Archive for Justice and Law

It’s a dangerous path the Left is taking

Where the real danger lies:

Think about it: Wright was so proud of her behavior that she put it out there for the world to see. She felt no shame; no need to hide her actions.

Cheryl K. Chumley says For Republicans, it’s getting dangerous out there – “Wright ultimately left the scene — but was apprehended after she posted details of the incident to her Facebook page. And it’s that little facet of the story that seems most remarkable.”

This particular story ended with Wendi Wright, 35, being arrested and charged with felony reckless endangerment. And the specifics of her charges come down to this: She allegedly chased Kustoff and his aide, Marianne Dunavant, in her car as they drove from the town hall event, ultimately intimidating them to the point that they pulled into the driveway of somebody they knew.

Is Wright demented? Or just an average Democrat in the Trump era?

Certainly, the atmosphere in the country has turned much more accepting of violence as a form of leftist political protest in recent months — since the rise of President Donald Trump, in fact.

The congressional halls of Democratic offices are filled with calls to impeach Trump, finding an actual impeachable offense be danged. And the media, the ever complicit media, don’t mind rising from the mud, when opportunity presents, to join the anti-this, anti-that fray as well.

All this, meanwhile, comes on the heels of an appeal by a Huffington Post editor-at-large for leftists to simply hound those of the pro-Trump camp by following Republican politicians to their places of work, places of dining, places of living, and stand outside and protest and demand answers. Answers to what? Apparently, to why they’re Republicans, refusing to vote Democratic.

But this is the tone and atmosphere of the country right now. And it’s one created and fueled solely by the left. So what’s a good Republican to do to stay safe?

what’s called for in the face of these bullies is to fight harder. Bullies don’t back down unless they’re met with a force that’s to be reckoned with. And how do you best fight lying, deceptive, argumentative, angry, irrational, violent socialist-minded partisans with intent on corrupting the Constitution and destroying the greatness of America? With truth. With courage. With the full armor of God — including the breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith and sword of the spirit.

In the face of such power, evil, as these lunatic leftists represent, can only flee.

John Daniel Davidson: The American Left Is Talking Itself Into Violence – “The recent violence that’s marked our college campuses is seeping into the rest of society, and the vast majority of it comes from the intolerant Left.”

Something is wrong with the American Left. The recent spate of violent protests on college campuses has been well-documented, but the violence and intolerance championed by left-wing student activists is beginning to creep off campus and into mainstream public life.

The reason for this is straightforward enough: although progressives pride themselves on their putative tolerance and diversity, the imperatives of leftist politics are fundamentally illiberal. Justice imposed through power is the philosophical foundation of the political left, and when earnest progressives become convinced the only avenue to power is violence, their tolerance quickly falls by the wayside. Consider a few recent events, none of which involved college protesters but all of which were marked by threats of violence.

Leftist Intolerance Invites A Breakdown Of Civility

How has it come to this? No doubt, leftist ideology invites a kind of intolerance that leads to violence, as we’ve seen. But this tendency is exacerbated by a breakdown of civility fueled by social media. Would we see the kind of brutal, cutthroat behavior that’s marked the crowds at these town halls if those people had not inured themselves somewhat to it?

The problem here is picking a bogey man, social media, to sidestep and destroy the argument presented that it is a much deeper and more insidious evil at play.

William A. Jacobson: Buzzfeed asks: Why is Harvard Law Prof. Larry Tribe spreading conspiracy theories? – “A reputation is a terrible thing to waste.”

Lawrence Tribe, Harvard Law School professor, has sullied his reputation with his Trump Derangement Syndrome, as Buzzfeed documents

One of the great untold stories is how many liberals have damaged themselves in the desire to get Trump.

If Trump doesn’t go to jail, like so many of the liberal conspiracy theorists are predicting, there will be a price to pay for their delusions, and that price will be their reputations.

David Keene: A lesson in the loss of liberty – “Mischief-makers have turned new surveillance powers against Americans.”

Liberal civil libertarian types were convinced back then that it was dangerous to entrust too much to the likes of George W Bush, but went silent when Barack Obama entered the White House. …

Imagine what sort of public uproar would have erupted if, during the 2008 campaign, it had been revealed that the outgoing Bush administration had been caught doubling or tripling surveillance of its opponents and was “unmasking” candidate John McCain’s foreign policy advisers whose names may have been picked up through surveillance of noncitizens in troubled areas of the world. The media, Democrats in Congress and the liberal pundits would have simply gone berserk, but the cavalier use of these same powers by Mr. Obama against folks they don’t like hasn’t fazed them a bit.

The answer should be obvious. It goes beyond ideology to the nature of trusting government with too much power. When any government official assures the public that he or she can be trusted with powers we wouldn’t trust to “bad guys,” we should be wary because powers that can be abused will be abused by someone at some time for motives good or bad.

Clarice Feldman provides a summary on Russian Hacking and Collusion: Put the Cards on the Table – “The notion that Russia interfered in the election to help Donald Trump was a John Brennan/James Clapper confection created in an unorthodox way, and defied logic, given that Hillary and her associates had far closer connections to Russia than Trump or his associates did.”

12 prominent public statements by those on both sides of the aisle who reviewed the evidence or been briefed on it confirmed there was no evidence of Russia trying to help Trump in the election or colluding with him:

Law professor Jonathan Turley says much the same thing: “No one has yet to explain to me what the core crime that would be investigated with regards to Russian influence,’ Turley said Wednesday evening. “I don’t see the crime, so I don’t see how it’s closing in on Trump.”

Unless you think it makes political and constitutional sense to have an FBI director holding open forever an investigation of his boss with no factual basis, you might understand how ridiculous Comey’s refusal to publicly detail his reasons for so doing.

But there is much more than the misjudgment of allowing these people to head the investigation, which has run on for months with an ocean of leaks and no evidence.

if this is Watergate, it’s not because this president is trying to cover up any wrongdoing on his part, but rather Comey and others at the FBI are trying to cover up theirs, rather like Mark Felt. The drive to arrogate power to one’s self is a feature of Washington politics, and hardly unknown to the top ranks of the FBI.

Jazz Shaw picks up on how petty CNN has become: Impeachable? Trump gets TWO scoops of ice cream while the peasants all get one

they really didn’t have much of a point to make here. The best they could do was point to this as an example of how the White House staff is settling in with Trump and getting used to his preferences. But by the time they write it up on the web site the tone has definitely changed. Notice how they can’t be satisfied with simply saying that the staff has picked up on his druthers in dining. They have to paint the mental imagery of a plump, greedy child who has suddenly been turned loose in the palace and has the royal staff fetching him bowl after bowl of dessert treats.

So take that as you will. It might be a story about ice cream or the tale of some Caligula-like emperor who is gobbling up the riches of the realm while the peasants are forced to do without. This. Is. CNN. They report… you decide.

Or, another example by John Sexton: Michelle Obama is not happy about the rollback of her school lunch guidelines – “Mrs. Obama suggested that issues like school lunches should be above politics and yet she’s asking her audience to question the motives of the people who are making these changes.”

Ultimately, there has to be a balance between allowing kids to eat what tastes good to them and what will keep them healthy. It should be possible for adults to disagree about where that middle-ground is without assuming anyone who has a different opinion has bad motives and wants to see kids “eating crap.”

Or Jazz, again: This is how progressives undermine capitalism in the name of “character” – “It really wouldn’t merit much national attention were it not such a sterling example of enshrined, liberal tribal beliefs being carried over in the real world to the point of self-ridicule.” The community’s choice in which coffee shop is to replace an outed one … “what’s the difference if you drove down the property values and stopped someone from providing some jobs to local folks and possibly making a profit?”

On the U.S. economic front, Mark Perry is Putting America’s ridiculously large $18.6T economy into perspective by comparing US state GDPs to entire countries – “Overall, the US produced 24.7% of world GDP in 2016, with only about 4.5% of the world’s population.”

 

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As The Whole Truth succumbs to Trivia

Thomas Lifson: American media hiding socialism’s devastation of Venezuela – “If you want a simple test to determine if a news source is in the fake news business, examine what they write about Venezuela.” It’s a form of Fake News™ where the ‘fake’ is by selection.

The fate of Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves in the world, ought to be the final lesson conclusively proving that socialism is a delusion that impoverishes those it purports to help.

Dishonesty about socialism’s failures has led to a huge percentage of Americans (roughly 4 in ten) saying that they prefer socialism to capitalism. While it is tempting to label this a failure of American education and journalism, the fact is that it represents the triumph of propaganda over reality. If people understand the fallout socialism brings as clearly as Venezuelans now do, they would reject progressives.

If the agony Venezuela is undergoing does not teach a lesson to the rest of the world, then it will have accomplished nothing. Yet, because so few Americans care deeply about Venezuela, they may be willing to accept the excuses proffered by so many in the journalistic and academic worlds. That can only mean more suffering in the future, as the socialism remains attractive for what it promises, not for what it delivers.

Jazz Shaw describes another example of this sort of deceit for propaganda purposes in explaining How a “suicide by cop” hurts everyone – ““Yet another…” As if the cops make it their national pastime to go around gunning down young black kids for no reason at all.”

They traced the call and confirmed that it had in fact been placed from the teenager’s own phone. When the police arrived he pulled out the pistol and pointed it at them. Showing incredible restraint, the officers held their fire and again ordered him to drop the weapon. Instead, the boy continued pointing it at them and began advancing on the officers. The rest is, sadly, history.

What happened was obvious. This was suicide by cop. The boy intentionally summoned the police there and put them in a situation where they clearly felt they were in danger of either losing their own lives or seeing an armed and clearly dangerous figure head out into the community with a weapon. They responded in the only fashion possible given the limited information available to them.

