Patterico's Pontifications


Has Mueller Subpoenaed Trump to the Grand Jury?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

Betteridge’s law of headlines says no, and so do I. But that’s the case made by former federal prosecutor Nelson Cunningham at POLITICO. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air will walk you through the evidence and save you the angst of clicking on a POLITICO link. First, Cunningham says, we know this:

[A] sealed grand jury case was initiated in the D.C. federal district court before Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell. We know that on September 19, Chief Judge Howell issued a ruling and 5 days later one of the parties appealed to the D.C. Circuit. And thanks to Politico’s reporting, we know that the special counsel’s office is involved (because the reporter overheard a conversation in the clerk’s office). We can further deduce that the special counsel prevailed in the district court below, and that the presumptive grand jury witness has frantically appealed that order and sought special treatment from the judges of the D.C. Circuit – often referred to as the “second-most important court in the land.”

Cunningham then says that the appeal was particularly fast-tracked for an appeal by a normal witness. Then, at the en banc stage, there was a curious recusal:

And at that point, a very curious thing happened — Judge Gregory Katsas recused himself before the en banc petition was denied. And who is Gregory Katsas? He’s the only current Trump appointee to the DC Circuit, Cunningham notes, as well as a former deputy counsel to Trump.

I think that “as well as” formulation, suggesting that the identity of Katsas as a Trump appointee as the key fact, gets it exactly backwards. Katsas being a Trump appointee should have absolutely nothing to do with this. Presidential appointees rule on important questions involving the president who appointed them, all the time. All. The. Time. The key point here, I think, is that Katsas was deputy counsel to Trump. Keep that in mind as you read this totally misguided passage from Cunningham:

But if the witness were the president himself – if the matter involved an appeal from a secret order requiring the president to testify before the grand jury – then Judge Katsas would certainly feel obliged to recuse himself from any official role. Not only was the president his former client (he was deputy counsel to the president, remember) but he owes his judicial position to the president’s nomination. History provides a useful parallel: In 1974, in the unanimous Supreme Court decision US v Nixon requiring another witness-president to comply with a subpoena, Justice William Rehnquist recused himself for essentially the same reasons.

The United States v. Nixon case certainly does provide a useful parallel, but not in the way Cunningham thinks. Cunningham’s notion that Rehnquist recused himself from the Nixon tapes case in part because he was a Nixon appointee is wrong. How do we know this? Because of a fact that Cunningham does not tell his readers: three other Nixon appointees were in the unanimous majority against Nixon: Warren Burger, Lewis Powell, and Harry Blackmun. The real reason Rehnquist recused himself was because he had been an Assistant Attorney General, close to Richard Kleindienst and John Mitchell.

Similarly, if the litigation in the D.C. Circuit is over Trump, any recusal by Katsas would be because of his past work for Trump, not because Trump appointed him.

But the reason I don’t believe this is simple:

If Robert Mueller subpoenaed Donald Trump to the grand jury, there is no way Donald Trump could keep his mouth shut about it for several weeks.

No way.

So: nice theory, but no sale.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Can You Believe It? Freed GITMO Terrorists Return to the Taliban

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:04 pm

[guest post by JVW]

According to Military Times:

KABUL, Afghanistan — Five members of the Afghan Taliban who were freed from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for captured American Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have joined the insurgent group’s political office in Qatar, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday.

They will now be among Taliban representatives negotiating for peace in Afghanistan, a sign some negotiators in Kabul say indicates the Taliban’s desire for a peace pact.

It’s not as if the decision made by the previous White House occupant to trade those five in return for a nutty deserter wasn’t without controversy, even very serious controversy. And naturally, our smug ex-President assured us that this was the most reasonable decision, the reaction of the deal’s critics was simply overwrought, and the liars and jerks he employed in Administration set about smearing every dissenter, which Patterico cataloged for us several months later. And Dana pointed out that there were plenty of other American citizens held overseas that were more worthy candidates of the State Department and Defense Department efforts. But hey, our ex-President pretty much tipped his hand that he knew this would likely be the end result.

Thanks Obama.


