Patterico's Pontifications


Here We Go…Again

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:15 pm

[guest post by Dana]


Two documents with classified markings were found in a Florida storage unit during a search by a team hired by former President Donald Trump’s lawyers, a person familiar with the situation told CNN.

Those documents were handed over to the FBI. No other documents with classified markings were found during a search of four of Trump’s properties, the source said.


Fighting for Freedom

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In a wonderful essay by Dasha Navalnaya, daughter of Alexie Navalny, she eloquently and with force, speaks to his courage and his unwavering fight for freedom. Of course, as you know, Navalny is now in solitary confinement at a brutal prison colony, and family visits are no longer allowed. And yet, he continues to fight. Here is an excerpt from Ms. Navalnaya’s essay:

As you read these lines, Navalny is in mortal danger, but he continues to stand by what he believes in. He has proven willing to sacrifice his freedom, health, and even his life to see Russia become a democratic, prosperous country. And right now, even from prison, he is fighting to make it peaceful. By his example, he supports and inspires millions of Russians who, like him, are unwilling to tolerate war and injustice.

Putin must be defeated. He is a threat not only to Russia and Ukraine but to the world. The very essence of authoritarian power involves a constant increase in bets, an increase in aggression, and the search for new enemies. In order not to lose in this struggle, we must unite.

My father is one of the leaders of this struggle, and he must be out there. He challenges Putin every day, but together we can ensure that his efforts are not in vain and that his words are heard around the world. I now turn to world leaders and ask them to support my call to the Russian government to release my father.

Let’s all strive for a better, more prosperous global future where we can choose our own leaders. Free Alexei Navalny!

Read the whole thing. It is inspiring to see Navalny’s continued commitment to fighting for freedom, despite his physical circumstances. Of course, his transfer to such a high level of imprisonment where basic privileges are denied him only speaks to the level of threat he continues to present to Vladimir Putin.

I want to point you to one more essay about another freedom-fighter: President Volodymyr Zelensky. He has just been named Time Magazine’s person of the year. In the essay, one can clearly see that the president’s courage has certainly been contagious. Here is an excerpt describing what motivates critical decision-making in the ongoing war:

When it comes to battlefield decisions, Zelensky usually focuses on human lives—how many would be lost if we take this path? “We could have pushed into Kherson earlier, with greater force. But we understood how many people would have fallen,” he says. “That’s why a different tactic was chosen, and thank God it worked. I don’t think it was some genius move on our part. It was reason winning out, wisdom winning out against speed and ambition.”

About Zelensky’s strategy to win the war:

“I don’t want to weigh who has more tanks and armies,” he says. Russia is a nuclear superpower. No matter how many times its forces are made to retreat from Ukrainian cities, they can regroup and try again. “We are dealing with a powerful state that is pathologically unwilling to let Ukraine go,” Zelensky told me. “They see the democracy and freedom of Ukraine as a question of their own survival.” The only way to defeat an enemy like that—not just to win a temporary truce, but to win the war— is to persuade the rest of the free world to pull Ukraine in the other direction, toward sovereignty, independence, and peace. The loss of freedom in one nation, he argues, erodes freedom in all the rest. “If they devour us, the sun in your sky will get dimmer.”

And ultimately:

But his vision of victory now extends beyond the liberation of territory…Zelensky stressed that this year’s invasion is just the latest Russian attempt over the past century to subjugate Ukraine. His intention is to make it the last, even if it takes a lot more time and sacrifice. It is far too early to gauge whether that goal can be reached, Zelensky told me. “Later we will be judged,” he says. “I have not finished this great, important action for our country. Not yet.”

Make sure to read the whole thing. These are two men who have decided to do everything in their power to not let evil triumph. And if that means sacrificing their own lives in order to get the job done, they both appear to have made peace with the possibility.



Georgia Runoff Election Today

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:37 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Today is the big day in Georgia as voters choose either Democrat Raphael Warnock or Republican Herschel Walker in the runoff election.

Reports estimate that more than a million Georgians are expected to vote today.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Warnock has a slight lead over Walker, yet it’s possible that Walker could still win:

However, five surveys from more established pollsters (Emerson College, InsiderAdvantage, SSRS, SurveyUSA and the University of Massachusetts Lowell) all consistently put Warnock a few points ahead of Walker. That said, it wouldn’t be shocking to see an unexpectedly strong performance from either of the candidates. Other factors agree with the polling that this race is tight, and Warnock’s polling lead is still smaller than the average polling error in U.S. Senate races since 1998.3 While Warnock may be better positioned than Walker, either candidate could still win.

