The Jury Talks Back

12/10/2018

Lawsuit Claims NYPD Forced Woman To Give Birth While Shackled To Bed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 12:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

A 27-year old woman who went into labor while in police custody has filed a lawsuit against NYPD claiming that she was forced to go through her labor while in restraints:

When a woman who was 40 weeks pregnant went into labor last February inside a police holding cell in the Bronx, officers took her to a hospital. Once inside, they handcuffed her wrists to the bed and shackled her ankles.

Doctors at Montefiore Medical Center warned that the restraints were illegal in New York and posed serious risks for a woman in labor, but the officers said the department’s Patrol Guide required them to restrain her, superseding state law, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday.

The woman, then 27, struggled for nearly an hour in excruciating labor on Feb. 8 before the officers yielded and removed some of the restraints [10 minutes before she delivered her daughter], according to the complaint filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan. She delivered the baby with her right hand still cuffed to the hospital bed.

The woman, who asked the court for anonymity, saying the experience had humiliated and traumatized her and had left her unable to tell her family, was identified only as Jane Doe in court papers.

According to ABC News:

“Against the vehement protests of medical staff, the NYPD refused to remove the shackles, compelling Ms. Doe to labor in excruciating pain and forcing doctors to examine Ms. Doe with her feet and hands bound,” the lawsuit states[.]

The report also notes that the woman claims she:

…heard doctors at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx “express concern” both that the baby was “in some distress” during the delivery, and that she “experienced heavy bleeding” after the delivery[.]

Police officers present were allegedly following the directive of their supervisor :

When medical staff at Montefiore informed Officer John Stalikas of the New York’s law, he responded that they were “following procedures” laid out in the Patrol Guide, according to the suit. Stalikas then called his supervisor, Sergeant John Coca, who allegedly confirmed that NYPD rules dictated the woman be restrained. These conversations are backed up by medical records, the suit claims.

Also, according to the lawsuit:

[The plaintiff] seeks damages for a violation of the woman’s civil rights and asks that the Police Department change its policies to ensure that its officers never shackle a pregnant woman in custody again. “Shackling is a dehumanizing, cruel and pointless practice that has no place in New York City in 2018,” the suit said.

Medical professionals are in agreement that the practice of using such restraints on women during labor and delivery can endanger both the mother and baby:

The woman’s complaint, which names several officers and the Police Department itself, said the shackling of Ms. Doe violated a 2015 state law that bars the use of restraints on a woman during pregnancy or delivery and during the eight-week postpartum recovery period.

Her treatment by the officers defied a consensus among professional groups like the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that using restraints like handcuffs, shackles and belly chains on pregnant women can cause complications and may interfere with doctors’ efforts to treat them, according to the complaint.

While there are women in prison specifically because of the hideous, unspeakable things they have done to their own offspring, and that there is every reason for law enforcement to be concerned about any prisoner attempting an escape while out of their cell, and possibly harming others, the 27-year old in this case was charged with a (non-violent) misdemeanor concerning a family dispute with her ex-partner. A dispute that happened five months prior to her arrest (which took place two days before her due date) and saw her go into active labor while still in the holding cell. It is a question of how to best protect the both health and welfare of the prisoner and her soon-to-arrive baby, as well as that of law enforcement, medical professionals, and the public at large.

Geraldine Doetzer’s report, Hard Labor: The Legal Implications of Shackling Female Inmates During Pregnancy and Childbirth, which was published in the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, “analyzes both states’ justifications for shackling policies as well as the Constitutional and human rights arguments that have been posed by inmates and their advocates for eliminating the use of physical restraints during pregnancy and childbirth.” In part:

The shackling policies themselves hearken back to an era when convicted women were considered morally subhuman and evidence of sexual activity was especially condemned. Many jurisdictions fail to modify restraint policies to accommodate pregnancy, suggesting an indifference to the special needs of female inmates that dates back to a custodial era. Beyond the fact that shackling policies do not fully accommodate the uniquely female experiences involved with childbearing, they also fail to take into account other differences between male and female inmates that would seem to make shackling female inmates generally less necessary. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “women are substantially more likely than men to be serving time for a drug offense and less likely to have been sentenced for a violent crime.” Female inmates also generally have shorter, less violent criminal histories than male inmates: men are twice as likely as women to be violent recidivists and more than half of male prisoners have committed two or fewer offenses, compared to two-thirds of female prisoners. Furthermore, many of the violent crimes committed by women are perpetrated against current or former partners who had sexually or physically abused them.

