Patterico's Pontifications

2/8/2019

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

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:14 pm



[guest post by Dana]

You have got to be kidding me.

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

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

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

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

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:04 pm



[guest post by Dana]

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

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

Here is a statement released by her lawyers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

A Few News Items

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:39 am



[guest post by Dana]

Just going to leave these right here.

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

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

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

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

2) Gov. Northam of Virginia staying put?:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4) Jeff Bezos fights back [excerpts]:

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

[…]

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

CONFIDENTIAL & NOT FOR DISTRIBIUTION

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

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

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

2/7/2019

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

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:02 pm



[guest post by Dana]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M’kay.

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

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

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

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

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

The Green New Deal Sort Of Leaves One Speechless…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:26 pm



[guest post by Dana]

The Green New Deal was introduced today by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey. It’s about what you would expect from Democrats intent on countering climate change by a “massive transformation of our society.” Included in the released overview:

The Green New Deal resolution a 10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society at a scale not seen since World War 2 to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and create economic prosperity for all.

It will:
 Move America to 100% clean and renewable energy
 Create millions of family supporting-wage, union jobs
 Ensure a just transition for all communities and workers to ensure economic security for people and communities that have historically relied on fossil fuel industries
 Ensure justice and equity for frontline communities by prioritizing investment, training, climate and community resiliency, economic and environmental benefits in these communities.
 Build on FDR’s second bill of rights by guaranteeing:
 A job with a family-sustaining wage, family and medical leave, vacations, and retirement security
 High-quality education, including higher education and trade schools
 Clean air and water and access to nature
 Healthy food
 High-quality health care
 Safe, affordable, adequate housing
 Economic environment free of monopolies
Economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work

From the Q&A portion:

Why 100% clean and renewable and not just 100% renewable? Are you saying we won’t transition off fossil fuels?

Yes, we are calling for a full transition off fossil fuels and zero greenhouse gases. Anyone who has read the resolution sees that we spell this out through a plan that calls for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from every sector of the economy. Simply banning fossil fuels immediately won’t build the new economy to replace it – this is the plan to build that new economy and spells out how to do it technically. We do this through a huge mobilization to create the renewable energy economy as fast as possible. We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.

You get the idea and I just can’t even.

Perhaps David Harsanyi describes the utter infeasibility of the plan best:

It is not hyperbole to contend that GND is likely the most ridiculous and un-American plan that’s ever been presented by an elected official to voters. Not merely because it would necessitate a communist strongman to institute, but also because the societal cost are unfathomable. The risible historic analogies Markey and Ocasio-Cortez rely on, the building of the interstate highway system or moon landing, are nothing but trifling projects compared to a plan overhauls modernity by voluntarily destroying massive amounts of wealth and technology. That is the GND.

[…]

The GND uses the word “massive” to explain the size “investments” (formerly known as “taxes”) 13 times. How will we pay for this plan? “The same way we did the New Deal, the 2008 bank bailouts and extend quantitative easing,” say Markey and Cortez, who earned her degree in economics at an institution of higher learning that should be immediately decertified. The plan itself seems to insinuate that billionaires can pay for the whole thing. Of course, best case scenario, it is estimated that instituting a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent would raise a little more than $700 billion over that decade. She does not explain how we’re going to raise the other 20 bazillion dollars it will cost to deconstruct modernity.

A surprising reaction to the plan came from Nancy Pelosi , who amusingly derided it:

Progressives had demanded a special climate panel tasked specifically with drafting legislation to end the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels in just over a decade and transform the economy.

The California Democrat did agree to launch a select committee on climate change, similar to the one she created back in 2007, when she first became speaker. Pelosi said Wednesday, however, the panel would not be tasked with writing a specific bill, and brushed off the idea of the Green New Deal as a “suggestion.”

“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi said. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?”

