Patterico's Pontifications

6/30/2021

Academia Continues Its Rapid Slide into Irrelevancy

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:25 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Well, here it is:

You may remember the infamous Ms. Hannah-Jones, the New York Times feature writer who led the disastrous “1619 Project” which almost immediately was exposed by honest historians for its omissions, distortions, and outright fabrications. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author herself is noted for spinning fanciful tales provided it stirs up racial resentments in a way that is suitable to her purposes. She joins the rouges’ gallery of Al Sharpton, Ibrham Kendi, and guest ofay Robin DiAngelo (among others) in the race-hustling racket that so effortlessly reaches into the pockets of high-strung white progressives.

For all that, a saving grace of the higher education establishment (speaking of rackets) had been that they showed a sensible reluctance to embrace someone like Nikola Hannah-Jones who had done such slipshod and risible work. In a fleeting moment of good judgement, the UNC Board of Trustees voted in May to deny her a tenured professorship in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, though in an obvious dodge they cited her lack of a traditional academic pedigree rather than her history of mendacity. (At National Review Online, Kevin Williamson argued convincingly that modern university journalism departments are so completely worthless that a Professor Nikola Hannah-Jones would fit right in.) They instead offered her a traditional five-year tenure-track appointment as a non-tenured assistant professor, giving her the chance to earn her status through academic merit. This was deemed an insult by the celebrity scholar, who immediately announced that she would not accept the position without first being granted a permanent appointment with full honors. Today, the UNC Board of Trustees blinked.

I’ve been down on UNC ever since the scandal broke of UNC athletes being funneled into phony-baloney African-American Studies courses in order to keep them eligible, and the NCAA’s cowardly determination that since this academic fraud wasn’t restricted exclusively to athletes that the Tar Heel’s celebrated basketball program would have no sanctions placed upon it. But I’ve always believed that UNC’s treatment of the academic integrity of football and basketball players tells you as much about what black scholars truly mean to the white progressives running the university as hires like the one earlier today do.

– JVW

Make No Mistake: The Wokesters *Want* Young Schoolkids to Feel Bad Because of the Color of Their Skin

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



I am dubious about the idea of addressing the teaching of “anti-racism” through a state-level law, but I sure am seeing a lot of dumb arguments against it. Some critics of these bills actively want white kids to feel distress because they are white. Take this piece in the San Antonio Current by someone named Kevin Sanchez, which quotes very sensible restrictions from the Texas law and makes the following arguments against them:

Decree #5: “A teacher may not make part of a course the concept that an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race.”

How, pray tell, can one study the dispossession and slaughter of Native Americans, the kidnapping and enslavement of Africans, the legacy of lynching and segregation and housing discrimination with which we’re still living, the racial wealth gap, mass incarceration or the murder of an unarmed Black suspect in custody without feeling some measure of distress?

These injustices should break our hearts, and when teachers are allowed to teach, they can walk the line between letting kids know that while racism was not their idea, many of us are its inheritors and beneficiaries and therefore have a moral obligation to face uncomfortable truths. Being “colorblind,” sadly, is not enough.

There is a difference between feeling distress because something awful happened in the past, and feeling distress because of the color of one’s skin. Must we allow the deliberate infliction of distress on young schoolkids because of their skin color? I say no, but Sanchez wants these kids to feel personally guilty for past injustice because they are white:

Decree #4: “A teacher may not make part of a course the concept that an individual bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race.”

Imagine if a right-wing government in South Africa or Germany passed a malleable restriction like this regarding education about racial apartheid or atrocities during Word War II. In 1946, philosopher Karl Jaspers published The Question of German Guilt, evocatively arguing that “an acknowledgment of national guilt was a necessary condition for the moral and political rebirth of Germany.” Can we ever truly heal from our wounds as a country without admitting that racism remains a problem the white majority must honestly confront?

It is hardly a squashing of freedom to mandate that teachers not tell young children to feel bad due to their skin color. Nor should they be taught to expect special or adverse treatment due to skin color, although Sanchez of course disagrees with that too:

Decree #6: “A teacher may not make part of a course the concept that an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race.”

“Reverse discrimination” and “special treatment” are how Fox News pundits have recently spun COVID-19 relief aid to Black farmers, despite the fact that over the past century the Agriculture Department stole tens of billions of dollars from them thanks to actual racial discrimination. This edict ostensibly declares off limits any teacher-led discussion of affirmative action to redress past wrongs — and that in itself is a wrong.