President Trump Set To Sign Executive Order He Believes Will End Birthright Citizenship

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:41 am

[guest post by Dana]

Seeking to further rally his base around a key campaign issue just one week before the midterms, President Trump said in an interview that he is prepared to sign an executive order ending the 14th amendment protections for babies born to non-citizens and illegal immigrants:

Trump told “Axios on HBO” that he has run the idea of ending birthright citizenship by his counsel and plans to proceed with the highly controversial move, which certainly will face legal challenges.

“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said, declaring he can do it by executive order.

When told that’s very much in dispute, Trump replied: “You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”

“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States … with all of those benefits,” Trump continued. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.” (More than 30 countries, most in the Western Hemisphere, provide birthright citizenship.)

“It’s in the process. It’ll happen … with an executive order.”

The 14th amendment says:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Axios notes the disagreement between legal experts:

Few immigration and constitutional scholars believe it is within the president’s power to change birthright citizenship, former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services chief counsel Lynden Melmed tells Axios.

But some conservatives have argued that the 14th Amendment was only intended to provide citizenship to children born in the U.S. to lawful permanent residents — not to unauthorized immigrants or those on temporary visas.

John Eastman, a constitutional scholar and director of Chapman University’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, told “Axios on HBO” that the Constitution has been misapplied over the past 40 or so years. He says the line “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” originally referred to people with full, political allegiance to the U.S. — green card holders and citizens.

Michael Anton, a former national security official in the Trump administration, recently took up this argument in the Washington Post.

Anton said that Trump could, via executive order, “specify to federal agencies that the children of noncitizens are not citizens” simply because they were born on U.S. soil. (It’s not yet clear whether Trump will take this maximalist argument, though his previous rhetoric suggests there’s a good chance.)

But others — such as Judge James C. Ho, who was appointed by Trump to Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in New Orleans — say the line in the amendment refers to the legal obligation to follow U.S. laws, which applies to all foreign visitors (except diplomats) and immigrants. He has written that changing how the 14th Amendment is applied would be “unconstitutional.”

Here is Ilya Shapiro discussing the birthright citizenship amendment from a few years ago:

[W]hat about illegal immigrants? Illegal aliens and their children are subject to our laws and can be prosecuted and convicted of violations – unlike diplomats, who enjoy certain immunities, and unlike foreign invaders, who are generally subject to the laws of war rather than domestic civil law. The illegal immigrants’ countries of origin can hardly make a “jurisidictional” claim on kids born in America (at least while they’re here). Thus, a natural reading of “subject to the jurisdiction” suggests that the children of illegals are citizens if born here.

On the other hand, the Fourteenth Amendment’s enactors probably didn’t intend birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants. At ratification in 1868, there were no illegal immigrants and no law had ever restricted immigration. “Subject to the jurisdiction” probably meant primary allegiance to the United States as a sovereign.

My sense of the constitutional question – again setting aside my policy view that more liberal immigration laws (accompanied by vigorous border control to prevent crime, terrorism, and public-health issues) would resolve much of the illegal-alien problem – is as follows.

When the original public meaning of a legal text is unambiguous, you have to adopt that meaning unless it leads to absurd consequences. Here, the consequences may well be irrational and self-defeating: We prohibit unauthorized entry while offering an inducement, giving citizenship to the children of those who violate the law. So if Congress were to deny citizenship to children of illegal aliens, the Supreme Court might not declare that law unconstitutional. It’s a close call (read the strong arguments pro and con constitutional birthright citizenship by my friends Jim Ho and John Eastman, respectively).

Would the Court consider the consequences of a textual meaning that gives birthright citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants to be absurd? If so, the intent or purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment’s enactors might trump the text. On the other hand, and being realistic, if Chief Justice John Roberts can find that a mandate is a tax and that a federal exchange was established by a state, there’s no way that the current Supreme Court would eliminate birthright citizenship for anyone.

Also, make sure to read Ed Morrisey’s analysis of the 14th amendment and a decision called U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark.

[I guess thinking this should be done by an Act of Congress and the President’s signature on it, is out of the question…]

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Revealed: Why Millennials Don’t Vote

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:19 am

Millennials explain to New York Magazine why they haven’t ever voted. The primary reason appears to be: mailing things is too hard.

