Patterico's Pontifications

10/31/2022

Supreme Court Argument on Race-Based Admissions: A Question

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:36 am



The argument is taking place now, but as it progresses, one thought keeps occurring to me.

We criminal lawyers all know that it is illegal to strike a juror for race-based reasons. It is a rule that we understand and that we follow.

Why are college admissions different?

I have kept this question at the forefront of my mind throughout the argument so far, as I listen to the lefty justices incredulous at the idea that someone could be required to pick members of a body without taking race into account. And how can judges possibly be expected to analyze such decisions?

Guys, it’s not really that hard. Judges do it in criminal courts all the time. And, by the way, defense attorneys are often very similar to college admissions officials in their hostility towards Asians. But judges are given a clear set of rules to apply: if the defense attorney is striking someone because of their race or nationality (or many other reasons), in whole or in part, that is invidious discrimination and it is illegal. As it should be.

How is this any different?

More thoughts after I have had the chance to hear the whole argument.

Constitutional Vanguard: Trump, Berlusconi, and Roger Waters Meet on the Horseshoe

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 am



It’s just a short little 7,000 word newsletter about extremists on both sides who threaten to de-prioritize aid to Ukraine.

Excerpt:

But if you truly want to revel in Waters’s ignorance, I suggest you fast-forward to around 43:00 in the Rogan podcast, where Waters quotes Putin saying he will negotiate, but that (this is Waters’s quote paraphrasing Putin) “the will of the people in the Donetsk, Lubansk [sic], Keershun [sic], and whatever the one is whose name I can’t remember, is inviolate. That is not up for discussion.” Then Waters and Rogan shake their heads sadly at the awfulness (in their view) of Zelensky’s response, which is to say he will not negotiate with Russia until Putin is gone. How awful! they both agree.

Sigh. So: let’s talk about “the will of the people” in the provinces so mangled by Waters in that statement. The only one he got right, by the way, was Donetsk. When he says Lubansk, he means Luhansk. When he says “Keershun,” he is referring to Kherson, which most people pronounce “Her-SAHN” or perhaps “Kher-SAHN” but which nobody pronounces as “Keershun” except idiots like Waters. Finally, the province whose name Waters can’t remember is Zaporizhzhia. They have a nuclear power plant there.

As an aside: it is right to pick on Waters for his mangling of the pronunciation of Ukraine oblasts (provinces)? Yes: but only because Waters is setting himself up as a sort of “expert” on the topic, who has actually gotten the attention of Zelensky’s wife and hopes to get the attention of Putin himself.

In the portion for paid subscribers, I take on some of the typical arguments I hear in favor of Putin’s position on the Ukraine conflict. I rely heavily on Timothy Snyder’s recent podcast with Sam Harris:

Snyder observes that sometimes, when you decide to invade another country, that country decides to resist. Maybe the country cares more about their own sovereignty than you, the invader, care about taking them over. (As I have argued before, citing Leo Tolstoy, the “spirit of the army” is a very important x factor in military calculations.) If that happens and you’re the invader, well, it sucks to be you. (As my daughter likes to say: “Sucks to suck.”) But Mr. Putin: your miscalculation in invading the wrong country doesn’t mean you need an off-ramp. It doesn’t mean the world needs to give you a participation trophy. Russia has experience with losing wars. Ted Cruz, who once went gaga at Russian army propaganda, might not realize it, but the Russian military is not invincible. Russia has lost wars before. They lost in Afghanistan. They lost the first Chechen war. All they have to do is what any great power does when it loses a war:—and what Russia had done when it has lost in the past—pretend it won.

We need to stop wringing our hands here. What we have here is simple: a fascist state invaded a democracy. This breaks the rules of the world.

If you want to take issue with me on this, I really suggest you read the whole thing. If you’re not a paid subscriber, you can try a seven-day trial and sample it. What I ask you not to do is to argue with me without having read the arguments that I spent a great deal of time putting together. Thanks in advance.