Let adults debate the merits of government-sanctioned race discrimination. I oppose it, and unlike this writer I do not want some woke teacher telling young children “that an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment” because of their skin color.

FIRE put out an excellent piece on these laws recently, which was highlighted by John Sexton at Hot Air. It highlights some of the common things that are prohibited by these laws, and argues (as has David French) that many of these things are already prohibited:

With the exception of the vague kinds of clauses mentioned above, most of what these bills prohibit are speech or patterns of behavior by teachers that even many of the critics of these bills would find problematic, and arguably would already run afoul of laws prohibiting racial discrimination and harassment. For example, North Carolina’s HB 324, mentioned above, prohibits public K-12 schools from “promoting” the following concepts:

(1) One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.

(2) An individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.

(3) An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex.

(4) An individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex.

(5) An individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.

(6) Any individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress. […]

But as the Sanchez piece shows, the left’s attacks on these laws are not limited to the concept that we already have laws in place to address these problems. They also argue that children need to be made uncomfortable because of their skin color. And as the FIRE report makes clear, there are some actual examples out there. This is not just a Fox News made-up bogeyman:

I was disturbed to read some of the examples in my co-author — and FIRE colleague — Bonnie Snyder’s forthcoming book Undoctrinate: How Politicized Classrooms Harm Kids and Ruin Our Schools—And What We Can Do About It, such as:

1. A biracial high school student in Las Vegas was allegedly singled out in class for his appearance and called derogatory names by his teacher. In a lawsuit, the student’s family alleges he was labelled an oppressor, told denying that status was “internalized privilege,” and told he needed to “unlearn” the Judeo-Christian principles imparted by his mother. When he refused to complete certain “identity confession” assignments, the lawsuit claims, the school gave him a failing grade. He has had to attend counseling.

2. Third grade students in California were forced to analyze their racial and other “identities,” rank themselves according to their supposed “power and privilege,” and were informed that those in the “dominant” culture categories created and continue to maintain this culture to uphold power.

3. Parents in North Carolina allege that middle school students were forced to stand up in class and apologize to other students for their “privilege.”

4. Buffalo public schools teach students that all white people perpetuate systemic racism and are guilty of implicit racial bias.

5. Elementary children at the Fieldston School in Manhattan were sorted by race for mandatory classroom exercises.

6. A head teacher in Manhattan was caught on tape acknowledging that the curriculum at his school teaches white students that they’re inherently “evil” and saying, “we’re demonizing white people for being born.”

While there is some debate to be had over how widespread the phenomenon is, some students are being made to feel, in class, that their mere existence is problematic and requires an apology or explanation. These bills, wise or not, are intended to address this problem. If your argument against these bills is that they’re much ado about nothing, or a solution in search of a problem, I think you should look deeper and think more critically about what proponents of these laws are worried about.

I am going to need some time to digest the entire FIRE piece, but I remain appalled at the way so many people act as though it is a civil rights violation to tell teachers they are not allowed to humiliate young children just because of the color of their skin.

6/29/2021

Manhattan Judge Tosses Out Grand Jury Indictment: Pandemic Era Jury Not Racially Diverse Enough

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:28 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Fox News and the New York Post (but here I repeat myself) both have an item today about a Manhattan-based judge, Analisa Torres, tossing out an indictment of a Bronx man accused in a 2020 shooting which took place in that borough due to the composition of the grand jury. The details, per Fox:

A federal judge in Manhattan tossed an indictment against a Bronx shooting suspect because of a lack of racial diversity in the White Plains grand jury pool — the first such ruling since city cases were moved to the suburban county amid the pandemic.

Judge Analisa Torres sided with defendant William Scott, who had argued that Black and Hispanic people were underrepresented in the grand jury pool that returned an indictment against him in June of last year.

Scott was charged with possessing ammunition in connection to a shooting in the Bronx, but was charged in the Southern District of New York’s White Plains division.