Tim | Age 27 | Austin, Texas | Has Never Voted
I tried to register for the 2016 election, but it was beyond the deadline by the time I tried to do it. I hate mailing stuff; it gives me anxiety. I don’t remember seeing voter-registration drives, no. I’ve seen a lot more the past two years. I’m sure there must have been stuff. I just don’t remember it.

. . . .

Megan | Age 29 | San Francisco, California | Last Voted: 2014
I rent and move around quite a bit, and when I try to get absentee ballots, they need me to print out a form and mail it to them no more than 30 days before the election but also no less than seven days before the election. Typically, I check way before that time, then forget to check again, or just say “Fuck it” because I don’t own a printer or stamps anyway.

. . . .

Jocelyn | Age 27 | Arlington, Massachusetts | Last Voted: 2016
It was easier to get my medical-marijuana card — not a right, or even federally legal — than it was to register to vote. Massachusetts had online registration but only if you have a DMV-issued ID. I don’t drive, so I was like, okay, I can register in person, but I’m also dealing with a chronic illness. Every day is a guessing game: Am I going to feel up to doing anything today? I put it off. The week before the deadline, I ended up being really sick and I wasn’t able to leave home. You can send in your registration by mail, but I didn’t have stamps. I kept thinking that I shouldn’t have to jump through this many hoops to register.

. . . .

Anna | Age 21 | New York, New York | Has Never Voted
I’m trying to register in my hometown of Austin, Texas. It’s such a tedious process to even get registered in Texas, let alone vote as an absentee. There’s no notification service about the status of my voter registration. There’s a small, outdated website where you can enter your information and check. When I was at the post office to register, this poor girl, clearly also a college student like me, didn’t know what “postmarked” meant and had no idea how to send an important document by mail. Most people my age have zero need to go to the post office and may have never stepped into one before. Honestly, if someone had the forms printed for me and was willing to deal with the post office, I’d be much more inclined to vote.

This obviously reveals a big problem with our country.

Mailing has become too hard.

That’s why I’ll be writing my Congressman to urge him to support a new law that makes it easier to mail things.

Ah, shit, never mind, I don’t own any stamps. I guess I could email him but then I’d have to Google and have you tried using Google lately? Totally hard.

If I had more time, I’d do a riff from The Coddling of the American Mind about how helpless young people are these days. Just read it and you’ll see what I mean.


Hillary Clinton: “They All Look Alike”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:10 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I guess because her husband was the first black president, she’s allowed to say this. And be rewarded with laughter. (Surely, that has got to be shock masquerading as laughter…)

Well done? Seriously?? I clearly don’t know the rules anymore. But I read through comments and learned that Hillary was just making a cute funny. What a relief. At least she didn’t say that Booker was articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, am I right???

On a serious note: if you condemn racist commentary, quips, digs, snark coming from the right, then feel free to condemn this with equal gusto. But if you are on the right, and have rationalized and excused racist commentary, quips, digs, and snark coming from your own tribe, then maybe sit this one out.



Ballot Propositions, Have We Got Ballot Propositions

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:27 pm

[guest post by JVW]

One week from Tuesday, voters will go to the polls across this great land to determine which party controls each house of Congress, who sits in the governor’s office in 36 states (and three territories!), and the ideological make-up of the various state legislatures, many of which have some interesting ramifications for the national agenda.

Just over half of our country’s states offer ballot initiatives and/or referenda, an exercise in direct democracy whereby the citizens can vote on whether or not to enact or eliminate laws. California, which enacted the referendum and initiative option over a century ago during the Progressive Era, traditionally offers a whole panoply of ideas (good and bad) for citizens of the Golden State to consider. Accordingly, here is this year’s smörgåsbord (I so love using special keyboard characters) along with my thoughts on the best way to dispense with them (and believe me, most of them ought to be dispensed with).

[Note: I am only going to give very brief summaries of each ballot initiative, and they will no doubt be colored by my own biases and ideology. If you want a full accounting of the language and intricacies of each individual proposition, you can access the voter guide at the California Secretary of State’s website.]

Prop 1: Authorizes $4 billion in bonds for funding assistance housing programs for veterans, farm workers, people with disabilities, and the homeless.
Prop 2: Permits using existing money earmarked for housing for the mentally ill to finance $2 billion in bonds to build more housing for the homeless.
Prop 3: Issue $9 billion in bonds for various infrastructure projects, most of which have to do with providing fresh water.
Prop 4: Issue $1.5 billion in bonds to build new and renovate existing children’s hospitals, which is a huge boon to the construction industry.

