Patterico's Pontifications


Breaking News & Off Topic Links (7/26/2019)

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 11:30 pm

[By DRJ]

This post is for everyone who wants to share a link to a breaking news story or to an interesting news story/blog post that is not related to a current post. Put your link in the comments and, if you want, a brief discussion of why it is important or interesting. Discussion about any links is welcome here, too.

From now on, off-topic links left in the comments at my posts may be deleted so please put those links here.


SCOTUS agrees with Government’s use of Military Funds for Border Wall during Appeal

Filed under: Immigration,Law — DRJ @ 7:06 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

U.S. Supreme Court lets Trump use disputed funds for border wall:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday handed President Donald Trump a victory by letting his administration redirect $2.5 billion in money approved by Congress for the Pentagon to help build his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border even though lawmakers refused to provide funding.

The conservative-majority court on a 5-4 vote with the court’s liberals in dissent blocked in full a ruling by a federal judge in California barring the Republican president from spending the money on the basis that Congress did not specifically authorize the funds to be spent on the wall project fiercely opposed by Democrats and Mexico’s government.
A brief order explaining the court’s decision said the government “made a sufficient showing” that the groups challenging the decision did not have grounds to bring a lawsuit.

Trump celebrated on Twitter.

RELATED: “Trump announces ‘safe third country’ plan with Guatemala in deal that will keep asylum-seeking migrants from trekking north through Mexico to the United States; Deal will allow the U.S. to refuse asylum to Hondurans and Salvadorans unless they first apply in Guatemala.”

OR NOT: “Guatemala’s Constitutional Court had ruled that a safe third country deal could not be signed without prior approval from the country’s Congress, which is on a summer recess.”


Three House Republicans Announced This Week That They Will Not Seek Re-election

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:50 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Actually, in less than one week these members announced their retirements: Rep. Martha Roby’s (AL), Rep. Paul Mitchell (MI) and Rep. Pete Olson (TX):


Rep. Roby, who won Alabama’s Republican primary runoff in spite of retracting her endorsement of then-candidate Donald Trump after the Access Hollywood tape was made public, will say in a soon-to-be published op-ed:

Over the last nine years, we have put Alabama first and delivered results for the American people, and we are not finished yet. While my name will not be on the ballot in 2020, I remain committed to continuing the fight for Alabama and the people I represent in the Second District until I cast my last vote on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Until January 2021, I will continue the important work we started over nine years ago.

Rep. Roby’s district is solidly red, and there doesn’t seem to be any concern about that changing.

Rep. Mitchell, who will be stepping down after serving two terms, elaborated on his decision:

The congressman first told Politico that he wants to spend more time with his family, including his 9-year-old son, who has special needs.

But he also said he’s tired of partisan bickering and a lack of legislative progress. “You look at the rhetoric and vitriol, it overwhelms policy, politics becomes the norm,” he told Politico. “Everything’s about politics. Everything’s about an election. And at some point of time, that’s not why I came here.”

… “Rhetoric overwhelms policy and politics consumes much of the oxygen in this city.”

Most recently, Rep. Mitchell, who represents a safely Republican district, was critical of President Trump and his “go back” tweet directed at four Democratic congresswomen:

“We must be better than comments like these,” he tweeted. “I share the political frustrations with some members of the other party, but these comments are beneath leaders.”

In a statement announcing his retirement, Rep. Olson said:

“As someone who has long advocated for policies that put our families first, it’s time for me to take my own advice and be a more consistent presence to help our family.”

“It’s time for another citizen-legislator to take up this mission,” he said. “Not to make a career out of politics, but to help lead in the cause of empowering our people, defending our liberties, and making sure America remains the greatest nation in history.”

Rep. Olson was also critical of the President and his recent inflammatory tweets:

The Tweet President Trump posted over the weekend about fellow Members of Congress are not reflective of the values of the 1,000,000+ people in Texas 22. We are proud to be the most diverse Congressional district in America. I urge our President immediately disavow his comments.

Rep. Olson’s district is a bit trickier. He won the election by a mere 5 points against his 2018 Democratic challenger Sri Preston Kulkarni, who plans to run again in 2020. Rep. Olson’s win was down 19 points from his previous win two years earlier. Though it has been a solidly Republican district, it could become a toss up, given the shift in demographics:

The rapidly growing southwest Houston suburbs are undergoing a rapid demographic shift: the 22nd CD, once held by Tom DeLay, is now just 40 percent white (down from 45 percent in 2010) and voted for President Trump by just 52 percent to 44 percent, a third of Mitt Romney’s 25 point margin in 2012. The district is 26 percent Hispanic, 19 percent Asian and 12 percent black, and 43 percent of adults hold college degrees, among the highest in the state.


Democrats are planning to make Texas a major House battleground in 2020 — and some Republicans are already starting to feel the pressure.

Of course, behind the announcements comes speculation that runs the gamut from ho-hum, business as usual… to oh no, everyone’s jumping ship! (It must be exhausting to be a GOP member for this reason alone: By now, everyone knows that their hand will be publicly forced by yet another incendiary comment from the President, and they will have to decide whether to risk his political wrath by calling him out on it when it’s obviously the right thing to do, or choose to remain silent, thus showing little to no moral courage.)