(Which is sort of funny coming from Pelosi, considering her “You have to vote for the bill to know what’s in it” comment to concerned Americans…)

It’s interesting to watch Pelosi take Ocasio-Cortez in hand. It’s a fine balancing act for Pelosi. She knows the major influence and impact Ocasio-Cortez has on her progressive supporters and more than 2.8 million Twitter followers, yet at the same time, Pelosi needs to remind the freshman congresswoman that she is the boss. One thing about Pelosi, her knifings always hit the mark. Given that Ocasio-Cortez was notably left off Pelosi’s climate change committee, I think Pelosi’s messaging to the young upstart is loud and clear.

Untitled

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

2/6/2019

Lt. Gov. Fairfax’s Accuser Details Sexual Assault Allegation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:05 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Today, Prof. Vanessa Tyson, who has alleged that Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of Virginia sexually assaulted her in a hotel room back in 2004, released a statement describing the events that took place with Fairfax. She said that this will be her only comment on the matter. Fairfax has vigorously denied her accusation, and said that any encounter with Tyson was consensual.

In part (graphic description):

…Given our interactions up to that time, I had no reason to feel threatened and agreed to walk with him to his hotel. I stood in the entryway of the room and after he located the documents, he walked over and kissed me. Although surprised by his advance, it was not unwelcome and I kissed him back. He then took my hand and pulled me towards the bed. I was fully clothed in a pantsuit and had no intention of taking my clothes off or engaging in sexual activity. In the back of my mind, I also knew I needed to return to Convention headquarters.

What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault. Mr. Fairfax put his hand behind my neck and forcefully pushed my head towards his crotch. Only then did I realize that he had unbuckled his belt, unzipped his pants, and taken out his penis. He then forced his penis into my mouth. Utterly shocked and terrified, I tried to move my head away, but could not because his hand was holding down my neck and he was much stronger than me. As I cried and gagged, Mr. Fairfax forced me to perform oral sex on him. I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual. To be very clear, I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave any form of consent. Quite the opposite. I consciously avoided Mr. Fairfax for the remainder of the Convention and I never spoke to him again.

Tyson goes on to say that she never spoke about what happened until she saw a photograph of Fairax in 2017 when he was running for Lt. Gov. of Virginia:

By December 2017, I not only told many friends that Mr. Fairfax had sexually assaulted me but I also reached out to a personal friend at The Washington Post and spoke to his colleagues about the assault.

After The Washington Post decided in March 2018 not to run my story, I felt powerless, frustrated, and completely drained. Again I tried to bury memories of this painful incident and focus on my work and my students.

It was when calls for Gov. Northam to resign went public and Lt. Gov. Fairfax’s name came up as his would-be successor that Tyson felt the need to speak out, and subsequently wrote a private Facebook post about the incident. After a screenshot of it was posted for public viewing, Tyson felt the need to make a statement. She also wanted to set the record straight regarding the attempted smear of her by Fairfax, which appeared in the Washington Post:

Mr. Fairfax’s suggestion The Washington Post found me not to be credible was deceitful, offensive and profoundly upsetting. He has continued a smear campaign by pointing reporters to a 2007 educational video in which I talked about being the victim of incest and molestation. In that video I did not talk about being assaulted by Mr. Fairfax. This, of course, is not proof that he did not assault me. His reliance on this video to say the opposite is despicable and an offense to sexual assault survivors everywhere.

[…]

I have no political motive. I am a proud Democrat. My only motive in speaking now is to refute Mr. Fairfax’s falsehoods and aspersions of my character, and to provide what I believe is important information for Virginians to have as they make critical decisions that involve Mr. Fairfax.

[…]

Mr. Fairfax has tried to brand me as a liar to a national audience, in service to his political ambitions, and has threatened litigation. Given his false assertions, I’m compelled to make clear what happened. I very much wish to resume my life as an academic and professor. I do not want to get further embroiled in this highly charged political environment.

What does Tyson have to gain from telling her story now? She is an admitted loyal Democrat, as is Fairfax. Unlike the Blasey Ford-Kavanaugh situation, there was no political cause that we know of that Tyson would have objected to had he been elected Lt. Gov. of Virginia. Granted, a Supreme Court Justice is an entirely different matter, and yet, Tyson would be second in line to the governorship. And then Tyson’s admittance that the kissing was consensual is interesting. I agree that if this was a made-up story designed to take Fairfax down for whatever reason, she would not be inclined to admit that anything that transpired in the hotel room was consensual:

“If you were out to smear someone by fabricating a sexual assault whole cloth, is that a detail you’d include? That you were receptive to an advance at first? Intuitively, it seems to me you’d make the assault nonconsensual in every particular, from the jump.” Maybe.