10/28/2022

Weekend Open Thread – Junior Varsity Writing – No Politics, All Sports Edition

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:51 am



[guest post by JVW]

Let’s try something a bit different here and have a weekend open thread in which the topics set out on the table are not related to politics. Inevitably discussion will turn to politics, being this close to the election and all, but at least we might try our hand at some other interesting items. Here we go:

The World Series
Today begins the 118th World Series. Thanks to changes made to the Major League Baseball schedule at least one game is guaranteed to be played in November, and should the series go the full seven games we’ll have the majority of them played in the eleventh month.

I’m still a bit sore at the Astros for getting away with blatant cheating a few years back, but they beat the yankees so in book that expiates a whole lot of sins. I don’t know what to think about the Phillies — the purest in me resents the idea that the sixth-best team in the National League this regular season is playing for the trophy, but the fan in me loves it. And I know he’s a very divisive player, but right now I really do like Bryce Harper, so help me.

Baseball Literature
The five greatest books ever written about baseball are as follows:
5. Guys, Dolls, and Curveballs: Runyon on Baseball, Jim Reisler, editor
4. Fifty-nine in ’84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had by Edward Achorn
3. Crazy ’08 by Cait Murphy
2. The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence S. Ritter
1. Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof

College Football
Quite an interesting year. Tennessee has made quite the resurgence under second-year coach Josh Huepel, the former star Oklahoma quarterback. If they can get by a tough but inconsistent Kentucky team tomorrow then next week’s showdown with defending national champions and number one ranked Georgia should be a doozy.

Number two ranked Ohio State gets their toughest test yet this season when they go to Happy Valley to take on number thirteen Penn State. Should Ohio State leave with a W then it’s a near-cinch that they will be undefeated when they host Michigan (currently also undefeated and ranked number four) on November 26.

As for me, I’ll be taking in the Colorado-Arizona State game in Boulder, a tilt between two of the worst programs in Power 5 conferences and two schools which have already fired their head coaches and are playing with interims carrying the clipboards.

NBA Season Begins
Lord help me, but I am tickled pink to see the Lakers start the season 0-4. It’s not so much that I hate the team, but if you live here in Los Angeles you understand the sense of entitlement that Lakers fans exhibit every season. I had season tickets to the Lakers for about 14 years, including all of the five NBA titles won in the Kobe Bryant-Phil Jackson era, and I can attest that the fanbase is absolute insufferable.

Speaking of insufferable basketball — and breaking the rules just a bit by touching on politics — Brittany Griner lost her appeal for her conviction of drug possession in Russia earlier this week. It’s now up to the diplomats to get her out of there, but it will certainly come with a high price.

National Football League
You guys should know better than to expect me to write about that.

Have a tremendous weekend, everyone.

– JVW

10/27/2022

Boys: Second-Class Citizens Where Education Is Concerned

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:15 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Over at City Journal, Kay S. Hymowitz has one of her typically insightful takes on the short-changing of boys in educational systems — not just here in the U.S., but in countries throughout the world — as education bureaucracies everywhere seem to have been captured by feminist dogma. Her work builds upon (as she acknowledges) the excellent research done by Christina Hoff Sommers and Richard Whitmire over the past couple of decades. It’s a long essay, but if you are at all interested in education policy in this country, especially in a child’s formative years, I encourage to take the time to give it a thoughtful reading. Let me pull out some sample paragraphs to see if that entices you. First, her opening:

According to the Tao of blue-state T-shirts—the sort that every nine-year-old soccer-playing girl in my Brooklyn neighborhood wears—“The Future Is Female.” On college campuses, that future has arrived. Women are now 60 percent of college graduates, men a mere 40 percent. This gender gap is not new—among college grads, the ratio has moved in women’s favor since the early 1980s—but it has reached a record extent, and people are paying attention.

I mentioned back in 2019 that the frivolous Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand had taken up the whole “future is female” line in her ridiculous Presidential campaign, and wondered what her teenage sons must have thought about the vote of confidence from mom. Hopefully they won’t carry a life-long grudge against her.