I don’t know what went wrong in that young, unnamed boy’s life to bring him to that point, but his senseless death isn’t the only worrisome aspect of this story. The all too common theme of the cops being the bad guys continues to be propagated on social media and everyone is all too willing to assign the blame to law enforcement before any of the facts are known. This is how we wind up with riots and communities where enforcing the law becomes all the more difficult because the residents refuse to work with the cops. How many more stories like this are we going to see? I wish I had some brilliant solutions to offer for this situation, but frankly it seems like an insurmountable challenge at this point.

Instapundit cites Salena Zito: Hillary’s perfectly crafted untruths.

Trump’s willingness to say what he thought during the 2016 campaign endeared him to his supporters. Unlike the press, Trump supporters understood that Trump shot from the hip and would make mistakes. To many of them, his walking-back of some of what he said then makes sense; is a sign of learning, not of duplicity.

Compare this to Clinton’s interview Monday with Christiane Amanpour: She conceded to mistakes during the campaign, offered to write a “confessional” seeking “absolution” — and then blamed it all on FBI Director James Comey.

Haynes believes Trump’s line of communication creates a new verb for Merriam-Webster: “I’ve started calling them ‘Etrumptions’ — the violent eruptions in the news cycle resulting from the media’s reaction to Trump’s malaprops or inaccuracies or random tweets.”

Voters want fewer media “Etrumptions” and more information. People do believe what is going on Washington is consequential, but they want to judge for themselves with good, relevant information.

They are tired of being told what they are supposed to think about every Trump word, especially the words that don’t matter.

Words delivered with honesty, despite being loose with facts, sometimes are more appealing to people than a perfectly crafted message that is dishonest at its core.

That’s why Wilson chose Trump over Clinton.

And that’s why Trump is president and Clinton is not.

This brings to mind the Fable of the Mote and the Beam (wilipedia) from Matthew 7:1-5. One path to fake is to ignore the beam in one’s own eye while going to any extreme to find a mote in Trump’s. A whole truth falls to trivia.

 

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Fake Law™ Anyone?

Silvio Canto, Jr. aksk Who needs elections? We got judges! – “What do you do when you lose everything between Maryland and the California border? You look for friendly judges who hate Trump as much as you do.” He cites Marc O. DeGirolami is a law professor at St. John’s University and the author of The Tragedy of Religious Freedom.

“Welcome to the rise of fake law. Just as fake news spreads ideologically motivated misinformation with a newsy veneer, fake law brings us judicial posturing, virtue signaling, and opinionating masquerading as jurisprudence.

“And just as fake news augurs the end of authoritative reporting, fake law portends the diminution of law’s legitimacy and the warping of judges’ self-understanding of their constitutional role.”

It may go on for a while. In other words, it won’t be long before every law that passes a red state, such as the new sanctuary city rules in Texas, will be frozen by some judge who thinks he knows best.

How much longer will this nonsense go on?

It may be time for Chief Justice John Roberts to remind judges that they are in the wrong branch if they want to make law.

For a variety of the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy, see Andrew C. McCarthy describing why No, the FBI Was Not a Trump Partisan – “The Democrats’ latest canard ignores difference between criminal and intelligence investigations.”

There is nothing more inequitable than treating two fundamentally different things as if they were the same.

Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal, based on mountainous evidence of law-breaking, resulted in a criminal investigation. The suspicion that associates of Donald Trump have troubling ties to Kremlin insiders, based on comparatively sparse evidence, has resulted in a foreign-intelligence investigation. The two types of inquiry are fundamentally different — dissimilar in their objectives, their processes, and their presumptions about secrecy and disclosure. The only similarity is that each is called an “FBI investigation.” To contend that this makes them equivalents, suitable for similar treatment, is akin to saying red and blue must be the same thing because each is a color.

There is no equivalence between criminal and intelligence investigations — the former expected to result in public disclosures, the latter classified and presumed secret. To claim otherwise is to elevate politics over national security . . . or to be just plain dumb.

Andrew Heaton: Lighten Up, Francis – “The Pontiff ought to stick to flock-tending and lay off capitalism.”

Francis sure gibbers a lot about economics, and when it comes to market forces the man is anything but infallible.

Take his latest and rather pointed jab at libertarianism.

Pope Francis no doubt sees libertarianism as hand-in-hand with the other evil he frequently warns his flock about: capitalism. Spake Francis in his 2013 Evangelii Gaudium, “Inequality is the root of social ills.”

His Holiness’ apprehension of evil people like myself springs from the assumption that we’re all very selfish, and happy about it. But classical liberalism doesn’t endorse selfishness as a virtue, it just champions individuals as the primary decision-makers of society.

Adam Smith pointed out that your baker doesn’t sell you bread out of the goodness of his heart, he does it to earn a living. When you throw self-interest and competition into the mix, bread prices plummet and scales of economy crank out enough bagels that for the first time in human history entire societies are more concerned about gluten intolerance than starvation.

Finally, let’s look at the pope’s stated root of all social ills: inequality. If we lived in a feudal state where lords become wealthy by plundering serfs, inequality would indeed be a heinous evil. Fortunately we don’t live in that zero-sum world.

Bill Gates didn’t become a billionaire by impoverishing America—quite the opposite. And if we doubled everyone’s income tomorrow many people would be lifted out of poverty, but the gap between us and whoever Bernie Sanders wants to hang this week would be even greater. Poverty and inequality simply aren’t the same thing.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I suspect it’s also publicly funded.

How much longer will this nonsense go on?”

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Corruption of the public and whatever happened to the law?

Cheryl K. Chumley: Does America even want freedom anymore?

Everybody cried about the hit to free speech — and rightly so. But the Coulter-Berkeley fiasco, and the ding to free speech, is not the problem, in and of itself. It’s only a symptom of a much larger problem — a symptom of a deeper, darker spirit that’s infected America, spreading far and wide as it seeks to destroy the nation’s greatest asset. The fact that in America, our individual rights come from God, not government.

A moral citizenry would not — could not — riot over rhetoric.

Storm-trooping for free speech — what have we become, America?

But it’s not just speech that’s being stifled around the nation.

The welfare of the collective is replacing the rights of the individual.

It’s not Coulter. It’s not free speech. It’s not even snowflakes and the adults who cater to their whines. It’s the loss of God from governance, opening the door to a lawless society and chaotic structure — that’s what really ails us. And that’s what must be addressed, if we really want to be a nation of free people once again.

For example, see Jazz Shaw on Baltimore warns prosecutors to “think twice” before charging illegal immigrants – “There’s a fairly clear line between “defiant resistance to Trump” and going completely around the bend.”

It’s one thing to refuse to cooperate with ICE in matters of detainers, sharing information and all the rest. It’s an entirely different ball game to decide that you can avoid attracting the attention of federal immigration officers by deciding not to prosecute criminals, no matter how “serious” the crimes may be.

Let’s think about that for a moment. In other words, for some of these comparatively low level crimes, the city wants prosecutors to go after and punish actual citizens of the country who may have run afoul of the law, but those who compound the issue by knowingly being in the country illegally to begin with are given a pass. Are the actual citizens in Baltimore who pay the taxes which fund these officials listening to this?

We’re talking about officers of the court who are charged with upholding the law. And they are seriously cautioning the staff to consider not prosecuting people who are suspected of these crimes on the basis of the fact that they are already committing a crime by being here illegally. If you are a citizen or lawful immigrant living in Baltimore you should be outraged by this. But if you keep electing these same people who pull these sorts of stunts over and over again I have zero sympathy for you at this point.

Or consider Andrew C. McCarthy’s explanation about Why the Obama Justice Department avoided the grand jury . . . until it had no choice – “On the matter of the 2016 election, why is there an investigation into Russian meddling but no investigation of Justice Department meddling? The latter effort was more extensive. And it sure looks like it would be a lot easier to prove.”

Russia’s apparent preference for one presidential candidate over the other is routinely described as a sinister scheme to “interfere with the election.” Fair enough. But how shall we describe the Department of Justice’s patent preference for one presidential candidate over the other?

Instapundit weighs in on the NYT Stephens brouhaha and reminisces about “the famous moment when the late Julian Simon debated an earlier iteration of hard left religious zealots.”

Simon, the economist who was legendarily skeptical about environmental doom, once posed a question at an environmental forum: “How many people here believe that the earth is increasingly polluted and that our natural resources are being exhausted?” Almost every hand shot up. He then said, “Is there any evidence that could dissuade you?” There was no response, so he asked again, “Is there any evidence I could give you—anything at all—that would lead you to reconsider these assumptions?” Again, no response. Simon concluded, “Well, excuse me. I’m not dressed for church.”

See neo-neocon on AGW: when a scientific theory becomes a religion… – “then those with an opposing view become apostates.”

That’s especially true if the topic is one with very high stakes, such as AGW (anthropogenic global warming). Think about it this way: if a person is—(a) convinced that AGW has been proven beyond any doubt (b) threatens life as we know it all over the globe; and (c) can be halted and/or decreased by measures we understand and can control if only we had the will to implement them—then if follow that anyone who disagrees is a person who is endangering life on earth.

Science, of course, is not a religion, and the history of science is littered with theories that have been considered proven and then are disproven. So scientists must remain skeptical and open to any evidence that would challenge their theories and their findings. That’s difficult enough to do when the topic is an abstract one with few practical applications. But when a topic is highly highly politicized (as with AGW), the difficulty increases exponentially and the public also becomes very much involved.

Which brings us to an article Bret Stephens wrote in his new venue, the NY Times. It was really a rather modest suggestion that people listen to both sides of the issue

Then consider Marc Morano with an Exclusive Video: People’s Climate March hostile to skeptics – Attempts to take down signs, deny access – “The banner, reading “The Science is NOT Settled.” was under constant assault with marchers who refused to allow the message of climate skepticism to be seen.”

James G. Wiles Machiavelli’s Advice for Mr. Trump – and Us – “have the American people been so corrupted by the welfare state that they can no longer reclaim their liberty? Is restoration of the American republic along the lines originally conceived by the Founders, impossible?” The citation is to Machiavelli’s most extended work Discourses on Livy.