Seems reasonable, right? I mean, why move a grand jury investigation of a black man from a district court in a place like New York City which is just over 50% “Black and Latinx” (as Judge Torres put it, because of course she would) to one that is 45.4% white and a mere 44.5% black and Hispanic? I mean — hello! — why do you think they named the place White Plains to begin with? It’s getting so that a convicted felon and reputed member of the Bloods who goes by the sobriquet “Ill Will” and has been arrested 25 times since 1999 (all this according to the Post) can’t get a fair shake in Andrew Cuomo’s New York. Fortunately for Ill Will, Judge Torres, a Barack Obama appointee and the daughter and granddaughter of former New York Assembly members (Democrats, naturally), was there to smoke out the bald injustice of it all.

Hang on, though, maybe there is an understandable reason that the grand jury investigation was moved from New York City to White Plains. Was there anything going on over the past year that might have impacted day-to-day operations in the Empire State, especially in the immediate vicinity of the Big Apple? The Post provides us this explanation:

But in a follow-up letter to the judge, prosecutors said they wanted to “correct the factual record” regarding Scott’s indictment in the June 23, 2020, shooting in The Bronx, saying it was the result of a “non-discriminatory exigency” amid the COVID-19 crisis that forced them to seek the charges in White Plains.

At the time, they wrote, “grand jury availability was exceptionally limited – generally, and specifically in Manhattan – due to the pandemic.”

And when prosecutors sought to have Scott indicted on June 30, 2020, “there was no grand jury sitting in Manhattan” and no grand juries were convened between June 26 and July 8, 2020, according to the Monday letter.

Scott “posed a sufficiently serious risk to public safety that it was untenable to delay his prosecution until grand juries were more readily available,” prosecutors Alexandra Rothman and Jim Ligtenberg wrote.

“Accordingly, to indict the instant case expeditiously and to protect public safety, the Government sought an indictment in White Plains, where a grand jury was available,” they said.

The letter also noted that “identical claims” to those made by Scott were recently rejected by three other Manhattan federal judges overseeing unrelated cases.

The Post goes on to report that the ruling by Judge Torres makes no difference in the long run, as prosecutors announced that they have secured a new indictment from a different (and presumably racially acceptable) grand jury, and that the newly-scheduled trial begins in two weeks and will be heard by a judge other than the Honorable Analisa Torres.

Defendants have rights, and it is the duty of the system to honor and protect those rights, but casting doubt upon the fairness of a indictment because it came from an area that has five percent fewer black and Hispanic residents than some other area — and all of this square in the middle of a pandemic — is the sort of mindless virtue signaling while violent crime is surging across your city that really ought to make even the wokest of judges a bit more circumspect in their demands for social justice purity.

– JVW

Maricopa County to Spend Millions to Get New Voting Machines Not Handled by Insane Trumpy Auditors

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:28 am



This story is infuriating:

Arizona’s Maricopa County announced Monday that it will replace voting equipment that was turned over to a private contractor for a Republican-commissioned review of the 2020 presidential election, concerned that the process compromised the security of the machines.

Officials from Maricopa, the state’s largest county and home to Phoenix, provided no estimates of the costs involved but have previously said that the machines cost millions to acquire.

“The voters of Maricopa County can rest assured, the County will never use equipment that could pose a risk to free and fair elections,” the county said in a statement. “As a result, the County will not use the subpoenaed equipment in any future elections.”

By rights, reimbursement ought to come from Trump’s PAC, where he has been raking in millions from chumps who buy his con that the election was stolen. But because this dopey action was actually ordered by a legislative body, that’s extraordinarily unlikely:

The review was ordered by the Republican-led state Senate, which seized voting equipment, including nine tabulating machines used at a central counting facility and 385 precinct-based tabulators, as well as nearly 2.1 million ballots from Maricopa County, with a legislative subpoena in late April. The review is being led by a Florida company called Cyber Ninjas, whose chief executive has echoed Trump’s false claims.

The danger of such legislative bodies, state and federal combined, overruling the will of the people in their states and installing Trump in 2024 is very real. Dems ought to take legislative steps now to prevent it, but instead they are obsessed with their ridiculous HR 1 voting bill and with spending us into oblivion.

6/28/2021

Your Crazy Uncle Donnie: RINO Bill Barr Was “a Disappointment in Every Sense of the Word”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Crazy uncle Donnie is at it again. This time he’s lashing out at “RINO former Attorney General Bill Barr”:

The reporting in question is here.

