Posts Tagged ‘Media Watch’

AOC Immanentizes The Eschaton

Sunday, July 14th, 2019

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, deeply enmeshed in her “politics is personality” worldview, awakens from her slumbers to notice that Alexandria Ocasio Cortez threatens the very core of the Democratic Party:

Pelosi told me, after the A.O.C. Squad voted against the House’s version of the border bill and trashed the moderates — the very people who provided the Democrats the majority — that the Squad was four people with four votes. She was talking about a legislative reality. If it was a knock, it was for abandoning the party.

That did not merit A.O.C.’s outrageous accusation that Pelosi was targeting “newly elected women of color.” She slimed the speaker, who has spent her life fighting for the downtrodden and who was instrumental in getting the first African-American president elected and passing his agenda against all odds, as a sexist and a racist.

A.O.C. should consider the possibility that people who disagree with her do not disagree with her color.

Why on earth would she do that? For years, if not decades, accusing random people of racism has been the social justice warrior finishing move for every occasion, the magic incantation that makes people back down and give in. Every person and problem in the world is a nail, and accusations of racism (or sexism, or gay bashing, or Islamophobia, or whateverphobia) is the hammer to be used on everything. You expect her to stop now, just because her far left lunacy is endangering the key hold on power absolutely vital to keeping the insane and corrupt wings of the Democratic Party together?

And then there’s the real instigator, Saikat Chakrabarti, A.O.C.’s 33-year-old chief of staff, who co-founded Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, both of which recruited progressives — including A.O.C. — to run against moderates in Democratic primaries. The former Silicon Valley Bernie Bro assumed he could apply Facebook’s mantra, “Move fast and break things,” to one of the oldest institutions in the country.

But Congress is not a place where you achieve radical progress — certainly not in divided government. It’s a place where you work at it and work at it and don’t get everything you want.

The progressives act as though anyone who dares disagree with them is bad. Not wrong, but bad, guilty of some human failing, some impurity that is a moral evil that justifies their venom.

You mean they consider their opponents deplorable? Or irredeemable?

Wow, are you just now noticing this trend, Ms. Dowd? Just now? Social justice warriors have been dragging opponents for decades with false accusations of racism for daring to depart from the victimhood identity politics line, but it’s just now, just now that it’s aimed at the sacred Democratic Party institution of Nancy Pelosi that you finally deign to notice? That’s like living in the penthouse of a 20 story building, watching a raging fire consume the first 18 floors, and then, only when it’s reached the 19th floor, do you finally perceive that the building is on fire. Not in the 1980s, when people first started to use the phrase “political correctness,” not the thousands of false accusations of racism hurled against decent, non-racist people who happened to be Republicans over the decades, no it’s just now that you finally recognize the viper Democrats have clasped to their bosom all these years.

And it’s only just now that you recognize the horrific threat it holds to Democrats clinging to any sort of nationwide political power.

She goes on to quote Rahm Emanuel:

We fought for years to create the majorities to get a Democratic president elected and re-elected, and they’re going to dither it away. They have not decided what’s more important: Do they want to beat Trump or do they want to clear the moderate and centrists out of the party? You really think weakening the speaker is the right strategy to try to get rid of Donald Trump and everything he stands for?”

I think Emanuel’s wrong, I think they have decided. To the hard left, gaining control of the party levers of power is far more important than winning elections. It is moderate Democrats who must be defeated, as they’re the ones preventing the SJW ranks of the righteous from immanentizing the eschaton. We saw this in Texas, where the hard left pushed moderates out of the state Democratic Party as means of seizing control, with the result that they haven’t elected a statewide office-holder since 1994.

The SJW left didn’t undertake their long march through the Democratic Party merely to bow to moderates from unfashionable hinterlands like Georgia and Kentucky, no matter how necessary they might be to forge an actual House majority. Without those moderates, 2006 doesn’t happen and 2018 doesn’t happen, and Pelosi is never Speaker. AOC’s cadres don’t care. Pelosi is just another obstacle that stands between them and control of the party. And if you disagree with them, if you stand in their way, you are a racist, QED.

Compounding the problem for Pelosi and Democrats: Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has become the face of the Democratic Party for independents, and they don’t like what they see:

Top Democrats are circulating a poll showing that one of the House’s most progressive members — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — has become a definitional face for the party with a crucial group of swing voters.

  • Why it matters: These Democrats are sounding the alarm that swing voters know and dislike socialism, warning it could cost them the House and the presidency. The poll is making the rounds of some of the most influential Democrats in America.
  • “If all voters hear about is AOC, it could put the [House] majority at risk,” said a top Democrat who is involved in 2020 congressional races. “[S]he’s getting all the news and defining everyone else’s races.”
  • The poll — taken in May, before Speaker Pelosi’s latest run-in with AOC and the three other liberal House freshmen known as “The Squad” — included 1,003 likely general-election voters who are white and have two years or less of college education.

  • These are the “white, non-college voters” who embraced Donald Trump in 2016 but are needed by Democrats in swing House districts.
  • The group that took the poll shared the results with Axios on the condition that it not be named, because the group has to work with all parts of the party.
  • The findings:

  • Ocasio-Cortez was recognized by 74% of voters in the poll; 22% had a favorable view.
  • Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — another member of The Squad — was recognized by 53% of the voters; 9% (not a typo) had a favorable view.
  • Socialism was viewed favorably by 18% of the voters and unfavorably by 69%.

  • Capitalism was 56% favorable; 32% unfavorable.
  • “Socialism is toxic to these voters,” said the top Democrat.
  • The genius of Trump is that his unorthodox, street-brawler style has goaded Democratic activists into letting their masks of moderation slip. They seem to believe that a majority of Americans share their absolute instinctual aesthetic loathing of Trump, and this delusion has lead them into foolishly telling Americans what they actually want: completely socialize medicine, open borders for a new flood of illegal aliens, transsexuals as the latest unchallenged victim class, etc. Trapped in their self-enforced media bubble, they don’t see how ordinary Americans recoil in horror at their vision, and AOC’s hardcore activists don’t care.

    Who worries about the petty concerns of the racist petite bourgeoisie when there’s a revolution to conduct?

    Democratic Clown Car Update for July 8, 2019

    Monday, July 8th, 2019

    Biden is down, Harris is up, Gravel is out, Swallwell is soon to follow out, Tom Steyer is getting in, and Williamson sends out a fundraising request…for Gravel. It’s your Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update!

    Polls

    This week’s polls are really interesting, and divergent. Some show Biden with a huge slump and Harris with a huge bump, while others only show a tiny bit of movement each way:

  • ABC News/Washington Post: Biden 30, Sanders 19, Harris 13, Warren 12, Buttigieg 4, Castro 3, Klobuchar 2, O’Rourke 2, Bennet 1, Booker 1, Hickenlooper 1, Inslee 1, Williamson 1, Gabbard 1. (Those are from the registered voters only screen, read from a list of candidates (question 6), which is what RealClearPolitics is tracking; the numbers are different if voters name their own candidate (question 5).)
  • Economist/YouGov (page 162): Biden 21, Warren 18, Harris 13, Sanders 10, Buttigieg 9, O’Rourke 3, Booker 2, Castro 2, Bennet 1, Bullock 1, de Blasio 1, Gabbard 1, Gillibrand 1, Inslee 1, Klobuchar 1.
  • Quinnipiac: Biden 22, Harris 20, Warren 14, Sanders 13, Buttigieg 4, Booker 3, O’Rourke 1, Klobuchar 1, Castro 1, Gabbard 1, Yang 1.
  • CNN: Biden 22, Harris 17, Warren 15, Sanders 14, Buttigieg 4, Booker 3, O’Rourke 3, Klobuchar 2. Castro 1, de Blasio 1, Gabbard 1, Yang 1.
  • Harvard Harris (page 151; be prepared to zoom in): Biden 34, Sanders 15, Warren 11, Harris 9, Buttigieg 3, O’Rourke 2, Gabbard 2, Klobuchar 1, Bloomberg (!) 1, Castro 1, Yang 1, Delaney 1, Hickenlooper 1, Ryan 1, Gillibrand 1.
  • Real Clear Politics
  • 538 polls
  • Election betting markets
  • Q2 Fundraising

    Q2 numbers continue to trickle out. Some polls show Harris within striking distance of Biden, but so far her fundraising doesn’t reflect it.

    1. Pete Buttigieg: $24.8 million
    2. Joe Biden: $21.5 million
    3. Bernie Sanders: $18 million (plus $6 million transferred from “other accounts”)
    4. Kamala Harris: $12 million
    5. Michael Bennet: $2.8 million
    6. Steve Bullock: $2 million

    Notice who hasn’t announced anything yet? Elizabeth Warren. Bad fundraising quarter?

    For sake of comparison, President Donald Trump raised $105 million for his reelection campaign.

    Pundits, etc.

  • Kurt Schlichter: Trump Just Won in 2020.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty good about the election after last week’s two-day Democratic clusterfark, and the president has got to be feeling pretty good too, since he just won it. Oh, we have 17 more months of media pimping of whichever commie candidate is currently the least embarrassing, but the debates made it very clear that Trump is going to be POTUS until Ric Grenell is on the victorious GOP ticket in 2024.

    In the Dems’ defense, they do have an uphill battle. The economy is on fire, we’ve dodged all the new wars our garbage elite has proposed, Mueller (who went unmentioned) delivered only humiliation, and all 723 Democrats running are geebos. But say what you will, they are a diverse bunch in every way except thought – among the weirdos, losers and mutations onstage were a fake Indian, a furry, a guy so dumb he quotes Che in Miami, a raving weather cultist, America’s shrill first wife, a distinctly non-fabulous gay guy, T-Bone’s homie, whatever the hell Andrew Yang is, and Stevie Nicks.

    But it was the thought part where they came together in a festival of insane acclamation. They agreed on everything, and it was all politically suicidal. Yeah, Americans are thrilled about the idea of subsidizing Marxist puppetry students and getting kicked off their health insurance so that they can put their lives in the hands of the people who brought you the DMV.

    Exactly who, outside of Manhattan and Scat Francisco, think Americans are dying to stop even our feeble enforcement of the border, make illegal immigration not illegal, never send illegals home once they get here and – think about this – take our tax money to give these foreigners who shouldn’t even be here in the first place better free health care than our vets get? That should go well in places like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. I eagerly await Salena Zito’s interview with a bunch of construction workers at a diner near Pittsburg who tell her, “It really bugs me, Lou and Joe here that those people coming into the country illegally aren’t getting free heath care on our dime. We all want to work an extra shift so we can give it to ‘em. We need a president who finally puts foreigners first! Also, we all agree we ought to give up our deer rifles because people in Cory Booker’s neighborhood can’t stop shooting each other.”

  • Democrats are not on a winning track:

    Presidential candidates from both parties usually sound hard-core in the primaries to appeal to their progressive or conservative bases. But for the general election, the nominees move to the center to pick off swing voters and centrist independents.

    Voters put up with the scripted tactic as long as a candidate had not gone too extreme in the primaries and endorsed positions too far out of the mainstream.

    A good example of this successful ploy was Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. In the primary against Hillary Clinton, Obama ran to her left. But he was still careful not to get caught on the record going too far left. That way, he was still able to tack to the center against John McCain in the general election.

    As a general election candidate, Obama rejected the idea of gay marriage. He blasted illegal immigration. He railed against deficit spending. And he went so far as to label then-President George W. Bush as “unpatriotic” for taking out “a credit card from the bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt.”

    The result was that Obama was elected. After taking office, in cynical fashion he endorsed gay marriage, ran up far more red ink than did Bush, offered blanket amnesties, and relaxed immigration enforcement.

    Yet the current crop of would-be Democratic nominees has forgotten the old script entirely. Nearly all of them are currently running so hard to the left that the successful nominee will never be able to appear moderate.

    Bernie Sanders leads the charge for abolishing all student debt. Kamala Harris wants reparations for slavery. Joe Biden talks of jailing health insurance executives if they falsely advertise.

    The entire field seems to agree that it should not be a criminal offense to enter the U.S. illegally. The consensus appears to be that no illegal entrant will be deported unless he or she has committed a serious crime.

    Not a single Democratic candidate has expressed reservations about abortions, and a number of them have fought proposed restrictions on partial-birth abortions.

    Elizabeth Warren has said guns are a national health emergency and would not rule out the possibility of federal gun confiscation.

    Early in the campaign, no major Democratic candidate has questioned the Green New Deal and its radical proposals. No one has much objected to dismantling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or scrapping the Electoral College. An unworkable wealth tax and a top marginal income tax rate of 70 percent or higher are also okay.

    Yet none of these positions currently wins 51 percent of public support, according to polls.

    What are the Democratic frontrunners thinking?

  • The Democrats’ illegal alien schemes are completely unworkable, says Obama’s own DHS chief:

    Democratic presidential candidates have “unworkable” and “unwise” immigration policies, according to Obama administration Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson.

    “That is tantamount to declaring publicly that we have open borders,” Johnson told the Washington Post on Tuesday, referring to a push to decriminalize illegal immigration. “That is unworkable, unwise and does not have the support of a majority of American people or the Congress, and if we had such a policy, instead of 100,000 apprehensions a month, it will be multiples of that.”

    Johnson’s comments follow sharp criticism of the 2020 Democratic contenders, who all raised their hands during the second night of debates when asked if illegal immigrants should receive taxpayer-funded health insurance (let’s not forget that Obamacare penalized American citizens who weren’t covered).

  • “Did the Russians pay the 2020 Democratic candidates to throw the 2020 election to President Donald Trump? Watching all four hours of the first Democratic debates, it became increasingly difficult to reach any other conclusion.”

    The candidates unanimously agreed on “Medicare for All” and that it should cover illegal aliens — or as the moderator and candidates generally called them, the “undocumented.” Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., even said that Medicare for All requires the elimination of private health insurance. Sanders correctly asserted that a majority of Americans support Medicare for All. What he did not say, however, is that support steeply drops once people are informed that their taxes will go up to pay for it or when they learn that they may experience longer waiting periods before receiving health care. But give Sanders credit. Asked whether he intends to increase taxes on the middle class to pay for his health care plan, Sanders, after talking about the elimination of premiums, co-pays and deductibles, said that, yes, the middle class would pay more taxes.

    Snip.

    The biggest loser at the Democrat debates, however, was the American taxpayer. In addition to “universal health care,” Sanders touted his plan to hit up taxpayers for “free college” and student debt forgiveness. The candidates agreed that illegal entry into the U.S. ought not be a crime but rather a civil violation. This would simply encourage more illegal entry. How much would this cost the taxpayers just for the education of their children in public schools?

    And a big issue was AWOL in the debate. Not brought up by any moderator, even though it enjoys the support of the most blacks, was the issue of reparations. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Harris all support reparations. Yet the only who brought it up, and then in passing, was fringe candidate Marianne Williamson. Why would the debate’s moderators omit a topic being widely discussed during the Democratic primary campaign? The answer is that the issue of reparations is a political loser. Polls and surveys suggest that the majority of blacks support it, but that’s about it. It appears that moderators did not want the candidates endorsing an issue so unpopular. The candidates, of course, could have volunteered their support for reparations. But with the exception of Williamson, they elected not to.

  • Why are Harris and Booker talking like it’s still the 1960s?

    After Obama served two terms as president; after Oprah became one of the richest people Earth has ever known; after America became history’s most diverse nation where the descendants of black slaves, as a group, are more successful than any that ever existed, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris are talking about race as if we’re still living in the ‘60s. And they do it not to solve real moral and socioeconomic problems in poor black communities – but to get political power.

    It’s infuriating.

    Cory and Kamala are mixing anecdotal scraps from America’s bad old days with “microaggressions” from today’s classroom racism, to cobble together a political scarecrow that tricks people into believing that racial oppression still exists. It doesn’t.

  • Greg Gutfeld thinks that Biden looks tired and Harris will be the nominee. Eh, I think he’s falling prey to recency bias here. Biden has plenty of time to recover, and Harris to stumble, between now and Iowa.
  • Ten candidates appeared at the NEA convention in Houston, including Biden, Warren, Castro, O’Rourke. I’d love to tell you who else, but the Texas Tribune couldn’t be bothered to actually name the rest.
  • Candidates who will have a tough time making the fall debates:

    Currently, the only locks for the fall debates are former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke is likely to qualify, but after an underwhelming debate performance last week, even he is not guaranteed to make the polling threshold. Only polls taken between June 28 and Aug. 28 will count.

  • Now on to the clown car itself:

  • Losing Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams: Maybe? Sheriff David Clarke notes that Abrams is no longer a rising star:

    Abrams continues to traverse the country in a state of delusion, telling audiences that she won her race for Georgia governor but that it was stolen from her through racist Republican gerrymandering. She lost by 55,000 votes, not even enough to trigger an automatic recount. Georgia has 156 counties. Abrams won—are you ready for this—20 counties. The only reason the race was as close as it was is because she won Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia and where 54% of blacks live. The reality is that she lost because her base of support didn’t go outside of Atlanta. It wasn’t diverse enough, ironically. She tried to get elected to the highest office in the state of Georgia by basically winning in one county. Maybe she should have considered building her bio by running for mayor of Atlanta first and governing from there. Her ambition wouldn’t allow that. She was trying to be the first—as in first black and female governor of Georgia. She could not fulfill being the first black mayor of Atlanta. Maynard Jackson beat her to it having become Atlanta’s first black mayor in 1974. Democrats are still trying to become the first in some office whether regarding skin color, gender, or sexual preference.

    Now Democrats want to force Stacey Abrams down the throats of the rest of America after the voters of Georgia rejected her. They mention her as a potential presidential or VP candidate. She has a thin resume just like a replay of Obama circa 2008. I hope that conservatives push back this time with the gumption they did not have in 2008 when they decided to flaunt their racial sensitivity because of the fear of being called racists.

    Let me get the drumbeat in rejecting Stacey Abrams for national office started. Too many in the GOP will be afraid to do so. She is a flawed candidate with no real political experience outside of activism. She is a career race-baiter having started a voter registration campaign called the New Georgia Project, which was investigated for voter fraud, and that was unable and unwilling to say what the organization did with the $3.6 million they raised to register voters. It failed.

  • Colorado Senator Michael Bennet: In. Twitter. Facebook. Gets an LA Times interview. For a supposed moderate, there’s evidently nothing Obama did that Bennet hasn’t endorsed, including the Iran deal.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: In. Twitter. Facebook. The MSM finally takes a look at Hunter Biden’s business entanglements, something they failed to do when Joe Biden was Obama’s Vice President for eight years:

    In September, 2008, Hunter launched a boutique consulting firm, Seneca Global Advisors, named for the largest of the Finger Lakes, in New York State, where his mother had grown up. In pitch meetings with prospective clients, Hunter said that he could help small and mid-sized companies expand into markets in the U.S. and other countries. In June, 2009, five months after Joe Biden became Vice-President, Hunter co-founded a second company, Rosemont Seneca Partners, with Christopher Heinz, Senator John Kerry’s stepson and an heir to the food-company fortune, and Devon Archer, a former Abercrombie & Fitch model who started his finance career at Citibank in Asia and who had been friends with Heinz at Yale. (Heinz and Archer already had a private-equity fund called Rosemont Capital.) Heinz believed that Hunter would share his aversion to entering into business deals that could attract public scrutiny, but over time Hunter and Archer seized opportunities that did not include Heinz, who was less inclined to take risks.