Let’s continue on with Ms. Hymowitz’s compelling research (I don’t have the energy to restore the multiple links in her excellent piece, so I’m counting on all of you to read it for yourself and delve into further explorations):

Consider some specifics. Boys have lower grades than girls throughout their primary and secondary school years. They have more behavior problems. Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder; to wind up in special-education classes; and to be held back, be suspended, or drop out. Hence, they’re less likely to graduate from high school. In fact, the high school graduation gap between girls and boys is within a hair of the gap between poor and middle-class kids. Along with their subpar overall college graduation numbers, boys now constitute a minority of M.A.s and Ph.D.s and of medical and law students.

This trend isn’t an example of some peculiar American dysfunction. Boys’ lagging school outcomes show up everywhere, from the enlightened Nordics to the hidebound Gulf States. An OECD survey, based on a Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) measure of 64 countries, summarized the situation this way: boys “are less likely than girls to attain basic proficiency in core subjects, report investing less time and effort on schoolwork, and express more negative attitudes to school.” Boys get lower grades and attend university less often than girls across the developed world—and increasingly in developing countries, too: one 2019 survey cited studies confirming a gap in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, Qatar, and Oman, among other places. True, in parts of the Third World, girls often don’t complete elementary school, so it’s rare to see them eclipsing their brothers. But in every place where girls do have the opportunity, they’re doing exactly that.

It’s a long-held belief that girls excel in language skills while boys do better in math. This is generally true, but the gaps have only been closed in one direction:

Reading is where girls really trounce boys. Their superiority in “language arts” is the largest and most persistent finding in all the gender-gap data relevant to school performance. In teacher–student assessments in the early grades, the girl–boy gap in reading is more than 300 percent larger than the white–black reading gap. Controlling for family and school characteristics, the racial gap declines considerably, but controlling for those characteristics makes no difference to the reading gender gap. Standardized reading tests in later grades confirm teachers’ judgment: girls consistently outperform boys. Fordham Foundation president Michael Petrilli traced the NAEP reading scores of college grads in their mid-twenties back through their school years. In the graduating class of 2013, 42 percent of females had scored proficient in reading, while only 33 percent of male students did. When those students were in eighth grade, the gap was much the same: 57 percent of students scoring at NAEP proficiency in reading were girls. In fourth grade, the gap was again similar: 54 percent of students scoring proficient were girls.

The reading gender gap is nearly universal: girls outperformed boys by an average of 38 points across OECD countries in the PISA 2012 survey—the equivalent of one year of school—as they’ve done consistently throughout all the PISA cycles since. In another survey of fourth-graders, girls topped boys in reading in 48 out of 50 countries and tied in the other two. We might use this syllogism: “Good readers go to college; girls are good readers; ergo. . . .” In Why Boys Fail, Richard Whitmire had another snappy way of summing up the gap: “The world has gotten more verbal; boys haven’t.”

[. . .]

What about math, which most people might assume would be an easy win for the male team? That’s only sort of true. Boys’ math tests register higher scores than those of girls as early as kindergarten. Boys of all racial and ethnic groups outperform girls on standardized math tests like the NAEP and the SAT. Their advantage is particularly strong in subjects requiring the highest levels of math reasoning, like calculus and physics. A paper in the journal Intelligence found boy seventh-graders three times as likely as girls in that grade to score in the top 5 percent—that is, above 700—on the math SAT. Further, even though girls are signing up for advanced placement math in far greater numbers than in the past, they remain underrepresented among the highest achievers on those tests.

However, it’s complicated. Boys’ math scores exhibit what psychologists call the “male variability hypothesis.” On a range of abilities (IQ tests included), interests, and personality traits, no mean difference exists between the sexes, but male scores are disproportionately very high and very low. During the 1980s, girls narrowed the historical math gap at the highest levels from a ratio of 13 to 1 to roughly 2.8 to 1; since 1990, that ratio has stayed more or less stable. But the high-level gap still exists, and it holds in international exams in 38 countries. (This is the opposite of reading tests, where boys cluster around the extreme end of the low tail.)

