Reason Roundup

Kamala Harris 2020 Staffer Says She Never Saw Campaign Staff Treated 'So Poorly'

Plus: Trump tries to expand trade war, new findings on sexual harrassment and physical attraction, and more...

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Things continue to go awry for Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris. In early November, the California senator's campaign announced a round of layoffs and pay cuts. Now state operations director Kelly Mehlenbacher has resignedand her farewell letter offers a scathing glimpse inside Harris' operation.

"This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly," Mehlenbacher wrote in the letter obtained by The New York Times. "With less than 90 days until Iowa we still do not have a real plan to win."

"We have refused to confront our mistakes, foster an environment of critical thinking and honest feedback, or trust the expertise of talented staff," Mehlenbacher's letter continued.

The Times interviewed "50 current and former campaign staff members and allies, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity." Their takeway? Harris' swift dropwhich the campaign and its allies have blamed on racism and sexismwas both predictable and largely divorced from larger cultural or political forces:

Many of her own advisers are now pointing a finger directly at Ms. Harris. In interviews several of them criticized her for going on the offensive against rivals, only to retreat, and for not firmly choosing a side in the party's ideological feud between liberals and moderates. She also created an organization with a campaign chairwoman, Maya Harris, who goes unchallenged in part because she is Ms. Harris's sister, and a manager, Mr. [Juan] Rodriguez, who could not be replaced without likely triggering the resignations of the candidate's consulting team. Even at this late date, aides said it's unclear who's in charge of the campaign.

Harris donors were reportedly alarmed by how the candidate handled the criminal justice–based critiques from another candidate, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii):

In the July debate, Ms. Harris did not respond sharply to an attack on her prosecutorial record from Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, even after Ms. Harris had been prepped for the topic.

On a conference call after the debate, several of Ms. Harris's donors were alarmed and urged the campaign to strike back at Ms. Gabbard more aggressively, two people on the call said.

Ms. Harris also knew her response had been insufficient, a view quickly reinforced by her advisers. In interviews, many of them point to that debate moment as accelerating Ms. Harris's decline and are so exasperated that they bluntly acknowledge in private that Ms. Harris struggles to carry a message beyond the initial script.

What she does seem more comfortable with, on the campaign trail and at the November debate, is making the case against Mr. Trump, which is now her core campaign message. After months of uncertainty, she's back to embracing her role as a prosecutor.

The Mehlenbacher resignation letter and the Times article are only the latest bad publicity for Harris. Last week The Washington Post profiled a Harris candidacy "now teetering, weighed down by indecision within her campaign, her limits as a candidate and dwindling funds that have forced her to retreat in some places at a moment she expected to be surging."

Democratic pollster Paul Maslin told the Post that Harris has "been the biggest, I think, negative surprise of the campaign."


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  1. Tomorrow, we’re kicking off our eight-day, 18 county “No Malarkey” barnstorm…

    Reason Webathon!

    1. Hello.

      Harris. OUR TURN TO GIGGLE!

  2. This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly…

    Hillary 2.0

    1. … like with a cloth or something!

    2. To be fair, Kamala has never had to campaign before. Not even for Senator. She got the job because of California’s entitlement mentality. It was her turn, she was the right gender and ethnicity, from the correct California county, traveled in the correct legal/political circles, etc. No one bothered to run against her because they knew it was a done deal.

      1. Also to be fair, Mehlenbacher has already been hired by the Bloomberg campaign, so there’s a question of whether she wrote this letter before or after she agreed to take the new job. Shitting on your old team as you’re headed out the door to your new team sounds like a purely political move.

      2. And she was banging the right people.

  3. After months of uncertainty, she’s back to embracing her role as a prosecutor.

    Yeesh. No one wants that on any level. If she could read the various rooms, she would see that industrial strength law and order is out, and there has never been a stomach for prosecuting former administrations.

  4. Biden’s “No Malarkey” barnstorm is swell! Indeed, it’s hunky-dory!

    1. But he’s now lost the entire generation of voters who know that what he’s really doing here is dissing Don Malarkey and Easy Company.

    2. I put orange malarkey on my toast. It’s delicious.

      1. Orange malarkey BAD!

    3. You forgot ‘keen!’

    4. It’s the bees knees!

    5. get on the trolley!

    6. And he has an onion on his belt.

      1. It’s the style at the time!

    7. It’s pretty hilarious how this guy clearly isn’t even trying, is running a 1970s-style campaign, and he’s still the Dem frontrunner.

      Watching the debates between him and Trump are going to be painful, but with some lulzy, meme-worthy moments.

    8. No More Malarkey? I wanted to hear more about his hairy legs.

  5. Among both men and women, unsolicited sexual advances were considered more disturbing and more discomforting when perpetrated by an unattractive opposite sex colleague than when perpetrated by an attractive opposite sex colleague

    Ha.

    1. What about when perpetrated by a robot?

      1. Is it wrong that I read that as penetrated?

    2. “Attractiveness” in a man is often defined by what he’s got in his pants, and the bigger and fatter it is the more the women are attracted. So guys, if a woman doesn’t seem to find you attractive, just whip it out and show her what you got and you might get lucky. (Assuming you do indeed have a big fat wallet to whip out.)

      1. “Attractiveness” in a man is often defined by what he’s got in his pants, and the bigger and fatter it is the more the women are attracted.

        Someone’s been watching “Big Mouth” over the holiday weekend.

    3. It took research to figure that out? Have you met people?

      When a woman describes advances as “gross” or “disgusting”, she means he’s not attractive. That’s like declaring water is wet. I’ve seen the crappiest, cheesiest come-ons greeted with gales of giggles and flirtation when presented by the hot guy, and plenty of well-crafted openers rudely rebuffed by women who found their suitor unattractive.

      I suppose the surprising thing is that they found the same effect for men and women. In my experience, most men find advances from unattractive women a little uncomfortable, but not alarming, “gross” or “disgusting”, adjectives routinely used by women for the most milquetoast advances from men they are not interested in.