    In 2012, Archer and Hunter talked to Jonathan Li, who ran a Chinese private-equity fund, Bohai Capital, about becoming partners in a new company that would invest Chinese capital—and, potentially, capital from other countries—in companies outside China. In June, 2013, Li, Archer, and other business partners signed a memorandum of understanding to create the fund, which they named BHR Partners, and, in November, they signed contracts related to the deal. Hunter became an unpaid member of BHR’s board but did not take an equity stake in BHR Partners until after his father left the White House.

    In December, 2013, Vice-President Biden flew to Beijing to meet with President Xi Jinping. Biden often asked one of his grandchildren to accompany him on his international trips, and he invited Finnegan to come on this one. Hunter told his father that he wanted to join them. According to a Beijing-based BHR representative, Hunter, shortly after arriving in Beijing, on December 4th, helped arrange for Li to shake hands with his father in the lobby of the American delegation’s hotel. Afterward, Hunter and Li had what both parties described as a social meeting. Hunter told me that he didn’t understand why anyone would have been concerned about this. “How do I go to Beijing, halfway around the world, and not see them for a cup of coffee?” he said.

    Hunter’s meeting with Li and his relationship with BHR attracted little attention at the time, but some of Biden’s advisers were worried that Hunter, by meeting with a business associate during his father’s visit, would expose the Vice-President to criticism. The former senior White House aide told me that Hunter’s behavior invited questions about whether he “was leveraging access for his benefit, which just wasn’t done in that White House. Optics really mattered, and that seemed to be cutting it pretty close, even if nothing nefarious was going on.” When I asked members of Biden’s staff whether they discussed their concerns with the Vice-President, several of them said that they had been too intimidated to do so. “Everyone who works for him has been screamed at,” a former adviser told me. Others said that they were wary of hurting his feelings. One business associate told me that Biden, during difficult conversations about his family, “got deeply melancholy, which, to me, is more painful than if someone yelled and screamed at me. It’s like you’ve hurt him terribly. That was always my fear, that I would be really touching a very fragile part of him.”

    For another venture, Archer travelled to Kiev to pitch investors on a real-estate fund he managed, Rosemont Realty. There, he met Mykola Zlochevsky, the co-founder of Burisma, one of Ukraine’s largest natural-gas producers. Zlochevsky had served as ecology minister under the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych. After public protests in 2013 and early 2014, the Ukrainian parliament had voted to remove Yanukovych and called for his arrest. Under the new Ukrainian government, authorities in Kiev, with the encouragement of the Obama Administration, launched an investigation into whether Zlochevsky had used his cabinet position to grant exploration licenses that benefitted Burisma. (The status of the inquiry is unclear, but no proof of criminal activity has been publicly disclosed. Zlochevsky could not be reached for comment, and Burisma did not respond to queries.) In a related investigation, which was ultimately closed owing to a lack of evidence, British authorities temporarily froze U.K. bank accounts tied to Zlochevsky.

    In early 2014, Zlochevsky sought to assemble a high-profile international board to oversee Burisma, telling prospective members that he wanted the company to adopt Western standards of transparency. Among the board members he recruited was a former President of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, who had a reputation as a dedicated reformer. In early 2014, at Zlochevsky’s suggestion, Kwaśniewski met with Archer in Warsaw and encouraged him to join Burisma’s board, arguing that the company was critical to Ukraine’s independence from Russia. Archer agreed.

    When Archer told Hunter that the board needed advice on how to improve the company’s corporate governance, Hunter recommended the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, where he was “of counsel.” The firm brought in the investigative agency Nardello & Co. to assess Burisma’s history of corruption. Hunter joined Archer on the Burisma board in April, 2014. Three months later, in a draft report to Boies Schiller, Nardello said that it was “unable to identify any information to date regarding any current government investigation into Zlochevsky or Burisma,” but cited unnamed sources saying that Zlochevsky could be “vulnerable to investigation for financial crimes” and for “perceived abuse of power.”

    Vice-President Biden was playing a central role in overseeing U.S. policy in Ukraine, and took the lead in calling on Kiev to fight rampant corruption. On May 13, 2014, after Hunter’s role on the Burisma board was reported in the news, Jen Psaki, a State Department spokesperson, said that the State Department was not concerned about perceived conflicts of interest, because Hunter was a “private citizen.”

    Funny how the Clinton and Biden kin are always “private citizens,” but any low-level Trump staffer bumping into a Russian was cause for ruining his life. One amazing thing about that New Yorker piece is how it was obviously written by someone sympathetic to the Bidens, but which nonetheless paints a devastating portrait of a Vice President’s son deeply entangled in foreign interests. And I haven’t even talked about the cocaine and alcohol abuse. Joe Biden wants to bring back the ObamaCare individual mandate. Remember how super popular that turned out to be for Democrats in the 2010 election? Speaking of reruns, Biden says he’s open to renominating Merrick Garland. Something tells me that the activist base has discovered that Garland is, in fact, an old white man sometime since 2016…

  • New Jersey Senator Cory Booker: In. Twitter. Facebook. Cory Booker wants catch and release for illegal aliens, so no more of that icky “detention.” Booker is a “unifyer,” or so says that paragon of unity, Al Sharpton. “I’m shocked, SHOCKED that there’s big pharmacy money flowing into the Democratic Presidential Primaries!” “Your big pharmacy donations, Mr. Booker.”
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock: In. Twitter. Facebook. Among Bullock’s Q2 donors: Jane Fonda. “2020 Democratic candidate Bullock open to Keystone XL pipeline.” And there’s your first sign that Bullock is thinking of dropping out of the Presidential race and filing for a senate run against Steve Daines in 2020 (he’s term-limited as governor).
  • South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: In. Twitter. Facebook. Let the black pandering begin! “Pete Buttigieg Uses Essence Festival to Start His Rehab With Black Voters.” Also: “Democrat Buttigieg announces minority-focused small business investment plan.” With as much money as he’s raised, and with Harris and Booker in the race, I’m not sure making a play for minority voters is the best use of his time and money. He should be attacking Biden and making a play for what’s left of the Democratic Party’s white working class voters. I guess this support for striking workers qualifies, but given they’re striking on Martha’s Vineyard, I suspect the “working class solidarity” vibe is somewhat muted. Then again, he says Democrats need to veer further left to win in 2020, so maybe his “moderate’ reputation is overblown.
  • Former San Antonio Mayor and Obama HUD Secretary Julian Castro: In. Twitter. Facebook. For all this talk of Castro having a “breakout debate,” what it seems to boil down to is he went from 1% to 3% in the polls…at best. He says he’s feeling better, but can’t quote climb out of the corpse wagon on his own power. Like a good little social justice warrior, Castro is falling in line and declaring the Betsy Ross flag as racist. And speaking of being a good social justice warrior, he says the reason he can’t speak Spanish is “internalized oppression.” Said he had a “better” fundraising quarter, but hasn’t released his Q2 numbers yet.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: In. Twitter. Facebook. Evidently “Look, I have a mixed race son!” isn’t quite the Ace-in-the-hole de Blasio thinks it is. “It’s beyond telling that he’s already relying on the same gimmick — rather than his record in office — to get him out of the 1 percent doldrums in the 2020 campaign.”
  • Maryland Representative John Delaney: In. Twitter. Facebook. He was on Face the Nation. “We can’t act like bipartisan solutions are dirty words that we can’t say in Washington anymore.” Also: “”Medicare-for-All” is a great slogan. They’ve hijacked the good name of Medicare and applied it to a law that will cause upheaval in our health care system and I- I was the first person to actually talk about this. Now we’re seeing the debate change on this issue as people start to realize.” Yeah, not seeing the debate change among the candidates polling higher than him, which is most of them.
  • Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard: In. Twitter. Facebook. Gets a “profile” in Business Insider, if you can call a 50-picture listicle a profile. Moving in the opposite direction, feel like reading a 2,000 word essay on the streak of gray in her hair? Not me, but I’m guessing there are some fashion aware out there might want to tackle that pressing issue…
  • New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: In. Twitter. Facebook. Another entry in a rich genre: “The Ignoring of Kirsten Gillibrand“:

    I’d asked to attend the workout of the senator from New York and aspiring president after seeing her do chest presses on Instagram, thinking it would work as a facile metaphor for the strength she’d need to break out in a 24-person Democratic field. I’d hoped the sight of 52-year-old Gillibrand’s now-famous biceps might reveal some larger, heretofore obscured appeal. Some reserve of magnetism, also hiding under a navy blazer. A glimpse into the reasons she’s not gaining ground as a candidate.

    The majority of Democratic hopefuls have yet to experience a moment like the surge of interest in Mayor Pete or Beto or Elizabeth Warren, let alone the preexisting support afforded the two candidates approaching their 80th birthdays. But Gillibrand’s lack of anointing seems conspicuous. After all, on paper, she’s set herself up to succeed: Gillibrand has never lost an election in her 13-year career in politics. She’s an advocate for women and families at a time when the law has been lapped by societal sentiment. She’s progressive enough to have supported Medicare-for-all since 2006, but she had enough bipartisan reach to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to vote for her (as yet unpassed) Military Justice Improvement Act, which would protect those sexually assaulted while serving. She also co-sponsored the 9/11 first responders bill.

    Yet Gillibrand is currently polling between 0 and 1 percent in national surveys, nestled in the bleak data crevice between Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “Kirsten Gillibrand Is Struggling,” announced the New York Times in May. “Will Abortion Rights Be Her Rallying Cry?” Two weeks later, a Politico headline read: “Kirsten Gillibrand’s Failure to Launch.”

    Yes, we’ve reached the point in the “why isn’t Kirsten Gillibrand doing better” genre where the piece namechecks previous entries in the “why isn’t Kirsten Gillibrand doing better” genre…

  • Update: Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel: Dropping Out. Twitter. Facebook. Gravel announced that he’s ending his campaign. And that’s right after the Williamson campaign sent out a fundraising email…to support Gravel

    Williamson’s campaign on Sunday sent out an email asking people to donate to her opponent Gravel — who served as a U.S. Senator from Alaska from 1969 to 1981 — because he’s “only 10,000 donations short of qualifying for the July debates.”

    “Thanks to you, I’m on the debate stage. And that’s why today I’m using this platform, granted to me by you, to ask for your help,” Williamson wrote in the email.

    “You may not have heard of him,” she continued, referring to Gravel, “because he hasn’t yet qualified for any debates. But his voice is important.”

    Give Williamson credit: She really is a different kind of candidate… (Downgrade from In.)

  • California Senator Kamala Harris: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Kamala 2020 Makes Obama 2008 Look Positively Right Wing.”

    In 2008, Obama complained about “the orgy of spending” under President George W. Bush. He pledged that all his spending plans would be more than offset with expenditure reductions.

    “What I’ve done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut,” he said.

    Harris, in contrast, has a legislative agenda that would more than double the size of the federal government. She’s endorsed Medicare for All ($32 trillion over 10 years), the Green New Deal (another $50 trillion to $90 trillion or so), $6,000 in “tax credits” for each working family ($2.8 trillion), and a $78 billion renter-subsidy program. That’s just for starters.

    Obama advocated, half-heartedly to be sure, cutting what before Trump was a sky high corporate income tax rate, recognizing that it put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage. Harris wants to crank it back up.

    On immigration, Obama promised in his campaign to improve border security. “We need stronger enforcement on the border and at the workplace,” he said.

    Harris plans to use executive orders to grant amnesty to millions of illegals.

    When Obama was pitching Obamacare in 2009, he made it clear that under no circumstances would it provide benefits to illegals.

    “There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false — the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally,” Obama told a joint session of Congress. That prompted Rep. Joe Wilson’s famous “You lie!” response.

    Harris, like every other Democrat running, has promised that, if elected, she will provide free health care to those who must now be referred to as “undocumented immigrants.”

    On the other hand, a lot of Harris’ positions are hard to pin down:

    Who is the real Kamala Harris?

    Ten days ago, the senator from California dominated the Democratic presidential debate when she excoriated Joe Biden for his opposition to mandatory busing to achieve school desegregation. Her poll ratings shot up; his sagged.

    Then came the details. When reporters asked Harris if she supports federally mandated busing in 2019, she seemed to say no. Busing should be voluntary, a “tool that is in the toolbox” if school boards want to use it, she said last week.

    “Absolutely right,” Biden replied; that’s his position too.

    A consensus? Not so fast.

    “We do not agree,” Harris insisted the next day. The real problem, she said, is that Biden has never admitted he was wrong to oppose busing in the 1970s.

    Lesson One: Harris’s debate gambit wasn’t really about busing — not busing in 2019, anyway. It was mostly about knocking Biden down a peg by reminding voters of the baggage he carries from nearly half a century in politics, and elevating her profile in the process.

    Lesson Two: Harris’ positions can be maddeningly elusive. She has staked out stances on some issues that sound bold, only to qualify them later. Her stances often seem designed to straddle the divisions in her party — to make her sound progressive enough for leftist voters but moderate enough for those in the center.

    CNN loves Kamala Harris, both in lavish on-air praise and their parent company showering her with money. “The second largest contributor to the Senator is AT&T Inc., the parent company of CNN. To date, she has received over $53,000 from this source.” Berkeley classrooms were integrated before Kamala Harris was born. Harris wants a repeat of the policies that lead to the 2008 subprime debacle. Willie Brown (yes, that Willie Brown) says that Harris and Buttigieg are a dream ticket. Note that this is the same Willie Brown who said just last week that Harris can’t beat Trump.

  • Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: In. Twitter. Facebook. Says he’s staying in the race and not running for the senate. Good news for Republicans. Says that Hickenlooper has been the problem with the Hickenlooper campaign.

    The frank assessment of his challenges come after a number of top staffers on Hickenlooper’s presidential campaign left the team, after Hickenlooper failed to gain traction in early polls and has struggled to raise money in the first few months of his campaign. But he told the Perry voters that, despite pushback from his staff, he plans to stay in the race and sees Iowa as his opportunity to break out.

    “Despite pushback from the staff.” Evidently even the people receiving paychecks think he should drop out.

  • Washington Governor Jay Inslee: In. Twitter. Facebook. Staying in the race is jamming up other Washington state Democrats:

    As Gov. Jay Inslee pursues his long-shot run for president, political dominoes are lining up for Washington’s 2020 elections.

    Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, state Sen. Christine Rolfes and state Rep. Drew Hansen are among those waiting to see which way their domino will fall: Run for re-election or a new office?

    Inslee still has a gubernatorial re-election campaign committee on file with the state Public Disclosure Committee. It has raised some $1.4 million and spent $1.2 million since he was re-elected in 2016. But it has only collected about $2,400 and spent less than $1,800 since he formally announced his presidential bid early this year.

    Washington doesn’t term-limit its state officials, and Inslee hasn’t ruled out seeking a third term if he steps away from the presidential race, although that may be getting less likely with each passing week.

    Only one governor, Republican Dan Evans, served three terms. Since then, all three of Inslee’s two-term predecessors – Booth Gardner, Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire – discussed running again but ruled it out, usually announcing they were retiring during the summer before the election year.

    None of them pursued a different office while keeping open the option of seeking re-election.

    Under Washington law, a person can’t appear on the same ballot for two offices, so at some point Inslee will have to choose. Because governor stands at the top of the state election ladder, not knowing whether Inslee is in or out has created a bottleneck for the upward movement of others, especially Democrats, on the rungs below.

    My heart bleeds…

  • Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar: In. Twitter. Facebook. She and Inslee unveiled education plans. Sounds like Democratic boilerplate, right down to opposing school choice and charter schools. She appeared in a photo-op with a misbuttoned shirt. Man, I can only imagine all the objects hurled at the staffer who let her go out like that… (Hat tip: Reader BrandoN Byers.)
  • Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam: In. Twitter. Facebook. Messam news is so thin on the ground, I’m having to resort to extreme measures: actually linking to a profile on Vox. “Like San Antonio, Miramar’s chief executive is technically a city manager appointed by its city council. This means Messam does not have the same power over policy or decision making that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — another primary candidate — has, for example.” The two policy proposals they highlight are eliminating student debt and gun control, which means there’s zero to distinguish him from better-known candidates, which is literally every single candidate in the race.
  • Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Seth Moulton says Dems can’t keep ‘rehashing votes from 40 years ago.” Except that the debates, and Moulton’s approximate 0% standing, says they can…
  • Former Texas Representative and failed Senatorial candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Beto O’Rourke: Let’s Forgive All Student Loan Debt For Teachers.” Given that his opponents are already going full on eliminating everyone’s student debt for everything, one wonders what he hopes to accomplish with this modest pander. “Beto O’Rourke says he’s not aware of his fundraising numbers.” The two possibilities are that he’s telling the truth, because he runs a disorganized campaign and isn’t on top of details, or he’s lying, because his fundraising numbers suck like a Dyson. We’re finally starting to get the first prebituaries on his campaign:

    Today, even as he’s assembled a stable of experienced operatives and released a spate of policy proposals, the former Texas congressman is polling at 2 percent nationally in the latest Morning Consult survey. One Iowa poll released this week put him at 1 percent in the state. A fundraising machine in his Senate campaign last year, O’Rourke has dodged questions about his latest performance in the money race.

    Yet O’Rourke returned to Iowa this week in seemingly high spirits, campaigning alongside his wife and young children as they toured the state in an RV. The candidate has been expanding his organization at his Texas headquarters and in early primary states. And his advisers and supporters insisted they aren’t worried: The race is nothing if not fluid, they said, and O’Rourke has the political talent to catch fire.

    He’s merely resting! Beautiful plumage on the Texas Beto…

  • Ohio Representative Tim Ryan: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Tim Ryan’s Uphill Battle with 2020 Fundraising, Second Round of Debates.” No Q2 numbers yet.
  • Vermont Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders: In. Twitter. Facebook. The network boosting Kamala Harris says that Sanders campaign is in trouble:

    While much of the attention in post-debate polling has focused on the drop of former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders’ polling looks far worse. Sanders’ Iowa and national polls are quite weak for someone with near universal name recognition.

    Sanders was at just 14% in CNN’s latest national poll. That’s down from 18% in our last poll. As important, Sanders is now running behind California Sen. Kamala Harris (17%) and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (15%). These are candidates who have lower name recognition than he does.

    It’s not just the CNN poll, either. Sanders doesn’t look much better in Quinnipiac’s latest poll, which puts him at 13%. A poll released Wednesday morning by ABC News and The Washington Post did have somewhat better news for him, putting him at 19%, second behind Biden, among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Still, an average of the three polls out this week puts him at 15%.