Having established these general notions, supported through research, Ms. Hymowitz then proceeds to take apart the trendy progressive dogma which has permeated education theory for the past couple of generations that there is no difference in the developing brains of young girls and young boys. She blows apart the theory that issues girls have traditionally had with math are because it isn’t be taught correctly to them, while boys’ struggles with language is because they are imbued with a sense of toxic masculinity at a young age and are thus too rambunctious for proper instruction. Ms. Hymowitz is having none of that:

Many of the most widely quoted social scientists studying boys’ academic status rely on gender theory as a starting premise. If boys are falling behind, it must be because of “the messages [they] receive about how to be masculine,” as gender reporter Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times puts it. Those messages, which come from families, institutions, and peer culture, are implicitly anti-school, on this view. “[B]oys’ achievement has come to be seen as incompatible with performing masculinity in normative ways,” explain a trio of Ohio State University scholars. “Hegemonic masculinity,” the term researchers use to describe the phenomenon, is marked by “stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression.” Clearly, the last thing boys under the sway of hegemonic masculinity want to do is sit politely in a classroom listening to their teacher—usually a woman—and then go straight home to study for the next day’s math test.

[. . .]

There’s compelling reason to think that a more genetic—or, in the derogatory terminology of gender theory, “essentialist”—explanation for boys’ disadvantage is at work. Signs of boys’ relative verbal delay show up way before hegemonic masculinity could infect their minds. On average, girls start talking earlier than boys. At 16 months, girls have a vocabulary of 95 words, while boys’ vocabulary is, on average, only 25. Boys make up more than 70 percent of late talkers and just 30 percent of early talkers. They produce word combinations, on average, three months later than girls. As they grow older, boys are at greater risk of developing language problems like dyslexia and stuttering. Gender theorists have an answer for that: they say that mothers talk more to their infant daughters than they do to their sons. But only limited evidence exists for that claim; a much-cited 2014 study finding that mothers respond more to baby girl vocalizations at birth and at one month involved only 33 mothers and their preterm infants. Other studies show no difference in mothers’ treatment of their babies by sex.

So there you have it; it’s all mom’s fault. Joking aside, there actually may be fundamental differences in the male and female brains:

Occam’s razor suggests a more commonsense conclusion, which happens to be where much of the recent science on gender differences is heading. Though neuroscience was once committed to the notion of the androgynous brain, the discipline has, in recent decades, piled up examples of male–female differences. This research coalesces around the conclusion that while brain anatomy in the sexes is very similar, sex hormones and sex chromosomes affect cognitive development. Most suggestively, researchers have found that girls’ brains establish connections and “prune” unused brain circuitry earlier and faster than boys, so their brains work more efficiently.

Anyway, this is as far as I am going to go because I do want everyone to read the entire essay for themselves. Kay Hymowitz is one of my favorite writers on the topic of education (can you tell?) and I am grateful that someone like her is out fighting the good fight on behalf of all of our kids, especially those who don’t have ready-made political lobbies behind them.

– JVW

10/26/2022

On John Fetterman, Democrats, and Media Enablers

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:51 am



[guest post by JVW]

I didn’t watch it in full, but as with so many others I did briefly tune in and I have since seen the many snippets on YouTube and other outlets. And I agree with what is emerging as the general consensus: that Lt. Gov. John Fetterman had a dismal night and did nothing to dispel fears that the stroke he suffered back in May has rendered him unable to understand or communicate basic ideas. Thus far he has gotten by with making brief appearances in front of supportive crowds and reading bits and pieces of his stump speech, but when forced to think on his feet and articulate his positions, he’s just not altogether there.