Meanwhile, according to a recent report, Warnock has remained strong in several areas, including raising money. Consider:

His campaign and outside Democratic groups have spent more than double that of their Republican counterparts, according to the latest spending report from AdImpact. In just the final week, Warnock’s campaign has spent $7.6 million on advertising compared to the Walker campaign’s $3.65 million in ad buys.

Not quite the case for the Walker camp, which has been struggling to raise funds in the last week of the campaign:

“Simply put, we’re being outspent 3 to 1 by Warnock, and we’re being outspent nearly 2 to 1 by outside groups. We need help,” Walker campaign manager Scott Paradise wrote in the memo sent to donors Thursday…

The memo calculates that Warnock and the Democratic groups backing him have spent and committed a combined $92 million since the November election, compared with $45 million that Walker and his Republican allies have ponied up.

While urgent last-minute fundraising appeals are a staple of any campaign in the closing days, the sense of concern underlying Paradise’s plea is underpinned by data and concerns from fellow Republicans that suggest the election is trending in Warnock’s favor.

President Obama also showed up for Warnock at a campaign event a few days ago. The former president took the opportunity to mock Walker, which the crowd loved:

And in a cringe moment, Walker attempted to push back on the whole werewolves v. vampires on Fox News:

“Well, what’s sad is they’re always trying to mislead people,” Walker told Fox host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday after Obama poked fun at his comments. “That’s the same as you listening to… Obama talking about I’m talking about vampires and werewolves… Why don’t they tell the whole story?”

Walker discussed his internal would-you-rather werewolf vs. vampire debate in the context of recalling a movie he said he had watched about a vampire. He concluded his story by talking about the importance of faith because in the movie, he said, a person who did not believe in God tried to kill a vampire with a cross and failed because they didn’t have faith. On Fox, Walker said, “The whole story is the story involved people having faith, having faith and continuing to go out and do your job, having faith to get things done. So they don’t tell you the whole story.”

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Herschel Walker is not a good candidate. In fact, he is a terrible candidate. He is often confused, and unable to speak in-depth about policy issues, and as seen above, he is simply not the best and brightest of possible candidates. I’ve also said before that I wouldn’t be surprised if he had suffered a traumatic brain injury during his football years or was diagnosed with CTE, contributing to his inability to clearly communicate and his lack of basic comprehension. And although never thoroughly vetted as a candidate, he is a famous football star and Heisman Trophy winner, and Donald Trump endorsed him. All of which counts for a lot to Georgians. The whole thing seems to be an unvarnished look at the underbelly of politics: A famous person is flattered when approached by a powerful group of deep-pocketed individuals who in turn flatter the politically inexperienced individual and make him an offer he can’t refuse. Said individual then goes on to ignore the advice of those closest to him, accepts their offer, and finds himself in the eye of the storm. It’s been obvious that Walker’s enablers, such as the far-right media, walk him through interviews by feeding him hints and even filling in the blanks for him. And along with his supporters, including fellow Republican lawmakers, these enablers easily ignore the word salad coming out of his mouth. The man clearly requires assistance. And that’s why I cringed when I saw Obama mock him. Talk about shooting a damaged fish in a barrel. But Walker gives his opponents a lot to work with and he willingly signed up for this gig. However, I still believe there is something ugly about the Republican Party putting him up as a candidate in the first place. But what was anyone to do about it?

“McConnell has suggested to allies that former Georgia senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler should take another look at running again, according to three sources familiar with the matter, after their narrow losses in January flipped the Senate to Democratic control.”

Ultimately those efforts went for naught. And by around this time last year, McConnell had given up – endorsing Walker’s bid. “Herschel is the only one who can unite the party, defeat Senator Warnock, and help us take back the Senate,” McConnell said at the time.

And then there is this:

In a brief interview with POLITICO on Saturday, Walker seemed to mistake which chamber of Congress he was running for and also appeared to think the outcome of his race would determine control of the Senate.

“They’re not [less motivated] because they know right now that the House will be even so they don’t want to understand what is happening right now,” he said of voters. “You get the House, you get the committees. You get all the committees even, they just stall things within there. So if we keep a check on Joe Biden, we just going to keep a check on him.”

Republicans have won the House, and Democrats will control the Senate no matter what happens in Georgia. A win by Warnock would pad their majority by one seat, to 51-49.