    History has not been kind to primary runner-ups of previous primaries polling this low of a position. I went back and looked at where 13 previous runner-ups since 1972 have been polling at this point in the primary. All six who went on to win the nomination were polling above Sanders’ 15%.

    Vast swathes of the Democratic Media Complex never forgave Sanders for interrupting Hillary’s coronation and relish the chance to start writing his political obituary. “Bernie Sanders didn’t give a definitive answer on sex work vs. sex trafficking.” Truly we live in stupid times. Profile of Sanders surrogate campaigner and Cleveland politico Nina Turner.

  • Former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak: In. Twitter. Facebook. Gets a five minute Bloomberg video interview. As he yammers about the Green New Deal he displays all the raw political charisma of Michael Dukkakis.
  • Addition: Billionaire Tom Steyer: Getting In? So says The Atlantic:

    Billionaire investor Tom Steyer, who in the last decade has been both the top Democratic donor in the country and the prime engine for pushing for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, appears ready to become Democratic candidate number 26. Last week in San Francisco, Steyer told staffers at two progressive organizations he funds, Need to Impeach and NextGen America, that he is launching a 2020 campaign, and that he plans to make the formal announcement this Tuesday.

    Steyer certainly has the money to self-fund, but does he have the personality or know-how to win the nomination? My guess is no, but we’ll find out. I actually like him wasting money on his own candidacy than showering money on other candidates in down-ballot races who might actually know what to do with it.

    Does his focus on impeachment drag the field leftward? Well, it’s not like there was a lot of Democratic Presidential candidates firmly opposed to impeachment. The biggest winner may be Trump, who seems to thrive on confrontation. (Upgrade over Out of the Running.)

  • Update: California Representative Eric Swalwell: Dropping Out. Twitter. Facebook. Word is that Swalwell is dropping out of the Presidential race to run for reelection to congress instead. 1 PM Pacific Time conference, so it will be after I post this. Update: He’s Out.(Downgrade from In.)
  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: In. Twitter. Facebook. Gets a Sacremento Bee interview. Here’s a Chicago Tribune piece that says she’s pandering the black women in the right way. Color me skeptical that she’ll make any inroads there with Harris and Booker in the race. Speaking of unlikely: “Elizabeth Warren, Economic Nationalist. She’s no social conservative. But on economics, it isn’t so difficult to imagine her on a Republican debate stage.” Despite vaguely pro-American rehetoric, there’s nothing enticing about her concrete policy proposals, including a new Department of Economic Development and subsidies for American manufacturers. Hard pass on both.
  • Author and spiritual advisor Marianne Williamson: In. Twitter. Facebook. She and Yang have made it into the next Democratic debates. 10 wild facts about Marianne Williamson, including that she spent the 1970s enjoying “bad boys and good dope.” Vogue did a photoshoot of five female Democratic Presidential contenders…and left Williamson out.
  • Venture capitalist Andrew Yang: In. Twitter. Facebook. He got an interview on The View. He also got an interview with The Concord Monitor, where he talked about the automation menace. “This has been ongoing for a number of years and it’s only now going to accelerate. So if someone were to come and say, ‘Hey, we should stop the automation,’ it is essentially impossible to do so.”
  • Out of the Running

    These are people who were formerly in the roundup who have announced they’re not running, or for which I’ve seen no recent signs they’re running:

  • Creepy Porn Lawyer Michael Avenatti
  • Actor Alec Baldwin
  • Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • Former California Governor Jerry Brown
  • Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown
  • Former one-term President Jimmy Carter
  • Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr.
  • Former First Lady, New York Senator, Secretary of State and losing 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Former Tallahassee Mayor and failed Florida Senate candidate Andrew Gillum: Removed from the master list for this update.
  • Former Vice President Al Gore
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Virginia Senator and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Vice Presidential running mate Tim Kaine
  • Former Obama Secretary of State and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry
  • New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
  • Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
  • Oregon senator Jeff Merkley
  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama
  • Former West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda
  • New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (constitutionally ineligible)
  • Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick
  • Talk show host Oprah Winfrey
  • Like the Clown Car update? Consider hitting the tip jar:





    Kiddie Table Debate Reactions

    Thursday, June 27th, 2019

    I tried to watch last night’s kiddie table debate, but was just too tried to endure the pandering. So here’s a roundup of reactions:

    The Democratic contenders seemed to offer up a doom and gloom scenario at odds with current economic reality:

    They described an America of 2019 that was downright dystopic.

    Elizabeth Warren said the economy was only “doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top” and that the government “is corrupt.” Cory Booker declared, “I see every single day that this economy is not working for average Americans” and lamented that “Dignity is being stripped from labor” and that “This is actually an economy that’s hurting small businesses and not allowing them to compete.” Bill de Blasio argued, “There’s plenty of money in this country. It’s just in the wrong hands. Democrats have to fix that.” Amy Klobuchar described “so many people that are having trouble affording college and having trouble affording their premiums.” (I thought Obamacare was supposed to fix that!) Tim Ryan lamented, “We’re getting drones shot down for $130 million, because the president is distracted.”

    Despite President Trump canceling a military retaliation against Iran at the last minute, Tulsi Gabbard warned, “Donald Trump and his cabinet, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, and others — are creating a situation that just a spark would light off a war with Iran, which is incredibly dangerous.” (Notice she blames Trump and his cabinet for creating the situation, not the Iranians.)

    This occurs as the national unemployment rate has been at or below four percent since March 2018, and hit the lowest rate since 1969. Even half of Democrats rate the economy as “good” or “excellent.” No doubt the people most likely to watch two hours of ten Democratic candidates debating are the most partisan, and probably the ones most likely to insist that because Donald Trump is president, the economy simply cannot be doing well. But one has to wonder how well the message “I will save you from this terrible economy” will work in a general election.

    A lot of fun was had at Beto O’Rourke’s Spanish language Hispandering:

    Cory Booker promptly jumped aboard the “Look, I can speak Spanish!” bandwagon as well:

    Warren and de Blasio went Full Socialized Medicine:

    William Jacobson at Legal insurrection thought John Delaney won the debate by not sounding insane.

    The moderators clearly favored Elizabeth Warren, repeatedly going back to her for questions, particularly at the beginning.

    You had Warren’s tough gal act, Beto’s wandering mind and Spanish language lesson plan, Bill de Blasio’s almost full-blown commie schtick, Spartacus, and Amy Klobuchar’s Minnesota nice routine.

    Who won?

    Let’s focus on the purpose of an early debate — for all but the top few candidates, it’s name recognition and not coming across as a marginal freak. Tulsi Gabbard achieved a little of that, but far and away the voice of sanity was someone I never had heard of.

    He spoke about how Medicare for all, which depends on reimbursement rates so low it would bankrupt most hospitals, was not viable. That goes against the grain of the Democratic Party, where most of the leading candidates have jumped on some version of Bernie’s plan….

    Being the “not completely crazy” Democrat could get Delaney media attention.

    Don’t bet on it. Besides, there’s that tiny physical similarity problem:

    Delaney really is the right man for the job-

    of selling you a reverse mortgage in an infomercial

    — Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) June 27, 2019

    Speaking of insane, Julian Castro promised taxpayer subsidized abortions for transexuals:

    Tim Ryan correctly identified the Democratic Party's elitist problem:

    "We have a perception problem in the Democrat Party," Ryan admitted. "We have got to change the center of gravity from being coastal, elitist and Ivy League to a party that is on the side of workers. If we don't focus on workers, none of this change will happen."

    He insisted that Democrats will not win unless they "address that fundamental problem."

    Ryan is correct, but that "perception problem" is rooted in the Democratic Party's increasing radicalism on issues such as abortion, climate change, intersectionality, and more.

    (Hat tip: Stephen green at Instapundit.)

    Gabbard wins the unscientific online polling following the debate, which should remind you of a certain Republican contender of years past:

    And now some random tweets about the debates:

    Finally, YouTube appears to have banned a number of YouTubers just for livestreaming their commentary about the debates:

    LinkSwarm for June 21, 2019

    Friday, June 21st, 2019

    Welcome to summer! It hit 100°F in Austin this week. Try to keep cool and enjoy this complimentary LinkSwarm:

  • “New Clinton Email Review Reveals ‘Multiple Security Incidents‘”:

    The State Department revealed in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that it had identified “multiple security incidents” committed by current or former employees who handled Hillary Clinton’s emails, according to Fox News.

    So far 23 “violations” and seven “infractions” have been issued as a part of the department’s ongoing investigation – a number that will likely rise according to State Department Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, Mary Elizabeth Taylor.

    “To this point, the Department has assessed culpability to 15 individuals, some of whom were culpable in multiple security incidents,” said Taylor in the letter to Grassley, adding “DS has issued 23 violations and 7 infractions incidents. … This number will likely change as the review progresses.”

  • “State Dept. Suspends $200 Million Enhanced Aid for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras Pending Illegal Migration Enforcement.”
  • Human Rights watch accuses Daniel Ortega’s Nicaraguan government of torture. Once a commie scumbnag, always a commie scumbag…
  • “The DNC has spent more money than it has raised this year.”

    The Democratic National Committee has a money problem. And that could hurt its nominee’s chances of beating President Donald Trump in 2020.

    In the first four months of 2019, the party spent more than it raised and added $3 million in new debt. In the same period, its Republican counterpart was stockpiling cash.

    Snip.

    Whoever wins the party’s nomination will rely heavily on the DNC in the general election for organizing, identifying voters and getting them to the polls. That will ultimately cost hundreds of millions of dollars by Election Day, but the party needs to spend early to prepare, which is why it’s been borrowing money. It’s also sending out fundraising appeals under the presidential candidates’ names, something it’s never done before.

    “It’s trouble, it’s going to affect us,” said Allan Berliant, a Cincinnati-based Democratic bundler, who says the party needs to open offices and get boots on the ground around the country. “All of that starts with fundraising,” he said.

    Party officials and fundraisers blamed the deficiency on several factors, and chief among them is competition from the 23 Democrats who are running for president and vacuuming up contributors’ cash. Giving to the party isn’t as compelling as supporting the presidential hopefuls, said John Morgan, an Orlando-based trial attorney and Democratic fundraiser.

    “Do you want to fix up the barn or do you want to bet on the horses?” he said.

    But major donors also pointed to the perception of some contributors that the national party is disorganized – a hangover from the 2016 election. The growing schism between the old-guard establishment and the younger, activist wing could be discouraging donors, too, they said.

    By the end of April, the DNC had collected contributions of more than $24.4 million, but had spent $28.4 million, according to the latest disclosures. It had $7.6 million cash on hand, $1 million less than in January. It posted $6.2 million in debt, including bank loans and unpaid invoices to vendors, Federal Election Commission records show.

    It seems like I link some variation of this story every year.

  • Democratic doxxer sentenced:

    The Democratic ex-staffer who doxxed several Republican senators after disapproving of their handling of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation will be going to jail for four years.

    Jackson Cosko, a 27-year-old former staffer for Sen. Maggie Hassan (D., N.H.), was arrested last October for leaking the phone numbers and home addresses of Republican senators Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), and Mike Lee (Utah). The information was briefly posted on the senators’ Wikipedia pages before being taken down.

    Cosko was working for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas) at the time of his arrest, and was immediately fired.

  • The case is actually much worse than you’ve heard:

    Jackson Cosko was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison. Prosecutors called his offense an “extraordinary” and “vicious” crime where the ex-Democratic aide stole a senator’s data, mined it for blackmail material and then published the home addresses and phone numbers of Republican senators during the 2018 hearings for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

    Even after the computer administrator was caught in the act and arrested for spying on a senator’s office using his advanced technical skills, Capitol Police didn’t check the USB ports of nearby computers. Six different computers within steps of where he was arrested in the Senate had keylogger devices in them that continued to capture and beam private information over WiFi. They were only exposed through a confession.

    Police then got a search warrant on his home, but missed critical evidence because they didn’t check the oven.

  • A black man testifies against reparations:

    I worry that our desire to fix the past compromises our ability to fix the present. Think about what we’re doing today. We’re spending our time debating a bill that mentions slavery 25 times but incarceration only once, in an era with zero black slaves but nearly a million black prisoners—a bill that doesn’t mention homicide once, at a time when the Center for Disease Control reports homicide as the number one cause of death for young black men. I’m not saying that acknowledging history doesn’t matter. It does. I’m saying there’s a difference between acknowledging history and allowing history to distract us from the problems we face today.

    In 2008, the House of Representatives formally apologized for slavery and Jim Crow. In 2009, the Senate did the same. Black people don’t need another apology. We need safer neighborhoods and better schools. We need a less punitive criminal justice system. We need affordable health care. And none of these things can be achieved through reparations for slavery.

  • Kurt Schlichter on the hypocrisy of the left:

    “This is his worst treason since his last worst treason!” they thundered. “This is even more treasonous than when The Bad Orange Man called us ‘traitors’ for our treachery after we called him ‘traitor’ for two years!”

    They got really, really upset. Fake upset, of course, but they committed to the bit and kept straight faces. And you know that Trump pulled the pin on that hand grenade of truth on purpose in order to make the dummies explode just like they did.

    You have to wonder if the garbage elite really thinks their brand of blatant hypocrisy disguised as moral outrage works, or if this is just a reflexive response to a president who not only sees them for the useless slugs they are, but says so.

    My apologies to slugs. I am not slugist.

    Still, do any of them truly think that we Normals will listen to them sounding off about the perfidy of perhaps considering the possibility of maybe accepting dirt on their freak show candidates from outsiders and not recall that Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit famously did just that with the pee-pee dossier, or that Adam Schiff got punked by a couple of Russian Howard Stern wannabeskis offering him pics of the POTUS au natural?

    When Staggers O’Cankles does it, it’s cool? When Congressman Leaky does it, it’s fine? Yet when Trump says he might do exactly what they did, it’s the greatest betrayal of our Values, our Constitution and our Democracy since his last greatest betrayal of our Values, our Constitution and our Democracy, which happened last week?

    Snip.

    To the extent our modern elite had retained any residual credibility from back in the distant past when our elite wasn’t totally corrupt and incompetent, that goodwill has been squandered in the wake of its war to crush Trump, which is actually a war to crush us and restore the elite’s unchallenged power.

    We watch them do X as they tell us to do Y, and they expect us to accept it. Maybe that’s not a completely unreasonable expectation. A lot of goofy, submissive alleged conservatives from Conservative, Inc., have accepted that 2 + 2 =5. The whole cruise-shilling set loves Big Gender-Neutral Sibling and eagerly joins in the phony festivals of fake fury. Last week, social media was packed with these bitter pills fulminating about TRUMP TRAITOR TREASON. And, probably, the geebos at The Bulwark ran with it too, not that anyone would know except the donors Bill Kristol somehow suckered into funding that cesspool floater of a blog.

    Everything they tell us reeks of hypocrisy, like the ever-changing rules about our Glorious Public Servants. When some bureaucrat parrots the party line, we’re supposed to defer. When one fails to parrot correctly, we’re supposed to scream that he’s in contempt of Congress.

  • How Republicans can retake the House in 2020. “The Republicans need to flip only 18 seats in 2020 to regain control of that body — and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has already identified nearly twice that number of vulnerable Democrats in districts won by President Trump during the last presidential election.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Will Oberlin Learn Its Lesson? Short answer: No, they won’t.”
  • In fact, they’re already lying about the verdict.
  • David French brings the requisite amount of wood in stating how the Oberlin College judgment provides a blueprint to fight back. Maybe because Trump isn’t involved. But one wonders why neither the phrase “Social Justice Warriors” nor the word “woke” appears in the piece.
  • Iran shoots down U.S. drone over international waters.
  • President Donald Trump says no strike for now:

  • Both Iran and Trump are playing the long game.” “Iran’s recent attacks signal weakness and desperation, not strength and assurance…Most of the oil passing through Hormuz (about 11/17ths) is bound for the Straits of Malacca en route to China, Japan and Korea. If Tehran actually closed the Straits, by mining it for example, they would essentially be blockading China.”
  • The U.S. holds all the cards in the confrontation with Iran:

    The United States then ramped up sanctions on the Iranian theocracy to try to ensure that it stopped nuclear enrichment. The Trump administration also hoped a strapped Iran would become less capable of funding terrorist operations in the Middle East and beyond, proxy wars in the Persian Gulf, and the opportune harassment of ships transiting the Strait of Hormuz.

    The sanctions are clearly destroying an already weak Iranian economy. Iran is now suffering from negative economic growth, massive unemployment and record inflation.

    A desperate Iranian government is using surrogates to send missiles into Saudi Arabia while its forces attack ships in the Gulf of Oman.

    Snip.

    Time, then, is on the Americans’ side. But it is certainly not on the side of a bankrupt and impoverished Iran that either must escalate or face ruin.

    If Iran starts sinking ships or attacking U.S. assets, Trump can simply replay the ISIS strategy of selective off-and-on bombing. The United States did not lose a single pilot to enemy action.

    Translated, that would mean disproportionately replying to each Iranian attack on a U.S. asset with a far more punishing air response against an Iranian base or port. The key would be to avoid the use of ground troops and yet not unleash a full-fledged air war. Rather, the United States would demonstrate to the world that Iranian aggression determines the degree to which Iran suffers blows from us.

    (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)

  • Instapundit on why social media sucks:

    It’s unfortunate that social media not only makes informed debate more difficult on their platforms, but also, it seems, rewires people’s brains in such a fashion as to make such debate more difficult everywhere else. This is made worse by the fact that Twitter in particular seems to be most heavily used by the very people – pundits, political journalists, the intelligentsia – most vital to the sort of debate that Emerson saw as essential.

    In fact, the corruption of the political/intellectual class by social media is particularly serious, since their descent into thoughtless polarization can then spread to the rest of the population, even that large part that doesn’t use social media itself, through traditional channels. Writing on why Twitter is worse than it seems, David French observes that even though its user base is smaller than most other social media, those users are particularly influential:

    But in public influence Twitter punches far above its weight. Why? Because it’s where cultural kingmakers congregate, and thus where conventional wisdom is formed and shaped — often instantly and thoughtlessly.

    In other words, Twitter is where the people who care the most spend their time. The disproportionate influence of microbursts of instant public comments from a curated set of people these influencers follow shapes their writing and thinking and conduct way beyond the platform.

    (That’s from his new book The Social Media Upheaval.)

  • Hong Kong stages huge demonstration against new communist Chinese extradition laws:

  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott didn’t use a single line-item veto on any item in the Texas budget. There’s been a lot of grumbling that the recently completed legislative session didn’t hold the line on spending and failed to enact several conservative priorities.
  • Banning plastic bags won’t save the planet. “Research from 2015 shows that less than 5 per cent of land-based plastic waste going into the ocean comes from OECD countries, with half coming from just four countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.” Also: “You must reuse an organic cotton shopping bag 20,000 times before it will have less environmental damage than a plastic bag.” (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Brian Cates asserts that social media didn’t elect Trump.
  • More on voting fraud in Edinberg:

    “Down here, voter fraud is not all that unusual,” says Monte, a city planning consultant in a brown suit jacket, sitting with other activists at a table in Coffee Zone on McColl Road. “It’s unusual when they get prosecuted.”

