Patterico's Pontifications

4/13/2014

The GOP In Sin City

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:12 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Untitled-1

As the GOP is currently considering holding its 2016 convention in Las Vegas, the religious right faction of the party is concerned about the party’s image being tarnished. After all, they don’t call it Sin City for nothin’.

What if the Christian delegates display an inability to exercise self-control when exposed to prostitution, strip clubs, and various other temptations? It could result in the MSM taking advantage of the opportunity to smear the party – including video manipulations, innuendo, and out-of-context reporting. However, shouldn’t we be far more concerned about our elected officials’ inability to exercise self control while in office, rather than John and Jane Delegate living it up for a few days? After all, Family Values!

Here are a few excerpts from social-conservative leaders’ letter to Republican Party Chairman Reince Preibus citing concerns about Las Vegas potentially hosting the 2016 GOP convention:

“In spite of ‘family-friendly’ outreach in the past decade, Las Vegas remains a metaphor for all things decadent. And looking at the yellow pages, one can see that it still delivers. With 64 pages of escort services and countless gambling casinos, it remains a trap waiting to ensnare.”

“At a time when the base needs to be motivated, this is no time to mute or offend them in any way. It may seem strange, silly even to some that conservatives would object to something that COULD be so innocuous. Surely there are shows and great restaurants and beautiful hotels. … What could possible go wrong? The answer is obvious, and wisdom dictates the chance not be taken.”

“There are several wonderful venues being considered. We are not advocating for any of them. But we urge you to reject Las Vegas and celebrate the vibrancy and strength of the Republican Party in a place not at odds with its values.”

The other concern is the possible appearance of the GOP cosying up to billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who donated nearly $100 million to GOP candidates and causes in 2012. After all, a suggested obeisance to one of the party’s biggest donors would be a dream come true for Harry Reid. Oh. Wait. Harry Reid and his side don’t care if it’s real, perceived, or flat out made up – they will smear no matter what.

From Red State,

It is embarrassing. A party that is trying to show it represents Main Street, not Wall Street, and the middle class, not the American aristocracy, should not put itself in a position where all the news stories suggest they want a convention in Vegas to placate a donor.

What a conundrum. How awful it would be if there was a perception that the GOP showed favor toward a big donor, or if some adult participants took Sin City literally. Because neither of these things has ever happened before, right?

If the GOP is so at odds over where to hold their convention, one doesn’t have much hope that they will be any less at odds over the more pressing issues that divide the party and have a direct impact on voters: budget, economy, jobs, massive debt, Obamacare, foreign policy, and government reform. And, if the GOP is so concerned with the optics of Las Vegas and the possible bad behavior of adults, they might be smart to first consider the optics of patronizing and infantilizing party members – especially in light of the more serious conflicts the party currently wrestles with.

“Ooh, Las Vegas, every time I hit your crystal city, I know you’re gonna make a wreck out of me.”

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Excellent post. I would like to chime in with this apropos musical reference:

3/1/2022

Least Surprising Story of the Week: Hollywood to Continue Doing Business in Russia [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:51 am



[guest post by JVW]

UPDATE 3/2/22, 8:30 am
To follow-up on Rip Murdock’s comment from late last night, several Hollywood studios have swung into action and cancelled plans for Russian premiers. Warner Bros., Universal, and Paramount are among those who are withholding their films from the Russian market, and several film and television festivals in Europe have disinvited Russian entries. Many of the nations allied against the Russian aggression have also suspended RT, the Russian news channel, with both DirecTV and Google no longer carrying the channel in their feeds.

Also, in a welcome development, Channel 4 in the United Kingdom will begin airing episodes of Servant of the People, the comedy show which led to the political career of the lead actor and now Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky. The international rights to the series had been acquired by a Swedish production company, who has also licensed it for viewing in Greece, Romania, and the Middle East.

——– Original Post ——–
Los Angeles Magazine has the details:

Even as the western world tries to dissuade Russia from continuing its invasion of Ukraine through sanctions meant to cripple its economy, Hollywood is still hungry to make whatever money it can by continuing to release its most hotly-anticipated pictures to moviegoers in the aggressor nation.

First on the slate for Russian audiences is Warner Bros.’ The Batman, which is set to start the studio’s worldwide release with a March 3 opening day in Russia. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. has no plans to pull the pic despite an appeal this weekend by the Ukrainian Film Academy for studios to boycott Russian cinema.

In an online petition, the Academy is asking producers to stop licensing their films and series for Russia, for international festivals to ban Russian films from inclusion, and for international producers to end all business dealings with Russian companies.