When we look at which candidate is the most informed about politics and policy, has a decent grasp of basic history, can articulate his position and clearly communicate it to the American public, it isn’t Walker. And yet, the right will vote for him not only because he is the Republican candidate but because they know that there will be plenty of handlers and aids directing his every move, and instructing him on what to say and how to advance the Republican agenda. And that seems to be all that matters in the end.

Note: It’s interesting to me – and telling, I think – that Republicans continue to attack President Biden over his mental fitness (or lack thereof) and senator-elect John Fetterman’s auditory processing issues, and yet don’t have any problem with similar manifestations by Herschel Walker.


Grieving for China

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:36 am

[guest post by JVW]

As usual, I am the laggard here who is failing to carry his (ample) weight where blogging is concerned. That said, I did read a piece at the end of last week which I found very moving and wanted to share with you. If you have suffered through my musings in the past, you may know that I am a fan of geopolitical essays written by people who have at least some familiarity with the country upon which they opine, which I find far more elucidating than the usual pompous pronouncements from fatuous media or academic types. So I very much appreciated this first-person account of Cindy Yu at The Spectator where she serves as the host of their China podcast. This piece may be behind a paywall so I’ll quote liberally from it, but as I have mentioned earlier I have really come to enjoy reading The Spectator and think that the subscription has been well worth the price, given their outstanding coverage of world events. Here is what Ms. Yu, who was raised in Nanjing, has to say about her homeland:

I’ve always loved the Chinese national anthem. I used to think I was the loudest Communist Youth League pioneer as my class belted it out, dressed in our little red neckerchiefs, during our school’s weekly flag-raising ceremony. “The March of the Volunteers” was composed in the 1930s during the Japanese invasion of Manchuria; it starts with “Stand up, those who refuse to be slaves” and only gets more rousing. I could see, even at a young age in the early 2000s, that China wouldn’t be facing those days again — it was getting wealthier and more powerful. Standing in a Nanjing schoolyard, I was proud of China’s return to greatness.

During those years of reform, it felt like people could achieve anything they wanted. A middling English teacher became the head of a multi-billion dollar e-commerce company called Alibaba; an engineer who almost starved in childhood founded the world’s largest telecoms manufacturer, Huawei.[. . .]

There seemed to be an unspoken social contract: the Chinese Communist Party would ensure that people’s lives became materially better; in return, they would have sole and unchallengeable power. Literacy went up, as did lifespans. People started having money to buy what they wanted, rather than simply what they needed. Not everyone agreed with this arrangement, but it was easy for the majority to overlook the costs: the crackdowns on ethnic and religious minorities, the imprisoning of democracy activists, the poor left behind by urbanization. China seemed to be on track to become the world’s largest economy without the division and turbulence of other wealthy nations.

Now I see that it was never a fair contract. The Chinese people have no recourse when the CCP reneges on its side of the bargain. [. . .]

She goes on to cover the recent protests which appear to have shaken the Chinese leadership (i.e., Xi Jinping), and traces the arc from Tiananmen Square to Hong Kong to the draconian COVID lockdowns imposed upon the Chinese people. She recognizes — indeed, acknowledges — that her own family like so many other citizens of China accepted all of this in return for the ability to move into the middle and upper classes, and now realizes that it was a deal with the devil all along:

The hand of the state now reaches into every part of people’s lives — the Communist Party dictates where they can go and who they can see. Add to that the Covid shocks to the Chinese economy, record youth unemployment and a teetering property market, and you don’t have to be a pro-democracy activist to see that, for too many people, the CCP is not meeting its side of the deal.

And what would a youth-led protest be without a bit of clever trolling?

In response to accusations that foreign forces were stirring up discontent, one Beijing student shot back: “Do you mean Marx and Engels?” Another protester led a trio of alpacas through Shanghai; the animal has become a protest meme thanks to its supposed resemblance to the mythical grass mud horse, the name for which in Chinese sounds a little like a sexual act involving one’s mother.

The Chinese word for “alpaca” is written in English as “yáng tuó” and is pronounced like this. Keep that handy if you get busted by the Chinese police operating in our country. Ms. Yu concludes:

As I was scrolling through social media at the weekend, one video threw me. It showed a gathering of students on a Nanjing campus singing the national anthem: “Stand up, stand up, stand up!” I wept. When I was a child, the national anthem made me proud. Now it makes me grieve.