Machiavelli offers us ways to think about how to answer these questions. He does it by reviewing Roman history with an eye to contemporary political problems of his own time.

In Chapter 16 of the Discourses on Livy, Machiavelli remarks that “a people that is corrupted through and through cannot live in liberty for even a short period…” When a state become free, “all those who fed off” the state become “hostile factions.” However, when the Romans overthrew the Tarquin kings in 510 B.C., they were able to establish and maintain a republic which lasted until the time of Julius Caesar.

This was possible, says Machiavelli, because, while the Tarquin kings were corrupt, the Roman people were not. “Had the Roman populace been corrupted, there would have been no effective way for them to keep their liberty.”

“This means that new laws are not enough, because the institutions that remain unchanged will corrupt them.”

It should not have been surprising, therefore, that the Democrats, the MSM, academia, and many corporate and other leaders united with the leftist street to launch the “resistance.” Or that, so far, not one Democrat in Congress has broken party ranks to support Trumpian reforms. This weekend, they will be touting their success in stalling and, sometimes, defeating specific measures taken by the president.

Then there’s David Henderson on Pope Francis’s Distorted Vision – Ideological fantasy is reaching very high levels of desctruction as the Devil plays his games.

I think the Pope and I are perceiving the world very differently. I don’t mean our values are different, although that’s probably true too. I mean that what we think is factually true is different.

Clarification of perceptions is critical to intellectual integrity.

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Justice corrupted

The next phase in the irrational obstruction shows as Trump prepares to seat Judge Thapar, first of scores of conservatives for federal courts by Alex Swoyer. The filibuster is out for the 18 circuit court and more than 100 district court vacancies but there are a lot more ways to obstruct, obfuscate, smear, delay, and destroy in the Democrats playbook. And reasoned argument based on intellectual integrity is not in that book.

An example by Rowan Scarborough: Ex-spy admits anti-Trump dossier unverified, blames Buzzfeed for publishing – “Mr. Steele has not spoken publicly about his disputed opposition research project, but for the first time he is being forced to talk in a London court through his attorneys.” But there’s still a Democrat insisting on an independent prosecutor!

Barristers for Mr. Steele and his Orbis Business Intelligence firm filed their first defense against a defamation lawsuit brought by Aleksej Gubarev, chief executive of the network solutions firm XBT Holdings.

Mr. Steele acknowledges that the part of the 35-page dossier that identified Mr. Gubarev as a rogue hacker came from “unsolicited intelligence” and “raw intelligence” that “needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified.”

Democrats in Washington have embraced the unproven dossier as an argument for appointing a high-powered commission to investigate President Trump and his aides.

Mr. Steele’s court filing portrays him as a victim of Fusion GPS — the Washington firm that hired him with money from a Hillary Clinton backer.

Or consider Cheryl K. Chumley with a twofer on the Judge who blocked Trump on sanctuary city a big Obama donor – “Note to those who think judges are impartial, and the judicial system in America safe and sound from the dirty world of politicking: Not.”

Anyhow, here we are again with another judge of questionable background, from a left-leaning locale, making another decision that goes — surprise, surprise — against the Trump administration and in favor of the leftist open border people. And come to find out, this judge, Orrick, is a big Democratic supporter — a big Obama supporter — a big John Kerry supporter. The common denominator of those Orrick supported?

See also Sanctuary cities ruling a despicable sign of lawless times – “Judge William Orrick on Tuesday sided with Santa Clara County, the city of San Francisco and with other jurisdictions in saying that stripping federal funding from communities that refuse to lose the sanctuary label could be a violation of the Constitution.”

Stephen Dinan and Andrea Noble make it clear that the Judge’s efforts were more of a symbolic ‘stick it to Trump’ thing than anything to do with justice or the law. Judge says Trump is wrong to tie federal funding to sanctuary status, blocks executive order – “Judge says DOJ can withhold some funds, but Trump went too far.” Once again, the EO doesn’t do what the Judge said.

The ruling was still a partial victory for the president though, with the judge saying the administration can withhold funds in cases where the law already gives him permission.

That clears the path for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to strip sanctuary cities of hundreds of millions of dollars doled out each year across three Justice Department grant programs.

The Justice Department portrayed the ruling as little more than a symbolic setback, saying it had already limited the punishment to the three programs the judge said can be cut off under existing law.

But, the Left chooses to portray this as part of an “embarrassment to Mr. Trump” and “a disaster” in a “litany of mistakes.” Pulling the courts into the Left’s assault on civilization is just another example of imaginative creationism in denial of reality. Allahpundit has something relevant to this in asking Should the Supreme Court have dinner with Trump? It goes into a presumption of guilt and seeing everything in that light.

I think the liberal reaction here goes beyond standard hyperpartisanship, to Trump himself: Once you adopt “this is not normal” as your frame for his administration, anything he does that’s the least bit unorthodox begins to look alarmingly unconventional — even when there’s plenty of precedent to support it, as there is in this case. Also, because they view Trump as fundamentally unethical, him wanting to schmooze with judges who will rule on his policies takes on an air of improper influence that wouldn’t attach to the same degree to, say, Bush or Obama doing the same. (Certainly would-be Court-packer Franklin Roosevelt wouldn’t have dreamed of of trying to inappropriately tilt SCOTUS in his direction by wining and dining them.) And when all else fails, you can argue that Trump is unique among presidents who’ve followed this tradition because some of his former campaign staffers are currently being looked at by the FBI for possible Russian influence. Should a president be inviting SCOTUS to dinner when his associates are under federal investigation — even if, er, he himself is not, as far as we know?

And then Again: Federal judge halts Trump order blocking funding for sanctuary cities – “This marks the second time a Trump executive order has been blocked based partly on comments made by Trump or his aides outside the record, whether on the campaign trail, to the media, or so on.”

He got no benefit of the doubt in the travel-ban cases about his motive and he gets no benefit of the doubt in today’s sanctuary-city case in terms of which jurisdictions he might target and which grants, specifically, he’d seek to have the Attorney General withhold. Rather, thus far in his 95 days as president, lower courts seem to be grasping for reasons to halt his policies and willing to dig through whatever material they can find, including offhand comments made on “The O’Reilly Factor,” to support their conclusion. I wonder why.

Even so, we’re left here with a strange result in which, although the order has been blocked, the Attorney General still enjoys the same power to cut off funds to sanctuary cities as he claimed to have before the court. Remember, the DOJ argued that Trump’s EO only applied to the three grants under Section 1373 that can already be withheld from sanctuary jurisdictions, not to all federal grants. The court disagreed, but even if the Trump administration had won, it would mean that Sessions would be limited by his own reasoning to just those three grants in punishing sanctuary districts. And because he’s been authorized by statute to withhold those three, he can still withhold them notwithstanding the court’s decision today. In a sense, the order doesn’t matter. Only if you thought, or hoped, that it expanded Sessions’s power to withhold all sorts of federal money from sanctuary cities is it a true defeat. And not even the DOJ claimed that.

Any judge should be very concerned about what their colleagues are doing. The trend is toward what happened in Venezuela where the courts decided it was up to them to take over the legislature’s job.

Jazz Shaw says The anniversary of the LA riots shows that some of us haven’t learned a damn thing – “it’s rather curious that the LA Times chooses to provide something of a sympathetic or even apologist retrospective this week.” As with the race riots today, the stimulus incident was not as clear as the ‘activists’ seek to portray it. But that doesn’t matter, no lie matters if it supports the cause whatever it may be.

The LA Times quotes at least one individual who feels that it’s “understandable” how the riots happen given the “context” of Rodney King and Latisha Harlins. No. It is not.

No matter the severity of King’s injuries or the tragedy of that child’s death, it’s not “understandable” that Reginald Denny, someone with zero relationship to the events of King’s arrest, was dragged from his truck and beaten within an inch of his life. It’s not “understandable” that small businesses owned by individuals crossing all racial, religious and gender lines were looted. It’s not “understandable” that the city was set afire causing billions of dollars in damage. And most of all it’s not “understandable” that law enforcement was essentially chased out of an entire section of a major metropolitan center and hoards of violent mobs were set loose to unleash mayhem.

The thin fabric of civilization broke down that week. The rule of law was shattered and what was left in its wake was anarchy. It was mob rule, something which has never boded well for humanity throughout all of hour history. If we were to take any lesson away from the Los Angeles riots 25 years later it should be that our civilization rests on a knife edge where only a thin blue line stands between the peaceful, ordered society the American experiments depends on and the type of chaos which could collapse the entire thing.

And none of what happened then is “understandable” no matter what context you care to invoke.

Justice corrupted starts with citizens who do not consider the implications of their fantasies.

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Actions beget reactions. Best not backtracking or mea culpa.

Rowan Scarborough says Trump’s lawyer launches legal action against BuzzFeed for publishing ‘completely fabricated’ dossier – that dossier is what Democrats are hanging their ‘Russian Collusion’ hats on.

Douglas Ernst reports O’Reilly says ‘truth will come out’ on Fox exit: ‘You’re going to be shaken, as I am’ – “I was very surprised how it all turned out,” the host said. “I can’t say a lot, because there’s much stuff going on right now. But I can tell you that I’m very confident the truth will come out, and when it does, I don’t know if you’re going to be surprised — but I think you’re going to be shaken, as I am. There’s a lot of stuff involved here.”

Cheryl K. Chumley says Sean Hannity’s accuser retracts sex harassment claim – “Dang it, Debbie. This is why women aren’t believed. Because of people like Schlussel who accuse, accuse, accuse — and then, faced with legal backlash, deny, deny, deny.”

Seems to be a lot of definitions of truth and true floating around. Here’s a thought: How about not accusing someone of sexual harassment when, well, no sexual harassment occurred? That has a ring of truth in it, too.

