Patterico's Pontifications

2/16/2017

Fashion Designers Unintentionally Speak Volumes

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:06 am

[guest post by Dana]

High-brow “woke fashion” is a thing now:

T-shirts, buttons and baseball caps symbolize fashion’s political awakening. So does velvet, billowing satin and bedazzled bodices.

Fashion’s message of power unfolds as poetry. Pure outrage has given way to resistance.

It’s a lot of silly stretching for relevancy, but the designers interviewed certainly see themselves as relevant.

Here is what I found particularly amusing. In the article, the focus is on the Women’s March in Washington D.C. and its influence on fashion designers, who are now working to evidence the ongoing “resistance” in their creations. Here are a couple of interesting photos that caught my eye. Not for what they overtly said, but for what they unintentionally said:

Untitled

So true. Yet, how hypocritically rich this is coming from women who believe it is their fundamental right to deny unborn girls their own fundamental right to live.

Untitled2

Do you remember when a Republican candidate running for the presidency made this comment and was subsequently excoriated for it?

As I travel the country here in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, everyone knows what New York values are.

We knew, Ted, and so did New Yorkers, as we can now clearly see.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back)

–Dana

2/15/2017

Meet Your Blogger: Yours Truly on Trump and More

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:45 am

Shameless Self-Promotion Department: If you’re looking to take a break from the silly news of the day, take a moment to read this interview of yours truly at Fault Lines. The interview is conducted by Scott Greenfield, managing editor of Fault Lines, blogger at Simple Justice, and . . . criminal defense attorney. I think an interview of a prosecutor (which is my day job) by a criminal defense attorney is inherently interesting, no? Since this is a political blog, I’ll tease you with one of the political questions and answers, about (what else?) Donald Trump:

Q. You parlayed your skill and experience with writing into commentary gigs at various websites. (You’ve been published in the LA Times, your blog posts have been covered in the New York Times and Washington Post, and you used to write at Breitbart before it went alt-right.) These days, apart from the blog, you’re best known as a regular at RedState.

Whether at RedState or Patterico’s Pontifications, you haven’t been one to express much support for our current President. You opposed his candidacy, and even deregistered from the Republican Party after he became the GOP’s torchbearer in the general election. By lining up behind Trump, have Republicans betrayed their limited-government ideals? Now that he’s been in office for a few weeks, has he proven as bad as you feared? Is he even worse?

What about the current immigration debacle? Is it the constitutional travesty left-leaning lawprofs claim it is? Do you take as dim a view of plenary power as they do? Was it, perhaps, unwise of Trump to deny re-entry to lawful permanent residents? In the age of Trump, can we expect the same, ahem, scrupulous level of commitment to the Constitution we were used to from Obama?

A. I do not think that support for Trump, by itself, reflects a betrayal of limited-government principles. Plenty of my readers, like me, supported another candidate in the primary, and don’t care for Trump. Many of those people voted for Trump just because he is not Hillary Clinton. That was not my decision, but I understand it and can’t criticize that point of view.

However, on May 3, 2016, the day Ted Cruz bowed out of the race, I instantly saw that the Republican party was going to start conforming itself to Trump’s vision more than I knew I would be comfortable with. Republicans were going to support big government initiatives, worry less about state sovereignty and the Constitution, and defend any number of outrageous Trumpy statements and positions. I wanted no part of it, and I wanted to disassociate myself from a Trump-led Republican Party in a very public and clear way.

My abandonment of the GOP, and my personal distaste for Trump, have been very disturbing to the part of my readership that is more partisan and less concerned with limited government principles. It’s difficult to watch some long-time readers view me as a “leftist” and treat me contemptuously, as if I were the enemy, simply because I can’t stand the demagogue that has seized control of the Republican party. But I don’t change my views to suit my readers. I suspect some other bloggers have — especially those who are dependent on their blogs for income. In that sense, it’s nice to have a day job. It makes it easier to say what I really think.