Are you noticing a trend here? One of the best and worst aspects of the whole California set-up is the incessant proposal of bond issues every election. It’s a good thing, because California requires that the citizens assent to the issuance of any bonds; it’s a bad thing because our lazy and venal legislature now uses the mechanism of bonds to fund projects that properly ought to come from general funds.

Additionally, there is no guarantee that the bond money will meet the stated goals of the proposition, nor is there any accountability should they fall short. This should be a huge red flag to Californians. Two years ago, Los Angeles voters passed Measure HHH, a $1.2 billion tax initiative promising to build 10,000 new housing units for homeless Angelenos over the next decade. But an audit performed this past summer now suggests that as few as 6,000 units might be completed before funding dries up. It’s important to take a jaundiced view of the promises that government spending advocates make, since they are so very rarely realized in full.

Finally, the whole manipulativeness of the bond structure is obscene, with Prop 1 being the worst offender. There was no real need to include veterans in the Prop 1 list. They already qualify for low-interest home loans under what used to be known as the Cal-Vet program, with the loan repayments by the recipients providing the funding to pay off the loans in full without any taxpayer contributions. The state could easily increase the amount of money available to vets, but Prop 1 proponents are using veterans to cudgel us into adding yet more money for the homeless and for lower-income families. The same goes for pleading for money for children’s hospitals, which just like building housing for the homeless is a huge boon to the construction industry, who just happens to be a major supporter of all these bond issues. Funny how that works, no?

The legislative analyst tells us that debt service on the bonds is mostly manageable under the present rate of general fund revenue that is coming into the state. In other words, since the economy is good we can continue to issue bonds and the debt service ratio will peak at 4.5% of the general fund revenue (contrasted to the 2009 recession when debt service represented 6% of revenue) then level off at around 4%. However, that assumes that the economy will not go into recession and that revenues won’t drop, two assumptions that are rather hard to swallow. It also doesn’t account for future bonds which will doubtlessly be proposed. We’re spending too much already; let’s put the kibosh on the bonds for at least a couple of years, at least until we account for whether previous bonds accomplished what they promised to do.

I plan to vote no on Props 1 through 4.

Prop 5: Allows all homeowners over age 55 to transfer their lower property tax payment from their former home when they purchase a more expensive home.

Currently, several counties in the state already have this law on the books, so Prop 5 would make it statewide policy. There is a legitimate argument to be made for this, but I am tired of seeing tax breaks go to senior citizens (who vote disproportionately to their share of the population) instead of young first-time homeowners and families. In addition this will cost the state an estimated $1 billion in tax revenue, all of which will be pocketed by greedy geezers just as the state’s population continues to get older. I’m voting no.

Prop 6: Repeals the gas tax enacted by the legislature and signed into law by the governor last year. It would reduce state tax revenue by about $5.1 billion, money ostensibly used to repair roads and support public transportation.

I’m all for good roads and clean buses, but with the tax-and-spend Democrats dominating this state, repeal of the gas tax would be a shot across Gavin Newsom’s bow suggesting to him that he can’t expect to extort unlimited money from the residents of and visitors to the Golden State. It is also a giant middle finger to the public employee unions, who have funded a mindless campaign against this initiative suggesting that all of our homes will burn down because the fire departments won’t have enough money. This will be a rare yes vote on an initiative for me.

Prop 7: Would put us on permanent daylight savings time, subject to federal approval.

I’m not a morning person, so during the winter hours I would be willing to sacrifice the sun not coming out until 8:00 am if it meant we could have the sunset pushed back to 6:00 pm. The main argument against this seems to be that school kids would be going to school in the dark, but I’m all for toughening up the little dears. I’ll probably vote yes unless I am in a really grumpy mood and just automatically revert to a no vote.

Prop 8: Regulating the amount that kidney dialysis clinics can charge for treatment.

Nurses, like teachers, cops, firefighters, and other public employees are necessary and valuable members of the community. I’m sure most people have stories of a hospital stay for you or a loved one that was made infinitely more bearable by a kind, caring, professional nurse. God bless ’em; I truly mean that.