See also In Defense of Sean Hannity by Melanie Morgan – “The left-wing media is engaged in attempted character assassination against Sean Hannity as part of their effort to try and destroy the Fox News Channel.”

So desperate is the Left to try and play the smear-and-destroy card on Sean Hannity that they had to resort to dredging up wild accusations from a woman whose career has consisted of one malicious attack after another. The woman attacking Sean Hannity has attacked Sarah Palin, Steven Crowder, Free Republic, and repeatedly tried to attack Sean Hannity over and over again. Oh, and she went after me the last time I defended Sean Hannity from one of her attacks.

Jennifer Harper on Inside the Beltway: Republican students sue Berkeley after campus blocks Ann Coulter speech – “If Berkeley won’t protect its students rights, Young America’s Foundation will,” proclaims the conservative youth organization of the same name, which is mounting a lawsuit against the University of California, Berkeley after the school essentially blocked an upcoming appearance by commentator Ann Coulter.”

Jazz Shaw notes When the New York Times advocates suppression of speech – “Who gets to decide which view has what “inherent value?” Those in power.”

If you read this verbal dancing through a minefield of self-validation for too long your head will be spinning. The essence of it is that certain groups of individuals who are more deserving of protection should not be exposed to contrary opinions because those opinions are inherently false and do nothing to add to the discussion, while causing harm of some sort to the listener. The obvious pitfall in that “logic” is that someone has to make the determination as to which opinions are not open to debate because they are harmful.

On that Russian Collusion thing Dan Boylan reports Grassley takes methodical approach, follows the money to find source of ‘dodgy dossier’ – “the dossier presented a Washington-style follow-the-money angle that investigators needed to pursue. The real question remains: Who paid Mr. Steele for the material?”

The background behind the anti-Trump report — parts of which have been discredited but parts of which U.S. investigators are still working to verify and parts of which U.K. sources have partially verified — is classic Washington intrigue, political dirty tricks and the industry that has been built up to satisfy the need for dirt on one’s political opponent. Mr. Grassley’s efforts suggest that the dossier and those responsible for compiling and leaking its contents are re-emerging at the heart of the investigation.

David Keene provides a foretaste of doom: Venezuela’s coming civil war – “Maduro is arming his thugs to crush the democratic hopes of his desperate people.” There is an analogy to U.S. politics and it is improving in the worst ways. See Stephen Dinan: Illegals thwart immigration laws with help from lawyers, judges, educators – “A massive anti-deportation infrastructure has emerged to try to protect illegal immigrants from President Trump’s crackdown, with advocacy groups coaching potential deportees on how to massage encounters with police, and lawyers and judges working to shield them from charges that would make them priorities for deportation.” Don’t forget Turkey as another lesson, either.

Another one in this line is Reporters Sleep as 60 Black People Rob a BART Train in Oakland by Colin Flaherty. It’s a case of horror ignored because it doesn’t fit, and even refutes, the desired storyline.

Alicia Trost, a BART spokeswoman, said Monday that seven robberies had occurred – with victims losing a purse, a duffel bag, and five phones. Six people were robbed inside the train car, with a seventh confronted on the platform, she said.

Not one of the reporters for any of the dozens of news outlets in that area mentioned the central organizing feature of the “teens”: they were black. Tons of Bay area law enforcement officials say so.

After they rampaged through the train, this black mob retreated into their East Oakland neighborhood – you know, the one that is widely reported to be the “backbone of African American life and culture in Oakland.”

The same neighborhood black activists want to save from the gentrifiers because Black Panther Huey Newton slept there.

Even the most cursory search of crime reports and news stories reveals what everyone in that area knows: BART is a center of black violence on wheels and official denial in abundance.

Another cause of the Left is the subject of ESPN’s Bill Polian: ‘Overwhelming Majority’ of NFL Prospects Who Test Positive at Combine Fail in League as reported by Trent Baker. “With the NFL Draft coming up and reports of players failing drug tests leaking, ESPN NFL expert Bill Polian weighed in on NFL prospects failing drug tests at the NFL Combine.” Odds are not good for recreational drug users seeking a successful career in professional football.

 

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Marches to Protests to Sowing the Wind to Reaping the Wild Wind

Ethan provides 10 Reasons Why You Should March For Science (Synopsis) – “While there are undeniably many with very strong political opinions, the march itself isn’t political, but is rather a celebration of science and all it does for the world.”

The way to keep moving the world forward in the best way possible is strongly rooted in science and scientific investigation, and its greatest enemy is dogmatic, biased argumentation and reasoning. We live in a world that is extraordinarily dependent on science and technology, and that’s why valuing our investments in it and the results of our investigations are more important than ever.

The reasons aren’t listed but only link to an article at Forbes which has totally obnoxious nagware inhibiting review of its articles. The comments to Ethan’s post do provide some evidence of the skepticism about the integrity of his assertions. A Forbes writer also has a related post on The Global Warming Policy Forum: This Isn’t A March For Science — This Is About Economic And Political Policy by Tim Worstall, Forbes. It is a summary that links to a “full post” on Forbes, aarrrrghhh!

The complaint which is driving the ‘March for Science’ isn’t about an attack on science at all. Far from it, it’s one group of scientists not understanding that the policy they advocate is, by the scientific experts in the policy, considered to be a bad one which should be replaced.

The point is that we have yet another ‘protest’ that is falsely based by people who haven’t applied any of the intellectual rigor that is at the core of scientific literacy to their ideas. That leads to Ace and Backlash: Alleged “Antifascist” Rioters Are Finally Met By Counter-Rioters – “Even Noam Chomsky warned the “Antifas” to stop with the violence before even greater violence was visited upon themselves.” David French describes the Battle of Berkeley – “The leftist mob has sown the wind. Now, the whirlwind looms.”

If the media accurately and comprehensively reported on leftist mob violence, it would see that a pattern has emerged: On campus and in the streets, a violent or menacing core seizes the ground it wants, blocks access to buildings, and shuts down the speech or events it seeks to suppress. This violent core is often surrounded and protected by a larger group of ostensibly “peaceful” protesters who sometimes cheer aggression wildly and then provide cover for the rioters, who melt back into the crowd. After the riot, the polite progressives condemn the violence, urge that it not distract from the alleged rightness of the underlying cause, and then do virtually nothing to enforce the law and punish the offenders.

We are now teetering on the edge of a truly terrifying incident, one trigger-pull away from a slaughter. Campus and urban progressives have a choice to make. Is this a nation of laws?

Every single time the progressive establishment ignores, minimizes, or whitewashes leftist violence, it sows the wind.

Is anyone at all shocked that when the police hang back, others will step into the void? Leftists are fond of saying “violence begets violence.” If we don’t restore the rule of law, we’ll all find out just how right they are.

Actions have consequences.  

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4/3/2017: Lawful Authority, Whose Consensus?

A question of lawful authority – “For liberals it’s fine to run outside the baselines when the cause is theirs” by Robert Knight provides an hypothesis for the Gorsuch opposition. The core is about something seen in Venezuela recently where its Supreme Court tried to invalidate the Parliament.

Over the years, federal courts — especially the Supreme Court — acquired an outsized role in the nation’s affairs, especially during Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. Think of the federal government as a three-bodied creature, with one of the bodies in a black robe towering over the others with a giant Nancy Pelosi gavel.

Nonetheless, given the Court’s near-omnipotence, the central question of what constitutes lawful authority will dominate public discussion in years to come, especially if there is a conservative majority. Right now, “lawful authority” is in the eye of the beholder on many levels.

To progressives and the lockstep media, legitimate authority means only advancing progressive causes. If so, it’s no big deal for liberal presidents or judges to run outside the baselines when they need to score some runs.

Democrats’ various ‘reasons’ look to Republicans like excuses to oppose Gorsuch for Supreme Court by Alex Swoyer

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, ticks off a long list of his objections. The latest is a complaint that Mr. Trump didn’t do enough to “consult” with Democrats before making his pick.

“Democrats have been forced to talk about pretty much anything: President Trump, think tanks, you name it. Anything, but the nominee himself,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Thursday on the Senate floor, mocking the growing list of complaints.

two months after Mr. Trump nominated Judge Gorsuch, Democrats still are searching for a consensus line of attack against him.

It’s a case of throwing mud and hoping something will stick. That is not a tactic breeding effective governance. Democrats are finding that a lot of what they throw is reflecting back on them.

Cheryl K. Chumley says Another Dem boards the impeachment fantasy train – in this case, Fox News token Leftist Juan Williams.

Could the left please, please, please get it in their heads that prosecution generally follows crime — not precedes it?

And that simply believing someone’s guilty of something is not, in fact, proof positive of guilt?

Perception is not — Not, with a capital “N” — proof. It’s not guilt. It’s not even allegation. In this case, in this polling case, it’s just really what the guy next door thinks.

All this current talk about impeachment of Trump, whether it’s from Rep. Maxine Waters, who’s made it a personal goal of hers to boot the president from the White House, or most recently, from Williams, fact is there are no facts, no pieces of evidence and, most importantly, no charges to impeach Trump.

And honestly, the more the left talks about it, the more irrational they seem.

The Russian Collusion Conspiracy is a big keystone for the likes of Williams. Kurt thinks The Russiagate Scam Will Blow Up In The Democrats’ Smug Faces.

If you’re stressed out about this whole Russian nonsense, relax – Donald Trump didn’t do anything wrong, and he’s not going be impeached, arrested, or ritually disemboweled. When the truth comes out and it explodes in the Democrats’ soft, girlish hands, we’ll all be laughing and toasting their humiliation with Stoli shots.

But neither absurdity of conclusions, lack of evidence, distortion of language, innuendo or anything else has made an impact. All reality does is to stimulate psychiatric defensive behaviors that get really, really, ugly and highly destructive of all in the vicinity.

