Patterico's Pontifications


Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Tried to Protect Illegal Immigrants Like This from ICE

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested over 150 people in the San Francisco Bay Area beginning on Sunday. One day earlier, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf had warned the illegal immigrant community that the raids were coming, saying: “I am sharing this information publicly not to panic our residents but to protect them. My priority is for the well-being and safety of all residents — particularly our most vulnerable.” Despite her interference, ICE still nabbed a lot of people.

What type of person did they arrest? If you don’t read very far into an article from CBS San Francisco Bay Area, you would think: Family men. That’s who they arrested. The article is titled Family Heartbroken After Napa Man Arrested By ICE Agents and begins this way:

As ICE agents made arrests across the state Sunday during their latest crackdown, KPIX 5 spoke to a teen girl from Napa who watched in tears as her father was taken away.

Video posted on Snapchat captured the moment of the arrest just after 9 a.m. Sunday morning.

ICE agents took Armando Nunez Salgado into custody outside his home. According to family members, he was in the backyard when agents walked right in through the side gate. His 14-year-old daughter Isabel Salgado dissolved into tears.

“I cried. I got very emotional, I was really sad,” said Isabel. “I mean to watch someone who is part of your everyday life and then you just have to watch him leave without saying goodbye. It kind of hurts.”

Armando is a construction worker who has been in America more than 30 years. His wife Elena Ponce said his parents brought him to the U.S. when he was only four years old.

The story quotes his wife as saying: “He wasn’t a danger to the community in any way.” It’s a tearjerker. Good on the Oakland mayor, amirite?!

Except …

… Except that, as you read further into the article, you find that this particular illegal immigrant was into drugs. And gangs. And violence.

But let’s not read the hacks at CBS any further. Let’s hear from ICE. Jazz Shaw at Hot Air has the press release from ICE:

On Sunday, Feb. 25, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) San Francisco Fugitive Operations Team arrested ICE fugitive Armando Nuñez-Salgado, 38, a citizen of Mexico and documented Sureño gang member, who has been previously removed by ICE on four prior occasions. Over the past 18 years he has accumulated criminal convictions in California that have resulted in more than 15 years of prison sentencings. His criminal convictions include assault with a deadly weapon (statutorily enhanced because of his gang member status), burglary, hit-and-run causing injury and evading a peace officer.

Let me translate “Sureño gang member” for you. That is someone who owes allegiance to the Mexican Mafia, and is willing to carry out criminal acts on their behalf. This man’s record of violence had him in ICE’s crosshairs for some time, and he had been deported four times before.

I guess he should have listened when the lunatic currently occupying the Oakland mayor’s office tried to warn him.

Schaaf, you’ll be pleased to learn, has no regrets:

In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, she explained that her decision to tip off immigrants stemmed from a deep disagreement with immigration enforcement under the Trump administration and a resistance to the administration’s enforcement efforts.


Well, guess what? Immigration enforcement is a federal priority, not a local one. She doesn’t get to show “resistance” to it.

I hope the Trump administration finds ways to punish leaders of sanctuary cities in general, and this woman in particular, for their dangerous actions. This interference with federal policy is outrageous, and (as we saw with Kate Steinle) costs lives. It has to stop.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


It’s Wrong for Georgia to Use Delta’s Speech as a Reason to Give or Withhold Tax Breaks

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

Yesterday it became news that the government of Georgia is considering rescinding a special tax break for Delta, specifically because Delta is crusading against the NRA. Joe Cunningham wrote about it yesterday in this post, and the Washington Post reports it this way today:

Days after Delta Air Lines announced it would stop offering discounted fares to National Rifle Association members, a top Georgia Republican retaliated, vowing to kill legislation that would hand the airline a lucrative tax break.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R), who leads the Georgia State Senate, demanded on Monday that Atlanta-based Delta, one of the state’s largest employers, make a choice: Stop punishing the NRA, or watch Republican lawmakers strike down a $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel, of which Delta would be the primary beneficiary.