[. . .]

Warner Bros. — which did not return requests for comment from Los Angeles — is hardly alone in its Russian cash-grab. In fact, it’s hard to find a studio that’s not planning to send their best to Russia with love in the coming weeks.

A small sampling of American-Russian coming attractions include: Disney’s Turning Red on March 10; Sony’s Morbius and DreamWorks/Universal’s The Bad Guys on March 24; Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and 30WEST’s Chris Pine actioner The Contractor on March 31; Universal’s Michael Bay explosion, Ambulance, and Paramount’s The Lost City on April 7, plus the next installment of Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts franchise on April 14.

Happily, this piece has since been updated with an announcement by Disney that the studio no longer plans to open Turning Red in Russia next week. It will be interesting to see if this guilt-shames Sony, Universal, and the rest into following suit, but I’m not going to hold my breath. Remember this next time the Hollywood elite pompously announces that they won’t film in some state because of its “repressive” abortion or voting laws. Be ready for the entertainment mafia to don colorful ribbons in support of Ukraine on their tuxedos and gowns later this month at their vapid and increasingly unwatched big awards show, and expect a winner or two to say something mawkish and insincere about stopping the war in Ukraine in their acceptance speech, but know that at the end of the day they’ll take the rubles over the ethics almost all of the time.

– JVW

2/2/2022

Single Payer Health Care in California Fails (For Now)

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:09 am



[guest post by JVW]

CalMatters has the details:

Despite, or perhaps because of, an aggressive last-minute push by progressive activists ahead of a crucial deadline, legislation to create a government-run universal health care system in California died Monday without coming up for a vote.

The single-payer measure, Assembly Bill 1400, was the latest attempt to deliver on a longtime priority of Democratic Party faithful to get private insurers and profit margins out of health care. Because it was introduced last year, when it stalled without receiving a single hearing, it needed to pass the Assembly by Monday to continue through the legislative process.

But even the threat of losing the party’s endorsement in the upcoming election cycle was not enough to persuade the Assembly’s Democratic supermajority to advance the bill for further consideration, effectively killing the effort for another year.

Thanks to a generally strong stock market and performance of the tech sector during the COVID lockdowns the state is awash in tax revenue, so much so that some of it will likely even be returned to the taxpayers in rebate form after the May budget revision leads to the legislature probably passing a budget in June, just in time for Governor Newsom to start his summer reelection tour. It’s therefore unsurprising that hyper-progressives who have a strong presence in the legislative Democrat caucus are pushing for the state to once-and-for-all take over the burden of ensuring that all Golden State residents, irrespective of their citizenship status or even the legality of their presence here, be covered by a mandatory state-run health insurance program. Then-candidate Newsom came out in favor of single-payer health care for California during his 2018 campaign, but since then has suddenly become quiet on the issue, remaining mum on AB 1400 while grousing that the bill’s sponsors had not shared their plans with his office.

That bill’s main sponsor, Ash Kalra of San Jose, predictably blames his failure to get at least 41 of his 56 Democrat colleagues to vote to advance this bill in order to keep it from expiring (it was first introduced almost a full year ago). Assemblyman Kalra acknowledges that he fell short by “double-digits,” suggesting that as few as half of his caucus supports a Sacramento takeover of healthcare. To be sure, AB 1400 wouldn’t have immediately implemented single-payer from Chula Vista to Crescent City; the all-important financing of the program at an estimated tab of $200 billion per year would still have to be hashed out, both with those employers who currently purchase health insurance on behalf of their employees and with Washington DC, who remits to California its annual share of Medicare and Medicaid funds. But the bottom line to progressives is that passage of the bill would have made socialized medicine in the Golden State a fait accompli, and the bill called for the particulars of the program to be hammered out by a state-appointed board and approved by the legislature no later than July 1, 2024.

The move to single payer exposes a fissure within the dominant Democrat majority. The quite powerful and excessively left-wing California Nurses Association is the prime mover of this legislation, but other public employee labor unions which have worked hard to negotiate first-class health care coverage for their members (think teachers, for example) might not be too keen to be dumped into what will certainly end up being no better than a “MediCal for All” system. It’s this sort of intra-party squabble which, among so many other things, doomed native daughter Kamala Harris’s Presidential bid back in 2019.

