Saturday, September 26, 2020

Democratic Knives Are Sharpening for Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein: Husband Richard Blum UC's Admissions Imbroglio Doesn't Help

The Supreme Court is the Holy Grail for Democrats. A progressive Supreme Court gives the Democrats victories they cannot win at the ballot box. Roe v. Wade is the litmus test for Democrats. The Court has been divided 4-1-4 in the recent decades with Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, Justice Anthony Kennedy, and now Chief Justice John Roberts acting as a swing justice although all leaning conservative. Roe v. Wade has survived. Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito did not change the overall balance. Judge Brett Kavanaugh threatened to tilt the scales to 5:4 by replacing Justice Kennedy on the Court - thus the vicious, unprincipled, defamatory attacks on his character. Democrats went ballistic on Judge Kavanaugh. The Court remained 4-1-4 with the Chief Justice usually, but not solely, being the swing vote. The replacement of the progressive Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by a conservative presumed hostile to Roe v. Wade is unacceptable to the Democrats. The balance will clearly change to 6-3, 5-1-3, or 5-4. Roe v. Wade is at greater risk than ever after since the 1973 decision. The numbers problem for Democrats is that the Republicans control 53 votes to the Democrats’ 47. The Democrats under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid eliminated the filibuster for district court and appellate court judges. The Republicans under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then ended it for Supreme Court appointees. The Democrats are apoplectic. The odds are the Republicans will not hold committee hearings on the appointment – a true political “in Your Face” move. It’s payback for Judges Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh. The democrats had no problems slinging mud from the gutter in despicable smear campaigns. They are now reaping where they sowed. Some Democratic senators are casting blame in advance for their impending defeat. Some are anonymously questioning if 87 year old Senator Dianne Feinstein is up to the job. An article in September 23’s Politico lay out the charges. 1) She has slowed; 2) She may not be able to lead the Democrats “aggressive” campaign; 3) She could mishandle the effort; 4) She could cost them Senate seats; 5) She’s confused by reporters’ questions; 6) She offers different answers to the same question; 7) She looks frail; and 8) She has a too gentle demeanor. One Senator said “She’s not sure what she’s doing.” Just as bad, Senator Feinstein has indicated she is opposed to ending filibusters. Senator Feinstein is also accused of sitting on the Christine Blasey Ford allegations of sexual harassment by Brett Kavanaugh in high school. Senator Feinstein held off until almost before the first vote. I submit it was strategic. The charges were weak and unverifiable even though the Democrats, media and feminists piled on. Senator Kamara Harris said, of course, she believed the accuser, but does not believe the more credible accusers of her running mate. It was a last resort gambit to block Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation. It succeeded in postponing the final vote. Other unbelievable accussers appeared, but their stories were bunk. The Senate confirmed the judge. Senator Susan Collins gave an impassioned, objective analysis of the false charges and voted “Yes.” Richard Blum, Senator Feinstein’s husband, is now in a mini scandal. We learned last year Rick Singer obtained admissions at prestigious universities through fraudulent tests, false applications, and bribing college officials in the Varsity Blues Scandal. The bribes and Singer’s fees were paid by affluent parents, many of whom have served, are serving, or will serve prison time. We understand that academic quality is not the only key to admissions. Contacts, legacy, demographics, athletes, and affirmative action play a role. Doors can open colleges. That is certainly true even at the nation’s most prestigious private universities. It’s not unknown for college presidents, provosts, and deans to have a few seats for admissions. Development offices can play a role. Public universities are not immune from outside pressures and powers, including from politicians. The University of Illinois was scandalized a decade ago when it was disclosed that Illinois legislators could force students onto the campus. The Chicago Tribune on May 29, 2009 published an article “Clout Goes To College.” Over 800 “sub-par” students were admitted. Graft was often involved. The president of the university, the chancellor of the University of Illinois Urbana Champlain, and nine trustees resigned. A similar scandal occurred at the University of Texas. Now we have the campuses of the University of California’s Berkeley, UCLA, San Diego, and Santa Barbara campuses. Rick Singer got his tentacles into Berkeley and UCLA. The state audited the University of California admissions process. At least 64 students were admitted at 4 campuses in the six year period between 2013-14 and 2018-19 using “inappropriate factors” such as connections to donors, staff, and alumni. 55 were at Berkeley. The demographics of the 64 are unsurprising: mostly white with annual family incomes of at least $150,000. 14 had previously been denied while 14 others were on the waitlist. Richard Blum, a near billionaire investment banker, has been a regent of the University of California since 2002. He has reaped fortunes in American companies, but is also heavily invested in China at great profit. His wife, Senator Feinstein, has been a large booster of trade with China. She successfully pushed most favored nation status for China in 2000. She’s ignored clains of human rights violations by China and claimed “racism” for calling covid-19 the “China virus.’ She downplayed Tiananmen Square. She has criticized President Trump’s trade restrictions on China. Senator Feinstein’s driver for 20 years was a China spy for at least the most recent five years. She was Chair of the Select Senate Committee on Intelligence.” The Senator claims a “firewall” exists between her husband’s business dealings and her Senate activities. She’s in San Francisco otherwise I’m thinking of buying the Brooklyn Bridge. Former China Jiang Zemin is an old friend of Senator Feinstein. He had Thanksgiving Dinner at the Blum-Feinstein San Francisco house in 2015. The husband’s business successes in China rose with her rise in the Senate. That’s one way business is dome in China, but also in the United States. The audit disclosed Regent Blum forwarded an advocacy letter for a waitlisted student to the Chancellor of Berkeley, who then forwarded it to the development office, who then sent it to the admissions office. The objective risk of the applicant being admitted was 25%. Don’t worry about the odds when a regent who has contributed millions to U.C. U.C. policy allows regents to send recommendations to the University through the regular admissions office, but not seek to influence admissions decisions. Regent Blum does not remember the specific, but added he has written many letters of recommendations to U. C. chancellors for years. He added: “This is the first time I’ve heard that maybe I did something that wasn’t right. I think it’s a bunch of nonsense.” A 18 year Regent of the University of California claims ignorance of a stated policy for regents on admissions decisions. The potential for abuse is otherwise great. Retired chancellor George Blumenthal of Santa Barbara for 13 years explained his approach to those letters. He would send a form letter to the sender saying he “could not do anything to affect the admissions process” He then forwarded the recommendation to the admissions office telling them they should not let it influence their decision. The political reality is Senators Feinstein and Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Governor Newsom, and Blum are San Francisco Democrats. The double standard has protected the Senator so far, but Regent Blum’s recent act may doom both when Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court.

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