Patterico's Pontifications


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:02 am

[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items to chew over. Feel free to share anything you think might interest readers. Please remember to include links.

First news item

Mitch McConnell’s new campaign ad aims for the heartstrings:

Second news item

Aunt Becky reports to prison early:

The actress Lori Loughlin reported to a federal prison in Northern California on Friday to start a two-month sentence for her role in a massive college admissions cheating scandal, according to officials at the prison and the federal prosecutor’s office…The “Full House” star surrendered to authorities at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, about 40 miles east of San Francisco. She was early; the judge who sentenced her ordered her to report to prison on Nov. 19…Loughlin, who was assigned Bureau of Prisons number 77827-112, has also been ordered to pay a fine of $150,000 and complete 100 hours of community service once she is released

Third news item

Asian tiebreakers:

Asian American and Pacific Islanders could provide the margin of victory in the country’s 10 most contested states, which are scattered across the Midwest, South and Southwest, according to a new report commissioned by the National Education Association.

The survey, conducted in July and September with 875 Asian constituents, finds new insight into an overlooked community that holds an outsize influence on Senate and presidential races. A majority of the study respondents are of Chinese, Indian and Filipino descent.

The report highlighted the fact that a third of registered AAPI voters, more than 2 million in total, live in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

Fourth news item

Checking in with the Mexicans for Trump:

[S]ome of the Mexican president’s supporters are pulling for an unlikely candidate in the upcoming US election: Donald Trump.

“We want President Trump to stay in office. Why? Because there’s good communication between him and President López Obrador,” said Carolina Mayor, a veterinarian. “They understand each other perfectly because they’re nationalists. They’re nationalist presidents.”

Amlo, as Mexico’s president is known, has not commented on the election, saying he wants to stay out of US politics. But he has forged a surprisingly close relationship with Trump, going out of his way to praise the US president, and deploying the national guard to crack down on Central American migants.

Trump, meanwhile, has dialed down the insults and repeatedly called Amlo a “great guy”.

Fifth news item

She’ll still carry water for him:

During an off-script portion of his speech, the president mentioned that [Laura] Ingraham was at the rally and looked around to point her out to the crowd. But Trump quickly pounced on Ingraham when he saw that she had donned a face mask.

“I can’t recognize you. Is that a mask? No way. Are you wearing a mask? I’ve never seen her in a mask,” Trump said. “Look at you. Oh, she’s being very politically correct. Whoa. Whoa.”

Sixth news item

France digs in against radical Islamic terrorism:

France’s interior minister said on Friday more militant attacks on its soil were likely and the country was engaged in a war against Islamist ideology following the second deadly knife attack in its cities in two weeks.

Minister Gerald Damarnin was speaking a day after an assailant shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in Nice. The man was shot by police and is now in critical condition in a hospital…

Speaking outside the church in Nice on Thursday, Macron said France had been attacked “over our values, for our taste for freedom, for the ability on our soil to have freedom of belief…And I say it with great clarity again today: We will not give any ground.”

Seventh news item

Pay attention, America: Europe going on lockdown again:

Europe’s whack-a-mole strategy of imposing local lockdowns to squash the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic didn’t work. Now it’s time to pull out the big guns.

Germany and France both announced new four-week national lockdowns on Wednesday night. They followed the Czech Republic and Ireland, which put country-wide restrictions in place earlier this month. Spain and the United Kingdom could be next.

Eighth news item

Trump administration violates U.S. policy:

Over 200 children from countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras have been forced into Mexico after trying to cross into the U.S. in the last eight months, according to the New York Times, where they were placed with welfare authorities and into shelters operated by religious groups and private organizations.

According to U.S. policy and an agreement with the Mexican government, only Mexican children and children with adult supervision can be pushed back into Mexico after trying to cross the border, the report said, others are supposed to be flown back to their home countries by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

An email from U.S. Border Patrol’s assistant chief, Eduardo Sanchez, obtained by the Times, confirmed that unaccompanied children had been sent back into Mexico instead of being flown to their home countries, and acting commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection agency Mark Morgan acknowledged that expelling unaccompanied non-Mexican children to Mexico was against U.S. policy.

Ninth news item

The legendary Sean Connery has died at 90:

Sir Sean died peacefully in his sleep, while in the Bahamas, having been “unwell for some time”, his son said.

Jason Connery said his father “had many of his family who could be in the Bahamas around him” when he died overnight in Nassau.

He said: “We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.

“A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”

Have a great weekend.



Donald Trump Turned Me Into a Mugwump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:24 am

That is the title of a post I have up at The Dispatch today. I think the post is a little more effective if I don’t tell you what it’s about, so I’ll just give you the opening paragraphs:

Nobody could believe this disreputable nincompoop had actually won the Republican nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Seemingly everyone had assailed the candidate as dishonest and shady throughout the campaign, and as a result the intelligentsia agreed that he had no chance. All the newspapers, including the conservative ones, held the candidate in contempt—and they all backed up their denunciations with copious evidence and reasoned argument. The candidate was well-known, but had conducted his business affairs in a notoriously corrupt manner. His chances were so slim that the New York Times actually ran a headline that stated his nomination was “out of the question.”