To McConnell, the road to maintaining control of the Senate was simple: Republicans needed to make the argument that with Biden soon to be in the White House, it was crucial that they have a majority in the Senate to check his power. But McConnell also believed that if he openly declared Biden the winner, Trump would be enraged and likely act to sabotage the Republican Senate campaigns in Georgia. Barr related his conversations with McConnell to me. McConnell confirms the account.

“Look, we need the president in Georgia,” McConnell told Barr, “and so we cannot be frontally attacking him right now. But you’re in a better position to inject some reality into this situation. You are really the only one who can do it.”

“I understand that,” Barr said. “And I’m going to do it at the appropriate time.”

Just the Attorney General (lawyer) conferring with the Senate Majority Leader about the best way to promote the agenda of their party. Unfortunately, it puts the crazy guy in a bad light. Here’s the part Trumpy Trump especially did not like:

“My attitude was: It was put-up or shut-up time,” Barr told me. “If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it. But my suspicion all the way along was that there was nothing there. It was all bullshit.”

I think the whole episode puts Barr in a bad light, too, and so I can’t help but chuckle at reading Trump’s insane broadside. Barr deserved this, and nobody should accept his efforts at rehabilitation. We can be grateful that he wasn’t as hacky as he had the power to be, but it’s not like the man covered himself in glory.

6/27/2021

Constitutional Vanguard: Other Police Shootings of Unarmed Black People in 2019 from the Washington Post Database: No. 5: The Crimes: Michael Dean, Atatiana Jefferson

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:12 pm



I have sent paid subscribers the final installment of my newsletter series documenting 2019 police shootings of unarmed black people. This one deals with two cases where the police were charged with crimes. I also summarize what we have learned over the course of the series.

By my count, at least nine of the 12 people unarmed black people shot and killed in 2019 by police were noncompliant. At least three of the shootings were clearly justified, with almost no question. Facts are disputed to some extent in most of the other cases, but there is a pretty solid argument that another four were justified, with no clear evidence to the contrary. Another three were justified if you believe the cops, or unjustified if you believe the decedent’s family. Finally, two of the cases resulted in criminal charges against police.

That’s all the shootings of unarmed black people for an entire (recent) year.

My biggest takeaway from this is: comply with the police and you will almost always be OK. The cases where people were not compliant, they had no justification not to do exactly what police said.

Details in the newsletter and in the four entries preceding it. Today’s entry also has a hint of what is coming next. Read it here. Subscribe here.

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 109

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:02 pm



It is the fifth Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben” (I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief):

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 5:21-43.

Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

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

Whoever hopes in God and trusts in Him,
will never be put to shame;
for whoever builds on this rock,
although at the moment he be beset
by many misfortunes, yet I have never seen
those people fail
who rely on God’s consolation;
He helps all His faithful ones.

Trust in God, and He will help you. This passage, about Jesus healing a child thought lost, has spoken to me deeply in the past.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

6/25/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:12 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Hello and happy (almost) weekend! I hope at least one of you is soaking up the sun on a gorgeous beach somewhere while you read a juicy novel and are lulled by the rhythmic rolling crash of waves so I can live vicariously through you.

Here are a few news items to chew over. As usual, feel free to add what you think readers might be interested in, and please remember to include a link.

First news item

Sentenced:

A Minnesota judge sentenced former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to 22 1/2 years in prison Friday for the murder of George Floyd.

Judge Peter Cahill wrote that part of the mission of the Minneapolis Police Department is to give citizens “voice and respect.”

“Mr. Chauvin, rather than pursuing the MPD mission, treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor. In the Court’s view, 270 months, which amounts to an additional ten years over the presumptive 150-month sentence, is the appropriate sentence.”

Cahill’s entire sentencing order and memorandum for Chauvin at the link.

Related: God bless the family that is “forever broken”.

Second news item

Kamala Harris at border facility:

Vice President Kamala Harris visited a border patrol facility near the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday and urged a focus on children and practical solutions to migration, in a trip meant to blunt Republican criticism of White House immigration policies.

The visit – her first since becoming vice president five months ago – came amid a rise in migrants caught crossing the border, which has sparked outrage from Republicans who favor the stricter immigration policies implemented by former President Donald Trump.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat, tasked Harris with spearheading his administration’s handling of the broader issue of people fleeing Central American countries for the United States. She visited Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month.

“This issue cannot be reduced to a political issue. We’re talking about children, we’re talking about families, we’re talking about suffering. And our approach has to be thoughtful and effective,” Harris said at the conclusion of her short trip.