But that said, the California chapter of the American Nurses Association is one of the most avidly leftist and obnoxious unions in the entire state. Years ago, their Marxist leader formed key alliances with all of the other public employee unions, and ever since the organization has been a major supporter of private sector regulation and an untrammeled flow of public funding towards its members. The ANA has been having trouble organizing workers at dialysis clinics, so in response they have sponsored this measure to exact revenge. Yes, the medical industry has dumped massive amounts of money to defeat this measure, and I don’t like their ads any more than I like the pro-regulation side’s ads. But at the end of the day I reject government manipulation of markets. This deserves a very emphatic no vote.

Prop 9: Split California into three separate states.

This initiative is so stupid that a court yanked it off of the ballot.

Prop 10: Allows the entire state to enact rent control policies.

Rent control is one of those awful ideas supported by people who despise free markets, want to be generous with someone else’s money, and have no concept of unintended consequences. You know what cities have lots of rent control units? San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica do, to name a few. Do you think that it is easy to find affordable lodging in any of those cities? I truly hope this mindless idea goes down to a much-deserved defeat.

Prop 11: Requires private-sector ambulances to remain on-call during work breaks.

There is no formal opposition to this measure so it’s likely to pass overwhelmingly, but I can’t help but see it as a solution in search of a problem. I’m not aware of a bunch of people bleeding it out in the street because the private company EMTs are finishing up their combo meal at Del Taco. I think I’ll vote no just to be ornery, but if you want to vote yes then I’ll certainly understand.

Prop 12: Increases the minimum living space requirement for farm animals who provide meat and eggs, and prohibits the selling of products in the state from animals whose confinement doesn’t meet California’s requirements. Mandates that by 2022 all eggs sold must be laid in a cage-free environment.

We passed a proposition ten years ago that required these animals be given enough space to turn-around, lie down, stand up, and extend their limbs. This initiative would actually specify minimum square footage for these animals. This is one of those weird initiatives which are supported by some mainstream animal rights folks, but opposed by a more loopy sect of animal rights activists who think it’s a trojan horse for continued cruelty. The state estimates that oversight might cost up to $10 million annually, and the price of meat and eggs will almost certainly increase. I’m voting no.

So there you have it: one man’s ill-informed and reactionary opinions. Feel free to light into me in the comments.


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 23

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

It is the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn” (You true God and Son of David)

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 10:46-52:

Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

The text of today’s piece is available here. Today’s cantata directly tells the story of Jesus restoring the sight of Bartimaeus, as related in today’s Gospel reading, beginning with his cry to the Lord for the “Son of David” to “have mercy on me”:

You true God and Son of David,
who already from distant eternity
have looked upon my heartache
and the pain of my body, have mercy on me!
And grant through Your wondrous hand,
that has turned aside so much evil,
that aid and comfort occur for me as well.

In the penultimate chorus, the cantata directly references Bartimaeus’s request that his sight be restored:

All eyes wait, Lord,
O all-powerful God, for You,
especially my own.
Give them strength and light,
do not leave them
for ever in the darkness!

It is a wonderful musical accompaniment to today’s message.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Eight Shot Dead in Pittsburgh Synagogue [UPDATED]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:13 am

[guest post by JVW]

Horrible news this morning from Pittsburgh: eight people are reported as dead when a gunman entered a local synagogue during 10:00 am morning prayer services and started firing. The gunman was taken into custody by police and has been identified as Robert Bowers, 46, “a white man with a beard.” Bowers is reported to have been carrying an AR-15 along with handguns, and to have been shouting “all Jews must die” as he opened fire. The venue is the Tree of Life Synagogue, located in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, a historically Jewish part of the city.

Say what you will about this source, but The Mirror has pretty robust coverage of this awful situation.

A truly devastating way to begin the weekend.

[UPDATE] – The website purports to have samples from the shooter’s social media accounts. They characterize him as “a white supremacist” who was not registered with a political party and did not vote for President Trump because he saw Trump as just another globalist. Make of that what you will.