But after the Blasey-Ford circus, I’m reluctant to speculate too much.

So far, in this #MeToo moment, just one Democrat has spoken out in support of Tyson, which is a night and day contrast to the immediate outpouring of support for Blasey-Ford by Democrats. And the support for Tyson comes from a freshman congresswoman:

“I believe Dr. Vanessa Tyson,” [Jennnifer] Wexton, who was endorsed by Fairfax in her 2018 race against Republican former Rep. Barbara Comstock, tweeted Wednesday. Wexton and Fairfax, a Democrat who was elected lieutenant governor in 2017, also briefly served together when she was a Virginia state senator.

The National Republican Congressional Committee had earlier condemned Wexton for not denouncing Fairfax, given that Wexton criticized Comstock in the fall for failing to speak out against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after he faced several allegations of sexual misconduct.

“Jennifer Wexton has an opportunity to be a leader on this issue,” NRCC spokeswoman Camille Gallo said in a statement Tuesday, mimicking Wexton’s statement against Comstock. “There’s an opportunity to be not only a leader for women but to stand up to her party. What is she doing when it’s her friend who is the subject of allegations?”

Further, the National Organization for Women has also condemned Fairfax and called for his resignation:

The National Organization for Women also urged Fairfax to step down from his post Wednesday and called Tyson’s story “horrifying.”

“We believe and support survivors,” the organization said in a statement. “We always believe and support survivors.”

For a topper, and because things can always get weirder than they are, Vanessa Tyson has hired Katz, Marshall & Banks to represent her. This is the same legal team that represented Prof. Christine Blasey, who accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. And now Lt. Gov. Fairfax has hired Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz, the same legal team that represented Brett Kavanaugh.

P.S. Google “Justin Fairfax” and this is what pops up:

Untitled

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Virginia: The State That Just Keeps On Giving

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:12 am



[guest post by Dana]

While Gov. Northam refuses to resign from office in spite of increasing pressure from leading Democrats for him to do so, Lt. Gov. Fairfax, in line to succeed Gov. Northam, is currently fighting a sexual misconduct allegation made by a professor at Scripps College. Fairfax reportedly was pretty ugly when he attempted to discredit his accuser during a private meeting. Now we are learning that Attorney General Mark Herring, who would be next in line to be governor after Fairfax, made a preemptive move this morning by admitting that he too wore blackface while in college some 40 years ago:

I am sure we all have done things at one time or another in our lives that show poor judgment, and worse yet, have caused some level of pain to others. I have a glaring example from my past that I have thought about with deep regret in the many years since, and certainly each time I took a step forward in public service, realizing that my goals and this memory could someday collide and cause pain for people I care about, those who stood with me in the many years since, or those who I hoped to serve while in office.

In 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song,” Herring said. “It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes – and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others – we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup.

This was a one-time occurrence and I accept full responsibility for my conduct.

[…]

“Although the shame of that moment has haunted me for decades, and though my disclosure of it now pains me immensely, what I am feeling in no way compares to the betrayal, the shock, and the deep pain that Virginians of color may be feeling. Where they have deserved to feel heard, respected, understood, and honestly represented, I fear my actions have contributed to them being forced to revisit and feel a historical pain that has never been allowed to become history.

“This conduct is in no way reflective of the man I have become in the nearly 40 years since.

Interesting that Herring couldn’t bring himself to say “blackface” in his statement. Rather he used the almost innocuous “brown makeup” instead. Preemptively politicking with a sly choice of non-inflammatory words and sidestepping blunt accuracy before his hopeful ascendancy to governorship – whether in 2019 or 2021 – demonstrates that he’s fairly practiced at this game.