Related: Biden administration working to reverse deportation orders of veterans:

On the campaign trail, President Biden had blasted his predecessor for deporting veterans, calling it an “outrage” and promising to create a process in his first 100 days for them to return to the United States. He has since expanded that review to include their family members…

The Department of Homeland Security “recognizes the profound sacrifice that our military families make on behalf of our nation, ”spokeswoman Marsha Espinosa said in a statement.

“The Department is committed to bringing back military family members who were unjustly deported,” she said. “Additional steps will be taken to make sure that military families’ path to naturalization is easy.”

Veterans advocates said they have heard of few deported military family members or veterans returning to the United States…

“President Biden made all these promises,” said Margaret Stock, an immigration lawyer and retired Army officer who testified about the issue before a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday. “I’ve hardly seen anybody brought back.”

Nobody knows how many veterans and military family members have been deported from the United States. The practice has occurred for decades, including when Biden was vice president. Veterans advocates estimate that hundreds of veterans have been deported over the years and perhaps thousands of their relatives.

Third news item

Prosecutors weighing criminal charges against the Trump Organization:

Manhattan prosecutors have warned former President Trump’s lawyers that they’re now weighing criminal charges against the Trump Organization, The New York Times reports. The charges against Trump’s family business and Allen Weisselberg, its longtime chief financial officer, could be unveiled by next week if District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office decides to move forward after its three-year criminal tax investigation, according to the Times. Much of the probe has focused directly on Weisselberg, including his personal taxes and whether he—as well as other Trump Org employees—received benefits that weren’t taxed properly. Trump’s lawyers reportedly met with prosecutors on Thursday as part of an effort to convince them to ditch any potential charges. It remains unclear whether Trump himself will be charged.

Fourth news item

Uh-oh:

Progressive Democrats’ concerns that their more centrist colleagues won’t support President Joe Biden’s larger spending and tax agenda are starting to bear out.

Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, a member of the fiscally conscious Blue Dog Coalition, said in an interview that he’s planning to vote against a budget resolution that would include reconciliation instructions for trillions of dollars in additional spending. Another moderate House Democrat, who requested anonymity to speak freely about a position that would upset party leaders, said the same.

With those two expected “no” votes, Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t have much more room to maneuver on that first step toward passing a big spending bill, let alone the reconciliation legislation itself that would contain all the details.

She can only lose two more Democratic votes and still adopt the budget resolution in her narrowly divided 220-211 chamber, since no Republicans are likely to vote for it, as budget resolutions are designed to be partisan wish lists.

The budget resolution is needed to begin the reconciliation process, which Democrats can use to get around a Senate filibuster and pass a partisan spending and tax bill without Republican support. But it requires their party to remain fully united in the Senate, given the chamber’s 50-50 split and Vice President Kamala Harris’ ability to break a tie, and mostly united in the House where their narrow majority can only spare four Democratic votes.

Related:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Friday poured cold water on a $579 billion bipartisan infrastructure deal struck by the White House and senators of both parties a day earlier, predicting it would not pass Congress after President Biden linked it to a separate multitrillion-dollar reconciliation package.

“I think my members need a chiropractor ‘cause they got whiplash after watching the president yesterday say there was a deal and say there was no deal, say: ‘You can have a deal on the trillion dollars on infrastructure, but you’ve got to vote for $5 trillion at the same time too, and you’ve got to raise taxes on everybody, and you’ve got to have a Green New Deal,’” McCarthy told reporters at his weekly news conference.

“I don’t think that’s going to work. I don’t think that’s going to pass. I think they killed any opportunity. I think it was disingenuous in every shape and form.”

Fifth news item

DOJ and Georgia tangle:

The Department of Justice is suing Georgia over its sweeping election law recently passed by Republicans, alleging it violates the federal Voting Rights Act by seeking to disenfranchise Black voters.

“Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section Two of the Voting Rights Act,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Friday.

Sixth news item

Fuck him:

Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, is facing backlash after he blamed victims of rape for wearing “very few clothes”. The former cricket captain was questioned by the Axios journalist Jonathan Swan about the ongoing “rape epidemic” in Pakistan and responded by saying: “If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots. It’s common sense.”

