The Jury Talks Back

2/15/2019

Video of George Washington Carver At Tuskegee University

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I love this video of George Washington Carver that is making the rounds.

It’s unsurprising that these wise words are attributed to Carver, given the life he lived and the history he made:

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”

–Dana

President Trump Declares National Emergency On Southern Border

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 1:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This morning, President Trump announced that he was declaring a national emergency on the Southern border. By doing this, it would allow him to access more funding money for his wall than what was in the compromise bill. Also, signing the bill would prevent another government shutdown:

President Trump declared a national emergency at the border on Friday to access billions of dollars to build a border wall that Congress refused to give him, transforming a highly charged policy dispute into a fundamental confrontation over separation of powers.

In a televised announcement in the Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said he would sign the declaration to protect the country from the flow of drugs, criminals and illegal immigrants coming across the border from Mexico, which he characterized as a profound threat to national security.

“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we’re going to do it one way or the other,” he said. “It’s an invasion,” he added. “We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country.”

But as he sought to deny that he was taking action because he could not persuade Congress to give him the money, he may have undercut his own argument that the border situation required urgent unilateral action. “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it faster,” he said. “I want to get it done faster, that’s all.”

The border emergency declaration, which Mr. Trump signed later in the day, enables Mr. Trump to divert $3.6 billion budgeted for military construction projects to the border wall, White House officials said. Mr. Trump will also use more traditional presidential budgetary discretion to tap $2.5 billion from counternarcotics programs and $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture fund.

Combined with the $1.375 billion authorized for fencing in a spending package passed by Congress on Thursday night, Mr. Trump would then have about $8 billion in all to advance construction of new barriers and repairs or replacement of existing barriers along the border this year, significantly more than the $5.7 billion that Congress refused to give him.

When the news came out yesterday that President Trump was planning on signing the compromise border security measure as well as declaring a national emergency in order to get more funding than the bill allotted, Republican senators voiced concerns about Constitutional violations and bypassing Congress:

“I wish he wouldn’t have done it,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who McConnell interrupted on the Senate floor to make his announcement. “If [Trump] figures that Congress didn’t do enough and he’s got to do it, then I imagine we’ll find out whether he’s got the authority to do it by the courts.”

“In general, I’m not for running the government by emergency, nor spending money. The Constitution’s pretty clear: spending originates and is directed by Congress,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who like almost everyone else on Capitol Hill wants more information. “So I’m not really for it.”

“I’m not enthusiastic about it, but I don’t know whether that’s actually going to happen, and if so, what follows from there. I don’t know what authority he may or may not invoke,” said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

“I have some concerns,” added Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). “There are ways you could transfer funds that I could be fully supportive of, and there are other ways that I’d have a lot of problems with.”

“I always kind of take pause to the assertion of executive power,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). “The main reason is it could detract attention away from the long-term solution that can only occur through an act of Congress.”

Sen. Marco Rubio also pushed back and warned about thwarting the Constitution:

We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution.

And here’s Susan Collins on the issue:

“I think it’s a mistake,” said Sen. Susan Collins, Republican of Maine. “The National Emergencies Act was contemplated to apply to natural disasters or catastrophic events such as the attacks on our country on 9/11. For the President to use it to re-purpose billions of dollars, that Congress has appropriated for other purposes that has previously signed into law, strikes me as undermining the appropriations process, the will of Congress and being of dubious constitutionality.”

The bill itself contains limitations that run counter to President Trump’s overall immigration wants.

Given Nancy Pelosi’s warning that the national emergency tables could eventually be turned against Republicans if the president went this route, we can be fairly certain now that this will happen:

“If the president can declare an emergency on something he has created as an emergency, an illusion that he wants to convey, just think about what a president with different values can present to the American people,” Pelosi said.

“You want to talk about a national emergency? Let’s talk about today,” Pelosi said, referring to the first anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead on Feb. 14, 2018.

She said the shooting was “another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America.”

“That’s a national emergency. Why don’t you declare that an emergency, Mr. President? I wish you would,” she said. “But a Democratic president can do that. A Democratic president can declare emergencies as well.”

