Patterico's Pontifications


Panicking Fake Indian Goes on Curious Tweet Storm

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:04 am

[guest post by JVW]

As a follow-up to Patterico’s post earlier today, Senator Microhontas reacted to President Trump’s goading of her not as you would expect of someone who is confident that her DNA gambit had once and for all put to rest the issue of her using specious claims of Native American heritage to score prestigious jobs above her curriculum vitae, but as someone who just realizes that she has put this embarrassing issue front and center just as she is quite obviously trying to come up with a Presidential campaign strategy for 2020. Behold:

From there, it spirals into a 23-Tweet stream of uncomfortableness on the part of the Senator, and it leaves many in her party wondering why she has made herself the center of attention three weeks before a pivotal election in which she is expected to breeze to an easy victory.

This has been a really, really, bad day for her, and it’s near impossible not to believe that Trump has gotten into her head.

[Cross-posted over at The Jury Talks Back.]



Reminder: Our Deficit and Debt Are Exploding Under Donald Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:39 pm

New York Times:

The federal budget deficit swelled to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, the Treasury Department said on Monday, driven in large part by a sharp decline in corporate tax revenues after the Trump tax cuts took effect.

The deficit rose nearly 17 percent year over year, from $666 billion in 2017. It is now on pace to top $1 trillion a year before the next presidential election, according to forecasts from the Trump administration and outside analysts. The deficit for the 2018 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, was the largest since 2012, when the economy and federal revenues were still recovering from the depths of the recession.

Administration officials attributed the deficit’s rise to greater federal spending, including the military and domestic budget increases that President Trump approved this year, not the $1.5 trillion tax cut.

I know: nobody cares when it’s Trump doing it. Still, it’s infuriating to the small handful of us who still care about such things.

Oh, by the way:

Candidate Donald Trump, April 2, 2016:

DT: We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt.

BW: How long would that take?

DT: I think I could do it fairly quickly, because of the fact the numbers . . . .

BW: What’s fairly quickly?

DT: Well, I would say over a period of eight years.

It’s now $21.6 trillion, and ballooning like mad under Trump.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Is Fauxcahontas Really Pocahontas?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:15 am

That’s what The Daily Beast tells us in this headline (well, they put it a different way):

Warren DNA Test

I’d say it’s really more like this:

The original story broke in the Boston Globe, with a more cautious headline: Warren releases results of DNA test.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a DNA test that provides “strong evidence’’ she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations, an unprecedented move by one of the top possible contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.

Warren, whose claims to Native American blood have been mocked by President Trump and other Republicans, provided the test results to the Globe on Sunday in an effort to defuse questions about her ancestry that have persisted for years. She planned an elaborate rollout Monday of the results as she aimed for widespread attention.

The analysis of Warren’s DNA was done by Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor and expert in the field who won a 2010 MacArthur fellowship, also known as a genius grant, for his work on tracking population migration via DNA analysis.

You can read the actual DNA report itself here. The relevant statement is this:

The total and average segment size suggest (via the method of moments) an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the pedigree at approximately 8 generations before the sample.

The word “suggest” elsewhere in the report is strengthened to “strongly support” in the conclusion, although no additional data is added to explain why the conclusion is stronger. Also, in the conclusion, the likely generation is widened into a range of generations (6-10) which conveniently comes closer to fitting Warren’s narrative of a great-great-great grandmother who was Native American.

The important upshot: Trump was right to call her Pocahontas instead of Fauxcahontas!

He’s always right, you know.

UPDATE: The Boston Globe has issued a correction:

Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024.

As commenter harkin points out, that’s a fraction, not a percentage, but keep trying, guys.

When you convert to a percentage, you get Warren having .0976% Native American blood. Here’s the thing, though: that is totally unremarkable and indeed about half the average for an American of European ancestry.

On average, the scientists found, people who identified as African-American had genes that were only 73.2 percent African. European genes accounted for 24 percent of their DNA, while .8 percent came from Native Americans.

Latinos, on the other hand, had genes that were on average 65.1 percent European, 18 percent Native American, and 6.2 percent African. The researchers found that European-Americans had genomes that were on average 98.6 percent European, .19 percent African, and .18 Native American.

Could Donald Trump be more of a native American than Warren? Based on these numbers, that seems likely.

Calling this any sort of vindication for Warren is utterly laughable.

UPDATE x2: If my math is correct, the percentage for the eighth generation (the most likely according to the report) would be .39% — about double the average for the average American of European descent, and still a minuscule amount.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 97

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 8:43 am

It is the twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “In allen meinen Taten” (In all that I do / In all my undertakings).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 10:17-31:

The Rich and the Kingdom of God

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

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

In all my actions
I take counsel from the Highest,
who owns and is capable of everything;
In all things He must give,
so that they may prosper,
His own advice and assistance.