Based on these facts, the average woman inmate seems to represent a reduced security risk. In addition, women are typically sentenced to shorter prison terms,64 which correlates to a reduced overall risk of flight. This, combined with the reality that pregnant women – not to mention those in active labor – are physically much less able to mount an attack or escape attempt, suggests that the proffered justifications for shackling pregnant inmates are based on a correctional model that was designed for men.

Dr. Carolyn Sufrin, an OB-GYN at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who has delivered the babies of incarcerated women was asked during an interview whether there was any rationale for shackling these women:

From a medical perspective, no. There are very clear medical risks involved, which have to do with the need of women to move about freely, both for pain control but also if there’s an emergency. Then there is the common-sense perspective: What is the risk that a woman is a threat to society or a flight risk in between painful contractions? But from the custody side, they see everything as a potential risk that she is going to run off or a risk to public safety. But that’s all laced with the punitive aspect of chains as well—there’s that subtle, “Well, look what she did to deserve this.” It speaks to the way the system is set up to view incarcerated people as less than human, and to apply the same logic to a pregnant female prisoner that they might to a male prisoner.

The bi-partisan, criminal justice reform bill known as the First Step Act, which is backed by President Trump, would ban the shackling of women at all federal facilities during pregnancy, labor and postpartum recovery.

One of the planks of the pro-life community’s argument against abortion is that when pregnancy occurs, the issue is no longer just about one life. It now involves another life. The most vulnerable and innocent of lives. Therefore, to have an abortion is to willfully take that innocent life. The pro-life community fights for that innocent life to be protected from enduring an agonizing death, and to be given the opportunity to be born as fully intact as possible. The very sanctity of life. Thus, if a pregnant inmate is shackled, especially with feet bound during her labor and delivery, that does anything but ensure that the baby is being given the optimum opportunity to be born safely, with the least amount of problems. In fact, the very practice endangers and threatens the safety of the most vulnerable among us. Given that both parties are obviously inextricably linked, if the mother is endangered, so too is her baby waiting to be born. Shouldn’t the call then be to protect all life? The treatment of the incarcerated woman during labor and delivery directly impacts whether or not her baby will be ushered safely into the world. And why should an innocent life once again be put in such jeopardy, only to face the real possibility of paying the price for that which they had no control?

–Dana

A Vacation from White People

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:16 am

This is sad. It is a story about a group of black women who have paid to go on a vacation in Costa Rica billed as an escape from having to be around white people.

I watched the whole thing, expecting it to make me angry, but instead I was alternately interested, amused, and saddened. I was interested because there was a mixture of valid complaints (white people calling these women articulate and touching their hair) and invalid ones (assuming that all Trump supporters are racist). The amusement stemmed from a retreat in which the participants engage in yoga, meditation, eating vegan, and enjoying nature. I can just hear some comedian saying that these people are escaping from white people by doing the whitest activities possible. But, of course, such a joke is based on a stereotype of white people, and the experience of these black people shows that they too can defy the stereotype about “white” activities just as they would defy stereotypes whites might hold about them. That’s interesting too. But the sad part is seeing how willing they are to engage in stereotypes about whites, and how eager they are to retreat from whites, even as they smash other stereotypes.

Obviously, I think such retreats are a bad idea. But it’s more complicated and subtle — and sad — than simply taking a position “what if white people did this?” That’s the easy (and somewhat lazy) reaction. The harder reaction is to take these folks seriously, and yet not to give in to their stereotyping. To refuse to stereotype them, but forgive them for stereotyping us, and try to understand why they do.

12/9/2018

Andrew C. McCarthy: Trump Is “Very Likely” to Be Indicted

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 2:23 pm

Andrew C. Carthy has issued a very surprising opinion: that Donald Trump is “very likely to be indicted” on a campaign finance violation:

The major takeaway from the 40-page sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutors Friday for Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, is this: The president is very likely to be indicted on a charge of violating federal campaign finance laws.

It has been obvious for some time that President Trump is the principal subject of the investigation still being conducted by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Cohen earlier pleaded guilty to multiple counts of business and tax fraud, violating campaign finance law, and making false statements to Congress regarding unsuccessful efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Yes, Cohen has stated he did the hands-on work in orchestrating hush-money payments to two women who claim to have had sexual liaisons with Trump many years ago (liaisons Trump denies).