Here’s Cagle on Twitter, blatantly tying the tax break to Delta’s stance on the NRA:

Some folks are applauding this, because Georgia is sticking it to Delta and backing the NRA. I don’t share this opinion.

My argument is not that Delta must be given the tax break. My argument is that we should not have such tax breaks at all, in part because government will use them to enforce restrictions on corporations’ speech — as this episode illustrates.

If the words “kill any tax legislation that benefits” in the above tweet were replaced with the word “boycott” I could approve this sentiment. I wouldn’t necessarily engage in a boycott myself — I tend to fly the airline where I can get the best deal, and the airlines’ politics do not matter to that equation — but I have nothing at all negative to say about anyone who wants to say: “I will boycott Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with the NRA.” That is everyone’s right as a citizen: to choose who they deal with in the marketplace.

Similarly, I could sign onto the Lt. Governor’s tweet if he had said: “I will kill any tax legislation that benefits Delta because crony capitalism is wrong.” In his post, Joe Cunningham asked: “why do we continue to give major special tax breaks to big companies?” and I think it’s a fair question. I would ask the same question about small companies, or any companies. Giving special treatment to one company is crony capitalism. Conservatives should oppose that, everywhere and always.

But when government is doling out favors based on the political views of a company, that’s where I get off the train. I agree with Charlie C.W. Cooke when he says:

I’ll leave it to First Amendment experts as to whether this is an actual First Amendment violation. It certainly looks like viewpoint discrimination to me, but there could be technical arguments that it isn’t, as a legal matter. Companies are not entitled to tax breaks — especially targeted ones not generally available — and governments are able to accomplish many goals with tax policy that they could not otherwise accomplish. (That’s not necessarily a good thing, by the way; it’s just a description of the state of the law.)

But even if the Georgia legislature can do this legally, citizens should find it repulsive to this country’s principles when the government picks winners and losers based on private speech about a matter of public importance.

Imagine a scenario in which a blue state tells Hobby Lobby, for example, that their access to a tax break is dependent on whether the company publicly supports Planned Parenthood. Give Planned Parenthood employees and donors a special deal on your arts and crafts, and we’ll give you that tax break. Refuse to give them a deal, and no tax break for you! On what principled basis could you object to that, if you’re applauding Georgia’s threats to Delta here? Your only argument would be: Planned Parenthood bad, NRA good. And that’s not a principled argument. Any argument you could make that it’s wrong to use government for such purposes would lose all force, as people could easily point to your approval of Georgia’s actions here.

And this illustrates the corrosive nature of these tax breaks to begin with. If government has a power like that, it’s a given that government will abuse it.

Any time government is allowed any special authority to exercise control over particular corporations, government will try to use that authority to influence the corporation’s speech. If government has the authority to grant or withhold an FCC license, for example, government officials will abuse that authority and try to prevent speech they dislike. We have seen it happen time and time again. The same is true here. When government is in the business of giving tax breaks to particular companies, there should be no surprise when government uses that power to enforce its preferred political orthodoxy.

It’s fine and even laudable for citizens to engage in viewpoint discrimination against Delta. Boycott to your heart’s content. But viewpoint discrimination by government is different.

We should not be surprised that government does this. But neither should we be applauding it.

UPDATE: Technically the tax break would not be “rescinded” — an expired tax break would not be renewed.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


BREAKING: Supreme Court Will Not Immediately Hear DACA Case

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:15 am

The Supreme Court has refused to immediately undo a federal judge’s order that the Trump administration continue to process certain DACA applications. USA Today:

The Supreme Court refused Monday to review a federal judge’s order that the Trump administration continue a program protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

The denial leaves in place the popular DACA program, which has protected some 690,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation and enabled them to get work permits.

The program had faced a March 5 deadline for congressional action set by Trump last summer. Two federal courts have ruled the administration’s action was illegal.

The case will now follow the normal (meaning much slower) appeals process.