    Now, for this south Texas town, that unusual moment has arrived. A November 2017 mayoral election has been under scrutiny from local and state officials, and 19 arrests have been made over alleged voter fraud. The mayor—and winner of the 2017 election—was indicted earlier this month, along with his wife.

    Only 8,400 votes were cast in the mayoral election, and Mayor Richard Molina’s final vote count was more than 1,200 votes ahead of the No. 2 candidate, 14-year incumbent Richard Garcia. From what’s known now, the election result couldn’t have been changed by the number of suspicious votes identified.

    But Molina reportedly is the first elected official in Texas to face a felony charge under a 2017 statute against vote harvesting, casting the midsize city into the national debate over election integrity.

  • “A New Jersey man is facing up to five years behind bars for running a nearly $3 million food stamp fraud operation at a Connecticut store.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Longtime ATF guard admits to stealing thousands of guns destined for destruction. (Hat tip: Say Uncle.)
  • Chattanooga VW plant rejects the UAW yet again. (Hat tip: Mark Tapscott at Instapundit.)
  • Prenda Law troll sentenced to 14 years in prison.
  • Extensive technical analysis indicates that Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was probably intentionally depressurized and then flown a long ways before being ditched in the ocean by someone controlling the cockpit. (Hat tip: @davidjacksmith.)
  • Wallace Hall thinks that admissions cheating still goes on at The University of Texas. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Get woke, go broke, Hollywood edition. (Although I liked Godzilla: King of the Monsters. It wasn’t a good movie but it was a good Godzilla movie.)
  • Just as all the media Trump bashing has backfired, so will Hollywood’s condescension. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Not news: Breaking and entering. News: Gets ass handed to him by an 11-year old. Cherry on top: With a machete.
  • Schlitterbahn sells its its New Braunfels and Galveston water parks. That leaves them with parks still in Kansas City, South Padre and Corpus Christi.
  • In case you were worried that Democrats had a monopoly on all the bad ideas, the Tampa Bay Rays are considering spending half their time in Montreal. Because nothing says “well thought-out idea” like 1,500 miles between home games…
  • “Florida man says he had sex with stolen pool toys instead of raping women.” Uh…you can buy pool toys, dude…
  • The Edge wanted to live where the streets have no name, but thanks to the California Supreme Court’s ruling, he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for.
  • Google busted stealing lyrics. Bonus: Morse code.
  • Attack squirrels on meth.
  • Happy ending story, with dog. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update for June 10, 2019

    Monday, June 10th, 2019

    Biden flip-flops, the race tightens in Iowa, Bennet and Gillibrand qualify for the debates, de Blasio and Messam earn Iowa goose eggs, and Swalwell continues his All Cringe All The Time Campaign. It’s your Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update!

    Polls

  • Des Moines Register/Mediacom/CNN Iowa Poll: Biden 24, Sanders 16, Warren 15, Buttigieg 14, Harris 7, Klobuchar 2, O’Rourke 2. Biden has come back to the pack some, and that’s the best showing for Warren and Buttigieg I’ve seen in any poll. Also: “Two candidates — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam — were not listed by a single poll respondent as either first or second choice for president.”
  • The Economist/YouGov (page 95): Biden 27, Sanders 16, Warren 11, Buttigieg 9, Harris 8, Booker 2, De Blasio 2, O’Rourke 2, Bullock 1, Delaney 1, Gabbard 1, Hickenlooper 1, Klobuchar 1, Yang 1. 2% for De Blasio is 2% more than I (or just about anybody else) ever thought he would get. Nobody knows nothin’.
  • Reuters/IPSOS: Biden 31, Sanders 14, Warren 9, Harris 6, Buttigieg 5, O’Rourke 3.
  • Real Clear Politics
  • 538 polls
  • Election betting markets. They now have Buttigieg up over Sanders.
  • Pundits, etc.

  • “60% Of Voters Find Democratic Field Of Presidential Candidates ‘Underwhelming.'”
  • All the plans floated by various Democratic candidates will cost taxpayers trillions:

    The Democratic presidential contenders are ready to break the bank with expensive policy proposals that would add trillions of dollars to the deficit if enacted.

    The 2020 hopefuls are angling to one-up each other with big policy ideas that would overhaul the U.S. health care system, address climate change and provide free college tuition or erase student debt.

    Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Global Climate Mobilization” plan, hailed by environmental activists as the gold standard, would cost the U.S. government $3 trillion over the next decade.

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (Mass.) proposal to eliminate tuition at public colleges and erase existing student debt carries a $1.25 trillion price tag.

    And Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) “Medicare for All” bill, co-sponsored by four other 2020 Democrats, would require $32 trillion in government spending, according to one study.

  • Most of the contenders (not including Biden or Sanders) appeared on the same stage in Iowa, with Warren and Booker marshelling the most supporters at the event.
  • The no-hopers are already whining about the third debate threshold.
  • Jim Geraghty says they should stop whining:

    Some Democratic presidential campaigns are like the protagonist in an M. Night Shyamalan movie: They’re dead already, they just don’t know it. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say they were never really alive.

    The first Democratic presidential primary debates will be held in two weeks. The threshold for participation is exceptionally low, particularly for any candidate who announced near the beginning of the year: Either reach just 1 percent in three surveys approved by the Democratic National Committee or have 65,000 or more donors that include 200 people from at least 20 states. If you think reaching that threshold is difficult, keep in mind, this limit has already been reached by Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, John Delaney, and Irving Schmidlap.

    (Okay, I threw Irving Schmidlap in there just to see if you were paying attention.)

    The latest polls show Schmidlap already running well ahead of Messam and Swalwell.

    If people wonder why complaints about fairness are so frequently ignored, it’s because of circumstances like this one. The DNC is being really generous, their thresholds are low, and if you can’t reach one percent — one percent! In either national or early primary state polls! — then no, you really don’t belong up there on that debate stage. You’re not supposed to run for president because you want a national reputation; you’re supposed to have a national reputation before you run for president. Presidential campaigns are not supposed to be publicity stunts or longer book tours. If you want to be the next commander in chief, I don’t want to year you whining about how hard all of this is. The job that you claim to be qualified for is going to have much tougher challenges than reaching one percent in a survey or attracting 130,000 donors.

    Cindy Adams snidely dismisses most of the field:

    A pen of donkeys will paw summer’s debate stage. Entrepreneur Yang figures his young grassroots fund-raising translates to a win. Lotsa luck. In BC, gladiators in Roman amphitheaters fought live animals. In 2020, Tiger Trump will swallow this creature like he’s granola.

    NYC’s savvy dude mayor, a “much-derided presidential candidate,” grabs attention — but, bleat the pros, “he’s running because he’s got no more day job.” Even Kevin Costner would nix playing him in a movie.

    Our only local woman to maybe break the gents barrier is Laurie Metcalf, who plays Hillary on B’way. Cutlery is out for struggling Kirsten Gillibrand, who once said she’s not around the state enough because she can’t be everywhere since she has children to raise. Now she’s around the country. So, pros ask, what’s with those kids?

    Former frontrunner Bernie Sanders’ base gets youngisher and whitisher. He’s sinking into the lavatory.

    Grampa Joe Boredom? Recalling his multiple heresies and zero accomplishments, the antis plan to make Bidenburgers out of him.

    Don’t book on Booker. Wall Street and Silicon Valley keep Cory funded but, despite showing African-Americans he’s their Medicine Man, he’s trailing.

    Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. Late start and zero name ID. While Montana made statehood 1889, the only other VIP from there was Gary Cooper. Also Dana Carvey.

    A chorus line of other whocares from whoknowswhere are also scratching around for whoknowswhy. They figure this eventually grabs them a book deal, speaking gig, bigtime p.r. or a free trip to Times Square.

    Supposedly 13 will be propped up for June 26’s debate: Biden, Bernie, Buttigieg, Beto, Booker, Kamala, Klobuchar, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard (who??), Jay Inslee, Marianne Williamson, Warren — and Yang — plus a partridge in a pear tree — with de Blasio and Gillibrand, still iffy.

    Beto O’Rourke. Do not bet-o on him. Waning in the polls. Anyway, who cares.

    Elizabeth Warren wows wonks with policy proposals and, for some reason, has a strong left-leaning organization in Iowa. But there’s also her “likability” — of which much there isn’t.

    Kamala Harris. Trailing. Main asset is strategic. If she does well in South Carolina, she might twinkle in home state California’s early primary.

    Buttigieg. Age 37. I mean, please. My pedicurist has a better shot. His college-educated white voters met the minimal polling threshold, but his résumé in public office is smaller than mine.

    Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. I mean, please. Paris Hilton has a better shot.

    If Hilton jumped in tomorrow, she’d be in the top eight easy…

  • 538 on what the candidates are saying and doing.
  • Now on to the clown car itself:

  • Losing Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams: Maybe? “The Stacey Abrams Myth Becomes the Democratic Catechism.”

    The claims of voter suppression rest primarily on the fact that as Georgia secretary of state, Kemp enforced a statute passed by a Democratic-majority legislature and signed by a Democratic governor in 1997. It required the voting rolls to be periodically purged to remove names of voters who were dead, or who had moved away or were incarcerated. Under this law, 600,000 names of people who hadn’t voted in the last three elections were removed from the rolls in 2017 by Kemp’s office.

    Those who were removed got prior notification in the mail about the impending purge, and they were given a menu of options to retain their registration. Moreover, it took four years to complete the process by which a name was removed. The reason so many names were taken off in 2017 was that a lawsuit by the Georgia NAACP had delayed the routine enforcement of the law for years before the organization eventually lost in the U.S. Supreme Court.

    If you assume that most of the 600,000 were Democrats who were denied the right to vote — rather than voters who were deceased or who had moved or been jailed — that gives credibility to Abrams’s story. But there aren’t many people stepping forward since November 2018 to say they were wrongfully removed from the rolls, let alone the tens or hundreds of thousands necessary to substantiate Abrams’s claim that the election was stolen.

    The other argument that purportedly backs up the stolen-election claim is that lengthy lines caused by the closing of 212 precincts in the state since 2012 deterred Georgia voters from turning out. But Kemp had nothing to do with that, since all decisions on consolidating voting stations were made by county officials. Which means if there were fewer precincts and longer lines in Democratic-majority counties in Georgia, it was almost certainly due to the decisions made by local Democrats, not Kemp or a national GOP conspiracy.

    When examined soberly, Abrams’s claims evaporate. Kemp’s win was no landslide, but his 1.4 percent margin of victory didn’t even give her the right to demand a legal recount. Demographic changes may mean that Georgia is trending away from the red-state status it has had in the last decade, but Stacey Abrams lost because Republicans still can turn out majorities there even in years when the odds favor Democrats.

    But by continuing to swear to the lie that the election was stolen, Biden, Buttigieg, and every other Democrat who repeats that claim while paying court to Abrams and hoping to win African-American votes are poisoning the well of American democracy.

  • Colorado Senator Michael Bennet: In. Twitter. Facebook. He met the polling criteria for the first debate. “Bennet appears to be the 21st Democratic candidate to qualify for the first debates under one of the criteria, according to an estimated count from The Hill. So far only 13 appear to have met both criteria.” Five takeaways from his CNN town hall. Sanders goes too far on Medicare for all, Bennet backs the Georgia abortion boycott, opposes impeachment, criticizes Trump’s Mexico tariffs, and makes vague noises about building a “bigger coalition.” Among who? Gun owners? Pro-life advocates? Coal miners? People who want to stop illegal aliens from crossing the border? I’m sure they’ll all be just itching to pull that (D) lever. “Bennet hires Iowa state director, a former Indiana congressional campaign manager,” one Brian Peters.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: In. Twitter. Facebook. Biden started the week bucking the most sacred of Democratic Party orthodoxy by backing the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits, however imperfectly, federal funds being used for abortion. Naturally, Biden was forced to repent of his heresy days later due to pushback from other Democrats, including his own staff. National Review points out that Biden was never really pro-life:

    The last month has featured the former vice president switching his stance on Hyde no fewer than three times — he tried to explain away one of his U-turns by claiming he’d “misheard” the reporter’s question — before finally settling on opposition to it. He explained his final decision in a tweet that could just as easily have been written by an activist from NARAL.

    Biden’s rejection of his decades of support for Hyde betrays the reality: He was never actually pro-life. Though he has long had a reputation as “personally opposed” to abortion on religious grounds, his political actions have merited no such label. (Nor has he ever offered a sufficient explanation for why a man who believes, for whatever reason, that abortion kills innocent human beings ought to refrain from legislating that belief.)

    Joe Biden, plagiarist, take, what? Six? Seven? Ten? Back when Biden lied about marching for Civil Rights. After all these stumbled, other candidates are finally starting to attack him directly. “Joe Biden is a candidate of the oligarchy. Democratic primary voters will see through him.” More: “He is a consummate, long-time Washington insider, who has demonstrated in his long career that he often dances with the ones who brought him: wealthy donors and special interests.”

  • New Jersey Senator Cory Booker: In. Twitter. Facebook. He unveiled a stupid and unworkable housing subsidy idea. Cory Booker 2012: “Listen to me, the people dying in Chicago, the people dying in Newark are not being done with law-abiding gun owners. We do not need to go after the guns. A law-abiding, mentally stable American, that’s not America’s problem.” Now? Not so much.
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock: In. Twitter. Facebook. Mr. Zero Percent protests too much. “The presidential campaign of Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is fundraising off claims that Republican forces fear his candidacy — even though the attacks are to damage him in a Senate run if, as expected, he drops out of the White House race.” Also: “Jon Tester endorses fellow Montana Democrat Steve Bullock for president.” Because that was his problem, not enough endorsements from Montana.
  • South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana and presidential hopeful, and his husband have over $130,000 in student loan debt, according to financial disclosures reviewed by the AP on Sunday. A campaign spokesperson would not tell AP whether the loans belong to Buttigieg, his husband, or both.” Hey, that means I get to recycle this from last week:

    (More on his net worth.) He’s also appearing at Indiana University next week.

  • Former San Antonio Mayor and Obama HUD Secretary Julian Castro: In. Twitter. Facebook. He offered a “policing reform” proposal, because he evidently doesn’t understand what the word “federalism” means. And of course he clothes it in the usual “hands up/don’t shoot” lies and it’s filled with social justice warrior “police racist” talking points.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: In. Twitter. Facebook. He flips reality on its head by insisting that antisemitism is a right-wing problem. “And so, to cope with the cognitive dissonance involved in Jews getting beaten up in deep blue New York, naturally he comforts himself with the belief that this is a right-wing problem. Somehow.” And that piece embeds this tweet:

    “The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council announced Wednesday that it is endorsing de Blasio and will send members to campaign for him in early voting states including New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.” Bread, know thy butter…

  • Maryland Representative John Delaney: In. Twitter. Facebook. He reiterated his opposition to “Medicare for All” (indeed, he called it political suicide for Democrats), and said that Bernie Sanders “has no business being the nominee of the Democratic Party.” For telling these truths he got attacked by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez:

    Then he challenged her to a debate. Good job! If you can reach those Democrats that don’t want Occasional Cortex to be the face of their party, you might start registering in polls…

  • Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard: In. Twitter. Facebook. Gabbard said that immigrants fighting for the U.S. military are rejected for citizenship at a higher rate than civilians, and, weirdly, that actually appears to be true. But the law was changed in 2016. People evidently lined up for blocks to see her in New York City:

    I thought “how can we tell that’s not an Apple store opening?” but I slowed down the video and, yes, at least one person is in a Tusli t-shirt.

  • New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: In. Twitter. Facebook. She secured a spot in the first debate. “Over the weekend, we crossed 65,000 donors to our campaign—guaranteeing our spot at the first debates.” Really? Just now? A sitting senator from America’s fourth-most popular state, and it took her that long to cross the threshold. She unleashed a plan to legalize marijuana, which is possibly the first smart move she’s made in this campaign. (And how come pot-friendly governors Hickenlooper and Inslee aren’t making the devil’s lettuce issues in their campaigns?) “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: Boneless Wonder.” Sample: “Kirsten Gillibrand announced on National Public Radio that the Church is wrong about abortion, homosexuality and the male priesthood.” But other than that, she’s totally Catholic…
  • Former Tallahassee Mayor and failed Florida Senate candidate Andrew Gillum: Probably not. He paid $5,000 for Florida ethics violations.
  • Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel: In. Twitter. Facebook. Gravel now has six fulltime staffers, and 538 is now tracking his campaign. (Once again, I’m a trendsetter.) Speaking of 538, they do “How Mike Gravel Could Win The 2020 Democratic Primary” for the lulz:

    Many things, most of them unlikely, would have to transpire for former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel to win the Democratic nomination for president.

    A few possibilities: All the other candidates drop out, and no successful write-in campaign is waged. A capricious President Trump orders a catastrophic invasion of another nation, lending massive credibility to Gravel’s perennial anti-war stance (he helped put the Pentagon Papers into the public record). The Democratic primary electorate all of a sudden decides that it would prefer an octogenarian candidate to the current septuagenarian front-runners. (Gravel is 89 years of age; meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is a youthful 77 years old, and Joe Biden is a spring chicken, at 76.)

    He just racked up his biggest endorsement yet: the guy who threw a shoe at Bush43.

  • California Senator Kamala Harris: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Kamala Harris seems to have invented a stock nonanswer for any question… and I think you can tell she doesn’t believe she can get away with it.” She bragged on her record as a prosecutor, which rather suggests she has no notable accomplishments as California Attorney General or U.S. Senator.
  • Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: In. Twitter. Facebook. He unveiled a plan for rural communities, which suggests he’s looking past the primary to the general election, which may not be the optimal strategy for someone currently topping out at 1%.
  • Washington Governor Jay Inslee: In. Twitter. Facebook. His campaign is shaking its tiny fist at the DNC’s decision not to hold a climate change debate. The other Inslee news this week could be assembled from a book of Madlibs where the only words entered in every blank are “climate change.” (Example: “Inslee: Build U.S. foreign policy around climate crisis.”)
  • Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar: In. Twitter. Facebook. She was on Face the Nation. Scanning. Vikings. I can win in red states. And then a lot of DNC-approved abortion pandering.
  • Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam: In. Twitter. Facebook. That “zero people picked him or de Blasio” poll news is in fact the only Messam news I could locate this week. There’s an absence of evidence on his campaign, but there is evidence of absence…
  • Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton: In. Twitter. Facebook. He’s not making the first debate. “Massachusetts congressman and 2020 presidential candidate Seth Moulton expressed opposition for the Hyde Amendment by comparing federally-funded abortions to funding the U.S. troops.” There’s not a facepalm big enough…
  • Former Texas Representative and failed Senatorial candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke: In. Twitter. Facebook. He’s all in on Iowa. “O’Rourke is also running a much more traditional Iowa campaign with a strong presence on the ground, probably only eclipsed by Elizabeth Warren’s efforts.” Heh: “Let’s hear it for the blank slate!” Unclear on the concept:

    He also released voting rights proposals that are mostly bad or ineffectual ideas, but does include term limits for senators and representatives.