John Hinderaker picks up on this saying It’s 2004 All Over Again – “Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about truth. It started with hysteria over “fake news” during the last election season. The “truth” narrative went into overdrive with President Trump’s unexpected (by most) victory.”

Actually, none of the current controversies has anything to do with the nature of truth, or whether truth is (figuratively speaking) on its deathbed. Liberal journalists are just getting the vapors because, once again, they have been found out. When Donald Trump succeeded Barack Obama as president, they went from a gaggle of slobbering groupies to a pack of baying hyenas. Some people approve of the head-snapping, 180-degree reversal, while others don’t. But everyone knows it happened.

The liberal media have a couple of problems. One is manifest bias. Another is gross incompetence. We and others have documented so many lies, and so many errors, coming from the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS, CNN, etc., that few have any confidence in their reporting. That is as it should be.

The crisis that we face is not epistemological, it is political. There is no shortage of evidence, and the truth is rather clear: liberal governance has failed. The country is awash in debt, its influence around the world is in decline, its social programs have mostly failed, its borders are porous, its governing class is corrupt and incompetent, and in recent years its leaders have not even tried to advance the interests of the American people.

That is the truth. That is why Donald Trump was elected president, and why Republicans now dominate at every level of government. And that is why liberal journalists are in a panic.

Another such fantasy, as illustrated by the LA Times, is described by Kelly Riddell: Mainstream media: Trump’s first 100 days worst ever. Really?The LA Times editorial board decided to do a four-part series on our “dishonest president” starting on Sunday, writing, in part, “nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck.”

Of course, all of this is absurd — and predictably over the top from a press corps that has never approved of his candidacy, let alone his presidency.

Mr. Trump has withdrawn from TPP, approved the build-out of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, proposed a streamlined budget which includes a Reagan-era increase to national defense, started to enforce our immigration laws, which decreased illegal border crossing by 40 percent in his first month, and has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court — a process that has gone incredibly smooth.

The stock market has reached its highest since the early 1990s, the Dow Jones broke through the 20,000-point threshold for the first time, and manufacturing and mining jobs have rebounded in Mr. Trump’s first jobs report.

As for the idea that Mr. Trump’s first 100 is the “worst we’ve ever seen in a president”?

Lucianne also mentions the story, Our Dishonest President, as “The most astonishing editorial ever written. Be sure to read our commentary.”

On the Falsity of Climate Consensus: Judith Curry’s March 29, 2017, Testimony – “Groupthink” … “sausage making” … “bullying” … “substantial uncertainties” … “premature consensus” … These terms were used by the scholarly Judith Curry in her important, the-future-will-note Congressional testimony last week against the neo-Malthusian, nature-is-optimal natural-science community.”

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3/26/2017: Anarchy? And the churn below the surface

Mollie Hemingway explaines Why Nunes’ Obama Spying Revelations Are Such A Big Deal – “House Intel Chief Devin Nunes revealed Obama’s intelligence agencies may have been improperly spreading significant information about Trump’s transition.” Neo-Neocon says It’s not the tapping, it’s the leaking. The Public seems to be aware of this but the Left’s Propaganda Machine does not.

Many of the reporters present didn’t seem to grasp the significance of what Nunes revealed. You can — and should — watch that press conference here. …

  1. Information was collected on the Trump team by Obama administration agencies.

  2. This information had no reason to be shared in intelligence reports to Obama officials.

  3. Obama officials may have flouted legally required attempts to minimize and mask personal identifying information.

  4. This had nothing to do with Russia.

… When an administration is spreading around reports of political and personal discussions, failing to mask that information, and the information itself isn’t of foreign intelligence value, you have the makings of a huge scandal.

Many of the reporters at the press conference didn’t seem to know the significance of what they were being told, with many asking questions about Russia or the physical wire-tapping of Trump Tower, two issues Nunes had already specifically ruled out. Finally, a reporter asked whether Trump and his team were being spied on by the intelligence community.

While the media might be laser-focused on whether Obama personally wiretapped Trump, as Trump seemed to claim in his tweets a few weeks ago, the American public is not keen on the idea that other techniques or forms of electronic surveillance were used on Obama’s political opponents. Further, the media attempts to deflect and downplay and run interference for Obama officials and other Democrats regarding this significant information reveal a journalistic complex seeking not truth nor protection of civil liberties, but partisan point scoring.

Roger Simon explains why We Need an Independent Investigation of the Trump Leaks Mystery Now – “The detective story of our times is unspooling before us and the MacGuffin could affect all of our lives for years to come and the very nature of our republic.”

Who unmasked Michael Flynn and — so it seems now — others and why did he, she or they do it? Who later leaked (selectively) President Trump’s conversations with the leaders of Australia and Mexico? Is this the same person or are there several?

More importantly, who is watching the watchers and why was their work — this raw data that supposedly is never seen except on the most extreme “need to know” basis — apparently so widely distributed? Who inspired this? And who ordered what is known as a “tasking” to enable this to happen in the first place?

These questions are as or more important than healthcare, immigration, taxes or even how long ISIS will survive because they speak to the very nature of our society and the values for which we stand. Are we still a democratic republic or have we drifted so far into a high-tech Orwellian nightmare that we will never emerge from it again?

No, this is not about the Russians, nefarious as they may be. As Pogo said many years ago about an entirely different matter, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Illegal surveillance of Americans by Americans — whether “coincidental,” deliberate or something in between — is our problem, and we have to correct it.

VDH describes what happens when Law Takes a Holiday – “In the 1934 romantic movie Death Takes a Holiday, Death assumes human form for three days, and the world turns chaotic. The same thing happens when the law goes on a vacation.”

Rules are unenforced or politicized. Citizens quickly lose faith in the legal system. Anarchy follows — ensuring that there can be neither prosperity nor security.

The United States is descending into such an abyss, as politics now seem to govern whether existing laws are enforced.

There is one common denominator in all these instances of attempted legal nullification: the liberal belief that laws should “progress” to reflect the supposedly superior political agenda of the Left.

And if laws don’t progress? Then they can be safely ignored.

But when the law is what we say it is, or what we want it to be, there is no law. And when there is no law, there is not much left but something resembling Russia, Somalia, or Venezuela.

Betsey’s Page Cruising the Web takes a look at the Gorsuch hearings. She cites David French explaining the Democrat’s Filibuster Problem, Kimberley Strassel highlights on what Senator Schumer is really doing when he threatens a filibuster against Gorsuch – “The slow-rolling nature of the process has nonetheless masked the extraordinary new standard Mr. Schumer is setting, and the damage to the Constitution” – and a bit of history. Several other issues are noticed as well. She also cites Krauthammer about checks on power. Newmark shares a personal distaste for Trump with Krauthammer and both fail to see that Trump himself is a part of “James Madison’s argument that ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” What is becoming very clear is that it is a fear of what Trump might do that is at issue for them. This is remarkable as there is no basis for this fear yet a lot of evidence that the fear was justified and reasonable with regard to the previous administration. Trump, via the election, is providing a check and balance to the real and actual scandals and incompetence of the President he replaced.

Scott Johnson notes that Charles Murray Edits the SPLC – “The Souther Poverty Law Center has become a scam operating as a left-wing hate cult.”

I don’t think the SPLC has made a constructive contribution to anything in a long time, but it has played a particularly malign and malicious role in the case of Charles Murray. He has let it go until now; now he talks back. … AEI has posted Murray’s contribution to the enlightenment of the ignorati under the heading “Charles Murray’s SPLC page as edited by Charles Murray.” Please read the whole thing.

On the Obamacare fracas, Steven Hayward wonders if there are Still Trump Cards to Play? – “The present question, which has been on my mind since inauguration day, is whether Trump might flip the script for his presidency in just the same ways he did with his campaign.”

Democrats control so little territory that they can’t act literally on their secessionist impulses—though note deep blue California, where Democrats are actually talking about secession. But you can swap out “resistance” today for “rebellion” in 1861 and capture the Democratic Party mood accurately.

I’ve thought from January 20 that the lack of a traditional political honeymoon might serve Trump well in the long run. Scott Adams of “Dilbert” fame, who has been right about Trump since the escalator ride back in June 2015, thinks something similar. He notes in his latest blog post that the new media narrative is that Trump is no longer Hitler, about to fasten the dark night of fascism on us, but is instead suddenly Trump the ineffectual incompetent. But he thinks this will flip back by year end

Trump breaks all the standard rules of politics. His current abysmal approval ratings—levels never before seen in a president in his third month in office—constitute a floor from which he has only one direction to go. And I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Trump has the trump cards to play in this story.

This goes back to the renewed confidence of Krauthammer and Newmark noted above that there are checks and balances after all and Trump won’t run roughshod over everything as the Hitler meme fears. What we are really witnessing is cognitive dissonance thrashing about trying to come to grips with reality. Adams thinks the Trump-is-Hitler hallucination has been squashed by Congress and the next phase will be the routine politics about the other side being bumbling incompetents.

We just went from an extraordinary risk (Trump=Hitler) to ordinary politics (The other side=incompetent). Ordinary politics won’t spark a revolution or make you punch a coworker. This is a good day for all of us. It just doesn’t look that way because the news is distracting you with the healthcare issue, which is also important, but a full level down in importance from electing Hitler (in your mind).

Newmark’s Cruising the Web found other evidence in this line from Sowell on education to the Gorsuch nomination to historical precedent to “Democrats are going to have trouble picking off independent and Democratic supporters of President Trump.” It’s like watching the reservoirs in California and Nevada. The spring runoff has really started yet the water masters are trying to keep the expected flood under control and the pressure on the system mounts.

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Who is dangerous,now?