      1. Yeah. File this study under “No Shit, Sherlock.”

        1. SNL did a skit on this YEARS ago with Tom Brady.

          1. They would be twitter mobbed by woke outrage professionals if that skit were aired today.

          2. I thought it was Greg Brady.

      2. I suppose the surprising thing is that they found the same effect for men and women.

        I suspect you’d find the opposite effect in man-on-man advances—men would be more disturbed to be hit on by an attractive man.

        1. Ehh, I’ll take what I can get.

          1. Yeah…. maybe a 22 year old dude might get bent out of shape.

            But you reach a certain age…. and as you say…. you’ll take what you can get.

    4. They had to do “research” to discover that sex discriminates against the shy and the ugly? Damn, these nerds really don’t get out enough.

  6. The House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment report is expected this week.

    It’s the beginning of the end and a turning point and very much a bombshell.

  7. …U.S. prosecutors use gang enhancements to get lengthier prison sentences in a way that winds up being both ineffective and racially biased.

    Counter-effective to their future presidential campaigns.

  8. “migrant sex worker”

    I often make the case for unlimited, unrestricted immigration by pointing out all the highly skilled doctors and engineers eager to cross the US / Mexico border and contribute to our economy. Perhaps my focus has been too narrow. This country’s embarrassing shortage of sex workers is also a compelling reason to support open borders.

    #LibertariansForImportingProstitutes

    1. There were illegal immigrant hookers where I grew up. Nasty shit. I would rather drive 500 miles to pay for a $500 legal Reno hooker than one of them. But they were still better than the local native hookers. Gaagh!

  9. Senator and flailing Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar says she probably wouldn’t vote to acquit Trump if things come to a Senate vote.

    Whoa. Enough with the tough talk.

    1. She can stick another comb in her salad – she’s done after Iowa.

  10. “We have refused to confront our mistakes, foster an environment of critical thinking and honest feedback, or trust the expertise of talented staff,” Mehlenbacher’s letter continued.

    All racist and sexist ways of confronting problems. No wonder Harris fired her ass, she ain’t a damn bit woke if she doesn’t foster the inclusiveness and diversity of other ways of knowing.

  11. Schiff [said] “we will not allow the President or others to drag this out for months on end in the courts”

    “because we will be dragging this out for months on end in the House.”

  12. Republicans are back at trying to issue death certificates for fertilized eggs that don’t implant.

    They double as the entrance ticket to purgatory.

    1. However, the bill is in limbo.

    2. Every box of Kotex includes a death certificate for the unfertilized eggs that don’t implant.

  13. Finally some good news.

    @MikeBloomberg ad spending climbs to $42.5 million. To put this into context, he’s spending more on TV ads this week ($30 million) than the rest of the Democratic field has spent on TV ads to date: $25.6 million, @DavidWright_CNN reports.

    As a Koch / Reason libertarian, I believe a major problem with the American political system is that billionaires don’t have enough influence. It’s good to see Bloomberg trying to change that.

    #BillionairesKnowBest
    #LibertariansForBloomberg

    1. But in 2016, Trump was dastardly for using his own money for his campaign.

    2. Now there’s another big differences between Bloomberg’s campaign today and Trump’s campaign in 2016.

      Where Trump only spent $66 million of his own money–over the course of the entire 2016 campaign–Bloomberg is spending $30 million in a week, all of which may be his own money.

      https://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/candidate?id=N00023864

      Again, Trump won in 2016 not only in spite of the negative coverage in the news media but because of the “negative” coverage in the news media he was given as a gift for free!

      Bloomberg can’t buy that kind of “negative” coverage from the news media, but maybe he should try circulating it himself. If the news media won’t blast him with negative coverage, maybe he should just fund a negative campaign ad against himself. The few negative things the news media does say about him, about stop and frisk, for example, he should accentuate that stuff. If the rest of the candidates and the news media starts hating on him for keeping crime down in a place as big and bad as New York City, then maybe he’s got a legitimate shot.

      He wants to be Donald Trump so bad it makes him sick at night, but to be like Donald Trump, you have to go on national television the night after the “pussy grabbing” video goes viral and shout down Hillary Clinton like it doesn’t even matter. Trump won that debate! No way Bloomberg has the balls to be hated by the establishment like that and come out the other side smiling, And that’s what it takes for a billionaire from New York to win.

      1. The fact that Trump managed to escape those debates without crumbling into a heap of tears still amazes me.

        I still have no idea how his shtick worked in a debate format, but somehow it did.

        1. And if you recall, some group reenacted the debate with voice actors switching genders of the participants and simply acting out their parts, and the Trump content still won….. and by a larger margin. Which again, is hard to wrap your head around.

          1. Full transcript: Third 2016 presidential debate

            Trump blew Hillary away. Trump can be articulate when he wants to and is usually blunt with the reality of the issue. It’s one of the reasons some Americans voted for him.

            Sorry, it’s Politico. The only free transcript of the debates that I could find.

          2. Back when the DNC emails were leaked, one notable email was from a guy who observed that when JFK Jr. started up “George,” it was done because he anticipated the convergence of modern celebrity and politics and wanted to become a trend-setter in that area (not a surprise from someone whose dad was arguably the first politician to leverage his associations with celebrities into becoming President).

            Trump seems to have understood that politics in the post-2004 era is about nothing but celebrity, and worked that angle into gaining office. Without the media kissing his ass during the 2004 Democratic convention, Barack Obama would still be a glorified Chicago ward heeler. NPR (the de facto voice of the DNC) loves to play up Elizabeth Warren’s “plans,” but the reality is that no one would give a shit about her if the media hadn’t made her a populist celebrity, after she argued that factory owners didn’t contribute anything to the economy. Same thing with Bernie, and his crazy hair and selective socialism.

            No one really gives a crap what these people are promising. Democrats have been promising “free shit that the rich will pay for” for decades. The current slate isn’t offering anything new in substance, just in scale. What they’re trying to do is capture the zeitgeist the way JFK, Obama, and Trump did.