But the candidate showed no contrition and angrily denounced his critics as insincere. He insisted that he had never done anything wrong. The tide began to turn.

Still, the news that this man would be the Republican nominee came as a shock to a group of steadfast Republican men playing pool at a writer’s house in Hartford, Connecticut.

The writer is someone you have heard of, and is someone worth reading. That’s all I can say. Go read it!

UPDATE: I think this is as good a place as any to say this. In the recent past, I have expressed a desire for the GOP to get walloped this year — not just tossed out of the Oval Office, but taught a lesson in the Senate for refusing to oust this corrupt man. But after I wrote my recent post gaming out what the next four years will be like, I have changed my mind, somewhat. I still think the GOP will lose the Senate, but I no longer want them to. Yes, the party needs to learn the lesson that Trumpism is a losing proposition. But it’s not like that lesson is going to resurrect the Shangri-La that classical liberals wish the party to be . . . and in the meantime, Joe Biden is going to want to do counterproductive things that need to be opposed.

So, while the emotional side of me still wants to see the political demise of those disreputable louts in the Senate who violated their oaths and voted to protect the criminal, the rational side of me isn’t so sure that would be a good thing. And I have to go with the rational side.

But if a Lindsey Graham should lose (possible!), or the GOP should lose the Senate (likely!), I won’t be shedding any tears. I’ll be here to say: next time don’t choose a Donald Trump, and if one gets in anyway, you should tell the truth about him.


Thursday Night Music

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:26 pm

The latest from The Posies:

Your Handy Guide to Throwing Away Your Presidential Vote

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:53 pm

[guest post by JVW]

In my ongoing efforts to make everyone into a more informed yet caustic and bitter voter, I thought I would try to render a bit of assistance to my fellow Patterico’s Pontifications readers who refuse to support the reelection of Donald J. Trump yet can’t countenance voting for a mediocre hack like Joseph R. Biden.

Four years ago I tossed a write-in vote in the direction of Evan McMullin, a man who at the time seemed to me to be an authentic conservative yet in the intervening years has led me to believe that he is a bit of a prima donna and caused me to regret my impulsive move. This time around I have vowed to be more judicious with my vote; no more write-ins for me: I’m going to find somebody on the California ballot worthy of my endorsement. I’ll be investigating the candidates as I write up this post, so what you will get is my snap judgement — which, I hasten to add is unerringly true except in the case of that McMullin fellow — so follow along with me as I learn all about the interesting and accomplished men and women who have tossed their hat into the ring. Without further ado, here they are in the order in which they appear on my ballot:
Jo Jorgensen, President & Jeremy “Spike” Cohen, Vice-President; Libertarian Party
This is probably the most likely landing point for a disaffected conservative, right? I mean now that the battle for drug legalization has mostly been won, everyone seems to hate law enforcement, and nobody wants to send American troops anywhere outside of our own borders, all that’s left for libertarianism would appear to be the battle against the encroaching socialism seen among today’s Democrats. While it’s true that we might not yet be ready to deal with a President who sports bangs, us anti-big-government types who have been frustrated by the current White House occupant’s soft spot for authoritarianism need someone to remind us that taxation is, indeed, theft.

Ms. Jorgensen has a short but sweet URL (, befitting a small-government advocate, and her website distills complex policy discussions into pithy one-sentence talking points in the same time-honored way that Democrats and Republicans have done for years. You still have to deal with the famous flakiness of libertarianism (she wants our foreign policy to be that of “one giant Switzerland” and her immigration policy can be un-demagogically characterized as open borders), but knowing that Congressional Republicans and Democrats might be a necessary brake on her ambitions makes her candidacy quite intriguing in this silly year. And who wouldn’t want a Vice-President named Spike?
Joseph Biden, President & Kamala Harris, Vice-President; Democrat Party
No. Just no.
Donald Trump, President & Mike Pence, Vice-President; Republican Party
Hard pass.
Gloria La Riva, President & Sunil Freeman, Vice-President; Peace and Freedom Party
She is running on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, yet the campaign website describes her as “a socialist answer to the two corporatist parties,” and the word “socialism” or “socialist” appears quite frequently. Eat your heart out, Bernie Sanders! In a fortuitous twist for all of us, it turns out the answer to each of the ten key issues that Ms. La Riva identifies as pressing needs is — coincidentally enough — more socialism! People are lacking life’s basics? Give them free stuff! The environment is being depredated? End capitalism! Cops are being mean to people of color? Reparations! Immigrants are having a hard go of it? No more borders! And so on.