A Republic, if You Can Keep It by Kevin Cee:

Today, the leaders and soldiers of the left have declared war on their fellow Americans and on our republic. They have declared war on anyone who disagrees with them. They will not accept any view of government other than their own. In fact, the left are so completely convinced of their own infallibility that they are prepared to resist and disobey any and all laws not conforming to their own views. Those who have not seen the light that they espouse are to be vilified and silenced. Therefore, they vociferously deny the unenlightened the right to express their opinions. Any who are suspect, in their minds, are a danger to our country and do not deserve the right to express their views. Anyone who disagrees with their vision of a just society is publicly denounced.

Goals that they cannot achieve by means of the ballot box, by propaganda from their coconspirators in the press, by indoctrination in the nation’s classrooms, by under-the-radar edicts from the shadow government bureaucracy, or by leftist judges are condemned. They are absolutely determined to eliminate any and all disagreement, including anyone who opposes them, by means of constant and aggressive intimidation.

Our Founding Fathers gave us a republic, one of the most successful governmental systems in the history of the world.

Can we keep it?

‘You’re Fired, Judge’: Sanctioning Federal Judges for Bad Behavior by Robert Barnes (Impeachment is not the only option)

If private lawyers had acted the way these judges did, they could be sanctioned and could lose their license and livelihoods, be thrown out of court, or even charged with a crime. That is why Judge Alex Kozinski authored two amendments to his prior dissent to specifically criticize the basis of the Hawaii judge’s ruling.

What can Trump or Congress do about it, if they believe these federal judges exceeded their authority and engaged in disreputable conduct?

These judges disrespected the rule of law they promised to protect. The Constitution says they can be fired. It is time to return the balance to the balance of power the Constitution always intended. Obama hired them; let Trump fire them.

There’s a problem and its ugly.

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Poverty in many forms

Mark A. Hewitt: What African Airports Taught Me about Obamacare – “During a 2010 Corporate Council on Africa convention in Washington, D.C., I delivered a 15-minute presentation on what it took to take Roberts Field, an airport that had been effectively dismantled and shut down, to a post-war “functional and safe” airport” and learned about poverty and racism.

In Zimbabwe, the government led a racially driven land grab solely for redistribution to blacks. The South African black-majority government will also lead a racially driven land grab solely for redistribution to blacks. In America, Obama led a racially driven insurance grab solely for redistribution to minorities and illegals.

Republicans in Congress should vigorously reject this racist-motivated law and repeal it with extreme prejudice.

Well, No, But I Did Fly Over It Once – “Princeton economics professor emeritus and Nobel laureate Angus Deaton has been running around making an extraordinary claim: “Being really poor in America is in some ways worse than being really poor in India or Africa,”

This claim was qualified—Deaton is referring to those who live in extreme poverty. But The Scrapbook did once spend two months following around economists from the U.S. Agency for International Development in the slums of Asia, and we can say with near-scientific certitude that Deaton’s claim is so idiotic it could only have been uttered by a Nobel Prize winner.

And if you’re still confused about how Donald Trump got elected, the patronizing ignorance of Ivy League professors about life between the coasts offers a clue.

Andrew Malcom says What’s important about Trump’s budget is not what you think – “For years Washington budget bees on both sides have hoodwinked Americans by announcing annual budget “cuts” that were not real cuts at all.” Trump has shifted the paradigm and the usual referents for discussion are no longer a solid base for prognostication and analysis.

Trump’s budget is only important for its political messaging. Which is still very important but has nothing to do with actual spending.

His budget sets out his goals and priorities. It tells Americans – supporters and opponents alike – that the new chief executive actually intends to follow through on major campaign promises – to rebuild the depleted military, to reduce foreign aid giveaways with dubious results, to launch a major infrastructure rebuild, to steer considerable authority back to states. It sets bargaining parameters with Congress.

Thomas Lifson: Oops! CNN accidentally confirms story that Brit intell passed along Trump communications to Obama admin – “Courtesy of Grabien, here is a disastrous interview in which the guest, Larry Johnson, confirmed the story that Judge Andrew Napolitano told on-air about British intelligence passing along surveillance data involving the Trump administration.” The general rule is that the more upset the Left gets about some Trump statement, the more likely it is that Trump was substantially correct.

Roger Kimball has a bit of a slog in describing A Government of Laws, Not Men but the conclusion is worthy of note.

Thus we see another way in which the principle of “a government of laws not men” can be violated. It used to be that we were on the lookout for individuals arrogating to themselves the power of the law. Now we find individuals denying our lawfully elected representatives the legitimacy to exercise their rightful authority.

We know from history that the first sort of violation is an invitation to tyranny. Some otherwise intelligent people seem not to appreciate how the latter is an invitation to anarchy and mob rule.

It is too early, I think, to say how this will end. Perhaps, as I hope, the odor of insurrection will dissipate and President Trump can go about the nation’s business with the presumption of legitimacy he deserves. But that may not happen. In which case, this observation from Alexander Bickel’s The Least Dangerous Branch: The Supreme Court at the Bar of Politics (1962) is pertinent: “Enforcement crises must be resolved by the use of the minimum force necessary, but above all decisively and promptly, so that the futility of resistance is never in the slightest doubt. Those who pass from litigation and political obstruction to overt insurrection must not be led to expect that will be negotiated with.”

An invitation to tyranny” is something to worry about. That is what leads to poverty.

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Sunshine politics and misuse of the third branch

This Is What Is Wrong With The American Judiciary picks up on a problem noted earlier:

Article III judges are protected by lifetime tenure in office and salary which cannot be reduced by Congress. They are not supposed to be insulated from “intense public scrutiny.” Nor should judges instruct litigants before them to limit their constitutionally protected out-of-court speech, and to encourage such limitations under the threat of what is or is not “effective advocacy.” That Judge Bybee, along with Judges Kozinski, Callahan, Bea, and Ikuta, who joined Bybee’s dissent, think otherwise is more than a problem: it is an American disaster.

It picks up on the complaints in the dissent as preceding the issue in importance as they “chill constitutionally protected speech.” The ‘lifetime tenure” idea is another way of saying that the judges are in a protected and, hence, elite class and that the complaints about public scrutiny and civility are an expression of hubris.

The fact is that both the decision that is the topic of the dissent and the complaints in the dissent are worrisome as they exceed the authority of the courts and impinge on constitutional rights rather than protect them.

Dershowitz provides an explanation of this concept: Courts Essentially Saying If Obama Issued Trump Travel Ban, It Would Be Constitutional – “If Obama had issued the very same order with the same words it would be constitutional, but if Trump issues it it’s unconstitutional.” Dershowitz notes that the law is not supposed to work this way.

From Trump’s side of things, go to the Nashville Speech: “ Trump, of course, blasted the judge. Then he surprised this Trump skeptic – he quoted law. Verbatim.”

All this to say, we are engaged in a great legal war. Blue states, like Washington state and Hawaii, are suing to keep America open to immigrants while red states, led by Tennessee, are engaging legally to protect their people – their persons and their pocketbooks.

Meanwhile in Europe, mass immigration has disrupted society.

What needs to be kept in mind about this is that judicial over-reach and the use of the courts by the Left to impose an oligarchy was a campaign issue based on long standing public concerns with Roe v. Wade being an early marker. In that light, Trump is addressing a campaign promise in one of the most effective ways by avoiding direct confrontation but instead shining a light on the corruption in such a way as to stymie its growth. A long term solution won’t be found by passing laws or using other instruments in the governmental heavy hand. It will be by turning the public perception in such a way that the corruption is acceptable by a smaller minority. Right now, judicial over-reach along with riots and other violence, slander, libel, and similar practices are accepted by, promoted, and engaged in, by one of the major political parties.It will take sunshine to change this towards the kind of civility Judge Bybee was looking for.

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3/18/2017: civility and flawed logic

Instapundit cites Matthew Continetti: Charles Murray’s Attackers: – “What happened to Charles Murray at Middlebury was an affront to academic freedom, democratic norms, freedom of speech, and basic manners.” … “The left will miss civility when it’s gone. They’re happy now while its disappearance is one-sided. That won’t last.”

And the following post is another example. David Harsanyi: Chuck Schumer’s Indecent Attacks on Neil Gorsuch.Make no mistake, though: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) now opposes a potential SCOTUS justice because he promises to be impartial when upholding the Constitution.” Then there is Orrin G. Hatch on What to expect in Gorsuch confirmation hearing – “At its best, the confirmation process provides an open venue for careful questioning and reflective deliberation; at its worst, the process can quickly devolve into partisan spectacle, killing the chances of even the most qualified nominees.”

Notwithstanding Gorsuch’s superb qualifications and principled approach to judging, Democrats and their liberal allies strain mightily to find plausible grounds to oppose his nomination. They misread his opinions, misstate his reasoning, and in general paint a picture of a man who simply does not exist. Unfortunately, we can expect more attempts to misrepresent Gorsuch’s record during his confirmation hearing. In particular, we can expect to hear over and over again the false and frankly ridiculous claim that Gorsuch is outside the “judicial mainstream.”

Liberals will tie themselves in knots claiming that Gorsuch is some sort of fringe jurist, that his views place him on the far flank of the federal judiciary. But any honest observer will concede that these accusations are complete bunk. Opponents will claim that his decisions say things that they very clearly do not say, or stand for propositions that even a generous reading cannot substantiate.

Ultimately, Gorsuch’s opponents will fail because he is so clearly a man of integrity and so clearly qualified to serve on our nation’s highest court.

Perhaps the most important take-away from comments like this is that the Republicans are beginning to accept the nature of the political opposition they face.

Or, back on Instapundit, CRICKETS:Bow Wow slurs Melania Trump in the nastiest way possible. Three guesses how reporters responded to the message.

Jonathan H. Adler quotes The most important part of Judge Bybee’s dissent from denial of en banc review in Washington v. Trump – “Five justices dissented from the denial of en banc review, arguing that the panel decision made multiple legal errors and should be vacated.” The dissent is tainted by a complaint that is, perhaps, a dig at the President and others who have a low opinion of the court due to opinions such as the one at issue. Do note, though, that the complaint also applies to both the judge who issued the restraining order as shown in his decision and in those seeking the restraint as shown by how they based their request.

