Patterico's Pontifications


One Mile: The Privately Funded Wall

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 9:43 pm

[Headlines from DRJ]

El Paso TimesPrivately funded border wall built at El Paso:

A private group has built a $6 million bollard-type wall at the border on private property near Mount Cristo Rey with funds raised from a GoFundMe account.

The segment of wall was paid for by the “We Build the Wall” organization on land owned by American Eagle Brick Company. It is by Monument One — an official marker at the spot where New Mexico, Texas and the Mexican state of Chihuahua converge — at Border Highway West, near Executive Center Boulevard.
“Why wouldn’t we allow it?,” Allen asked. “We have dealt with illegals coming across. We have been attacked by illegals coming across. We have been burglarized by illegals. We have drug traffickers coming through here and anyone who is against this is against America.”

There are some familiar names involved in the project including Steve Bannon and Kris Kobach.

Related: We Build the Wall tour of border wall construction.


Ross Douthat on Why Progressivism Has Stalled

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:43 am

[guest post by JVW]

Over at the New York Times, the house conservative has some very interesting thoughts on why the traditional left continues to lose ground:

In Australia a week ago, the party of the left lost an election it was supposed to win, to a conservative government headed by an evangelical Christian who won working-class votes by opposing liberal climate policies. In India last week, the Hindu-nationalist prime minister, Narendra Modi, won an overwhelming electoral victory. And as of this writing, Europeans are electing a Parliament that promises to have more populist representation than before.

The global fade of liberalism, in other words, appears to be continuing. Right-wing populism struggles to govern effectively, but it clearly has a durable political appeal — which, as Tyler Cowen points out in a Bloomberg column, has not yet been counteracted by the new socialism, the new new left.

Mr. Douthat then pivots to the United States, where Democrats have taken it as an article of faith that they are the true majority, their ideas are broadly popular, and they are only being denied power because of institutional quirks particular to our system, a theory that he finds lacking:

The strategic flaw in this reading of the liberal situation is that politics isn’t about casually held opinions on a wide range of topics, but focused prioritization of specifics. As the Democratic data analyst David Shor has noted, you can take a cluster of nine Democratic positions that each poll over 50 percent individually, and find that only 18 percent of Americans agree with all of them. And a single strong, focused disagreement can be enough to turn a voter against liberalism, especially if liberals seem uncompromising on that issue.

Because the left dominates the culture, argues Mr. Douthat, they fail to grasp that their political coalition consists largely of voters with narrow interests which often don’t naturally overlap with each other. This makes it harder for the party to expand their influence beyond the base of true blue believers and attract independents. That voter who believes strongly that we need to make an almost immediate switch to renewable energy may not be too keen on confiscatory tax rates being used to subsidize “free” college and single-payer health care. The voter who believes that the government should mandate higher wages may be turned off by the party’s kowtowing to intersectional grievance-mongering interests. Mr. Douthat suggests that the uncompromising hard line taken by the left is causing the shrillness of tone that is currently de rigueur among party stalwarts:

. . . [I]nstead of recognizing populism as a motley coalition united primarily by opposition to liberalism’s rule, liberals want to believe they’re facing a unitary enemy — a revanchist patriarchal white supremacy, infecting every branch and tributary of the right.

In this view it’s not enough to see racial resentment as one important form of anti-liberalism (which it surely is); all anti-liberalism must fall under the canopy. Libertarianism is white supremacy, the N.R.A. is white supremacy, immigration skepticism is white supremacy, tax-sensitive suburbia is white supremacy, the pro-life movement is white supremacy, anxiety about terrorism is white supremacy … and you can’t compromise with white supremacists, you can only crush them.

If you read the comments to Mr. Douthat’s piece, you won’t be surprised to find that New York Times readers strongly reject the notion that the party’s current obsessions are counter-productive, so once again wise counsel falls upon deaf ears.


Memorial Day 2019 (UPDATED)

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 9:25 am

[Headline from DRJ]


UPDATE: Yahoo News – Rolling Thunder veterans group makes final ride through Washington.


The New Swamp

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 9:20 am

[Headline from DRJ]

Chicago Sun TimesStephen Calk pleads not guilty in bribery scheme: $16 million in Manafort loans in bid for top Trump job :

Stephen Calk, ex-CEO of a Chicago bank is charged with using bank loans to bribe his way into a top Trump administration job

UDATE: Plus today from the APA hefty donation to Trump’s inaugural comes under scrutiny:

Real estate mogul Franklin Haney contributed $1 million to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee and all he’s got to show for the money is the glare of a federal investigation.

The contribution from Haney, a prolific political donor, came as he was seeking regulatory approval and financial support from the government for his long-shot bid to acquire the mothballed Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in northeastern Alabama. More than two years later, he still hasn’t closed the deal.

His tale is a familiar one in Washington, where lobbyists and wealthy donors use their checkbooks to try to sway politicians. It’s a world Haney is accustomed to operating in and one that Trump came into office pledging to upend. Yet Trump has left in place many of the familiar ways to wield influence.


Treason Headlines

Filed under: Government,Law — DRJ @ 8:23 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

Washington MonthlyThe President Accused the FBI of Treason:

On Friday morning, the president of the United States tweeted this.

Donald J. Trump

My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American Politics. A really bad situation. TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!

6:11 AM – May 17, 2019

The HillLiz Cheney: Statements by agents investigating Trump ‘could well be treason’:

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said on Sunday that statements by FBI agents investigating President Trump sounded “an awful lot like a coup, and it could well be treason.”

Law professorAmericans have forgotten what Treason actually means – and how it can be abused:

Treasonous acts may be criminal, but criminal acts are almost never treason. As Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution specifies, “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” The Founders went out of their way to define treason narrowly because they knew how it had been repeatedly abused in the past.

For much of the pre-revolutionary period in England, the accusation was a means of suppressing political dissent and punishing political opponents for crimes as trivial as contemplating a king’s future death (what was known as “compassing”), or speaking ill of the king (“lèse majesté”). King Henry VIII even had two of his six wives executed for alleged adultery on the ground that such infidelity was, of itself, “treason.” The English abuse of treason was anathema to a nascent republic dedicated to the rule of law and the right of peaceful dissent.

Thus, to ensure that treason could not likewise be co-opted for political or personal purposes, the Constitution’s drafters not only defined it precisely (it’s the only offense specifically defined in that document), but also specified that “No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.” (Article III also limits the punishment that can be inflicted, even with a conviction.)

PS – Vox did not forget: Even if Trump’s team coordinated with Russia, it’s still not treason. (Treason” has a specific definition.)


Old Headlines are New Again

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 7:52 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

Following up on Dana’s post:


Trump’s comments after speaking to Putin Saturday provoked a chorus of criticism after the president said he was willing to accept the Russian president’s assurances that the country did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. election.

The Atlantic (March 2018) – Nine Notorious Dictators, Nine Shout-Outs From Donald Trump:

The president of the United States continues to heap praise on the world’s most reviled rulers.

USA Today (May 2019) – Trump’s Japan trip: Sumo match, hibachi dinner, playing down North Korea’s firing of ‘small weapons’:

Trump wrote on Twitter that he was not concerned about the firing of “some small weapons.” He also praised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un while contradicting his own advisers.


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