If our Adorably Ornery Clueless niece is too milquetoast in her commitment to socialism for your taste, why not go for the Emperor Palpatine to buttercup’s Anakin Skywalker? The water in the deepest part of the well always tastes sweeter.
Roque “Rocky” de la Fuente Guerra, President & Kayne Omari West, Vice President; American Independent Party
I have a soft spot in my heart for Rocky de la Fuente Guerra (whose name, if I am not mistaken, translates to “from the source of the war”). He’s perhaps the most interesting candidate on the ballot: born in San Diego, raised in Mexico and California, received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, took over his family’s auto dealerships, expanded them, got into banking and land acquisition, had a bunch of disputes with governments at all levels, then embarked upon his second career as a perennial candidate. He’s run for President in the Democrat primaries (2016); the Republican primaries (2020); in the 2016 general election on the American Delta and Reform parties, the former of which was his own creation; and now in the 2020 election representing the American Independent Party, with that beacon of stability and common sense Kayne West as his running mate. When not running for President, Rocky likes to appear as a Democrat candidate for the United States Senate representing Florida (2016), a Republican candidate for New York City mayor (2017), a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate representing California (2018), an unaffiliated candidate for the U.S. Senate representing Washington (2018), a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate representing Florida (2018), as well as various offices in Wyoming, Hawaii, Minnesota, Vermont, Delaware, and Rhode Island. Earlier this spring he ran as a Democrat in the jungle primary for California’s 21st District House seat. His son Ricardo, who had previous run for House in seats in Florida and California, won a primary and is now the Democrat candidate for the 27th Congressional district of Texas. His other son, Roque III, managed to get on the Democrat Presidential primary ballot this year in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, New Hampshire, Texas, and Utah.

Seriously, what’s not to love about this family?

Rocky père is running on a largely left-wing platform: single-payer health care, amnesty for immigrants, “livable” income for those who can’t work, job guarantees, green energy transformation, end overseas adventurism, raise Social Security contributions, etc. No matter that most of it doesn’t add up: if you are looking for an unserious man for rather unserious times, you can’t do any better.
Howie Hawkins, President & Angela Nicole Walker, Vice-President; Green Party
Speaking of unserious candidates, Mr. Hawkins has managed to swipe the endorsement of the Socialist Party USA right out from underneath Ms. La Riva, perhaps on the strength of his Jeremy Corbyn-like beard. Though he had hopes of winning the Peace & Freedom Party nomination too, Ms. La Riva nudged him out for that honor to secure her place on my ballot. Mr. Hawkins (who likes to be referred to as “Howie,” so I’ll refer to him as “Mr. Hawkins”) styles himself an “ecosocialist” which, he hastens to inform us, is different from bureaucratic state-socialism. He advocates “communalism,” though without the racial or religious overtones, probably because its close cousin communism implies that public pension or trust-fund Greens will be “asked” to share with the less fortunate. He’s also against the U.S. developing a first-strike nuclear weapons capacity, so he’s thus lost my vote.

Like any good fringe candidate, Mr. Hawkins’ website is chock-full of position papers, platform documents, op-eds, speech transcripts, and moderately-lucid rantings about the things that anger socialists the most: success, wealth, autonomy, and freedom. Facing up to the reality that he won’t win, Mr. Hawkins declares a goal of expanding ballot access to Green Party candidates, so he must be fairly cheesed that the Democrats have conspired to keep him off the ballot on technicalities in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, two states in which he could conceivably hurt Joe Biden’s candidacy.
So, short of writing in My Little Aloha Sweetie (which, to be honest, is probably at least a 50% liklihood at this point) I think I’ll probably vote for Jo Jorgensen. If BLM or antifa thugs later menace me, I can always say to them, “Hey, I’m on your side; I voted for Jo!” and as long as they don’t make me write it out I’ll probably have them fooled. I can also burnish my already sterling credentials as a woke feminist by pointing out that I voted for a woman for President in both the primary election and in the general election. In this awful year, it helps to be crazier than the times in which you live.


DoJ Accused of Misrepresenting Facts to Judge Sullivan in Flynn Case

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

I have a few leftover stories from the past few days; blogging everything interesting is tough in an election season. This is one of them.

This seems . . . not good:

The Justice Department is already facing sharp questions from a judge about altering sensitive documents in the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Now, two lawyers connected to the case say DOJ has made new mischaracterizations in its attempt to clean up the mess.

The department claimed late Monday that it had consulted with lawyers for former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and former FBI agent Peter Strzok and confirmed that two sets of handwritten notes — key evidence in Flynn’s case — were valid and free of any alterations.

But correspondence between the two attorneys and DOJ reveal that neither vouched for the accuracy of the documents. In fact, McCabe’s lawyer Michael Bromwich and Strzok’s lawyer Aitan Goelman affirmatively refused to do so, according to a review of their email exchanges with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jocelyn Ballantine.

There certainly seems to be a direct discrepancy here:

“We are unable to certify the authenticity of all of the attachments or the accuracy of the transcriptions,” Goelman wrote to Ballantine Sunday afternoon. “To do so, we would need both more time and access to the original notes, particularly given that U.S. Attorney Jensen’s team has already been caught altering Pete’s notes in two instances.”

Yet in DOJ’s filing, Ballantine said both attorneys had “confirmed” the accuracy of the notes taken by McCabe and Strzok.