The “national emergencies” that would seem to fit the bill for the Democrats might include climate change, income inequality, gun violence, and/or the opioid crisis.

Pelosi and Chuck Schumer together said:

“Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall. It is yet another demonstration of President Trump’s naked contempt for the rule of law.

Oh, yeah, and this:

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Sarah Sanders has confirmed that the president has signed the bill.

–Dana

2/14/2019

Andrew McCabe: Darn Right We Talked About Removing The President From Office

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 12:18 pm

[guest post by Dana]

During an interview with Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes, former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe opened up about his order for an investigation into President Trump after the 2016 election:

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that he ordered obstruction of justice and counterintelligence investigations into President Donald Trump after a conversation with him immediately after he fired James Comey as FBI director.

"I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and won the election for the presidency, and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage," McCabe said. "And that was something that troubled me greatly. "

One day after that conversation, McCabe said he "met with the team investigating the Russia cases."

"And I asked the team to go back and conduct an assessment to determine where are we with these efforts and what steps do we need to take going forward," he said. "I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground in an indelible fashion, that were I removed quickly and reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace."

"I wanted to make sure that our case was on solid ground," he continued. "And if somebody came in behind me and closed it and tried to walk away from it, they would not be able to do that without creating a record of why they'd made that decision."

Also, according to Pelley, McCabe also admitted that law enforcement and senior intelligence officials discussed whether Trump could be ousted under the 25th amendment:

…Pelley provided more details about the interview, including McCabe’s description of the aftermath of Comey’s firing, saying there were “meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment.”

“These were the eight days from Comey’s firing to the point that Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel,” he continued. “And the highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what do with the president.”

Interesting that they believed Mike Pence might be willing to sign on to removing Trump from office. Apparently, that Pence signed on to the Trump-Pence ticket in spite of the troubling revelations about Trump’s character wasn’t enough for McCabe to recognize Pence’s unwavering loyalty to Trump. Pence told Andrea Mitchell that he had no knowledge of any 25th amendment discussions, and said any such thing was “absurd”. He also said that he “”couldn’t be more proud” of Trump’s accomplishments in office, “and the words of a disgraced FBI agent won’t change that fact for the American people.””

Of course the president took to Twitter in response:

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The full interview on 60 Minutes is scheduled to air Feb. 17.

P.S. Andrew McCabe is currently promoting his new book “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump,” which is set to be released Feb. 19…

–Dana

2/11/2019

Acrostic Number 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:59 am

I made a puzzle! Visit the main page to see it and solve it. I can’t figure out how to reproduce it here.

NeverTrump Conservative: Trump Has Earned My Vote In 2020 Election

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 7:37 am

[guest post by Dana]

This is rather surprising coming from Erick Erickson, who adopted the hashtag #NeverTrump in 2016 and subsequently voted third party in the presidential election. While admitting he still has concerns about Trump’s character (which hasn’t changed), he explains why he will be voting for him in the next election. He now says “there is much to like” about Trump and his policies.

President Trump delivered on tax reform. He delivered on regulatory rollbacks. He delivered on undermining Obamacare. He delivered on moving the embassy in Israel. He delivered on withdrawal from the Paris Accord. He delivered on withdrawal from the Iranian agreement. He delivered on shifting American foreign policy focus to the Western Hemisphere to deal with Venezuela, Cuba, and other hotspots. He delivered on solid executive appointments, including to the judiciary.

I have ongoing concerns on tariffs, the national direction on North Korea, and other issues, but even with George W. Bush I had issues. No President is perfect. Some are badly flawed. In 2020, we’ll be asked to choose between a set of sinners and must decide which direction we want to go as a nation.

I chose a third path in 2016 and the nation decided otherwise. Now, as we head into 2020, it is clear the paths forward are still between the Republicans and Democrats. The path of opting out or protesting now to me seems irrelevant as we have a President who is no longer a hypothetical against any of a host of Democrats who too extreme for the nation.

The contrast that he sees between the current administration’s direction for the country and that of the Democrats was significant in making his decision:

We have three years on which to judge President Trump’s administration and vision for the country. We also have lots of real world examples of where the Democrats want to head.

