Patterico's Pontifications


The Amazing Nancy *Kreskin*: I Predict That None of the Justices Will Be In Danger This Weekend!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:49 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In a follow-up to my post yesterday, I wanted to update you on Nancy Pelosi’s comments about death threats and Supreme Court Justices.

But first, as you recall, Justice Kavanaugh was the target of a death threat yesterday. A suspect, armed with a Glock 17 pistol, ammunition, a knife, zip ties, pepper spray, and duct tape was arrested near Kavanaugh’s home. The suspect told law enforcement that he intended to break into Kavanaugh’s house and kill him.

After yesterday’s events, GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy attempted to bring the Supreme Court Police Parity Act, which has been delayed by Democrats since it passed the Senate one month ago, to the floor – without much success:

‘Over a month ago, the Senate unanimously passed a bill to provide more security for Supreme Court Justices and their family… But House Democrats have let that bill gather dust. This is the same Party whose heated rhetoric has encouraged political pressure on conservative Justices.’

…McCarthy attempted to bring the bill to the floor on Wednesday evening the Supreme Court Police Parity Act, but when the president presiding over the session asked for a bipartisan effort to bring it to the floor, only Republicans said that they did not object while Democrats did not respond.

Nancy Pelosi,who wants to see said protections in the bill extended to clerks and other staff, attempted to defend further delay of getting the bill onto the floor for a vote:

Nancy Pelosi defended her decision not to bring a bill for a vote that would provide more security for Supreme Court Justices and their families until next week by saying Thursday that ‘no one is in danger over the weekend.’

‘The Justices are protected,’ she reiterated.

‘There will be a bill,’ Pelosi added, ‘but nobody is in danger over the weekend because of not having a bill.’

It’s mind-numbing that Pelosi insists that the Justices are not going to be in danger this weekend, given yesterday’s obviously dangerous situation. She simply can’t predict with any assurance that they won’t be in danger. She does not know that. And it’s even less likely to be true given that protesters continue to march in front of the Kavanaugh home today. You know how people complain about how ugly and polarized we are as a nation? Well, actions like Pelosi’s only serve to increase polarization. Agreeing or disagreeing with any position a Justice might take on an issue should not factor into the obvious and increasing need for extended protections for their families. And if it does, then shame on that politician for the craven politicization of an issue of basic safety and decency.

And here’s the bottom line: If Kagan or Sotomayor had a death threat made against them and the suspect was arrested near their homes, Pelosi would have moved heaven and earth, and with an absolute urgency made sure this bill was passed immediately, even in its current form. And that would have been the morally right thing to do. As it stands, however, playing politics with fathers’ and mothers’ and childrens’ lives is an ugliness that everyone on both sides of the aisle should collectively condemn.

P.S. President Biden condemned the actions of the suspect yesterday, and also reiterated the need for the assured safety for the justices and their families, without any caveats:

“The president condemns the actions of this individual in strong terms and is grateful to law enforcement for quickly taking him into custody,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One.

“As the president has consistently made clear, public officials, including judges, must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety or that of their families, and any threats of violence or attempts to intimidate judges have no place in our society,” Jean-Pierre continued.

[Ed. I want to make it clear that I used the report at the Daily Mail for this post because it had the greater compilation of quotes from other briefer reports on the issue.]


More on the Welcome Failure of “Let’s Raise Taxes for the Children”

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:02 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Three years ago this very week I chronicled the failure of the Los Angeles Unified School District to persuade its voters to pass a $500 million parcel tax measure designed to amp up funding for the district, which became a necessity when the district leadership foolishly caved to the striking teachers’ union and agreed to increases in wages and personnel despite not having the funding to back it. I suggested at the time that voters — even voters in decidedly left-leaning locales such as Los Angeles — were beginning to sour on the evergreen public employee union claim that more money is the answer to all community woes, and that perhaps this spirit would permeate throughout the state. Indeed, in fall 2020 as Joe Biden cruised to a massive victory in the Golden State, California voters rejected attempts to raise taxes on commercial properties even though the promise was that the lion’s share of the money would go to the schools.