Do read it all if you can, and realize with an unpleasant feeling that there are plenty of people in this country who look towards China as a successful case study in organizing society and would love to bring plenty of unappealing aspects of it here.



Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:17 am

[guest post by Dana]

While working on today’s post, I really had to resist writing a detailed review of the gowns that Mrs. Biden and Mrs. Macron wore to last night’s state dinner, and focus instead on more relevant (but not as pretty!) news items.

First news item

President Biden, heeding President Macron’s push for negotiations with Russia, said that he is open to talking to President Vladimir Putin with conditions:

…he would talk to President Vladimir V. Putin, but only in consultation with NATO allies and only if the Russian leader indicated he was “looking for a way to end the war.”

Mr. Biden’s public expression of conditioned willingness to reach out to Mr. Putin gratified French officials and provided unexpected support for President Emmanuel Macron’s outreach. Mr. Biden noted that Mr. Putin had shown no interest yet in ending his invasion, but said that if that changed, “I’ll be happy to sit down with Putin to see what he has in mind.”

Macron made clear that France would continue to support Ukraine, and “will never urge Ukrainians to make a compromise that will not be acceptable for them.”

Russia, however, has its own conditions they want met before entering into any discussions to end the war, and those include the four Ukrainian regions annexed by Russia:

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters earlier that Mr Putin remained open to talks aimed “to ensure our interests”. But Moscow was certainly not ready to accept US conditions: “What did President Biden say in fact? He said that negotiations are possible only after Putin leaves Ukraine.”

It complicated the search for a mutual basis for talks, he said, that the US did not recognise “new territories” in Ukraine. At the end of September, President Putin declared four Ukrainian regions as part of Russia, but while Russian forces in eastern Ukraine occupy most of Luhansk, their invasion of Donetsk has stalled and they are on the back foot in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south.

This all reminds me of this. No off-ramps, just get out of Ukraine:

Another item of agreement between the French leader and President Biden was to hold Russia accountable for “widely documented atrocities and war crimes” in Ukraine.

P.S. A new report claims that Putin fell down some stairs and injured his tailbone, and that he has stomach cancer: “The channel claims to have sources in Putin’s entourage and said medics ‘arrived within a few minutes, but could not immediately examine the president’. This is because he is suffering ‘cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, as a result of which he already experiences serious problems with digestion’ – and the fall caused an ‘involuntary’ reaction. ‘Before the examination, the doctors escorted the president to the bathroom and helped to clean up.’”

Second news item

Protests in Iran expand:

Women in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan on Friday joined nationwide protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death, in what a rights group called a “rare” move for women in the staunchly conservative Sunni Muslim province.

Online videos showed dozens of women on the streets of the provincial capital Zahedan holding banners that declared “Woman, life, freedom” — one of the main slogans of the protest movement that erupted in mid-September.

“Whether with hijab, whether without it, onwards to revolution,” women clad in black, body-covering chadors chanted in videos posted on Twitter and verified by AFP.

Iranian protester who cheered on a U.S. victory over Iran at the World Cup in Doha, paid a high price:

A friend of Iranian midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi was shot and killed by his country’s security forces Tuesday after the team’s loss to the United States at the World Cup, a group of human rights activists told The Guardian.

Mehran Samak, 27, was reportedly shot after honking his car horn in the port city of Bandar Anzali, located in Iran’s northwestern Gilan province. The incident came amid a wave of anti-government protests across the country.

Per the Center for Human Rights in Iran via the Guardian, Samak had been celebrating the World Cup loss, which clinched the Americans’ advance into the knockout stages of the tournament and sent Iran home. Per local journalists, some Iranians have been celebrating the loss as a blow to Iran’s government, which has been attempting to suppress the protests sparked by Mahsa Amini.

Third news item


A rural Arizona county certified its midterm election results on Thursday, following the orders of a judge who ruled that Republican supervisors broke the law when they refused to sign off on the vote count by this week’s deadline.

Two Republicans on Cochise County’s three-member board of supervisors balked for weeks about certifying the election, even as the deadline passed on Monday. They did not cite any problems with the election results. Rather, they say they weren’t satisfied that the machines used to tabulate ballots were properly certified for use in elections, though state and federal election officials have said they were.

Fourth news item

Grim numbers for Trump:

6. Former President Trump is generally liked by Republicans with 70% viewing him favorably but this measurement has dissipated markedly from past surveys, and he is no longer seen as the head of the party by GOP voters.