There is nothing, early or late,
to all my efforts,
my worries are in vain.
He may do with my affairs
according to His will,
I place them at His disposal.

Both chorale movements in today’s cantata — at the beginning and at the end — are based on the famous melody “Innsbruck, ich muß dich lassen” (Innsbruck, I Must Leave You) by Heinrich Isaac. The final chorale (lasting less than a minute) in particular has a more straightforward rendition of the melody:

This tune may sound familar to fans of the St. Matthew Passion, because it is used twice in that work, for example here:

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Payback for the Treatment of Justice Kavanaugh Begins

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:20 am

[guest post by JVW]

Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris shouldn’t insult us by pretending to be surprised by this:

President Trump is plowing ahead to fill three vacancies on the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, brushing aside Democratic resistance to nominate conservative judges.

Presidents traditionally work with senators from judicial nominees’ home state — in this case, California — to put forward judicial picks. They often seek what’s known as a “blue slip,” or an opinion from those senators.

But in a snub to California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, the White House announced Wednesday that Trump had nominated Patrick Bumatay, Daniel Collins and Kenneth Kiyul Lee (all from the Golden State, and reportedly all members of the conservative Federalist Society) to the influential circuit. The court, with a sprawling purview representing nine Western states, has long been a thorn in the side of the Trump White House, with rulings against the travel ban and limits on funding to “sanctuary cities.”

Naturally we’ll hear no end to the caterwauling about how Trump has trampled upon established norms, to which I can only say “Good!” If Feinstein, Harris, and the progressive judicial industry thought that it would be business as usual after their scandalous performance during the Kavanaugh hearing, this can be a sharp rejoinder to them that their wretched behavior will have lasting consequences.

Hopefully Jeff Flake and Susan Collins are OK with confirming them in the next few weeks.



The Conservative Governor Who Fights Like a Progressive

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:15 pm

[guest post by JVW]

The Cato Institute released it’s annual report card on America’s governors earlier this week, and in looking through it, I was struck by one entry in particular. Here is what they had to say about Maine’s second-term Republican governor, Paul LePage:

Governor Paul LePage is a staunch fiscal conservative. He has restrained spending and cut state employment by 7 percent since taking office. LePage has signed into law cost-cutting reforms to welfare and health programs, and he has decried the negative effects of big government: “Big, expensive welfare programs riddled with fraud and abuse threaten our future. Too many Mainers are dependent on government. Government dependency has not — and never will — create prosperity.”

Now that is an impressive scorecard for any conservative governor, but the way LePage has gone about governing on the right in a state where legislative power is divided between the two major parties is very interesting:

In 2015, LePage proposed a plan to reduce the top individual income tax rate from 7.95 percent to 5.75 percent, reduce the top corporate tax rate from 8.93 percent to 6.75 percent, eliminate narrow tax breaks, repeal the estate tax, and raise sales taxes. When the legislature rejected the plan, LePage said that he would veto any bills sponsored by Democrats. In the end, the legislature passed a budget that included substantial tax cuts over the veto of LePage, who wanted even larger cuts. The plan cut the top personal income tax rate from 7.95 to 7.15 percent, reduced taxes for low-income households, increased the estate tax exemption, and made the previous sales tax rate increase permanent.

In 2016, LePage pushed for more tax cuts. In his state of the state address, he proposed reducing the individual income tax rate to 4 percent over time and repealing the estate tax.

In other words, Gov. LePage demanded a huge tax cut, goaded Democrats into passing a smaller tax cut (I’m not expert on Maine politics, but I doubt that Democrats were too keen on cutting taxes at all) even going so far as to forcing them to override his veto, then the very next year came back and demanded even more in tax cuts, the ones he was denied the previous year. This is exactly how Democrats treat spending: get what you can this time around, demand the rest of it next time around, but always keep pushing for more, more, more. When Pine Tree State Democrats responded by raising taxes via voter initiative in the high-turnout Presidential election year of 2016, LePage was ready to do battle:

In November of that year, voters narrowly passed, by a 51–49 margin, an initiative (Question 2) to impose a 3 percentage point income tax surtax on households earning more than $200,000 a year to fund education. LePage opposed the hike.

LePage’s budget in January 2017 called for repeal of the surtax and a major overhaul of the state’s tax system. He proposed replacing the multi-rate individual income tax with a 5.75 percent flat tax, cutting the corporate tax rate, eliminating the estate tax, raising the exemption level on retirement income, and offsetting some of the revenue loss by broadening the sales tax base and raising lodging taxes. After a battle with the legislature and a government shutdown, a deal was struck to increase education spending but repeal the surtax on high earners imposed in 2016.

