Patterico's Pontifications


Ron Paul Doing Well After Concerning Episode on Livestream

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:47 pm

Ron Paul had a medical episode occur during a livestream this morning. He began slurring his words and looked concerned. Sounds like he’s doing OK, though:

Best wishes to him and the Paul family.


Schumer: Republicans Stole a Supreme Court Seat in 2016 and Are Stealing One Now. Huh?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

Can someone explain the logic to me? I don’t get it.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said the decision to consider a Trump pick ahead of this election means the Republican majority “will have stolen two Supreme Court seats four years apart using completely contradictory rationales.”

I’m at a loss as to how anyone could argue that they will have stolen both seats. If you agree with him, could you explain the logic?

If Republicans stole the seat in 2016, that’s because a president always has a right to a vote on his nominee, even in an election year, even when the Senate is held by the opposite party. How can anyone then say this seat will also have been stolen??

I understand the argument that Republicans are using different rationales. (Whether it’s true depends on the initial rationale they used. Lindsey Graham is using two different rationales because he is a hack. Sen. McConnell is using the same rationale: we do it because we can, and it’s the way it’s always been done.) But that’s a different argument from Schumer’s argument that both seats will have been “stolen.”

You can argue that the GOP Senators set up one standard and acted by it, and that they then set up another different standard years later and plan to act by that, and that it is all partisan and unprincipled and inconsistent and disgraceful. I totally understand the argument. For Graham, it’s right.

But how can you argue they will have stolen both seats? I genuinely don’t get it. Even if, as a Democrat, your own standard has shifted, don’t you have to acknowledge that the new standard you advocate was the right one in 2016 — especially since your new “always refuse confirmation in an election year” standard, if it applies now when the presidency and Senate are held by the same party, has to have applied with double force in 2016 when the Senate had an extra partisan reason to apply that standard?

I assume the simple answer is “Schumer is just being a hack” and I agree with that, but usually people have at least a theoretical argument behind their hackery. Here, I can’t even fathom what the theoretical argument is. I understand the Republicans’ shift: we do it because we can, and the Senate has generally behaved that way in the past. What’s the Democrats’ argument? “It’s a theft if the vote goes in a way we don’t like”??


Trump: Yeah, I’m Not Going To Commit To A Peaceful Transfer of Power If It Comes To That

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:10 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This afternoon after being asked whether he will commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses:

“We’re going to have to see what happens, you know, but I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster,” Trump told reporters at a White House briefing when asked if he would commit to making sure there is a peaceful power transition.

When pressed, Trump said there would be no need for a transition of power without mail-in ballots, suggesting he believes he would win the election without an expansion of mail-in voting during the pandemic.

“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful, there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there will be a continuation,” Trump said. “The ballots are out of control. You know it and you know who knows it better than anyone else? The Democrats know it better than anyone else.”

This guy.

Reportedly, the Trump camp is already hard at work prepping desperate contingency plans, if the situation makes them necessary:

According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly. The longer Trump succeeds in keeping the vote count in doubt, the more pressure legislators will feel to act before the safe-harbor deadline expires…

The Trump-campaign legal adviser I spoke with told me the push to appoint electors would be framed in terms of protecting the people’s will. Once committed to the position that the overtime count has been rigged, the adviser said, state lawmakers will want to judge for themselves what the voters intended.

“The state legislatures will say, ‘All right, we’ve been given this constitutional power. We don’t think the results of our own state are accurate, so here’s our slate of electors that we think properly reflect the results of our state,’ ” the adviser said. Democrats, he added, have exposed themselves to this stratagem by creating the conditions for a lengthy overtime.

Personally, I think Trump loves dropping these bombs of confusion and feeds off of the ensuing frustration and anger. This is Trump clapping his fat, little hands in glee knowing he is sowing the seeds of Trumpism. His loyal followers believe that the resulting chaos is evidence of his power play against the Swamp, or the Deep State, or Big Media, or whatever imaginary beast he conjures up as his latest enemy. His loyal base – the deluded – believe that his is a righteous cause, and his words and deeds are being nobly done on their behalf. Because that’s how necessary denial works.

I know this post deserves a deeper analysis, but honestly, there’s really nothing new to it. He is who he is, and the closer the election, the more this sort of stuff is just going to happen. I almost feel that by posting about it and being outraged, I’m feeding the insatiable attention whore, who devours negative attention as much as he does positive attention, as long as it’s about him. Anyway, here’s a more in-depth look at Trump’s statements on the election results.

By the way, the President of the United States is now literally begging me to vote for his opponent on November 3. And, in spite of my decision to vote for neither candidate, he is really moving the needle. Hard.


Debate Questions Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:22 am

[guest post by Dana]

Let us know what questions you would like to see asked at the presidential debates. How would you like to see the questions worded, which issues take priority with you, and which issues do you think take priority with voters at large? Further, what do you hope to see the candidates reveal, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and what are you personally looking for from each candidate? Also, what pitfalls do you think the candidates need to avoid, and what are their most vulnerable points of attack that could be exploited by their opponent?