• That understood, Donald Trump is viewed unfavorably by almost one in three (29%) voters who backed Republicans in the midterms, including 33% of “Reagan Republicans,” 34% of “Traditional Republicans,” 34% of Fox News viewers, and even one in five (21%) voters who backed him in 2020.

• Additionally, 66% of Independents view Trump unfavorably, including 52% who view him “very unfavorably.”

• A plurality of Republicans (40%) — including 50% of self-described “Traditional Republicans” and “Reagan Republicans” — say Donald Trump should no longer be the leader and face of the Republican Party while 37% say he should be.

• Among Fox News viewers, 45% say Trump should no longer be the leader and face of the GOP while 35% say he should be.

7. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ net favorability ratings surpass Trump among Republicans (+66 vs. +44), Fox News viewers (+58 vs. +27), and Trump’s own 2020 voters (+69 vs. +54).

• DeSantis is also well liked by a broad coalition of Republicans with a 68%/0% favorable/unfavorable rating among self-described “Trump Republicans;” 71%/9% among “Traditional Republicans;” and 82%/5% among “Reagan Republicans.”

• DeSantis has more crossover appeal than both Trump and Biden with a net -3 favorability rating among Independent voters compared to -27 for Biden and -39 for Trump.

• Among split-ticket voters, DeSantis’ net favorability rating is +7, Biden’s is -21, and Trump’s is -36.

Fifth news item

More bad news for Trump:

A unanimous federal appeals court on Thursday ended an independent review of documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, removing a hurdle the Justice Department said had delayed its criminal investigation into the retention of top-secret government information.

The decision by the three-judge panel represents a significant win for federal prosecutors, clearing the way for them to use as part of their investigation the entire tranche of documents seized during an Aug. 8 FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. It also amounts to a sharp repudiation of arguments by Trump’s lawyers, who for months had said that the former president was entitled to have a so-called “special master” conduct a neutral review of the thousands of documents taken from the property.

Sixth news item

A very slight easing up of Covid restrictions in China:

Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said at a meeting Wednesday that China faces a new Covid situation “as the Omicron variant’s pathogenic nature weakens, vaccination becomes more common and [there’s] an accumulation of experience with Covid prevention and control.” That’s according to a CNBC translation of the Chinese state media report late last night.

Also on Wednesday, the Guangzhou city district hardest hit by Covid said it would allow most restaurants to resume in-store dining, and entertainment venues can gradually reopen.

“We believe Sun’s speech, in addition to the notable easing of Covid control measures in Guangzhou yesterday, sends yet another strong signal that the zero-Covid policy will end within the next few months,” Nomura’s Chief China Economist Ting Lu and a team said in a report Thursday.

But while Covid restrictions might be slightly eased, China reminds citizens of their heavy-handed oppression of the population:

Chinese authorities have initiated the highest “emergency response” level of censorship, according to leaked directives, including a crackdown on VPNs and other methods of bypassing online censorship after unprecedented protests demonstrated widespread public frustration with the zero-Covid policy.

The crackdown, including the tracking and questioning of protesters, comes alongside the easing of pandemic restrictions in an apparent carrot-and-stick approach to an outpouring of public grievances. During an extraordinary week in China, protests against zero-Covid restrictions included criticism of the authoritarian rule of Xi Jinping – which was further highlighted by the death of the former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.

Leaked directives issued to online Chinese platforms, first published by a Twitter account devoted to sharing protest-related information, have revealed authorities’ specific concerns about the growing interest among citizens in circumventing China’s so-called “Great Firewall”. The demonstrations have been strictly censored, but protesters and other citizens have this week used VPNs to access non-Chinese news and social media apps that are banned in China.

Protesters were spurned to protest Covid restrictions after a deadly fire that took three hours to be extinguished and killed 10 people who were unable to escape the blaze due to the draconian Covid restrictions which saw the apartment building’s doors being locked from the outside.

Seventh news item

President Biden faces backlash over proposal:

President Joe Biden is recommending that South Carolina, the state that lifted him to front-runner status in the 2020 primaries, kick off Democrats’ 2024 presidential nominating contest, according to a top Democratic source familiar with the plan.

In doing so, he has set off a frenzied scramble among competing early states that are apoplectic over the proposal.

The proposed order would do away with the Iowa caucuses’ leading things off. Instead, South Carolina would go first, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada on the same day, trailed by Georgia and then Michigan, according to two senior party officials.