The USA Today story is not entirely accurate when it says that the decision leaves DACA in place. The outrageous order that the Trump administration sought to appeal did not completely undo Trump’s order; it blocked enforcement of the order only as to renewal applications filed by those who had previously submitted applications. Because today’s order is less sweeping than some in Big Media realize, don’t be surprised if Democrats still press for a legislative fix by March 5. Those who never submitted applications before are still affected by Trump’s order.

This does not necessarily signal that the Court will ultimately be unsympathetic to Trump’s position, mind you. It just means that the Court doesn’t want to rush the process. I find that disappointing but not terribly surprising.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


Broward County Sheriff DIDN’T Respond to 39 Calls Regarding School Shooter — There Were MORE

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:30 pm

It was a talking point issued by the Broward County Sheriff for days: stop saying that we made contact 39 times with the Parkland school shooter. It’s JUST NOT TRUE, they said:

The clear implication is that they were called (and responded) only 23 times.

Well, it turns out that they responded to more than 23 calls. They also responded to more than 39. Records show that sheriff’s deputies responded to at least 45 calls about the shooter before the shooting. BuzzFeed (of all places) has the story:

Broward County sheriff’s officials said in a statement late Saturday that they responded only to 23 calls involving suspected Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz or his family over the years, but records obtained by BuzzFeed News show at least 45 responses since 2008.

The number of calls made over the years involving Cruz or his family, according to the call records, are nearly twice the number publicly disclosed by the department.

Remember, as Jennifer Van Laar told us, that the sheriff had specifically disputed Dana Loesch at the CNN town hall when she said there had been 39 visits:

DANA LOESCH: And he had already taken bullets and knives to school. He had already assaulted people. He assaulted his parent. He assaulted other students. Thirty-nine visits. And this was known to the intelligence and law enforcement community. Now I’m not, look, I’m not saying that you can be everywhere at once. But this is what I’m talking about. We have to follow up on these red flags. Doesn’t that not meet the standard?

SHERIFF ISRAEL: You’re absolutely not the litmus test for how law enforcement should follow up. You’re wrong. There weren’t 39 visits. Some of them were GOA [Gone on Arrival], some of them called from other states…

I guess Sheriff Israel will try to parse language: “call” vs. “response” vs. “visit.” Is his “defense” going to be that they got 45 calls but made contact with him in just slightly over half of those calls? Is that going to be his position — that almost half the time they got calls, they just never followed up to make contact? Hopefully it is easy to see that such a “defense” is only a further indictment of the failures here — not to mention a game of numbers-playing that is anything but forthright and honest with the public.

The sheriff could do with a less haughty attitude and a little more openness.

He might also consider offering his resignation.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Gutsy Conservative Writer At CPAC Is Soundly Booed For Calling Out Republican Hypocrisy

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:41 am

[guest post by Dana]

Because Republicans, like Democrats, eat their own when they dare to break ranks.

Last November, when Donald Trump was close to marking his fist year as President of the United States and the public had recently learned about a credible accusation of sexual misconduct against GOP-backed candidate Roy Moore, in which he allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year old girl decades earlier, I wrote a post that discussed the dangers of party loyalty. Specifically, the kind of party loyalty that demands we turn a blind eye to that which we readily condemn when it happens on the other side of the aisle. The kind of party loyalty that begets a moral bankruptcy resulting in there no longer being any daylight between Democrats and Republicans, thus making it impossible for either side to hold the moral high ground. Democrats have Bill Clinton, the GOP has Donald Trump:

The worst example of party loyalty is when a sexual predator’s bad behavior is brushed away, rationalized, overlooked, or worse: acknowledged as being rooted in truth, or altogether true but dismissed anyway because supporting the party trumps everything else – especially when an election is involved. And even if the opponent is as morally pure as driven snow, better to have an accused sexual predator in office than one from across the aisle.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) yesterday, Mona Charen, Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, was on stage participating in the #UsToo: Left out by the Left panel discussion, and was asked about her concerns for today’s feminism. Her answer triggered audience members, and prompted a vigorous push back from those offended at Republicans being called out for their hypocrisy:

I’m actually going to twist this around a bit and say that I’m disappointed in people on our side for being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women who are in our party, who are sitting in the White House, who brag about their extramarital affairs, who brag about mistreating women. And because he happens to have a R after his name, we look the other way. We don’t complain. This is a party that was ready to endorse — the Republican party endorsed — Roy Moore for the Senate in the state of Alabama even though he was a credibly accused child molester. You cannot claim that you stand for women and put up with that.

