Patterico's Pontifications

8/31/2022

Palate Cleanser: Dolly Parton Introduces The ‘Doggy Parton’ Pet Apparel Collection

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:46 pm



[guest post by Dana]

I love Dolly Parton for her generosity and compassion. Her Imagination Library has donated more than 130 million books to children worldwide. This is on top of any number of other charitable efforts she’s been involved with over the decades to help others in need. Today, she announced the launch of the Doggy Parton Pet Apparel Collection, with part of the proceeds going to the animal rescue group, Willa B. Farms in Tennessee. Amusingly: “Products in the collection include blonde wigs, cowgirl hats, dresses and plush toy guitars.”

The line can be found at Amazon or at DoggyParton.com.

Dolly Parton is a national treasure.

–Dana

DOJ: Trump And Lawyers May Have Hidden Or Moved Classified Documents We Were Looking For

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:44 am



[guest post by Dana]

[Ed. Pressed for time, so a quick post on the DOJ filing last night and the incredible mess in which Trump finds himself.]

This is, frankly, unsurprising:

US government documents were “likely concealed and removed” from a storage room at Mar-a-Lago as part of an effort to “obstruct” the FBI’s investigation into former President Donald Trump’s potential mishandling of classified materials, the Justice Department said in a blockbuster court filing Tuesday night.

More than 320 classified documents have now been recovered from Mar-a-Lago, the Justice Department said, including more than 100 in the FBI search earlier this month.

Tuesday’s filing represents the Justice Department’s strongest case to date that Trump concealed classified material he was keeping at Mar-a-Lago in an attempt to obstruct the FBI’s investigation into the potential mishandling of classified material.

The Justice Department revealed the startling new details as part of its move to oppose Trump’s effort to intervene in the federal investigation that led to the search of his Florida resort and his desire for a “special master” to be appointed to the case.

Here’s a photo from the storage room finds:

(If you enlarge the photo, you can see the classifications on the file folders, including SCI)

Laying waste to Trump’s claims:

Trump has pushed an “incomplete and inaccurate narrative” in his recent court filings about the Mar-a-Lago search, the Justice Department said.

“The government provides below a detailed recitation of the relevant facts, many of which are provided to correct the incomplete and inaccurate narrative set forth in Plaintiff’s filings,” prosecutors wrote.

Whether to prosecute Trump is fraught with possible complications for Merrick Garland:

Political fallout, precedent and national security risk are just some of the intangibles Garland will have to consider as he considers what would potentially be the highest-profile criminal case in American history, according to former prosecutors, intelligence agency lawyers and Justice Department officials.

One consideration for Garland is how Trump’s alleged actions stack up against other cases DOJ has brought or not brought over mishandling classified information. A second factor is how confident prosecutors are they could win at trial — knowing the political fallout of a losing case against a former president could be devastating.

And finally, Garland has to consider the damage that a trial might have on national security secrets, given the nature of the Mar-a-Lago document seizures.

Of course, one unknown ultimately looms large over all the other machinations: Does Garland view Trump’s cavalier and even defiant approach to the national security secrets at Mar-a-Lago as something of sufficient magnitude to bring the first criminal case against a former president in U.S. history?

“They’re going to have to be satisfied that they’re going to have a very, very strong case to present to a grand jury and ultimately to a jury,” said former CIA general counsel Jeffrey Smith. “If the prosecutors can get over all those hurdles, given that it’s a former president, it will be a tough call for the attorney general.”

If the necessary legal thresholds are met, isn’t there an obligation to prosecute despite warnings of fallout across the nation (looking at you, Sen. Graham):

Where I disagree with some of my friends and colleagues is in the fact that I want heightened attention to politically connected crimes across the board. I think that those who argue that we should be gingerly about investigating such figures as former president Donald Trump because such investigations are bound to produce political convulsions are wrong on the merits: Former presidents should be subjected to a higher degree of scrutiny when it comes to illegal actions, not a lesser degree of scrutiny. If some nobody takes a bunch of classified documents home without going through the proper channels, that nobody is liable to go to prison. If we really mean what we say about equality before the law, then we must not refuse to investigate a former president for a similar offense because we are afraid that doing so will upset some people.