I know I’ve said it a thousand times before, but my God, from a nation overflowing with brilliant and capable individuals, it’s simply mind-boggling that we are stuck with one of these two goobers becoming the next President of the United States. This, the greatest nation on earth.


September 29 Will Be a Very Interesting Day

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

If you follow politics closely, you may know that September 29, 2020 will be the date of the first Presidential debate between President Donald J. Trump and doddering old fool Joe Biden. Trump and his incompetent crew have succeeded in tamping down expectations for Biden so much that if Biden manages to string a sentence or two together in a coherent fashion, he will be judged the winner by acclamation. Nice job playing the expectations game, Trump campaign!

Anyway, Chris Wallace, the moderator of the first debate, has reportedly picked his topics for that debate. Those topics, supposedly, according to The Commission on Presidential Debates, are:

The Trump and Biden Records
The Supreme Court
The Economy
Race and Violence in our Cities
The Integrity of the Election

But here’s the thing. The Commission on Presidential Debates admits that the topics are “[s]ubject to possible changes because of news developments” — and I know a news development that is likely to happen that day … and as a reader of this blog, you’re about to know it too. Namely: that morning, Judge Emmet Sullivan will be holding a hearing on the Government’s motion to dismiss the case against Michael Flynn.

One of three things is likely to happen: Judge Sullivan will deny the motion, he will grant it, or he could take it under submission. But any way you slice it, the hearing is likely to make news. Big news. Judge Sullivan is, in my view quite appropriately, palpably skeptical of the Government’s position, which strikes me as patently corrupt and plainly pretextual — an obvious attempt to paper over a cynical and baseless change of position for the purely political reason of running interference for a political crony who likely has dirt against Trump.

I have a feeling Judge Sullivan is going to voice his opinion loudly — probably loudly enough for Chris Wallace to hear, even over the noise of his pre-planned series of questions.

If Chris Wallace is as smart as I think he is, he will see this coming as clearly as I do. After all, he gets paid to do this stuff. I don’t.

But even if he doesn’t see it coming, I predict the news cycle is going to cause some re-jiggering of the topics to accommodate this critical issue, which goes straight to the heart of this president’s abuse of the rule of law.

You heard it here first: the Flynn case is making news on September 29, and it’s going to come up in the debate.

Always trust content from Patterico.


Trump Expands His Ban

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:21 pm

[guest post by Dana]


Mitt Romney: ‘If Nominee Reaches The Senate Floor, I Intend To Vote’

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:57 am

[guest post by Dana]

He’s in:

My decision regarding a Supreme Court nomination is not the result of a subjective test of “fairness,” which like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. It is based on the immutable fairness of following the law, which in this case is the Constitution and precedent. The historical precedent of election year nominations is that the Senate generally does not confirm an opposing party’s nominee but does confirm a nominee of its own.

The Constitution gives the President the power to nominate and the Senate the authority to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees. Accordingly, I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the President’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications.

Last night, Colorado’s Cory Gardner, who is in danger of losing reelection, broke his silence and announced that he would vote to confirm:

When a President exercises constitutional authority to nominate a judge for the Supreme Court vacancy, the Senate must decide how to best fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent. I have and will continue to support judicial nominees who will protect our Constitution, not legislate from the bench, and uphold the law. Should a qualified nominee who meets this criteria be put forward, I will vote to confirm.

Susan Collins, who is in a toss-up race for reelection, and Lisa Murkowski have publicly said they do not support the Senate taking up a nomination before the presidential election.

This was FiveThirtyEight’s prediction before Romney and Gardner’s announcement:

Based on what we know right now, here’s the most likely way that the dominoes will fall: Trump chooses a nominee this week. The Senate holds hearings in October, but there is not a vote on the nominee before the election. Biden beats Trump. In the postelection, lame-duck Senate session, 50 Republican senators and Vice President Mike Pence combine for 51 votes to confirm Trump’s nominee, with the 47 Democrats, Collins, Murkowski and Romney in opposition.

As it now stands, there are 51 votes.



Survey of Professors Summed Up: ‘Scared To Death To Teach’

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:49 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Following the story of USC Professor Greg Patton, who was suspended for accurately quoting a Mandarin filler word during his class, an anonymous survey was sent out to professors at the Marshall School of Business and produced the exact kind of responses one would expect:

An anonymous survey of 105 professors at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business suggests that many of them have lost confidence in the dean, and that they feel “livid,” “betrayed,” and “scared of students” after a fellow faculty member was “thrown under the bus,” as several of them described it, following a controversy over his use of a Chinese word.

While the summary revealed strong reactions to the school’s treatment of Prof. Patton, the general reactions fell short when compared to the more detailed “scathing” comments:

…noted the “anger, disappointment, betrayal, and outrage” felt by professors.

[The comments] provide a portrait of a business school in which professors are now convinced that a single student complaint, even a questionable one, could upend their careers, and that the school’s leadership, as one professor put it, “doesn’t have our back”:

“I’m scared to death to teach in this environment. Any innocent phrase can be turned around on you.”