We have a party that is increasingly hostile to religion and now applies religious tests to blocking judicial nominees. We have a party that believes children can be murdered at birth. We have a party that would set back the economic progress of this nation by generations through their environmental policies. We have a party that uses the issue of Russia opportunistically. We have a party that has weaponized race, gender, and other issues to divide us all while calling the President “divisive.” We have a party that is deeply, deeply hostile to large families, small businesses, strong work ethics, gun ownership, and traditional values. We have a party that is more and more openly anti-Semitic.

The Democrats have increasingly determined to let that hostility shape their public policy. They are adamant, with a religious fervor, that one must abandon one’s deeply held convictions and values as a form of penance to their secular gods.

This seems to go to the heart of the matter for Erickson:

My friends in the center-right coalition who are flirting with Democrats are, more often than not, not really socially conservative. But I am. That party offers me no home and is deeply hostile to people of faith. The President has shown himself to not share my faith convictions any more than the other side, but the President has shown he is willing to defend my faith convictions and is supportive of them.

I could stay home or vote third party as I did in 2016. But what will that get me? The ability to say “not my problem” or the self-assurance that I didn’t get dirty in having to choose? I have many Christian friends who, when I have discussed this, tell me I should just stay home and turn my back. Both parties, they tell me, are profoundly corrupt. And they’re right. But I am not looking for a messiah in politics and don’t have some religious sentiment tied to my vote. While I understand and accept the sincere conviction of some of my friends who have decided they will just sit out the process, I have decided otherwise. In 2016, we knew who the Democrats were and were not sure of who Donald Trump was. Now we know both and I prefer this President to the alternative.

–Dana

2/10/2019

Gov. Northam: I Am The Moral Compass Virginia Needs. Um, Those “Indentured Servants” Might Think Otherwise…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 2:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Gov. Northam continues to make the case against himself even worse than it already is. Today he was interviewed by Gayle King, of all people, on CBS This Morning. During the interview, and demonstrating an utter lack of self-awareness, the governor reminded Americans that 400 years ago the state’s first indentured servants from Africa seeking better job opportunities, arrived on Virginia’s shores. He also reiterated that he would not be resigning because he is the self-ordained Moral Compass that the state of Virginia needs to heal from the gaping wound…inflicted by him and the state’s other two top executives. Dear God. If the same advisers that advised the governor to read “Roots” as part of his rehabilitation, also advised him to go on CBS This Morning, then not only should Northam moonwalk his way out of the governorship asap, but his advisers should be sacked as well. It is, at the very least, a cringe-worthy watch.

First:

Northam, a pediatric neurologist and third-term abortion enthusiast, enraged Americans after he announced support for delegate Kathy Tran’s proposed legislation which sought to remove the last remaining protections for unborn babies in the third trimester. Northam not only supported her legislation, but also talked about post-abortion births during an interview and described how babies who dared to survive a third trimester abortion would be made um, comfortable while their fate was decided by the birth-mother and doctor. After the ensuing outrage over his comments, Northam indignantly tweeted: “I have devoted my life to caring for children and any insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting.” And now, he claims that because he is a doctor, he is the moral compass Virginia needs…

Virginia needs someone that can heal. There’s no better person to do that than a doctor. Virginia also needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage and who has a moral compass. And that’s why I’m not going anywhere.

Best of luck, Virginia.

–Dana

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 88

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 11:42 am

It is the fifth Sunday after Epiphany. Today’s Bach cantata is “Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden” (Behold, I will send out many fishers).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 5:1-11:

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

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

Behold, I will send out many fishers, says the Lord, which shall angle for them. And afterwards I will send out many hunters, who shall pursue them upon all the mountains and all the hills and in all the rocky crevices.

. . . .

Jesus said to Simon:

Do not be afraid; for from now on you will catch people.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

2/9/2019

AOC Adviser Lies About Green New Deal FAQ Sheet, Blames Republicans For Doctoring Document

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 1:05 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Well, this is dumb.

Two days ago I posted about the Green New Deal, and in the post I included excerpts transcribed from the Green New Deal FAQ via Alexendria Ocasio-Cortez’s website (and is still in the cloud), which is now a dead link. I also loaded a copy from NPR’s website, as did any number of bloggers writing about the launch.