Charen was soundly booed for her criticism of the party and calls for consistency. She was likewise booed for questioning why CPAC would invite far right French politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen. Out of concerns for her safety, three security guards escorted Charen out of the building. This at the largest annual gathering of conservatives.

Once upon a time, it would have been a given that Charen’s observations would have been robustly supported by Republicans. But as it now stands, this is Trump’s party, and what once was is no longer. Charen herself said as much today :

What happened to me at CPAC is the perfect illustration of the collective experience of a whole swath of conservatives since Donald Trump became the Republican nominee. We built and organized this party — but now we’re made to feel like interlopers.

I was surprised that I was even asked to speak at CPAC. My views on Trump, Roy Moore and Steve Bannon are no secret. I knew the crowd would be hostile, and so I was tempted to pass.

But too many of us have given up the fight. We’ve let disgust and dismay lead us to withdraw while bad actors take control of the direction of our movement. I know how encouraged I feel whenever someone simply states the truth, and so I decided to accept CPAC’s invitation.

Like the Republican Party, CPAC has become heavily Trumpified. Last year, they invited alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos (and withdrew the invitation only after lewd tapes surfaced). This year, in addition to the president and vice president, CPAC invited Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen and niece of National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

While there were reasonable, mainstream Republican speakers at CPAC, the lineup also featured demagogues like Sheriff David Clarke Jr. While he oversaw the Milwaukee County jail, one pregnant prisoner was repeatedly raped, and several prisoners died in the space of just six months. One was a mentally ill man who was denied water for seven days. No matter. The sheriff was cheered by the CPAC crowd.

Charen also explained why she was compelled to speak before what she knew would be a hostile audience:

I’d been dreading it for days, but when it came, I almost welcomed it. There is nothing more freeing than telling the truth. And it must be done, again and again, by those of us who refuse to be absorbed into this brainless, sinister, clownish thing called Trumpism, by those of us who refuse to overlook the fools, frauds and fascists attempting to glide along in his slipstream into respectability.

I spoke to a hostile audience for the sake of every person who has watched this spectacle of mendacity in disbelief and misery for the past two years. Just hearing the words you know are true can serve as ballast, steadying your mind when so much seems unreal.

For traditional conservatives, the past two years have felt like a Twilight Zone episode. Politicians, activists and intellectuals have succumbed with numbing regularity, betraying every principle they once claimed to uphold. But there remains a vigorous remnant of dissenters. I hear from them. There were even some at CPAC.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 56

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the second Sunday in Lent. The title of today’s cantata is “Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen” (I will gladly carry the Cross). The performance features Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, a nice choice for a cantata composed entirely for the bass (at least until the final chorale). Fischer-Dieskau’s intelligence and uniquely recognizable voice make this a very special performance:

It’s hard for me to listen to this man sing without chills running down my spine. What greater evidence could there be of God’s existence than a piece like this, and a voice like his to sing it?

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 8:31-38:

Jesus Predicts His Death

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

The Way of the Cross

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

These are words that stick with you long after the reading is done, and the very title of the cantata shows it to be a perfect pairing with the reading. For a reading in which Jesus says: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must … take up their cross and follow me,” no music could accompany the message better than a cantata titled “I will gladly carry the Cross.” The text of today’s cantata is available here, and the opening aria contains these words:

I will gladly carry the Cross,
it comes from God’s dear hand,
and leads me, after my troubles,
to God, in the promised land.
There at last I will lay my sorrow in the grave,
there my Savior himself will wipe away my tears.