  • Ohio Representative Tim Ryan: In. Twitter. Facebook. He wants to repeal the Hyde Amendment and impeach President Trump. Remember when Ryan ran to Nancy Pelosi’s right as a moderate alternative for speaker? It’s strange how all those “moderate” positions magically disappear when running nationally…
  • Vermont Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders: In. Twitter. Facebook. He gets a long profile in Time, of the “Does Bernie need to change” sort, with a heaping side-order of campaign trail color reporting.

    Sanders has changed the debate in great measure because he has never really changed himself. His consistency is the selling point—his mantras against billionaires stealing the American Dream, the system being rigged, working people needing to form a movement to take power back. And yet he is now running against nearly two dozen competitors, many of whom have chipped away at his distinctiveness by emulating his stances, and just being Bernie may not get the job done. Sanders is solidly in second place behind Biden in national and state polls. And while the movement he built in 2016 has proven durable, there are few signs that it’s growing. Between March and May, according to a national survey by Monmouth University, Sanders’ support dropped from 25% of likely Democratic votes to 15%, as several rivals increased their share.

    There is a feeling in Sanders’ orbit that he will, in certain ways, have to evolve if he wants to do more than change the conversation. Tell his story more. Navigate the shoals of racial and gender politics with greater awareness of contemporary expectations and his own blind spots. Overcome his self-image of being a solitary outsider—alone, unheard, disrespected—­and cultivate allies. “It’s one thing to talk to your 20% to 25% who are your core believers, but we’ve got to work on persuading people into the fold,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager, told me. “And that’s why it takes, I believe, a continual evolution of the message, freshening up the message and also sharing more about him.”

    See, Bernie just isn’t touchy-feely enough for today’s modern Democratic Party pieties:

    After a few of these town halls, Sanders’ own stoicism makes more sense. He begins to seem almost a secular priest: People come to him with stories of despair, and he lifts their pain up into the air, to a place where it is no longer personal but something civic. He gives them the language and information to know it isn’t their fault. His speeches are like that hug in Good Will Hunting. It’s not your fault; it’s not your fault. The system did this. Big corporations did this. A bought-and-paid-for government did this. He connects their pain to the pain of others, and in the process that pain is remade, almost transubstantiated, into a sweeping case against a corrupt system. The priest, in this metaphor, doesn’t reveal himself because his job is to float above his own feelings, own needs, own desire to be liked. His job is to make space for, make sense of and make use of your pain.

    This covenant with his supporters is his great achievement. No rival for the Democratic nomination has anything quite like it. Even Steve Bannon, the right-wing populist who ran Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, admires it. Sanders’ agenda is “a hodgepodge of these half-baked socialist ideas that we’ve seen haven’t worked,” Bannon told me in his office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, sitting in front of a painting on which the words Follow your dreams were written above a monkey sitting on a Coca-Cola box. But, he said, “Bernie has done a tremendous job of galvanizing a segment that hasn’t gone away. I mean, he has a real movement.”

    Building a following fueled by pain and personal hardship is an especially big accomplishment for a candidate who is himself so emotionally inaccessible, reluctant to share more than the barest glimpses of his own history and inner life. “Not me. Us.” is his 2020 campaign slogan, and he means it. “Almost to a tee, what defines a politician is they love to tell their story,” Shakir told me. “He has absolutely zero inclination to do that. He abhors it.”

    Sanders seems to believe the public doesn’t have a right to know him more intimately—­even though there is abundant evidence that the essential character traits of our Presidents eventually shape all our lives: Bill Clinton’s appetites; George W. Bush’s certitude; Barack Obama’s instinct to hire bankers; Donald Trump’s narcissism. In our first interview, on a bench in the Des Moines airport, I asked Sanders a simple question: How did he first experience the idea that people blame themselves for systemic problems? “Well, before we get to me,” he said, “what the political revolution is about is the millions of people beginning to stand up …”

    Many of Sanders’ advisers are eager for the Senator to get more personal.

    And, of course, there’s the Old White Man issue for a party so blatantly racist aware of race as the Democratic Party circa 2019:

    With Trump in the White House, Democrats cannot ignore Macomb. But there are other votes that need to be courted. Minorities and women, and black women especially, are the lifeblood of the modern Democratic Party—and for them, Sanders’ way of diluting the truth about Trump voters can be troubling.

    The dilemma came to a head an hour later. We got off the bus at Detroit’s Sweet Potato Sensations, a bakery famous for its sweet-potato pies ($14 for a 9-in.). The audience was almost entirely African-American women. Sanders stood among them and took questions. A woman named Janis Hazel rose. She said she used to work for Representative John Conyers, a long-serving former House member from Michigan. Conyers (with Hazel’s assistance) had long ago proposed a bill mandating a commission to study how reparations for descendants of slavery might be undertaken in the U.S. Hazel asked Sanders whether he backed the idea, which Conyers had reintroduced each session until he resigned in 2017 over allegations of sexual harassment.

    Before she could finish, Sanders cut her off, undermining the proposal by reminding people that it is merely for a “study.” She tried to complete the question, and again Sanders jumped in. “Well, I’ve said that if the Congress passes the bill, I will sign it. It is a study.” He pivoted. “You know Jim Clyburn from South Carolina? Clyburn has a bill which I like. He calls it ‘10-20-30.’” The plan calls for 10% of all funds from certain federal programs to go to distressed communities to rebuild those communities.

    Afterward, Hazel told me she felt Sanders avoided her question. As it is, he had only recently come around to his tepid support for studying reparations. And his irritation at being pinned down on the issue was revealing. The dismissal of a mere “study” suggested an unfamiliarity with what advocates for reparations seek: a program so sweeping it would be impossible to administer without years of forethought.

    The interaction also called into question Sanders’ ability to navigate the complex social terrain that is the Democratic electorate in 2019. A room full of black women who didn’t seem bought into the Sanders agenda were trying to figure out, as all voters are, if he got them. There were a thousand ways in that moment to say, “Yes, I back reparations” or even, “No, I don’t, and here’s why,” and still convey your grasp of what lay beneath the question—­the desire to be seen and reassured that your community wouldn’t be forgotten. But Sanders didn’t do that.

    The Democrat who emerges to take on Trump in 2020 will have to compete for those Reagan Democrats and those black women, two tribes living in different worlds, a short distance apart on I-94. An issue like reparations is a perfect example of how difficult this can be; pleasing Detroit may hurt you a few exits to the north.

    In presidential elections past, the tension between what Macomb wanted and what Detroit wanted tended to be resolved in Macomb’s favor. But 2020 seems unlikely to repeat that history. It is being called the “woke primary” by people on the Republican side, because of the early pressure on candidates to take positions on questions of race and gender and identity—questions that matter to people other than white working-class men. The high maternal mortality rate for black women. Transgender rights. The question of when physical contact between men and women ­escalates from friendly to predatory. The problem of combating hate crimes.

    The woke primary is a challenge for Sanders. In part because he is an old-style leftist whose overriding lens is class, not identity. In part because woke culture often craves the kind of gesture­making to which he’s allergic. And in part because Sanders seems to struggle with the expectation that a 77-year-old white guy needs to learn, evolve and prove that he “gets it,” even if he was at Dr. King’s march.

    It seems a little early for this: “Is Bernie Sanders Finished? Democrats like him. They just show no signs of wanting to vote for him this time around.”

    That said: I think it’s starting to sink in that Senator Bernie Sanders is right at the fringes of plausibility. At best.That’s what I’m seeing from the mainstream media, some liberal bloggers and sophisticated polling analysis. Recent Iowa polls show Sanders at about 15%, essentially in a three-person race for second place with Senator Elizabeth Warren and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. That’s for a candidate who won half the vote there in 2016.And while Sanders is faring somewhat better nationally, that’s mainly because almost all the other candidates remain unknown to voters. As Nate Silver points out, only about 8% of Democrats say they’re definitely supporting Sanders. In other words, it’s entirely plausible that Sanders could fail to reach the delegate threshold in Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina (and possibly New Hampshire).

    I’m no Sanders fan, but all that is based on a bad poll or two and nothing else, which is pretty much meaningless at this point. He’s being more aggressive in South Carolina than he was in 2016. He also scolded Walmart.

  • California Representative Eric Swalwell: In. Twitter. Facebook. His “applause line” fell absolutely flat at that big Iowa event. Wonder Cringe Powers Activate!

  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: In. Twitter. Facebook. Her slow but steady rise continues, and she appears to be eating into Sanders’ base. “Senator Warren’s ‘economic patriotism’ consists of calling the bosses at the Fortune 500 a**holes and then writing them a check for tens of billions of dollars. I suspect the gentlemen in pinstripes will find a way to endure the insult.” With all her plans, does Warren have a plan to deal with Mitch McConnell? “If I’m still the majority leader of the Senate, think of me as the Grim Reaper…None of that stuff is going to pass. None of it.” Also, her campaign unionized.
  • Author and spiritual advisor Marianne Williamson: In. Twitter. Facebook. Speaking of “all in on Iowa,” she moved to Des Moines. A bold move, but one when Chris Dodd did the same thing in 2007, it netted him 2% of the Iowa vote and zero delegates. Here are some excerpts from a Williamson speech that are half warmed-over “Democrats good, Trump bad” talking points and half something else:

    Too often the Democrats have been the party that stands for the right thing, but still cozies up to the forces that do the wrong thing, thinking that that’s okay because once we get in power we will do the right thing, and then we naively think that that doesn’t smell to people, that the putrid stench of that more complicated corruption will not be wafting into the nostrils of the average voter.

    In other words, too many Democrats are half-truth tellers, ladies and gentlemen, and Donald Trump will eat the half-truth tellers alive.

    She also talks about Trump using persuasion in a way that sounds like a funhouse mirror distortion of Scott Adams’ explanations of Trump’s techniques: “Trump has spoken to a very dark and primal place within the human psyche, a place of fear that becomes like an emotional knot in people’s brains and this knot cannot be unraveled by mere intellectual or rationalistic argument for I assure you the part of the brain that rationally analyzes an issue is not the part of the brain that decides who to vote for.”

    I’ll give her this: She’s different.

  • Venture capitalist Andrew Yang: In. Twitter. Facebook. Random man runs for President:

    In November 2017, Yang registered his presidential bid with the Federal Election Commission. In April 2018, he published a book titled, “The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future.” “We are in the third inning of the greatest technological and economic shift in human history,” Yang often says, arguing that job losses in swing states propelled Donald Trump to the presidency. To survive the invasion of intelligent machines, Yang argues, America needs an economic and social overhaul, which would be spurred by a government-sponsored universal payment of $1,000 a month to every American adult. Or, in the language of nerd: Yang is an underdog hero rising up to fight the robots and save humanity. His weapon: allowance for grown-ups.

    Yang now leads thousand-person rallies on the regular. Fans wave signs that say “MATH” to support the self-proclaimed candidate of numbers and data — the guy who wants to Make America Think Harder. “I’m going to be the first president in history to use PowerPoint in the State of the Union,” Yang announced to a crowd in Seattle in early May. “How do you feel about that?” Cheers. “Yeah, break out the PowerPoint chant! No — don’t do it —”

    Too late. Fists were already pumping in the air, demonstrating the demagogic potential of Microsoft Office Suite.

    “Yes, this is the nerdiest presidential campaign in history,” a triumphant Yang shouted. “We did it!”

    Another improbable thing Yang has done: catapulted himself, an entrepreneur with few claims to fame and no political experience, into the Democratic presidential conversation. After a viral campaign seeking $1 donations, Yang earned a place in the upcoming primary debates by accruing 65,000 individual donors two months ahead of the deadline. (He celebrated with a cartoon GIF of himself doing the robot amid cascading dollar bills.) CNN hosted a Yang town hall event in April. By the end of May, the polling average at RealClearPolitics showed Yang with 1 percent of the vote — which is small, yes, but puts him ahead of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), who has 0.4 percent, and not far behind such established politicians as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), who has 1.8 percent, and former Cabinet secretary Julián Castro, who has 1.2 percent.

    Conservative columnist Matthew Walther has characterized Yang as “Ross Perot for millennials” — “a soft reboot of the Texan businessman’s maverick populist wonkery.” Yang, too, is an improvisational outsider with an out-of-nowhere campaign. But he is also the product of so many colliding forces in contemporary America that comparisons to anyone who came before him are kind of useless. Yang’s ascent from anonymity has been instantaneous in a way that can only exist in the age of social media. (His fans, who call themselves the Yang Gang, sometimes Photoshop him into robot-fighting scenes from science fiction.) His staff credits podcasts for building Yang’s die-hard base almost overnight. Digital media shapes Yang’s worldview and his self-presentation; his website’s prodigious policy section could be recast as a Facebook-friendly listicle, something like “108 Big Ideas That Could Save America Right Now.” (Yes, he really has 108 policy proposals. At least, he did as of press time; the number changes frequently.) His tone blends irony and earnestness in the manner of late-night political comedy. And the source of Yang’s relentless focus — universal basic income — is, at the moment, popular in future-minded circles that take cues from the likes of Pierre Omidyar, Richard Branson and Elon Musk. Yang’s campaign belongs to a mode of popular American discourse that did not exist 20, 10 or even five years ago: He is an emblem of the everyman thinkers of the Internet age.

    Despite meeting both of the debate criteria, somehow MSNBC keeps leaving him off their charts. He doesn’t want to break up big tech.

  • Out of the Running

    These are people who were formerly in the roundup who have announced they’re not running, or for which I’ve seen no recent signs they’re running (and I’ve even gone back and put in names that were mentioned as possibilities for running that I’ve dropped, just for the sake of completeness):

  • Creepy Porn Lawyer Michael Avenatti
  • Actor Alec Baldwin
  • Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • Former California Governor Jerry Brown
  • Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown
  • Former one-term President Jimmy Carter
  • Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr.
  • Former First Lady, New York Senator, Secretary of State and losing 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Former Vice President Al Gore
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Virginia Senator and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Vice Presidential running mate Tim Kaine
  • Former Obama Secretary of State and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry
  • New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
  • Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
  • Oregon senator Jeff Merkley
  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama
  • Former West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda
  • New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (constitutionally ineligible)
  • Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick
  • Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer
  • Talk show host Oprah Winfrey
  • Like the Clown Car update? Consider hitting the tip jar:





    I should really find some outlet to pay me to do these updates. PJ Media? Townhall? Daily Caller? Washington Examiner? Daily Wire? Breibart? Who pays the most?

    LinkSwarm for Friday, June 7, 2019

    Friday, June 7th, 2019

    Greetings, and welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Good economic news, Democrats behaving badly, and dispatches from the #NeverTrump wars.

  • “Unemployment for workers without bachelor’s degrees fell to the lowest rate on record in May, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday.”
  • “How The Media Covered Up The Real Collusion, Between Russians And The Hillary Campaign.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • President Donald Trump gets a big court win over House Democrats in the fight over the border wall, the judge ruling they have a lack of standing to sue over statutorily discretionary spending.
  • Seattle’s Minimum Wage Has Been a Disaster, as the City’s Own Study Confirms.”

    These findings, examining another year of data and including the increase to $13/hr, are unequivocal: the policy is an unmitigated disaster. The main findings:

    – The numbers of hours worked by low-wage workers fell by *3.5 million hours per quarter*. This was reflected both in thousands of job losses and reductions in hours worked by those who retained their jobs.

    – The losses were so dramatic that this increase “reduced income paid to low-wage employees of single-location Seattle businesses by roughly $120 million on an annual basis.” On average, low-wage workers *lost* $125 per month. The minimum wage has always been a lousy income transfer program, but at this level you’d come out ahead just setting a hundred million dollars a year on fire.

  • I’ve not been following the Sohrab Ahmari/David French contretemps, but Liel Leibovitz at Tablet has:

    We live, thundered Ahmari, in perilous times, with a progressive vanguard on the rise, dedicated to maximizing individual liberties at the expense of communal and traditional values.

    Even worse, today’s social justice warriors, Ahmari continued, see any dissent from their dogmas as an inherent assault. “They say, in effect: For us to feel fully autonomous, you must positively affirm our sexual choices, our transgression, our power to disfigure our natural bodies and redefine what it means to be human,” Ahmari wrote, “lest your disapprobation make us feel less than fully autonomous.” This means that no real discussion is possible—the only thing a true conservative can do is, in Ahmari’s pithy phrase, “to fight the culture war with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good.”

    Needless to say, big battles like this one have little use for niceties. “Progressives,” Ahmari went on, “understand that culture war means discrediting their opponents and weakening or destroying their institutions. Conservatives should approach the culture war with a similar realism. Civility and decency are secondary values.” Which is not to say they should be jettisoned; instead, Ahmari concluded, “we should seek to use these values to enforce our order and our orthodoxy, not pretend that they could ever be neutral.”

    Almost immediately, French delivered his riposte. Ahmari’s call to arms, he wrote in his response, betrayed a deep misunderstanding of both our national moment and our national character. “America,” French wrote, “will always be a nation of competing worldviews and competing, deeply held values. We can forsake a commitment to liberty and launch the political version of the Battle of Verdun, seeking the ruin of our foes, or we can recommit to our shared citizenship and preserve a space for all American voices, even as we compete against those voices in politics and the marketplace of ideas.”

    Which means that civility is not a secondary value but the main event, the measure of most, if not all, things. Bret Stephens agreed: In his column in The New York Times, he called Ahmari—who was born Muslim in Tehran and had found his path to Catholicism—“an ardent convert” and a “would-be theocrat” who, inflamed with dreams of the divine will, had failed to understand that it was precisely the becalmed civilities of “value-neutral liberalism” that has made his brave journey from Tehran to the New York Post possible.

    What to make of this argument? Stephens and others clearly imply that behind Ahmari’s call to arms lurked a shadowy figure, draped in Catholic robes, who would force Americans to recite the catechism while banning abortions and forcing gays back into the closet. Scary, if true; ugly bigotry, if not.

    You don’t have to be conservative, or particularly religious, to spot a few deep-seated problems with the arguments advanced by French, Stephens, and the rest of the Never Trump cadre. Three fallacies in particular stand out.

    The first has to do with the self-branding of the Never Trumpers as champions of civility. From tax cuts to crushing ISIS, from supporting Israel to appointing staunchly ideological justices to the Supreme Court, there’s very little about the 45th president’s policies that ought to make any principled conservative run for the hills. What, then, separates one camp of conservatives, one that supports the president, from another, which vows it never will? Stephens himself attempted an answer in a 2017 column. “Character does count,” he wrote, “and virtue does matter, and Trump’s shortcomings prove it daily.”