With that, there is an interesting clip from Tucker Carlson’s show about the document. One of Carlson’s guests was Robert Hockett, a Cornell public policy and law professor and adviser to Ocasio-Cortez. In the exchange, Carlson asks Hockett about a specific guarantee made in the New Green Deal FAQ which states Building on FDR’s Second Bill of Rights by guaranteeing: Economic Security for all who are unable or unwilling to work. In the clip, Hockett claims that the FAQ released on Ocasio-Cortez’s website never said that. It did.

Here is the clip of Hockett making the false claim via a snarky tweet from Andrew Lawrence of Media Matters:

Carlson: How will we ever pay people who are, quote, unwilling to work?

Hockett: We never would, right? And AOC has never said anything like that, right? I think you’re referring to some sort of document – I think some sort of doctored document that somebody other than us has been circulating.

Carlson: Oh, I thought that came right from her – that was in the backgrounder from her office is my understanding.

Hockett: No, no. She’s actually tweeted it out to laugh at, if you look at her latest tweets. It seems apparently some Republicans have put it out there. I don’t know the details.

AOC also retweeted Andrew Lawrence’s tweet and clip of Carlson and Hockett on her official Twitter page:

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Except, the problem is Hockett is wrong. The original FAQ clearly made the claim of a guarantee of economic security for anyone unwilling to work. Jeryl Bier, who never seems to miss a beat, has a screenshot of the original document saved from AOC’s own website:

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And here is the archived version,

Moreover, here is a snapshot of it linked by NPR’s website, which clearly includes the debated guarantee:

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NPR clarifies that an updated FAQ was released by AOC’s office, and if you hit the link, the updated version also includes a guarantee of economic security to anyone…unwilling to work:

In addition, the framework, as described in the legislation as well as a blog post — containing an updated version of “FAQs” provided to NPR by Ocasio-Cortez’s office — calls for a variety of other lofty goals.

Also, CNBC reported on the guarantee as well:

The Green New Deal that Democrats proposed Thursday looks to create a more environmentally sound country with economic benefits for everyone — even those who don’t want to work.

An overview circulated by proponents states the plan seeks a “massive transformation of our society” that could rid the country of fossil fuels and “create millions of family supporting-wage [sic] union jobs.”

But for those not interested in working, there’s something in the plan as well.

The overview notes that the Green New Deal aims to provide “economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.”

Jonathan Chait wrote in NY Mag:

The operating principle behind the Green New Deal is a no-enemies-to-the-left spirit of fostering unity among every faction of the progressive movement. Thus, at the same time, the plan avoids taking stances that are absolutely vital to reduce carbon emissions, it embraces policies that have nothing to do with climate change whatsoever. The Green New Deal includes the following non-climate provisions:

–A job with family-sustaining wages, family and medical leave, vacations, and retirement security

–High-quality education, including higher education and trade schools

–High-quality health care

–Safe, affordable, adequate housing

–An economic environment free of monopolies

–Economic security to all who are unable or unwilling to work

And finally, from from the Heartland Institute, GREEN NEW DEAL: FACT SHEET AND FAQ FROM REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ AND SEN. EDWARD MARKEY:

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Via Jerry Dunleavy, here is AOC’s Chief of Staff explaining that “mistakes were made”:

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Dunleavy follows up by asking the correct question:

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Sure, mistakes happen, but Hockett literally claimed that AOC never said that anyone unwilling to work would be guaranteed economic security, and that the document in question had been doctored by Republicans. And that, according to AOC’s own Chief of Staff, is a lie. And yet AOC herself tweeted out the lie. It seems to me, if we can’t trust the people that AOC is being advised by, how can we trust AOC? AOC should apologize for disseminating false information, and Hockett should apologize for lying and making a false accusation about Republicans.

Q: Why didn’t Tucker Carlson have his ducks in a row so he could confront Hockett??

UPDATE: The Daily Caller reports that Robert Hockett acknowledged his error this afternoon:

“It appears there was more than one document being discussed yesterday, only one of which I had heard about with any definiteness by last evening after a long day of media appearances – namely, the one referred to by the Congresswoman in her tweet,” he wrote. “I regret that we seem unknowingly to have ended up speaking about different documents for a minute during our longer and otherwise ‘on-the-same-page’ conversation last night.”