Jim Geraghty at NRO gets to the heart of the matter as to why the Fetterman charade has been allowed to go on this long:

Allow me to offer a controversial theory: A lot of Democratic Party candidates and strategists have bad judgment because they’ve grown used to a usually friendly media bailing them out of the consequences of their bad decisions. In light of last night, the decision-making of Fetterman and his campaign seems absurd — as M[ichael] B[rendan] D[ougherty] aptly summarized, “John Fetterman should not have been on a debate stage tonight. He should be at home, recovering from his stroke.”

[. . .]

A campaign does not attempt to fool people into believing that a severe-stroke victim is fine unless it’s convinced that the overwhelming majority of media in the state will be its ally and abandon their traditional role as watchdogs. The people around Fetterman are off their rockers, stupid, or both.

He points out that the Democrats could have easily moved John Fetterman aside and replaced him with his primary opponent, Representative Connor Lamb. Of course that would have entailed replacing a Sanderesque progressive with a more moderate and traditional Democrat, which would of course have infuriated the left flank of the party. Referring to his colleague Rich Lowry’s op-ed piece in the Washington Post earlier this week which reminded us that Democrats appear to be offering just as many weirdos, flakes, and idiots to the voter this year as the GOP is, he wonders aloud how the donkey party ended up with a slate of candidates as weak as John Fetterman, Katie Hobbs, Mandela Barnes, Robbie O’Rourke, and others, and draws the natural conclusion:

I don’t know that Democratic candidates or campaign strategists consciously think, “Oh, we’ll be fine, the media is on our side and will cover for us.” I think they just get used to having the consequences of every mistake and dumb decision mitigated by generous media coverage. They walk around with the wind constantly at their backs, convinced that they are wiser and better at their jobs than they really are. And when that wind at their backs stops blowing, they’re stunned — suddenly everything is much harder.

Maybe it’s just me getting older and grouchier, but it seems every election cycle brings an even greater pastiche of oddballs, nutjobs, malcontents, and sleazebags offering themselves up on our ballot. John Fetterman’s opponent, let’s not forget, is a television doctor and Ivy League academic who has promoted quack medicine schemes, though it seems he also played water polo in college so I will cut him a great deal of slack for that. But overall I find it hard to get excited about the upcoming 118th Congress, no matter which party ends up controlling it. We don’t seem to be doing the republican democracy thing all that well these days.

– JVW

10/25/2022

Whoops! They Did It Again: Progressive Caucus Retracts Russia-Ukraine Proposal

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:52 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Our friends in the progressive caucus raised a lot of eyebrows yesterday evening when they released a letter calling upon President Biden “to pursue direct diplomacy for a negotiated settlement to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.” While acknowledging this is a war of Russian aggression and affirming Ukraine’s right to defend itself and its territory, the letter seems to suggest that Ukraine ought to surrender the territory annexed by the Russian military in return for the rest of Ukraine securing its newly reduced borders by joining NATO. It goes without saying that a negotiated settlement would not see Vladimir Putin or any of his deputies tried for war crimes, and in the interests of international harmony most sanctions on Russia would be lifted so that Western Europe could once again purchase energy from the oligarchs. In other words, in service of peace Vladimir Putin would be allowed to snatch a pretty comprehensive victory from the jaws of defeat, which would no doubt warm the heart of Xi Jinping as he looks longingly towards Taiwan.

This letter was signed by thirty members of the Progressive Caucus (all Democrats naturally) including the Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal, the tiresome Castroite Marxist Barbara Lee of Oakland, noted comedian Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, the ethically challenged Jamie Raskin of (naturally) the DC suburbs, and our dear nieces and nephews from The Squad. As you might imagine, the letter’s release last night caused some consternation within Washington, not only among warmongering Republicans (though, to be sure, some libertarian Republicans welcomed it) but also among Establishment Democrats who undoubtedly see our support for Ukraine’s war efforts (tepid though it sometimes is) as about the only bright spot in the first 21 months of the Joe Biden Administration, and resent the childish naïveté in believing that Putin could be a reliable partner in negotiations.