But when Cohen pleaded guilty in August, prosecutors induced him to make an extraordinary statement in open court: the payments to the women were made “in coordination with and at the direction of” the candidate for federal office – Donald Trump.

Prosecutors would not have done this if the president was not on their radar screen.

I can’t say I agree, especially given the guidance that the Justice Department still follows on the question of indicting a sitting president:

The indictment or cnminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.

Attachment:

op-olc-v024-p0222_0.pdf

In the .pdf, the DoJ circa 2000 takes another look at the DoJ’s 1973 opinion concluding that DoJ should not indict a sitting president, and agrees with it. Here is what McCarthy says about that:

Justice Department guidance holds that a sitting president may not be indicted. If prosecutors in the Southern District of New York believe they have a case against the president, must they hold off until after he is out of office?

If President Trump were to win re-election, he would not be out of office until 2024, when the five-year statute of limitations on a 2016 offense would have lapsed.

More importantly, do campaign finance violations qualify as “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which is the constitutional standard for impeachment? It is hard to imagine an infraction that the Justice Department often elects not to prosecute is sufficiently egregious to rise to that level, but the debate on this point between partisans would be intense.

Those are all questions for another day. The point for this day is that the Cohen case in New York City is not about Cohen. The president is in peril of being charged.

I don’t see how this set of questions takes guidance that no indictment should be pursued, and turns it into a “very likely” event.

If McCarthy is going to maintain this position, he needs to explain this better.

P.S. To me, one of the major takeaways of the past few days is to emphasize the national security risk that Trump’s presidency represents. Think about it: Michael Cohen and the Russian government have now confirmed that Cohen lied to Congress about the extent and duration of Cohen’s contacts with the Kremlin on behalf of the Trump Organization to pursue Trump Tower Moscow, during the Trump/Hillary general election season. What this means is that, when Cohen lied to Congress on behalf of Donald Trump, not only did Trump know Cohen had lied, but the Kremlin did as well — even as the public was kept in the dark.

This is almost the definition of a national security risk. And, together with the Russians’ knowledge of earlier public lies by Michael Flynn, it could help to explain Donald Trump’s curious, persistent, and almost pathological refusal to criticize Vladimir Putin, for anything.

P.P.S. But does any of this matter to Trump superfans? Trump is betting it doesn’t:

That’s a pretty good bet, as the comments from Trump superfans in the comments below will likely demonstrate.

Sunday Afternoon Music: A Selection from Handel’s Messiah

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 1:38 pm

As you will remember from my Bach cantata post this morning, today’s Gospel reading is Luke 3:1-6:

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.

And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

With that passage being today’s message, I did not want to let the day pass without sharing with you this selection from Handel’s Messiah:

Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry moutain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain.

Note at places like 1:19 when the tenor sings “the crooked straight.” The melodic line for the word “crooked” is crooked; the melodic line for the word “straight” is straight (a single note, held).

Handel’s Messiah will be performed on December 16 at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. I’ll be there.

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 132

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 12:01 am

John the Baptist

It is the second Sunday of Advent. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn” (Prepare the paths, prepare the road).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 3:1-6:

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

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

Prepare the paths, prepare the road!
Prepare the paths,
and make the flagstones
in faith and life
completely level for the Highest,
Messiah approaches!

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

12/8/2018

Rex Tillerson’s Candid Comments About President Trump Are What Most Of Us Already Thought

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 12:11 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Former first secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who learned of his dismissal via a tweet from President Trump, had less than positive things to say about his former boss in an interview with CBS News’s Bob Schieffer this week. Tillerson openly discussed the President’s lack of self-discipline, and let’s call it laziness with regard to his obvious disinclination toward becoming a more educated leader:

“What was challenging for me coming from the disciplined, highly process-oriented ExxonMobil corporation,” Tillerson said, was “to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things, but rather just kind of says, ‘This is what I believe.’ ”

Tillerson said Trump believes he is acting on his instincts rather than relying on facts. But Tillerson seemed to suggest that it resulted in impulsiveness.

“He acts on his instincts; in some respects, that looks like impulsiveness,” Tillerson said. “But it’s not his intent to act on impulse. I think he really is trying to act on his instincts.”