The personal attacks on the distinguished district judge and our colleagues were out of all bounds of civic and persuasive discourse—particularly when they came from the parties. It does no credit to the arguments of the parties to impugn the motives or the competence of the members of this court; ad hominem attacks are not a substitute for effective advocacy. Such personal attacks treat the court as though it were merely a political forum in which bargaining, compromise, and even intimidation are acceptable principles. The courts of law must be more than that, or we are not governed by law at all.

This confuses several issues. Ad hominem is about the personal characteristics of an individual, not about an institution such as the court nor is it about a decision or other specific behavior of that person or institution. The kind of “civic and persuasive discourse” that one expects inside a courtroom proceeding is different from that in the political or social arenas. The topic of civility is an important one but it does not belong here. The topic at hand is that of the role of the courts in regards to the law and established practice.

Read Hawaii Judge’s Flawed Aloha Akhbar Logic by Daniel John Sobieski.

Judge Watson’s logic belongs in a parallel judicial universe where judges are allowed to regulate foreign policy, clearly a presidential prerogative defined in both law and the U.S. Constitution. Judge Watson cites no law and, in the case of the Constitution, says the travel ban violates the Establishment Clause which forbids favoring or disparaging a particular religion. By that logic, you could never restrict any immigration from any Muslim country for any reason. Judge Watson strays outside the four corners of the executive order and ignores explicit U.S. law to cite President Trump’s campaign statements, which are totally irrelevant. Motive, even if correctly discerned, is irrelevant here. Only the law and presidential authority should apply.

A first requirement for civility is intellectual integrity. When a group of people dismiss integrity in thought and action, the rest of the people have a difficult problem to address. 

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Pushback: a logical outcome of too much push

Andrea Noble and Stephen Dinan: Lawmakers warn judges ruling on travel bans against exceeding power – “Rulings seen as political.”

“As tempting as it is to use the judicial power to balance those competing interests as we see fit, we cannot let our personal inclinations get ahead of important, overarching principles about who gets to make decisions in our democracy,” Judge Jay Bybee, of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote in a dissent Wednesday. He said his colleagues erred in not agreeing to rehear Mr. Trump’s defense of his original executive order.

Conservative legal scholars said whatever the political motivations, the judges who have ruled against Mr. Trump botched the law.

That assessment included a decision handed down early Thursday by a federal judge in Maryland, even though it only enjoined enforcement of the portion of the order restricting travel of foreign nationals from six countries.

“In none of those decisions did the judges actually discuss the legality or constitutionality of the federal immigration statute at issue,” said Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. “This is an indication that the judges were looking at this as a policy question: Did they like or not like the policy?”

Curt A. Levey, a constitutional law scholar with FreedomWorks, said the rulings against the executive order are of particular concern because of the degree of judicial activism.

“They are not inventing a new rule of law; they are ignoring their own precedent because they are personally opposed,” Mr. Levey said.

House Republicans had scheduled a hearing Thursday on splitting the circuit, and the judges’ dislike for this president was a key piece of evidence.

“Some of the courts in your circuit are playing a dangerous game here,” said Rep. Ron DeSantis, Florida Republican. “I understand there’s antipathy in our country that is reflected on some of your courts for the current president. But that is not enough of a reason to wade into some of these sensitive matters of national security.”

“I think the courts, while they think they’re saving the day, from some people’s perspectives, I think they may end up in the long run undermining their proper role,” he said.

Of course the Democrats are happy about the judicial activism:

“I’m grateful for the judiciary system,” said Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan, California Democrat. “It’s a checks-and-balance system that we have in this country that is meant to provide the oversight when you have a president who is doing whatever he wants to regardless of the law.”

The problem the Democrats have is that what they consider ‘The Law’ is what they fantasize about what they want it to be and not what is written as established by due process.

See also Gregg Jarrett on 4 things you need to know about the rulings against Trump’s latest travel ban – “Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland ruled against President Trump’s revised travel ban with separate, but similar, orders blocking the main provisions of his executive order which limits travel and immigration to the United States from six predominately Muslim countries.” The comments to the posting are also worth scanning for a view as to the public perceptions about the phenomena.

David Harsanyi has more on Democrats’ contempt for law as written in describing how Chuck Schumer’s Attacks On Neil Gorsuch Are Un-American – “If Democrats want to filibuster Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, they’re entitled to do it.”

Democrats are free to try and stop the Neil Gorsuch confirmation for any reason they desire, whether ideological, personal, or no particular reason at all. There is nothing in the Constitution that compels senators to vote on judicial nominees the president forwards.

Make no mistake, though; Chuck Schumer now opposes a potential SCOTUS justice because he promises to be impartial when upholding the Constitution.

It’s up to communities and government to show empathy. It’s the job of judges to rule on law. Schumer is arguing that the impartiality of the courts should be ceded to the identity of the participants. That’s un-American.

Thomas Lifson picks up on another Field of Fantasy of the Left: Obama’s outgoing US attorney blames Chicago violence on… – “the reason Chicago is so violent is…social media!”

Forget about open borders and the gangs that flood in and engage in open warfare. Forget about the hateful rhetoric of Black Lives Matter and the White House visit that honored those cries of hatred. And pay no attention to the ACLU and Justice Department’s halting of most stop-and-frisk action by the Chicago Police Department.

When the real causes of Chicago’s violence are taboo to mention – fatherlessness, the ideology of racial victimization, the failure of schools, the glamorization of violence and lawlessness in the culture, and all the other products of progressives’ dominance of culture, bureaucracy, and the courts – the left looks to curb constitutional rights as a solution.

Trump is just one indication of a pushback to this nonsense. It’s what happens when lawyers and representatives abrogate their responsibilities and agreements with the people, including the law.

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A Judicial Coup

Among a lot of competition in the news and commentary, it is John Hinderaker who breaks the ice. He says A Liberal Coup Is In Progress.

I have not yet read Watson’s opinion, and will comment on it in detail when I have done so. But I have read Trump’s order, and the idea that it somehow can be blocked by a federal judge is ridiculous. The order is absolutely within the president’s constitutional discretion.

What we are seeing here is a coup: a coup by the New Class; by the Democratic Party; by far leftists embedded in the bureaucracy and the federal judiciary. Our duly elected president has issued an order that is plainly within his constitutional powers, and leftists have conspired to abuse legal processes to block it. They are doing so in order to serve the interests of the Democratic Party and the far-left movement. This is the most fundamental challenge to democracy in our lifetimes.

Others have noted that the injunction only cites campaign speech as its support to accept a freedom of religion argument – not the wording of the order itself or any other evidence normally considered acceptable in a court of law. The conclusion is that the injunction would not be issued for any president other than Trump. Any judge who signs on to this sort of decision abrogates their primary duty and responsibility to the law and to the people they serve. He attempts to usurp the constitutionally defined authority of the Executive and Legislative branches

Eugene Volokh notes that the vestiges of the last EO are still present in that Five 9th Circuit judges dissent, arguing for vacating panel decision on President Trump’s immigration executive order

On Wednesday, the call for rehearing was denied, because it didn’t get a majority vote of the 9th Circuit judges; but five judges — Judge Bybee, joined by Judges Kozinski, Callahan, Bea, and Ikuta — issued an opinion arguing that rehearing should have been granted, and that the panel decision was wrong and should therefore be vacated. The opinion is worth reading, I think (alongside the panel opinion, if you hadn’t read that yet), and strikes me as pretty persuasive.

There are two very significant issues at hand here. One is the ability of the executive to respond in a reasonable and timely manner to security risks as per his defined duties. The other is the responsibility of the judicial branch to police itself. If the president is constrained from acting in a timely and prudent manner as defined by law, the consequences could be tragic. If the judicial branch embraces oligarchy and a lack of accountability to law, it will either find it imposed from outside the branch or it will destroy that which is its basis for power.

William A. Jacobson says the Hawaii TRO and 9th Circuit En Banc Denial effectively strip Trump of executive powers – “At this point, only the Supreme Court can restore presidential powers.”

The federal district court in Hawaii issued a TRO and the 9th Circuit denied en banc hearing of the first appeal. Both Orders are embedded in full at the bottom of this post.

The net result is that Trump has been stripped of his constitutional and statutory powers to protect the nation through control of who is permitted to enter the country.

As discussed in prior posts, the power to control who enters the country is uniquely a presidential power. Not anymore, unless the Supreme Court acts to restore that power.

The fallacy being promoted by these judges is in treating every word in a social and informal conversation as if it were the wording of written law or court brief. Context and mode of communication are being dishonestly distorted and twisted to rationalize an indefensible outcome.

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2/27/2017: Fake Justice, too? Being able to see turns out to be difficult.

Robert Knight: Fake justice and the rise of a new religion – “Post-modern progressives, contrary to popular belief, are not irreligious. They worship at the altar of government power, lifting the chalice of “diversity” and eating the bread of “tolerance.”

In recent years, progressives have used the courts to establish newer classes of protected behaviors that effectively trump the explicit constitutional protection of religion. What is not written takes precedence over what is. You’ve heard of fake news? Welcome to fake justice.

The only cure for this existential threat is to assert strongly the unalienable rights granted to us by nature and nature’s God. We need to work and pray so that real justice replaces the fake variety.

Rowan Scarborough: Obama loyalists suspected of ‘sabotage’ with leak of travel ban report – “Intel report leaked to press ‘incomplete,’ open source.”

“This was not really a leak but sabotage,” the source said. “This report was commentary. This is insurrection. They all took an oath.”

The leak to The Associated Press appears to follow a pattern of suspected Obama loyalists still inside the government releasing draft documents that are immediately refuted by the White House

Andrew Malcom Opinion: The truth about Trump’s worrisome war on media – “worrisome” tells you about the bias in this opinion but otherwise Malcom has a few good points to consider.

