We have been discussing the hypocritical positions of Democratic leaders ranging from Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in their response to the allegations of sexual assault by former Vice President Joe Biden. Women’s rights attorney Lisa Bloom caused a stir this week however with a position that is at least honest, if chilling. Bloom stated that she believes that Biden did rape a female staffer but she is still going to endorse him for President of the United States. She tweeted “I believe you, Tara Reade . . . sorry.”
We often talk about the “new normals” of the pandemic era, but people have been incredibly creative in overcoming the obstacles of separation. My family in Virginia showed just how to overcome even the most distant isolation. Today is my birthday but I remain in Chicago with my mother who was placed in hospice in her home on the Northside. To my surprise, a Black Forest cake arrived from my childhood bakery in Chicago: Lutz. To bridge the distance, my family ordered a Black Forest cake from our favorite German bakery in Virginia: Heidelberg. We proceeded to eat the cake together, but remotely. Even my son Benjamin (who is self-quarantined due to his work as a psychiatric counselor at D.C.’s only psychiatric hospital) joined in on the remote party. (Ben donned his PPEs for the occasion). In a strange way, I have never felt closer in what will be strangest but most memorable birthday of my life. (I also wanted to thank everyone for the birthday wishes on the blog and Twitter. I truly appreciate it.).
Democratic politicians like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) have been railing against what they view as an undemocratic effort to suppress votes. Former Vice President Joe Biden has even peddled a conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump was certain to halt the November election. However, a New York judge has ruled that it is the Democratic party that violated the Constitution in cancelling the June 23rd presidential primary to effectively anoint Biden as the party nominee. What was particularly striking was the highly dubious argument presented in court by the Democratic Party.
With the release of the new material from the case of Michael Flynn, an array of experts came forward to assure the public that it was all standard procedure for investigators to conclude that there was no criminal conduct uncovered and then prosecutors creating a crime (including the use of a clearly unconstitutional law never used to convict anyone since the start of the Republic). Many of these same experts who have been espousing untethered (and ultimately rejected) theories for criminal and impeachment charges for years. Yet, what was most striking is how many also rejected any claim that the undisclosed evidence, at a minimum, violated Brady, the case requiring the government to turn over exculpatory information. Indeed, Ben Wittes, a staunch defender of James Comey, assured readers “while you might not know much about federal law enforcement,” this is all “standard practices.” In fact, this is a clear and flagrant violation of the both Brady and the orders of Judge Emmet Sullivan. The fact that such violations are also dismissed by mainstream media and experts reflects how rage has distorted legal analysis in this Administration.
We recently discussed the controversy when a Nevada brothel filed for pandemic stimulus money as a small business forced to suspend operation. Now, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman has ruled (correctly) that the owners of four Silk Exotic Gentleman’s Clubs in Milwaukee and Middleton are entitled to emergency loans. During this litigation however there was a surprising twist in arguments over whether strip joints appeal to prurient interests. Continue reading “The Bare Necessities: Federal Court Rules That Strip Clubs Are Entitled To Pandemic Loans”
We discussed yesterday how former Vice President Joe Biden issued a request to release material from the National Archives related to the allegation of sexual assault made by former Biden staff member Tara Reade. There was less than met the eye however. Biden adamantly refused to open up the records held by the University of Delaware and has steadfastly limited any searches to Reade’s complaint rather than any such allegations. Now Biden is adopting the same artificially narrow approach in his letter to the United States Senate. While CNN has been running glowing interviews about the letter, it is clearly drafted to limit the search. Once again, I fail to understand this reluctance to simply end all discussion with total transparency. Biden, in my view, has the stronger case here given the limited evidence and witnesses supporting Reade. The fact of any recollection of this allegation by various staff members is highly compelling evidence. Yet, he continues to issue strangely curtailed requests while proclaiming that he is being totally transparent. It is not clear if this is just a reflexive resistance to full disclosure, over-lawyered language, or actually an effort to conceal information.