I would like to see an apology specifically addressed to Republicans, since they are the ones falsely accused of doctoring a document and then intentionally disseminating it for less than honorable purposes. It’s not that Republicans necessarily need an apology, but because Republicans step in their own piles of crap enough on their own, it would be nice to have it on record that this was not of their making, as Hockett claimed. And it would be good for Hockett to make a public apology to Republicans, since he publicly named and blamed them.

Further, it’s unfortunate that Andrew Lawrence, Sr. Researcher at Media Matters still has his misleading tweet up on his Twitter page. But hey, Media Matters… He did, however, retweet this from Hockett:

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Also, this afternoon, after having re-tweeted Andrew Lawrence’s misleading tweet, AOC tweeted:

aoc

–Dana

2/8/2019

Still Tumbling Down The Virginia Rabbit Hole: Gov. Northam’s Image Rehab Includes Reading “Roots”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:15 pm

[guest post by Dana]

You have got to be kidding me.

In spite of calls for his resignation by a few prominent Democrats, including Rev. Al Sharpton and the Virginia black legislative caucus, Gov. Northam of Virginia is digging in and refusing to resign. He is now on a mission to repair his image as he tries to make amends for having offended so many Virginians. While at first admitting that he was in the racist yearbook photograph, and then later denying it, he’s now working with a P.R. firm to do damage control.

In the interest of brevity, here’s the set-up and the kicker:

His office has begun to explore how it might recalibrate Northam’s legislative agenda to focus closely on race and equality, sources close to the governor tell BuzzFeed News. The move would mark a brazen attempt to hang onto his office by shifting the conversation away from Northam’s admission of having once worn blackface and his denials that he is featured in the racist yearbook photo, either as the person in blackface or the person in a Klan outfit. Northam’s policy team is looking at crafting a set of proposals based on the premise that the governor’s mistakes have rendered him keenly aware of inequity and the lack of justice faced by black Virginians 400 years after the first African people arrived in the Commonwealth, at Point Comfort, in 1619.

The centerpiece proposal is not complete in its scope or in terms of what it will seek to accomplish. But there are many possibilities being considered for a broad platform: increasing resources for affordable housing; setting new, more equitable standards in small business procurement; implementing programs that expand economic opportunity for entrepreneurs; pumping money into public services like education and transportation.

“Now that he knows better he is going to do better,” a Northam adviser said.

[…]

Northam doesn’t plan to hold any more press conferences any time soon. Advisers are in the midst of negotiations with major networks for a nationally televised interview they hope will humanize him. Additionally, his advisers have assigned the governor homework: He’s begun to read Alex Haley’s “Roots”, and “The Case for Reparations,” the seminal essay in The Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

How is it possible that a 59-year old governor of Virginia does not know just about everything one needs to know about racism in America, and, particularly, in his very own state? As ridiculous as this all seems, Northam’s rehab efforts might actually work now that there has been a second accusation of sexual assault leveled against Lt. Gov. Fairfax.

–Dana

Second Woman Accuses Lt. Gov. Fairfax Of Sexual Assault (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:09 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This time it’s an accusation of rape being made by a former college classmate, Meredith Watson:

Lawyers for Meredith Watson released a statement Friday saying that she was raped by Fairfax while they were both Duke University students in 2000, and called for Fairfax’s resignation.

Here is a statement released by her lawyers:

We serve as counsel for Meredith Watson, who was raped by Justin Fairfax in 2000, while they were both students at Duke University. Mr. Fairfax’s attack was premeditated and aggressive. The two were friends but never dated or had any romantic relationship.

Ms. Watson shared her account of the rape with friends in a series of emails and Facebook messages that are now in our possession. Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her.

Ms. Watson was upset to learn that Mr. Fairfax raped at least one other woman after he attacked her. The details of Ms. Watson’s attack are similar to those described by Dr. Vanessa Tyson.

At this time, Ms. Watson is reluctantly coming forward out of a strong sense of civic duty and her belief that those seeking or serving in public office should be of the highest character. She has no interest in becoming a media personality or reliving the trauma that has greatly affected her life. Similarly, she is not seeking any financial damages.