Driving the President’s proposal:

In a letter…to the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, Biden, who did not specify his preferred order of states, wrote, “For decades, Black voters in particular have been the backbone of the Democratic Party but have been pushed to the back of the early primary process.”

He also said Democrats “should no longer allow caucuses as part of our nominating process,” dealing an expected blow to Iowa.


Eighth news item

Maine governor blasts President Biden for serving lobster at State Dinner with President Macron:

Democratic Maine congressman Jared Golden is attacking President Joe Biden for approving onerous regulations that put Maine lobstermen “out of business.”

The White House on Tuesday had 200 live lobsters shipped from Maine to Washington, D.C., for a Thursday State Dinner, prompting Golden’s ire.

“If the Biden White House can prioritize purchasing 200 Maine lobsters for a fancy dinner,” Golden tweeted from his official account, then the president “should also take the time to meet with the Maine lobstermen his administration is currently regulating out of business.”

Ninth news item

Reparations making the rounds. First up, Rhode Island:

Providence, R.I., is joining the growing ranks of cities trying to rectify their history of discrimination against Black residents through reparations programs.

Mayor Jorge Elorza (D), with Black residents by his side, recently signed a $10 million budget for the Providence Municipal Reparations program. “The radical thing that we did was we put Black voices in the center of city policymaking,” Elorza said in an interview.

While Elorza has focused on how the program would help the city’s Black and Native American residents, there’s a hitch: It’s race-neutral.

Black and Native American Providence residents qualify automatically, but the city has also established a separate, income criteria that could include about half its White residents.

That has angered critics who say it is unclear how much of the money will flow to the Black residents, who make up 12 percent of the population, and have been harmed by systemic racism.

And from California:

A California task force studying the long-term effects of slavery and systemic racism on black residents in the state has estimated a whopping $569 billion in reparations is owed to the descendants of enslaved people, according to a report.

The nine-member panel concluded that black Californians whose ancestors were in the US in the 19th century are due $223,200 each due to housing discrimination practices utilized from 1933 to 1977, the New York Times reported…

A history of housing discrimination against black Californians makes up a significant portion of the compensation the panel recommends. Several black communities were bought out or seized through eminent domain to be bulldozed for infrastructure projects, according to the panel’s findings…In addition to housing discrimination, the panel has targeted four other areas to study — mass incarceration, unjust property seizures, devaluation of black businesses and health care.


They can never be thanked enough:

Have a great weekend!



Kevin McCarthy Works To Secure Republican Votes In Bid For Speaker

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:03 am

[guest post by Dana]


Representative Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who is attempting to become the next House speaker, on Wednesday warned the special committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol that members of his party planned to launch an inquiry of their own into the panel’s work next year when Republicans assume control of the chamber.

In a letter sent to the committee’s chairman, Mr. McCarthy instructed the panel to preserve its records — an action already required under House rules — including any recorded transcripts of its more than 1,000 interviews. The missive was the first official indication that newly empowered House Republicans plan not only to end the inquiry at the start of the new Congress, but also to attempt to dismantle and discredit its findings — the latest piece of a broader effort the party has undertaken over the past two years to deny, downplay or shift blame for the deadly attack by a pro-Trump mob.

It comes as Mr. McCarthy toils to shore up his position with hard-right Republicans in his conference who have refused to support his bid for speaker, imperiling his chances of being elected in January.

Mr. McCarthy pledged in the letter that he would hold public hearings scrutinizing the security breakdowns that occurred during the assault, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, disrupting Congress’s formal count of electoral votes to confirm Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s election as president.

Here are the hard-right Republicans who have said they are not voting for McCarthy (who needs their votes):

Rep. Andy Biggs (Arizona)
Rep. Matt Gaetz (Florida)
Rep. Ralph Norman (South Carolina)

Reps. Bob Good of Virginia and Matt Rosendale of Montana have expressed doubts about McCarthy becoming the next speaker as well.


One House Republican said they’re aware of a handful more members who are keeping their opposition private until just before the January vote. And while some of McCarthy’s fiercest public critics have openly claimed that there are about 20 hard nos in the conference, others believe the Californian will likely chip away at his opposition.

McCarthy certainly has his work cut out for him.


NYC Mayor’s Directive: Involuntarily Hospitalize Mentally Ill Homeless People

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:13 am

[guest post by Dana]

New York City Mayor Adams announced a new directive yesterday, and it’s a controversial one:

The move could allow non-medical professionals, such as police officers, to request such removals from streets and subways based on their judgment of a person’s inability to meet basic needs for health and safety, the mayor’s office said. This can happen whether or not the person poses an overt danger to themselves or others.