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


Guest Post by Leviticus: My Thanks to All of You, and My Hope for All of Us

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:13 pm

[Guest post by Leviticus]

To everyone who donated his or her hard-earned money to our daughter Shirley – Patterico, Simon Jester, nk, aphrael, Colonel Haiku, felipe, kishnevi, Jeff Lebowski, and a number of anonymous donors – my wife and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Your donations are the beginnings of her 529 college fund. I find it a surreal and profound honor that so many of you have invested your money in the education of my daughter, after investing nearly twelve years of your time in educating me.

To thank Patterico for organizing this collection for my daughter, I asked that he give me the opportunity to write a post describing what this site has meant to me over the years. He was gracious enough to oblige.

I am twenty-eight years old, now. When I first stumbled across Patterico’s Pontifications, in September of 2006, I was seventeen – surfing the web from a computer lab at the University of New Mexico. In December of 2005, I had dropped out of high school. I then spent a semester at a local community college while I studied for my SATs, and began at the University in August of 2006.

In his post, Patterico recalled me being “precocious” and “feisty.” This is a nice way of saying that I was a brat. I was self-conscious in the extreme, a crystalized percolation of moral anxiety and self-doubt, masked with a sheen of bravado and liberal politics. I knew little about the world, and less about myself, and as a result I was desperately invested in the idea of being the smartest guy in the world. This was obviously a wobbly peg on which to hang something so heavy as an identity. But I will say one thing in defense of my insecure, smarmy seventeen-year-old self: I had the instinct to engage, and an intuitive belief in the notion that “iron sharpens iron.”

I waded into the comments of this blog, with my untested boilerplate political beliefs, and I got schooled a lot. I still remember exchanges with a commenter named Pablo, who schooled me harshly and repeatedly. I also remember many exchanges with DRJ, who schooled me more graciously – frequently reminding me that I would “catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

Those sorts of exchanges, with Pablo and DRJ and Patterico and nk and Eric Blair and many others, quickly and effectively stripped me of the last vestiges of the idea that I was the smartest guy in the world – or even the room, for that matter. At that stage of my life, that was absolutely the most valuable lesson that I could learn. I have come to believe that humility – what James Baldwin called “the Descent” or “paying one’s dues” – is the necessary precursor to the development of mature identity, and I learned my first lessons in humility here. I also saw a sort of operational humility exemplified in the commenting styles of people like aphrael and DRJ and Machinist.

With the help of Patterico and this group, I began to deconstruct and reconstruct many of my political beliefs. I struggled deeply with questions that deserved deep struggle – justice and war, the rule of law, moral absolutism and moral relativism, checks and balances, the separation of powers, taxation, the police power, the death penalty, textual interpretation, the value of human life, and (perhaps most concretely) the value of human discourse. I did not discover many answers, but I discovered the inestimable value of asking genuine questions. I carried my newfound uncertainties into my classrooms, and profited immensely from them.

I got a little older. I was exposed to Discourse Ethics and communitarianism, which made more sense to me than any other ethical systems I had previously contemplated, and cast my appreciation for this community and its moderators in a new and theoretically grounded light. I graduated and went to law school, where I was encouraged to question everything but the legal system itself. I developed bad habits that led to good friendships. I expanded my understanding of myself by beginning to learn about relationships. I made my first serious life choices, and many mistakes as a result of accepting that challenge. I witnessed and analyzed so much government misconduct and hypocrisy that I began to see the State as the great enemy of human freedom. Throughout all of it, I continued to participate in the discourses of this community – less frequently, perhaps, but no less intently.

One of the things I always appreciated most about Patterico’s blog was its emphasis on process over outcome. In all of my years here – even in the beginning, where I was most intent on being a liberal amongst conservatives – I never viewed it as a place where discussions were driven by any particular substantive agenda, so much as a devotion to principles of consistency, patience, and reciprocal good-faith amongst participants. I always appreciated that my dissenting views were actively engaged, rather than arbitrarily silenced. I witnessed the development of customs that were indicative of that collective mindset: the notion of restating another’s position to his or her satisfaction, for instance, before proceeding to address it. I have come to recognize that as a rarity. There are not many forums remaining, online or offline, for good-faith disagreements or devotion to process over outcome. Most communities pursue an end, by any process; frequently, I witnessed this community defend a process, to any end.