Perhaps the most damning quote came when Tillerson talked about how Trump as president regularly attempted to do things that violated the law.

“So often, the president would say, ‘Here’s what I want to do, and here’s how I want to do it,’ ” Tillerson said, according to the Houston Chronicle, “and I would have to say to him, ‘Mr. President, I understand what you want to do, but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law [and treaties].’”

Is it really the “most damning quote” when it’s looked at more objectively and without an assumed intention to break the law: Anyone going into the presidency who has not been a student of history, has not attended law school, (nor has a firm grasp on civics) is going to be in the dark at some level when it comes to knowing what would or wouldn’t violate specific laws or treaties. So to say that President Trump “regularly attempted to do things that violated the law” may be true on one hand, on the other, it lacks a bit of context. But even when one takes that into consideration, I think we all know that President Trump, who has at his disposal any number of experts on any number of issues pertinent to executing his duties, has never been the least bit interested in taking advantage of these opportunities, for any reason.

No one who has been paying attention and isn’t bound by partisan loyalty should be surprised by Tillerson’s observations.

Finally, about Trump’s Twitter habits, Tillerson made a general observation, yet one which clearly included his former boss:

“I will be honest with you: It troubles me that the American people seem to want to know so little about issues — that they are satisfied with 128 characters,” Tillerson said.

Also not surprising, and simultaneously validating Tillerson’s point to some degree, President Trump picked up his phone and accessed that same 128-character vehicle to insult his former secretary of State:

trump

This is too easy: dumb as a rock? And who hired that “dumb as a rock” individual? Why, the person who famously bragged that he hired only “the very best people” of course! The back porch of the White House is now littered with those very best people! All hired by the same individual!

Exit question: Why do the “very best people” willingly accept a position in the Trump administration, when they know full-well that they too will be publicly humiliated by their boss when things go south? Perhaps this is a question Chief of Staff John Kelly will soon be pondering…

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Kelly is out by the end of the year.

12/7/2018

Glenn Reynolds: Members of FBI Should Go to Jail for Considering an Obstruction Investigation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 10:14 am

OK then! Glenn Reynolds today:

WELL, WELL: Even before Mueller was appointed, FBI opened investigation to “rein in” Trump. Note that they were planning an obstruction probe even before Comey was fired. Leaked to CNN because it’s friendly media, meaning they thought it was about to come out somewhere less friendly. This is huge, and people should go to jail.

Put this together with the collusion between the press and federal prosecutors and the “Deep State” narrative looks pretty solid.

People should go to jail!!! That’s strong language — especially since no charges have been filed against the FBI personnel involved … and any charges would be laughable and would not survive a moment of scrutiny by a judge, much less 12 jurors examining the evidence under a standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. What prompted this outburst? Let’s look at the article Glenn is talking about, to see about this discussion of an obstruction probe before Comey’s firing:

The obstruction probe was an idea the FBI had previously considered, but it didn’t start until after Comey was fired. The justification went beyond Trump’s firing of Comey, according to the sources, and also included the President’s conversation with Comey in the Oval Office asking him to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

So: Donald Trump says to the FBI director that he hopes Comey will “let this go,” which Comey reasonably interprets as Trump requesting that Comey drop an investigation into his former national security adviser — who was a top Trump campaign aide, and who has now given “substantial” cooperation to Bob Mueller about the Russia investigation and other matters, including an undisclosed criminal probe.

In response, the FBI considers opening an obstruction probe, but does not actually open it until Comey is fired.

And we are told that, as a result of this, people should go to jail.

Who should go to jail? The guy who tried to get the head of the FBI to drop an investigation into his crony? Why, no. Not that guy!

No, we are told, the people who should actually go to jail are [check notes] the people who talked about opening an obstruction probe after evidence of possible obstruction arose.

Look: reasonable people can disagree about whether Trump’s actions amount to obstruction, or whether it was appropriate for the FBI even to consider opening an obstruction investigation after Trump’s comment to Comey.

But saying that people should “go to jail” for discussing a possible obstruction probe is not even remotely a reasonable position. Go to jail for what? Based on what evidence?

