Patterico's Pontifications


Still More Dining Hypocrisy in the Golden State

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:43 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Apparently unwilling to learn from the mistakes made by Governor Hair-Gel (D – French Laundry), a few more California politicians find themselves on the firing line for personal behavior that is not in synch with the COVID protocols and policies which they purport to promote. Today’s Washington Post has the round-up:

As the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors debated last week whether to ban outdoor dining, Democrat Sheila Kuehl was quick to speak up in favor of restrictions. It was “a bit of magical thinking,” the county supervisor said, to believe restaurant staffers could safely wait on unmasked diners amid a surge in coronavirus infections.

“This is a serious health emergency, and we must take it seriously,” she said, casting one of three votes that would again prohibit the practice across the county of more than 10 million people.

Hours later, according to KTTV, she was spotted dining alfresco at an Italian restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif.

You will love the explanation by Supervisor Kuehl’s office in defense of her behavior:

“She loves Il Forno, has been saddened to see it, like so many restaurants, suffer from a decline in revenue,” [Spokeswoman Barbara] Osborn said in a statement. “She ate there, taking appropriate precautions, and will not dine there again until our Public Health Orders permit.”

Yes, because the danger of coming into contact with COVID with dining outdoors was not a real problem the evening of November 25; it only became a hazard starting at midnight on November 26. The WaPo calls out other scoundrels:

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) both traveled to Napa Valley for birthday dinners last month at the French Laundry, a venerable eatery where reservations are famously hard-won, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

[. . .]

Breed, whose [November 7] dinner was first reported on Tuesday, has also asked residents to limit contact with others. Earlier in the day, she said that “as someone who basically lives alone, it’s been a tough year for me personally.”

It was not clear how many households were involved in the mayor’s eight-person party, which a spokesperson described to the Chronicle as a “small family birthday dinner” in a partially enclosed room. Breed did not immediately respond to an email from The Post seeking additional details about the gathering.

Poor Mayor Breed. I guess she’s perhaps the only San Franciscan who lives alone, and thus it ought to be totally groovy for her to expose herself — and by extension, her entire staff — to this sort of peril, but you knuckleheads with your five-person Monday Night Football gatherings need it knock it the hell off or else grandmas all over California are gonna die.

And more state politicians get in on the act:

In San Jose, meanwhile, Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) has drawn similar scrutiny for traveling to his parents’ home for an outdoor Thanksgiving dinner, despite urging others not to do the same.

Before the holiday, Liccardo warned that people were letting their guard down with family members and friends, causing infections to surge. “Let’s cancel the big gatherings this year and focus on keeping each other safe,” he wrote on Twitter on Nov. 25.

The next day, he attended a socially distanced Thanksgiving meal with eight people from five households — three more than the cap allowed by California’s health regulations.

“I apologize for my decision to gather contrary to state rules, by attending this Thanksgiving meal with my family,” Liccardo said in a statement Tuesday. “I understand my obligation as a public official to provide exemplary compliance with the public health orders, and certainly not to ignore them. I commit to do better.”

First of all, I find it remarkable that the WaPo included the party affiliation for all of the offending politicians in the story. Usually, we we have chronicled on this blog, we have to play “Name That Party” when it is Democrats who are the culprits. Secondly, Mayor Liccardo is somewhat of a piker in the hypocrisy category when compared to his colleague Mayor Michael Hancock of Denver, who last week took the grand prize by sending out messages on social media imploring Denverites to avoid gathering together for Thanksgiving only about a half-hour before boarding a plane to fly to Mississippi to be with his wife and daughter.

There’s a school of thought, seen even in the comments on this blog, which says, “Hey, at least [insert the name of the offending politician here] apologized; that’s more than some occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania would do. At least they recognize the error of their ways. What more could we possibly demand of them?” But we have now been struggling with COVID restrictions for over seven months. The time has long since passed when a politician can command us to make severe restrictions on our own lives in the name of fighting the disease, then behave in their own lives as if the virus is little more than a small nuisance requiring them to wear a mask and stand two yards away from each other when the cameras are rolling but certainly not placing restrictions on their own social activities. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, for all of his faults, gets this: while advising against Thanksgiving Day gatherings at a televised newsconference I heard him pointedly mention that his core family would celebrate Thanksgiving alone, without any parents, siblings, or cousins present.

The Los Angeles County dining restrictions are set to end the week before Christmas, and I am assuming other counties who recently imposed aggressive regulations have similar expiration dates. It will be interesting to see how Christmas travel is handled this year, but one would hope that our useless political class is starting to get it through their thick skulls that we won’t tolerate their practice of writing rules for us which they have no intention of following themselves. Otherwise, I daresay it’s time to circulate recall petitions.


Georgia Official Pleads To Trump To Condemn Violent Threats. Trump Responds: Rigged Election!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:42 am

[guest post by Dana]

A few days ago, I posted about Georgia’s Secretary of State George Raffensperger and the death threats he and his wife are receiving as a result of having certified the election for President-elect Joe Biden. Yesterday, Gabriel Sterling, the voting implementation manager with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, publicly expressed his dismay over the post-election behavior and pleaded to the President to make a public stand against said threats. Because now it’s not just the Georgia Secretary of State and his family being threatened:

“It’s all gone too far,” he said with a raised voice to start the event. “All of it.”