“The government reiterates, however, that the content of those exhibits was not altered in any way, as confirmed by attorneys for both former FBI employees,” Ballantine wrote in the filing, which was submitted just before a midnight deadline.

This has the potential to be very, very bad for Ballentine.

Keep in mind: Jocelyn Ballentine is the one lawyer from the original prosecution who stayed on the case after Bill Barr decided to throw it to make Trump happy. The fact that she signed some of the briefs supporting dismissal was trumpeted by the Flynndication crowd as proof that the dismissal motion was totally honest and above-board.

The dismissal motion has always been openly and nakedly corrupt. This is just further evidence of the Government’s dishonesty on behalf of a guy who’s about to get his rear end tossed out of office by the people.

UPDATE: Speaking of DoJ corruption . . .


Trump’s Covid Testing Czar Offers Different Opinion Than The Boss

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

As we know, President Trump has tried to wish away the virus, has intentionally downplayed the virus, and has compared the virus to the common flu. Now, the President is suggesting that the media is discussing COVID-19 in an effort to hurt him in the election and that it should be considered an election law violation:

Last week Trump told rally attendees that the media’s coverage of Covid-19 was just a ploy to keep Americans from voting:

“They’re getting tired of the pandemic, aren’t they,” Trump told a crowd of hundreds of unmasked supporters in Prescott. “You turn on CNN, that’s all they cover. Covid, Covid, pandemic, Covid, Covid, Covid… You know why? They’re trying to talk everybody out of voting. People aren’t buying it, CNN. You dumb bastards.”

Trump has also told Americans as recently as last week, that we are “rounding the corner” with regard to the pandemic:

“It will go away,” Trump said. “And as I say, we are rounding the turn. We are rounding the corner. It’s going away.”

But in the meantime we are beginning to see a concerning uptick in coronavirus cases:

Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in practically every state, despite assurances from President Donald Trump over the weekend that “we’re rounding the turn, we’re doing great.”

…average deaths per day across the country are up 10% over the past two weeks, from 721 to nearly 794 as of Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Newly confirmed infections per day are rising in 47 states, and deaths are up in 34.

Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota expert on infectious diseases who warned over the summer of a fall surge, said what’s happening now is a confluence of three factors: “pandemic fatigue” among people who are weary of hunkering down and are venturing out more; “pandemic anger” among those are don’t believe the scourge is a real threat; and cold weather, which is forcing more Americans indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.

Responding to reports of a surge, Trump is claiming that it is the result of more testing. He blames the uh, misinformation on a Fake News Media Conspiracy:

However, today Trump’s own testing czar countered the President’s claim :

The Trump administration’s head of COVID-19 testing said that the record-breaking numbers of new infections in the U.S. are “real,” and not because of an increase in testing, counter to what President Donald Trump has claimed.

Testing czar Admiral Brett Giroir, also an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services who was appointed to his position by Trump, confirmed that U.S. COVID-19 cases are rising.

“Testing may be identifying some more cases, I think that’s clearly true, but what we’re seeing is a real increase in the numbers,” he told the Washington Post.

Giroir pointed out that not only are cases going up — the country saw 74,410 new infections on Tuesday and a record-breaking 85,085 on Friday — but hospitalizations for the virus are as well.

“Compared to the post-Memorial Day surge, even though testing is up, this is a real increase in cases,” he said. “We know that not only because the case numbers are up and we can calculate that, but we know that hospitalizations are going up.”

And here was Giroir being interviewed on NBC today:

“We do believe and the data show that cases are going up. It’s not just a function of testing,” Giroir said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show. “Yes, we’re getting more cases identified, but the cases are actually going up. And we know that, too, because hospitalizations are going up.”

Six days until the election and it seems like Trump is still trying to spin it as the pandemic that never was.


Another Year of Horrid Ballot Propositions in California

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:58 am

[guest post by JVW]

Proving the adage that everything noble is eventually corrupted, the citizens, interest groups, and legislature of the Golden State have once again conspired to place a series of foolhardy ballot measures up to the public for debate. Each election year we Californians, who put the “crazy” into democrazy, mull over a slew of initiatives and propositions which represent items so rancid that even the mono-party California Legislature refuses to consider them, or else they are ideas that either require the assent of the governed in order to be enacted or are controversial enough that the legislature prefers to let the riff-raff of the state have the final word. Once in a while a conservative group will cobble together enough valid signatures to place an item for public consideration, only to usually see it die a quick yet painful death.

This year our propositions are the usual collection of the stupid, the useless, and the foolhardy. I know many readers don’t reside in our dysfunctional avocado republic, but in the past some of you have mentioned that you enjoy hearing about the folly we like to inflict upon ourselves, so here you go:

Proposition 14
What is it: It authorizes the state to sell $5.5 billion in bonds, the proceeds of which will be used to continue and expand the stem cell initiative of 2004.
Who’s for it: Big Science, as well as the wealthy philanthropist who spearheaded the 2004 initiative in response to the suffering of some family members.
Who’s against it: Just about everyone in the state who has figured out that the 2004 stem cell initiative did not unlock a bevy of cures which then in turn showered the state in the promised royalty and tax revenue.
How I’m going to vote: Against. I voted no on the 2004 initiative. There’s plenty of venture capital in this state, so if stem cells are a promising field they will have no trouble raising money privately.