After removal and transportation to a city-run hospital, doctors can then decide if the person needs to be admitted.

Adams also proposed an 11-point series of reforms in state law to govern the care of mentally ill New Yorkers.

“For too long there has been a gray area where policy, law and accountability have not been clear,” Adams said during an address at City Hall. “And this has allowed people in need to slip through the cracks.”

Adams offered this as an illustration of the problem he is trying to address through his directive:

“The man standing on the street all day across from the building he was evicted from 25 years ago waiting to be let in. The shadow boxer on the street corner in midtown mumbling to himself as he jabs at an invisible adversary,” Adams said Tuesday. “The unresponsive man unable to get off the train at the end of the line without assistance from our mobile crisis team. These New Yorkers, and hundreds of others like them, are in urgent need of treatment, yet often refuse it when offered.”

“The very nature of their illnesses keeps them from realizing they need intervention and support,” the mayor added. “Without that intervention, they remain lost and isolated from society, tormented by delusions and disordered thinking. They cycle in and out of hospitals and jails. But New Yorkers rightly expect our city to help them.”

Clearly, there are potentials for abuse:

Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom said ideally that this judgment would come from specialized teams composed of mental health professionals and first responders such as the police.

“We want the specialized teams to come to that site, and then do that work and wait for the EMS to come so that we can transport them to the hospital,” Williams-Isom said.

But the policy, as written, allows the police alone to call on EMS to make a removal, even if a mental health clinician isn’t present on the scene. The NYPD is not permitted to transport an individual.

Note: [T]he mayor’s directive acknowledges that “case law does not provide extensive guidance regarding removals for mental health evaluations based on short interactions in the field.”

Civil liberty advocates concerned about the new directive say that the police are not the answer.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has indicated that she will support the Mayor’s proposal.



Gov. Newsom Says He’s Out For 2024, President Biden Mulls Re-Election

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:57 am

[guest post by Dana]

As President Biden considers whether to seek re-election, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California says that he won’t be running for the presidency in 2024:

[Gov.] Newsom wants the word to go forth: He’s not going to challenge President Biden for the Democratic nomination in 2024.

“I’ve told everyone in the White House, from the chief of staff to the first lady,” he recounted to me as we sat on the top floor of California’s now-ceremonial governor’s mansion on election night.

The governor insists he won’t run for president even if Biden doesn’t run — “the answer is no,” he said — but is less emphatic about 2028, when he’ll turn 61 and his children will be older.

President Biden just turned 80 years old. Last week, Nancy Pelosi (age 82) and Steny Hoyer (age 83) announced that they would not be seeking leadership positions again. One would think that might send a signal to Biden, as in make way for a younger generation. But at least one analyst doesn’t think the message will have any impact on Biden:

Allan Lichtman, distinguished professor of history at American University, said Pelosi and Hoyer stepping aside when the House flipped this month won’t stop Biden from running for another term.

“They are no longer in charge of the House. This was the perfect moment for them to step aside. I don’t think there’s any correlation between Hoyer and Pelosi stepping down on any decisionmaking for Biden,” he said. “Presidents have almost invariably sought reelection regardless of their age.”

For Democrats, Lichtman said, “The last thing you would want is Biden to step down and have an open seat.”

“Democrats do not want an open seat and don’t want a party fight for the nomination,” Lichtman said.

Anyway, I think Biden plans to run again, despite his poll numbers remaining underwater. If he doesn’t run, one is hard-pressed to see any party standouts for 2024. Surely not the temperamental and inarticulate vice president who made an early exit in the 2020 presidential campaign.

Note from the Los Angeles Times: As of Nov. 15, 40% of registered voters had a favorable opinion of [Kamala] Harris and 54% had an unfavorable opinion — a net rating of -14 percentage points, according to a Times average.

Also, in a recent post-midterm election poll, 42% of Democrats wanted Biden to be the nominee, compared to just 17% for Harris, and 12% for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Another reason to think that Biden will be running again is the active courting of deep-pocketed donors:

The White House is cranking up its donor courtship, a strategy that’s most evident in a shower of social invitations for big-dollar supporters: this week’s state dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron, the arrival and lighting of the national Christmas tree, Biden’s Christmas parties and Vice President Kamala Harris’ Hanukkah celebration among them. They’re offering more policy briefings to longtime supporters, Zoom calls with top administration officials and White House tours, too.