Not all riots are the same thing: Looting a sneaker store is a serious crime and ought to be treated as such, but attempting to overturn an election by means of violence is a very different sort of thing. Not all useless rich-guy drug addicts are created equal, and neither are their crimes. We should be more inclined to prosecute the powerful and the connected, rather than less inclined.

Crimes of a political character erode the foundations of the regime itself and as such are a menace more urgent and more general than what might be suggested by the particular details of the crime itself. In Texas, theft of less than $1,500 is a misdemeanor — but if Senator Bob steals $1 from the Treasury, he needs to go to the least pleasant prison we have for a very long time. A free society has to defend its institutions fiercely and with great vigilance.

P.S. From Trump this morning:

Allahpundit points to three problems with Trump’s take “that the documents really were on the premises when the FBI got there but that they’d been declassified, so who cares?”:

First, none of the potential charges he’s facing depend on whether the national defense material in his possession was classified. It’s a red herring legally. Second, and relatedly, his lawyers have never made the declassification claim. Third, the idea that Trump ever issued a “standing order” by which classified material would automatically be deemed declassified once it was on his person is preposterous even according to the people who worked for him.

Have at it.

–Dana

8/30/2022

Were The Partying Adventures of Finland’s Prime Minister Made Public by Putin’s FSB In Retaliation For NATO Application?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:14 pm



[guest post by Dana]

About a week ago, Finland’s young prime minister, Sanna Marin found herself caught up in a media firestorm after video of her dancing and partying was leaked:

Finland’s prime minister says she did not take any drugs during a “wild” party in a private home, adding she did nothing wrong when letting her hair down and partying with friends.

A video posted on social media shows six people dancing and mimicking a song in front of a camera, including Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

Later in the video, Marin, 36, is on her knees on what seems to be the dance floor with her arms behind her head dancing while mimicking a song.

“I’m disappointed that it has become public. I spent the evening with friends. Partied, pretty wild, yes. Danced and sang,” she was quoted Thursday as saying by Finnish broadcaster YLE.

There was also an inappropriate photograph of two guests attending a party at the prime minister’s residence in July that was leaked as well. Marin apologized for the inappropriate photo.

A flurry of reports followed the leaked video of Marin dancing at the party held in a private residence. Hillary Clinton tweeted that Sanna Marin should just keep dancing:

AOC jumped on the bandwagon of support and re-tweeted a clip of her dancing at her office:

The New York Times discussed whether Sanna Marin, age 36, was being held to a different standard than older, male leaders.

And sensing an opening, the BBC reported that opposition party leader party leader Riikka Purra demanded that Marin take a drug test after the video was leaked. Marin was happy to comply. Her test came back negative.

Anyway, you can find reports discussing every aspect of Marin’s partying that focus on what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior for politicians and whether women who lead governments are judged more harshly than their male counterparts. You can also find lots of speculation about whether Sanna Marin, wife and mother, is still married, given that she partied solo. But I’m not really interested in any of that. What I did find myself wondering about was who would release the video. Given her very public position, it’s reasonable to assume that those in attendance were people with whom she was friends, or had been vouched for by trusted friends or family, and had been cleared by her security detail. With that, I happen to be checking out Bill Browder’s Twitter feed, and he linked to Orhan Dragas, founder and director of the International Security Institute, who believes that it was Putin’s FSB that leaked the video by hacking the phones of attendees. Thus, he believes it is vital that Marin continue to push back at her critics.

Dragas sets the stage for us:

In May, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, threatened Finland and said that Russia would respond if the neighbour joined NATO and that their response would be a “surprise”. Before that, she threatened with “serious military consequences”, saying that Finland “knows what its entry into NATO will lead to”.

And? Finland is joining NATO, and Russia retaliated, as it previously announced, with a surprise. Leaked private footage from the Finnish Prime Minister’s party is the Kremlin’s counter-strike on Helsinki; it is the response of one of the world’s largest military and intelligence powers (in its own opinion) that has been announced for months.

The heir of the KGB’s great murderous machine, Putin’s FSB, today deals with hacking the private phones of Sanna Marin’s friends with whom she has fun in her free time and at her own expense.