Your Anti-Endorsements for California’s Statewide Offices

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:59 pm

[guest post by JVW]

This time of year, no matter where you live, you are undoubtedly blanketed with endorsements for the midterm elections. Newspapers, to be sure, have traditionally published a full list of how they believe the tuned-in citizen — and in the case of the Dog Trainer, the non-citizen (I kid, I kid) — should mark his or her ballot, but others have gotten in on the act as well, from PACs to vapid celebrities, all of them deigning to explain to us unwashed rubes how we should interpret the character and promises of the various candidates.

But my lot in life is to be a grumpy right-winger in a state where the solid majority of my fellow voters desires entirely different outcomes than I do. So be it. For this election cycle I don’t want to tell my fellow Californians how to vote; I will instead implore you how not to vote. What I am expressing here are the ways you should definitely not mark your ballot twelve days from now (or, in the age of vote-whenever-the-hell-you-want, yesterday). Please understand that just because I beg of you not to vote for candidate X doesn’t mean that I wish you to vote for his or her opponent, candidate Y. The sane move in some cases may be to make no choice between candidates. I’ll leave that determination to your good judgement. With that, here’s how you should not vote in California:

U.S. Senate
Do not vote for Dianne Feinstein, the definition of a politician who has overstayed her welcome. She somehow cultivated a reputation through the years as a moderate Democrat, but that seems entirely based upon the fact that she would support tax cuts for her wealthy constituents while favoring lavish defense budgets which helped her state’s economy and enriched her husband. Beyond that her most notable achievements in a half-century of — ahem, ahem — “public service” have been her “assault weapons” ban which did virtually nothing to stem gun violence, and her leadership as an unstinting cheerleader for abortion. And, as we discussed last month, her behavior in the Kavanaugh confirmation process suggests either a unethical politician who is trying to reinvent herself as a committed leftist in order to placate the critics in her caucus or a senile geezer whose office is entirely run by her staff. Do not allow this old biddy to shuffle around Washington for another six years.

Gavin Newsom is what you would get if you could somehow combine the ethical sleaziness of Bill and Hillary Clinton, the glib banalities of Barack Obama, and the progressive white male privilege of Ted Kennedy. A while back I promised a full post on his odiousness, and I still plan to cobble it together in the next few days. Suffice to say, he has run a campaign in which California’s manifest governing problems (massive levels of poverty, a shaky budget foundation, a looming pension disaster) take a back-seat to virtue-signaling on twee environmental causes (“I’m fighting Trump on offshore drilling!”) and the sort of monomaniacal social issues that set progressive hearts aflutter. This guy is a clown, and not worthy of your support.

Attorney General
When Kamala Harris left this office to ascend to her Senate seat in Washington where she will likely chill for four years before becoming her party’s Presidential nominee in 2020 (I’m still standing by this prediction I made on election night two years ago), an unaccomplished twelve-term Congressman named Xavier Becerra was appointed by Governor Brown to take her place. Becerra appears to be one of those down-the-line leftists who has spared himself the indignity of working in the dreaded private sector: his career is law school to a nonprofit providing legal aid to the poor to serving as staff for a state senator to deputy state attorney general to being elected to the state assembly to winning a seat in Congress. All along the way, he has never failed to note the instances where he is “the first Latino” to attain some position. As the state attorney general, his priorities appear to be trying to extort settlement money out of corporations and conspicuously battling the Trump Administration at every opportunity. Despite having a $216 million budget and 4100 employees at his disposal, he sees fit to waste $25,000 per month to retain the services of failed ex-Attorney General Eric Holder. A vote for Xavier Becerra is a vote for weaponizing law enforcement on behalf of the Democrat party and left-wing interest groups, and I urge everyone not to vote for him.

Superintendent of Schools
Tony Thurmond strikes me as the typical political lifer who is giving up what I presume to be a safe state assembly seat (annual pay: $104,118) eight years before he would be term-limited out in order to run for this statewide office (annual pay: $175,182). He’s a Democrat, endorsed by the state’s education blob dominated by teacher’s unions, and has been blessed by the full range of left-wing activists from Kamala Harris down to Planned Parenthood. The teacher’s unions are desperate to tamp-down any enthusiasm for charter schools, and since Gavin Newsom has now disavowed his earlier support for charters, the education blob is hoping that a Newsom-Thurmond axis will strangle them in the crib. Unless you think that the public employee left is a responsible steward of our state’s school system, you should keep your blue or black-ink pen away from the Thurmond oval on your ballot.