        2. “The fact that Trump managed to escape those debates without crumbling into a heap of tears still amazes me.”

          He’s an egotistical asshole.

          Sometimes it takes those guys.

          When half the soldiers under your command were just ripped to shreds by a machine gun nest, but the North Vietnamese have since brought up mortars and they’re zeroing in on your position–it takes an egotistical asshole to lead your men to charge the machine gun nest, knowing that plenty more of them are going to die.

          When you’re the QB in a playoff game on the road and a hostile crowd of 50,000 fans are all laughing in your face and jeering at you on national television, and you’re seven points behind because you just threw a pick-six, and there’s only a buck-fifty left on the clock, and the season and maybe your career is over if you don’t score a touchdown–it takes an egotistical asshole to go out there and perform.

          When there’s a little boy’s mother screaming in front of you because he child died on the operating table because you’re a pediatric heart surgeon and while the child would have died without the surgery, the child did die while you were operating on his heart–but you can’t stay for long because another child is anesthetized and waiting for you to perform the same procedure? It takes an egotistical asshole to go back into the surgery unit and perform the same procedure well on another child.

          It may be that the people who perform well in those situations aren’t the kind of people you’d like to hang out with on a regular basis–because they’re egotistical assholes. Donald Trump may be one of those people, and I say that with respect.

          1. P.S. America. Fuck yeah!

          2. Silver backs have their role; here is a joke for you:

            The heart, brain, and asshole got into an argument as to which was the greatest part of the body and should be the boss. The brain said it did all the thinking so the rest would be pointless without it; the heart said it did all the circulating and nothing would work without it. The asshole just slammed shut, and after three days the heart and brain were ready to call it quits and cried uncle.

            Moral: You don’t have to be a brain or have a heart to be the boss, just an asshole.

      2. He’s running under the assumption that Beto’s open declaration of gun-grabbing will be more accepted coming from a New York billionaire than some culturally appropriating Mick from El Paso.

    3. Wait. I thought the democrats HATED billionaires.
      How the hell can they let one run for office using THEIR party label?
      Oh, wait again. He’s a billionaire.

      1. They have 2…Steyer is still running.

      2. Wait. I thought the democrats HATED billionaires.
        How the hell can they let one run for office using THEIR party label?

        You might have noticed the response from lefties/democrats ranging from “no thank you, please go away” to a shrugging “but why?”.

        No one wants him to run. He’s a walking talking definition of vanity.

  14. “Among both men and women, unsolicited sexual advances were considered more disturbing and more discomforting when perpetrated by an unattractive opposite sex colleague than when perpetrated by an attractive opposite sex colleague:”

    — Cory Clark (@ImHardcory) November 30, 2019

    In related news, researchers have found that people are more likely to wear a jacket in the winter, when it’s cold outside.

  15. Shawnda Brookshire was grieving the death of her 4-year-old daughter, Nia, the day before, when Arkansas police confronted her outside the motel where she and her family were staying, demanded ID, pinned her to the ground, handcuffed & arrested her.

    Welcome to Arkansas, person of color.

    1. Well, it’s Arkansas, not your Kansas.

  16. Kamala Rouge.

  17. Remember #SongYang, a migrant sex worker who was isolated as both a victim & criminal, who died being chased in a NYPD Vice Squad raid.

    They were surely only chasing the criminal part of her.

    1. Steve walks warily down the street …

  18. Ugh. File Aaron Mate next to Glenn Greenwald and Michael Tracey on the list of discredited #TrumpRussia denialists.

    If Trump wins 2020, #1 cause will be the Democratic & media figures who wasted his 1st term on a hawkish, insane conspiracy theory & a hawkish, overblown impeachment. Why did they? Because actually challenging Trump would challenge their own power in the system that created him.

    Exactly the wrong advice. In fact, Drumpf can only “win” in 2020 if Russia hacks the election again. Therefore Democrats are doing the responsible, patriotic thing by focusing on #TrumpRussia and #TrumpUkraine.

    #Impeach

    1. You’re falling into Poe’s law again, my friend. If I hadn’t seen your tagline, I would have thought this real. However, it’s the perfect argument. “He can only win if he cheats, therefore, even if he wins, he still should have lost”

  19. Trump won’t lose his job – but the impeachment inquiry is still essential

    Poor reason staffers. When you’ve lost the Propaganda wing of the Democrat Party on the mission, you’ve lost everything.

    1. “I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” Page said. “It had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”

      Kinda all you needed to know.

    2. There was blood coming out of her whatever.

  20. Republicans are back at trying to issue death certificates for fertilized eggs that don’t implant.

    I read the text of the bill. No search results for implant, egg or fertilize. Did you read the bill? Am I missing something here or…..? ‰

    1. search: fertilization.

      “Unborn child.” An individual organism of the species homo sapiens from fertilization until expulsion or extraction from its mother.

      1. Search “things that have been happening since the dawn of time without death certificates “.

        1. Yeah but think of the jobs.

  21. Dismantling Section 230 would “threaten America’s global Internet and innovation leadership, cripple Internet small businesses, hurt investment in many Internet start-ups and trample our principle of free speech.”

    On the other hand, HATE SPEECH.

  22. What does Shawnda Brookshire’s arrest have to do with her kid dying? The mention is incomplete. You want me to be outraged, you gotta give some reason.

    Similarly for Yang Song; how about a little back story?

    Sheesh.

  23. “Kamala Harris 2020 Staffer Says She Never Saw Campaign Staff Treated ‘So Poorly'”

    So either this staffer didn’t work for Hillary, or Kamala is really, really bad.

  24. It’s unclear whether the president actually has the authority to do this unilaterally

    What, run his mouth on Twitter? Trump talks shit all the time, he’s a troll. Stop feeding the troll.

    1. Someone needs to tell Wilbur Ross this. He has already started working on how Argentina is a threat because they attacked the Falkland Islands. Brazil is more obvious with their cultural appropriation of Mardi Gras for their Carnival festival.

