Patterico's Pontifications


Your Daily Lesson in Political Naivete: The Scam of Slate Mailers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:02 pm

Ah, look what I got in the mail:

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Oh, it’s my good friends at the Republican Leadership! What do they have to say?

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Well, I certainly want to Support My Republican Team. After all, Republican Leaders do Make Strides. So this is a voter guide, huh? Does it tell me anything about who the Republicans support for judge?

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Wait . . . what? You’re telling me that the Republican Party is supporting Songhai “Sunny” Armstead for a judicial position? But . . . isn’t she the candidate I have told you about here who goes around using her skin color as her primary job qualification? Whose supporter filed a bogus DMCA takedown to scrub the evidence from YouTube, forcing me to host the proof here on my own site?

Yes, she is. So what is the Republican Party doing endorsing a race-baiting candidate like that?

The short answer is: they’re not.

Before you start to fly into a rage against those damned Establishment Republicans, take a super-close look at that first image. See that tiny upside-down disclaimer at the bottom? Here’s what it says:

REQUIRED BY LAW – NOTICE TO VOTERS: THIS DOCUMENT WAS PREPARED BY LOS ANGELES COUNTY REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP VOTER GUIDE, NOT AN OFFICIAL PARTY ORGANIZATION. Appearance in this mailer does not necessarily imply endorsement of others appearing in this mailer, not does it imply endorsement of, or opposition to, any issues set forth in this mailer. Appearance is paid for and authorized by each candidate and ballot measure which is designated by a *.

That includes Songhai “Sunny” Armstead. She paid to appear in this slate mailer. A slate mailer, I will add, that has nothing to do with the Republican Party whatsoever.

Armstead is not the candidate you want to vote for in Office 97. My friend Teresa Magno is.

These slate mailers fool a lot of people. Don’t let them fool you.

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“At Best, A Deserter, And At Worst, A Traitor”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:22 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In spite of signing a nondisclosure statement with the military, former Army sergeant Josh Korder, who served with Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan before Bergdahl reportedly walked away from his post, felt compelled to share his frustrations with CNN’s Jake Tapper, lest Bergdahl become a hero and the truth remain untold.

As Korder sees it, Bergdahl is being nationally celebrated and recognized, yet none of the six soldiers who died while searching for him received the same level of attention or recognition for their sacrifice.

“He pretty much voluntarily walked away and in turn caused the actions that may have killed them,” he said.

Korder believes that Bergdahl, after his health is restored, needs to face questioning about his actions.

“Any of us would have died for us when he was with us, and for him to just leave us like that — it was a very big betrayal,” he said.

It’s difficult to see how Korder benefits by speaking out, other than what he claims: If he doesn’t, Bergdahl will be a hero and no one’s going to be able to know the truth.


A Union Shares Part Of The Blame

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:35 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Along with the gaming of the system, Former New York Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey makes us aware of a group that also hoped to make a buck off the corrupt system at the V.A. – even as veterans died from wait-times: the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).

Encouraging vets on Medicare to use civilian care instead of the VA could cut the patient backlog at the VA by as much as half, solving a national crisis.

Almost half of vets are 65 or over, and nearly all vets using the VA have Medicare coverage.

Often, they’d be better off getting their bypass surgery and cancer operations at civilian hospitals that do higher volumes of these age-related procedures and have better survival rates, instead of sticking with the VA.

But the VA fails to tell them. The culprit is the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union that dominates the VA. For AFGE, the VA is a jobs program.

The union wants more patients, bigger VA budgets and more staff, never mind what ailing vets need.

Nine months ago, the VA rolled out a $9.3 billion program to refer vets needing specialists to civilian medical centers if the wait at their VA was too long or they lived too far away.

AFGE is fighting the program, even accusing VA executives of deliberately causing the backlog.

The union opposes outsourcing. Worse, vets are being discouraged from accessing civilian care, even when they are desperate and have insurance to pay for it. The VA’s health care budget is based on how many vets enroll and how much care they use.

For the unions, the bigger that budget the better. Even if it means letting vets with Medicare who could get timely civilian treatment for their cancer or heart disease die in line instead.

The editorial is worth reading in its entirety. McCaughey also reminds us who stands with the union.

As long as AFGE dominates the VA, the inefficiencies and corruption won’t be fixed.

The union’s contract is filled with mind-numbing rules to prevent workers from being given a new task, changing shifts, or being disciplined for shoddy work. The place is run for workers, not patients.

Shockingly, many VA facilities don’t give vets a reminder call a day or two before their appointments, a practice standard in civilian medical offices.

The result is that no-show rates are as high as 45%, tragic when vets are waiting for an opening. All the more reason to help waiting vets get civilian care. But be prepared for a battle with the VA’s self-serving unions and their ally, the Democratic Party.


Susan Rice: Bergdahl Was “Captured on the Battlefield”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

CNS News:

“Sergeant Bergdahl wasn’t simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield,” National Security Adviser Susan Rice asserted Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

But was he?

“We have a sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our republic to do our utmost to bring back our men and women who are taken in battle, and we did that in this instance,” Rice told George Stephanopoulos.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl went missing from his base in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009, under mysterious circumstances. According to press reports at the time, he simply walked away from his post.

On July 20, 2009, the Associated Press quoted “two U.S. officials” as saying that Bergdahl “had ‘just walked off’ his base with three Afghans after his shift.”

Jake Tapper:

The sense of pride expressed by officials of the Obama administration at the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is not shared by many of those who served with him — veterans and soldiers who call him a deserter whose “selfish act” ended up costing the lives of better men.