I despise Donald Trump as a person. I liked that state senator’s description of Trump as a “loofa-faced sh*tgibbon.” He’s obviously a vindictive, nasty, narcissistic, dishonest clown who has probably never read a book in his life. He is the best argument for the irrationality of the American voter we have ever seen. That said, I wasn’t looking forward to Hillary Clinton being in office, and I think Trump has done and will do some good things. His selection of Neil Gorsuch to replace Justice Scalia was brilliant.

You asked about immigration. I’m very sympathetic to Trump’s concerns over an influx of refugees from war-torn Muslim nations. I don’t think that accepting those refugees in large numbers with insufficient screening has worked out very well for Germany. The Nordic countries have seen their very successful cultures threatened by an inordinate number of immigrants with a murderous ideology and a desire to inflict Sharia law on everyone. All that being said, I am a fierce critic of runaway executive power, and I think Trump should be working with Congress on this issue. It’s also beyond debate that Trump’s rollout of this particular executive order was hasty, slipshod, and illegal as applied to green card holders and other visa holders.

There’s more about Trump at the link, including some pretty good jokes about him — but we cover a lot more than politics. Scott asks me about my first trial, why I went to school where I did, the crazies who have come after me because of my blogging, and so forth. I get a chance to mention my group the Constitutional Vanguard, for people who believe in liberty, the free market, and the Constitution (sign up here!). My favorite part of the interview is discussing the songs I have written, some of which have been covered by a few of my favorite artists. One example of those songs is called Wrong Side of the Road, covered by Steve Bertrand of The Tories, the band that did “Time for You,” the theme song for the TV show “Jesse” with Christina Applegate. “Wrong Side of the Road” is a song about going against the grain in life, a theme that is near and dear to my heart. If you like that one, there is a link to more in the interview. (And I have more to come, relatively soon!)

I thank Scott Greenfield for the opportunity, and hope you get a chance to check it out.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

2/14/2017

ALL HAIL THE KING! Trump’s IRS Will “Turn a Blind Eye” to Enforcement of the ObamaCare Mandate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:30 pm

At Reason.com, Peter Suderman reports that the IRS has passed a rule that says they will accept tax returns that don’t indicate whether someone has health coverage. If the report is accurate, the ObamaCare mandate is now optional. It’s pursuant to President Trump’s executive order softening the impact of ObamaCare:

How much difference does a single line on a tax form make? For Obamacare’s individual mandate, the answer might be quite a lot. . . . The IRS was set to require filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. . . .

Earlier this month, the IRS quietly altered its rules to allow the submission of 1040s with nothing on line 61. The IRS says it still maintains the option to follow up with those who elect not to indicate their coverage status, although it’s not clear what circumstances might trigger a follow up.

But what would have been a mandatory disclosure will instead be voluntary. Silent returns will no longer be automatically rejected. The change is a direct result of the executive order President Donald Trump issued in January directing the government to provide relief from Obamacare to individuals and insurers, within the boundaries of the law.

This does not sound legal. Suderman quotes experts differing on the matter. Michael Cannon, an ObamaCare expert, says Trump can’t do this:

The move has already raised questions about its legality. Federal law gives the administration broad authority to provide exemptions from the mandate. But “it does not allow the administration not to enforce the mandate, which it appears they may be doing here,” says Michael Cannon, health policy director at the libertarian Cato Institute. “Unless the Trump administration maintains the mandate is unconstitutional, the Constitution requires them to enforce it.”

Some other guy says this isn’t really non-enforcement . . . but his argument on that point is less than convincing:

“The mandate can only be weakened by Congress,” says [Ryan] Ellis [a Senior Fellow at the Conservative Reform Network]. “This is a change to how the IRS is choosing to enforce it. They will count on voluntary disclosure of non-coverage rather than asking themselves.”

The IRS notes that taxpayers are still required to pay the mandate penalty, if applicable. “Legislative provisions of the ACA law are still in force until changed by the Congress, and taxpayers remain required to follow the law and pay what they may owe‎,” the agency statement said.

Ellis says the new policy doesn’t fully rise to the level of declining to enforce the law. “If the IRS turns a blind eye to people’s status, that isn’t quite not enforcing it,” he says. “It’s more like the IRS wanting to maintain plausible deniability.”

I . . . don’t see the big difference between “turning a blind eye to people’s status” and “not enforcing” the law.