On Tuesday, voters in the very tony and exclusive hamlet of Manhattan Beach (median home price: $3 million) went to the polls to determine if they would impose an annual $1,095 parcel tax on each home in order to raise an estimated $12 million per year for K-12 schools to plug a hole stemming from what proponents have deemed as underfunding from Sacramento (former Governor Jerry Brown pushed for a change in the state funding formula which now sends more money to needy school districts at the expense of well-off districts like Manhattan Beach). The clever, highly-educated, and dialed-in supporters of the tax increase pulled a controversial trick by having the parcel tax be proposed by local citizens rather than by the district, thereby routing the funds through the City of Manhattan Beach rather than the Manhattan Beach Unified School District. This difference allowed for the proposal to be passed with a bare majority of voters rather than by the state constitution-required two-thirds majority. This also had the benefit, supporters argued, of ensuring strict taxpayer oversight of the funds since MBUSD, which serves 6,500 students at eight public schools, would not control how this extra money was apportioned. The measure, which would be in place for twelve years before sunsetting, also included an automatic process for increasing the parcel tax to account for inflation (with a five percent annual cap on the increase) which naturally did not sit well in the current political climate.

Opponents of the parcel tax pointed out that the district, despite receiving from the state approximately $2,000 less per student than the mean, continues to maintains high ratings for the quality of education offered, and generally ranks somewhere in the top 5% to 7% of all California districts. Teachers still prize a job in the district, even though living in the community is all but unaffordable on a teaching salary, and open positions tend to attract a number of highly-qualified candidates. Opponents also point out that enrollment in the district has been slowly declining, mostly due to young families being priced out of homes in the district and very wealthy families choosing to send their children to fancy private schools. They questioned whether dumping $12 million more per year, especially without any detailed plans for how it was to be spent, was a particularly wise idea, and they resented the fact that proponents tried an end-run around the supermajority requirement. Debates were held, letters to the editor were exchanged in local media, allegations of dirty campaigning were hurled, but in the run-up to the vote the public consensus seemed to be that the wealthy residents of Manhattan Beach would open up their pocketbooks and give the schools all the money they could possibly desire.

Instead, the initiative failed miserably, by what may turn out to be a 70% to 30% margin by the time all votes are counted.

Clearly there was a quiet but pervasive groundswell against this idea, even if proponents were successful in steering the narrative as it appeared in the media. (At this point it should be mentioned that MBUSD and, more importantly, the teachers’ union were strong supporters of the parcel tax.) This is an unmistakable demonstration of Richard Nixon’s evocation of a “silent majority.” Needless to say, the local progressive chattering classes are stunned at the total repudiation of their plan. The opponents of the tax are relieved and thus far extending olive branches to the tax’s supporters, recognizing that residents need to do more to beef up district funding and proposing that both sides meet to hammer out a solution that all sides can accept. Manhattan Beach voters aren’t necessarily against more funding for the schools, but they won’t accept vague plans backed by clever tricks as the means of enacting it. (And don’t worry about the MBUSD being threadbare and broke this fall; they are backed by a parent-run educational foundation which just raised $1.3 million for the schools at their annual wine auction.)

Despite the current mania in Washington DC and Sacramento for throwing taxpayer money around like an NBA team at a strip club, Tuesday’s vote along with the aforementioned LAUSD vote in 2019 and citizens in several other school districts who have pointedly refused to raise taxes to increase district budgets suggests that at least at a local level there are Californians — even those who vote Democrat — who don’t like writing blank checks when it is clearly their own money behind it. Maybe someday the good citizens of this great state will extrapolate their local wisdom onto a larger scale. November might be a good time to try that out.


GOP Working To Dissuade Americans From Watching Jan. 6 Committee “Witch Hunt”. What Don’t They Want You To Know?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:25 am

[guest post by Dana]

The first Jan. 6 Committee hearing is airing tonight at 8 PM EST.