Proposition 15
What is it: The first major challenge to 1978’s property tax-limiting measure, Prop 13, this year’s measure would allow commercial property holdings in excess of $3 million to be reassessed at current market value for property tax purposes in order to allegedly raise $6.5 – $11 billion annually “for the schools.”
Who’s for it: The dominant leftist cartel, educrats, and a lot of people who rely upon state tax dollars for their employment.
Who’s against it: Business owners and associations, taxpayer groups, the last two or three small government advocates left here, the NAACP, landlords, some renters’ associations, pretty much anyone who understands he or she would directly or indirectly be paying these increased taxes and isn’t already filthy rich.
How I’m going to vote: No — aw, hell no! The left has long claimed that Prop 13 “starves” the state of needed revenue, even though we have somehow managed to fund a $222 billion budget in the meantime. With a pretty strong coalition against Prop 15, including some skittish Democrat legislators, I’m optimistic it will go down to a well-deserved defeat. Otherwise, look for the same coalition to sooner-rather-than-later come after residential properties too.

Proposition 16
What is it: It undoes Prop 209 from 1996 which prohibits the use of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or natural origin in government decision-making. It would allow for these factors to once again be used in public college admissions, employment, and the awarding of state contracts.
Who’s for it: The wokedy-woke and the diversity industry. They have been pining for this moment for the past 24 years, and believe the hour has at last come. The legislature considered a run at undoing 209 six years ago, but kept their powder dry until this moment.
Who’s against it: The un-woke and those who believe that a pluralistic state which is now majority minority ought to judge people by factors that are not entirely related to DNA. Asian-Americans in particular feel that they have a lot to lose by repealing 209, and they were a key player in forcing the legislature to back down in 2014, though the rise of woke Asian-Americans complicates matters somewhat.
How I’m going to vote: No. I actually voted against Prop 209 two dozen years ago for a variety of reasons, but in retrospect I think that vote was a mistake on my part. I am afraid, though, that our state suffers from terminal wokedness and that Prop 16 will pass. If I am wrong, that’s a sign that there really is a silent majority in this state who is tired of all the diversity bullying.

Proposition 17
What is it: Gives felons the right to vote after completing their prison term.
Who’s for it: The usual criminal-reform folks, racial and ethnic organizations, and Democrats who expect to benefit from voting felons.
Who’s against it: Law-and-order types, victims rights groups, Republicans who think this will lead to a higher Democrat vote totals.
How I’m going to vote: I suppose no. I would consider a yes vote if this forced ex-cons to complete their full probationary period before having voting rights restored. As it is, knowing that the Bernard Sanders crazies want even currently incarcerated felons to be able to vote, I would rather throw up a road block here and now than find ourselves sending ballots to Folsom and San Quentin in four years’ time.

Proposition 18
What is it: Allows 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections, provided that they turn 18 before the general election.
Who’s for it: Democrats who rely upon naïve voters to unquestioningly accept their agenda.
Who’s against it: People like me and W.C. Fields who don’t particularly like the young.
How I’m going to vote: There’s a decent argument to be made in favor of this, but now that California primary elections with their “jungle ballot” oftentimes elect a candidate who achieves a majority of the vote without requiring a general election runoff, I think I’ll vote no. Some hard left hamlets, such as San Francisco, are pushing the idea of allowing 16-year-olds to vote, and I’m cynical enough to see that as an attempt to get mush-minded kids who don’t pay income tax to rally around big government initiatives that their parents would have to pay for. As with Prop 17, I would rather nip this idea in the bud right away.

Proposition 19
What is it: This is a retread of 2018’s failed Prop 5, which allows homeowners over age 55 to transfer their lower property tax assessment from a home they sell to a newer home that they purchase. Advocates have tried to sweeten the pot for progressives by at the same time tightening the ability for families to pass down non-primary-residence homes or farms to younger generations without triggering a new tax assessment.
Who’s for it: Senior citizen groups, realtors, developers, local politicians who believe the legislative analyst that this will lead to a net increase in tax revenue for cities and counties, which seems to me to be a questionable assertion.
Who’s against it: Anti-tax groups and some Republican legislators
How I’m going to vote: I voted against Prop 5 two years ago because I didn’t like the idea that it was essentially a $1 billion tax break for senior citizens when I think it is young families struggling to afford a home who deserve the break. Advocates have come back and added the part about forcing assessments when a $1 million non-primary-residence home or farm is transferred in order to allegedly make this a net revenue raiser for cities and counties, but I am skeptical. I am going to study this one a bit more, but I’m leaning towards a no vote.