Dragas points out that Putin’s government is currently unable to do too much damage in retaliation for Finland’s application to join NATO. After all, Russia is busy trying to wipe out a people and thus stretched a bit thin at the moment:

The attempt to expose Sanna Marin having fun is the maximum damage the announced Russian counterattack can cause to Finland. That is the extent of the ability of today’s Russian military and intelligence complex to influence foreign governments, their decisions and their fate.

Sad!

The author goes on to explain why he believes Putin’s FSB would expose Finland’s prime minister in this way:

What did Russia want with this? Russia wanted to discredit the leader of a crucial EU and NATO member to the extent of destabilising its government and causing its downfall… It was necessary to “hit” Finland because while the invasion of Ukraine continues, it is still a living symbol of resistance to Russia, a historical shame for its expansionist goals.

There is also the issue of Marin being a young woman in power, which, unsurprisingly, the Kremlin has problems with:

Their (Sanna Marin and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas ) leadership, and especially their charisma, is intolerable for Russian ethical and aesthetical standards, with models like half-naked Putin riding a bear and for the older generation, Brezhnev kissing Erich Honecker on the mouth. That’s why their “revenge” against Sanna Marin was personal, and that’s why it failed.

If one didn’t have a basic awareness of Putin’s insatiable compulsion to punish – and even silence – those who defy him, this would read like some preposterous piece of fiction by a writer with an overactive imagination. But, as Bill Browder very pointedly informed us: with Putin, these sorts of things aren’t preposterous in the least:

“In his mind, he hasn’t succeeded until his opponent has failed, and he can’t be happy until his opponent is miserable.”

–Dana

8/29/2022

Sen. Graham Warns: There Will Be Riots In The Street If Trump Is Prosecuted

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:35 am



[guest post by Dana]

Is Sen. Lindsey Graham, who believes that when it comes to Donald Trump, “there is no law, it’s all about getting him,” actually warning that the former president should *not* be prosecuted for mishandling classified information even if it is warranted because there will be “riots in the street” if he is? Is he warning the DOJ that the law should not be followed because there will be an unwanted reaction to it? I’m old enough to remember what happened when the former president signaled his base with a similar “wink and nod game plan of indirectly encouraging violence” because he too refused to accept what was legitimate and lawful.

–Dana

8/26/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:14 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

About that search warrant issued for Mar-a-Lago:

Federal investigators obtained a search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month by pointing to a raft of highly classified material they’d already obtained from there, according to a legal affidavit unsealed Friday.

Records the FBI obtained from Trump’s Florida home in advance of the Aug. 8 search bore indications they contained human source intelligence, intercepts under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and signals intelligence, as well as other tags indicating high sensitivity. Several of those tightly-controlled documents contained Trump’s “handwritten notes,” the partially-redacted affidavit detailing the Justice Department investigation says.

In those boxes, agents found 184 unique documents, 25 of which were marked “top secret,” 92 of which were marked “secret,” and 67 of which were marked “confidential”–the lowest level of national security classification.

Prosecutors also added in another court filing unsealed Friday that the ongoing criminal probe into government records stashed at Trump’s Florida home has involved “a significant number of civilian witnesses” whose safety could be jeopardized if their identities were revealed.

From the affidavit:

47. From May 16-18, 2022, FBI agents conducted a prelimina1y review of the FIFTEEN BOXES provided to NARA and identified documents with classification markings in fourteen of the FIFTEEN BOXES. A prelin1ina1y triage of the documents with classification markings revealed the following approximate numbers: 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET. Further, the FBI agents observed markings reflecting the following compartments/dissemination controls: HCS, FISA, ORCON, NOFORN, and SI. Based on my training and experience, I know that documents
classified at these levels typically contain NDI. Several of the documents also contained what
appears to be FPOTUS ‘s handwritten notes.

Thoughts on what the affidavit means with regard to charges:

Trump responded to the release of the redacted affidavit:

Second news item

More concerns about the lack of security at Mar-a-Lago where classified documents were stored: Woman who passed herself off as an heiress and ingratiated herself with Trump and Republican lawmakers at Mar-a-Lago is now the subject of FBI investigation:

But the 33-year-old woman was not a member of the famous banking family, and is now a subject of a widening FBI investigation that has delved into her past financial activities and the events that led her to the former president’s home.

