Patterico's Pontifications


Primary Night in California [Updated]

Filed under: 2014 Election,General — JVW @ 10:03 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Polls in California have closed and it’s time to tabulate the vote. You can follow live at the Secretary of State’s website. Here as of this moment (9:37 pm update) are some notable results:

Governor: Jerry Brown winning 55.3% of vote. Battle for second between GOP contenders Neel Kashkari and Tim Donnelly is close, with Kashkari at 17.6% to Donnelly’s 14.8%. Cindy Sheehan (yes, that Cindy Sheehan) is at 1.2% for the Peace & Freedom Party.

Secretary of State: This is one of the only statewide offices where a Republican might stand a chance to win in November. Right now, party favorite Pete Peterson is polling at 29.8%, slightly ahead of state senator Alex Padilla at 28.7%. Fun fact: state senator Leland Yee, who has been indicted on charges of gun-running and accepting bribes is bringing in a respectable 10.7%. Hooray for the low information voter!

Controller: Amazingly enough, two Republicans are so far leading the field, Ashley Swearengin (23.7%) and David Evans (23.0%) currently edging out Betty Yee (21.8%) and assembly speaker John A. Perez (20.0%). Should Perez finish in fourth, or even miss qualifying for November’s runoff by finishing third, it would have to be seen as a massive rebuke for the state legislative leadership. As speaker, Perez is arguably one of the three most powerful politicians in the state.

State Senate District 26: I reported on this one earlier so that everyone could share my excitement in Sandra Fluke’s maiden (whoops, poor choice of words?) run for political office. This is a neck-and-neck race with Sandy at 17.6% trailing fellow Democrat Ben Allen at 23.2% and law professor Seth Stodder, with no party preference, at 19.5%. Still in the running are former assembly member Betsy Bulter (Dem) at 16.3% and Manhattan Beach mayor Amy Howorth (Dem) at 14.3%. Under the open primary system, the top two finishers will move on to face each other in November.

The State Senate District 26 race featured seven Democrats and the one no party preference candidate. No Republican made it on the ballot, which is every bit as much an indictment of the local party as it is of Democrat dominance in this state.

U.S. House of Representatives, District 33: This is my congressional district, most recently represented by the retiring Henry Waxman (don’t get me started). The odds-on favorite has been my current state senator, Ted Lieu, a decent and patriotic sort of guy who suffers from the sin of unbridled ambition and whose every action reminds you that he aspires to move rapidly up the political ladder by pandering to every conceivable Democrat constituency. It was assumed that he would run for California Secretary of State, but changed his mind when Waxman suddenly announced his retirement. Surprisingly, he is running second as of right now to Republican Elan Carr, a criminal gang prosecutor. Nipping at Lieu’s heels is former Los Angeles City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Wendy Gruel. Knocking Lieu out of the top two runoff would be a huge deal, though I think the prognosticators expect him to pull through. Flaky New Age guru Marianne Williamson is running a left-wing campaign with no party preference and thus far drawing 8.6% of the vote, so it would be awesome if she is responsible for denying Lieu a top two finish.

I wasn’t a big fan and didn’t vote for it, but I think I am starting to warm up to the open primary where everyone runs and the top two go on to face each other in the fall. Hopefully there will be some interesting results to discuss tomorrow.

UPDATE [10:45 pm] In the Controller’s race Betty Yee is gaining ground on the two Republicans, so she’ll probably slip in to the final two. It wouldn’t surprise me if John Perez does as well, what with the – ahem – success that Democrats traditionally have had in finding extra ballots while tallying up the vote in close races.


The Disconnect

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:49 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Via the Gay Patriot, comes a fun little example of how a hip lefty progressive Texan (Austin, of course) fails to grasp basic economics…and reality.

I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchin Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8500 this year.

“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings [of “irate homeowners”]. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore.”


The Sound of Many Shoes Dropping

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:40 pm

We already heard the “maybe he’s a deserter” shoe drop. But the shoes keep dropping.

Wham! goes another shoe, courtesy of Fox News:

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl left a letter the night he disappeared from his base in Afghanistan saying he wanted to renounce his citizenship, according to sources, and previously expressed his disillusionment with the Army, telling his father in an e-mail he was “ashamed” to be an American.

