January 4, 2022

Who Were The January 6 Rioters?

Robert Pape, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago has collected data on the January 6 rioters in an attempt to profile them. He says the rioters were not fringe elements, but "mainstream" Republicans. Only 13% of those arrested are members of "skinhead gangs or prison gangs or militia groups or extremist groups, like the Proud Boys." Only 7% were unemployed, the national average. "[O]ver half of those who have been arrested are business owners, CEOs from white-collar occupations, doctors, lawyers, and architects." Two-thirds of them are over the age of 34. A quarter of those arrested have a college degree. While military veterans usually make up 40% of right-wing extremists, only about 15% of the rioters had military service. About 30% had prior criminal history, but that's less than half the usual rate among right-wing extremists.

52% of the rioters came from counties where Biden won the election.

Now, what else do those counties have in common? The No. 1 feature of the county sending insurrectionists, aside from simply the size of the population overall, is that these are the counties losing the most white population in the United States. The more counties have lost non-Hispanic white population since 2010—that is, between 2010 and 2020—the significantly more likely is the county to send an insurrectionist.

"There is a right-wing conspiracy theory called the great replacement, which says that white people are being overtaken by minorities and that this is going to cause a loss of rights for white people."

So Pape conducted a poll. He found "that 21 million American adults agree with two radical beliefs: one, that the use of force to restore Donald Trump to the presidency is justified, and two, that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election and is an illegitimate president. That is, 21 million don’t hold just one of those beliefs—they hold both of those beliefs. It’s 8 percent of the body politic, but that’s really significant."

Belief in the great replacement "is head and shoulders the No. 1 belief that’s driving the difference between being in the 21 million versus being in the rest of the body politic."

What we see is in the 21 million, the No. 1 set of news sources are conservative mainstream news sources. Forty-two percent of the 21 million report that it’s Fox News, Newsmax, One America. That’s their major source of news. The next set of sources, 32 percent report that it’s liberal or centrist media like CNN, NPR, NBC. You might say, well, wait a minute—how could that be? Well, just keep in mind that we’ve known for a long time as scholars that when you watch news that you disagree with, it makes you angry.

"Only 20 percent of these people report that their main sources are mainstream social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and only 10 percent report that it’s far right social media like Gab or Telegram."

permalink | January 4, 2022 at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

December 31, 2021

"I guess I'm for democracy in other countries, I guess."

permalink | December 31, 2021 at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2021

Jesus of West Virginia

Jesus of West Virginia

permalink | December 21, 2021 at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2021

Trump 2020

Trump 2020

permalink | December 19, 2021 at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)

December 11, 2021

As Goes Texas

Governor Newsom announced that he will propose a bill structured similar to Texas' anti-abortion law, but the California bill would target firearms.

Gavin Newsom calls for bill modeled on Texas abortion ban to crack down on gun manufacturers

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday he will push for a new law modeled on Texas’ abortion ban that would let private citizens sue anyone who makes or sells assault weapons or ghost guns.

Newsom has excoriated the Texas law for limiting women’s access to abortion by allowing people to sue anyone who “aids or abets” one performed after about six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. Nevertheless, he said the Supreme Court’s decision Friday to let the law stay in effect while legal challenges proceed has opened an avenue for states to circumvent federal courts.

In a statement Saturday evening, Newsom pointed to a recent federal court decision to strike down California’s assault weapons ban. In his decision, a judge compared assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, language Newsom has harshly criticized.

“I am outraged by yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Texas’s ban on most abortion services to remain in place,” Newsom said. “But if states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way.”

Newsom said he will work with his staff, the Legislature and California Attorney General Rob Bonta to craft a bill that would let citizens sue anyone who “manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts” in California. They could seek damages of at least $10,000 per violation plus costs and attorney’s fees, Newsom said.

“If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that,” said Newsom, a longtime advocate of strict gun control laws.

Legal experts had predicted that other states would try to copy the tactic used in the Texas abortion law, which attempts to circumvent legal challenges by giving private citizens the power to sue.