There are naturally other offices up for consideration, but I’m going to leave my anti-endorsements with these four. I’ll let you know what I think about the various ballot initiatives sometime next week.


Suspect Identified And Arrested In Package Bomb Scare

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:18 am

[guest post by Dana]

Good news:

An arrest has been made in the investigation of bombs sent to prominent Democrats and critics of President Trump. The Department of Justice confirmed that one person was in custody.

Several law enforcement sources told CBS News the suspect’s name is Cesar Sayoc, who was born in 1962. He appears to have a criminal history in Broward County, Florida.

A law enforcement source said that DNA evidence on one of the devices played a part in leading investigators to the suspect, CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton reports.

Earlier today, authorities intercepted similar packages addressed to Sen. Cory Booker and former director of Intelligence James Clapper:

The package sent to Booker was found in Florida, the FBI said on Twitter on Friday morning. Sources told CBS News that the package sent to Clapper was found at a postal facility in New York City.

The New York package was addressed to “James Robert Clapper Time Warner (CNN),” according to a photo of the package obtained by CBS New York station WCBS-TV. On Wednesday, a bomb sent to CNN’s offices in New York’s Time Warner Center prompted an evacuation of the building.

Further, law enforcement secured a white van covered in stickers as evidence:

Law enforcement officials towed away a van found in Plantation, Florida, where a suspect was arrested in connection to the explosive devices.

The van is heading to Miramar, Florida, where a FBI field office is located, a law enforcement official told CNN.


Here are some details rearding Sayoc:

*According to online records, Sayoc is a registered Republican, registering with the GOP in Florida in March 2016.

*Sayoc calls himself a promoter, booking agent and choreographer of a male stripping show as well as burlesque shows in the Miami-area. Sayoc says that he graduated from Brevard College, N.C./Univ of N.C. at Charlotte.” Sayoc says he attained a Bachelor of Arts in numerous subjects as well as studying veterinary medicine. Sayoc writes on that profile that it was his dream to become a “horse doctor.”

*Sayoc was arrested on drug charges in 2004. He was accused of possession and sale of steroids, along with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, tampering with evidence, filing fraudulent tax returns, criminal use of personal ID info and possession or unlawful issue of a driver’s license. He pleaded guilty that same year and was sentenced to 18 months of probation.

*In 2013, Sayoc was charged with battery and third-degree grand theft, a felony. He pleaded guilty in 2014 and was sentenced to probation. In 2009, Sayoc was charged with operating without a valid license, not having insurance and not having a tag light and was fined after pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charges. In 2014, Sayoc was arrested on a petit theft charge and violation of probation. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Hm. Was Sayoc working alone? Did he have an accomplice in New York, or were the events not related?:

The arrest took place in Florida and at least some of the action took place there too. Four of the bombs were delivered in New York, at least, so it makes sense that the SDNY would be involved. It could also mean that they’re checking to see if Sayoc had an accomplice for the hand deliveries in the state, or maybe just tracking his cell-phone location data to tie him to the specific deliveries.

Here is President Trump discussing the arrest of Sayoc at the Young Black Leadership Summit minutes ago:

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Washington Examiner:

The individual arrested on Friday by the FBI has been named as Cesar Altieri Sayoc. After some digging I managed to find his Twitter page, “Hardrock2016” and – thanks to Washington Examiner’s Phil Klein – another Twitter page listed as “HardrockIntlent.”

I’ve retweeted a few of the tweets this lunatic tweeted out against some of the people sent devices. Here you go:

UPDATE x2 BY PATTERICO: There is simply too much of the crazy to reproduce it all here. Go to my Twitter timeline and scroll. I have retweeted videos of him at the inauguration wearing a MAGA hat, driving his van wearing the same hat, taking video at a Florida Trump rally, and threatening countless political and media figures.

I figure Twitter will delete it all, so I saved his Twitter feed going back to January 10, 2017. 1145 pages of obsessive Trumperism. It’s too big a file to upload, though.

UPDATE BY PATTERICO x3: Look at his crazy tweets yourself, here.

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