“Faculty will have to walk on egg shells all the time – anyone can be accused of being a racist, bigoted, insensitive, biased, etc.”

“[I] fear that if things are left as they stand now, this will have a very chilling effect on the faculty.”

“Makes me not want to teach.”

And who can blame them, given how Prof. Patton was immediately removed from the classroom by Dean Garrett and replaced with another instructor. The surveyed professors, feeling betrayed by the administration, also took Dean Garrett to task for his support of “offended” students and lack of support for Prof. Patton:

A number of professors condemned Garrett’s email to students, in which he said that it was “simply unacceptable for faculty to use words in class that can marginalize, hurt and harm the psychological safety of our students.”

“The Dean did such a disservice to faculty, but especially to Greg Patton, by sending a memo that was highly judgmental and injurious.”

“Shocked, saddened, pissed off and betrayed by Dean Garrett and the Marshall Administration.”

“It makes me feel like the dean’s office is willing to throw faculty under the bus in order [to] preserve the appearance of diversity and inclusion instead of opening up dialogues on both sides.”

“For the Dean to put his signature to a letter with such obviously untrue implication … is chicken shit.”

Anyway, the unintended consequence of Dean Garrett’s actions will be manifested in the classroom as professors, now walking on eggshells, are planning to adjust their teaching to minimize any possibility of being accused of causing offense:

“It will make me even more conservative and guarded than I already am.”

“I will avoid any diversity and inclusion topics and will strictly stick to safe topics, devoid of any potential land mines.”

“I may cut sessions on culture.”

“I plan to be aware and on the lookout for situations that might be misinterpreted, but am concerned that if I start looking over my shoulder and second guessing myself that I might be more inclined to actually make a mistake.”

What else can they do but this?


A Reason Not to Worry That Amy Coney Barrett Will Recuse Herself in Abortion Cases

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

With Judge Amy Coney Barrett looking like a “top contender” to replace Justice Ginsburg, it may be worth revisiting what would likely be the main controversy with a Barrett nomination: whether her Catholic religion would interfere with her judging.

It is fashionable for those on the right who have not looked into the issue to dismiss this as “bigotry” but there is more to it than that. Over two years ago I wrote a post titled Would a Justice Amy Barrett Recuse Herself in Abortion Cases? Plenty of judges and politicians (including Joe Biden) are Catholic, including Justice Scalia, for whom Judge Barrett was a clerk. But not every judge has written something like this:

[W]e believe that Catholic judges (if they are faithful to the teachings of their church) are morally precluded from enforcing the death penalty. This means that they can neither themselves sentence criminals to death nor enforce jury recommendations of death. Whether they may affirm lower court orders of either kind is a question we have the most difficulty in resolving.

(My emphasis.)

But Barrett has. In my 2018 post, I noted that the issue of abortion is also fraught with baggage for the sincere Catholic, and that a judge who had expressed misgivings about ruling on death penalty cases as an appellate judge might have similar misgivings about abortion cases. I concluded: “It would be ironic indeed if conservatives supported Barrett because they thought her Catholic faith would make her a certain vote to overturn Roe v. Wade — only to see her recuse herself from any such case because of that same faith.”

Fortunately, we now have two more years of Barrett’s track record as a judge to consult, and I updated the post yesterday after a Twitter interchange with Ed Whelan in which he pointed out that Judge Barrett joined a panel decision in July vacating an injunction against an execution. Here is that update, which I thought should be highlighted in a new post given its relevance to current events:

UPDATE 9-20-20: Ed Whelan points me to the fact that Barrett has since ruled on a death penalty case, which certainly lessens the concerns raised in this post:

I’m no longer concerned about Barrett recusing herself from death cases or abortion cases.

A track record is a nice thing to have. Trump was correct to forego nominating Judge Barrett before she built one. Two years is not a particularly long track record, but it’s better than virtually nothing. Keep this one in your back pocket if she should become the nominee.

P.S. Ed Whelan was kind enough to inquire on my behalf what Justice Scalia’s favorite opera was, so I could listen to it, as RBG’s death and their friendship was making me nostalgic. He told me he had learned indirectly from Mrs. Scalia that it was Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni — also an RBG favorite. Press play and remember a day when people who disagreed could get along:


Thanks to All Who Donated to Dustin’s Baby Boy

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:02 am

Thanks to everyone who donated on behalf of our friend Dustin’s baby boy. Today I am settling up. In the interest of being transparent, here is what has been collected:

DRJ $100
Simon Jester $100
Colonel Klink $100
Leviticus $100
Patterico $100
Dave $50
whembly $50
Dana $25
JVW $25
felipe $25
Time123 $20
Paul Montagu $20
Kevin M $20

Total: $735

I have sent that amount to Dustin. Please let me know if I missed anyone or got anything wrong.

Thanks again. It’s great to feel like a community that can come together and help give a nice start for the life of someone close to us.

UPDATE: We have an anonymous donor who has pitched in an extra $20, bringing the total to $755. Thanks! Your message will be passed along, together with the moolah.

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