Again, LePage appears to be a first-rate wheeler and dealer. When the Dems convinced the casual voter (number of voters in 2014: 611,255; number of voters in 2016: 771,892) to come out and support a tax increase on someone else, the governor made repeal of the increase a condition of reaching a deal and appears to have absolutely waxed the high-tax advocates in budget negotiations, shutting down the government to demonstrate his seriousness.

But eternal vigilance is the price of (economic) freedom, so Gov. LePage and his allies have to forever be on the watch for attempts by Maine Democrats to collect and spend more and more dollars from their fellow citizens.

In 2018, LePage proposed conforming to changes under the 2017 federal tax law. Simple con- formity would raise taxes by about $300 million a year, so the governor proposed to offset the taxpayer cost with tax cuts for lower-income taxpayers, a corporate tax rate cut from 8.93 per- cent to 8.33 percent, and estate tax reductions. The legislature failed to pass the plan.

LePage is term-limited out this year, and none of the candidates vying to replace him appear to have his flair for conflict or fortitude in staunchly defending low-tax principles. I guess it’s the way of things: the parsimonious governor is followed by the profligate governor and vice-versa (except of course in California, where all governors spend like golf duffers at the Pebble Beach Pro Shop), so Maine’s era of austerity might be winding down. But here’s to Paul LePage for proving that increasing government spending is not the path to prosperity, and for using the left’s tactics against them in pursuit of tax reform.


Turks Tell U.S.: We Have Audio of a Journalist Being Tortured and Murdered in the Saudi Consulate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:15 am

The Turks say they have audio of Jamal Khashoggi being beaten and tortured by the Saudis:

The Turkish government has told U.S. officials that it has audio and video recordings that prove Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul this month, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.

The recordings show that a Saudi security team detained Khashoggi in the consulate after he walked in Oct. 2 to obtain an official document before his upcoming wedding, then killed him and dismembered his body, the officials said.

The audio recording in particular provides some of the most persuasive and gruesome evidence that the Saudi team is responsible for Khashoggi’s death, the officials said.

“The voice recording from inside the embassy lays out what happened to Jamal after he entered,” said one person with knowledge of the recording who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss highly sensitive intelligence.

“You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,” this person said. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.”

A second person briefed on the recording said men could be heard beating Khashoggi.

Khashoggi is hardly the first innocent person Mohammed bin Salman has had killed. We’re sending weapons to a regime that created a humanitarian crisis in Yemen and conducted an air strike on a school bus. But, to paraphrase Stalin, if only one man dies of torture and is cut up with a bone saw, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Law Students Walk Out Of Class In Protest Of Kavanaugh Confirmation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:09 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Students from a number of law schools have walked out of class to protest the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. The walkout began yesterday, and is scheduled to go through Friday. From the Strike Against Kavanaugh Organizing Committee’s open letter:

We are in the middle of a national emergency. Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed to the Supreme Court. We cannot accept a system that empowers a man who repeatedly lied under oath and a judiciary review process that only performs a sham of an investigation into his misconduct. We do not recognize Kavanaugh as a legitimate member of the United States Supreme Court.

This week, law students will be striking across the country beginning at 2:15 PM EST on Wednesday 10/10/18 and lasting through Friday 10/12/18. We demand that anyone seeking to be elected to Congress in November commits to impeaching Kavanaugh to protect any semblance of rule of law and the people of our communities. While this strike primarily is being organized on law school campuses, we encourage students at every level to participate and invite non-student workers, lawyers, and other members of the public to organize their communities to walk out on Wednesday and strike with us.

While the students are obviously free to walk out of class and raise their voices in protest – God bless America – other students are pointing out the obvious:

Some students… questioned the strategy because Kavanaugh had already been confirmed.

According to students involved in planning the walkout, the goal of the protest is two-fold: to see Kavanaugh impeached, and to defend reproductive rights because Kavanaugh is going to kill women.

The strike aims to push politicians and political candidates to support Kavanaugh’s impeachment on the grounds of alleged perjury, and to defend reproductive rights as members of the U.S. Congress, said Nikta Daijavad, a second-year student at New York University’s School of Law and a leader of NYU Law Women, which endorsed the strike.

Whether impeachment happens in the new Congress or a future one, “we’re not going to stop thinking that Brett Kavanaugh should be impeached for perjury,” [Justine] Medina [co-chair of Brooklyn Law School’s National Lawyers Guild] said.