Arguing against her conservative colleagues’ decision to let the Texas law stand, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor had warned their action would “clear the way” for other states to “reprise and perfect Texas’ scheme in the future to target the exercise of any right recognized by this court with which they disagree."

permalink | December 11, 2021 at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

December 9, 2021

Riverside County Supervisors Approve New Districts For Which They Will Be Sued And Lose

The Board of Supervisors approved "Map F" for the new supervisorial districts. Map F provides only one district (of five) with a majority Hispanic voting age population, despite the county's overall Hispanic voting age population of 45.5%. Their justification for this is that Map F avoids splitting some cities among two or even three districts.
Map F Riverside County Supervisor Districts
Map F's numbers (highlighting added); click for greater readability

permalink | December 9, 2021 at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

December 5, 2021

Feds Trying To Kill Cadiz Water Project

"Federal authorities have moved [in federal court] to reverse a Trump administration decision that cleared the way for Cadiz Inc. to pipe water across public land in the California desert."

“Due to the lack of analysis, the [BLM] does not know the source of the water that will be transported through the pipeline and therefore could not have analyzed the potential impacts on the environment or historic properties of drawing down the water at its source,” [attorneys for the federal government] wrote. “Cadiz did not provide specific information about its plans, and the agency, nevertheless, proceeded to grant a right-of-way without knowing either the specifics of Cadiz’s plans or evaluating the potential impacts of Cadiz’s operations.”

permalink | December 5, 2021 at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2021

Presidential Venn


permalink | November 23, 2021 at 07:51 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2021

For Your Consideration

Marjorie Taylor Greene

permalink | November 14, 2021 at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

Trump Sells Washington Hotel

Trump will sell the rights to operate the hotel (which remains owned by the federal government) for $375-million. It will become a Waldorf-Astoria. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform says the hotel has lost $70-million since Trump began operating it.

permalink | November 14, 2021 at 04:12 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2021

O.C. Anti-Masker Convicted Of Trespassing

A jury found Marianne Campbell Smith guilty of "misdemeanor trespassing and obstructing a business or its customers." She was attending an anti-mask rally in Costa Mesa in August 2020 when she entered Mother's Market. Store employees told her to put on a mask or leave. She refused. She was sentenced to a "$200 fine, 40 hours of community service and a year of informal probation."

permalink | October 21, 2021 at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

Moreno Valley City Council Ignores Brown Act

Due to a vacancy in the Moreno Valley City Council, city staff put the usual item on the city council agenda seeking a decision as to whether the council wanted to appoint a replacement or submit it to the voters. Instead, the two councilmembers decided to bull ahead and appoint a replacement immediately. The two councilmembers tried to rationalize this in a back and forth with their city attorney, Steve Quintanilla, but it was like arguing with Trumpsters. "We're stupid and there is no rule saying we can't be stupid." The linked article includes video from the meeting. It appears to me that in addition to going off-agenda, they didn't even take a formal vote on this item. Maybe there is a provision in Robert's Rules (I'm sure it's not in Rosenberg's) saying that if the body is down to only two members and one of them seconds the motion made by the other, it's automatically a unanimous yes vote without having to vote. Maybe that's a rule, but it seems weird.

The justification from the sitting councilmembers seemed to be that they are in a panic and a hurry to repopulate the council. To have made this legal all they needed to do was tell staff to put an item on the next agenda to immediately appoint a replacement — and that next meeting could have been only a few days hence.

permalink | October 21, 2021 at 08:58 AM | Comments (2)

October 14, 2021

Dutch Royals Can Marry Same-Sex Partners

When I first saw the headline Dutch Royals Can Marry Same-Sex Partners Without Risking Throne, Government Says I first thought that perhaps the Dutch monarch was also the leader of a (the?) church, as are the monarchs in some other countries. But my brief and shallow research into Dutch religion seems to indicate the church there is organized along democratic lines.

A Dutch royal couldn't marry a Roman Catholic until 1983 when the law was reformed to say simply that parliamentary approval was required for any royal marriage to be valid. So the question now boils down to 'Would parliament approve a royal same-sex marriage?'. And the response from the government is Yes, it would. That is all. It's just the Dutch dotting their i's and crossing their t's. They are cousins to the Germans, ya know.

[Prime Minister Mark] Rutte said the question of whether adopted children or children born from donated sperm or via a surrogate could be named legitimate heirs remained unresolved.

He said it wasn’t appropriate to consider the matter now, as “this depends too much on the facts and circumstances of the specific case.”

permalink | October 14, 2021 at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2021

"Who Goes Nazi?"

Harper's reprints the article by Dorothy Thompson from August 1941. Do you see yourself among the personalities described?

permalink | October 11, 2021 at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 6, 2021

Latino Assembly Members Object To Riverside County Redistricting Maps

"'These proposed maps were drawn with a clear intent to protect certain incumbent supervisors and dilute the influence of Latino voters,' read a joint statement issued Monday, Oct. 4, by [Sabrina] Cervantes, [Jose] Medina and [Eduardo] Garcia."