    2. Haha. You actually think Trump does not have interns put stuff on Twitter for him?

    3. That didn’t stop the last president.

      1. It’s terrible advice that has never worked. Some idiot thought it up because it aligned with some admonition their mom gave them about real life and jerks, but it has never once worked on the internet.

        1. Mainly because Trump clearly knows that these idiots just cannot stop taking the bait, just to be the first to break the news that “Orange Man Wrong!”

  25. Why Republicans Will Sidestep Their Garland Rule for the Court in 2020

    Funny that Democrats and their Propagandists forget the “Thurmond Rule” which was: posits that at some point in a presidential election year, the US Senate will not confirm the president’s nominees to the federal judiciary except under certain circumstances.

    Y’all remember Strom Thurmond? During his 1948 campaign he said this,

    “I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there’s not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the Nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches”.

    1. Well, the 101st showed him, right?

    2. Isn’t the Garland Rule “if you have the votes, you can do what you want”?

  26. Well, my conservative brother-in-law ruined another Thanksgiving by spewing economic nonsense at the dinner table.

    Apparently his latest financial statement showed that his investments have reached a total value noticeably higher than they ever were under Obama. Absurdly, he tried to submit this anecdote as evidence that the Drumpf economy is “decent” or even “pretty good.” I informed him the economy is actually so bad that the low unemployment rate means everyone needs 2 or 3 jobs to survive. But he’s too brainwashed by Faux News to listen.

    #DrumpfRecession

    1. I’m surprised you could scrape together enough money to have dinner.

      1. It’s not my fault I entered adulthood just as the world economy was ending its best run ever (the Obama years) and entering a global recession with no end in sight.

        1. A victim of soycumstance!

        2. It’s not my fault I entered adulthood

          It’s somebody’s fault by God.

    2. brother-in-law(!!!!???!!?) Tsk tsk on your gender assumptions.

  27. Dean Foods, the largest dairy producer in the U.S., is filing for bankruptcy…

    The nation marches toward placid tummies and brittle bones.

    1. Thank god – I hope whoever replaces them has a better french onion dip.

  28. No, sex traffickers are not marking victims’ cars with zip ties.

    HOW DO YOU KNOW? For all we know the traffickers are in clown makeup menacing our children as well.

  29. Anybody know the score on the California Alabama game?

  30. The state of science and science journalism right now

    The Daily Fail click porn is rewriting our brains to a juvenile state.

    1. I’d say there is a nearly 100% chance that this study is deeply flawed and its conclusions are entirely unreliable.

      I base this on a long history of similarly motivated studies that have proven to be flawed in their conclusions and entirely unreliable.

  31. Why do people join a campaign where they are being abused? Are they just true believers who will do anything for their candidate? Is it just a minimum wage job to them, they’ll take anything they can get?

    I’ve worked on a couple of campaigns, and I still don’t understand the culture around them. I remember a GOP campaign for governor that went and hired a bunch of college kids from PolySci class. Every one was an affirmed Marxist. With a capital M. What was the candidate thinking? The politician in question was a business women who had never run for office before, so I guess that was just inexperience. But I’ve seen shenanigans like Kamala’s before. Rule one, hire the best manager you can get. And that’s NOT your sister! Hire a the best treasurer you can get and treat them like gold. Everyone else is a willing volunteer. Keep the rest of your paid campaign staff small. SMALL! You need the volunteers. There’s no spark without volunteers. The voters can tell the difference.

    If they can’t get the volunteers, they got no business running. But they will anyway because they know we schmucks will vote for them no matter what.

    1. They are just skimming campaign money. If they happen to win, bonus.

    2. Is it just a minimum wage job to them, they’ll take anything they can get?

      A lot of these people are pre-law, j-school, soft science, or grievance studies shitheads looking to use the opportunity to network themselves into a more stable job. A decent number of them have serious political ambitions and will put up with an insane amount of abuse for the chance to raise their profile for their own future campaigns.

      I’m sure some of them are legitimate idealists who believe their candidate is the best person for the job, but for the most part it’s a very cynical practice, and candidates will often take full advantage of that self-centered desire.

  32. “This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly…”

    Treatment and respect gap!

  33. re: we prefer being “harassed” by attractive people

    In other news, Water is Wet and Puppies are Cute. Film at 11.

  34. Consenting adults who trade sex SHOULDN’T be criminalized.

    Wrong. Prostitution is exploitative and tears at the social fabric.

    1. People were trafficked simply by reading that sentence. That sentence is violence against women.

    2. Well, it certainly allows women to sell sex and be their own bosses while also giving men a sexual outlet where their wives cannot control them by withholding sex.

      Mind you, prostitution prohibitions come from time immemorial where men could force their wives to have sex and is wasnt even a crime.

      1. Hitting her with a stick smaller than your thumb was well within a man’s rights.

        1. That’s why all the women ran from Fred “Big Thumbs” Flinstone.

      2. Well, it certainly allows women to sell sex and be their own bosses while also giving men a sexual outlet where their wives cannot control them by withholding sex.

        Be their own bosses? 80%+ of prostitutes are dependent upon pimps. Most prostitution is undertaken out of desperation, drug addiction, or coercion.

        The average age of girls who are forced into prostitution is 15. Worldwide, the age range for prostitutes is 13-25.

        If you as a man need to visit a disease-ridden, coerced skank, then you’re not a man. You’re disgusting.

        1. Your link fell off.

          You are also making arguments based on current prostitution prohibitions and how the black market on pussy works based on that paradigm.

          Prostitution in places were it is mostly legal, pimps dont come into play as much.
          Prostitution is legal in countries across Europe, but it’s nothing like what you think

        2. You mean to tell me that the participants in black market enterprises tend to be either desperate or criminal? This. Is. Shocking.

  35. One of Trump’s best policies, the The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that caps the federal deduction for state income taxes to $10,000, is having the intended effect–and the objections by the four highest income tax states are petering out in court:

    “They alleged that the new limit on the so-called SALT deduction, part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, was “an unconstitutional assault on states’ sovereign choices.”