There’s no doubt that the Democrats are sure to bring back this bill once Gavin Newsom is safely reelected. Look for him on the campaign trail to reiterate his desire for a statewide single-payer program in order to shore up his support among the Sanderistas in this state who are threatening to withhold support from Democrats who refused to back AB 1400, while at the same time issuing enough caveats about the cost of the bill and the future of the state’s finances to placate status quo Democrats who don’t want to lose the good thing they have going. In the end, expect Gov. Newsom to push forward with a single-payer plan, since that could truly shape up to be the only possible lasting legacy that this massive narcissist could leave. Naturally, he will want it to be fully implemented before he leaves office in January 2027 (jeeze, that’s a long time from now). And, of course, once California Democrats venture down this road, the rest of the national party won’t be too far behind.

– JVW

10/27/2021

Lesbians Being Pilloried for Refusing Sex with “Women” Who Turn Out to Have Male Equipment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



BBC:

“I’ve had someone saying they would rather kill me than Hitler,” says 24-year-old Jennie*.

“They said they would strangle me with a belt if they were in a room with me and Hitler. That was so bizarrely violent, just because I won’t have sex with trans women.”

Jennie is a lesbian woman. She says she is only sexually attracted to women who are biologically female and have vaginas. She therefore only has sex and relationships with women who are biologically female.

Jennie doesn’t think this should be controversial, but not everyone agrees. She has been described as transphobic, a genital fetishist, a pervert and a “terf” – a trans exclusionary radical feminist.

“There’s a common argument that they try and use that goes ‘What if you met a woman in a bar and she’s really beautiful and you got on really well and you went home and you discovered that she has a penis? Would you just not be interested?'” says Jennie, who lives in London and works in fashion.

“Yes, because even if someone seems attractive at first you can go off them. I just don’t possess the capacity to be sexually attracted to people who are biologically male, regardless of how they identify.”

My question is: why is this an issue only for lesbians? If society is forced to accept the notion that “trans women” are women in every sense, why isn’t a guy who takes a woman home to have sex, but balks upon finding out that the “woman” has a penis, a horrible transphobic monster?

I wonder how the trans community would respond. The more sensible ones would probably affirm that everyone is allowed to have sex or refuse sex with any consensual adult partner they like. But if you were ready to have sex and changed your mind only because of what you found when you undressed your prospective sex partner, aren’t you a terrible bigot by today’s standards?

6/21/2021

Israeli Food Truck Disinvited From Diversity Celebration Event Because of Rumored Threats, Organizers Cancel Event

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:39 am



[guest post by Dana]

Here’s what happened:

Moshava Philly, a mobile Israeli food business, was supposed to participate in Taste of Home, billed as an “event celebrating diversity through food, art, entertainment, community,” presented by nonprofits Eat Up the Borders and Sunflower Philly.

On Saturday, Moshava posted on Instagram that the organizers told the food truck not to come because of rumors of a protest because of the Israeli business’ presence and that they opted to “uninvite us for fear that the protesters would get aggressive and threaten their event.”

With ongoing backlash, Sunflower Philly, one of the North Fifth Street event sponsors, announced Sunday on social media that the entire fair was canceled.

“Due to the ongoing situation with one of our events partners @eatuptheborders and @moshava_philly we have decided to cancel the ‘Taste of Home’ event,” said the group Facebook post.

Untitled

Yesterday, Eat Up the Borders said that they made a “mistake”:

“Our mistake this time, with not only our event partners, but in general was not educating ourselves. And not properly making sure that everyone is properly represented. So that’s where we made the decision to cancel the event,” Melvin Powell, the executive director of Sunflower Philly, told 6ABC.

According to NBC10, Powell said that at previous events, food trucks from both Israeli and Palestinian proprietors were present, and that an agreement had been made in the past that one truck would not be present without the other.

Powell said the Palestinian truck couldn’t attend, according to NBC10. “The fact that we couldn’t accurately represent both of them is the reason why we canceled the event today,” Powell said.

So, of course, this makes me ask: If it had been any truck other than the Israeli truck that was allegedly under threat, would the event have been cancelled, or would security have been beefed up and law enforcement notified? It seems to me if your organization has a mission/vision statement that reads: ​Our mission is to break down our everyday barriers through shared experienced through language, food, and culture. ​As the EUTB team, we are here to help promote small, family, or immigrant owned businesses within the Philadelphia area. Our goal is to bring exposure through interviews and events. The fear of trying something new is understandable, but we are here to help you welcome the community to your doorstep, then this situation presented a perfect opportunity to work hard with law enforcement and the community to overcome fear, and represent all Philadelphia food businesses, including Israeli ones.