You know, I am old enough to remember when, during the election, I was told that the civil service reining in Donald Trump was a good thing:

So if the choice in 2016 is between one bad candidate and another (and it is) the question is, which one will do the least harm. And, judging by the civil service’s behavior, that’s got to be Trump. If Trump tries to target his enemies with the IRS, you can bet that he’ll get a lot of pushback — and the press, instead of explaining it away, will make a huge stink. If Trump engages in influence-peddling, or abuses secrecy laws, you can bet that, even if Trump’s appointees sit atop the DOJ or FBI, the civil service will ensure that things don’t get swept under the rug. And if Trump wants to go to war, he’ll get far more scrutiny than Hillary will get — or, in cases like her disastrous Libya invasion, has gotten.

So the message is clear. If you want good government, vote for Trump — he’s the only one who will make this whole checks-and-balances thing work.

That was Glenn Reynolds on September 8, 2016. What happened to the praise for the notion of the much-vaunted Deep State being a tool to rein in an out-of-control Trump? Many people cited this column as a talking point for Trump. Notably, many of those same people are now suggesting that members of the horrific Deep State should be locked in a cage for talking about doing exactly what Reynolds suggested in September 2016 that they should do: rein in Trump when he showed signs of going out of control.

I like Glenn Reynolds, and my point here is not to say he’s a bad guy or to accuse him of hypocrisy. My point is twofold: 1) to chide him for absurdly saying that members of the FBI should “go to jail” for discussing an obstruction investigation when evidence of possible obstruction was obvious, and 2) to remind him of his position in September 2016 — and to say that, if he meant that, he should stop calling for members of the FBI to be locked up, and start applauding them for doing the job that he once said he wanted them to do.

That goes for everyone currently complaining about the Deep State who told us in 2016 that it was a feature and not a bug.

Trump Nominates Bill Barr for Attorney General

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:55 am

Great pick. The guy will have the greatest sense of humor of any Attorney General in generations. He might have trouble getting confirmed, though … a very problematic clip has emerged showing Barr with anger issues, a chauvinistic attitude towards women, and a troubling tendency to curse in public:

“Where are all those old-school women who could just take your day out on?” Tsk, tsk.

Wait, I’ve just been handed a note … it appears the Bill Barr actually being nominated is … Bill Barr, Attorney General under the late George H.W. Bush.

President Trump announced he will nominate William Barr to serve as the next attorney general. Mr. Trump broke the news Friday to reporters on the White House South Lawn on his way to Kansas City.

CBS News reported on Thursday that Barr, who served as attorney general under the late President George H.W. Bush, was a top contender for the role.

“I want to confirm that Bill Barr, one of the most respected jurists in the country, highly respected lawyer, former Attorney General under the Bush administration, a terrific man, a terrific person, a brilliant man,” Mr. Trump told reporters Friday. “I did not know him for – until recently when I went through the process of looking at people. He was my first choice from day one. Respected by Republicans. Respected by Democrats. He will be nominated for the United States attorney general and hopefully that process will go very quickly. And I think it will go very quickly.

The first question Big Media is asking, of course: will Barr be pro-Mueller or anti-Mueller? The New York Times tried to read the tea leaves yesterday:

Mr. Barr has criticized aspects of the Russia investigation, including suggesting that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, hired too many prosecutors who had donated to Democratic campaigns. Mr. Barr has also defended Mr. Trump’s calls for a new criminal investigation into his defeated 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, including over a uranium mining deal the Obama administration approved when she was secretary of state.

“There is nothing inherently wrong about a president calling for an investigation,” Mr. Barr told The New York Times last year. “Although an investigation shouldn’t be launched just because a president wants it, the ultimate question is whether the matter warrants investigation.”

Mr. Barr added then that he saw more basis for investigating the uranium deal than any supposed conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. “To the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the department is abdicating its responsibility,” he said.

Reading Mr. Barr’s comments, I can draw only one conclusion: he’s nowhere near as funny as the guy from the video clip above.

UPDATE: I’ve been handed another note: Bill Burr the comedian is Bill Burr, not Bill Barr. Thank goodness. I was having trouble finding him on YouTube!

12/6/2018

Female Democratic Senator: We’re Just Too Darn Smart!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 6:46 pm

[guest post by Dana]

To which I’m compelled to ask: You sure about that??