    U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken in Manhattan dismissed the suit on Sept. 30, saying the plaintiffs ultimately failed to show that the SALT cap was unconstitutionally coercive or that it imposed on their own sovereign rights.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/26/blue-states-file-appeal-in-legal-battle-over-salt-tax-deductions.html

    On the one hand, they’re arguing that the federal government shouldn’t be allowed to refuse to let people deduct their state income taxes from their federal taxes because that unconstitutionally lets the federal government impact state tax policies. It seems to completely escape them that by letting New Yorkers deduct city and state income tax from their federal taxes, they’re effectively making federal taxpayers who live in other states underwrite the tax policies of New York City and the state of New York.

    I maintain that governments like this will only cut spending when there is no other option. They can’t raise taxes at this point–because the wealthy are already beating a path out of the northeast. So they tried to argue that the Constitution effectively requires a tax codes that makes taxpayers in other states (even those states without income taxes) underwrite the income tax of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. They failed.

    The latest gambit–and Reason really should cover this–is fucking hilarious: They’re setting the state government up like a charity. You can make a “donation” to this entity, that sends all the funds to the state government’s general fund, and because it’s a charity, you can deduct it from your federal taxes. Meanwhile, you can make a donation to this new government sponsored charity in lieu of paying taxes!

    This goes much further than the idea that a penalty isn’t a tax if it’s a “penaltax”. This is the idea that despite being forced to pay this money to the government under the threat of criminal penalties, it isn’t a tax that’s subject to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 if the government claims to be a charitable organization rather than the government!

    Yes, they will try anything and everything before they cut spending. They will not cut spending until they have no other choice, and it’s up to everybody from honest judges to the voters that live in these states to give them no other choice.

    1. The courts have taken this stance several times of late – that ceasing to flagrantly violate the constitution is a violation of the constitution. They’ve done this consistently with Trump’s attempts to end Obama’s “I have a phone and a pen” regulations, ruling that what Obama did unconstitutionally and by fiat is untouchable from that point forward.

      1. Just to be clear, the Trump administration won this round, and if President Warren tries to undo it with a pen, she’ll have a much harder time since The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is a duly enacted law that was duly signed by a duly elected president–rather than an executive order by President Trump. That’s one of the main differences between EOs and laws: Laws last beyond the term of the presidents who sign them. EOs only last until the next president decides against it. We’re about to see the same principle applied when the Supreme Court announces its ruling in the DACA case.

        1. 3 years and several obviously unlawful lower court rulings later…..

          1. That’s like the gun grabbers’ arguments about guns.

            Wait until after someone has perpetrated a crime to prosecute them, and it’s too late!

            There are downside to liberty and justice, but I have a qualitative preference for them anyway. Ultimately, maybe that’s what makes me a libertarian.

            It’s the same with bad EOs. Unfortunately, we have to live with the mistakes of the recent past, and sometimes decisions are so bad for so long, they may never be righted (see Wickard v. Filburn).

            The good news is that these things can be and are struck down, and I expect that will happen with DACA. I don’t see DACA surviving to see 2021. The next time they want to do something like that (and maybe they should!), they’ll need to do it in Congress, which is exactly the way things should be.

            When things happen as they should, it means you must be doing something right.

            1. I thought ObamaCare was here forever. I was wrong.

    2. Think I’m makin’ this shit up?

      “SALT Deduction New York

      For example, New York plans to establish a new charitable fund that will support health care and education, among other programs, that benefit New York residents. Contributions taxpayers make to that fund will receive a state income tax credit equal to 85% of the contributions. For instance, if a taxpayer donates $12,000 to a designated fund, the entire $12,000 will be deductible on the federal return as a charitable contribution and the taxpayer will qualify for a $10,200 credit to offset state income tax liability. Assuming this taxpayer also owns a home in New York, property taxes will consume much of the $10,000 federal cap, so this SALT workaround will allow the taxpayer to deduct up to $10,000 of state and local taxes paid in addition to a $12,000 charitable contribution instead of being limited to a $10,000 deduction for the total state and local taxes paid.

      New York also will allow employers to opt-in to a new payroll tax, which would reduce employee’s taxable income and provide a credit to offset the employee’s state income tax.

      New York and New Jersey also authorized local governments to establish local charitable funds that would allow taxpayers to receive a property tax credit for donations to that fund.

      SALT Deduction California

      California is considering similar SALT Deduction legislation while Connecticut already enacted similar legislation earlier this year.

      The IRS is expected to issue guidance later in 2018 on these SALT limit workarounds. Taxpayers who think they will pay more than $10,000 in state and local income and property taxes will want to stay tuned for updates regarding these SALT limit workarounds.”

      —-H&R Block

      https://www.hrblock.com/tax-center/irs/tax-reform/what-is-the-salt-deduction/

      Those of you who don’t live in California or New York, you think you’re not paying for their taxes because you don’t live in those states–but you do. They pay less in the way of federal taxes by deducting their state taxes–and that means you have to pay more in federal taxes than you would otherwise. Another way to look at it, your taxes pay towards less of the budget than they would otherwise if California, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York weren’t working so hard to help their taxpayers avoid paying federal taxes by funding the spending in their states instead.

      If you don’t live in one of those states, there’s an old argument you might want to revisit. I don’t know who said it first, but it goes something like, “No taxation without representation”. If you can’t vote in California or New York, why should you have to pay for their income taxes?

      1. “New York also will allow employers to opt-in to a new payroll tax, which would reduce employee’s taxable income and provide a credit to offset the employee’s state income tax.”

        It isn’t a tax.

        It’s compulsory charity!

        LOL

        1. That will be an interesting battle.

          I’m not sure they can get away with it at the state level without amending the state constitution.

          Then the feds still have to recognize their charitable organization…. which they might not do. I mean, if they want to be compliant with the spirit of the law they certainly won’t allow it. But who knows these days – there seems to be a dearth of executive level control over the federal government.