As a reminder, just four days ago, Herring called on Northam to resign:

It is no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down. I have spoken with Lieutenant Governor Fairfax and assured him that, should he ascend to the governorship, he will have my complete support and commitment to ensuring his success and the success of our Commonwealth

If the three executives facing various scandals found themselves out of office, then next up to bat would be Republican Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, Kirk Cox.

P.S. The New York Times is torn. Circle the wagons or be honest:

Then:

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Now:

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–Dana

2/5/2019

SOTU Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:46 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Remember, there is no ceiling to just how nutty politics can get.

Kamala Harris has decided she will give a SOTU pre-buttal tonight:

“I’m delivering remarks tonight on Facebook Live ahead of the President’s State of the Union Address,” Harris said on Twitter. “It’s critical we speak truth to the American people during this inflection moment in our country’s history.”

Because a candidate can never waste an opportunity to promote themselves, am I right?!

Stacey Abrams, who lost the Georgia governor’s race last year, has been tapped to give the official Democratic response. Really? Someone who lost an important election is the most effective voice they have?

Also, Bernie Sanders announced he will be giving his own rebuttal via Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. But of course. Democrats are so not happy with him at the moment.

And in what appears to be perfectly dreadful timing when one considers a certain yearbook, the House Democratic Women’s Working Group has asked that female members of both parties wear white tonight as a symbol of solidarity. Not just white, but suffragette white.

As for Nancy Pelosi’s special guests tonight, you can read the list here.

As for President Trump’s special guests tonight, you can read the list here.

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Should be a hoot.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

New York Discovers That the Wealthy Are Rather Mobile

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:55 am



[guest post by JVW]

From National Review Online:

New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state is facing a $2.3 billion tax-revenue shortfall, and argued that the deficit can be attributed to the “diabolical” recently passed federal tax-reform package.

Cuomo blamed the loss of tax revenue, the scale of which was unpredicted by state officials, on a provision in the Republican-led tax reform package that capped state and local tax deductions at $10,000, depriving the wealthiest New Yorkers of a significant tax break that defrayed the high state taxes imposed by Albany.

Those New Yorkers affected by the loss of the SALT deduction are now filing their income taxes in other states or using other means to circumvent their tax liabilities, Cuomo seemed to suggest.

Please, someone gently break the news to the Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez wing of the party that when you raise taxes beyond a certain rate, high earners are bound to take steps to mitigate their liability, as was so readily seen earlier this decade in France. Though it is certainly a fairly easy matter to change states of residence to reduce one’s tax bill, and though switching from one EU country to another is also manageable for one of moderate wealth, progressives who demand increasing federal taxes on the assumption that the rich have nowhere else to go should not overlook the likelihood of assets being moved offshore, beyond the reach of an avaricious Uncle Sam.

Andrew Cuomo is one of the slimier members of the political class: a brutish and nasty thug, devoid of ethics and willing to shamelessly prevaricate for political expediency. Yet he is cynical enough — and sufficiently dialed into the Wall Street power scene — to understand that there is a limit to which socialists can just willy-nilly confiscate money from the rich without driving them elsewhere. Of course, rather than focusing on that aspect of it he prefers to blame the Trump tax cuts for New York’s ills:

“[Capping] SALT was an economic civil war,” Cuomo said at a news conference Monday at the Capitol, referring to the State and Local Tax deduction. “It literally restructured the economy to help red states at the cost of blue states. That’s exactly what it did. It was a diabolical, political maneuver.”

State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli joined Cuomo at the press conference and backed the governor’s bleak assessment of the situation.

“This is the most serious revenue shock the state has faced in many years,” DiNapoli said, endorsing Cuomo’s prescription that spending must be cut in the budget for this fiscal year, which begins April 1.

“We have some of the soundest financial footing this state has ever had,” Cuomo said. “But we must maintain that, and if we know there’s a cut, we’re going to have to take that cut into account when we do this budget and it has to change.”