I’m enjoying focusing on the left side of the aisle these days. They just keep on giving! (Not that the Republicans don’t bring the ridiculous as well, but I’m intentionally ignoring that side of the aisle, for the moment.) So, on the heels of JVW’s terrific post concerning the too clever by half Kamala Harris, let me just remind you of what another prominent Democratic woman, who also had her sights set on the presidency, foolishly said to wealthy elite donors at a fundraiser in Manhattan. Foolish, yes, but almost certainly revealed the true heart of liberal progressives:

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

It seems to be baked in with female Democrats in politics, this compulsion to sneeringly dismiss others who hold views and beliefs different than their own as something less than. The presumption that what they say is truth and light, and the very insight needed at any given moment seems de rigueur within their ranks. This week, removing any doubt that this stunning arrogance is widespread and representative of liberals at large, is Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI). During a recent interview with Dahlia Lithwick at the “Bend Towards Justice” conference, Hirono, while answering a question about why the liberals haven’t reproduced the “focus and intensity” conservatives used to explain “why the courts matter, unfortunately also demonstrated that she learned nothing from Hillary’s infamous blunder. And how smart is that?

One of the things that we Democrats have a really hard time with is connecting people’s hearts instead of here (points to brain). We’re really good at shoving out information that touch people here (points to brain), not here (points to her heart). And I have been saying at all of our Democratic retreats that we need to speak to the heart, not in a manipulative way, not in a way that brings forth everybody’s fears and resentments, but truly to speak to the heart so people actually know that we’re actually on their side. We have a really hard time doing that and one of the reasons that was told to me at one of our retreats was that we Democrats know so much. That is true.

And we have to tell everybody how smart we are and so we have a tendency to be very left brain and we think, really? That is not how people make decisions. So one of the books I always bring up is “The Righteous Mind” by Jonathan Haidt where the image is of an elephant. And the elephant is making all the decisions – go right, go forward, whatever. There’s a rider on the elephant. The rider simply explains the elephant’s decisions. Republicans speak to the elephant, the Democrats speak to the rider. That is why we’re not speaking to people here (heart) and we’re just mainly going here and it’s a huge issue.

Got that? Democrats are just smarter than everyone else. They can’t help it. God just shone more brightly upon them. Or maybe they slipped out of the primordial ooze with an extra stash of brain cells. And if they can’t help being smarter than the rest of us, then we just can’t help being, you know, not as smart.

Yet it’s all pretty amusing when one considers how frequently everyone’s favorite daffy socialist niece, the newest darling of the left, regularly says the funniest things

Anyway, I thought I’d tie up the post with another female liberal progressive, who also has high hopes of becoming the (first female) President of the United States. [Ed. I could have told her this would happen, in spite of not being Hirono-smart…]:

[Elizabeth] Warren, a progressive who is widely expected to launch a presidential bid, faced criticism when she unveiled a video in October aimed at putting to rest questions about whether she has Native American heritage. The attempt to stand up to President Donald Trump’s attacks — he repeatedly calls her “Pocahontas” — seems to have backfired. The New York Times reported Thursday, “Advisers close to Ms. Warren say she has privately expressed concern that she may have damaged her relationships to Native American groups and her own standing with activists, particularly those who are racial minorities.”

I don’t know. Seems to me if these Democrats were as smart as they believe themselves to be, they would’ve studiously paid attention to Hillary Clinton during the campaign, and wouldn’t be saying and doing such dumb stuff themselves.

–Dana

12/4/2018

The Left Side Of The Aisle: Avenatti, Biden, And Of Course, Hillary…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:42 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Ready or not, 2020 is right around the corner. In an effort to avoid thinking about a possible Trump in 2020, I am choosing instead to post about the amusing haps on the left side of the political aisle. First, let me say this regarding the names popping up as possible contenders, and I say it with sneering gusto: These people

First, in a crushing announcement, Michael Avenatti informed America that he will not be throwing his hat into the ring after all. While claiming consideration of his family, it appears that he nonetheless truly believes he is taking the more noble path by (self-)righteously soldering on in his battle against President Trump:

“I do not make this decision lightly — I make it out of respect for my family,” said Avenatti, who first gained fame and infamy for his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in multiple legal cases involving President Donald Trump.

“But for their concerns, I would run,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter. The twice-married Avenatti has three children.

“I remain concerned that the Democratic Party will move toward nominating an individual who might make an exceptional president but has no chance of actually beating Donald Trump,” he wrote.

“The party must immediately recognize that many of the likely candidates are not battle-tested, and have no real chance at winning. We will not prevail in 2020 without a fighter. I remain hopeful the party finds one.”