Just how terrifying must it be to be a woman in Pakistan when the Prime Minister of the country has essentially told men “you can’t help it” if they rape a woman, and has told victims of rape “it’s your fault”. What a fucking monster. This has to strike fear into the heart of every woman. But hey, validating the rapist and punishing the victim is what rape apologists do. Oh, and exactly which women in [checks notes] Pakistan are wearing “very few clothes” anyway?? Because you can do a whole of googling, and “very few clothes” on women is simply not a thing.

Seventh news item

Mumford and Sons lose a gracious banjo player. READ THE WHOLE THING:

At the beginning of March I tweeted to American journalist Andy Ngo, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Unmasked. “Congratulations @MrAndyNgo. Finally had the time to read your important book. You’re a brave man”. Posting about books had been a theme of my social-media throughout the pandemic. I believed this tweet to be as innocuous as the others. How wrong I turned out to be.

Over the course of 24 hours it was trending with tens of thousands of angry retweets and comments. I failed to foresee that my commenting on a book critical of the Far-Left could be interpreted as approval of the equally abhorrent Far-Right.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Thirteen members of my family were murdered in the concentration camps of the Holocaust. My Grandma, unlike her cousins, aunts and uncles, survived. She and I were close. My family knows the evils of fascism painfully well. To say the least. To call me “fascist” was ludicrous beyond belief.

For me to speak about what I’ve learnt to be such a controversial issue will inevitably bring my bandmates more trouble. My love, loyalty and accountability to them cannot permit that. I could remain and continue to self-censor but it will erode my sense of integrity. Gnaw my conscience. I’ve already felt that beginning.

The only way forward for me is to leave the band. I hope in distancing myself from them I am able to speak my mind without them suffering the consequences. I leave with love in my heart and I wish those three boys nothing but the best. I have no doubt that their stars will shine long into the future. I will continue my work with Hong Kong Link Up and I look forward to new creative projects as well as speaking and writing on a variety of issues, challenging as they may be.

MISCELLANEOUS

I dont’ know who this guy is but what he says sears my heart because I am one of those “who can’t”:

What $700,000 will get you in Los Angeles:

Untitled

Summer in bloom:

flowers

Have a lovely weekend.

–Dana

New Report Claims Senior Trump Aides Were Warned Jan. 6 Events Could Get Ugly

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:17 am



[guest post by Dana]

Well, this is actually unsurprising:

ProPublica has obtained new details about the Trump White House’s knowledge of the gathering storm, after interviewing more than 50 people involved in the events of Jan. 6 and reviewing months of private correspondence. Taken together, these accounts suggest that senior Trump aides had been warned the Jan. 6 events could turn chaotic, with tens of thousands of people potentially overwhelming ill-prepared law enforcement officials.

Rather than trying to halt the march, Trump and his allies accommodated its leaders, according to text messages and interviews with Republican operatives and officials.

Katrina Pierson, a former Trump campaign official assigned by the White House to take charge of the rally planning, helped arrange a deal where those organizers deemed too extreme to speak at the Ellipse could do so on the night of Jan. 5. That event ended up including incendiary speeches from Jones and Ali Alexander, the leader of Stop the Steal, who fired up his followers with a chant of “Victory or death!”

The record of what White House officials knew about Jan. 6 and when they knew it remains incomplete. Key officials, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, declined to be interviewed for this story.

The second impeachment of President Trump focused mostly on his public statements, including his Jan. 6 exhortation that the crowd march on the Capitol and “fight like hell.” Trump was acquitted by the Senate, and his lawyers insisted that the attack on the Capitol was both regrettable and unforeseeable.

Rally organizers interviewed by ProPublica said they did not expect Jan. 6 to culminate with the violent sacking of the Capitol. But they acknowledged they were worried about plans by the Stop the Steal movement to organize an unpermitted march that would reach the steps of the building as Congress gathered to certify the election results.

What is also of concern is that the former president still has no intention of letting his election loss go. In fact, he’s taking his bitter grievances on the road in a continued effort to “fight like hell”:

Former President Donald Trump is bronzed, rested and politically bloodthirsty.

Having spent months in semi-retirement after his election loss in 2020, Trump is set this weekend to kick off a series of political events. Aides and confidants say the goal is to boost his standing in anticipation of a possible future run and to scratch that never-soothed itch he has for publicity. But it’s also to exact some revenge.