Despite the disinvite and cancellation of the event, Moshava’s Facebook page extended the benefit of the doubt to Eat Up the Borders:

“We are actively working with both eatuptheborders and sunflowerphilly and will meet with representatives from both sides in the coming days to try and educate and grow together in a safe space for everyone,” read the post from Moshava, which was founded by Israeli chef Nir Sheynfeld. “Although we were disappointed with how the situation was greatly mishandled, we do not believe the organizers’ intention came from an anti-Semitic place, but the threats they were receiving to their event were.”

However, a Philadelphia State Representative was not having it:

In a statement released Sunday, State Rep. Jared Solomon, a resident of Northeast Philadelphia and a member of the Jewish community, called the decision to disinvite the Israeli truck to an event celebrating diversity “inexcusable and further promote division.”

Solomon urged the organizers to condemn the alleged threat and to “advocate the rights of all businesses, including Moshava.” He also said he “contacted law enforcement to discuss the situation.”

Nor was Philadelphia’s District 3 Senator Sharif Street:

“It was disheartening to hear organizers of “A Taste of Home” disinvite Moshava, an Israeli food company, from participating in Philadelphia’s annual celebration of cuisine.

Philadelphia is the nation’s first World Heritage City, a global distinction as a premier place to visit, live, do business and inspire pride in heritage.

The exclusion of Moshava undermines the spirit of Philadelphia and purpose of this event, a celebration of our cultural differences while uniting communities. Their removal due to threats of violence from others is absurd and has caused division. Given the steep rise in anti-Semitism, we must be vocal and frequent defenders of the Jewish community.

I’m just going to say that Jew-hate is popular right now. As Forbes reports, there has been an uptick in fear by American Jews after a spate of recent attacks targeting Jewish people:

The survey of nearly 600 Jewish Americans by the anti-hate group found 60% reported witnessing behavior or comments they personally deemed to be anti-Semitic following the violence.

That is roughly the share of American Jews who said in a January ADL survey they had experienced anti-Semitism in the prior five years.

Over half (53%) said the level of anti-Semitic behavior or conduct, which many respondents deemed encompasses verbal attacks on the state of Israel (like comparing Israel’s actions to Nazis or calling Zionism racist), surpasses what they witnessed before the Israel-Gaza fighting began.

As a result of their observed uptick in anti-Semitism, some 40% of the Jewish Americans surveyed indicated they are “more concerned about their personal safety.”

A vast majority (77%) said they are at least somewhat concerned about anti-Semitism in America following the recent violence, while most also want federal and state leaders to do more to address the recent uptick in anti-Semitism.

305. That’s how many anti-Semitic incidents the ADL recorded in May 2021, a 115% increase from the same period last year. This included 190 cases of harassment, 50 cases of vandalism and 11 assaults.

And from the ADL CEO:

“This activity has affected more than specific individuals targeted: American Jews broadly are feeling less secure than before, and they believe strongly that our leaders need to do more to prevent further incidents,” he said in a statement.

Interestingly:

Many of the most recent incidents, by contrast, have come from perpetrators expressing support for the Palestinian cause and criticism of Israel’s right-wing government.

“This is why Jews feel so terrified in this moment,” Mr. Greenblatt said, observing that there are currents of anti-Semitism flowing from both the left and the right. “For four years it seemed to be stimulated from the political right, with devastating consequences.” But at the scenes of the most recent attacks, he noted, “no one is wearing MAGA hats.”

As it stands, members of the Jewish community are wondering, is it time to leave:

For some Jews, the last few weeks have accelerated a sense of unease that has been percolating for years.

“We’ve all read about what Jewish life was like in Europe before the Holocaust,” said Danny Groner, a member of an Orthodox synagogue in the Bronx. “There’s always this question: Why didn’t they leave? The conversation in my circles is, are we at that point right now?

–Dana

6/13/2021

Austin American-Statesman: We Refuse to “Perpetuate Stereotypes” by Releasing a Description of This Shooter … Because We Only Stereotype White People

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:35 am



Yesterday, there was a mass shooting in Austin, Texas, on Sixth Street, probably the city’s most well-known entertainment district. Up to 14 people were injured. In the hours after the shooting, the local paper, the Austin American-Statesman, declined to pass along a description of the suspect, citing the need to avoid “perpetuating stereotypes”:

Police have only released a vague description of the suspected shooter as of Saturday morning. The Austin American-Statesman is not including the description as it is too vague at this time to be useful in identifying the shooter and such publication could be harmful in perpetuating stereotypes and potentially put innocent individuals at risk. If more detailed information is released, we will update our reporting.