While Medina and her peers may have a goal of seeing Kavanaugh impeached for perjury, one questions the likelihood of that actually happening:

“Perjury is pretty narrow. A statement that is misleading, that is evasive, that doesn’t answer the question is not perjury. It’s only perjury when you deliberately, knowingly and directly lie. So a lot of the things that people are upset about in Kavanaugh’s testimony, I think are better characterized as evasive or combative or misleading.”

For more on the question of perjury, see Beldar’s comment here.

No doubt these young protesters are fueled by a smug sense of self-righteous anger at the seeming unfairness of it all, yet a few years down the line, they may be faced with an unfortunate consequence of their actions.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Happily, a Stroke of Sanity in California

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:31 pm

[guest post by JVW]

I saw an interesting little tidbit over at the good ol’ Dog Trainer from a story that was actually published last week:

The president of the board of administration of CalPERS, the state’s largest public employee pension fund, lost her bid for reelection to a Corona police officer, the agency announced Thursday after tallying votes from members cast over the last two months.

Priya Mathur, who has served on the board of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System since 2003, will be replaced by Jason Perez, a police sergeant who serves as president of the Corona Police Officers Assn. Mathur was selected in January as president of the CalPERS board, and her defeat marks the second shake-up of the pension fund’s leadership in less than a year.

Perez focused his campaign squarely on Mathur’s record representing public agency workers and on what he argues is a record by the pension fund of being overly focused on the political implications of its investments.

“In the past, it’s been used more as a political action committee than a retirement fund,” Perez said in an interview Thursday. “I think the public agency [employees] are just sick of the shenanigans.”

CalPERS for some time has been run as yet another adjunct of left-wing Democrat policy, using its huge investment powers (valued at almost $357 billion) to reward allies while shunning those who are not riding in first class aboard the social justice train. In past years the organization’s board — which consists of six members elected by CalPERS members, four ex officio members drawn from the fetid state bureaucracy, and three members appointed by the governor (two) and legislative leaders (one) — has decided to meddle in corporate governance and foreign policy, which is certainly their prerogative. But when given a foot, progressives demand a yard, and it was only a matter of time before the wokedy-wokest activists started pushing for a ban on investments in fossil fuels and other bugaboos of the activist left, most notably guns.

And that’s what pressed Sgt. Perez to run and cast out Ms. Mathur. According to the Dog Trainer:

Perez focused his campaign squarely on Mathur’s record representing public agency workers and on what he argues is a record by the pension fund of being overly focused on the political implications of its investments.

“In the past, it’s been used more as a political action committee than a retirement fund,” Perez said in an interview Thursday. “I think the public agency [employees] are just sick of the shenanigans.”

As such, Perez could bring a decidedly different approach to the pension governance board. In March, he lashed out at state Treasurer John Chiang, who sits on the CalPERS board, during a debate over whether the fund should embrace Chiang’s request to divest from certain gun retailers.

“This is nothing more than a political ploy,” Perez said during public comment. “It has nothing to do with CalPERS and its fiduciary responsibility to invest, to maximize returns.”

The board ultimately declined to accept Chiang’s proposal.

In a state like California where virtue signaling is as ubiquitous as air kisses and bro-hugs, this is pretty significant. A public board that skews heavily to the left has decided that they aren’t willing to endanger their own financial well-being in order to placate the capricious political posturing of the haut monde of the Golden State. Score one, but only one, for sensibility. It’s nice to win one every once in a while here in the Avocado Republic.


More from the Tolerant Radical Left: Truck with Pro-Trump Stickers Torched in Vancouver

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:47 am

The insanity of the radical left continues:

A truck bearing pro-Trump stickers was torched after the owner left the vehicle at a bar parking lot in Vancouver, Wash., overnight.

Johnny MacKay told KOIN News the incident occurred late Monday night, after he opted to take an Uber home after having a few drinks, leaving his Nissan Titan pickup in the Garage Bar and Grille’s parking lot.

During the night, Randy Sanchagrin, who lives near the bar, told the local station he heard an explosion. He then exited the house and began filming what turned out to be MacKay’s truck being engulfed by flames.

“By the time I ran back to the street it was so bad there was no getting close to it,” Sanchagrin told the local outlet.

Photos of MacKay’s pickup showed two bumper stickers reading “TRUMP 2020” and “TRUMP: KEEP AMERICA GREAT! 2020.”

MacKay told the station he thinks his stickers made him a target.

Oh, and in case you thought it was an unrelated coincidence that the truck had Trump stickers on it:

He said when he arrived at the bar the next morning to pick up his truck, he also found Trump’s name spray-painted on the vehicle.

It’s not an unrelated coincidence.

When they go low, we kick them. But we don’t do anything inappropriate of course.

No word yet on whether Brooke Baldwin or Don Lemon think this was “arson” as opposed to peaceful protest.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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