That account, though, is being called into question amid conflicting claims over whether Bergdahl left a note behind. U.S Army officials who have read the investigation document said there was no reference in that report to a letter.

While Bergdahl remained at a U.S. military hospital in Germany following a swap for five high-level Taliban members — dubbed a jihadist “Dream Team” — two of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers told Fox News Channel that the 28-year-old Idaho native willingly walked away from his post in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009. Their claims that Bergdahl’s departure from the base was premeditated jibes with emails published in 2012, in which he told his father of his growing disenchantment with the Army’s mission in Afghanistan.

“The future is too good to waste on lies,” Bergdahl wrote his parents. “And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.”

OK, but revulsion at the war and its aims does not equal an attempt to renounce citizenship — and without the note and its language, it’s tough to reach an opinion. But wait — what’s that? Incoming!

Wham! goes another shoe, from Jake Tapper:

“Bergdahl is a deserter, and he’s not a hero,” says Buetow. “He needs to answer for what he did.”

Within days of his disappearance, says Buetow, teams monitoring radio chatter and cell phone communications intercepted an alarming message: The American is in Yahya Khel (a village two miles away). He’s looking for someone who speaks English so he can talk to the Taliban.

“I heard it straight from the interpreter’s lips as he heard it over the radio,” said Buetow. “There’s a lot more to this story than a soldier walking away.”

There could be an innocent explanation for this too. I guess. But these pieces are getting tougher and tougher to assemble into a picture of a guy worth trading five Taliban killers for.

Don’t Do Stupid Shit, Obama.

From the “Don’t Do Stupid Shit” Files: NYT Story Paints Bergdahl as Deserter

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:27 am

If the details of this story are true, Obama’s decision to trade five dangerous Taliban terrorists for Bergdahl is inexplicable:

Sometime after midnight on June 30, 2009, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl left behind a note in his tent saying he had become disillusioned with the Army, did not support the American mission in Afghanistan and was leaving to start a new life. He slipped off the remote military outpost in Paktika Province on the border with Pakistan and took with him a soft backpack, water, knives, a notebook and writing materials, but left behind his body armor and weapons — startling, given the hostile environment around his outpost.

That account, provided by a former senior military officer briefed on the investigation into the private’s disappearance, is part of a more complicated picture emerging of the capture of a soldier whose five years as a Taliban prisoner influenced high-level diplomatic negotiations, brought in foreign governments, and ended with him whisked away on a helicopter by American commandos.

Allahpundit asks: “Does the Army have the note Bergdahl left before leaving?” My question: did Obama know about that note before making the trade? And did he know about this?

Mr. [Cody] Full, then a specialist in the platoon, said he and other platoon members grew increasingly bitter at the time they were spending looking for Sergeant Bergdahl. “He had sent all his belongings home — his computer, personal items,” said Mr. Full, now 25.

The platoon members had good reason to be bitter. Indeed, questions have been raised about whether the search for Bergdahl led to the deaths of soldiers:

The furious search for Sergeant Bergdahl, his critics say, led to the deaths of at least two soldiers and possibly six others in the area. Pentagon officials say those charges are unsubstantiated and are not supported by a review of a database of casualties in the Afghan war.

“Yes, I’m angry,” Joshua Cornelison, a former medic in Sergeant Bergdahl’s platoon, said in an interview on Monday arranged by Republican strategists. “Everything that we did in those days was to advance the search for Bergdahl. If we were doing some mission and there was a reliable report that Bergdahl was somewhere, our orders were that we were to quit that mission and follow that report.”

Oh — let’s not forget that Susan Rice said Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction.”

She also said he was “American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield.”

Contacted by for a comment about Rice’s statement, Tommy Vietor replied: “Dude, that was like, two days ago.”

How’s that “Don’t Do Stupid Shit” principle looking these days, Mr. Obama?

UPDATE: Wow. The Army knew where Bergdahl was, according to this story — but the decision was made not to risk special forces to save him, because he was a deserter.

UPDATE x2: As a reminder, here is the price we paid:

Patterico’s Judicial Endorsements

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

As I told you before, they are sparse this year. Too many D.A.’s running to make an endorsement in every race. I am sticking to the three people I know best.

I have blogged these endorsements previously, but here they are again:

  • Vote Shannon Knight for Office 54.

If you want further guidance, look at the Met News. They may not get everything right, but they do a lot better than the L.A. Times.

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