Proposition 20
What is it: Attempts to roll back some of the recent criminal reform measures such as Prop 47 and Prop 57. Increases penalties for some theft-related crimes. Restricts the ability of the state to give early release to some prisoners. Expands DNA collection program for prisoners.
Who’s for it: Law-and-order types who have been disgusted by the state’s move towards parole in lieu of incarceration. State prison employees and private prison operators whose livelihoods are threatened.
Who’s against it: Those who successfully pushed Props. 47 & 57 and who believe in miscreant rehabilitation and restorative justice.
How I’m going to vote: I’ll probably vote no, just because that’s my default vote on most propositions. Like our host, I do believe that Prop 57 went too far and that the state currently puts too much faith in hug-a-criminal programs, but I also recognize that the powerful prison employee unions have an ulterior agenda here. I want California to turn away from its coddling of criminals, but I don’t think that this ballot proposition is the way to go.

Proposition 21
What is it: Allows local governments to enact rent control policies. Another rehash of a failed 2018 initiative.
Who’s for it: Advocates for lower-cost housing who don’t mind passing the costs on to landlords.
Who’s against it: Free-market types, landlords, rental housing conglomerations.
How I’m going to vote: Emphatic no, just like two years ago. Our friend aphrael makes a solid case for rent control as the least-bad of a number of bad options, but I respectfully disagree. And I resent the idea that a proposition which failed by a 3:2 margin two years ago is being introduced again just because rent control proponents believe that anti-Trump momentum will carry them to victory. They deserve to fail miserably again.

Proposition 22
What is it: Exempts app-based rideshare and delivery companies like Uber and Lyft from the baneful effects of AB 5, against which we have inveighed since it was passed a year ago. In return, compels the companies to adopt limited benefits packages for employees.
Who’s for it: This ballot measure is fully conceptualized and funded by the rideshare companies themselves.
Who’s against it: Organized labor and their lackeys in the state legislature.
How I’m going to vote: I’ll vote yes for once, though I don’t like the fact that the rideshare companies have limited this initiative to their industry and not the myriad other industries which have been badly affected by this awful legislation. But once rideshare has their exit route, I’m guessing that AB 5 will collapse due to its own futility.

Proposition 23
What is it: Establishes regulations for kidney dialysis clinics in the state.
Who’s for it: Organized labor, who put this measure on the 2018 ballot only to have it defeated.
Who’s against it: The people who operate dialysis clinics.
How I’m going to vote: I’ll vote no, like I did two years ago. This is a personal snit between union interests who have not been successful organizing workers in a particular industry and an industry with deep enough pockets to fight back against union legislative influence, and ought not to play out in the voting booth.

Proposition 24
What is it: Further expands 2018 legislation to add new requirements for companies to maintain data privacy and allow users to opt-out of having their information shared. Imposes stiff financial penalties for non-compliance.
Who’s for it: If you believe the opponents of the proposition, it was written by Big Tech in cooperation with wealthy progressives and the legislators they fund, and provides companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. with lots of backdoor methods of compromising and profiting from the user’s desire for online privacy.
Who’s against it: If you believe the proponents of the proposition, the opposition are people who don’t care about the online safety of your children and support Big Tech’s current ability to exploit your data for profit.
How I’m going to vote: Fuck all of these people. I’m voting no just because I want to continue to see them battle it out in the court of public opinion. One other reason to vote no is because this proposition would create yet another state regulatory body full of bureaucrats operating on the public dime.

Proposition 25
What is it: Replaces money-based bail with a system based upon a judge’s determination of flight risk and public safety.
Who’s for it: The wokearati who believes that the criminal justice system is stacked against people of color and the poor.
Who’s against it: Bail bondsmen and victims’ rights groups; surprisingly, the NAACP and some Latino civil rights groups also oppose this proposition.
How I’m going to vote: I’ll vote against. I’m kind of sympathetic to the pro argument, but if we really have a problem with poor people languishing in jail because they can’t raise bail money then the proper solution is for wealthy leftists to create a foundation which posts bail on their behalf.

That’s that. This is how a reactionary and grumpy right-winger plans to vote: almost all noes (with the possibility that I might change my mind at the last minute on two issues) and one very grudging yes. Feel free to let me know how I have botched it all up with faulty logic or willful blindness.


But Shouldn’t People Who Despise Social Justice Warrior Insanity Vote for Trump? Turns Out No

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

A symposium titled Why 14 Critics of “Social Justice” Think You Shouldn’t Vote Trump introduces itself in this way:

This collection of statements from vocal critics of Critical Social Justice who believe that a vote for Donald Trump is a mistake is not intended to convince die-hard Trumpists. It is an appeal to reluctant Trump voters and to those who remain undecided. It is specifically addressed to people who value science, reason, tolerance and individual liberty but fear Critical Social Justice’s assaults on these so much that they see Trump as the only solution. These are people who fear that a vote for the Democrats will enable a cultural revolution that will harm all Americans—people who want to make America a better place for everyone and believe that voting Trump will at least prevent it from becoming a worse one.

The contributors below think this position is misguided. We come from all over the political spectrum and disagree with each other on many things. However, we are united in believing that a vote for Trump will not make America great.