          1. I don’t think it will rest on the definition of a charitable organization. Far as I’m concerned, a non-profit is any organization that doesn’t distribute dividends. That’s a red herring.

            What it should hinge on is the question of what constitutes a tax–and, therefore, whether The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is involved. In my estimation, a tax is a compulsory fee by government.

            Where the money goes or how the money gets there is beside the point. The point is that if people are making these “donations” in lieu of paying taxes and those taxes are made under the threat of criminal penalty, then it’s a tax–no matter what you want to call it.

            1. Compulsory charity donation. We live in interesting times.

              1. Compulsory charity certainly sounds socialist to me.

                The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      2. The IRS is never going to buy that and will just happily bill the idiots who try this stunt with interest.

        1. I read an interview with the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, Westchester Properties and New York Properties that came out today. They just sell really, really high end homes to really, really wealthy people.

          Mansion Global: What’s the biggest surprise in the luxury real estate market now?

          CEO: If we’re talking about the northeast of the U.S., what surprises me is the unbelievable value. There’s never been a better time to buy luxury property than now. You can buy gorgeous properties for 60 cents on the dollar. A lot of that has to do with migration of people out of the area.

          . . . .

          Mansion Global: What’s going on in the news that will have the biggest impact on the luxury real estate market?

          CEO: In the northeast, certainly SALT. [The latest tax code limited the state and local tax deductions to only $10,000, meaning that many in the high-tax northeast states lost out on a lot of deductions, making it effectively more expensive to live in the area.] We’re seeing a massive migration out of this area and lots of inventory.”

          “There’s Never Been a Better Time to Buy Luxury in the Northeastern US says Brokerage CEO”

          https://www.mansionglobal.com/articles/theres-never-been-a-better-time-to-buy-luxury-in-the-northeastern-u-s-says-brokerage-ceo-209781?

          And, you’re right, the IRS loves making headlines by throwing especially wealthy people in jail. Why risk it when you can move to the Nevada side of Tahoe, where the state income tax is zero?

          1. Yup. The IRS loves to make examples of people. In Washington there is a huge influx of foreign buyers that is keeping the top end properties’ prices up. But Washington is the capital and attracts foreign interest in a way no other city except New York can. But, New York has even more insane taxes than Washington and doesn’t have a mayor who is hell bent on destroying the quality of life the way DiBlasio is. I image New York and especially Boston really are hurting.

            1. And if they’re soaking the rich on taxes, it must be hurting the states’ bottom lines really hard. It was one thing when state income taxes didn’t matter because you were writing it off of your federal anyway, but the more those especially high income individuals leave, the more they take with them in a steeply progressive tax curve.

              Look at these stats for the state of New York.

              “The State’s PIT revenues are highly dependent on the top earners. New York taxpayers with taxable income of $1 million or more accounted for just 1.0 percent of all filers in tax year 2016. However, they accounted for 37.0 percent of total PIT liability—a collective $15.7 billion, or about one out of every six state operating funds dollars . . . . The average State resident earning $1 million or more paid $275,600 in 2016.

              https://cbcny.org/research/personal-income-tax-revenues-new-york-state-and-city

              That chart shows that more than 50% of New York’s income tax liability comes from people making more than $500,000 a year.

              Albany won’t vote to cut taxes until they become convinced they’d get more revenue by cutting taxes, and that’s not about to happen until they feel more pain.

              1. If the top 1% of earners leave, you lose 37% of your income tax revenue?

                Holy shit.

                1. The top 1% are no longer tied to one place like they used to be. They are more able to vote with their feet than any other part of society. New York is fucked.

      3. Sounds like tax fraud. Send in the IRS, lib or con the IRS wants it moolah. Confiscate state owned assets and auction them off. Send the government, Governors and legislatures, to the Leona Helmsley wing of the federal pen.

    3. >>Yes, they will try anything

      repeal the 16th.

  36. “We have refused to confront our mistakes, foster an environment of critical thinking and honest feedback, or trust the expertise of talented staff,”

    So somehow she didn’t realize she was working for a democrat?

    1. That sentence sounds like something out of Pogo.

      1. She met the enemy and found it was her.

  37. “”This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly,” Mehlenbacher wrote in the letter obtained by The New York Times.”

    What?
    They have to eat Taco Salad withOUT a comb?

  38. Another great interview about the NYT 1619 Project from (of all places) the World Socialist Web Site:

    An interview with historian Gordon Wood on the New York Times’ 1619 Project

    “Yes, no one ever approached me. None of the leading scholars of the whole period from the Revolution to the Civil War, as far I know, have been consulted. I read the Jim McPherson interview and he was just as surprised as I was.”

    1. Do not bother the Times with your bourgeois facts. It is the revolutionary truth that matters.

      1. Destroying human capital since 1917.

  39. http://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/01/us/politics/abortion-planned-parenthood.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur

    New York Times wonders how turning abortion from a necessary evil into a Progressive sacrament could have possibly been a political mistake. The nerve of those deplorables.

    1. It is almost as if having a deeply controversial issue resolved by judicial fiat for an extreme position does not change the minds of people who think the other way.

      1. The whole point of the new abortion-restricting bills was ultimately about getting the SC to revisit Roe v. Wade, and determine for the conceivable future when “personhood” begins, and under what circumstances abortion should actually be allowed. Roe v. Wade was so open-ended that it was subject to broad interpretations, and the passage of things like heartbeat laws has actually trended the discussion into a more scientific arena.

        1. Yes. And what you get from the pro abortion rights crowd is “a human fetus has no rights because it would be inconvenient to what we want to do”. They generally make this argument in a way that calls the whole principle of inherent human rights into question.

  40. So, the Harris Campaign has gone Heels-Up?

    1. Since “Tits up” is probably now considered “transphobic”, yes, I guess it has.

      Harris turns out to be a horrible person in private. Let me get my surprised face.

      1. She’s but one in a long line of CA politico ‘screamers’; the hag fit right in.

  41. This week is Reason’s annual webathon, where we ask you to support our “journalism”!

  42. who believed in Kamala in the first place?