I’m sure plenty of Trump supporters will cheer this — because, you know, Trump. But if you’ll recall, conservatives (including myself) screamed bloody murder — with good reason — when Obama unilaterally decided to delay enforcement of ObamaCare provisions like the employer mandate. For me and for many others, this was a genuine and principled concern. But I think we’re about to find out that, for some conservatives, the complaints about Obama’s actions were pure partisanship — and for these unprincipled hypocrites, non-enforcement is about to be cool again.

When Trump signed this executive order, I urged caution. Let’s wait to see what he actually does with it, I said.

Will Donald Trump’s executive order be used to engage in the type of overreach Barack Obama routinely employed? I’m not sure yet. But if it is, conservatives need to lay down a marker now: this will not be acceptable.

Even if Barack Obama did it.

Well, we’re starting to see how Trump is applying the order, and this is not a good sign.

Look: even if all you care about is policy, the fact is that cushioning the blows from this horrible law make it less likely that it will be repealed. And repeal is what is needed. Until there is a free-market solution to health care, we’re on a slow march towards a single-payer system.

But there’s also more to the issue than policy. This goes straight to the nature of our system: will we be ruled by presidents, or kings? In my previous post I quoted Charles C.W. Cooke rejecting the “turnaround is fair play” argument, and I feel the need to do so again. Here is the key passage from his essential piece on the issue:

I am afraid that I consider this approach to be little short of suicidal, and I can under no circumstances look forward to a system in which the executive may pick and choose which laws he is prepared to enforce. On the contrary: I consider the idea to be a grave and a disastrous one, and I would propose that any such change is likely to usher in chaos at first and then to incite a slow, tragic descent into the monarchy and caprice that our ancestors spent so long trying to escape.

To that passage, I will add this warning from Ninth Circuit judge Alex Kozinski:

Executive power favors the party, or perhaps simply the person, who wields it. That power is the forbidden fruit of our politics, irresistible to those who possess it and reviled by those who don’t. Clear and stable structural rules are the bulwark against that power, which shifts with the sudden vagaries of our politics. In its haste to find a doctrine that can protect the policies of the present, our circuit should remember the old warning: May all your dreams come true.

If you’re going to help create a king because you think the king you’re helping to create is one you’ll like, don’t come crying to me when the power is wielded with even more force by one you don’t like.

UPDATE: After I first read the article, Suderman posted this correction:

Correction: The IRS did not reject silent returns last year, as this story originally indicated. The plan was to go into effect this year, for 2016 returns, but the IRS reversed course on February 3. Reason regrets the error.

I don’t think this undermines the point of the article, but it is worth noting.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Were Obama Loyalists Working To Oust Michael Flynn Because He Was Going To Reveal Details Of Obama’s Iran Deal?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:33 pm

[guest post by Dana]

According to a report out today, it seems like it:

The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.

The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn’s credibility, multiple sources revealed.

The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.

Insiders familiar with the anti-Flynn campaign told the Free Beacon that these Obama loyalists plotted in the months before Trump’s inauguration to establish a set of roadblocks before Trump’s national security team, which includes several prominent opponents of diplomacy with Iran. The Free Beacon first reported on this effort in January.

[M]ultiple sources closely involved in the situation pointed to a larger, more secretive campaign aimed at discrediting Flynn and undermining the Trump White House.

“It’s undeniable that the campaign to discredit Flynn was well underway before Inauguration Day, with a very troublesome and politicized series of leaks designed to undermine him,” said one veteran national security adviser with close ties to the White House team. “This pattern reminds me of the lead up to the Iran deal, and probably features the same cast of characters.”

Since then, top members of the Obama administration’s national security team have launched a communications infrastructure after they left the White House, and have told reporters they are using that infrastructure to undermine Trump’s foreign policy.

“It’s actually Ben Rhodes, NIAC, and the Iranian mullahs who are celebrating today,” said one veteran foreign policy insider who is close to Flynn and the White House. “They know that the number one target is Iran … [and] they all knew their little sacred agreement with Iran was going to go off the books. So they got rid of Flynn before any of the [secret] agreements even surfaced.”