    To put it briefly, the Never Trump argument is that they should be greatly approved of, while Donald Trump should rightly be scorned, because—while they agree with Trump on most things, politically—they are devoted to virtue, while Trump is uniquely despicable. The proofs of Trump’s singular loathsomeness are many, but if you strip him of all the vices he shares with others who had recently held positions of power—a deeply problematic attitude towards women (see under: Clinton, William Jefferson), shady business dealings (see under: Clinton, Hillary Rodham), a problematic attitude towards the free press (see under: Obama, Barack)—you remain with one ur-narrative, the terrifying folk tale that casts Trump as a nefarious troll dispatched by his paymasters in the Kremlin to set American democracy ablaze.

    Now that this story has been thoroughly investigated and discredited, it seems fair to ask: Is championing a loony and deeply corrosive conspiracy theory proof of anyone’s superior virtue? The fact that these accusations were false implies that the Never Trumpers who made them early and often were among the political pyromaniacs, and are therefore deserving of the very obloquy that they heaped on Trump.

    There are problems with Ahmari’s view, not least that outside the realm of sex, almost nothing about today’s left is dedicated to “maximizing individual liberties” as opposed to enforcing in-group collectivism in the form of victimhood identity politics as a means of keeping a vast array of groups tied to the Democratic Party. But Leibovitz is dead-right in casting #NeverTrump’s vainglorious “Orange Man Bad” puffery as deeply unserious for advancing a conservative agenda.

  • “Progressive activists are planning to debate a resolution at this weekend’s California Democratic Party convention that accuses the Israeli government of fueling the rise of anti-Semitic hate crimes in the United States.” (Evidently the resolutions were defeated.)
  • “In 2018, Justice Democrats recruited 12 Democratic primary challengers and endorsed 66 other candidates. The only Justice Democrats-recruited candidate to win election to Congress that year was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” Of those 66 endorsed, only 7 won the general election.
  • Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw explains what a dog’s breakfast the Democrats “immigration reform” proposal is:

  • “The Mexican government is reportedly offering a slate of immigration-related concessions to appease the Trump administration as it seeks to prevent the imposition of tariffs on exports to the U.S.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Texas Teacher To Trump: Please Help Me Fight Illegal Aliens In My School.”
  • Union members are getting tired of all the extreme environmentalist bullshit:

    Brian D’Arcy, business manager of the powerhouse International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Los Angeles, says that Garcetti’s move is just the latest on the environmental front that’s pushing his members toward the GOP — and into the arms of Trump, who effectively wooed blue-collar Rust Belt workers on his way to a 2016 presidential win.

    “I’m getting hate mail and blowback from our workers, saying the Democratic Party is doing nothing for us,’’ D’Arcy says, sitting surrounded by his union members in a hall in Los Angeles as they prepared to protest on the streets. Asked if members might gravitate toward Trump, D’Arcy sighed and said, “It’s already happening.”

  • A not-so-short history of hate crime hoaxes in the Trump era.
  • I missed this from last week: Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a government and Israel will be going to the polls again in September.
  • The EU, not Brexit, killed British Steel
  • Which gives me an excuse to post this:

  • You may not have noticed, but there’s a violent crackdown going on in Sudan, where somewhere between 46 (government figures) and 100 (everyone else) protestors have been killed. Sudan’s military regime want sharia law to be the basis of the country and protestors are having none of it.
  • Stephen Green proclaims that actually, a $999 monitor stand is everything right with Apple today:

    The last truly professional Mac desktop was the Westmere-powered beast from 2012. The 2013 Mac Pro, as much as I liked mine, was really a prosumer device. Those actual professional users rightly bristled at its lack of expandability, and Apple’s hopes for its all-new design were quickly crushed. The self-inflicted wound was so deep that two years ago Apple did something I can’t recall ever happening before: It issued a mea culpa to its pro user base, and promised an all-new Mac Pro years in advance, which they also promised would be a truly professional, modular, expandable machine. The company went so far as to bring some pro customers on as employees to help with the new Pro’s design.

    And, boy, did they deliver. As tech analyst Ben Thompson wrote on Tuesday, “It was fun seeing what Apple came up with in its attempt to build the most powerful Mac ever, in the same way it is fun to read about supercars.”

    Full pricing won’t be revealed until this Autumn, but you can bet that it’s going to priced like the supercar of workstations. I’ve seen estimates bandied about the tech-o-sphere that the starting price of $5,999 will balloon up to $25,000 or even $40,000 for a fully specced-out rig. “Would you like to buy a smaller Mercedes sedan, or a computer?” Before you gasp again, that top-end machine will be pretty much a Pixar animation studio in a box.

    In a Slashdot thread on the new MacPros, several commenters concluded that specing out a similarly loaded Windows or Linux workstation (1.5TB of RAM, 28-core/56-thread Xeon CPU, four high end GPUs, etc.) is going to cost you as much as Apple’s solution.

  • Baltimore got hit with a ransomware attack that crippled city government, then blamed the NSA, even though the specific vulnerability used was patched by Microsoft in 2017. They should blame their own horrible data security management.

    Baltimore’s ongoing ransomware dilemma is in many ways a product of more than a decade of neglect of the city’s information technology infrastructure. Since 2012, four Baltimore City chief information officers have been fired or have resigned; two left while under investigation.

    CIO Christopher Tonjes, who left in June of 2014, was forced to resign in the face of a Maryland attorney general’s investigation into claims his office had paid contractors for work they didn’t do. In 2017, CIO Jerome Mullen was fired in the midst of an investigation into alleged misconduct, including “inappropriate contact” with women in the mayor’s Office of Information Technology. He denied the accusations and cited “historic issues” with the city’s IT that had led to problems with the city’s 911 system (which was ceded back to the Police and Fire departments’ control in 2015) and a host of other IT missteps.

    In fact, the IT department languished following the departure of Mayor Martin O’Malley, who became Maryland’s governor in 2007. O’ Malley had instituted CitiStat, a data dashboard for monitoring things like police and city worker overtime pay, employee absenteeism, and (as it expanded) a host of service delivery and infrastructure issues. The system was immortalized in fictional form in the television series The Wire, and it relied on aggregated reports from city agencies, usually presented in PowerPoint format to the mayor in regular meetings. Little about the infrastructure used to create the data has changed in the last dozen years. An audit of the Baltimore Police Department last year found that precincts were still using IBM’s (Lotus) Notes databases developed by a consultant during the O’Malley administration to track data, and no standard reporting format was used. The versions of Notes used by the police department reached end-of-support in 2015.

    (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)

  • This is unacceptable:

  • Speaking of unacceptable Fourth Amendment violations: a look at civil asset forfeiture in Texas. There should be ZERO cases where assets are seized without a criminal conviction.
  • Vice is laying off people left and right. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ, which says “because Vice is trash and that trash is on fire and that fire is burning money.”)
  • The fund that bought UK book dealer Waterstone’s is buying Barnes & Noble.
  • The Empower Texans 2019 Fiscal Index. Find out how your state congresscritter did.
  • How Hobart’s “funnies” helped clear obstacles off the beach on D-Day.
  • Oops!
  • Trump Derangement Syndrome, stabby Florida woman edition. (Hat tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.)
  • Tales From Toby’s Graphic Go-Kart, or how playing for Yes was like playing with Spinal Tap, and how Rick Wakeman was a carnivore while the rest of the band were vegetarians. Well, except that one time…
  • Modern D-Day Warriors Storm Washington To Demand Free Stuff From Government.”
  • Werewolf mouse.
  • Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update for June 3, 2019

    Monday, June 3rd, 2019

    Biden continues to lead, the DNC raises the bar for Debate Three, Booker spurns his former best buds rabbi, Williamson attends the world’s lamest rave, and Swalwell and Gillibrand compete to see who can run the most cringe-inducing campaign. It’s your weekly Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update!

    Polls

  • Harvard/Harris (go all the way to page 144): Biden 36, Sanders 17, Harris 8, Warren 5, Buttigieg 5, O’Rourke 4, Booker 3, Hickenlooper 1, Gravel 1, Ryan 1, Yang 1, Castro 1, Bloomberg 1, Inslee 1.
  • Morning Consult: Biden 38, Sanders 20, Warren 9, Buttigieg 7, Harris 7, O’Rourke 4, Booker 3, Bennet 1, Castro 1, Delany 1, Gillibrand 1, Hickenlooper 1, Klobucher 1, Yang 1, Williamson 1, Bullock 1, Ryan 1, Gabbard 1.
  • Real Clear Politics
  • 538 polls
  • Election betting markets
  • Pundits, etc.

  • The DNC announced that come the third Presidential debate, Democrats will need to score at least two percent in four polls, as well as “campaign contributions from at least 130,000 donors, including 400 unique donors in at least 20 states,” to make the debate stage.
  • Everyone know who Joe Biden is. Every other candidate in the race? Not so much.
  • 538 on what the candidates are saying and doing.
  • Now on to the clown car itself:

  • Losing Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams: Maybe? The main news this week was a huge subpoena for campaign finances records stemming from last year’s losing gubernatorial campaign.

    The nationally watched race for Georgia governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, the winner, was decided months ago. But proxy battles emanating from it still rage on.

    Abrams’ campaign on Friday delivered more than 3,600 pages of bank records to the state ethics commission in response to a far-reaching subpoena looking to turn up campaign violations.

    But a lawyer representing Abrams’ campaign is pushing back on releasing communications with outside individuals and groups, and Abrams’ former campaign manager slammed the investigation as “political revenge” by Republicans.

    The subpoena was one of several targeting liberal groups connected to Abrams. Issued by David Emadi, the new head of Georgia’s ethics commission, it asked for banking records from Abrams’ campaign as well as communications between the campaign and several outside groups working to drive voter registration and turnout.

    Also see the news on Andrew Gillum below. Karl Rove systematically dismantles Abrams claims of “voter suppression” in her losing gubernatorial race.

  • Colorado Senator Michael Bennet: In. Twitter. Facebook. He had a CNN town hall. “If Bennet doesn’t get a noticeable bump in the polls — meaning going from somewhere under 1 percent to anywhere consistently over 1 percent — he probably won’t make it onto the June debate stage in the first round.” Gets a Business Insider profile, which reveals that he was born in New Delhi, India. He was chairman of the Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2013—2015, which included the 2014 election where Republicans regained nine seats to retake the majority. He did vote against restoring the Clinton-era cosmetic “assault weapons” ban in 2013. Both he and Hickenlooper are having trouble finding traction:

    Former governor John Hickenlooper, the wealthy white male moderate who progressives think is too close to the oil industry, and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, the wealthy white male moderate who progressives think is too close to Wall Street, have both struggled to meet the debate requirements set by the Democratic National Committee.

    Snip.

    But it’s on the donor front that things begin to look truly dire for both candidates. As of March 31, Hickenlooper had received contributions from just 1,093 unique donors, a review of Federal Election Commission disclosures shows. While that figure only includes less than a month’s worth of donations following his campaign announcement on March 4, it puts the governor on pace for only a fraction of the donors he needs to fully guarantee himself a spot on the debate stage in June and July, much less qualify for the September debate.

    Because he announced his presidential bid after the FEC’s first-quarter deadline, Bennet has yet to file a campaign-finance report. Neither campaign responded to a request for comment Wednesday on their total number of unique donors, or their reaction to the DNC’s new, higher threshold for the third debate.

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: In. Twitter. Facebook. Biden looks like a frontrunner in every respect except one: Where are the big crowds? Maybe that’s a reason he’s been strangely absent from the campaign trail. 538 wonders if the Biden bounce is over, but they’re talking about downward shifts of 1-3%, which strikes me as statistical noise. He offered an education policy proposal that shockingly calls for school choice. Ha! Just kidding! It’s the federal government airdropping more money. “Can Joe Biden be the future and the past?

    Biden sought to reassure people that he views the changing climate as an existential threat to the planet, something he would take seriously and deal with aggressively. He also told his audience that the “first and most important plank” of a Biden climate policy could be summed up in two words: “Beat Trump.”

    His argument was hardly specious. He pointed to all the things that he — and the 22 other Democrats seeking the party’s nomination — are talking about, all they would do if they gain power in 2020. “As long as Donald Trump’s in the White House,” he said, “none of these critical things are going to get done.”

    What was left unsaid but obvious was the bare-bones rationale for his candidacy, that he’s the candidate in the best position to deny Trump a second term. Biden will have to prove this over the coming months. He won’t be able to avoid his rivals, nor engage solely in a debate with the president. But right now, he wants Democrats to believe he has a far better chance of taking back the White House, if only because he would play well in the three states that secured Trump’s presidency: Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

    Snip.

    At a time when the Democratic Party is being reshaped, Biden is a link to what came before Trump. He calls himself an Obama-Biden Democrat, which can be an asset in the primaries but perhaps less so in the general election. He will not have negatives as high as Hillary Clinton had in 2016 (or Trump for that matter). But Obama, for all his esteem and popularity among Democrats, was part of what brought about the reaction that gave the country the Trump presidency.

    The biggest problem with Biden’s goal of being the candidate of both the past and the future is his inability to obtain the Time Stone…

  • New Jersey Senator Cory Booker: In. Twitter. Facebook. Booker was closed friends with an Orthodox rabbi he met at Oxford. Now they don’t even speak. Why? Booker supported Obama’s Iran deal. (It’s a long, interesting piece, assuming you can get around the Post paywall/adblocker blocker combo.) Booker wants you to know that his gun control proposals would totally end mass shootings. Which proposals? “My proposals. You know, proposals. That I have. That will totally work. Because I say so.”
  • Montana Governor Steve Bullock: In. Twitter. Facebook. Impeachment? Nah. Says he can totally win back Trump states. You know, for Reasons. Bullock: “I’m against getting all dark money out of politics. Except all that sweet, sweet union money that benefits me personally. That stuff is A-OK!” He also hired ten more Iowa staffers.
  • South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: In. Twitter. Facebook. Buttigieg’s brother in law says he’s lying about his rags to riches story and being shunned by his family. The lefties at Truthout are unimpressed with Mayor Pete:

    The only millennial on Earth to sincerely describe themselves as a “laid-back intellectual,” Buttigieg has made it impressively far on identity alone. His website has a meme generator, for example, but no actual platform, leaving journalists to cobble one up out of tweets and interviews.

    What’s emerged in the past six months is a brazenly conservative agenda.

    To start, he doesn’t want single-payer health care because he can’t imagine a world without private insurance — one of the highest-profile symbols of the inhumanity of privatization. Instead, he wants “Medicare-for-all-who-want-it” to compete in the marketplace. “I don’t think we have to make it that complicated,” he says, sounding unnervingly like our current president.

    The rest of his policies are likely informed by his personal life (same-sex marriage) or his military career, the latter of which dominates his worldview. If he’s for gun control, it’s only because he “didn’t carry an assault rifle around a foreign country just to come home and see them used to massacre my countrymen.” Indeed, Buttigieg carried an assault rifle to oversee the murder of Brown people, not his own electorate.

    Buttigieg’s decorated service transforms him from a bootlicker into an actual boot-on-the-ground. He abandoned his elected duties to go to Afghanistan over a decade after everyone knew it was a phony war. Few “laid-back intellectuals” volunteer for war; fewer still come back believing in it. But Buttigieg can’t get enough: He’s afraid of Iran, blames Hamas for the devastating conditions in Gaza and thinks the U.S. has a lot to learn from how Israel “handles threats.”

    In April, he took it upon himself to suggest a “national service” program for every U.S. teenager. Maybe he means clean-up-your-rivers and volunteer-to-read service work, but it’s the military that swallows up his praise, and previous presidents’ time in the war machine that he idolizes. I can already see the Republicans back home in Mississippi nodding along.

    It’s always nice to have reminders that the hard left still hates ordinary Americans.

  • Former San Antonio Mayor and Obama HUD Secretary Julian Castro: In. Twitter. Facebook. The Houston Chronicle offers up the latest “Why isn’t Julian Castro doing better?” piece. (It’s a rich genre.)

    On paper, Castro checks so many boxes. He’s young, he’s Latino, he has as much experience as Beto and Mayor Pete, he can appeal to the right with his strong religious beliefs.

    But even Castro’s time as a former U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development can be read as problematic.

    “Consider … his relationship with Hillary Clinton, his time in politics, and I think compared to the two others mentioned, Julián Castro is considered to be a part of the establishment that needs to change,” journalist Shahrazad Maria Encinias told me, via Facebook, echoing the sentiments of other journalists I reached out to in order to discuss Castro’s campaign.

    And, for that matter, many think that, despite Castro’s resume, there’s not a lot of “there” there.

    Also this: “I don’t know who would be identified as his base.” Wait, you mean twenty years of endless “Hispanics are a super-powerful political force just waiting for the right candidate to wake them up” pieces were just lies? (Spoiler: Yes.) He also promised not to take oil and gas money:

    Because oil companies are just lining up to donate to a guy polling at 1%. He’s scheduled for a Fox town hall on June 13.

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: In. Twitter. Facebook. Daily Beast: “Here’s Why Bill de Blasio Thinks He Can Be President. And Here’s Why He’s Wrong.” It’s actually pretty weak tea by the standards of de Blasio-bashing. (Speaking of rich genres…) Oh, and NYPD cops hate him too. “‘As you can see, a President Bill de Blasio would be an unmitigated disaster, not just for union members, but for any American who wants a functioning government,’ NYC Police Union President Patrick Lynch wrote in a letter the union shared with media.”
  • Maryland Representative John Delaney: In. Twitter. Facebook. Naturally Delany is not happy that his dead-in-the-water campaign is going to be excluded from the third round of debates going forward.
  • Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Tulsi Gabbard Is Not A Centrist, No Matter How Much You Like Her.”

    When one examines Gabbard’s politics, the only difference between Gabbard and the right’s least favorite leftist ideologies is that she has spoken out articulately about online censorship and anti-interventionism.

    Both talking points, however, are a means of pushing economically and politically left-wing policy.

    Snip.

    Speaking of constitutional rights, Gabbard picks and chooses what to support. In the words of her own campaign website, Gabbard seeks to “ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited.”

    She has demonstrated her desire to disarm the American population by continually pushing gun control legislation, including H.R.5087, a congressional bill that proposes a full ban on all “semiautomatic assault weapons,” with a pages-long definition that effectively includes every semiautomatic weapon in existence.

    Her website also clearly states her support of the “concept of” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal,” a proposal that was (rightfully) relentlessly mocked by the right for its unrealistic goals and childish language (“cow farts.”)

    Gabbard’s public support of the same bill is overlooked however, because she is viewed as more mature, reasonable, and eloquent than Ocasio Cortez.

    But her goals are not much more grounded than those of Ocasio-Cortez. She is currently pushing the “OFF Fossil Fuels Act,” a bill that if passed would mandate a 100 per cent transition to “zero-emission” vehicles in just 16 years. The same bill would require that the United States transition to 100 per cent “clean energy” within the same 16-year period.