It has been disheartening, if not downright terrifying, to witness the speed and enthusiasm with which America has cast aside the values of discourse and reciprocal good-faith in the past two years. Those values must, in my estimation, be the cornerstone values of any self-governing group of human beings – who must self-govern by some form of legitimate consensus if they are to self-govern at all. Perhaps it was always inevitable, given my relatively short life and my relatively long history here, that I would come to see this place (of all places) as a microcosm of political America, and a small but important arena in which one little skirmish in the battle for America’s soul could be fought. And perhaps it is fitting, then, that I should be writing this letter to all of you at this moment, where that battle has reached the doorstep of our community and singed some of its inhabitants.

I have a wife and a daughter, now, and my personal stake in the outcome of that battle for America’s soul is exponentially magnified. I can no longer afford to take a hands-off approach to the wellbeing of America’s soul. As such, the arenas in which that battle will be fought – like this one – take on a new and intense importance for me, and I will endeavor to honor them as forums in which the high ideals of discourse must be mindfully applied. I have not always adhered to the ethics of discourse these past months, due to frustration and confusion, but I hereby recommit myself to them.

It has been a true privilege to participate in discourses with so many of you over the past twelve years, and it is important for me to acknowledge that engagement in political discourse is not a privilege that all Americans are lucky enough to have. I want to ensure that my daughter has this privilege, when she is old enough to exercise it and appreciate. If we want to expand the circle of American discourse as widely as possible, to extend this privilege to as many of our fellow citizens as possible, then we should renew our vows here, in this forum, and then carry them outward.

A few years ago, I stumbled across a quote from Emerson that has articulated and informed my ends and means ever since: “I grasp the hands of those next to me, and take my place in the ring to suffer and to work, taught by an instinct, that so shall the dumb abyss be vocal with speech.” This community taught me many of my earliest lessons in that ethos, and I hope to pass those same lessons along to my daughter.

Again, I extend my sincerest thanks, and the sincerest thanks of my wife, to all of you who have invested in our child’s future. It takes a village, and I’m glad we have one, here and beyond.

— Levi

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I thank Leviticus for this wonderful post and for his years of readership and commentary. It’s very touching on a personal level to read about the effect that the site has had on the development of a younger person. I’d like to thank once again the people who contributed to the future of young Shirley. And in the spirit of the post, I’d like to admit my own sins in failing at times to adhere to the ideals Leviticus here describes, and join hands with him in recommitting to my very best effort to adhere to them going forward.

Leviticus also sent pictures of Shirley (including one with Leviticus himself). Here they are:

Shirley 1

Shirley 2

Shirley 3

She is adorable!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


The Story of the Deputy Who Stood Outside the School Shooting Keeps Getting Worse

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

streiff told you last night about the Broward County sheriff’s deputy who stood outside and did nothing as children were being slaughtered inside. Here’s how the Washington Post reports it:

The armed school resource officer assigned to protect students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took a defensive position outside the school and did not enter the building while the shooter was killing students and teachers inside with an AR-15 assault-style rifle, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday.

But buried deeeep in the Washington Post article — 24 paragraphs in, in fact (I counted) — is this little nugget:

Peterson is mentioned as part of a 2016 social services agency investigation into Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old identified by police as the gunman. According to a Florida Department of Children and Families report detailing that investigation, Peterson was approached by investigators and “refused to share any information … regarding [an] incident that took place with” the teenager.


I’m trying to think of a legitimate reason that a sheriff’s deputy would refuse to share information about a potentially threatening teenager with social services. The only thing that comes to mind is some kind of misguided concern about the privacy of reports relating to juveniles. I’m not an expert on the confidentiality of juvenile records in Florida, but it beggars belief that there was no legitimate route for this deputy to share information in such an investigation. The whole thing reminds me of the FBI, which took tips about the kid and refused to lift a finger to even find out who the kid was. The attitude is: not my problem.