  43. >>>unsolicited sexual advances were considered more disturbing and more discomforting

    many subjective ideas in that clause.

  44. “Dismantling Section 230 would “threaten America’s global Internet and innovation leadership, cripple Internet small businesses, hurt investment in many Internet start-ups and trample our principle of free speech.”

    No it wouldn’t. Think of how many business don’t rely on user-generated content. It has nothing to do with free speech either because nothing is stopping you from starting your own website. This isn’t about free speech because it already doesn’t exist on those platforms. It’s about their ability to make money off of you. If anything, dismantling CDA 230 opens up opportunities for new businesses such as video compression, website templates, hosting services, etc. If something is posted on a site that you own then you should be held responsible.

    If you actually have something important or interesting to say then people will go to your site. If not, then pay for advertising and hope they stay. If they don’t then maybe you should do something else.

    1. If you want the freedom to control everything that goes on your site at your discretion, you then should assume the responsibility of whatever is put on it. These companies should either have to let everything on unless it is shown to be illegal or to violate IP law and not then be responsible for the content, or have as much discretion and control as they want but in return be responsible for whatever content goes n their site.

      1. “These companies should either have to let everything on unless it is shown to be illegal”

        They shouldn’t have to do anything. It’s their company. They should be allowed to host whatever they want. Sadly, their business model is based on allowing people to post by the millions so they can make money which means they can’t properly look into what is being posted. When they say that they’re trying it is a lie. They’re doing the least amount needed to keep regulation at bay. Meanwhile, those that don’t need to sell advertisements just allow whatever. Liability fixes that.

        1. They should be effectively able to defraud their content creators by making non transparent rules applied in seemingly arbitrary fashion?

          1. Totally. Show me where it says they can’t. They own the company. It’s their property. Are the content creators paying for it? Do they provide the bandwidth? How about the office space real estate? They’re not a government. They do what is best for their bottom dollar. It isn’t a right that you have to post on someone else’s property. They’re merely allowing you to because some of the content posted benefits them. You can go and start your own website, make all kinds of crazy rules, enforce them at will, and then change them overnight. It’s pretty cheap.
            If they want to refuse baking cakes due to religious reasons then I would support that too. It’s their business. If you owned the site I would want you to have that right. Are you suggesting you shouldn’t have that right?
            99.95% of content creators are dead weight. For every hour or Rogan or Crowder there are thousands of hours of absolute garbage.

            1. If you are going to control your website in an arbitrary fashion, you are responsible for everything that is on there. You don’t get a second chance to take something illegal down. They want freedom without responsibility.

    2. Ultimately, you’re talking about shutting down interaction online by opening up sites that host content to a flurry of necessarily frivolous lawsuits.

      Defamation claims require malice, and third parties, by definition, cannot have malice. It is simply impossible.

      If you want to see what the absence of Section 230 would look like, go look at the news websites in Australia, Canada, and the UK, where news discussions websites are largely confined to big companies with deep pockets who can afford to hire staff to police content. I’ve been to sites in both Australia and Canada where they won’t let you post any comments until they’re preapproved by a censor. They can show up 15 minutes or more after you post them–and people still flood those sites despite the inconvenience because there’s so little competition.

      1. P.S. Comments are often subscriber only to help defer the cost hiring censors.

        No thanks.

      2. News Corp, Australia FAQs

        8 Who can see my comments?

        If your comments that has been reviewed by our moderators and approved to published, all readers will see it. You do not need to register to read comments.

        9 Why is it possible to comment on some articles and not on others?

        Some articles are subject to legal constraints so comments will not be opened in case the comment may jeopardise court action or result in vilification. We typically allow comments on articles for 14 days following publication to ensure comments are timely and relevant.

        . . . .

        11 Why are comments moderated?

        We moderate all comments before they appear on articles as a legal requirement to comply with Australian Law and to maintain appropriate community standards. We do our best not to publish comments that are in poor-taste, prejudicial or profane. We hold the right not to publish any posted comment if the comment does not comply with the Commenting Guidelines.

        12 How do you moderate comments?

        After a comment has been posted, moderators and Editorial teams will review comments before they appear on article pages. We do our best not to publish comments that are in poor-taste, prejudicial or profane.

        https://www.newscorpaustralia.com/commenting-faqs/

        They do not hire people to sit there and moderate comments because it’s inexpensive, and the laws they’re worried about complying with are presumably about slander and libel–they do not have Section 230.

      3. “Defamation claims require malice, and third parties, by definition, cannot have malice. It is simply impossible. ”

        That’s just defamation. However, due to the way the sites are created I can register anonymously so I can defame with malice all I want and they’ll never get me. A lawyer could easily prove that the websites allow people to do this, they know about it, and could argue that with their negligence the ability for their client to be defamed was enabled.

        What about things aside from defamation? I can hack a phone or an email account and post all the nudes with the person’s name and place of employment. The sites can make money off of this. Meanwhile, I’m in India and using a VPN.

        Certain websites repeatedly allow copyright violations which means a team is needed to scour the web for violations, report them, and then return the next day for when they are uploaded again. It becomes impossible and any profits you make from your property goes into making sure it isn’t uploaded.

        Underage content as well. I liked the old way where if you were going to upload a naked picture you had better have the ID of the performer, date the photo was taken, a copy of the photo, and an address listed where such information can be found. CDA 230 and amendments made sites secondary producers and makes them free from liability so it doesn’t matter to them. This has created a perfect storm and stopping underage content isn’t going to happen. If you’re being held liable for underage content you’re going to check all uploaded images.

        True, that’s a huge burden placed on the companies, but if I owned a website I’m smart enough to know that if I allow the public to post then I’ll probably get livestreamed mass murders and illegal pictures. They are smart enough as well. They don’t care because they don’t have to care.