In addition to the FBI, law enforcement agents in Canada have confirmed that she has been the subject of a major crimes unit investigation in Quebec since February.

A year before the FBI’s spectacular raid of the former president’s seaside home, the woman whose real name is Inna Yashchyshyn, a Russian-speaking immigrant from Ukraine, made several trips into the estate posing as a member of the famous family while making inroads with some of the former president’s key supporters.

The ability of Ms. Yashchyshyn — the daughter of an Illinois truck driver — to bypass the security at Mr. Trump’s club demonstrates the ease with which someone with a fake identity and shadowy background can get into a facility that’s one of America’s power centers and the epicenter of Republican Party politics.

[…]

Her entry — multiple trips in and out of the club grounds — lays bare the vulnerabilities of a facility that serves as both the former president’s residence and a private club, and highlights the gaps in security that can take place.

Third news item

On top of everything else, the timing is off and could hurt Democrats:

When President Joe Biden announced student loan debt relief this week, his allies celebrated.

But a string of Democrats in tight races across the country want little to do with it.

That’s because the president may have just handed Republicans a new line of attack at a moment when Democrats were strengthening their positions in swing states and signs were emerging that the party could stave off what was to have been a GOP sweep in the midterm elections, campaign officials, party members, pollsters and national strategists in both parties say.

[…]

Mike Noble, who has conducted extensive independent polling in Nevada and Arizona, among other states, said the timing of Biden’s announcement was a “head-scratcher,” given that Democrats were just hitting their stride: Gas prices are coming down, the Republican Party is increasingly divided, Donald Trump is dominating headlines again, and abortion rights are fueling fundraising and party enthusiasm.

“It doesn’t make strategic sense. They were in a good position. All the momentum was going in their favor,” Noble said of Democrats…

“Why forgive debt on a group that never turns out to vote in the first place? The people who vote are the ones who paid their loans back or never had loans to begin with.”

Fourth news item

Two and a half years into the pandemic, Washington D.C. Mayor Bowser is mandating Covid vaccine for all student 12 and older will adversely impact the Black community in a big – and likely irreversible – way:

School starts on Monday for District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), which is requiring—per D.C. Council vote—that all students ages 12 and up be vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition to teens providing proof of vaccination, students of all ages must provide proof of a negative COVID test prior to the first day of school.

We’re not offering remote learning for children, and families will need to comply with what is necessary to come to school,” said Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser in a press briefing.

…Though 87 percent of D.C.’s white teens, between the ages of 12 and 15, are vaccinated, only 53 percent of D.C.’s black teens are. For the next age group up—comprised of 16- and 17-year-olds—89 percent of white teens are fully vaccinated, whereas only 58 percent of black teens are.

Note: There is a 20-day grace period for students to get vaccinated. If, after the 20 day grace period, the student is still not compliant, the school must remove the student from school until the immunization certification is secured by the school. Given that any number of students will no longer be attending school in person, why on earth not keep distance learning intact for those who would avail themselves of it?

Fifth news item

President Zelensky says catastrophe avoided at nuclear power plant:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the world narrowly sidestepped a radiation disaster on Thursday when Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was disconnected from the country’s power grid.

Zelenskyy warned that it was only due to backup electricity kicking in that the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia power plant was able to operate safely.

“Every minute the Russian troops stay at the nuclear power plant is a risk of a global radiation disaster,” Zelenskyy said. He called on the international community to help force Russian forces to immediately withdraw from the territory of the power plant.

Meanwhile:

Russia is burning off vast amounts of natural gas which experts believe would once have been destined for Germany, as Europe struggles with rocketing energy costs exacerbated by Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

This as Putin seeks to increase decreasing troop numbers:

President Vladimir Putin has issued a decree to increase the size of the Russian armed forces by 137,000, assigning whatever budget is necessary to continue funding his war machine.

The decree will go into effect on January 1, 2023. It increases the total personnel of the Russian armed forces, including non-combatants, to 2.03 million people. The Ministry of Defense will have to enlist more than 130,000 new combatants. This will bring the number of military personnel to 1,150,628 soldiers, a 13% increase on the current limit (1,013,628).