On Saturday, Trump will hold a Make America Great Again rally outside Cleveland, Ohio in support of longtime aide-turned-Republican congressional candidate Max Miller, who is vying for the seat held by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, a Cleveland native who voted for the second impeachment of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.

“The fact that his first rally is targeting Max’s campaign tells you a lot about where the focus is,” said Taylor Budowich, a senior adviser to Miller’s campaign. “[Gonzalez] didn’t just betray President Trump but he betrayed his constituents.”

Saturday’s rally — the first of a MAGA tour that Trump’s aides have teased for months — is expected to draw out diehards longing to be taken back to an era when they were less bitter about the turns life took: one when Trump was in the White House. And the president is likely to indulge them, increasingly eager to push the falsehoods that his reelection was deprived of him through nefarious attempts to doctor the vote.

His roster of attendees includes conspiracy theorists Marjorie Taylor Greene and Mike Lindell, as well as Rep. Jim Jordan, who confirmed Trump’s role in the Republican Party:

“I think when the president comes out-and-about talking, that’s just good for Republicans,” Jordan said. “It’s going to help us in ’22. He’s going to talk about lots of issues.”

“It’s great for us. I mean, he’s the leader of the party,” said Jordan.

If there was still any question about the heart and soul of today’s Retrumplican Party, consider this:

At least for now. Trump has continued to tease a run in 2024, and his team continues to portray him as if he’s still in the Oval. In a survey emailed to supporters on Wednesday, Trump’s Save America PAC asked respondents who they thought was “a better fit to lead our Nation?”

Trump, when listed, got the title of President. Biden merely went by his first and last name.

–Dana

6/24/2021

Shot, Chaser: The New York Times on the Filibuster

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Yesterday, I had occasion to revisit a post of mine from 2017, documenting the shifting stance of the New York Times on the filibuster. As I note, my post was occasioned by an op-ed piece and not an editorial, but the post documents a very consistent history of editorial flip-flopping on the issue . . . according to which party held the Oval Office (usually the same party as the Senate, when the issue of the filibuster merited an editorial). I’ll just quote my entire 2017 post in full as the shot, and then I’ll follow it with the chaser.

Shot:

The New York Times, facing a Republican Senate and President, today prints a shock op-ed piece arguing that the filibuster is a venerable tool that should not be discarded. (Yes, I’m joking about it being shocking.) The piece is titled Why Republicans Shouldn’t Weaken the Filibuster:

The Senate has historically been the one place in our government where legislative minorities are protected, with rules to check overzealous majorities.

The twin pillars of the body’s uniqueness are unlimited debate and unfettered amendments. The minority can almost always have some influence on legislative outcomes. This has often made the Senate the cradle of compromise.

. . . .

It’s important to keep the filibuster. With it, presidents must try to win the minority’s support for nominees. This has helped to keep nominations in the judicial mainstream.

But wait. Wasn’t it Harry Reid who changed the filibuster rule for nominees? You might have thought that, but let the op-ed writer mansplain it for you:

It is often written that the Senate “changed” the filibuster rule. It did nothing of the sort. Democrats voted to interpret the words “three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn” to mean a simple majority.

(Go ahead and read that paragraph again, as many times as you need to, for it to make sense. I’ll wait right here.)

They didn’t change the rule, you see. They merely interpreted it to mean something other than what it says.

It’s a lovely little piece of pro-filibuster rhetoric. Filibuster good! Go, compromise! Hooray, deliberation! Down with “overzealous majorities”!

I wondered: where is the impassioned attack on the filibuster in the pages of the New York Times? You might be surprised to learn that you can find one. All you have to do is turn back the clock to November 21, 2013, when there was a Democrat Senate and a Democrat President. At that time, the official position of the New York Times was: nuke that filibuster!

For five years, Senate Republicans have refused to allow confirmation votes on dozens of perfectly qualified candidates nominated by President Obama for government positions. They tried to nullify entire federal agencies by denying them leaders. They abused Senate rules past the point of tolerance or responsibility. And so they were left enraged and threatening revenge on Thursday when a majority did the only logical thing and stripped away their power to block the president’s nominees.

In a 52-to-48 vote that substantially altered the balance of power in Washington, the Senate changed its most infuriating rule and effectively ended the filibuster on executive and judicial appointments. From now on, if any senator tries to filibuster a presidential nominee, that filibuster can be stopped with a simple majority, not the 60-vote requirement of the past. That means a return to the democratic process of giving nominees an up-or-down vote, allowing them to be either confirmed or rejected by a simple majority.