The backlash was swift and severe, to the degree that earlier today the Progressive Caucus formally retracted the letter, implausibly claiming that despite bearing the signatures of two-and-one-half dozen leftist Democrats, it was merely an unfinalized draft which had mistakenly been released and then promoted via the caucus’s Twitter account. Because all of us have been a part of a large group to affix our signatures to a draft letter at one time or other in our lives, haven’t we? Some diehards, like the indefatigable lefty peace creep Ro Khanna of Silicon Valley, refused to recant the position staked out in the letter and took to his personal Twitter account to defend it. So, irrespective of the caucus’s pretty blatant lies about the letter’s release being a mistake, it looks like it will still serve the purpose of driving a wedge between the party’s left-wing activists and its panicking establishment who is desperately trying to avoid a complete ballot bloodbath two weeks from today.

This whole imbroglio brought back warm memories from nearly four years ago, when freshman Progressive Caucus susperstar Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, our Adorably Ornery Clueless neice, released a blueprint for her Green New Deal which included a helpful FAQ that would have made Kim Il-sung shudder with envy of its bureaucratic totalitarianism, only to suddenly declare that — here comes the coincidence! — it was only a draft plan, had not yet been finalized, and should not have been released. It’s great to see a beloved trick from a playbook of yore brought out to rescue a disastrous sally into complex foreign entanglements by a crew with the general foreign policy sophistication of the average high school sophomore.

All in a day’s work for a party which has conclusively proven they can’t be trusted to govern on their own.

– JVW

10/24/2022

“We Told You So” Moment: Britain’s NHS Rethinks Pushing Forward with Gender Transition for Teens

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:40 pm



[guest post by JVW]

National Review Online points us to The Telegraph, which provides the latest news from our overseas cousins:

Most children who believe that they are transgender are just going through a “phase”, the NHS has said, as it warns that doctors should not encourage them to change their names and pronouns.

NHS England has announced plans for tightening controls on the treatment of under 18s questioning their gender, including a ban on prescribing puberty blockers outside of strict clinical trials.

The services, which will replace the controversial Tavistock clinic, will be led by medical doctors rather than therapists and will consider the impact of other conditions such as autism and mental health issues.

Imagine that: letting people who have studied anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry make this sort of determination over those who have studied Freudian analysis presented through a Foucaultian lens, all washed with the latest craze in LBGTQ theory and systems of hierarchical oppression. The article goes on:

The proposals say that the new clinical approach will for younger children “reflect evidence that in most cases gender incongruence does not persist into adolescence” and doctors should be mindful this might be a “transient phase”.

Instead of encouraging transition, medics should take “a watchful approach” to see how a young person’s conditions develop, the plans state.

When a prepubescent child has already socially transitioned, “the clinical approach has to be mindful of the risks of an inappropriate gender transition and the difficulties that the child may experience in returning to the original gender role upon entering puberty if the gender incongruence does not persist”.

For adolescents, social transition will only be considered when it is necessary for preventing “clinically significant distress” and when a young person “is able to fully comprehend the implications of affirming a social transition”, says NHS England.

It adds that before medics change a young person’s name and pronouns, a teenager should have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

In other words, we should go back to considering gender dysphoria as an actual mental illness that might need counseling and treatment, and not the recognition of some sort of metaphysical mistake of biology which becomes obvious and apparent during adolescence. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t treat young people suffering from this malady with a great deal of compassion and understanding; but it does mean that we shouldn’t immediately give in to their adolescent whims or what the academic-left zeitgeist declares is the latest frontier in “social justice.”