Since the current (incorrect) stereotype of mass shooters is that they are white males, I’m sure that’s the stereotype they were trying to avoid perpetuating, right? Lol j/k! As Andy Ngo notes, the police description of the suspect included the detail that the suspected shooter was black:

Anybody reading the “we don’t want to perpetuate stereotypes” language already knew what race the lefty editors were trying to protect. They might as well have added the other useful details that were available, like the suspect’s build, hair, and clothing.

But wait! Patterico, why do you assume that the Austin American-Statesman would take this position only with respect to a black suspect? Can you prove that they would have published a description of the shooter if he had been white? Huh? Well, can you?

Well, as it happens, I can go one better. Back in 2018, the very same Austin American-Statesman was writing about a bomber on the loose, whose package bombs had killed two people and injured a third. They didn’t have any sort of description of the suspect at all, much less one that included details like race, build, hair color, and clothing. But that didn’t stop them from speculating that it was probably one of those damned white males:

If the package bombs that have killed two Austin residents and seriously injured a third in recent weeks turn out to be the work of a single person, he or she will join a tiny but grim fraternity — serial killers whose weapon of choice was an explosive device.

The group is so small that police and psychologists’ efforts to draw meaningful conclusions about its members has met with uneven success. . . .

. . . .

Still, researchers have identified some broad characteristics that police turn to in trying to identify deadly bombers. All have been white men. While they have varied educational attainment, they were of above-average intelligence and mechanically inclined.

Almost always, they were furious.

To sum up, here is how the Austin-American-Statesman comes down on stereotyping by race:

Scenario A: a suspect description is available, and contains information about race, build, hair style, and clothing: namely, a “slim black male with dreadlocks who wore a black shirt.” Can’t publish that! That would perpetuate stereotypes!

Scenario B: we have no suspect description whatsoever. Anything we said would be pure speculation. But, you know who usually does this kind of crime, don’t you? Why, we all know the stereotype, and we will cheerfully tell you what that stereotype is: angry white males!

In short: we will gleefully stereotype by race, as long as the race we are stereotyping is whites.

If this kind of hypocrisy surprises you, please raise your hand.

I see no hands.

6/2/2021

Meanwhile, in America’s Largest City

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:32 pm



[guest post by JVW]

With all of the crazy news out there, perhaps you are like me and have paid scant attention to this month’s mayoral primary contest in New York City, in which the top two finishers, one Democrat and one Republican, will advance to a November election in which they will be joined by assorted candidates representing various other parties. Among the Democrats is last year’s Presidential aspirant Andrew Yang who has seen his fortunes fall dramatically over the past six months, from being the front-runner at the tail-end of last year to now perhaps finding himself staring up at the top two candidates. It’s a very sudden descent (Yang was leading the polling pretty strongly as recently as six weeks ago), and Kyle Smith over at National Review Online thinks he knows why:

So what happened? People started asking Yang questions about New York City. And he answered them. He has said so many embarrassing things that New Yorkers are starting to compare his leadership qualities to those of The Office’s Michael Scott. “Cringe, in many ways, has been what the Yang campaign runs on,” wrote New York Times critic James Poniewozik.

Like Trump, Yang has zero experience in government. And, like Trump, he hopes to be seen as a rich businessman who can break and/or fix things. Also like Trump, Yang lunges at every microphone and camera. He will talk to anybody, even comedians, and he is unembarrassable. Though Yang has lived in the city for 22 years, he gives off the impression that he either hasn’t been paying attention or has been out of town a lot. Poniewozik assembled against Yang the following damning indictment:

He tweeted his love of New York “bodegas” with a video of what looked like a capacious supermarket. He reminisced about waiting “in,” not “on,” line at a “NY restaurant,” Shake Shack.

To that can be added the following: Yang complained that the city is not enforcing rules against unlicensed street vendors (which felt like a dig against immigrants and the harmless yet colorful vibe they bring to the streets). He has said of fellow candidate Kathryn Garcia both that she has demonstrated incompetence by having served under Bill de Blasio and that he would hire her to manage his government for him. He has blanked out when asked basic questions about NYPD reforms, how he would pay for his fanciful idea to wrest control of the subway system from New York State, and what his favorite Jay-Z song is.

And here was the capper: Asked to name his favorite subway stop, Yang said, “Times Square.” This was evidence of some next-level cluelessness; one of the things that binds all New Yorkers together is that we all hate tourists and the wellspring from which they emerge, Times Square. The remark reinforced the perception that Yang, who grew up in the suburbs north of the city and went to boarding school at Phillips Exeter Academy, is not a true member of our strange New York City tribe.