You can find the four proposed redistricting maps by clicking here.

permalink | October 6, 2021 at 07:59 PM | Comments (0)

Bianco In Oath Keepers

From today's Press-Enterprise.

Riverside County sheriff acknowledges he was dues-paying member of Oath Keepers

By JOE NELSON | jnelson@scng.com and SCOTT SCHWEBKE | sschwebke@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
PUBLISHED: October 5, 2021 at 4:11 p.m. | UPDATED: October 6, 2021 at 6:58 a.m.

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco was a dues-paying member of the Oath Keepers in 2014, an affiliation he acknowledges and makes no apologies for despite the group’s reputation as a militia of anti-government extremists.

Members of the Oath Keepers allegedly played a key role in the storming of the nation’s Capitol during the “Stop the Steal” rally in January. Bianco, however, defended the group as a pro-Constitution, pro-freedom organization mislabeled by the FBI and mainstream media.

Bianco’s one-time membership — along with the memberships of roughly 40,000 others including current and former law enforcement and military personnel nationwide — was exposed after hackers breached the Oath Keepers’ website and mined its data.

The information was made available to the media by Distributed Denial of Secrets, also known as DDoSecrets, a subversive whistleblower group founded in 2018. Its members use cloak-and-dagger monikers such as The Lorax and The Architect and secure web browsers so information can be disseminated anonymously. The group has been described as an offshoot of Wikileaks.

Bianco’s involvement was first made public Monday in a Tweet by JJ MacNab, a research fellow and expert on extremist organizations at George Washington University who has been tracking Oath Keepers since their formation in 2009 and, more recently, Bianco’s activities. She said Bianco popped up on her radar when she heard him describe himself as “the last line of defense from tyrannical government overreach” on his podcast, RSO Roundup.

“When there’s enough red flags, I start paying attention,” MacNab said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Political lightning rod

Bianco, who was elected sheriff of Riverside County in 2018, has earned fierce criticism from the left but high praise from his conservative supporters for his strident positions. He has been an outspoken critic of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, mask mandates and business restrictions since the pandemic forced statewide business closures in March 2020.

Last month, he said he would not require Sheriff’s Department employees or job applicants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 despite a state public health order mandating vaccinations or regular coronavirus testing for those working in jails.

In a telephone interview with the Southern California News Group, Bianco said he forgot all about his affiliation with Oath Keepers until the data breach of its website and publicity surrounding his involvement with the organization jarred his memory.

“I found an email from 2014 where I joined for a year. I don’t even remember it. It was an email saying, ‘Thank you for joining.’ I paid for a year’s membership,” he said in the interview.

Bianco believes he was made aware of Oath Keepers by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), another organization he was affiliated with at the time and signed on as a member.

MacNab said the CSPOA is another anti-government fringe group. “They’re probably even more contentious than the Oath Keepers, but they’re relatively small,” she said. The group believes county sheriffs are the most powerful law enforcement offices in the country, outranking state and federal law enforcement, and have the authority to disregard any laws they deem unconstitutional, MacNab said.

She said Bianco, who was a lieutenant at the Sheriff’s Department when he joined Oath Keepers in 2014, signed up at time when it was “growing by leaps and bounds” and gaining widespread media attention. Oath Keepers, MacNab said, were involved in the standoff at Bundy Ranch in Nevada in the spring of 2014 and the uprising in Ferguson, Missouri, in August the same year, following the shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson.

Officials at Oath Keepers did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

‘Not ashamed’

Bianco has been steadfast in holding his ground.

“I’m not ashamed of what I did in 2014,” Bianco said, adding that he had nothing to do with the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. “I have been vocally against what happened there. What they did — the few that went into the building — was completely wrong and against the law and they should be held accountable for it.”

He said the misguided and illegal actions of several individual members of Oath Keepers does not justify the mainstream media and FBI painting the whole group as an “anti-government militia.” He said members of far-left militant organizations like antifa and Black Lives Matter have committed acts of violence and vandalism, with far less attention paid by the media and the FBI.

“Why was this not done with antifa and Black Lives Matter?” Bianco said. “I lost faith in the FBI a long time ago. The line workers are first rate. Their administration has no business carrying a badge. They strayed from nonbiased law enforcement a long time ago.”

‘Of monumental significance’

Brian Levin, a criminal justice professor and director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, called Bianco’s affiliation with Oath Keepers of “monumental significance.”