I am sure that I have made this point before, but it is not by accident that it is in the UK where scientists are first beginning to question the transgender orthodoxy which heretofore had enjoyed an almost unassailable status among the elite. The Labour Government of Tony Blair nearly twenty years ago passed The Gender Recognition Act of 2004, which allowed adults to legally determine with which sex they would identify, to the point of issuing them new official government documents such as passports. Unsurprisingly, in short order came the calls from gender radicals and their allies to allow youth to make the same determination. One year later, a British pre-teen boy named Jack Green began the process of transitioning into a girl by beginning a regimen of puberty blockers at age twelve and four years later becoming the youngest person in the world at that point to undergo gender-reassignment surgery. Jackie’s mother then stepped forward as a leading advocate for allowing youth to start the process of transitioning, founding a charity to advocate for liberalized laws for gender reassignment for youths, and thus did the floodgates open.

Britain, the pioneering Western state in this social trend, has since come to regret herding confused adolescents into life-altering decisions which culminate in anatomical mutilation. That ought to be an important development to our own reckless and monomaniacal LGBTQ community, yet the same progressive mentality which insists that the U.S. look to Europe’s leadership on the social welfare state or worker protections or modish environmental concerns is quite quick to change the subject when faced with the realization that Britain is souring on their current hobby horse.

The issue of youthful transgenderism has touched my circle of family and friends, and I am willing to bet it has touched many of yours as well. Children suffering from gender dysphoria deserve our patience and love, but sometimes that love means being the wise adult and steering them away from harmful solutions which cannot be undone, no matter how much we want the young ones in our lives to be presently happy and healthy. One thing that ought to be clear in this imbroglio is that important matters like these should not be left to the whims of the activists, no matter how much emotional blackmail they are willing to put forth or how much they are supported by the “experts.”

– JVW

10/23/2022

Some Things Are More Important Than Others

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:13 pm



Liz Cheney was on “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd. The video is worth watching to see a clip (which appears early in the video) of Glenn Youngkin stumping for Kari Lake, ignoring a question about her election denial and basically saying every state should have a Republican governor . . . whether they are election deniers or not.

I added that last part, but it’s his unspoken message given the question he was asked.

Some things are more important than others. I’d like to have a president who doesn’t do racial demagoguery, extreme fiscal irresponsibility, saying stupid things off script, and so forth. Since we are likely to get Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump again, we’re going to get such a president either way.

But some things are more important. Here are two:

1. Election denial. Kari Lake has said she would not have certified the 2020 election in Arizona. As Liz Cheney plainly states, this is a declaration that she will not certify any election where she disagrees with the outcome. There is no greater flouting of democracy and the rule of law. I would never vote for such a person.

2. Support for Ukraine. Here again, this is a fairly straightforward issue. Vladimir Putin is essentially Hitler with nukes. His aspirations are genocidal. He is a war criminal. He must be stopped. Yet Kevin McCarthy has sent a signal that Putin need only wait until November and our support may soften — apparently because Everything Joe Biden Does Is Bad even when it’s actually good.

Both of these very important issues outweigh wokeness or any other stupid culture war issue you might pick. They are even more important than inflation. Democracy and fighting genocidal war criminals trumps temporary economic issues.

Only partisan hacks can’t see this.

10/18/2022

GOP Warns No ‘Blank Check’ To Ukraine if Republicans Take House Majority

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:18 pm



[guest post by Dana]

A few of Putin’s immediate goals in Ukraine are receiving applause and support:

Soon Ukraine will turn into the Syria of 2015. No water, no electricity, the whole country is in ruins

and

It’s now their main front of war – to make Ukraine freeze to death in winter if they can’t defeat it on battlefield.

This is in light of Russia wreaking havoc by having destroyed one-third of Ukraine’s power stations this past week. Keeping the chaos going as winter approaches is just another strategy employed by Putin. And about those strikes:

Ukraine accuses Russia of using Iran-made Shahed-136 ‘kamikaze drones’, which fly to their target and detonate. Iran denies supplying them and on Tuesday the Kremlin also denied using them.

However, two senior Iranian officials and two Iranian diplomats told Reuters that Tehran had promised to provide Russia with more drones as well as surface-to-surface missiles, a move sure to infuriate the United States and its allies.