. . . .

Republicans warned that the rule change could haunt the Democrats if they lose the White House and the Senate. But the Constitution gives presidents the right to nominate top officials in their administration and name judges, and says nothing about the ability of a Senate minority to stop them. (The practice barely existed before the 1970s.)

Filibuster bad! Yay up-or-down vote! Hooray for democracy! Down with obstructionism!

For further hypocrisy, let’s dig even deeper into the past. Let’s consult The New York Times editorial board on May 18, 2005, editorializing against the judicial filibuster, at a time when we had a Republican President and Senate majority:

Of all the hollow arguments Senate Republicans have made in their attempt to scrap the opposition’s right to have a say on President Bush’s judicial nominees, the one that’s most hypocritical insists that history is on their side in demanding a “simple up-or-down vote” on the Senate floor. Republicans and Democrats have used a variety of tactics, from filibuster threats to stealthy committee inaction on individual nominations, in blocking hundreds of presidential appointments across history, including about one in five Supreme Court nominees. This is all part of the Senate’s time-honored deliberative role and of its protection of minority rights, which Republican leaders would now desecrate in overreaching from their majority perch.

. . . .

Democrats have hardly been obstructionists in their constitutional role of giving advice and consent; they have confirmed more than 200 Bush nominees, while balking at a mere seven who should be blocked on the merits, not for partisan reasons. This is a worthy fight, and the filibuster is a necessary weapon, considering that these are lifetime appointments to the powerful appellate judiciary, just below the Supreme Court. In more than two centuries, only 11 federal judges have been impeached for abusive court behavior. Clearly, uninhibited Senate debate in the deliberative stage, with the minority’s voice preserved, is a crucial requirement.

. . . .

A few moderate senators from both parties – realizing that the Senate’s prestige is at stake, as much as its history – are seeking a compromise. We hope President Bush will step in to help find a solution. Otherwise, warns his fellow Republican Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the result will be the harmful crimping of minority rights in a proud deliberative body and “a dark, protracted era of divisive partisanship.”

Filibuster good! Go, compromise! Hooray, deliberation! Down with “overzealous majorities”!

And now, for the cherry on top of this hypocrisy sundae. When another Democrat was president, in 1995, they felt the same way they did when Obama was President:

Once a rarely used tactic reserved for issues on which senators held passionate convictions, the filibuster has become the tool of the sore loser, dooming any measure that cannot command the 60 required votes. . . . Now is the perfect moment for them to unite with like-minded Democrats to get rid of an archaic rule that frustrates democracy and serves no useful purpose.

Filibuster bad! Yay up-or-down vote! Hooray for democracy! Down with obstructionism!

You could get whiplash trying to follow the way they careen back and forth between positions — unless you kept their actual principle in mind: we support whatever helps Democrats. Then their positions become very easy to follow.

To be fair, today’s piece is an op-ed, not an editorial. But there is a reason that they solicited an op-ed piece from “a co-author of’“Defending the Filibuster: The Soul of the Senate.’” That reason probably isn’t because they just like to air all possible positions. The reason just might have something to do with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.

I bet the traditional flip-flop of the official house position of the editorial board will be coming soon in an editorial, likely in the next couple of months.

If they had any shame, they wouldn’t even consider it. But if you think they have shame, you may want to re-read this post.

I know, it’s a hefty shot, and it demands a hell of a chaser.

So I looked up whether the New York Times had taken a position on this issue this year. I was asleep at the switch when they did, in March, but you’ll never guess what they said!!!1!

Just kidding; you guessed.

Chaser:

For Democracy to Stay, the Filibuster Must Go

. . . .

In the upper chamber, a supermajority of 60 votes is required to pass even the most middling piece of legislation. That requirement is not found in the Constitution; it’s because of the filibuster, a centuries-old parliamentary tool that has been transformed into a weapon for strangling functional government.

This is a singular moment for American democracy, if Democrats are willing to seize it. Whatever grand principles have been used to sustain the filibuster over the years, it is clear as a matter of history, theory and practice that it vindicates none of them. If America is to be governed competently and fairly — if it is to be governed at all — the filibuster must go.

They are nothing if not consistent: we support whatever helps the Democrat.

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