But let’s see things for how they really are in the Empire State. Andrew Cuomo ran for reelection this past year and faced his most significant challenge from his (far) left flank in the form of actress Cynthia Nixon. Because of that, he was not about to preach the gospel of fiscal discipline in an election year, and he was happy to be seen as the prudent progressive pushing public policy presents. Now that he is safely reelected, suddenly he announces that the money isn’t there — because of Trump, don’t you know — so it’s time to be realistic about spending. New Yorkers have elected this clown to three terms now, so if they resent being jerked around in this manner than it’s really their own damn fault.

– JVW

2/4/2019

Chaos In Virginia: Lt. Gov. Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Suggests Gov. Northam Camp Smear

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:46 pm



[guest post by Dana]

As the embroiled governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam continues to ignore Democrats calling for his resignation as a result of his shameful support of infanticide uncovered racist photographs from his college yearbook, his would-be successor, Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is now facing his own public relations catastrophe as he faces an accusation of sexual misconduct by a college professor:

A woman named Vanessa Tyson, who is a fellow at Stanford University, says that a man who allegedly sexually assaulted her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention is now an office-holder about to get a “very big promotion,” according to a screenshot provided by a tipster. A friend of Tyson’s named Adria Scharf, based in Richmond, Virginia, shared the “heartbreaking” message, which Tyson wrote as a private post.

Tyson is a fellow at California-based Stanford University and professor at California-based Scripps College, which means the alleged sexual assaulter must hold office on the East Coast. Tyson says her alleged attacker won statewide office in 2017.

Fairfax strongly denied the allegation:

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After being presented with the facts consistent with the Lt. Governor’s denial of the allegations, the absence of any evidence corroborrating the allegation, and significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegation, the Post made the considered decision not to publish the story.

Except the The Washington Post disagrees with that assessment:

The Washington Post could not find anyone who could corroborate either version. The Post did not find “significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations,” as the Fairfax statement incorrectly said.

While Fairfax claims that the encounter with Tyson was consensual, she offered a different version:

The woman described a sexual encounter that began with consensual kissing and ended with a forced act that left her crying and shaken. She said Fairfax guided her to the bed, where they continued kissing, and then at one point she realized she could not move her neck. She said Fairfax used his strength to force her to perform oral sex.

No similar complaints against Fairfax were uncovered during the Washington Post’s investigation, and as a result said that “Without that, or the ability to corroborate the woman’s account — in part because she had not told anyone what happened — The Washington Post did not run a story.”

The Post, on why they published now:

“Lt. Gov. Fairfax is a public official who may well rise to the position of governor,” Baron said in a statement. “He began the morning by issuing a statement regarding allegations against him, making specific representations about Post reporting that had not resulted in publication. We then had an obligation to clarify the nature of both the allegations and our reporting. “

And now, if things weren’t sordid enough, per Jonathan Martin at the NYT, Fairfax is claiming that Gov. Northam may be behind the “smear”:

“Does anybody think it’s any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated that that’s when this uncorroborated smear comes out?” Mr. Fairfax told reporters surrounding him in the rotunda of the state Capitol about whether he believes Mr. Northam, a fellow Democrat, was behind the accusation’s coming to light. He offered no evidence tying the Northam camp to the allegation.

Northam’s camp responded to the suggestion of having smeared Fairfax:

An adviser to Mr. Northam, asked Monday if the embattled governor had been behind the revelation of the assault allegations, denied any responsibility and said the Northam camp did not have the capacity to plot such a move at a moment when Mr. Northam is struggling to retain his job.

This, from Nate Silver:

Should Northam resign, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax — a Democrat and African American — would take over as governor. This fact surely makes it easier for Democrats to call for Northam’s resignation, as it’s possible that partisan concerns would outweigh worries about racism, at least among some Democrats. After all, we’ve already seen evidence of that among some Republicans with the #MeToo movement. But at this point, one thing is clear: Democrats’ increasingly liberal views on race have made them less willing to accept racism in any form among their own representatives — Northam’s net approval among Virginia Democrats dropped almost 40 points practically overnight.

Also, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus has weighed in about the accusation against Lt. Gov. Fairfox:

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus issued a statement saying it takes “all allegations of sexual assault or misconduct with the utmost seriousness. Given the recent allegations regarding Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, the VLBC will continue to assess this developing situation as more details become available.”

–Dana

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