Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
1. Ethan. Political upheaval here in Anchorage last week as two-term Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced his resignation as Mayor effective October 23. This puts the succession process into motion where the Assembly Chair becomes the next mayor contingent on a special election 91 days after the new mayor takes office. Appears that Berkowitz, in his 50s entertained his second childhood by engaging in a sexting relationship with a local reporterette. The entire event blew up about 10 days ago when the reporterette was told that Ethan was posting photos of himself on a web site frequented by underage kids. She blew up and left an epic voicemail on the Mayor’s phone line calling him every name in the book and promising no small amount of mayhem. She was immediately fired by her station and arrested by local police after an altercation with someone. She spent two days in jail over a weekend before being released on her own recognizances. She is now somewhere in the interior where she cannot be a danger to herself or anyone else. For his part, Ethan initially released a press release from the Mayor’s Office (using Muni resources to cover for himself) denying everything and calling the reporterette “unwell.” He announced his resignation a week later but not before 4-5 of his close political friends made complete fools of themselves writing pieces in fawning support of him over the intervening week. His denial continues his misuse and abuse of medical terminology to further his political ends. For their part, the Anchorage Assembly, with their solid 9-2 majority in support of Berkowitz had to reorganize so that nobody who had announced candidacy for Mayor in April (Berkowitz was term-limited) or who was the target of a recall petition, would be the next mayor. They chose Austin Quinn – Davidson, a second term Assembly member who is both a lesbian and a hard-green young lady. The vote was taken before their meeting last Friday, proven by democrat House member Zach Fields reading a prepared statement congratulating her before the public discussion took place. The Open Meetings laws here in Alaska continue not to apply to the current Assembly.
2. Analysis. So, what to make of all this? The first observation is that Ethan would have had a lot more public goodwill had he not done his best Gretchen Whitmer impersonation with arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable intrusions into the personal and commercial lives of Anchorage residents with his Wuhan Flu lockdowns, Emergency Orders and lawsuits over the last 8 months. By the time he was on fire in public, nobody was left who would urinate on him to put him out. The second observation is that there is still some local public official, not yet identified under investigation for kiddie porn. The FIB investigation continues. The third observation is that EVERYTHING on the tubes of the internet is forever. While only a few of Ethan’s sexting photos have been released, there are more out there. And once you get yourself into the habit of trading them, you can send quite a lot of stuff over a 3-year long affair. Zach Fields’ involvement shows that the creation and maintenance of the democrat majority on the Anchorage Assembly is very important to them. They are usually more careful that he demonstrated. Finally, we will now have someone new to politically oppose. Before the reorg, the Assembly extended the Mayor’s Emergency Powers through Nov 30. All Ethan’s EO’s are still in effect. We will see how soon the new Mayor gets off the dime to repeal them. She also has several recall petitions for current Assembly members that both the Municipal Clerk (who works for the Assembly) and the Muni Attorney (who works for the Mayor) have been obstructing. The petition originators have not taken this obstruction to state court as yet, as the state courts are today highly politicized leftists who never saw something from the political right that they wouldn’t rule against. We will see how soon these are released. Finally, the Mayor’s term of office ends in early July, meaning that AQD can hold office for the next 8 months if she wants to. The date of the special election, if one is set, is done by the Assembly. There is nothing they would want to do more than ensure that special election doesn’t happen. We will see if AQD is going to be Assembly Chair or Mayor of everyone in ANC.
3. Barrett. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett took place last week. For the most part, it was uneventful, though senate democrats did their level best to demonstrate they were blithering idiots (Hirono, Whitehouse and Blumenthal). Some did really well (Coons). For her part, Barrett fended off all manner of gotcha questions from our elected officials generally using the same sort of refusal to respond that Ginsberg and Kagan used, infuriating senate democrats even more. Barrett was sharp, unfazed, and for the most part forthcoming about being a simple judge. She may end up being a pleasant surprise. I hope so. Expect a vote on approval of the nomination and forwarding it to the floor of the Senate for action late this week. If as promised, democrats on the Senate Judiciary boycott that vote and deny a quorum, expect the nomination to be placed by discharge petition. McConnell believes he has the votes to confirm. This includes Utah’s Mitt Romney. It does not yet include our pair of problem children Maine’s Susan Collins or Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski.
