’t, I want to at least leave you with what would be a fitting epitaph from the final lines of the obituary:

Professor Creamer continued sailing well into his 90s. In later years, he owned a boat that came equipped with global positioning technology.

He did not know how to use the technology, he said, and had no intention of learning.

Rest in peace, sir.

– JVW

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