Sixth news item

California’s Governor Newsom continues to lay the groundwork for a 2024 bid:

Seventh news item

Paging the disappearing Mark Meadows:

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis would like to hear from former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and attorney Sidney Powell about communications they had with former President Donald Trump in November 2020. Willis is looking into potential election interference in Georgia and filed a brief Thursday to “compel” the two to testify. In the brief, Willis writes she wants testimony from Meadows, Powell, and “other known and unknown individuals involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere.” The prosecutor added, “Finally, the witness’s anticipated testimony is essential in that it is likely to reveal additional sources of information regarding the subject of this investigation.”

Eighth news item

Swatting is always horrible and wrong:

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said on Thursday that she was the subject of a “swatting” at her home in Rome, Georgia, for the second time in two days…In a statement shared on Twitter by Fox 5 Atlanta reporter Claire Simms, the Rome Police Department said that officers responded to a call at Greene’s home shortly before 3am on Thursday, saying that the call was “received on what appeared to be a suicide crisis line.”

“This is an active investigation and no further information can be released at this time,” read the release…

On Wednesday, Greene was the victim of the first apparent “swatting” — a form of harassment in which someone calls law enforcement to report a false threat in order to summon armed police to their home. The tactic is highly dangerous, as police may respond with aggressive force and have little way of telling whether or not it’s a hoax.

According to the Rome Police Department, officers responded to a call shortly after 1am on Wednesday morning claiming that someone had been “shot multiple times” at Greene’s home. Police also said that in a second call, the suspect used a computer-generated voice to say that they were “upset about Mrs. Greene’s political view on transgender youth rights.”

Ninth news item

Wow, being this afraid of one person doesn’t seem healthy. In fact, it’s ridiculous. Stop embarrasing yourselves:

The world’s largest podcast conference holding an event in Dallas apologized Thursday for the presence of a conservative podcaster who showed up at his company’s booth.

The Podcast Movement conference brings together some of the top and most popular podcast companies and voices every year. In 2022, the conference is being held at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in downtown Dallas.

The Daily Wire, which is a conservative news website and media company, did have a booth near the PM22 expo area, according to Podcast Movement. It’s most known for its podcast, “The Ben Shapiro Show.”

MISCELLANEOUS

The “why” is still unknown, but a puzzling discovery made when restoring Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” painting:

…AkzoNobel research and development manager Gerard van Ewijk has found some interesting details about Rembrandt’s impasto technique, in which the artist’s brushstrokes are clearly visible on the canvas, The Guardian wrote this week.

Rijksmuseum head of science Katrien Keune told the newspaper that researchers had detected egg yolk in one “tiny square of paint, smaller than a crumble.” At first, they figured the artist mixed it with boiled linseed oil and lead oxide to create a thicker paint.

Upon examining the material though, Van Ewijk realized Rembrandt didn’t really need yolk to achieve this texture. “A 30:70 ratio of raw linseed oil and lead white creates the perfect impasto paint, raising a perfectly plausible alternative recipe to that previously assumed to have been used,” the publication wrote.

Petria Noble, head of paintings conservation at the Rijksmuseum, told the Guardian that AkzoNobel’s exploration disproved previous theories that wax or paint scrapings had been used by Rembrandt to create the artist’s signature impasto touches.

“It is still a bit of a mystery why it is there,” Van Ewijk said of the egg.

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

8/25/2022

Election Deniers And The Primaries

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:58 pm



[guest post by Dana]

During an interview on ABC This Week, Liz Cheney explained how her future goals include working to keep election deniers out of office:

“I’m going to be very focused on working to ensure that we do everything we can not to elect election deniers,” she said during a discussion of her future on ABC’s “This Week.”

“We’ve got election deniers that have been nominated for really important positions all across the country,” she added. “And I’m going to work against those people. I’m going to work to support their opponents.”

Cheney said that she would get involved in campaigns against Republican candidates who are challenging or denying the results of the 2020 election, including her GOP colleagues in Congress.