It’s still not 100% clear what authorities could have done about this kid if they had done their jobs — but it is clear they didn’t do their jobs. The FBI might not have been able to stop anything — but they didn’t even bother to learn the kid’s identity. The Sheriff’s Department refused to share information with investigators, took dozens of reports, and did nothing. And then this deputy failed to act at the critical moment when he could have saved children’s lives.

Part of me says we should not stand in judgment of this deputy. But then I think back to that story of the coach, Aaron Feis, who threw himself in front of students at the cost of his own life. Imagine if, instead, Feis had held kids in front of himself, using them as human shields.

That is, in essence, what Deputy Scot Peterson did. He allowed kids to die so that he might live.

But sure, blame the NRA.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]


The Republican Governor, the Nude Photo, and the Indictment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:30 pm

The Republican governor of Missouri has been indicted on felony “invasion of privacy” charges alleging that he threatened to release a nude photo of a woman if she revealed her affair with him:

Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted Thursday afternoon by a St. Louis grand jury on a felony charge of invasion of privacy.

The charge stems from a 2015 affair and allegations that he threatened to release a nude photograph of the woman, taken while she was blindfolded and her hands were bound, if she ever spoke publicly about the affair.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner launched a criminal investigation of the allegations last month shortly after they become public. The indictment accuses Greitens of not only knowingly photographing the woman with whom he had an affair, but also transmitting the image “in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer.”

After news of the indictment broke, Greitens was seen being led down a hallway in the local courthouse by several St. Louis city deputies, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

RedState’s smoosieq wrote about the allegations when they surfaced last month, noting that Greitens had admitted the affair but denied the blackmail. smoosieq said then:

My own takeaway at present is, “What a bleepin’ mess.” It’s probably too much to hope that this sordid tale won’t distract from some of the positive strides Missourians were hoping to take with a legislature and Governor who were seemingly on the same page.

Well, it’s an even bigger bleepin’ mess now. The Governor is not taking this lying down, blasting St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner as “a reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points.”

As always, the proof will be in the pudding, which is to say, the evidence. Until that is revealed, it’s all political chest-beating, illuminating nothing.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

George Washington Agrees to Serve Another Term

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:36 pm

[guest post by JVW]

This serves as my annual reflection on George Washington’s birthday. You can click on the links to read my entries from last year, from 2016, and from 2015.

By 1792, President George Washington had grown tired of public life. He had stood as what passed in those days as a celebrity for 35 years, having achieved fame for his diplomacy, bravery, leadership, and navigational skills (honed from his years as a surveyor) in the Ohio River Valley during the French & Indian War. He had become a prosperous farmer, shrewdly abandoning tobacco as a crop when he realized that it was being over-cultivated throughout Virginia and the Carolinas (Thomas Jefferson tragically lacked this foresight and spent most of his life in debt to creditors). After Lexington & Concord, Washington had been the logical choice as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, and his perseverance, tenacity, and determination to keep an army in the field year after year had worn down Great Britain — the world’s foremost military power — and convinced them to accept American independence. Finally, Washington had put down his plow and headed to New York to serve as the unanimously elected First President of the United States.

So by his sixtieth birthday, the Cincinnatus of America felt that he had given all that he possibly could. Washington had labored hard over the past three years to establish the office of the Presidency, famously disdaining flowery titles for his position and insisting that he be addressed in a simple and republican manner as “Mr. President” instead of the more ostentatious “Your Excellency.” He had done his best to nip in the bud the emerging spirit of party, as the nation’s leaders began to divide itself into rival Federalist and Republican camps. His loyal Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, had strengthened the national government by federalizing the individual states’ debts, establishing the Bank of the United States, and making plans to mint the first national currency. Determining that he had accomplished as much as could be hoped, and fearing that a second term would be plagued by rancor and recrimination of partisanship, the President made it known to his family that spring that he desired to return to Mount Vernon. Later that May, Washington turned to Congressman James Madison, a fellow Virginian, and asked him to draft an address to the people which would announce the news. Madison, who did not want to see Washington step down, prepared a three-page valediction which Washington intended to run in newspapers across the country.