    Gabbard’s environmental goals practically mirror those of Ocasio-Cortez. She’s just less bombastic about it.

    Also look at Shoe0nHead’s callout to Gabbard as her queen in Saturday’s video if you haven’t already.

  • New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: In. Twitter. Facebook. Failure to launch:

    At this point, Gillibrand isn’t focused on winning the primary. She’s worried about surviving the next few months.

    Despite a soaring national profile in the U.S. Senate[{{citation needed}}], Gillibrand has failed to achieve liftoff as a presidential prospect. She has not broken 2 percent in a single national poll since officially declaring her candidacy in mid-March, and her 0.4 percent average in the RealClearPolitics aggregate of surveys places her behind the likes of Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard and even geeky long shot Andrew Yang.

    This is the point where I’d usually do a snip and quote another big block of biographic info on Gillibrand, but the pandering here is laid on too thick to let it pass: “Gillibrand gained national attention upon entering the political arena for possessing a rare combination of big brains [No], telegenic looks [she’s OK] and personal magnetism [No].” She’s “telegenic” only by “politics is Hollywood for ugly people” standards. She’s got middling blond sorority girl looks, her “soaring national profile” seems limited to a few political reporter fangirls, and before she launched her presidential campaign, the average non-New Yorker couldn’t have picked her out of a lineup. She’s a political lightweight that a small group of dedicated party hacks has insisted we treat as a heavyweight. She Peter Principled her way into a senate seat and her Presidential aspirations are laughable. She’s Beto O’Rourke without the gravitas and 90% less goofy charisma, and her campaign failure is entirely predictable. And if you thought she was a bad politician, you haven’t heard her singing:

    She seems like one of those drunks at karaoke night who is absolutely sure she’s nailing it, much to the amusement of everyone else. She’s also tried some tranny pandering.

  • Former Tallahassee Mayor and failed Florida Senate candidate Andrew Gillum: Probably not. Biggest news this week was him being hit with federal subpoenas over “his 2018 campaign for governor and his work with a Massachusetts nonprofit organization and a local public relations firm owned by one of his closest advisers.” If I were of a conspiratorial cast of mind, I’d view this and the Stacey Abrams subpoenas mentioned above as part of a coordinated effort against both. However, the rational part of my mind notes that one was state and the other federal, which tends to argue against such a conspiracy.
  • Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel: In. Twitter. Facebook. “89-year-old Mike Gravel trolls younger 2020 Democrats for polling beneath him.”

    The Klobuchar zero showing in that poll is probably an anomaly, but yeah, the others are toast.

  • California Senator Kamala Harris: In. Twitter. Facebook. LA Times: “After dazzling debut, Kamala Harris falls from top of presidential pack.” It was never that dazzling, and she was never at the top. She is racking up California endorsements, which are like the Arby’s coupons of politics; you keep them around because every once in a while they’re useful, but mostly they just lie around forgotten until getting tossed out long past their expiration date. Freakshow animal rights protestor grabs the mic from her on stage.
  • Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: In. Twitter. Facebook. He calls on his fellow Democrats to reject socialism or lose to Trump. This didn’t go over well:

  • Washington Governor Jay Inslee: In. Twitter. Facebook. Released an immigration plan, which is your standard “everything Trump does is wrong, plus Amnesty” pander.
  • Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar: In. Twitter. Facebook. She was on Pod Save America, which is big in lefty circles. It’s a whole lot of “Trump won the Midwest, but I can win the Midwest, because I’m the most Midwest Midwest from the Midwest.”
  • Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam: In. Twitter. Facebook. The Center for Public Integrity offers nine random facts on Messam, including his record of political giving and the value of his house ($517,220). It’s not particularly interesting, but Messam news is thin on the ground…
  • Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton: In. Twitter. Facebook. Had a CNN town hall, where he pandered hard. “If this country wasn’t racist, Stacey Abrams would be governor.” 0-2. He does oppose “Medicare for all.”
  • Former Texas Representative and failed Senatorial candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke: In. Twitter. Facebook. In case you missed it, here’s my previous post on Kyle Smith’s takedown of Running With Beto, which dropped on HBO last week to rapturous applause from Beto fans, bemusement by a few political junkies, and complete indifference by everyone else. O’Rourke admits he was sometimes “a giant asshole” in it. He tripled his Iowa staff.
  • Ohio Representative Tim Ryan: In. Twitter. Facebook. Another guy who had a CNN town hall. He too performed the requisite diversity pandering (“white male ticket bad!”) and opposes Trump’s China tariffs. He says he’s qualified for the first debate.
  • Vermont Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders: In. Twitter. Facebook. Sanders is not doing so well now that he’s not running against Hillary Clinton. “In conversations recently with about a dozen voters who showed up at his events during his longest New Hampshire swing, it’s clear that the kind of ride-or-die support Sanders had in 2016 has dissipated a bit.” Reason covers his commie history.

    Sanders once identified as a socialist who, with reservations, admired the economic achievements of Cuba under Fidel Castro, of Nicaragua under the Sandinistas, and of the Soviet Union right up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    Running for office as a candidate for the Liberty Union Party in Vermont in the 1970s, Sanders sought a top tax rate of 100%, saying “nobody should earn more than $1 million.”

    Sanders wanted to stop businesses from moving out of their original communities, arguing that the ultimate solution to protect workers was national legislation that would “bring about the public ownership of the major means of production.” He favored the government seizure of “utilities, banks, and major industries,” without compensation to investors or stockholders.

    Shortly after he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1981, Sanders told a room full of charity workers, “I don’t believe in charities,” because only the government should provide social services to the needy.

    He had a San Francisco “grassroots” fundraiser and a San Jose rally. He also took a jab at Biden for not attending the California State Democratic Convention.

  • California Representative Eric Swalwell: In. Twitter. Facebook. It’s like he’s trying to win a bet for running the most cringe-inducing campaign:

    He too had a CNN town hall. “The California congressman said he did not agree with Sanders’ proposal to extend voting rights to people currently in prison.” Also opposes eliminating private health insurance and impeachment. But should Swalwell obtaining these tiny clues temporarily blind you to the fact that he’s still an idiot, there’s also this: “The 38-year-old congressman said on Sunday night that he’s still paying off what was $100,000 in student loan debt.”

  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: In. Twitter. Facebook. Warren’s radical wonkery offers “A vision of a government that is at once more responsive and more intrusive.” And radically bigger and more expensive. She proposed a blatantly unconstitutional wealth tax. Well, you can’t expect a former Harvard law professor to understand such arcane trivia as “the Constitution.” She’s all in on Iowa:

    At a half-dozen events in rural Eastern Iowa over Memorial Day weekend, paid organizers and volunteers swarmed every attendee, affixing brightly colored circles to them as proof their contact information had been secured. The sticker patrol circled the room before Warren spoke — and afterward in the selfie line — just in case anyone happened to slip through.

    The campaign’s hyper-vigilance about capturing data on every potential supporter isn’t unique to Iowa, but the sheer number of people dedicated to the task certainly is. Warren has made an early wager on the state unrivaled by other Democratic hopefuls, aiming to strike early in the nomination contest by out-organizing the competition.

    She already has more than 50 staffers in Iowa, and more are coming: A “significant” number of hires will be announced on June 15, according to Jason Noble, her Iowa communications director. The national campaign said its Iowa payroll would total at least 60 after the additions.

    Plenty of other Democrats are investing heavily and ramping up their presence in Iowa, including Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, and Kamala Harris. But no candidate has hired nearly as many staffers or made the Hawkeye State as central to their hopes for the nomination from the very start.

    Snip.

    But the up-front investment by Warren — who so far has lagged behind Biden, Bernie Sanders, Harris, O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg in fundraising — isn’t without risk. Committing to so many salaries from the outset could leave the campaign without much cash for TV and digital advertising in the critical weeks before voting begins. That danger is even greater given that Warren has sworn off high-dollar fundraisers.

    Warren’s camp says she’ll be fine, pointing out that she transferred $10.4 million from her Senate reelection account to give her a healthy financial cushion.

    Could work, or could leave her dead broke after coming fourth behind Biden, Sanders and (rolls dice) Klobuchar and no way to pivot to must-win New Hampshire.

  • Author and spiritual advisor Marianne Williamson: In. Twitter. Facebook. She appeared at a “rave.” I use quotes because “The event, ‘Ethereal Spring,’ is being thrown by Daybreaker, a three-hour sober morning rave held every few weeks in cities across the world. Like other Daybreaker events, this one consists of an hour-long fitness class followed by two hours of (sober, morning) dancing.” That resembles a “rave” about as much as an afternoon tea party resembles an orgy. (Cue a bitter old journalist penning the obligatory “Millennials Ruin Raves” piece.) Six paragraphs in we learn this takes place in Manhattan. Then Williamson talks about the importance of dancing. Welcome to Hell. She also gets a Washington Post profile. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know she was campaigning in Fairfield, Iowa, home to a lot of people who practice Transcendental Meditation. Om, om on the range…
  • Venture capitalist Andrew Yang: In. Twitter. Facebook. The Time headline proclaims “Inside Andrew Yang’s Outsider Campaign” but there’s precious little insider info:

    Yang, 44, was born in New York to two immigrants from Taiwan. He graduated from high school in Exeter, N.H., in 1992, got an undergraduate degree from Brown and went to law school at Columbia, which he graduated from in 1999. His career got off to a tough start: He spent mere months working as a corporate lawyer at Davis Polk and Wardwell in New York before, he says, he quickly became bored with it. Next he launched a failed Internet company called Stargiving, which raised money for charity by auctioning off celebrity experiences. He worked for a mobile software company called Crisp Wireless as vice president of their business and legal department and at a health-care start-up called MMF Systems. Then he ran a tutoring company that was acquired by test-prep giant Kaplan in 2009 for an undisclosed amount. (On the trail, Yang refers to it as a “modest fortune.”)

    In 2011, Yang founded an organization called Venture for America. His vision was to train entrepreneurs and dispatch them around the country to help create job growth. He was later named one of the Obama White House’s Champions of Change for that work. Along the way, Yang married and had two kids, including an autistic son.

    In a way, Yang credits the latter experience with fueling his campaign for president. “As first-time parents, you don’t know what’s normal versus what’s not normal,” he recalls. ”Is it normal for a three-year-old to freak out when the texture of the ground changes?” It was a growing experience for him. Until then, Yang had suffered only minor adversity. The idea that a single mother would have to care for an autistic child with no resources was heartbreaking, he says, and helped shape his belief in universal basic income—the core of his platform and the idea that’s helped him gain traction.

    Also: “To win the nomination, Yang will have to convince Democrats that he’s got the best chance at beating Trump.” Yeah, I don’t see that happening.

  • Out of the Running

    These are people who were formerly in the roundup who have announced they’re not running, or for which I’ve seen no recent signs they’re running (and I’ve even gone back and put in names that were mentioned as possibilities for running that I’ve dropped, just for the sake of completeness):

  • Creepy Porn Lawyer Michael Avenatti
  • Actor Alec Baldwin
  • Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
  • Former California Governor Jerry Brown
  • Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown
  • Former one-term President Jimmy Carter
  • Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr.
  • Former First Lady, New York Senator, Secretary of State and losing 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Former Vice President Al Gore
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder
  • Virginia Senator and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Vice Presidential running mate Tim Kaine
  • Former Obama Secretary of State and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry
  • New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
  • Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
  • Oregon senator Jeff Merkley
  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama
  • Former West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda
  • New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (constitutionally ineligible)
  • Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick
  • Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer
  • Talk show host Oprah Winfrey
  • Like the Clown Car update? Consider hitting the tip jar:





    LinkSwarm for May 31, 2019

    Friday, May 31st, 2019

    Important traffic notice for Austin residents: Half of I-35 is going to be closed between 290 and Rundberg starting at 9 PM tonight and lasting through 5 AM Monday, June 3, while they take down the St. John’s bridge and route southbound traffic down two northbound lanes, squeezing traffic in both directions. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s going to screw up traffic everywhere between Georgetown and Slaughter Lane. Avoid if at all possible…

  • Robert Mueller closes up shop.
  • Alan Dershowitz thinks that Mueller acted shamefully in going beyond his prosecutor’s mandate:

    Virtually everybody agrees that, in the normal case, a prosecutor should never go beyond publicly disclosing that there is insufficient evidence to indict. No responsible prosecutor should ever suggest that the subject of his investigation might indeed be guilty even if there was insufficient evidence or other reasons not to indict. Supporters of Mueller will argue that this is not an ordinary case, that he is not an ordinary prosecutor and that President Trump is not an ordinary subject of an investigation. They are wrong. The rules should not be any different.

    Remember that federal investigations by prosecutors, including special counsels, are by their very nature one-sided. They hear only evidence of guilt and not exculpatory evidence. Their witnesses are not subject to the adversarial process. There is no cross examination. The evidence is taken in secret behind the closed doors of a grand jury. For that very reason, prosecutors can only conclude whether there is sufficient evidence to commence a prosecution. They are not in a position to decide whether the subject of the investigation is guilty or is innocent of any crimes.

    That determination of guilt or innocence requires a full adversarial trial with a zealous defense attorney, vigorous cross examination, exclusionary rules of evidence and other due process safeguards. Such safeguards were not present in this investigation, and so the suggestion by Mueller that Trump might well be guilty deserves no credence. His statement, so inconsistent with his long history, will be used to partisan advantage by Democrats, especially all those radicals who are seeking impeachment.

  • Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw on the issue:

  • President Donald Trump has given Attorney General William Barr authority to declassify to declassify Scandularity documents (like FISA warrents aimed at the Trump campaign), and Democrats are freaking out.
  • Study shows that America is less racist under Donald Trump’s presidency.
  • Mexico’s senate should pass the USMCA free trade treaty soon. Now it just needs to get past Canada and Nancy Pelosi.
  • Trump also threatens to slap a 5% tariff on Mexican goods until they do more to control the border.
  • Continuing plunge of CNN, MSNBC ratings reveals that fake news is a bad business strategy.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • More on the same subject from Vodkapundit.
  • Related: “It’s Not Your Imagination: The Journalists Writing About Antifa Are Often Their Cheerleaders.”

    Of all 15 verified national-level journalists in our subset, we couldn’t find a single article, by any of them, that was markedly critical of Antifa in any way. In all cases, their work in this area consisted primarily of downplaying Antifa violence while advancing Antifa talking points, and in some cases quoting Antifa extremists as if they were impartial experts.

    Update: For revealing those links, Twitter has banned author Eoin Lenihan.

  • Democrats yet again sue Little Sisters of the Poor for contraception coverage.” Every knee must bend…
  • “Scientists discover China has been secretly emitting banned ozone-depleting gas.” I’m shocked, shocked that China is evading agreed-upon environmental regulations…
  • “Why Are Top Obama Officials Working Cushy Jobs for Chinese Company We Now Consider a Threat?” (I think we all know the an$wer to that que$tion.) “Samir Jain — a former senior director for cybersecurity policy under Obama’s National Security Council and now a partner with the international law firm Jones Day — was recently hired by the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei as a lobbyist. Jain works alongside James Cole, who was Obama’s deputy attorney general from 2011 to 2015. Huawei hired Cole for legal representation in 2017, the Examiner reported.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Gulf Cartel Kidnapping Crew Caught Operating in Texas.” It operated in various locales in Hidalgo County.
  • This is interesting: Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz and New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez are talking about teaming up to impose a lifetime ban on former members of congress becoming paid lobbyists. It’s a good idea that I expect to go nowhere, as it takes potential graft money out of too many congressional pockets. But this is not the only idea the hard left and the hard right could propose to fight the swampy center.
  • Mizrahi Jews are not “Palestinian Jews“:

    When my grandparents arrived in Israel, together with 850,000 other Jews who lived in the Middle East and North Africa, they understood three things.

    First, they understood that they were being forced to leave their Arab homelands. My Iraqi grandparents, for example, had very clear memories of the Farhud, the 1941 pogrom that left more than 180 Jews dead at the hands of their neighbors. They finally fled their native country in 1951, pushed out by an Iraqi government determined to rid itself of all of its Jews.

    When they arrived in Israel, my grandparents did not see themselves as Palestinian Jews—they had never before lived in Mandatory Palestine. They saw themselves as Jews of Iraqi descent returning to the ancient homeland they and their ancestors had dreamed of and prayed of for thousands of years, the land from which they were once expelled and to which they were overjoyed to return. And they also understood themselves to be distinct from their Ashkenazi brothers and sisters: They were all Jews, but my grandparents were proud of their Mizrahi heritage just as the 200,000 Israelis of Ethiopian descent are proud of theirs.

  • Five dead as explosions rock Kirkuk, Iraq.
  • Instagram removes pro-life cartoon as “hate speech.”
  • Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw puts up a Twitter thread for his fallen comrades in arms for Memorial Day.
  • What it’s like to fight with Americans. “They are coming for you and very little will save you.”

  • And now a rather pungently expressed conflicting view:

    They’re hordes of freaks and geeks, socially promoted like the retards in Common Core to grease the retirement skids of a pack of careerist Courtney Massengales not fit nor capable to pour piss out of their own boots even with the instructions stamped on the heel.

    Else we wouldn’t have Rangerettes who can’t climb a short wall, Navy officers who can’t conn a ship without hitting everything afloat, as they dredge up parts from museum pieces to keep their current aircraft flying, Air Force generals pimping for a white elephant plane that cannot fly, missile officers cheating on their proficiency tests, Marine recruits in combat arms who can’t throw a grenade without killing themselves, or “combat leaders” who couldn’t pass a ruck march, West Point “leaders” who condone open communism from faculty and students, and promote a pack of Affirmative Action cadets who couldn’t pass a PRT or meet basic weight and appearance standards, while flashing Black Power signs in uniform. We wouldn’t be doing gender reassignment surgeries instead of physical therapy for combat wounded, we wouldn’t be spending more money on gender sensitivity counseling than on marksmanship training, and we wouldn’t be wavering the insane and drug-addicted into the military in record numbers, just to appease a pack of blue- and pink-haired SJWs.

    The US military is broken.

    Hugely so. Nearly hopelessly so.

    Nostalgia for a time long past when it was otherwise won’t paper over the reality that right now we’re as weak as kittens, with a military that’s going to have its own ass handed to it on a platter, and body bags filled by the gross, because it’s so hamstrung with PC that it cannot accomplish the most fundamental missions assigned to it, eight days out of seven.