Likely Obama’s people would do anything to guard the Iran deal and all its secrets, so this wouldn’t be surprising if it panned out.

There was also this from an unnamed source:

“The Obama administration knew that Flynn was going to release the secret documents around the Iran deal, which would blow up their myth that it was a good deal that rolled back Iran,” the source said. “So in December the Obama NSC started going to work with their favorite reporters, selectively leaking damaging and incomplete information about Flynn.”

Meanwhile, Jake Tapper is reporting that a senior administration official claims that Flynn was also fired because he requested a security clearance for his son without first informing Vice-president Pence. This along with his misleading comments to Pence about his calls with the Russian ambassador.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back)

–Dana

2/13/2017

Flynn Resigns

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:01 pm

I guess he didn’t have Trump’s full confidence after all.

This is the only reasonable decision, after he was caught lying to Pence. It’s surprising it took this long. But then, Trump doesn’t like admitting mistakes. Glad he finally is, on this one.

UPDATE: This was just today:

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

FINALLY: Gateway Pundit Brings Pepe to the White House

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:00 pm

Jim Hoft brought his special combination of factual inaccuracy and overuse of exclamation points to the White House briefing room today. He and his White House correspondent went around taking selfies of themselves making the “OK” sign favored by Pepe the Frog, a symbol adopted by the alt-right. Here’s the Pepe the Frog thumbs up:

Pepe

And here is Gateway Pundit and his sidekick at the briefing room podium, with the White House placard behind them:

Gateway Pundit is Pepe

Just in case you were inclined to miss the point, and defend them by pointing out that everyone uses the OK sign, Hoft was kind enough to include a Pepe hashtag and green frog to represent Pepe. Here’s the icing on the cake:

Hoft Pepe Retweet

So, just because dishonest punks like Hoft will now post a bunch of images of people making an OK sign who have no intent to evoke Pepe with it . . . doesn’t mean that Hoft and his little sidekick there didn’t mean to evoke Pepe. Because they did.

If you somehow missed the fact that Pepe has been adopted by the alt-right and a lot of Neo-Nazis, browse through this Google image search a little and educate yourself. Here are some examples:

Pepe as Hitler

Pepe at Dachau

I, for one, am thrilled to see the symbols of the alt-right being brought openly into our White House, aren’t you?

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Open Thread

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:02 am

I got nothing. Trump not tweeting? Possible shakeups at the White House? Oroville looking safe? Typos in government tweets or posters? Foreign governments dumping treasuries? That mean obituary? Slow news day, man. Slow news day.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

2/12/2017

California Spillway Failure Feared in Oroville, Could Cause Massive Flooding

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:03 pm

The L.A. Times reports:

Residents of Oroville and nearby towns were ordered to immediately evacuate on Sunday afternoon after a hole was discovered at the emergency spillway for the Oroville Dam.

Officials said late Sunday they will attempt to plug the hole using sandbags and rocks but stressed the situation remains dangerous and urged thousands of residents downstream to evacuate to higher ground.

The National Weather Service said the auxiliary spillway at the Oroville Dam was expected to fail about 5:45 p.m., which could send an “uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville.”

Just yesterday the public was told there was no danger. Now there are mandatory evacuations underway, traffic snarls, and a lot of confusion. Some reports state that the dam is danger of failing, while other reports (which appear to be more accurate) say that the emergency spillway is in danger, not the dam itself.

If the dam itself were to break, it would be catastrophic. The Sacramento Bee reports: Marysville, Yuba County evacuated as Oroville spillway collapse feared. Under a section titled Worst Case Scenario the paper says:

There is no map showing exactly what will happen if the emergency spillway collapses tonight. Officials only have a map showing a failure of the dam. That worst case scenario is useful in that it shows where water goes and how fast it gets there.

Water would get to the town of Oroville within an hour.

If Oroville Dam were to suffer a massive breach, water would get to the town of Oroville within an hour, according to GIS maps maintained by CalFire.

Within two hours, the small town of Briggs would be affected. In three hours, Gridley would be hit. Water would reach Live Oak in five hours..