From what I’ve seen, Republicans are motivated to vote for an election denier-liar candidate because they too embrace Trump and his Big Lie. Another reason – although I don’t know to what extent it plays out – is that while voters might agree that Joe Biden is the legitimate president, they believe that voting against a Democrat supersedes everything else – even if it means voting for a candidate that peddles lies about the 2020 election. It goes without saying that neither group sees any real risk to our nation’s future or well-being by the increased number of elected MAGA figures in the GOP.

Here is a clip of Cheney responding to the Trump spokesman who claimed that the principles that she is fighting for are not the principles of (today’s) Republican Party. An absolutely damning statement:

The New York Times reported this week that more than 200 primary candidates for state and federal office were endorsed by Donald Trump. The 2022 primaries have 159 election denier-liars running for office. Out of that 159, 127 candidates won their primaries thus far, with 16 having been defeated. There are 16 more candidates still in the running. Here is a closer look at the election deniers/liars:

The unifying thread through the majority of Mr. Trump’s endorsements has been a candidate’s willingness to help him spread the lie that he won the 2020 presidential race. Many of these candidates either took concrete actions to subvert the election, such as voting in Congress or state legislatures to delay certification of the vote, suing to overturn results or backing partisan reviews of the ballot count. Others made clear public statements in political ads, social media posts or on the campaign trail that expressed doubts about the 2020 election.

Liz Cheney certainly has her work cut out for her. The importance of said work should not be minimized, given that it will take efforts like this to start to turn the Republican Party around and get back to foundational principles. You know, the ones that Trump’s spokesman says are now irrelevant.

–Dana

WaPo Editorial Board: Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Will Provide A Windfall For Those Who Don’t Need It

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:41 am



[guest post by Dana]

The Washington Post editorial board weighs in on President Biden’s announcement:

Under progressive pressure to force grandiose policy changes, President Biden has generally embraced sensible reforms over flashy gimmicks. But his Wednesday student loan announcement did just the opposite.

[…]

The loan-forgiveness decision is even worse. Widely canceling student loan debt is regressive. It takes money from the broader tax base, mostly made up of workers who did not go to college, to subsidize the education debt of people with valuable degrees. Though Mr. Biden’s plan includes an income cap, the threshold does not reflect need or earnings potential, meaning white-collar professionals with high future salaries stand to benefit. Student loans, moreover, are a poor proxy for household income: An analysis by policy researcher Jason D. Delisle found that, in 2016, students from high-income and low-income families were just as likely to take on debt for their first year in an undergraduate program — and students from high-income families borrowed the largest amounts.

[…]

Mr. Biden’s plan is also expensive — and likely inflationary. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that extending the loan pause to the end of the year would cost $20 billion, while forgiving $10,000 for households making less than $300,000 would cost $230 billion. Together, these policies would nullify nearly a decade’s worth of deficit reduction from the Inflation Reduction Act. Moreover, it is unclear that the 1965 Higher Education Act even grants the president the legal authority to take such a sweeping step, given that it was historically understood to permit only more targeted relief.

[…]

Mr. Biden’s student loan decision will not do enough to help the most vulnerable Americans. It will, however, provide a windfall for those who don’t need it — with American taxpayers footing the bill.

Yes.

Via Politico, I’m going to quote Democrats who have responded less than favorably to Biden’s questionable decision:

“Even some economists usually aligned with the White House, including former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary LARRY SUMMERS and former Obama administration economist JASON FURMAN, have criticized the cost of a potential student debt cancellation and warn that it could force future spending cuts or tax increases.”

Furman: “Pouring roughly half trillion dollars of gasoline on the inflationary fire that is already burning is reckless. Doing it while going well beyond one campaign promise ($10K of student loan relief) and breaking another (all proposals paid for) is even worse.”

Summers: “Every dollar spent on student loan relief is a dollar that could have gone to support those who don’t get the opportunity to go to college. … Student loan debt relief is spending that raises demand and increases inflation. … It will also tend to be inflationary by raising tuitions.”

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “Debt cancellation would boost near-term inflation far more than the IRA will lower it.”

Sen. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO (D-Nev.): “I don’t agree with today’s executive action because it doesn’t address the root problems that make college unaffordable. We should be focusing on passing my legislation to expand Pell Grants for lower income students, target loan forgiveness to those in need, and actually make college more affordable for working families.”