On behalf of our client, we have notified Justin Fairfax through his attorneys that Ms. Watson hopes he will resign from public office.

The law firm said that Fairfax has been made aware of this accusation. So far he has not commented on this latest allegation.

The accusation by Watson comes only days after Dr. Vanessa Tyson released a statement describing what happened between her and Fairfax. Interestingly, witnesses say that Dr. Tyson told them about the encounter with Fairfax:

In separate interviews Thursday and Friday, five friends of Dr. Tyson said she told them of the encounter either in late 2017, early 2018 or last Fall. One, a mutual friend of Dr. Tyson and Mr. Fairfax, who asked not to be named to protect his own privacy, said he dated Dr. Tyson in the late 1990s and believed her account. Given her experience with abuse as a child, he said, she was not the type of person to become intimate in the way she described with someone she had just met.

Remember, too, that it was reported that Tyson told her story to Democratic representative as well:

Dr. Tyson’s account was also partly corroborated late Wednesday night by Representative Bobby Scott, Democrat of Virginia, whose aides said Dr. Tyson told the congressman a year ago that she had made an allegation of sexual assault against Mr. Fairfax, without offering details.

UPDATE: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has denied the latest allegation made against him:

I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation. It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever. I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations. Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth. I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide. I have passed two full field background checks by the FBI and run for office in two highly contested elections with nothing like this being raised before. IT is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me.

–Dana

A Few News Items

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:07 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Just going to leave these right here.

1) Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker before the House Judiciary Committee said he did not interfer in the Russia inquiry:

The hearing quickly turned contentious as the committee chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler, pressed Mr. Whitaker for details about when he had been briefed about the special counsel investigation and the acting attorney general refused to answer.

But under pressure from the chairman, Mr. Whitaker made news: He testified that he had not talked to Mr. Trump or senior White House officials about information: “I do not believe that I have briefed third-party individuals outside of the Department of Justice. I’ve received the briefings myself, and I’m usually the endpoint at that information.”

Mr. Whitaker ultimately declared that though he had been briefed, he had followed “the special counsel’s regulations to a T.”

2) Gov. Northam of Virginia staying put?:

A close associate of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) says he doesn’t expect the governor to resign over the emergence of a racist photo in a past yearbook and his disclosure that he had once worn blackface.

Republican state Sen. Richard Stuart, a close friend of the governor who has talked with Northam told Politico that Northam “knows what he has to do” to remain in office.

“He’s not leaving,” said Stuart. “He understands he has to stand up and face this. He knows what he has to do. He’s staying.”

3) Gov. Northam cuts deal with Republicans. Anything to stay in office, eh?:

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and Republican lawmakers said Friday they’ve agreed on a tax deal that will return nearly $1 billion to Virginians.

The agreement, reached unusually early in Virginia’s often contentious budget-writing process, would:

Give taxpayers a credit of $110 for individuals — $220 for couples filing jointly — to be distributed in October, the month before this year’s state elections in which all 100 House and 40 state Senate seats are up for a vote.

Increase the state standard deduction from $3,000 to $4,500 for individuals and from $6,000 to $9,000 for couples, to take effect with next year’s tax filings.

Retain the current deduction on state and local taxes, instead of adopting the $10,000 cap in last year’s federal tax changes.

Those changes, mainly a doubling of the federal standard deduction, would generate a roughly $1.1 billion flood of money this year and next into state coffers without any changes in Virginia law.

Jim Geraghty suggests this is why Northam went for the deal:

Why did Northam agree to the deal? Watching almost every member of his party in the state call for his resignation may have made him less motivated to fight for their priorities – particularly when his former allies take a less-adamant stance regarding scandals involving the lieutenant governor and state attorney general. Northam is reportedly toying with the idea of leaving the Democratic Party and governing as an independent. For Virginia Republicans, Northam may be transforming into the best of both worlds for them – a governor so damaged, he feels pressure to sign their priorities into law, but who is also simultaneously an albatross to Democrats.