And here is the Noble Cause:

I will continue to represent Stormy Daniels and others against Donald Trump and his cronies and will not rest until Trump is removed from office, and our republic and its values are restored.

Avenatti

In so many ways, America has dodged a serious bullet of batcrap crazy here. A Trump-Avenatti debate would be the ultimate circus, making the 2016 debates look like amateur hour. Anyway, Avenatti already has a lot on his plate:

Avenatti’s decision not to press forward with a presidential run comes several weeks after police in Los Angeles arrested him in connection with an investigation into an accustation of domestic violence lodged by an actress, Mareli Miniutti, with whom he had been living.

Avenatti is also embroiled in several legal fights related to debts involving his law firm, and an effort by Trump’s lawyers to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees from a since-dismissed defamation lawsuit by Daniels against the president.

Basta!, indeed.

Also this week, Joe Biden declared that he is the most qualified person to be president:

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday said his decision on whether to enter the 2020 presidential race will rest on a whether he and his family are “ready,” even as he argued that his strengths as a potential candidate far outweigh any perceived liabilities.

Biden’s comments came during a brief tour promoting the paperback release of his 2017 memoir, “Promise Me, Dad,” in which he details how the death of his eldest son, Beau, from brain cancer kept him out of the 2016 presidential race.

“I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president. The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that I’ve worked on my whole life — the plight of the middle class and foreign policy,” Biden told an audience in Montana, according to The Missoula Current. “But my family and I need to decide as a unit whether we’re ready — we do everything as a family.”

Joe Biden is 76 years old. And while Bernie Sanders was 76 years old when he ran for the presidency, he didn’t bring the creepy baggage factor of being too handsy with the ladies. Biden is an anachronism in the #MeToo era. A relic from the past. A time where cuddling up to unsuspecting women was smiled upon, joked about, or people wrote it all off as “that’s just Joe being Joe.” Or worse, knew his behavior was inappropriate but said nothing – for the sake of the party. But how does that play in today’s world of heightened awareness? Do you believe Democrats would risk backing an old, white man man who has consistently viewed females as the willing recipients of his free-range hands, in spite of his years in the political arena? After Trump, one would think both parties would vigorously avoid backing anyone, no matter their level of political experience, who has demonstrated the slightest hint of impropriety toward the opposite sex. (But again, this post isn’t about the GOP and Trump…)

Maybe at the end of the day, it remains OK for the legendary former vice-president to snuggle up to females other than his wife, but not OK for everyday Joes to do the same. After all, it’s not like any abuse of power would ever happen at the hands of those holding the two highest offices in land, right?

Which leads me to another past-their-prime potential candidate: Hillary Clinton. Ugh. You might ask: Will we never be rid of the Clintons on the public stage? Don’t be silly. I bring her up because I am currently watching A&E’s “The Clinton Affair,” and find myself still marveling at the amoral and vicious ooze in which the power couple make themselves at home. Amusingly, Maureen Dowd wrote about their pathological need to be relevant:

I’m looking around Scotiabank Arena, the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it’s a depressing sight. It’s two-for-the-price-of-one in half the arena. The hockey rink is half curtained off, but even with that, organizers are scrambling at the last minute to cordon off more sections behind thick black curtains, they say due to a lack of sales. I paid $177 weeks in advance. (I passed on the pricey meet-and-greet option.) On the day of the event, some unsold tickets are slashed to single digits.

I get reassigned to another section as the Clintons’ audience space shrinks. But even with all the herding, I’m still looking at large swaths of empty seats — and I cringe at the thought that the Clintons will look out and see that, too.

I can’t fathom why the Clintons would make like aging rock stars and go on a tour of Canada and the U.S. at a moment when Democrats are hoping to break the stranglehold of their cloistered, superannuated leadership and exult in a mosaic of exciting new faces.

What is the point? It’s not inspirational. It’s not for charity. They’re not raising awareness about a cause, like Al Gore with global warming. They’re only raising awareness about the Clintons.

It can’t be the money at this point. Have they even spent all the Goldman gold yet? Do they want to swim in their cash like Scrooge McDuck?

The Clintons’ tin cup is worthy of the Smithsonian. They hoovered more than $2 billion in contributions to their campaigns, foundation and philanthropies.

Some in Clintonworld say Hillary fully intends to be the nominee. Once more, in Toronto, she didn’t rule it out, dodging the question with a lame joke. She carries herself with the air of a president in exile. Her consigliere, Philippe Reines, has prodded reporters on including her name when they write about 2020 candidates.