Rep. JARED GOLDEN (D-Maine): “This decision by the president is out of touch with what the majority of the American people want from the White House, which is leadership to address the most immediate challenges the country is facing.”

Rep. CHRIS PAPPAS (D-N.H.): “[T]his announcement by President Biden is no way to make policy and sidesteps Congress and our oversight and fiscal responsibilities. Any plan to address student debt should go through the legislative process, and it should be more targeted and paid for so it doesn’t add to the deficit.”

Rep. SHARICE DAVIDS (D-Kan.): “It’s not how I would have addressed the issue.”

Rep. TIM RYAN (D-Ohio): “While there’s no doubt that a college education should be about opening opportunities, waiving debt for those already on a trajectory to financial security sends the wrong message to the millions of Ohioans without a degree working just as hard to make ends meet.”

Sen. MICHAEL BENNET (D-Colo.): “In my view, the administration should have further targeted the relief, and proposed a way to pay for this plan. While immediate relief to families is important, one-time debt cancellation does not solve the underlying problem.”

–Dana

Uvalde School Police Chief Fired For Botched Response To Mass Shooting

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:17 am



[guest post by Dana]

Despite the 17-page defense of his actions on that fateful day in June, wherein claims were made that the Uvalde School police chief Pete Arredondo was a brave officer whose level-headed decisions saved the lives of other students on that fateful day in May, the Uvalde school district voted to fire Arredondo last night:

In a unanimous vote Wednesday evening, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s board of trustees fired Arredondo during a meeting also attended by parents and survivors of the May 24 massacre. Arredondo, who was not present, is the first officer to lose his job following one of the deadliest classroom shootings in U.S. history.

[…]

Arredondo, who has been on leave from the district since June 22, has come under the most intense scrutiny of the nearly 400 officers who rushed to school but waited more than 70 minutes to confront the 18-year-old gunman in the fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School.

How could they not fire him?

–Dana

8/24/2022

On Losing Their Primaries

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:37 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Nobody likes to lose, and I can’t imagine how bitter it must be to lose an election, but surely one goes into that particular fight with the clear understanding that they may experience defeat, even significant defeat at the end of the day. Fair and square. This response of tears and crying fraud, sexism, and misogyny is unbecoming and on behalf of women everywhere, please stop. It is this very sort of behavior that encourages a “weaker sex” view of women by the usual suspects. Stop giving them ammunition.

Laura Loomer, the right-wing nutjob agitator who lost her bid in the Republican House primary in Florida, reportedly started crying during her non-concession speech, and assumed no responsibility for the defeat. Rather, she refused to accept the outcome, citing fraud instead:

Far-right activist and congressional candidate Laura Loomer broke into tears as she claimed without evidence that she was illegally robbed of a Republican primary victory on Tuesday.

Incumbent Representative Daniel Webster won Tuesday’s GOP primary for Florida’s 11th Congressional District, according to the Associated Press. Although Webster won the race with 51 percent of the vote to Loomer’s 44 percent with over 95 percent of ballots counted, Loomer refused to concede and instead suggested that the result was fraudulent.

[…]

She insisted that she was the true “winner” on Tuesday and argued that “big-tech election interference” could be to blame for the primary’s outcome.

“I’m not conceding, because I’m a winner and the reality is our Republican Party is broken to its core,” Loomer told supporters in a speech following her loss. “What we have done tonight has really honestly shocked the nation. We have further exposed the corruption within our own feckless, cowardly Republican Party.”

“We are losing our country to big-tech election interference,” she said as tears streamed down her face. “And I am pleading with the Republican Party to please start taking this issue seriously because the American people deserve representation.”

But of course, her defeat had to be the result of fraud. It simply couldn’t have been that Floridians preferred her opponent rather than a self-described “proud Islamaphobe” crackpot. Plus a now not uncommon premise to elections by the far right-wing of the GOP is: If you win, it’s a legitimate win. If you lose, it’s obviously the result of fraud.

Then we have Carolyn Maloney, who just lost in a landslide to Jerry Nadler in New York’s House District 12 Democratic primary. Maloney has been a member of Congress for 30 l-o-n-g years. During her concession speech, she also chose to go low in the face of defeat, citing misogyny and sexism:

Maloney whined that she was the victim of “sexist systems and misogyny” as her supporters vented their wrath at her victorious opponent.