Meanwhile, as Ukraine awaits a granting of their latest weapons wishlist from the U.S. and European nations, it’s simply not happening quickly enough:

NATO nations will eventually provide Ukraine with the most potent conventional weapons to help push back Russian troops, according to Kyiv’s ambassador to the alliance.

Natalia Galibarenko told Newsweek that discussions about longer-range weapons, fighter jets, and main battle tanks are ongoing with NATO members.

NATO nations not sending jets or main battle tanks—out of fear of provoking Russia—has been a particular frustration for Kyiv. But Galibarenko is optimistic.

“We are not there yet, unfortunately,” Galibarenko said on fighters and tanks. “The allies know that we are very interested in getting aircraft and tanks, but there was no definite decision.”

The fear of provoking Putin is a vexing one, given that it is Putin who instigated the brutal war of aggression in Ukraine. Kasparov sounds the warning of such thinking:

I recently completed a barnstorming trip across Europe, with professional and political engagements from Helsinki and Stockholm to Berlin and London. My visits in Germany were most critical, as the European giant is still loath to rise to the challenge despite strong popular support for Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz still dreams of a return to the pre-Feb. 24 world, with cheap Russian natural gas and an amoral separation of business and politics.

The sooner Scholz and the rest wake up from these fantasies, the better. The only way to achieve a lasting peace in Europe is for Ukraine to win in a comprehensive defeat of Russian imperialism and Putin’s gangster mafia. That was my message to German politicians, that there is no time to lose and no reason to delay.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has signaled that aid to Ukraine from the U.S. may prove more difficult if Republicans take the House majority. This would be a significant change of action, given that there has been bipartisan support for the authorization of assistance to Ukraine since the war began:

“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine. They just won’t do it. … It’s not a free blank check. And then there’s the things [the Biden administration] is not doing domestically. Not doing the border and people begin to weigh that. Ukraine is important, but at the same time it can’t be the only thing they do and it can’t be a blank check.”

What a far cry from the early-day hawkishness of Republicans. Kevin McCarthy was on record, saying:

“There is a bipartisan movement right here … Provide them the planes. Provide them the armament to fight a war that they did not create,” McCarthy said after the address, noting that the planes, Soviet-era MiG jets, would give the Ukrainians the resources they need to create a no fly zone.

The only way for Ukraine to live as a free Ukraine is to drive out Russian troops and reclaim its territories, including annexed ones. For a solid defeat of Putin, Ukraine will need our continued assistance, as well as that from European nations. I’m reminded of this:

In order to bring the prevailing cycle of Russian imperial aggression to an end, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine must result in unambiguous defeat. A Ukrainian victory would send shock waves through Russian society and force Russians to engage in a long overdue exploration of the country’s imperial identity. If defeat is painful enough, it could spark fundamental changes within Russia and lead to the kind of breakthrough that the false dawn of 1991 failed to achieve. Anything less will merely serve as a temporary pause before the next Russian invasion.

Also, a painful and humiliating defeat of Putin would send a signal to other brutes and dictators and their oppressed citizenry that they are not invincible. Not by a long shot.

–Dana

Homeland Security To GOP: Leave Us Alone, We Have Work To Do!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:09 am



[guest post by Dana]

Eh, given the number of border crossings these days, I don’t think migrants or smugglers care one way or another about what Republicans are saying, at least not while there is a Democrat sitting in the Oval Office:

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas shrugged off calls Friday for his impeachment by Sen. Ted Cruz and others, accusing critics of encouraging the illegal migration they say they condemn every time they say the border is open.

Cruz and others says Mayorkas should be impeached for failing to control the border, resulting in record levels of illegal immigration and spikes in smuggling of fentanyl and other contraband.“I’ve got a lot of work to do, and I intend to continue to do it. That’s my response,” he said, during a meeting with The Dallas Morning News editorial board.

He added that “the political cry that the border is open” — a common refrain from GOP critics — “is music to the smugglers’ ears, because they take that political rhetoric and they market it” to desperate migrants from Venezuela and other countries.

–Dana

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