“I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on,” said former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009. “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”

Vierkant said Bergdahl needs to not only acknowledge his actions publicly but face a military trial for desertion under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

First we see that Rice lied about whether the U.S. government talked to the Taliban directly — and now this.

Did we trade five of the worst Taliban detainees for a guy who willingly deserted?

Don’t Do Stupid Shit, Obama.

Now In The Public Square

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:35 am

[guest post by Dana]

This past week saw the Obama administration end a 33-year ban on Medicare coverage for gender reassignment surgery. Clearly, this is a victory for transgender rights.

The ban had been put in place when gender reassignment surgery was considered risky and experimental. Medical professionals now consider it a relatively safe option for those suffering from gender dysphoria.

As private insurance companies tend to follow Medicare’s lead, there is a likelihood we will begin to see a shift in coverage.

Although Medicare coverage is only for people 65 and older, and the transgender population makes up only about 0.3 percent of the U.S. adult population, private insurance plans often take their cues from Medicare on what should be considered a medically necessary covered treatment. As a result, the ruling is likely to open up more options for transgender individuals although very few people opt for the complicated surgery.

What caused delays in lifting the ban were the challenges made by conservatives and religious groups. Certainly, lifting the ban will ignite further debate: What defines a “man” and a “woman”? Is it malleable? Is the taxpayer obligated to subsidize deemed “medically necessary surgeries” such as this?

Leanna Baumer, a senior legislative assistant with the Family Research Council, said that the ruling “ignores the complexity of issues” surrounding gender identity issues.

“Real compassion for those struggling with a gender identity disorder is to offer mental health treatments that help men and women become comfortable with their actual biological sex — not to advocate for costly and controversial surgeries subsidized by taxpayers,” she said.

One of the attorneys who worked on the case — which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights — said that decades of bias and prejudices have resulted in a crisis in health care for some transgender people.

“For someone who cannot get treatment, the impact can be devastating,” Jennifer Levi said. They can be depressed, have serious problems with self-esteem, and have difficulty working and forming social relationships, she added.

So, like it or not, the debate about transgenders is here to stay. With that, this past week the discussion ratcheted up a few notches with two notably different views being aired.

Time debuted its first transgender cover with Laverne Cox, an actor starring on the Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black. Cox has become the public face and spokesperson for the transgender community. Laverne Cox’s personal story is a sad one that includes being raised by a single mother, being bullied and beaten up in school, an attempted suicide in later years, and a pivotal moment in third grade when the teacher called Laverne’s mom, telling her,

‘Your son is going to end up in New Orleans wearing a dress.’

Cox summed up the moment,

Up until that point I just thought that I was a girl and that there was no difference between girls and boys. I think in my imagination I thought that I would hit puberty and I would start turning into a girl.

Cox shares her outlook on societal views and perceptions of the transgendered and needed changes in said perceptions,

Folks want to believe that genitals and biology are like destiny! All these designations are based on a penis, however many inches that is, and then a vagina. And that’s supposed to say all these different things about who people are. When you think about it, it’s kind of ridiculous. People need to be willing to let go of what they think they know about what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman. Because that doesn’t necessarily mean anything inherently. Folks are just really uncomfortable with that sense of uncertainty, or that shift.

In response to the Laverne Cox story, NRO’s Kevin D. Williamson rolled out his thesis, boldly titled Laverne Cox Is Not A Woman and as a result, has received some vicious tweets. His premise is as follows:

The obsession with policing language on the theory that language mystically shapes reality is itself ancient — see the Old Testament — and sympathetic magic proceeds along similar lines, using imitation and related techniques as a means of controlling reality. The most famous example of this is the voodoo doll. If an effigy can be made sufficiently like the reality it is intended to represent, then it becomes, for the mystical purposes at hand, a reality in its own right. The infinite malleability of the postmodern idea of “gender,” as opposed to the stubborn concreteness of sex, is precisely the reason the concept was invented. For all of the high-academic theory attached to the question, it is simply a mystical exercise in rearranging words to rearrange reality.

Thus concluding that Cox is not a woman, but rather an effigy of a woman.

Sex is a biological reality, and it is not subordinate to subjective impressions, no matter how intense those impressions are, how sincerely they are held, or how painful they make facing the biological facts of life.


The trans self-conception, if the autobiographical literature is any guide, is partly a feeling that one should be living one’s life as a member of the opposite sex and partly a delusion that one is in fact a member of the opposite sex at some level of reality that transcends the biological facts in question. There are many possible therapeutic responses to that condition, but the offer to amputate healthy organs in the service of a delusional tendency is the moral equivalent of meeting a man who believes he is Jesus and inquiring as to whether his insurance plan covers crucifixion.

Labeling it a delusional tendency certainly isn’t winning him any fans, but Williamson sticks to his guns. His concern is the impact and weight on society.

The mass delusion that we are inculcating on the question of transgendered people is a different sort of matter [than homosexuality], to the extent that it would impose on society at large an obligation — possibly a legal obligation under civil-rights law, one that already is emerging — to treat delusion as fact, or at the very least to agree to make subjective impressions superordinate to biological fact in matters both public and private.

As a matter of government, I have little or no desire to police how Cox or any other man or woman conducts his or her personal life. But having a culture organized around the elevation of unreality over reality in the service of Eros, who is a sometimes savage god, is not only irrational but antirational. Cox’s situation gave him an intensely unhappy childhood and led to an eventual suicide attempt, and his story demands our sympathy; times being what they are, we might even offer our indulgence. But neither of those should be allowed to overwhelm the facts, which are not subject to our feelings, however sincere or well intended.


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