The accusation that native son Yang is not a true New Yorker is pretty remarkable considering that the current mayor of Gotham, the execrable Bill de Blasio, spent most of his childhood living in Cambridge and continues to profess his loyalty to the Boston Red Sox, of all the ways to poke New Yorkers in the eye.

I admired Andrew Yang’s performance last year, though I acknowledge that I found his universal basic income idea a bit daffy. But Kyle Smith (another Massachusetts transplant, but one who seems to more readily identify himself as a New Yorker) judges Mr. Yang’s performance in the mayoral election this year to be almost embarrassing, from his ignorance of the city he hopes to lead to his wimpy backtracking after having expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself against Palestinian rocket fire. And Mr. Smith alerts us to a fact that I had not previously known about Mr. Yang, namely that he isn’t the amazing dot-com mogul that he and his fans would want you to believe:

Yet, unlike Trump, Yang cannot point to any entity or edifice and brag that he built it; his signature accomplishment was a flashy nonprofit career-training outfit that promised to incubate 100,000 jobs but fell 99,850 short and burned through tens of millions in donations in the process. Yang’s other achievement is climbing confidently up the rungs of private industry all the way to the position of chief of a small test-prep company you’ve never heard of. His net worth is about $1 million, according to Forbes, which for a 46-year-old lawyer in Manhattan who got his J.D. from Columbia University is slightly embarrassing. (At major city law firms, starting salaries approach $200,000.) Yang seems to think that his self-styled “entrepreneur” label makes him sound like a rich guy who doesn’t like to brag, but in fact he’s just another schmuck on the No. 2 train.

Well, somebody’s gotta be mayor of that town. I have zero opinion on any of the other candidates except for to note that they are pretty much exactly the sort of candidates you would expect in New York City of 2021. I guess we’ll find out who makes it to November soon enough, but I must confess that Kyle Smith has me seeing Andrew Yang in a whole new light, far more unflattering than how I viewed him last year.

– JVW

4/28/2021

Feds Execute Search Warrants on Rudy Giuliani (UPDATE: And Victoria Toensing)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:43 pm



The New York Times reports:

Federal investigators in Manhattan executed search warrants early Wednesday at the home and office of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who became President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, stepping up a criminal investigation into Mr. Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine, three people with knowledge of the investigation said.

The investigators seized Mr. Giuliani’s electronic devices and searched his Madison Avenue apartment and his Park Avenue office at about 6 a.m., two of the people said.

. . . .

The federal authorities have largely focused on whether Mr. Giuliani illegally lobbied the Trump administration in 2019 on behalf of Ukrainian officials and oligarchs, who at the time were helping Mr. Giuliani search for damaging information on Mr. Trump’s political rivals, including Mr. Biden, who was then a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Investigators waited until Wednesday as part of the federal government’s longstanding practice of carrying out significant actions relating to people in former president Trump’s orbit on a Wednesday, thus screwing up Josh Barro and Ken White, who record their podcast on Wednesday mornings.

The best line I have seen so far:

Meanwhile Rudy is doing what Rudy does best: planning to run his mouth.

Screen Shot 2021-04-28 at 12.18.04 PM

I flogged this in 2019, over and over, and I’m going to flog it again today: does it seem weird to anyone else that, at the same time Rudy’s pals Parnas and Fruman were pursuing a liquefied gas venture in Ukraine, everybody wanted to jump start an investigation relating to Burisma — a natural gas company? To quote myself, again:

Lost in the stories about the indictment is a significant fact: Parnas and Fruman were pursuing a liquefied gas venture in Ukraine, and thus could have benefited financially from an investigation of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest natural gas company. In this connection, I think it’s worth quoting at length from a post I wrote on October 2, nine days ago:

It’s good to see that Trump superfans are totally concerned about people with ties to the U.S. government using those ties to further their personal interests, or the interests of people they represent. That’s how I know Trump superfans will totally be Very Concerned about this:

The hunt by President Trump’s attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani for material in Ukraine damaging to Democrats has put a spotlight on business ties he has had in the former Soviet republic for at least a decade, work that has introduced him to high-level Ukrainian financial and political circles.

Giuliani has said he has been working for free solely to benefit his client, Trump, as he has sought information from Ukrainian officials — an effort that has spurred a House impeachment inquiry into whether the president abused his power.