4) Jeff Bezos fights back [excerpts]:

Something unusual happened to me yesterday. Actually, for me it wasn’t just unusual — it was a first. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or at least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing. Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.

[…]

From: Howard, Dylan [dhoward@amilink.com] (Chief Content Officer, AMI)
Sent: Tuesday, February 5, 2019 3:33 PM
To: Martin Singer (litigation counsel for Mr. de Becker)
Subject:. Jeff Bezos & Ms. Lauren Sanchez Photos

CONFIDENTIAL & NOT FOR DISTRIBIUTION

[I]n the interests of expediating this situation, and with The Washington Post poised to publish unsubstantiated rumors of The National Enquirer’s initial report, I wanted to describe to you the photos obtained during our newsgathering.

In addition to the “below the belt selfie — otherwise colloquially known as a ‘d*ck pick’” — The Enquirer obtained a further nine images. These include: (very intimate photos of both Bezos and his girlfriend )

It would give no editor pleasure to send this email. I hope common sense can prevail — and quickly.

[…]

In the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”

If we do not agree to affirmatively publicize that specific lie, they say they’ll publish the photos, and quickly. And there’s an associated threat: They’ll keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future if we ever deviate from that lie.

AMI promises to “promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims” made by Bezos”. And now federal prosecutors are reportedly involved and investigating how the National Enquirer handled the story.

–Dana

2/7/2019

Women’s Advocacy Groups Largely Silent On Sexual Assault Allegation Against Virginia’s Lt. Gov.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:04 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It’s been fascinating during this age of #MeToo, #BelieveSurvivors, and #TIMESUP to watch women’s advocacy groups caught between a rock and a hard spot with regard to the allegations of sexual assault made against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of Virginia. I’ve been wondering where the women on the left side of the aisle disappeared to. Considering Democrats unarguably have a monopoly on women in today’s Congress, the silence is surprising. To be fair, freshman representative Jennifer Wexton of Virginia was first to break ranks with her Democratic sisters and voice her support for Vanessa Tyson after the release of her statement. However, she did not call for Fairfax’s resignation. Today Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who found Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation against Brett Kavanaugh disqualifying, also expressed support for Tyson but did not call for Fairfax to resign.

Gillibrand, who didn’t hesitate to condemn Kavanaugh when the allegation was made against him, also led the charge to oust the Sen. Al Franken, citing her zero-tolerance policy stand:

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), the first Democratic senator to call for Franken’s resignation, lost campaign donors over the matter. But she has defended her decision on grounds that a zero-tolerance policy is both morally and politically right and that multiple women had come forward on Franken before she made her declaration.

And yet now with Fairfax, she has declined to call for his ousting. Apparently the definition of zero-tolerance is malleable.

Women’s advocacy groups overall have been silent about the Fairfax scandal. Just one group has called for Fairfax to resign as a result of Tyson’s public statement:

The National Organization for Women (NOW) calls on Justin Fairfax to remove himself from the line of succession by resigning his office.

Dr. Vanessa Tyson has made the brave decision to come forward and reveal in her own words what happened between her and Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Her story is horrifying, compelling and clear as day – and we believe her.

We believe and support survivors. We always believe and support survivors.

This is more important than who is going to be the next governor of Virginia. This isn’t about politics. It’s about a woman who has experienced sexual assault – a serious crime – at the hands of a powerful man, who is now attacking her character. In order to tear down the systemic and toxic sexism in this country, we must speak out against it.

However premature they might be in assuming Fairfax is guilty, they are at least consistent in their claims to “always believe” alleged survivors.

This afternoon, the Women’s March weighed in but stopped short of calling for Fairfax’s resignation. The Women’s March believed that even before Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations, Kavanaugh was disqualified to sit on the Court. Her allegation only sealed the deal.

So why no calls for Fairfax to resign by those who were quick to call for other lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct to resign simply based on an allegation? Why, politics, of course.

Leading sexual assault advocates say their approach has been driven, in large part, by a desire to respect the wishes of the alleged survivor. But the hesitancy of women’s advocacy groups to jump into one of the central debates of the moment has begun to grate on some who wonder whether things would be different if Fairfax were not a Democrat and a rising star in the party.