It comes after a 20-year-old contractor for Dominion received death threats, Sterling said. He said the worker received threats with a noose on social media — saying he should be hanged for treason. He said the tech was transporting a report for batches in Gwinnett County.

“He was just trying to do his job,” Sterling said. “It’s not right.”

Sterling also mentioned Joe diGenova, the attorney for President Donald Trump’s campaign, calling for violence against Chris Krebs, a former White House cybersecurity official.

“He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot,” diGenova said during The Howie Carr Show. He later said he was joking.

Sterling called on everyone, including the President and the GOP senators to condemn this type of action.

“Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop! We need you to step up and if you’re going to take a position of leadership – show some.”

Sterling also made a direct plea to President Trump:

“Mr. President. It looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia. We’re investigating. There’s always a possibility. I get it. And you have the rights to go through the course. What you don’t have the ability to do — and you need to step up and say this — is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone is going to get hurt. Someone is going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed. And it’s not right. It’s not right.”

“Mr. President, as the secretary said yesterday, people aren’t giving you the best advice what’s actually going on on the ground. It’s time to look forward. If you want to run for re-election in four years, fine, do it. But everything we’re seeing right now, there’s not a path. Be the bigger man here. And stop. Step in. Tell your supporters: don’t be violent. Don’t intimidate. All that’s wrong. It’s un-American.”

Appealing to Donald Trump for leadership and to be the bigger man is, unfortunately, laughable. Especially when he has a bruised ego to nurse. And while he acts out in cunning anger, he simultaneously stokes the fires of his loyal base. This is not unintentional. It is unfortunate that they are so willing to follow his lead, and like sheep, have gone astray from normal and rational behavior. Death threats are never, ever acceptable. And the President of the United States and Republican lawmakers should never, ever have to be pleaded with to publicly condemn them. The outrageous inaction by elected leaders when challenged to do the morally right thing is so beyond the pale that I suspect it will be long be seen as a stain of shame on the Republican party. Deservedly so.

Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler only addressed the threats of violence after being directly questioned by reporters:

“Senator Perdue condemns violence of any kind, against anybody. Period. We won’t apologize for addressing the obvious issues with the way our state conducts its elections. Georgians deserve accountability and improvements to that process — and we’re fighting to make sure the January 5th election is safe, secure, transparent, and accurate.” – John Burke, Communications Director

“Like many officials, as someone who has been the subject of threats, of course Senator Loeffler condemns violence of any kind. How ridiculous to even suggest otherwise. We also condemn inaction and lack of accountability in our election system process—and won’t apologize for calling it out. Senator Loeffler will continue fighting to ensure we have a fair, trusted, and accurate election because the future of our country is at stake.” – Stephen Lawson, Campaign Spokesperson

Here is President Trump’s reaction to Sterling’s plea:

Note: a spokesperson from the Trump campaign said “no one should engage in threats or violence, and if that has happened, we condemn that fully.”


DoJ Investigates Possible Scheme to Bribe Trump for a Pardon

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am

Someone may have been trying to buy a pardon from Donald Trump:

The Justice Department is investigating a potential crime related to funneling money to the White House or related political committee in exchange for a presidential pardon, according to court records unsealed Tuesday in federal court.

The case is the latest legal twist in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration after several of his top advisers have been convicted of federal criminal charges and as the possibility rises of Trump giving pardons to those who’ve been loyal to him.

The Justice Department is quoted as saying “no government official was or is currently a subject or target of the investigation disclosed in this filing.” Meaning they must have warned Trump before he had a chance to take the money. (The only reason he would ever turn down a bribe is if he thought he would be caught or if he thought it was a bad deal.) He’s still lying about it, though, claiming the story is “fake news”:

But not only has DoJ confirmed the investigation, there is a court order about it. More:

The disclosure is in 20 pages of partially redacted documents made public by the DC District Court on Tuesday afternoon. The records show Chief Judge Beryl Howell’s review in August of a request from prosecutors to access documents obtained in a search as part of a bribery-for-pardon investigation.

The filings don’t reveal a timeline of the alleged scheme, or any names of people potentially involved, except that communications between people including at least one lawyer were seized from an office that was raided sometime before the end of this summer.

There are clues in the court order that help eliminate certain folks as possible suspects. The suspect turned himself into the Bureau of Prisons at one point. The Court uses an apostrophe after the name at a couple of points, suggesting a last name ending in s, or perhaps z or x. Also, the document is in Times Roman 12-point font, so you can plug in different names and eliminate them as too short or long. I spent some time with these clues last night and feel pretty confident the person is not someone you are likely to have heard of. It’s not Flynn, or Rick Gates, or Manafort, or Firtash, or anyone else I can think of.

Meanwhile, there are people who don’t have to purchase the president’s consideration for a pardon:

President Trump has discussed with advisers whether to grant pre-emptive pardons to his children, to his son-in-law and to his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and talked with Mr. Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Trump has told others that he is concerned that a Biden Justice Department might seek retribution against the president by targeting the oldest three of his five children — Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — as well as Ms. Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser.

I’m less and less a fan of the pardon power. It’s too often used to benefit cronies — and not just when an active criminal like Donald Trump occupies the Oval Office. I don’t know that I would do away with it, but we need constitutional reform.

P.S. Speaking of someone who was pardoned, Michael Flynn is joining other Trumpist kooks in calling for Donald Trump to impose martial law to order a new election.

They are what we said they were.

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