4. Laptop. A laptop belonging to Hunter Biden was left at a repair shop in Delaware nearly a year ago. Biden did not retrieve the laptop or pay the $85 for repair work on it. It was a MacBook of some sort. After a period of time, the laptop becomes property of the repair shop. The proprietor looked into it and found it was full of e-mail traffic and less than flattering photos of Hunter Biden. Knowing he had some hot stuff, he cloned the hard drive and turned it over to the FIB last December. The FIB sat on it. During impeachment in February, he saw that much of the conversation was about Ukraine, subject of many e-mails, so he got in contact with Rudy Giuliani and got him a copy of the cloned hard drive. A copy of the copy eventually made it into the hands of the NY Post which started a series of stories about the Biden Crime Family a couple weeks ago, the stories that panicked Big Tech to the point where Facebook and Twitter were suspending accounts and locking out any user who forwarded copies of their stories, an in-kind contribution to the Biden for President Campaign. The scam the Bidens are running is one the Clintons should be jealous of not doing. Members of the Biden family follow Biden around as VP and trade access to Biden for money. Family members keep some percentage of the income and sign some percentage of the total (usually 50%) to Biden himself, kind of a Godfather routine. To date, nobody has denied this was Hunter’s laptop, though Adam Schiff and other democrats are laboring mightily to blame it all on Russian disinformation. For its part, the Biden campaign has not called everything on it a lie so far. They verified its authenticity by having a Biden lawyer contact the repair shop owner in an attempt to get the laptop returned. In an election where democrats are running what is essentially a generic pair of candidates for President / VP against Trump’s personality, it remains to be seen how much damage this will do.
5. Pandemics. IEEE Spectrum ran a great piece last week trying to make a comparison between response to the Wuhan Flu and the response to the three most recent pandemics H2N2 in 1957 – 1958, H3N2 1968 – 1970, and H1N1 in 2009. The first two originated in China. The third in Mexico. These are the most recent pandemics for which we have actual data. Excess deaths, presumably from these viruses were 1.5 – 4 million in the first one, 1.1 – 4 million in the second, and 150,000 – 575,000 in the third. Adjusting for increases in worldwide population, the excess death rates for the first was 52 per 100,000, 30 per 100,000 in the second, and 2.3 – 5.2 per 100,000 in the last. Clearly medical care has improved over the last half century. By comparison, the current SARS CoV-2 death toll by the end of Aug 2020 was 865,000, about 11 deaths per 100,000 people. Even if the total number of deaths were to triple, the mortality rate would be comparable with the 1968 – 1970 virus and about two-thirds of the 1957 rate. Why did these viruses have such a small economic impact? It is because governments did not crush their economies with lockdowns. Worse, it is difficult to even find anyone alive today with any memory of these three pandemics. There were no mass lockdowns. Schools were not closed. Air travel was not cut. And sports events were not cancelled.
6. GOP. Today’s GOP is no longer shy and retiring. Following President Trump’s lead, it is newly combative and unwilling to back down from provocations. Two stories last week were kind of fun:
- First, Staten Island GOP used a teenage TikTok attack to raise $16,000 for the local party. Teen TikTok users have figured out how to hack rallies this election cycle. They do this by ordering thousands of tickets that they never intend to use. Tickets are sold out and nobody shows up. We saw this earlier this year, much to the delight of national media when attendance at a Trump rally was hacked. Staten Island GOP saw this a week ago when they started getting tens of thousands of requests for tickets, a surprising 30x increase in what they expected. Happily, they responded by requiring a $5/ticket nonrefundable fee on each ticket. At the end, they ended up raising nearly $16,000 from 3,000 vouchers the teens never intended to use.
- Second, Cali GOP got themselves into the ballot harvesting business by installing private ballot boxes at sympathetic locations in Cali – gun shops and churches. Cali democrats were shocked, simply shocked that anyone but them would be involved in ballot harvesting and took the Republicans to court. State court approved the private ballot boxes with a couple restrictions. Apparently ballot harvesting is only good when democrats do it.
7. Nancy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got herself involved in presidential politics last week with her announcement of a 25th Amendment commission last week. Many on the political right knee jerked it as yet another attack on President Trump, who she has questioned mental fitness of no small number of names over the last 4 years. I tend to disagree, and believe it is the first step toward removing Joe Biden from office after being elected and replacing him with Kamala Harris. Section 4 of the 25th Amendment says the following:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
Note that this requires the agreement of the President, something they should have no problem getting from Biden himself. Pelosi’s problem is going to be getting Jill Biden, who is planning on being president for the next four years out of the way. Take a look at the part of the Amendment in bold above. Using congress to remove a duly elected president who does not want to leave requires a two-thirds vote of BOTH houses of congress, a majority the democrats will never get from whatever Republicans may remain in congress should this election proceed according to their wildest dreams. There is a Mattis quote: “The enemy gets a vote.” Democrats would be wise to remember it.
More later –