As with Kevin Williamson’s broadside yesterday, you should read it all. Here are some choice excerpts to whet your appetite.

Thomas Chatterton Williams:

It is tempting but misguided to believe that either the populist right or the woke left can achieve a total victory. On the contrary, the two feed off of and exacerbate each other. A vote for Trump, despite his anti-Critical Race Theory bluster, is in fact a vote to empower the worst progressive excesses. A vote to strengthen the besieged center, however dissatisfying to either extreme, is the only way forward for Americans of good will searching for ways to overcome the crippling polarization that plagues us.

Conor Friedersdorf:

During the last four years, I’ve repeatedly critiqued instances of illiberalism and identitarianism on the left. On every occasion, my efforts to reach my fellow Americans and to persuade them to rein in excesses on the left was made more difficult and impeded by the fact that the leader of America’s right-leaning coalition is himself flagrantly illiberal and prone to indulging in white identity politics. President Trump seems to bring out the worst in people. I expect that once he leaves office, whether in 2021 or 2025, both the Republican and Democratic coalitions will improve.

Walter Olson:

I’d call Trumpism the evil twin of the worst social justice zealotry, except that both twins are evil. Trump sees all relations in terms of power, dominance, resentment and submission, rather than persuasion. His signature move is to delegitimize and trash every institution and person that stands between him and power. He speaks and acts as if facts, history and scientific truths were purely contingent, infinitely malleable, and in the end a matter of the say-so of the strong-willed. Sound familiar? He changes his line often and always denies that it has changed.

He presents the press as the enemy of the people, the democratic process as fixed, and civic hope as the delusion of the ever-exploited sucker class.

. . . .

Donald Trump does his best to recruit a bully corps on his own side, but he’s an even better recruiter for the bullies on the other side.

At some point it stops making sense to ask who’s chasing whom: it’s the same carousel with the same horses. The only answer is to jump off altogether. Get a president who’s not like this.

Sarah Haider, Cathy Young, the dreaded Tom Nichols, Steven Pinker, and others weigh in. Read it all.


Democrat Emails, Part 1 – Nancy Pelosi: Livid

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:53 am

[guest post by JVW]

I mentioned a while back that one negative consequence of sliding Little Aloha Sweetie and Crazy Cute Hippie Chick a few bucks to get them on the Democrat debate stage last winter is that I have ended up on the DNC’s mailing list. I decided to track the emails that I received between September 22 and October 15, and you can see the results at this Google Sheet. During that 24-day period there arrived in my mailbox 255 email messages from the Dems, not to mention the other 182 email message from the Dems which landed in my spam folder (for what it’s worth, emails from Donald Trump and Mike Pence also go straight to the spam folder).

I’ll have some further posts about the assortment of pleas, promises, lies, threats, and admonishments that I have received, but today I want to highlight my (one-sided) correspondence with the beating heart of the Democrat Party, a seasoned veteran who has been a steady leader in Washington lo these many decades, a voice of reason who has risen through the party ranks to the highest level of leadership by bridging the party’s establishment flank with its progressive idealists. I am referring of course to the one, the only, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

(Oh, did you guys think I was referring to Slow Joe Biden? Pffffffffft.)

Anyway, Speaker Pelosi, whom I like to refer to as Aunt Nancy, has been my most loyal correspondent. Over those two-dozen days to which I referred above, she has appeared in my inbox no fewer than 36 times, four-and-one-half times as often as the party’s nominee for President, nine times more often than lazy Barack Obama, and thirty-six times more often than sweet but useless Jimmy Carter. Lazy-ass Chuck Schumer hasn’t bothered to email me so much as once; it’s Aunt Nancy, den mother to the party, who is doing all of the hard work, and if that’s not blatant sexism then I’m not a woke feminist.

But I’m really not here to settle scores. The reason, friends, that I want to highlight the efforts of our beloved Speaker is because, quite frankly, I am worried about her. She started off by writing to me through her Team Pelosi account on September 22, warning me that Mitch McConnell had raised a whole Clintonload of money. The next day, however, she was emailing from her personal campaign account, buoyantly reporting that Cocaine Mitch had admitted on television that the GOP could lose the Senate. By the next day, she was optimistic that Democrats could block a Republican nomination to the Supreme Court. It seemed that things were trending well for her party, and Aunt Nancy had every reason to be feeling happy about her position.

But then it all started getting rough. On September 26 Aunt Nancy sent me a message with the subject line “outraged.” She reported that she had just watched President Trump announce the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, and our Speaker was incredulous to see “Republicans fall in line and cheer for the destruction of our health care.” Two days later, she had come down from outrage and now self-reported as “deeply concerned” about the nomination of Judge Barrett, recycling a verbal tic popularized by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. The next night — the night of the first Presidential Debate — she reported that President Trump had raised $1.33 billion (huh?) and asked me to help counter that massive sum by passing along $5-25, or maybe $500 or more, to the DNC.