“I’m really sad that we no longer have a woman representing Manhattan in Congress,” Maloney told her teary-eyed boosters, later adding: “In Congress, it is that when women are at the table, great decisions get made.”

The longtime lawmaker also thanked great female New York leaders of the past like Shirley Chisholm and Geraldine Ferraro, who Maloney said “fought sexist systems and misogyny that continues today, as we know from my own campaign” — an obvious dig at Nadler.

Of course, had she won, sexist systems and misogyny would have never been mentioned. At all. Does Maloney ever wonder how it is that she has been re-elected decade after decade with rampant such sexism and misogyny at work? Like Loomer, there is an unwillingness to simply accept that voters preferred the opponent for whatever reason.

So, in the words of that notorious sexist playboy Joe Namath: You learn how to be a gracious winner and an outstanding loser.

Goals, ladies.

–Dana

President Biden And Student Loan Debt

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:08 am



[guest post by Dana]

Under intense pressure from Democrats, President Biden’s actions are not surprising:

President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced new steps to address student loan debt, which includes forgiving $10,000 for borrowers who make less than $125,000 per year and extending the payment freeze one final time until the end of the year.

Low-income borrowers who went to college on Pell Grants will receive up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness.

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party were pushing the President to cancel $50,000 in student debt per borrower. But as a new study shows, even the designated $10,000 will result in negative consequences:

President Biden’s election-year plan to cancel student loan debt would cost the Treasury at least $329 billion and would mostly benefit wealthier taxpayers, according to a study released Tuesday.

The Penn-Wharton Budget Model found that forgiving $10,000 of student debt per borrower for families with incomes of up to $125,000 annually, a plan Mr. Biden could authorize as soon as this week, would cost the federal government $329.7 billion in lost revenues over 10 years.

The study showed that a majority of the relief would go to borrowers in the top 60% of earners.

Further complicating the president’s decision:

Deficit hawks say the president’s action would wipe out much of the expected deficit reduction from Democrats dubbed the “Inflation Reduction Act” that Mr. Biden signed into law last week. The $740 billion climate-and-tax measure, which is a scaled-down version of the president’s original “Build Back Better” agenda, includes provisions that its authors say will reduce budget deficits by $275 billion over 10 years.

“Simply extending the current repayment pause through the end of the year would cost $20 billion — equivalent to the total deficit reduction from the first six years of the IRA, by our rough estimates,” said the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “Cancelling $10,000 per person of student debt for households making below $300,000 a year would cost roughly $230 billion. Combined, these policies would consume nearly ten years of deficit reduction from the Inflation Reduction Act.”

I’m with Cooke here:

Biden’s illegal move is grotesque classism. In his eyes, those who’ll end up paying are the tradesmen, the riff-raff, the great unwashed, the background noise, the dirty-handed types, whose role is to aid the self-dealing clerisy his party calls its base.

As a reminder:

“People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not… that has to be an act of Congress,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

President Biden himself expressed skepticism about his own legal authority to forgive student loans.

And an Obama-era Department of Education lawyer believes that President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan would face massive legal challenges.

In Case You Missed It via the Wall Street Journal, even a top Obama Education Department lawyer agrees that President Biden’s mass student loan forgiveness scheme is “legally risky.”

[…]

Using executive action to cancel debts for student borrowers without tying relief to their individual needs and using regulatory procedures would put the Biden administration at risk of having its plan overruled in court, according to a legal analysis prepared by Charlie Rose, who served as the top lawyer in the Education Department under President Obama from 2009 to 2011.

“If the issue is litigated, the more persuasive analyses tend to support the conclusion that the Executive Branch likely does not have the unilateral authority to engage in mass student debt cancellation,” Mr. Rose wrote in a memo for his law firm, Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose, Ltd. He suggested that loan-servicing companies and investors that own securities backed by student loans might be in a position to sue the administration over broad-based debt cancellation.

Anyway, the Democrats can look forward to their ranks swelling as young voters give a thumbs-up to this enticement bribe. The impact of the President’s actions on any other voting bloc, even especially the taxpayers footing the bill, really doesn’t matter to the administration:

–Dana

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