        “Ultimately, you’re talking about shutting down interaction online”

        It existed before CDA 230. The interacting you are partaking in isn’t necessary and can be done elsewhere in places like emails that are 230 protected and will always be. You’ve been tricked into thinking that your online interactions have to be on sites that collect and sell your data. You’re paying people a price to have interactions that’s not even worth the cost of your interactions.

        1. “A lawyer could easily prove that the websites allow people to do this, they know about it, and could argue that with their negligence the ability for their client to be defamed was enabled.”

          This is like holding a gun manufacturer responsible for a mass shooting.

          This is like holding a beer brewer responsible for a drunk driver killing someone.

          It does not hold water and cannot hold water.

          1. The gun owner doesn’t own the gun after they sell it. The beer company doesn’t own the beer after selling it.
            Social media companies own the content you post and they own the servers it is hosted on.
            Different ball field.

            1. I don’t see how that distinction translates into a meaningful difference.

              In defamation cases, we have a malice standard–like we have a mens rea standard in criminal cases. Defamation law needed malice to get past the First Amendment.

              There is an absence of malice regardless of whom owns the server. Defamation is actionable because the perpetrator had malice.

            2. I think you and John are looking for a way to justify what you already want to do.

          2. He is right Ken. If I allow someone to defame you on my platform and am negligent in taking it down, I am just as libel for the defamation as the author of the post.

            To give you an example, the NYT v. Sullivan case involved an advertisement in the Times. Neither the Times nor any of its employees were the author of the slander. The Times printed it as a paid advertisement and were thus liable.

            1. I only have a moment here, but from what you’ve described, it sounds like Section 230 is necessary to prevent such injustices.

              Wickard vs. Filburn also sucked, and if we could get some laws (like section 230) to protect us from that, I’d think that was a good idea, too.

            2. P.S. Did you look at the FAQs above from a country without Section 230?

              That’s what you want?

  45. unsolicited sexual advances were considered more disturbing and more discomforting when perpetrated by an unattractive opposite sex colleague than when perpetrated by an attractive opposite sex colleague:

    THE FUCKING FUCK YOU SAY? This a recent scientific discovery? Jesus fucking Christ is NO ONE PAYING ATTENTION ANYMORE?

    This is exactly what Douglas Murray talked about: We act like we absolutely know things we’re really not clear about, and we pretend to not know things we absolutely knew yesterday.

    Bettina Arndt has been talking about this for about… oh forever, but I know, she’s “problematic”.

    1. The idea that women don’t ever want to be hit on in the workplace is absurd. Women just like men love to be hit on. They just want to be hit on by the right person.

      The long departed and brilliant commenter “Fluffy” on this site nailed sexual harassment law. It is nothing but an adult extension of the pretty girl in the 8th grade telling her boyfriend “that nerd talked to me”.

      1. Exactly. Workplace sexual harassment laws only prevent sexual “harassment” not workplace sexual advances. Women get to say whether they are being “harassed” or courted or romanced or asked out or bothered.

        Giving women state power to criminalize romantic interest without an articulate definition of “harassment” was a huge mistake.

        I’m not saying women are the sole cause of the Nanny and Police State but there are way too many laws that give women power to classify certain behavior as criminal or acceptable based on whether she wants the person to do it.

        Example being that serenading used to be a romantic gesture to show interest in a woman. It can now be criminalized behavior as trespassing, stalking, and/or sexual harassment.

        1. The laws were sold to the public as preventing male bosses from demanding sex from women in order to keep their jobs. But in reality, they are exactly as you describe them, just a means by which women get to criminalize romantic interest at their discretion.

        2. Adam Carolla covered this in his tome “In 50 Years We’ll All Be Chicks”.

          He now says he was off by about 48 years in his prediction. We are all chicks.

      2. Arndt describes this as the leering glance of an “undesirable male”.

        1. The difference is simple.

          Cute guy says “Hi”, he’s friendly.

          Homely dude says “Hi”, he’s creepy.

          1. It hardly has to span the range of cute guy and homeless guy. It’s the yoga boy with the man bun vs. Todd from accounting with the combover.

    2. “unsolicited sexual advances were considered more disturbing and more discomforting when perpetrated by an unattractive opposite sex colleague than when perpetrated by an attractive opposite sex colleague”

      Incidentally, there was a related study that came out with the surprising finding that people prefer food that “tastes good”.

  46. Seems clear the entire Harris campaign was about little more than funneling money to a select few people like her sister.

    1. I think she thought she could win.

      After the people of California sent her to the Senate despite her horrific performance as prosecutor, I can’t blame her for thinking that….

  47. “Among both men and women, unsolicited sexual advances were considered more disturbing and more discomforting when perpetrated by an unattractive opposite sex colleague than when perpetrated by an attractive opposite sex colleague”

    Thought I’d try, but can’t do better than Paul (above:
    “THE FUCKING FUCK YOU SAY? This a recent scientific discovery? Jesus fucking Christ is NO ONE PAYING ATTENTION ANYMORE?”

  48. “We have refused to confront our mistakes, foster an environment of critical thinking and honest feedback, or trust the expertise of talented staff,”

    Sounds like my office. Have I been working for Koala Harris this whole time?

  49. Some potentially interesting new research on sexual harassment:

    Among both men and women, unsolicited sexual advances were considered more disturbing and more discomforting when perpetrated by an unattractive opposite sex colleague than when perpetrated by an attractive opposite sex colleague: https://t.co/WFSXH0OU2X pic.twitter.com/V5Qt5VZalX

    — Cory Clark (@ImHardcory) November 30, 2019

    How is this surprising to *anyone*?

    1. A simple thought experiment would have sufficed….

      Imagine Rosanne Barr saying “Hey, you wanna hook up?”

      Now imagine Alicia Vikander saying the same thing.

      Ok, I just saved you a bunch of money and time doing surveys.

    2. It is does not fit progressive theories about how humans interact with one another. That is always surprising to the social Left.

      1. That’s right. According to the “social Left”, for someone to make an unwelcome sexual advance is literally rape, and it should be traumatizing to the “victim” regardless of the appearance of the rapist.

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