“This is the highest ranking law enforcement executive among the largest agencies to be tied to this militant insurrectionist group,” Levin said.

As for Bianco’s comments about antifa and Black Lives Matter, Levin said that while the violent hard left has indeed become increasingly active in recent years, the overwhelming majority of extremist plots and homicides in the United States over the last decade have come from far-right, anti-government extremists.

As to Bianco’s comments about the FBI, Levin said, “Someone who leads a department that serves the 10th largest county in the nation, yet reported no hate crimes in 2020, the worst year nationally since 2001, would perhaps do better with assessing the efficiency of his own agency, rather than firing imaginary barbs at my colleagues in the bureau.”

Bianco’s statements so incensed Levin that he resigned Tuesday from the Inland Empire Terrorism Early Warning Group, which includes the Riverside County and San Bernardino County sheriff’s departments. Levin, a former New York City police officer, was a member for more than 15 years. The group, composed of civilians and law enforcement officials, coordinates regional planned responses to terrorist attacks.

Although Levin said he has not been active in the group for years, he said he will no longer remain a member while Bianco is sheriff in Riverside County.

Anaheim sergeant listed

Another name appearing on the leaked Oath Keepers membership list is that of Anaheim police Sgt. Michael Lynch, a nearly 30-year veteran of the department. Lynch’s LinkedIn profile says he is a supervisor in the agency’s Investigations Division.

“I have experience in vice and narcotics enforcement and was a supervisor in community policing, patrol and SWAT,” his profile says. “From 1992-2006 I had assignments in patrol, field training officer, gang detail, crime task force and tourist oriented policing. I was promoted to sergeant in 2006.”

Lynch declined to comment Wednesday whether he remains affiliated with the Oath Keepers. However, he told USA Today last week that he joined the Oath Keepers many years ago, but didn’t renew his membership when he learned more about the group.

“I didn’t get anything out of it,” he said in an interview with the newspaper. “There was no local chapter or anything, so when it came time to renew, I was like, I’m not sending another $40.”

An internal affairs investigation has been launched into Lynch’s Oath Keepers membership, said Sgt. Shane Carringer, a spokesman for the Anaheim Police Department.

“We have policies that address off-duty conduct and behavior, but at the same time officers have constitutional rights the same as any citizen,” he said Wednesday. “All we have right now are allegations of membership in the Oath Keepers. Information also conflicts about the purpose of the organization from then (when Lynch joined) until now.”

Oath Keepers arrested in siege

In the nine months since since the siege at the U.S. Capitol, more than 600 people nationwide have been arrested for crimes related to the breach, including at least 185 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. Roughly 20 people identified as members of Oath Keepers were involved, authorities say.

Last month, Oath Keepers member Jason Dolan, 45, of Wellington, Florida, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of obstruction of an official for his role in the breach, making him the third Oath Keeper to be convicted in the federal prosecution.

Dolan, according to the FBI, conspired with fellow members to bring firearms to the event, including an M4 rifle, which Donland dropped off with at least one of his co-conspirators at a hotel in Arlington, Virginia.

Bianco said that, to him, Oath Keepers is a group that supports and stands by the oath he took as a peace officer and sheriff — to defend the constitutions of the United States and California and to protect against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

“In today’s politically toxic environment,” he said, “if you support the Constitution of the United States of America you are evil — you’re branded as some evil, right-wing conspirator.”

Staff writers Tony Saavedra and Nikie Johnson contributed to this report.

permalink | October 6, 2021 at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)

September 30, 2021

Idaho Republicans Do A Recount And Get Arizona Results

Stupidly, the Republican Secretary of State in Idaho, where Trump won 41 of 44 counties, ordered a recount in two small counties that Trump had won. The results were a loss of nine votes for Trump in one county and a gain of one vote for Trump in the other. Votes for Biden remained unchanged. Therefore, they will conduct another recount in another county where Trump won. Whose side are the Republicans on?

permalink | September 30, 2021 at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

Religious Exemptions

An interesting opinion piece in the Washington Post by Kate Cohen who has "a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Dartmouth College." IOW, a liberal arts major.

Opinion: If they’re going to keep passing religious laws, we’re going to need exemptions

Opinion by Kate Cohen
Contributing columnist

Religious exemptions make no sense to me.

These escape clauses from our civic compact allow people to claim that such-and-such a law does not apply to them since it conflicts with their “sincerely held religious belief.”