The donors have taken notice and already are praising the change from a team they long complained was unavailable to answer questions in darker political moments for Biden, according to interviews with more than 20 people who have contributed to Biden, raised money for him or helped secure White House invitations for his supporters.

An expanded social calendar means “they are getting down the list a little further,” in terms of who gets face time with the president, said one White House official. And that could pay dividends for Biden if he runs in 2024.

Donor maintenance is a critical step for the administration should Biden seek re-election and even beyond, when he will likely want to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for a presidential library.

Names that have been bandied about as potential candidates (if Biden doesn’t run and excluding Gov. Newsom) include Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Cory Booker, and even Sen. Bernie Sanders (who is 81 years old). But remember, Biden has already proven that he can defeat Trump. And I think that, once again, this is what the next presidential election will be about…

Anecdotal: A still-sharp, nonagenarian relative from New York, who has been a lifelong Democrat and describes himself as being “to the left of Bernie Sanders,” told me last week that he doesn’t want Biden to run again because of his age and that he has concerns about his mental acuity. When pressed to name a Democrat with executive experience, charisma, and the ability to get Democrats to rally behind them in a national election, he said there were no real stand-outs to speak of.


Mitch McConnell Warns: It’s Unlikely You’ll Be Elected President If You Meet With Anti-Semites And White Supremacists

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:05 am

[guest post by Dana]

Considering today’s Republican Party, I have my doubts about the accuracy of McConnell’s statement, but we’ll see soon enough…

Mitch McConnell called out Donald Trump about the inappropriateness of that now infamous dinner:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned former President Trump for his dinner with Kanye West and white nationalist Nick Fuentes, saying anyone meeting with individuals with views of antisemitism or white supremacy is “highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”

“There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy,” McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday. “And anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”

McConnell was right to publicly condemn the actions of the man who hopes to become the next sitting president of the United States. However, we know as well as McConnell that, unfortunately, today’s Republican Party actually does have plenty of room for anti-Semitism and white supremacy. He’s seen it up close and in person for six years. In fact, in February 2022, McConnell said virtually the same thing as he did yesterday after Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar spoke at a gathering of white nationalists in Florida. And speaking of MTG:

You can read here how every Republican Senator and every member of Republican House leadership responded (or didn’t respond) to questions of whether they believed it was appropriate for Trump to have met with Nick Fuentes and Ye (Kanye West), whether they condemn meeting, and for non-leadership members, whether they called on party leadership to speak out on it.



Stating the Obvious: We Don’t Have To Agree On Everything

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:33 am

[guest post by Dana]

Helena Bonham Carter talks cancel culture:

**“Do you ban a genius for their sexual practices? There would be millions of people who if you looked closely enough at their personal life you would disqualify them. You can’t ban people. I hate cancel culture. It has become quite hysterical and there’s a kind of witch hunt and a lack of understanding.”

The actress was also impassioned about the blowback that Harry Potter author Rowling has received over comments that have been criticized as transphobic. Bonham Carter played Bellatrix Lestrange in the four most recent Harry Potter films.

“It’s horrendous, a load of bollocks. I think she has been hounded,” Bonham Carter said about Rowling. “It’s been taken to the extreme, the judgmentalism of people. She’s allowed her opinion, particularly if she’s suffered abuse. Everybody carries their own history of trauma and forms their opinions from that trauma and you have to respect where people come from and their pain. You don’t all have to agree on everything — that would be insane and boring. She’s not meaning it aggressively, she’s just saying something out of her own experience.”

I hate that we’re culturally at a point where it’s a Big Deal when a public figure makes a very reasonable observation: We don’t have to agree on everything.

[Ed. note: Commenter Nic points out that there is a balancing act to what HBC said. Specifically: “Do you ban a genius for their sexual practices? There would be millions of people who if you looked closely enough at their personal life you would disqualify them.” Nic opined: “Do we cancel a genius for drugging and raping a very young teen? Well, that pretty much is beyond what I’m willing to accept in return for an entertaining 2 hr movie or 8.” I said that I didn’t think that HBC was including geniuses who commit crimes against minors in her statement. However, Nic pointed out, correctly, that HBC has worked with Roman Polanski (2012). I was completely unaware of this fact, and am now in full agreement with Nic’s point on that portion of HBC’s comment.]


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