The news of the potential retirement of the Great Man was not well received among his cabinet or his political allies. Hamilton and his arch-rival Jefferson united to implore Washington to stand for a second term, which he was assured of winning. Perhaps the two antagonists both felt a mutual paranoia that the other was conspiring to be Washington’s heir as chief executive, but on the indispensability of the man the rivals were in agreement. Jefferson, who believed that Virginia would work to undermine all of Hamilton’s financial reforms, famously told Washington that “North & South will hang together if they have you to hang on.” Washington asked his personal secretary, Tobias Lear, to make discreet inquiries as to whether there was any candidate that would be suitable to both emerging factions, only to be told that “No other person is contemplated.” Lear also reported that Senator Robert Morris of Pennsylvania believed that “the reasons for your continuing were, if possible, more strong than those which first induced your acceptance of the office,” a belief that Attorney General Edmund Randolph also apparently communicated. Washington, who had initially determined to make a definitive decision by the time that the Congressional session opened on November 4, was still on the fence when that date arrived, and made no mention of his plans when he addressed Congress, a fact that did not go unnoticed by observers.

History records that it was a rather unlikely protagonist who finally convinced the Father of His Country to stay at the helm for another four years. Elizabeth Willing Powel, the wife of a prosperous Philadelphia merchant and one-time mayor of that city, had known Washington since the revolutionary year of 1776. Described by a writer as “a saucy, interesting, attractive, intelligent, flirtatious woman . . . the epitome of confidence, determination, and class,” Mrs. Powel was exactly the sort of woman to whom the charming and debonair General would be socially attracted. When Washington mentioned socially to his old friend that he and Mrs. Washington desired to return to Mount Vernon, Mrs. Powel immediately remonstrated against the idea, using an argument that echoed Jefferson’s warning about a North/South split and declaring that Washington’s departure would lead to the dissolving of the union. Understanding Washington’s careful cultivation of his image, she bluntly informed him “Be assured that a great Deal of the well earned Popularity you are now in Possession of will be torn from you by the Envious and Malignant should you follow the bent of your Inclinations. You know human Nature too well not to believe that you have Enemies. Merit & Virtue, when placed on an Eminence, will as certainly attract Envy as the Magnet does the Needle.” Leaving office now, Mrs. Powel warned, would convince small-minded people “that ambition hand been the moving spring of all your actions. . . that as nature had not closed the scene while your career was glorious, you had with profound address withdrawn yourself from a station that promised nothing to your ambition and that might eventually involve your popularity.” Turning it up full bore, she concluded that her friend “was the only man in America that dared to do right on all public occasions. . . You have shown that you are not to be intoxicated by power or misled by flattery. . . and you have frequently demonstrated that you possess an empire over yourself. For God’s sake, do not yield that empire to a love of ease.”

Despite that, interestingly enough, the Old Man never publicly announced that he would consent to a second term. Nor for that matter did he announce that he planned to return to Mount Vernon. Instead, he simply remained silent and throughout the month of November the various state electors met and unanimously reelected George Washington to a second term as President of the United States. In a sign that harmony extended no further than the Great Man, the electors split their second vote among four candidates, with John Adams holding off a challenge from Governor George Clinton of New York, to remain as Vice-President. Washington never wrote or spoke of his feelings at being conscripted into another term as President, but as noted by historian Joseph Ellis, his Second Inaugural Address, “the briefest in Presidential history, only two short paragraphs long, wholly devoid of content, respectful but regretful in tone,” can be considered an accurate expression of his mood.

(Much of this information is sourced from His Excellency George Washington by Joseph Ellis, Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation by Richard Norton Smith, and Washington by Douglas Southall Freeman.)

Cross-posted at the Jury Talks Back.


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