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Hollywood Actress: Shut-Up About Protecting Unborn Babies If You Want To Execute Vicious Child Killers

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:06 am

[guest post by Dana]

I don’t usually care what Hollywood folk think about issues because, why?? However, in light of the federal government’s decision to resume capital punishment after nearly two decades, it’s interesting to see the huge disconnect when it comes to abortion, particularly third-trimester abortion and capital punishment. The fight against putting to death those found guilty while vigorously fighting for the right to kill those who are innocent is a popular position. Just look at what some of the Democratic presidential candidates said when the decision to resume capital punishment was made public.

Anyway, here’s the lead-in to actress/activist Alyssa Milano’s damning tweet: Milano was called out for supporting Planned Parenthood: “Murdered like ya PLANNED PARENTHOOD? Murdered like THAT? Is that what you mean?”


Milano responded:

Your administration just reinstated the death penalty and scheduled 5 executions of *actual* people. You’ve lost the right to pull your, “pro-life” narrative-talking-point- bullshit with me.


In Milano’s twisted view, it’s perfectly reasonable to draw an equivalence between viciously depraved criminals and innocent, unborn babies. And of course the unborn babies are not recognized by Milano as having personhood. That must be avoided at all costs when trying to justify the killing of them.

Let’s take a look at what those “five *actual* people” did to end up on the short-list for execution. [Ed. Because of how gruesome and disturbing the details of their crimes are, I am not publishing them in full. However, you can go to the links provided at the end of each snapshot and read for yourself. But be forewarned: some details are simply unspeakable.]

Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group, murdered a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl. After robbing and shooting the victims with a stun gun, Lee covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks, and threw the family of three into the Illinois bayou. On May 4, 1999, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas found Lee guilty of numerous offenses, including three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and he was sentenced to death. Lee’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 9, 2019. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

Lezmond Mitchell stabbed to death a 63-year-old grandmother and forced her nine-year-old granddaughter to sit beside her lifeless body for a 30 to 40-mile drive. Mitchell then slit the girl’s throat twice, crushed her head with 20-pound rocks, and severed and buried both victims’ heads and hands. On May 8, 2003, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona found Mitchell guilty of numerous offenses, including first degree murder, felony murder, and carjacking resulting in murder, and he was sentenced to death. Mitchell’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 11, 2019. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Wesley Ira Purkey violently raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl, and then dismembered, burned, and dumped the young girl’s body in a septic pond. He also was convicted in state court for using a claw hammer to bludgeon to death an 80-year-old woman who suffered from polio and walked with a cane. On Nov. 5, 2003, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri found Purkey guilty of kidnapping a child resulting in the child’s death, and he was sentenced to death. Purkey’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 13, 2019. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

Alfred Bourgeois physically and emotionally tortured, sexually molested, and then beat to death his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. On March 16, 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas found Bourgeois guilty of multiple offenses, including murder, and he was sentenced to death. Bourgeois’ execution is scheduled to occur on Jan. 13, 2020. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

Dustin Lee Honken shot and killed five people—two men who planned to testify against him and a single, working mother and her ten-year-old and six-year-old daughters. On Oct. 14, 2004, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa found Honken guilty of numerous offenses, including five counts of murder during the course of a continuing criminal enterprise, and he was sentenced to death. Honken’s execution is scheduled to occur on Jan. 15, 2020. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

Now I want to share with you what that the unborn baby did to deserve the death penalty:

It’s ironic that innocent babies in the womb are killed through more brutal and barbaric means than those who used brutal and barbaric means to kill innocent people.


(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Puerto Rico Governor resigns

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 7:22 am

[Headlines from DRJ]

Governor resignation sparks power struggle in Puerto Rico:

The resignation of Puerto Rico’s governor after mass protests has sparked a succession battle, and the winner could be a Washington corporate lawyer not directly linked to his administration, which has been dogged by corruption scandals.

Governor Ricardo Rosselló said on Wednesday he would step down on Aug. 2 in the face of public anger over the release of profane chat messages and embezzlement charges against two former administration officials.

In line with the U.S. territory’s constitution, Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez is next in line to succeed Rosselló, based on current Cabinet vacancies.

But Vasquez faces opposition because of her political ties to the Governor. A DC lawyer who is the former Puerto Rico representative in the U.S. Congress may be the Party’s choice for Rosselló’s successor.

H/T: narciso and other commenters on the Breaking News & Off Topic Links post.

ALSO — AOC supports the ‘decolonization process’ of Puerto Rico following governor’s resignation:

In an Instagram livestream on Thursday night, Ocasio-Cortez took questions from her followers. The first asked how she felt about what’s happening in Puerto Rico. “First of all, I am so incredibly proud of everyone in Puerto Rico right now demanding accountability from their government,” Ocasio-Cortez began. “They were so relentlessly creative in their protest that they were able to get the governor to finally resign as well as some of his cabinet members.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, then suggested the island’s independence from the United States. “I’m really proud of everyone that’s out there, but of course there’s a lot of work to be done,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “This is just the beginning of a decolonization process, a process of self-determination where the people of Puerto Rico begin to start taking their own self-governance into their own hands.”

Rosselló was the Puerto Rican co-director of Hillary’s 2008 campaign.


Does Identity Politics Work?

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 6:49 am

[Headline from DRJ]

Is Trump’s Use Of Identity Politics An Effective Strategy?

“We don’t really know” is an unsatisfying answer, but I think it’s an important one. That uncertainty explains why this question of how effective Trump’s stances on issues of race and identity remains so prominent in coverage of national politics, why the two parties, particularly the Democrats, are experiencing such internal friction about their possible electoral strategies and why that friction is unlikely to end until Election Day next year.


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