Brittney Cooper, an associate professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers University, is doubling down on her prior public comments denouncing Trump supporters and alleging a conspiracy to kill black people. She notably has invoked her tenure status with the latest tweet attacks: “I have tenure. Rutgers won’t be firing me for tweets.” As many of you know, I have long taken the same position on the free speech rights of faculty on social media and public comments. However, schools have been less than consistent in punishing or investigating faculty based on the content of their views. Cooper declaring “F— each and every Trump supporter” obviously would include many students in the university. She blames “white depravity” and claims “when whiteness has a death wish, we are all in for a serious problem.” As previously discussed, it is doubtful that these same attacks directed against African-Americans or other groups would be treated in the same fashion.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi went on CNN to praise former Vice President Joe Biden for his response to the sexual assault allegations by former Biden staffer Tara Reade. Biden however has not personally responded to the allegations and continues to refuse to release his Senate documents being kept under key by the University of Delaware. We previously disclosed the glaring disconnect in the positions of Democrats like Pelosi in prior demands that women “must be believed” when the allegations were directed by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Pelosi also supported Bill Clinton through his various allegations by multiple women ranging from sexual harassment to rape. Update: When confronted on the story, Pelosi snapped “I don’t need a lecture.”
President Donald Trump has used the Defense Production Act to ensure beef, pork, poultry and egg plants keep operating to avoid a food shortage. That did not sit well with MsNBC Chris Hayes who objected to Trump using the DPA after blasting Trump for not using the DPA. For weeks, I have been raising what I view as a widespread misconception of the DPA and its function. This is an example of how the DPA has become part of a media mantra to suggest that the Administration refused to use the Act when it could have addressed shortfalls. This spin redirects the primary responsibility for the failure to prepare for a pandemic from governors, who ignored years of warnings of shortfalls and lack of stored material. There are legitimate questions about mistakes made in this pandemic but the DPA has increasingly been used in a way disconnected from factual and legal foundations. Continue reading “MSNBC Attacks Trump For Using The DPA After Criticizing Trump For Not Using The DPA”
I am still in Chicago helping with my Mom who remains in hospice at our house on the Northside. One thing that has brought joy to her is the blooming of her tree outside of her window. It is one of the small pleasures brought by Spring for many people who remain locked in during the pandemic. I did encounter one dog however who shows that lack of freedom does not mean a lack of opportunity. Continue reading “Chicago Report: Is It Time To Open Parks?”
Below is a longer version of my column that ran in the Los Angeles Times on the danger of using antibody testing as a basis for discrimination. The concept of a pandemic passport of course will only be plausible if such antibodies truly yield a form of immunity. The WHO has declared that there is no evidence to support that claim. Yet, plasma treatments are reportedly successful.
Here is the column: Continue reading “Pandemic Passport And The Danger Of Immuno Discrimination”
The government of Israel suspended a program enacted last month at the behest of the prime minister’s government granting the police the authority to track roaming and location data of those under quarantine order. A parliamentary oversight committee held that the loss of privacy was a greater cost to society than the proffered benefit of tracking those suspected of carrying or transmitting the COVID-19 virus.
The underlying technology used to track civilian COVID patients stems from that developed for Shin Bet (The Israeli General Security Service) for counter-terrorist tracking of cell phones carried by security risks to the state. In this case the technology was co-opted for use against medical patients health officials suspected might violate quarantine orders.
While the reversal of policy is welcomed, it does provide a proof that any technology or power crafted under the promise of addressing a great and manifest danger to the people or the state usually finds a way to be used against ordinary citizens when politicians or government become tempted to broaden its application under “emergency” conditions.
To date, three county sheriffs in Washington State broke ranks and announced they will not enforce some of Governor Inslee’s executive orders relating to his several, and increasingly frequent lockdown orders–proclaimed under the auspices of state of emergency declarations to the COVID-19 situation. The dominant subject of dissent among these law enforcement officials centers around what are regarded as unconstitutional intrusions by the governor enacted against the citizens of their respective counties and the inconsistency of regulations applied unequally by the state.
It is my belief that unless a strong reversal of Governor Inslee’s resolve to remain steadfast in his prosecution of ordinary Washingtonians is not fielded soon, the “insubordination” as he claims will only grow and serve to weaken his position, adding spark to a movement against him and his office if it continues in its present form for months.
The time has come for the governor to put his ego aside. For if he chooses to adversarily engage these sheriffs and others who will come to join them he will lose in the courts of public opinion of these various counties.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been under fire for his suggestion that states declare bankruptcy rather than seek federal bailouts. McConnell’s view is that many states like Illinois were near bankruptcy in years before the pandemic because of irresponsible union contracts that agreed to crippling pension plans. There are good-faith reasons to question the proposal as voiced by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as well as reasons to advocate the bankruptcy approach, including a concern of how such declarations will impact loan money rates etc. However, the President of the Illinois Senate Don Harmon just gave McConnell a massive boost by demanding a $40,6 bailout, including a $10 billion pension bailout. I have previously criticized my home state for these contracts that were cavalierly accepted by politicians over the years with little concern for the ballooning debt.