However, House investigators are now seeking records about Giuliani’s past clientele in Ukraine, including Pavel Fuks, a wealthy developer who financed consulting work Giuliani did in 2017 for the city of Kharkiv. That same year, according to court filings, Fuks said he was banned from entering the United States for five years. The documents do not specify why.

House committees have also requested documents and depositions from two of Giuliani’s current clients, Florida-based businessmen who have been pursuing opportunities in Ukraine for a new liquefied natural gas venture.

The men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, have been assisting Giuliani’s push to get Ukrainian officials to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son and Giuliani’s claim that Democrats conspired with Ukrainians in the 2016 campaign.

A new liquefied natural gas venture. Hmmmmmmm. Does that sound familiar, Trump superfans?

Oooh! I know. Burisma is a natural gas company. In fact, the largest one in Ukraine.

And Rudy represents their competitors. Competitors who would stand to gain a lot if Burisma were criminally investigated in Ukraine.

Hmmmmmm.

By the way: why didn’t this happen earlier? That would be because Billy Barr’s DoJ kept blocking career prosecutors’ attempts to obtain a search warrant:

The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan and the F.B.I. had sought for months to secure search warrants for Mr. Giuliani’s phones and electronic devices.

Under Mr. Trump, senior political appointees in the Justice Department repeatedly sought to block such a warrant, The New York Times reported, slowing the investigation as it was gaining momentum last year. After Merrick B. Garland was confirmed as Mr. Biden’s attorney general, the Justice Department lifted its objection to the search.

Why, other than Giuliani being Trump’s lawyer, would the Trump toadies be concerned by a warrant on Giuliani? Let’s dig even deeper, shall we? Victoria Toensing was also targeted by the feds today:

F.B.I. agents on Wednesday morning also executed a search warrant at the Washington-area home of Victoria Toensing, a lawyer close to Mr. Giuliani who had dealings with several Ukrainians involved in seeking negative information on the Bidens, according to people with knowledge of that warrant, which sought her phone.

Ms. Toensing, a former federal prosecutor and senior Justice Department official, has also represented Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch under indictment in the United States whose help Mr. Giuliani sought.

The name “Dmitry Firtash” also should sound familiar to regular readers. I commend to you this post I wrote on November 25, 2019, which (to my knowledge uniquely and originally, at the time) made the connection between Firtash’s indictment for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and a Very Mysterious Meeting Giuliani had held with DoJ officials — before those officials were aware that Giuliani was being criminally investigated — with the purpose of said meeting being “to discuss a case related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.” I can’t summarize the entirety of my argument from my 2019 post, but here was my conclusion:

You tell me, but to me it sounds a lot like Giuliani promised this Firtash guy help with his case — and delivered, using his connections with Trump to leverage a meeting with the guy running the Criminal Division (a guy, Brian Benczkowski, who has ties to a prominent Russian bank, by the way, who helped Barr make an instantaneous determination that the Ukranian mess was not criminal action on Trump’s part) — apparently in trade for help with getting dirt on Biden.

And getting dirt on Biden, we all know, was very important to one Donald J. Trump. Why, I seem to recall his being impeached over it, in fact.

It’s probably also worth noting that in December 2019, about three weeks after I wrote that post, it was reported that Firtash’s lawyer had made a $1 million payment to Parnas.

“Always trust content from Patterico,” I tell you folks all the time. In coming days and weeks, I guess we’ll get to see just how prescient I was about all of this.

UPDATE: Never mind?

UPDATE x2: Nope, I think there may be a connection there after all.

4/14/2021

Florida Businesses Prohibited From Requiring Patrons To Provide Documentation of Covid-19 Vaccination

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:21 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Even before the pandemic, you wouldn’t find me on a cruise ship. Now, “vacationing” on a giant floating petri dish where there is no requirement for proof of Covid-19 vaccination makes it even a harder pass for me:

Florida and cruise companies could be locked in a battle over vaccine requirements as the state puts a ban on vaccine passports while cruise lines continue to mandate the jabs for passengers and crew.

On April 2, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order banning vaccine passports and local businesses from requiring this proof of vaccination. This ban applies to cruise lines as well…

“The Governor’s Executive Order provides that businesses in Florida are prohibited from requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business,” McCloud told Insider in an email. “Therefore, the Executive Order prohibits cruise lines from requiring vaccine passports for their Florida operations.”