On the morning of the last day of September, Aunt Nancy started to spiral downward. I found in my inbox a message from her with the subject line “livid.” Uh-oh, I thought to myself, today would be a really bad day for our Adorable but Clueless Niece to pull some silly left-wing shit like wearing an ACAB shirt or something, and I sincerely hoped that dear AOC would take heed and keep a low profile. Anyway, our Speaker was agitated by Trump’s debate performance the previous evening. Fair enough. But later that day (Aunt Nancy would email me three times on September 30) she sounded determined, reminding me that the last day of the month was her final opportunity to reach her September fundraising goal. Every organization should have a fundraiser or salesperson as dedicated and thorough as Nancy Pelosi, I am telling you. She then took a week off, which I really think she deserved, with the lone exception of an October 3 message about how the GOP has imperiled the post office, because an organization that on average delivers 182 million pieces of first-class mail each and every day apparently somehow needs billions and billions of additional dollars in funding to deliver an extra 200 million ballots to voters, then pick up, process, and deliver maybe three-quarters of them all within the course of roughly 24 mailing days. But never mind that, I was just happy that Aunt Nancy was getting the rest she needed so that she could come back and finish October strong.

But I don’t know that it worked. On October 8 she was back to being agitated that Vice-President Mike Pence had “defile[d] our democracy during his first and ONLY [sic] debate performance.” By the 11th, I was receiving email from her with the subject line “deeply alarming” (Cocaine Mitch had hauled in $55.7 million for Republican Senate candidates), and by the 13th she was back to being “livid,” this time over the lies that President Trump had told at a rally. Since then, I have received three additional email messages from her in which the subject line is simply “livid”: Lindsey Graham pushing through the ACB nomination (October 22), President Trump once again lying at a rally (October 23), and the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett (yesterday).

Guys, that’s just way too much lividity for an 80-year-old woman to bear. She deserves so much better: lockdown evenings scarfing down pints of $13 ice cream from her $24,000 freezer, seeking bailouts for profligate-spending states who have chosen to hamstring their economies with strict lockdowns, or even time spent with her grandkids, if she really must. She doesn’t need nor deserve the aggravation of lying Republicans doing their Constitutionally-proscribed duty so close to an elections in which she is just sure her party will clean up. Maybe if a deadbeat like I had sent her party a few bucks when she had repeatedly requested it of me, she might have been a bit less livid. I guess we’ll never know.

In any case, spare a thought for our embattled Speaker who finds herself veering from (all of these taken from the subject lines in her email messages) dismayed to outraged to livid. It’s a lonely life she leads on behalf of a grateful nation, and she deserves a whole lot better from the likes of us.


Kevin Williamson on Voting for Trump: Hell, No

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

The whole thing is worth reading but I will excerpt a few choice lines for you:

The case against Trump in 2020 is a lot like the case against Trump in 2016 but bolstered by the accumulation of evidence and experience. . . . . [T]he Trump administration has succeeded most where Trump has the least to do with it.

. . . .

Which brings me to the practical case against Trump: He stinks at his job.

This also brings me to a lie that needs to be addressed — and it is not a misunderstanding but a lie, circulated with malice aforethought: that the conservative objection to Trump is only a matter of style, his boorishness bumptiousness and boobishness on Twitter, his gooftastical manner of speaking, his preening, his vanity, his habitual and often dishonest boasting in matters both small and great, etc. These things matter, of course, because manners and morals matter, and they matter more in a free society than they do in an unfree one, because free men govern themselves.

Trump’s low character is not only an abstract ethical concern but a public menace that has introduced elements of chaos and unpredictability in U.S. government activity ranging from national defense to managing the coronavirus epidemic. Trump’s character problems are practical concerns, not metaphysical ones. Trump is frequently wrong on important policy questions (including trade, foreign policy, entitlements, health care, and many others) and frequently incompetent even when trying to advance a good policy. His vanity and paranoia have made it very difficult for him to keep good people in top positions, and this imposes real costs both politically and as a matter of practical governance. Trump’s problem is not etiquette: It is dishonesty, stupidity, and incompetence, magnified by the self-dealing and cowardice of the cabal of enablers and sycophants who have a stake in pretending that this unsalted s*** sandwich is filet mignon.

Given all this, Kevin explains what he will not do: hold his nose and vote for Trump anyway:

So, now that I am a swing-state conservative, am I going to hold my nose and pull the “R” lever if only to put up a roadblock in front of the Democrats?

Hell, no.

There’s more to citizenship than voting, and partisanship is not patriotism. If casting a vote is all you have in you, then, fine — by all means, do what you believe to be best. But consider the possibility that the duty of the patriot in these times is not to choose one pack of jackals because it looks a little less hungry and vicious than the other pack of jackals but to oppose these jackals — these demagogues, profiteers, and hangers-on, these greasy little salesmen trying to sell you something that is already yours — and to insist that the free and self-governing men and women of this struggling republic deserve better than what is on offer. We can have better than what we have had because we can be better than what we have been.

Kevin doesn’t specifically say what he will be doing instead, but this passage to me suggests he is going to take a pass on the whole thing. I have my own different thoughts about that topic and hopefully you’ll read them sometime this week, somewhere.

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