    Overstated? Probably. Almost certainly. And don’t underestimate “freaks and geeks.” Or both viewpoints are true: Our armed forces aren’t what they’re shaped up to be, but are still miles beyond other country’s armed forces. Or it could be a case of inter-service differences: The army, honed by two decades at the point of the knife in the global war on terror, is the best in the world but the Navy and Air Force have problems. Or anywhere in-between those extremes. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)

  • African Swine Fever and stagflation in China.
  • Ackerman McQueen moves to terminate their contract with the NRA. (Previously. I still have an incomplete follow-up to that piece I need to finish.)
  • CrossFit leaves Facebook over suspensions of popular groups promoting a Keto lifestyle. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Spreadsheeting your marriage. It actually makes a surprising amount of sense… (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • Former Mississippi Republican Senator Thad Cochran has died at the age of 81. Cochran was Mississippi’s first Republican senator since Reconstruction, was a stalwart advocate of the Reagan revolution, and then slowly drifted into a more moderate direction as he stayed in the senate 45 years.
  • Leon Redbone, RIP.
  • John Cleese tells critics to piss off:

    (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)

  • Texas repeals ban on tomahawks and brass knuckles.
  • Texas Scorecard approves of the work of Austin police chief Slab Bulkhead* Brian Manley.
  • Last Mohawk code-talker dies.
  • Jeopardy host Alex Trebek almost in remission from his cancer.
  • Important safety tip: Trying to imitate The Dukes of Hazzard in real life will not bring the desired results. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Austin-area SH 45 SW Toll road to open June 1st.
  • What Rice University looked like a hundred years ago, when it was surrounded by a whole lot of nothing.
  • Follow-up: You know that story about a researcher cracking the Voynich Manuscript? Yeah, maybe not. (Hat tip: Reader Dave Rainwater.)
  • “Sociologists Believe Shrieking Left-Winger Who Is Throwing Things May Be Expressing Disagreement.”
  • “Punk Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Novel Somehow Always Ends in 9-to-5 Office Job.”
  • *Running joke. Source here.

    Creepy Porn Lawyer Even Creepier

    Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

    Conservatives have been calling ex-Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti “Creepy Porn Lawyer” for quite a while now. Yesterday Vanity Fair revealed that Avenatti was even creepier than we thought.

    The wins, while lucrative, couldn’t keep up with his ever-burgeoning expenses, which, according to a divorce filing from his second wife, Lisa Storie-Avenatti, had swelled to include a $19 million Newport Beach mansion, several race cars, and monthly family costs, including a staff of nannies, an assistant, and a driver, she estimated at $200,000, along with shares in two private jets. Around the time he met Daniels, Avenatti’s life was essentially unraveling. His second wife had filed for divorce in January. (Avenatti disputes the claims in her filing. “I hardly think that I am the first person to have a batshit-crazy ex-spouse who overstates things to fit their financial demands,” he told me in response.) A month before that, Avenatti’s law firm made a $10 million settlement for back pay with a former partner, who claimed that the firm failed to provide him with copies of its tax returns and had misstated its profits. By March, the coffee chain Tully’s, which he bought through his company Global Baristas with the actor Patrick Dempsey, had closed all its stores. By that time, the I.R.S. had been after him and the company for years, claiming that Global Baristas owed $5 million in federal taxes. And then there was the issue of a $1.6 million settlement for a client in a civil case, which was due to his client on March 10. The settlement had come through to Avenatti. But instead of transferring it to his client, the complaint alleges, he put the money into his own account. When his client repeatedly asked Avenatti when the money would come in, he allegedly lied about the fact that it already had, in fact, been paid to him. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

    And then Stormy happened.

    It was his skill set and his strategy, Avenatti explained, that took her case from what could have been a two-day story and turned it into a case cable-news hosts chewed over night after night, week after week, month after month. “She was known as headlining the Make America Horny Again tour, and I took her to another level,” he said. Daniels denied repeated requests to be interviewed for this story.

    On March 6, 2018, he filed a lawsuit against the president of the United States on behalf of Daniels in a California civil court, seeking to void the 2016 non-disclosure agreement prohibiting Daniels from discussing her supposed affair with Trump. The following morning, he appeared solo on Today, kicking off a flurry of interviews that would keep him in green rooms and on cable-news sets and shuttling from one studio to the next in black cars for weeks. From a virtual unknown, Avenatti became one of the most famous people in America, a cable-news pugilist who was actually going toe-to-toe with the president and drawing blood. For a while, it spun faster than anyone, including Avenatti, could control. There were stories written about his body-fat percentage and his suits; odes were written about the color of his eyes, which sit symmetrically above his steep jaw like two infinity pools; women he’d never met before started texting him racy photographs; and of course, television bookers put him as a frequent hitter in their rotation.

    Perhaps Avenatti’s most Trumpian quality was the tension between his desire to be talked about incessantly and his crepey thin-skinned-ness if and when that talk turned to criticism, whether in the media or from strangers on Twitter. He would routinely respond to people who e-mailed him comments after he appeared on cable news, calling small-town lawyers who’d written him notes to chew them out for their remarks, according to people familiar with this practice. He berated Time magazine after it published a story quoting him saying that the next Democratic nominee would likely have to be a white man, demanding that the publication release the transcript of his interview. He once threatened The Daily Caller with a defamation suit, messaging the reporter that “this is the last warning.” His girlfriend through much of his year in the spotlight, Mareli Miniutti, recalled that he rarely put his phone down and would scroll through all of his Twitter mentions. “He would say, ‘Oh my god, this asshole said this and you know what I did? I fucking blocked that motherfucker.’ ”

    Behind the scenes, his behavior was even more volatile. “He had a terrible temper,” one prime-time anchor told me. “He never lost it with me, or really with any of the talent, as far as I know, because it was mostly for the bookers or the people who were behind the scenes. But he would tell people, ‘I’m going to fucking bury you. Why the fuck would you do that?’ if he didn’t like something.” A number of reporters recalled that he would physically invade their space. “His nose gets millimeters from your face and it’s clear he knows no boundaries,” one broadcast reporter and producer told me.

    The MSM made Avenatti a media star and he repaid them by treating their staffers like shit. And yet, did we hear any whiff of what a Grade A asshole Avenatti was before the federal indictments dropped? Of course not. The MSM was, rather than acting like news organizations and verifying things, were all in against President Trump, and any weapon against him, no matter how creepy, sleazy or abusive, was allowed. So instead of hearing about what a raging asshole Avenatti was, they boosted him as a serious Presidential candidate.

    Don’t forget the unbelievable fawning Avenatti received:

    There’s lots more Avenatti sweetheart behavior on display in the story:

    No one knew Avenatti’s rage cycle better than Miniutti, a model who moved to the United States from a little town in Estonia on a gap year after high school. She ran into Avenatti in October 2017 at Cecconi’s in Hollywood. She was 23 at the time and out with a girlfriend when the lawyer, then 46, approached her and asked her to have dinner with him. After a few weeks, she was essentially moved into a luxury high-rise in Century City. They traveled in Europe for a few weeks in November and he offered to pay her rent and about a thousand dollars in spending money each month.

    Yes, because being asked to be the kept woman of a guy you just met a few weeks ago is totally normal behavior. Is this some Sex in the City thing? Is this something beautiful single woman moving to Manhattan naturally consider as a career option?

    (Avenatti said that his financial support far exceeded that amount.) He didn’t want her to work, she told me, sitting in her attorney Michael Bachner’s Manhattan office in early April, within spitting distance of the Charging Bull sculpture down past Wall Street. She turned up in ripped black jeans and dainty silver rings on five of her fingers. She had a mess of blonde hair pulled back by the black sunglasses she kept on her head for much of two hours and Jessica Rabbit lips that quivered as she detailed what she called a year of verbal, psychological, and physical abuse. Avenatti has denied ever physically harming anyone. “Any allegation that I have ever been physical with a woman is complete nonsense,” he told me. By the spring, months into their dating, she told him she was thinking about getting a waitressing job. “I wanted to be more social and earn some money to pay my credit card, but he said, ‘Mareli, really? Do you realize who you’re dating? I could be the next president of the United States. We could celebrate my 50th birthday in the White House. You can’t be a waitress.’ ” (Another woman Avenatti was romantically involved with also told me that Avenatti had asked her if she wanted to be First Lady.) Avenatti denied telling Miniutti that she could not wait tables. He said that he’d perhaps joked with a few women about being First Lady—but many more had approached him asking if they could have the role.

    Miniutti rarely knew which Michael she would wake up to, she said. “He has two extremely different personalities,” she explained. “One was this very powerful guy. I saw people who would shake his hand. They respected him. … I was so proud of him [when he first started representing Stormy].” The other, she said, was “very aggressive.” By the summer, when his schedule was busy enough that they would only have a few days together at a time, his temper flared. On their way to dinner one evening, when she opened up to him about an eating disorder she struggled with and started to cry, he turned the car around and told her that she was “fucking the whole night up” by bringing it up on their one night out together, that she was “a fucking idiot to start crying and making drama” on their way out for a nice night. “It was my fault at the end of everything,” she told me. “That was just something I got used to. He would yell at me for bringing something up by asking if that’s really how I wanted to spend what little time we had together. I wanted to be a supportive partner, so I let it slide off … but I felt really scared when I would see one side of him, then the other, within a half-hour period. Up and down, up and down.”

    It was not until February, four months into their dating, that she said he became physically abusive. It was his birthday, and he had wanted to spend the night before going out with a friend who was in town. She went out separately with her friends, and when Avenatti returned to his apartment and saw that she was not yet home, he texted her, asking where she was. She said she told him that she would be home in an hour. When she got there, she said she could tell that he was drunk. She had been drinking, too, and he laid into her. “He was upset that I could be so disrespectful and selfish, on his birthday. If he texts me that he’s home, he told me that I should come right away and that that’s how relationships work.” She had gotten into bed before he jumped up and started yelling at her to “get the fuck out. Get the fuck out” of the apartment. “I don’t want you here tonight,” he told her. When she got up to leave, she said, he literally threw her out the door into the hallway, where she hit her head on the wall. “I made excuses after that,” she said. “The excuse that time was that we were both drunk and emotional, and I really did not believe that he would do something like that again.”

    He did, though, she said. By early November, she had maxed out her credit card. She’d bought him a $500 limited-edition Yves Saint Laurent cologne (it “smelled so sexy,” she said) for their anniversary, though, she says, he had not gotten her anything. She had asked him for money because her accounts were overdrawn and she didn’t have enough cash to order food or put gas in her car. He had put $2,000 in her account on November 13, just before she went to work on set for a Snoop Dogg music video. It hadn’t yet cleared, so she had to ask one of the other girls to pay for her gas in order to get home at the end of the day. She took a shower, put on a T-shirt and underwear, and got into bed. In a letter to the district attorney’s office Avenatti’s lawyers sent last fall, he claimed that she had been drinking and doing drugs on set, a claim she denied. He also said that she had recently started taking Accutane, an acne medication he said could cause emotional distress. She said she had only been taking the drug for two days and had no problem with it whatsoever.

    She was drained by the time Avenatti got home from drinks with a friend, but she told him she thought she needed to work more. She had been embarrassed having to ask for gas money, and she never wanted to feel that way again. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, she said, and he looked her right in the eye. “Goddammit,” she said he yelled, mimicking how he stood up in the bedroom as we sat in her lawyer’s office. “You motherfucking ungrateful bitch.” She went to the guest bedroom. He followed, she said. “Get the fuck out,” she recalled him saying. “You’re just ungrateful and disrespectful.” She started to text a friend to see if she could sleep there that night instead when he grabbed her phone. He put his hands on her shoulders, she said, and tried to force her out of the apartment. Her arms were slick from body oil after the shower and he couldn’t quite grip her. She saw that the window was open and started screaming for help, she says, when he got hold of one of her arms and dragged her first across the carpet and then across a hardwood floor. He opened the door and flung her into the hallway. “I was so shocked and shaking that I couldn’t even stand up. I reached up to ring the doorbell for the apartment across the hallway and he saw me. ‘Are you fucking insane?’ he said.” He pulled her back inside and she warned him that if he did not give her phone back and let her go, she would count to three and start screaming. She started to panic when he didn’t budge. “That’s when I really started to freak and I asked him to please not come any closer.” His demeanor immediately changed, she said. “He said, ‘Baby, come here. We’re so much better than this.’ I can’t even describe that moment and what his eyes looked like. Like a psychopath. All I could think was, He is going to hurt you.” She made her way to the guest bedroom, put on pants, and made a break for the door. The elevator did not come fast enough, she said, so she walked toward the service elevators, where she knew there were cameras. He got in with her, pleading with her to not do this. She went down to the security desk in the lobby, where the attendants ultimately called the police.

    Despite being larded with “alleged” and “accused,” Avenatti comes off as an out-of-control narcissist, rageholic, thrill-seeking asshole. It’s a pretty devastating piece.

    But that’s not the only bad news that dropped on Avenatti yesterday. He was also indicted for stealing Stormy Daniels’ book advance:

    Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti was indicted by federal prosecutors Wednesday for stealing the identity of his former client, Stormy Daniels, in order to claim more than $300,000 she was owed for a tell-all book about her efforts to expose President Trump.

    In the indictment, prosecutors for the Southern District of New York accuse Avenatti of forging Daniels’ signature on a letter instructing her literary agent to wire her book advance money to an account he controlled. Daniels, an adult-film star born Stephanie Clifford, is not identified by name but the timeline and other details laid out in the document make clear that she is

    “The literary agent then wired $148,750 to the account, which AVENATTI promptly began spending for his own purposes, including on airfare, hotels, car services, restaurants and meal delivery, online retailers, payroll for his law firm and another business he owned, and insurance,” the indictment reads.

    And the recap of the federal charges against him:

    The new indictment comes as Avenatti is facing separate extortion charges brought by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles in connection with his alleged efforts to blackmail Nike. The charges were brought after Nike lawyers provided a recording to the FBI in which Avenatti demands $25 million in exchange for his silence about illegal payments the company allegedly made to high-school basketball players to induce them to attend Nike-sponsored colleges.

    Los Angeles prosecutors also indicted Avenatti last month for embezzling millions of dollars from his clients, one of whom was a mentally-ill paraplegic who won a suit against the city of Los Angeles but never received his settlement because Avenatti allegedly stole it. The charges ending in Los Angeles carry a maximum sentence of up to 300 years in prison.

    Even among his supporters, I think very few mistake Donald Trump for a saint. But do you know who he looks like a saint next too? Michael Avenatti.

    LinkSwarm for May 17, 2019

    Friday, May 17th, 2019

    Just been one of those weeks…

  • Are Brennan, Clapper and Comey ratting on each other? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • This is more than infuriating: “Kentucky Judges Pre-Signed Blank Legal Documents So That Child Services Could Take Custody of Kids on Nights and Weekends.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • No sooner did I put up my own piece on jihad in the Sahel than the BBC published this extensive piece about the same subject, including how jihadists came to Mali in the wake of Obama’s supergenius intervention in Libya.

    The religious extremists imposed strict sharia law. In Timbuktu and beyond, they smashed shrines built for Sufi mystics, burned manuscripts and destroyed ancient artefacts.

    The priceless texts would have all been lost had it not been for the old guardian families who protected what they could.

    Tuaregs and Islamists disagreed over the way their new state of Azawad should be run and began to fight each other.

    The government asked for foreign military help and the former colonial power France answered the call.

    French troops arrived in January 2013 and were joined by African forces. Within a month, they had driven the violent extremists out into the desert and retaken the River Niger towns.

    Plus the usual UN fecklessness. Read the whole thing.

  • “CONFIRMED: Google Gives Left-Wing Websites Preference Over Conservative Ones, Audit Finds.”
  • Denmark’s main leftwing party realizes that uncontrolled, unassimilated immigration hurts the poor. “For me, it is becoming increasingly clear that the price of unregulated globalisation, mass immigration and the free movement of labour is paid for by the lower classes.”
  • The New York media can’t talk about skyrocketing antisemetic attacks against Jews in New York City. Why? Because the attackers are black and Hispanic.
  • Idaho is ending some regulations. Which ones? All of them. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • So that botched Houston drug raid is looking even more botched, as forensic evidence shows the people in the house they wrongly targeted didn’t even fire their weapons at police, and all police gunshot wounds were inflicted by other officers. It seems like just about every aspect of the raid was a lie. At this point, it seems like some rogue HPD cops straight-up murdered Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas for reasons nobody has yet been able to identify.
  • Speaking of infuriating abuses of power: “San Francisco Police Go After Journalist Who Revealed Public Defender’s Affair, Overdose.”
  • State district judge rules Houston Proposition B unconstitutional. That was the one to give firefighters pay parity with police officers, and one Houston mayor Sylvester Turner was fighting tooth and nail.
  • Why people die in Houston car accidents. A whole lot of “Pedestrian failed to yield to vehicle,” failure to drive in one lane” and “failure to control speed,” plus the usual smattering of alcohol. (Hat tip: Kemberlee Kaye.)
  • No federal high speed rail money for California. Good.
  • Is Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib a terrorist sympathizer? Well, here’s evidence from five of her closest friends, so you can judge for yourself:

  • The Air Force brings a B-52H back from the bone yard for active service duty. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Atheist visits places in America his fellow liberals forgot about, and finds not only a sense of place, but an abundance of faith:

    When I first went to the Bronx, I expected that the people there, those most affected by the coldness and ruthlessness of the world, would share my atheism. Instead, I found a strong belief in the supernatural, and a faith that manifested in many ways, mostly as a belief in the Bible.

    Everyone I met there who was living homeless or battling an addiction held a deep faith. Street walking is stunningly dangerous work, and everyone has stories of being cut, attacked, and threatened, or stories of others who were killed. Everyone has to deal with the danger. Few work without a mix of heroin, Xanax, or crack. None without faith. “You know what kept me through all that? God. Whenever I got into the car, God got into the car with me.”

    There are dirty Bibles in crack houses, Qur’ans in abandoned buildings. There is a picture of the Last Supper that moves with a couple living on the streets. Rosaries, crucifixes, and religious icons are worn for protection and good luck. Pages of the Bible are torn out, folded up, and kept in pockets, to be pulled out and fingered nervously, or read over in times of stress, or held during prayers.

  • Latest Remainer complaint “Brexit Party logo ‘subconsciously manipulates voters into backing Farage.'”

  • Hot take: “Ha ha! Gene Simmons of KISS at the Pentagon! Stupid Trump!” Deeper take: As part of a military outreach program, to talk about how his mother, a concentration camp survivor who recently died at age 93, loved America and teared up watching the TV sign-off flag. “America is the promised land. For everybody.”
  • When I removed Creeping Sharia from the blogroll because it was no longer up, I didn’t realize that it had just been deplatformed by WordPress. (Hat tip: A comment from regular blog reader Howard.)
  • Supermodel appears nude in protest of not enough black babies being aborted in Alabama.
  • You know what Germany needs? Stricter crossbow regulation. (Hat tip: Amy Alkon.)
  • Haven’t seen this yet, but I want to: “The Guns and Gunplay of The Highwaymen Were Actually Accurate.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Not buying this, not even sure it will work, but buying buying your own biohacking lab is a pretty cyberpunk thing to do…
  • Voynich manuscript decoded?
  • Grumpy Cat, RIP. (Hat tip: Dwight.)