A person can claim a religious exemption to the equal opportunity clause that’s required in all federal contracts; to the contraceptive coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act; and, in some states, to the requirement that a child be immunized to attend public school.

This seems crazy. Obviously not everyone agrees with every law, but that’s the bummer about living in a society. In a democracy, if you feel strongly enough, you can set about finding like-minded people and try to change the law. Or, if that doesn’t work, and you truly believe it’s a sin to, say, fill contraceptive prescriptions, then (a) don’t be a pharmacist or (b) risk getting fired. Wouldn’t God appreciate the gesture?

If your religion won’t let you get vaccinated against the coronavirus, then don’t get the shot, but be prepared to suffer the consequences.

If your God-given anti-mask beliefs are sincerely held, then they’ll carry you through trying moments such as homeschooling your child and driving from Miami to Houston instead of flying. Martyrdom is supposed to be hard!

But ever since the Texas abortion ban went into effect, I’ve been rethinking exemptions. Maybe we actually need more of them.

If religious people can opt out of secular laws they find sinful, then maybe the rest of us should be able to opt out of religious laws we find immoral.

That’s right: immoral. We act as if religious people are the only ones who follow a moral compass and the rest of us just wander around like sheep in search of avocado toast. But you don’t need to believe in God or particular religious tenets to have a strong sense of right and wrong.

I am not a believer, but I have beliefs. Strong, sincerely held beliefs. Such as: A seven-week-old embryo — which is a week too old to abort according to the Texas law — is not a person. It’s the blueberry-sized potential for a person.

There is no moral component to aborting a seven-week-old embryo. None. But it is immoral to force people to bear children they do not want to have.

I realize that not all Texans would agree with me. But most Texans don’t agree with this law either. A majority even of pro-life Texans think that abortion should be permitted in the case of rape or incest, which the new law does not allow.

Shouldn’t there be some sort of exemption from that law?

Around the country, people are claiming religious exemptions from mandates that they be vaccinated. They want to opt out of laws that seek to protect their health and that of their neighbors.

Surely people should be able to opt out of a law that forces them to risk their health.

Let’s call it an un-religious exemption. Or no — since there are plenty of religious folk who object to the Texas law — let’s call it a rational exemption.

Rational exemptions could be used for religion-based laws with which people strongly, sincerely disagree. For example, a law that values the life of a quarter-inch embryo more than the life of a person carrying that embryo.

That’s clearly a religious law. It’s not based in science or public health or the Constitution or biological reality. It’s based on the idea that, as Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said on signing the bill, “Our Creator endowed us with the right to life.”

Religious laws are a part of our history, ranging in character from inconvenient (“blue” or “Sunday” laws) to unconscionable (laws banning interracial and same-sex marriage). But they are not a thing of the past. In fact, they seem to be enjoying a resurgence. There are laws that discriminate against trans people. Laws that permit or require schools to teach creationism along with evolution. Laws that require schools to teach abstinence but not contraception.

Such laws try to force 21st-century America into alignment with a first-century moral code according to some toxic combination of political posturing, fear-mongering and — sure, why not? — the sincere beliefs of a certain subset of people who adhere to a certain religion.

If they’re going to be making these laws, and the Supreme Court is going to let them, then the rest of us should be able to opt out.

In Louisiana, the attorney general helpfully offered language to parents in his department who object to school mask mandates: “I do not consent to forcing a face covering on my child, who is created in the image of God. Masks lead to antisocial behaviors, interfere with religious commands to share God’s love with others, and interfere with relationships in contravention of the Bible.”

For a rational exemption to the Texas law, may I suggest, “I do not consent to bearing a child I do not wish to have. Pregnancy and childbirth lead to assorted health issues up to and including death, and bearing a child interferes with my right to live my life and use my body as I wish, in contravention of both reason and morality.”

At least mine makes sense.

permalink | September 30, 2021 at 09:21 AM | Comments (1)

September 26, 2021

Liz Cheney Writes

I wonder what it was like for the person who had to explain this to Trump.

permalink | September 26, 2021 at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2021

Maricopa County Batshit "Recount" Favorable To Biden

Draft findings from that clown car operation in Maricopa County show that they found 99 MORE votes for Biden and 261 FEWER votes for Trump. But considering what a politicized, incompetent mess the counting was, I suspect now this may be an indication that Trump actually got a majority in Maricopa County. IOW, whatever their findings, the opposite is more likely to be true.

permalink | September 24, 2021 at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)