“It’s messed up,” said Zerlina Maxwell, a progressive cable news pundit and former staffer on the Hillary Clinton campaign. “It is a hard thing to call for someone to resign. It is a hard thing when somebody who is beloved by the party and who is ideologically similar to you does a bad thing and faces consequences. But if we’re going to be the party that actually lives up to what we say and stand for, there have to be consequences.”

Obviously if Democrats want to be the party that actually lives up to what they say and stand for, then Gov. Northam and Atty. General Herringer, both of whom have wholly admitted to their bad behavior, would have already voluntarily exited stage left.

Prominent advocacy groups for women are citing that ultimate leftwing litmus test, abortion, as their reason for sitting this one out:

But more prominent institutions, like the Democratic National Committee, NARAL, EMILY’s List and the Women’s March, have either avoided the issue or engaged cautiously. A staffer at EMILY’s List said the organization has weighed in on some sexual assault allegations, like those against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, because the people involved were in a position to affect women’s abortion rights, which is their central policy concern. Otherwise, they try to keep their focus only on electing Democratic women.

[…]

Amanda Thayer, a representatives for NARAL, a pro-choice advocacy group, said Thursday that the group found the allegations “deeply disturbing” and were “watching it very closely.”

Unbelievable. So allegations of sexual assault by elected officials only matter to this powerful women’s group if it impacts their bottom line of abortion rights. What a way to value all women. Hey, sister, too bad you may have been sexually assaulted, but your allegation means nothing to us because the elected official you’ve accused can’t help further our cause. Oh, and maybe you better put some ice on that.

Contrast the reactions to the Fairfax allegation with those accused of similar behavior on the right side of the aisle:

The approach stands in contrast to how many of these groups have handed issues of sexual assault in politics in the past. NARAL and the Women’s March were highly critical of then-Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore when he was accused of molesting teenage girls. And they weighed in early and critically on the Kavanaugh allegations. Both groups helped promote an event on September 24 when women wore black, walked out of their offices at 1 pm and chanted “believe survivors” in support of Christine Blasey Ford and the #MeToo movement at large.

Activists insist that the hesitation to act similarly with regards to the Fairfax allegations is not due to political considerations. They note that Tyson had not consented to her name being made public before her story was published by a right wing news site, and that she had called for privacy when she eventually told her own story.

“I believe strongly that survivors should determine when, and how, and in what form they tell their story. The fact that her story appeared on a blog, not driven by her, with her picture on there, that totally goes against any approach that would be survivor centered,” said Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO National Women’s Law Center. “The second thing is, I was especially moved by her letter, including her request that she be able to do what she wants to do in terms of engage in her work and lead a private life.”

This is interesting when one considers that Diane Feinstein claims to have respected Blasey Ford’s request for confidentiality, and yet she, or someone in her office leaked the “confidential” letter:

In July, Palo Alto University psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford wrote a letter to her senator, Dianne Feinstein, detailing a harrowing sexual-assault claim against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In her letter, Ford requested that Feinstein keep the information “confidential,” writing that she feared the ramifications of speaking out — but also that she felt “guilty and compelled as a citizen about the idea of not saying anything.” Feinstein respected her wishes, keeping both the letter and the accusation private.

Feinstein’s own office said after the breach of confidentiality:

Senator Feinstein was given information about Judge Kavanaugh through a third party. The Senator took these allegations seriously and believed they should be public. However, the woman in question made it clear she did not want this information to be public. It is critical in matters of sexual misconduct to protect the identity of the victim when they wish to remain anonymous, and the senator did so in this case.

M’kay.

Lastly, there is the issue of identity politics. Rather than caution being exercised because it’s just an allegation at this point, the silence you hear is because the accused’s skin color is black. And optics are everything:

One female progressive activist, who asked not to be named, said that the community was also cognizant of racial sensitivities involved in the story.

“There is an issue of how black men, particularly in the south, are treated around issues of assault and harassment,” the activist said. “They don’t want to turn this into an issue of feminists versus black men.”

The utter inconsistencies and abysmal reasoning behind the treatment of politicians accused of sexual misconduct only gives weight to the old adage that it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. And in this case, that’s an unattractive look.

–Dana

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