In the meantime, House GOP members are working to minimize the importance of the Jan. 6 Committee and the hearing:

House Republicans are casting Thursday’s prime-time hearing by the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol as a media production aimed at smearing former President Trump.

The effort by Republicans to push back at the hearing has started days before the spectacle is set to be carried live by the major networks and news networks — with the notable exception of Fox News Channel, which will air its regular programming.

The GOP is arguing the effort is just meant to distract voters from inflation and crime, two issues that Republicans expect to be a big part of their effort to win back the House and Senate this fall.

“*They are scrambling to change the headlines, praying that the nation will focus on their partisan witch hunt instead of our pocketbooks. It will not work,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) said in a Wednesday press conference.

Stefanik, who replaced Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) — one of two Republicans on the Jan. 6 panel — as conference chair, called it a “smear campaign against President Donald Trump.”


On Tuesday, the House GOP hosted a press call on the Jan. 6 hearing with a number of conservative outlets but did not invite or include many mainstream outlets, including NBC News, Politico and The Hill. It is a move that the GOP conference also made in January when discussing the Capitol riot around the time of its first anniversary.

Outlets on the Tuesday call included Breitbart, The Washington Examiner and The Federalist, according to a source familiar with the call.

Republicans have long countered the committee’s work by pointing to security failures at the Capitol that day and accusing Pelosi of not doing enough to keep the campus secure.

They have not wanted to focus on Trump’s involvement in the rioting.

The GOP is also trying to use the fact that the Jan. 6 Committee enlisted the aid of former ABC President James Goldston to produce the hearing can only diminish the credibility of the hearing. Goldston has been accused of killing a story about Jefferey Epstein. Apparently, according to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, because of the former producer’s involvement, the hearing will just be “political theatre.” I’m not exactly sure how the GOP figures that the producer of the hearing can change or alter or have any real impact on actual witness statements and testimony…

Anyway, this effort to detract from the actual meat of the hearings – interviews from more than 1,000 witnesses, testimony, and statements – is a painfully obvious effort to cover up any wrongdoings, and particularly, the wrongdoings of the former president. And that is one of the most disappointing features of today’s GOP: the lack of interest in uncovering the truth and rooting out wrongdoers and law breakers, no matter who they might be. Instead, that honorable pursuit has been replaced by a collective effort to detract from any findings. Once upon a time, the Republican Party would have been working furiously to ferret out the who-what-where-when actions of anyone involved in an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. That’s no longer what today’s Republican Party is about. Something has gone seriously wrong. And the efforts to minimize the Jan. 6 Committee and attempts to dissuade Americans from learning more about a (hopefully) once-in-our-lifetime event would seem to confirm that.

I’ll leave you with this because I’ve been thinking along the same lines. There is more than just one reason that these hearings are so important:

As you watch the House January 6th Committee’s primetime hearings, keep the following top of mind: The committee is not just examining the past. All the conditions that resulted in the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol, on Congress while it was discharging a vital constitutional duty, and on more than 140 police officers remain clear and present.

Donald Trump is still the uncontested leader of the Republican party. His base still clings to the idea the 2020 election was stolen and is nominating election-denying candidates to powerful positions in key swing states. Members of extremist groups that led the charge to the Capitol now have footholds in state and local GOP organizations all over the country. And all the affiliated members of Trump’s elite political, advocacy, and media class remain willing to assist Trump in carrying out his desires.

So don’t settle into the hearings thinking about them as a history lesson. They’re an active threat assessment.

And given that the congresswoman who replaced Rep. Cheney as conference chair referred to the hearings as a “witch hunt,” makes it very clear that the same conditions that lead to the insurrection on Jan. 6 do indeed remain solidly in place.

(*It is indeed possible for both Democrats and Republicans to focus on more than one issue at a time. And that’s certainly true of Americans, as well.)


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