It would take eight to 12 hours for the water to get to Marysville and Yuba City.

If the dam completely failed, flood depths could reach more than 100 feet in Oroville and up to 10 feet in Yuba City.

There’s some dramatic video here, but the statement in the tweet that the dam is expected to fail appears to be wrong:

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Andrew Sullivan Would Like You To Take Him Seriously When Discussing Mental Health

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:32 pm

[guest post by Dana]

To my mind, any talk about the “objective truth” is particularly rich when coming from a man who obsessively pushed a conspiracy theory involving Sarah Palin’s uterus and made Trig Trutherism a thing.

As noted:

Sullivan’s disgusting, ends-justify-the-means obsession with the personal family life of Sarah Palin breached every ethical and journalistic boundary known to the cosmos. Between airing Palin’s hacked private emails and making a cottage industry out of challenging the maternity of her son, Trig, sometimes the word “irony” or “hypocrisy” is not descriptive enough.

Certainly, let’s take Dr. Sullivan’s discussions about mental health with the seriousness it deserves.

(Pre-emptive strike: This post is only a comment about Sullivan’s own mental health.)

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back)

–Dana

Yet Another Display Of Intolerance By The Usual Suspects: Gay Man Comes Out As A Conservative, Subsequently Rejected By His Community

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:34 am

[guest post by Dana]

Bigotry toward those who think differently has always been the designer label worn by those on the left side of the aisle. Whether in the gay community, academia, Hollywood or in some other bastion of liberalism, it remains the litmus-test of acceptance and acceptability.

Chadwicke Moore is almost a cliche: He is a 30-year old gay journalist living in hip Williamsburg, where the political stripe of the masses is unquestionably liberal.

Yet recently, Moore personally experienced just how ugly and intolerant the left can be when someone dares to break rank from the lockstep beliefs of the community. After his intentionally neutral story about Milo Yiannopoulos appeared in a gay magazine, Moore was the target of a backlash from that community, including being rejected by long-time close friends who felt betrayed and no longer wanted anything to do with him. Perhaps not unlike when they themselves came out to their own families about being gay… But the shunning of Moore, the complete rejection of him is, of course, perfectly acceptable, and frankly, expected. Because, as we’ve been instructed, ad nauseum, this particular brand of intolerance is righteous and a good thing. Sadly, Moore says that in the same way that coming out to his family when he was a 15-year old was the hardest thing he had ever done, so too is coming out as a conservative in New York:

After the story posted online in the early hours of October 21, I woke up to more than 100 Twitter notifications on my iPhone. Trolls were calling me a Nazi, death threats rolled in and a joke photo that I posed for in a burka served as “proof” that I am an Islamophobe.

I’m not.

Most disconcertingly, it wasn’t just strangers voicing radical discontent. Personal friends of mine — men in their 60s who had been my longtime mentors — were coming at me. They wrote on Facebook that the story was “irresponsible” and “dangerous.” A dozen or so people unfriended me. A petition was circulated online, condemning the magazine and my article. All I had done was write a balanced story on an outspoken Trump supporter for a liberal, gay magazine, and now I was being attacked. I felt alienated and frightened.

I hope New Yorkers can be as accepting of my new status as a conservative man as they’ve been about my sexual orientation.
I lay low for a week or so. Finally, I decided to go out to my local gay bar in Williamsburg, where I’ve been a regular for 11 years. I ordered a drink but nothing felt the same; half the place — people with whom I’d shared many laughs — seemed to be giving me the cold shoulder. Upon seeing me, a friend who normally greets me with a hug and kiss pivoted and turned away.

Frostiness spread far beyond the bar, too. My best friend, with whom I typically hung out multiple times per week, was suddenly perpetually unavailable. Finally, on Christmas Eve, he sent me a long text, calling me a monster, asking where my heart and soul went, and saying that all our other friends are laughing at me.

I realized that, for the first time in my adult life, I was outside of the liberal bubble and looking in. What I saw was ugly, lock step, incurious and mean-spirited.

God, if Moore becomes politically active, let’s hope for his sake that he doesn’t own a hotel…

Read the whole thing.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back)

–Dana

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