The CDC lists the most common causes for visits to a ship’s medical center:

Approximately 3%–11% of conditions reported to cruise ship medical centers are urgent or an emergency. Approximately 95% of illnesses are treated or managed onboard, and 5% require evacuation and shoreside consultation for medical, surgical, or dental problems. Roughly half of passengers who seek medical care are older than 65 years of age. Most medical center visits are due to acute illnesses, of which respiratory illnesses (19%–29%); seasickness (10%–25%); injuries from slips, trips, or falls (12%–18%); and gastrointestinal (GI) illness (9%–10%) are the most frequently reported diagnoses. Death rates for cruise ship passengers, most often from cardiovascular events, range from 0.6 to 9.8 deaths per million passenger-nights.

The most frequently reported cruise ship outbreaks involve respiratory infections, GI infections (such as norovirus), and vaccine-preventable diseases other than influenza, such as varicella (chickenpox). To reduce the risk of onboard introduction of communicable diseases by embarking passengers, ships may conduct medical screening during embarkation to identify ill passengers, preventing them from boarding or requiring isolation if they are allowed to board.

And specifically, Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPDs):

Although most cruise ship passengers are from countries with routine vaccination programs (such as the United States and Canada), many crew members originate from developing countries with low immunization rates. Outbreaks of measles, rubella, meningococcal disease and, most commonly, varicella, have been reported on cruise ships. Preventive measures to reduce the spread of VPDs onboard cruise ships should be followed:

All passengers should be up-to-date with routine vaccinations before travel, as well as any required or recommended vaccinations specific for their destinations…

Crew members should have documented proof of immunity to VPDs

Some cruise lines have already announced their plans to protect crew and guests:

Part of Norwegian Cruise Lines Holding’s return to sailing plan includes a sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandate for both guests and crew aboard Norwegian’s three brands: Norwegian, Oceania, and Regent Seven Seas. The ships will also initially operate at a reduced capacity, and will implement several other health protocols to create a “safe, ‘bubble-like’ environment.”

Silversea Cruises became the second major cruise line to announce it will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all passengers when it resumes global itineraries on June 5.

Meanwhile, Gov. DeSantis is facing questions about whether he has the authority to impose the ban:

The Coast Guard and the CDC have asserted control over pandemic-related cruise line activity at the port, but most decisions have been made by a “unified command” that includes the state, federal and county governments, working with the cruise lines, said Ellen Kennedy, spokeswoman for Port Everglades.

Asked about DeSantis’ assertion, Port Director Jonathan Daniels said by email: “We are working with the cruise lines and through all local, state and federal regulations and guidelines to effect a safe restart to cruising.”

…Jim Walker – an attorney based in South Florida with a specialization in maritime law – who told the Sun Sentinel that DeSantis may not have the jurisdiction needed to either prohibit cruise lines from enforcing a vaccine mandate or bring cruises back.

Here is a report about different cruise lines and their current position on requiring ( or not requiring) proof of Covid-19 vaccinations.

I’ll leave you with a little trip down memory lane:

There is little doubt among experts that the handling of the virus on board the Diamond Princess was an abject failure from the onset. Simply put by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the (US) National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, “…it failed”[8].

Despite this acknowledgment, there is still no clear answer on who should be in charge in future situations that mimic this one. The Japanese government and the Diamond Princess corporate leadership disagreed from the beginning about who was in charge. At the time, the Japanese officials feared bringing potentially infected passengers onshore, since there was no clear place to quarantine everyone. And, they did not want the virus to spread throughout Japan.

After 39 days on the ship (and over three weeks in quarantine) the last of the 2,666 passengers finally disembarked and began their journeys home on February 27th; only to reset the clock and begin an additional two-week quarantine in their home countries. However, the ship remained docked in Japan for another three months while the company focused its efforts on quarantining and repatriating the remaining crew members who had not yet departed on government charter flights[9].

–Dana

1/15/2021

Biden Plans to Impose $15 Minimum Wage on Hurting Businesses, Including Restaurants

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Not great, Bob!

Perhaps most egregious is a proposal to more than double the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour—including for employees who regularly receive additional tips, for which the current minimum wage is $2.13. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that even gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 in a growing economy would likely kill 1.3 million jobs, and perhaps as many as 3.7 million. Imposing a drastic minimum wage increase on small businesses that are already struggling to stay afloat during a recession is especially absurd. Moreover, forcing restaurants, which are failing at record rates, to raise their own tipped minimum wage by 600 percent is economic malpractice. Perhaps high-cost cities like New York City and San Francisco can afford a much higher minimum wage, but other parts of America with lower incomes and prices will not be able to absorb this policy. It has no business in a relief package.

You want higher unemployment, this is how you get it.

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