The Clintons refuse to be discarded. It has been their joint project for half a century to be at the center of the public scene and debate. The way that the whole thing came crashing down in 2016 is too hard for them to bear. They would like to rewrite the ending, but there is no way to do that.

Nothing they have done lately suggests that they have learned anything, including their obtuse post-#MeToo comments about Monica Lewinsky, who has been far more candid and sympathetic in the 20th anniversary retellings of the impeachment saga. The Clintons are still unable to hold themselves accountable. The formerly golden couple who dominated their party for nearly three decades is traveling North America in a bubble, shockingly un-self-aware.

I just cannot imagine the Democratic party thinking a Biden or Clinton presidential run would be a viable option. Especially not when Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) are all flirting with a possible run.

P.S. The Washington Post reports approximately 38 individuals have expressed some interest in running for the Democratic nomination!

–Dana

Macron: I Do Not Understand Incentives

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:20 am

How could this go wrong?

In a major concession by President Emmanuel Macron, France will suspend for six months a tax increase on gasoline and diesel fuel that had been slated for January, in an attempt to quell weeks of protests and rioting by the so-called Yellow Vests movement.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced the move on Tuesday after briefing lawmakers in a closed-door meeting in Parliament.

“No tax warrants putting the unity of the nation in danger,” Mr. Philippe said.

For the past three weeks, the Yellow Vests protest movement has swept across France, clashing with the police and wreaking havoc in Paris and other major cities, defacing famed monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe.

The tax was made necessary by the Paris Agreement on climate change. Thugs have been breaking old statues and generally making a criminal nuisance of themselves, but that will probably never happen again, right? Creating incentives to do x does not get you more x — that’s what I was always told!

12/3/2018

Two Elected Politicians on the Cost of the Military

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:05 am

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whom JVW memorably calls everyone’s favorite daffy socialist niece, has an eye-opening figure to tell you about: $21 trillion dollars of wasted money in the military budget:

Wowie. Except, of course, she’s full of it.

Wouldn’t it have been better for her to have actually read the article (or better yet, the report on which it’s based) before making this “wild misrepresentation”? Because that article says this, among other things:

To be clear, Skidmore, in a report coauthored with Catherine Austin Fitts, a former assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development who complained about similar plugs in HUD financial statements, does not contend that all of this $21 trillion was secret or misused funding. And indeed, the plugs are found on both the positive and the negative sides of the ledger, thus potentially netting each other out.

Who here thinks she read it? Bueller? Bueller?

Even this lefty is annoyed:

I’ll tell you who knows the cost of our military: our President, Donald J. Trump. And he’s pretty happy about it. From a rally at Chattanooga, Tennessee, on November 4, 2018:

We are rebuilding America’s military might like it’s never been rebuilt before. (APPLAUSE) And hopefully we’ll never have to use it, but I can tell you, the stronger we become, the less likely it is that we will have to use it, OK? (APPLAUSE) And we are building it at a level that has never been done before, $700 billion and $716 billion the following year. Under Republican leadership, America is respected again. (APPLAUSE)

From a rally in Tampa on July 31, 2018:

Really important for those who love our military, we have secured a record $700 billion for our military with another $716 billion next year all approved. And this is great news for the incredible patriots at MacDill Air Force Base, the proud home of the Sixth Air Mobility Wing U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command. Come on!

(APPLAUSE)

From a rally in Springfield, Missouri

And we secured a record $700 billion for our military this year and $716 billion next year. That will do things…

(APPLAUSE)

No country is even close. And again, very unimportantly by comparison, jobs to me are the most important, but there’s nothing more important than our military. There’s nothing more important than protection, especially in the world in which we live.

(APPLAUSE)

But — but jobs are very important, and I love to say it’s built right here in our country. Because we understand that there is no substitute in this world for American power and American strength.

Donald Trump at the U.N. General Assembly on September 25, 2018:

We have secured record funding for our military, $700 billion this year and $716 billion next year. Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before. In other words, the United States is stronger, safer, and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago. We are standing up for America and the American people.

Yup, he knows that $716 billion number. And he’s proud of that $716 billion number. Wait, what?

Crazy!

I mean, “brilliant”! He tells people what they want to hear! Not like those other swampy guys.

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