Americans are not dumb, even if you disagree with their presidential choice. In the years B.T. (Before Trump), millions decided the Fourth Estate had become more of a fifth column to combat traditional values and fairness.

That’s dangerous because our democracy needs a healthy, honest press, now also financially troubled. The best way to restore both trust and business health is to reboot and become real journalists again, this time with a professional conscience. Because it takes two sides to keep a war going.

Lloyd Marcus provides balance asserting that Fake News Still Lyin’ About the Tea Party – “Harriet Baldwin posted on Facebook: “Pisses me off when the alt-left media likens these paid Obama/Soros/Alinsky violent protesters to the Tea Party.”

It has infuriated me the way the despicable fake news media intentionally branded the salt-of-the-earth good Americans at the rallies a bunch of redneck racists vehemently opposed to America electing its first black president. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Folks, Tea Party people are not racist. They love their country. They desire equal justice for all Americans. They do not want government dictating how to raise their kids and micromanaging their lives to achieve the Left’s absurd goal of equal outcomes.

Trump calling out fake news outlets is exhilarating.

And now, fake news media has the nerve to place the Left’s paid deranged, violent, and chaos-producing thugs on a higher moral level than the Tea Party. Heaven forbid.

Taylor Millard illustrates the inability to make critical distinctions on this issue by asserting a plattitude: Biased press is free press – “There’s this notion the only press for a presidential administration should be good press. President Donald Trump and his allies sure think that’s the case.” This misstates the President (big clue is use of “think”). “Good” implies agreeable and supportive whereas the President has been explicit in asserting that his interest is for an accurate press. There is a glimmer of realization about this:

But there’s another factor to all of this, which not everyone is talking about: the press needs to be honest about its biases.

But bias and accuracy are not the same. Bias may lead to the many retractions and obvious falsehoods in the press. It may stimulate headlines that are contradicted deep in the story. But bias is no excuse for corruption, deceit, and dishonest in a propaganda war against duly elected officials. Millard and others have a ways to go on getting this internalized and properly understood.

Even GWB is getting into this with the idea that the press holds government accountable. That gets a lot of happy press. What is missing is who holds the press accountable. The phenomena at hand right now is an irresponsible press, not an irresponsible government. The angst right now is a press squealing about somebody having the gall to think they need to be accurate and show intellectual integrity. 

Another example of denial is provided by Karl Bode: ‘Fake News’ Now Means Whatever People Want It To Mean, And Legislating It Away Is A Slippery Slope Toward Censorship – “We’ve already watched as Donald Trump and his supporters have whined endlessly that absolutely any information they don’t like should be mindlessly deposited into the “fake news” bin — without the pesky and annoying effort required to intelligently analyze each piece of data or reporting on its merits.” That looks like projection. Bode also gets into the ‘stupid public’ meme which is characteristic of the ‘attitude’ that is often cited as being one source of the problem.

The discussion about “fake news” certainly began with good intentions, with participants earnestly focused on how disinformation, shitty journalism and bullshit clickbait were filling the noggins of a growing segment of the public for whom critical thinking was already a Sisyphean endeavor. The solution for this problem was never as clean and easy as most of the conversations suggested, especially given that Americans — thanks in large part to our struggles with education quality and funding — have never been particularly adept at spotting disinformation, much less understanding how you expose, undermine and combat it at scale.

That said, it might be a good idea to make sure we’re not making things worse as we learn. And it shouldn’t require too much pesky critical thinking to realize that the efforts to combat “fake news” can be subverted to aid those trying to rip truth from its very foundation, or that letting politicians define what truth is may only expedite our Orwellian descent toward chilling legitimate expression.

The idea that it is politicians subverting the truth is also indicative as is pulling in Orwell and finding some chilling of “legitimate expression” by those politicians. The fact is that the only expressing chilling going on these days is from the organized Left outside of the political realm in academia and in paid-for riots and social media of all sorts, including the media.

E. Joseph Cossman – “Middle age is when your broad mind and narrow waist begin to change places.”

Thinking about those awards ceremonies? Marilyn Monroe – “Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”

Mark Perry cites Warren Buffett on America’s miraculous achievements and amazing abundance, thanks to free market capitalism – “From Warren Buffett’s annual letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, which was released yesterday

Above all, it’s our market system – an economic traffic cop ably directing capital, brains and labor – that has created America’s abundance.

However our wealth may be divided, the mind-boggling amounts you see around you belong almost exclusively to Americans. Foreigners, of course, own or have claims on a modest portion of our wealth. Those holdings, however, are of little importance to our national balance sheet: Our citizens own assets abroad that are roughly comparable in value.

Early Americans, we should emphasize, were neither smarter nor more hard working than those people who toiled century after century before them. But those venturesome pioneers crafted a system that unleashed human potential, and their successors built upon it.

What is worrisome is that a third or more of the population wants to destroy this legacy. Fred Wilson points out that the Buffett letter also suffers from a false political pronouncement: “Sadly one of those four pillars is at risk – “a tide of talented and ambitious immigrants.” This is political blindness at its worse as it is conflating efforts to keep terrorists out of the country and the enforcement of law with that of banning “ talented and ambitious immigrants.” That is a falsehood used to impugn the newly elected administration and it is that sort of falsehood that is one of the greatest threats to the prosperity described. – the comments to his posting do discuss this.

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2/22/2017: Fake Delusion Consensus and Reality

Anthony J. Sadar: Time’s misreading of science – “The magazine would rather settle than search.”

Accurate prediction is one of the biggest challenges in scientific practice, and indeed an accurate prediction for the right reasons is one of the conditions for a scientific assertion to be correct.

Joseph Curl: Media responds to Trump’s ‘fake news’ charge — by pumping out fake news! – “the new alpha wolf in town smacked the lapdog media repeatedly on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.”

So they proved his point, pretty much. All style, no substance — again. They talked about themselves — their feelings were hurt, darn it — but steered clear of covering what the president actually said.

But it gets even worse. Days later, the supposedly bias-free Associated Press (not at all unbiased) dropped this bombshell in a tweet: “BREAKING: Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants.”

Boom. Huge. Except there was a problem. No, many problems, foremost among them — the story wasn’t remotely true.

So the press bristled at charges from the new president that they are selling fake news — and immediately goes out and proves his point.

Paul J. Weber: Judge blocks Texas cutting Medicaid to Planned Parenthood – “Sparks‘ unsparing opinion excoriated Texas for not providing “any evidence” of Planned Parenthood wrongdoing.” Another case of judicial activism being blind to evidence he does not like.

“A secretly recorded video, fake names, a grand jury indictment, congressional investigations – these are the building blocks of a best-selling novel rather than a case concerning the interplay of federal and state authority through the Medicaid program,” Sparks wrote. “Yet, rather than a villain plotting to take over the world, the subject of this case is the State of Texas’s efforts to expel a group of health care providers from a social health care program for families and individuals with limited resources.”

A big problem is that PP does very little in terms of social health care other than abortion. Writing off video testimony as the judge has done is a disservice to justice. In another case, it was real Fake News rather than judge imagined fake news. OregonMuse on CNN: You Will Never Find A More Wretched Hive Of Scum And Villainy – “It seems like CNN has lost the first round of a defamation case in federal court for, get this, peddling fake news:”

So, for the purposes of pushing their preferred narrative, CNN just made stuff up. And then they tried to get the suit dismissed. The judge, however, told CNN to go pound sand: …

“The Court finds these allegations sufficient to establish that CNN was acting recklessly with regard to the accuracy of its report, i.e., with ‘actual malice,” the order reads.

You can read a complete summary at LawNewz. You can even read (or download) a copy of the 18-page ruling.

Ed Rogers: The ‘deep state’ is real. The ‘alt right’ is fake – “the Trump presidency may serve as the galvanizing force that links some of the formal established Democratic opposition forces, … with the informal deep-state cadre of disgruntled liberal bureaucrats, the hostile mainstream media and the usual suspects on the left. It’s a troubling phenomenon, with anti-Trump organizations and Democratic-aligned civil servants conspiring to actively work against the incumbent government.”

“Deep state” is a sexy new label being used in Washington to describe embedded anonymous bureaucratic bias against President Trump and Republican rule.

At the same time all this is going on, the left has taken to painting Republicans with a broad brush as the “alt-right.” Well, as best I can tell, the alt-right is just a new way for the left to call Republicans racists and Nazis without actually having to say those terms out loud.

IBT Editorial: Venezuelans Now On A Forced Starvation Diet — Thanks, Socialism!We call it a shocking indictment of socialism, and should be a siren call to people around the world: Bring socialism to your country, and you bring misery. It’s the one thing that socialism produces an abundance of.”

A new study of Venezuela’s stunning decline under Hugo Chavez’s socialist model, still followed faithfully by his lap dog successor, Nicolas Maduro, reports that the average Venezuelan lost 19 pounds in the last year. Today, the 2016 Living Conditions Survey finds, 32.5% of Venezuelans eat only once or twice a day, up from 11.3% just one year ago. And 93.3% of all people don’t earn enough to buy sufficient food.

It’s a sad fact that Venezuela was once one of the wealthiest countries in South America, and even now has the second-largest oil reserves in the world. It should be a rich nation, filled with prosperous people worried about gaining too much weight, not losing it to hunger.

Meanwhile, inflation at close to 500% a year is the highest of any country on earth.

If Venezuela seems remote and of little concern, consider this headline: “Democratic Socialists Make Headway In U.S. After Trump’s Win.” Yes, we know. The Democratic Socialists of America style themselves as kinder, gentler socialists. Think Sweden, they say, not Venezuela.

But the truth is, whoever practices it or whatever those who follow it call themselves, socialism is an economic system based on mass greed and class envy that has failed time and time again. There are no successful socialist nations, anywhere. Those that find this model appealing despite its obvious failures are the desperate, the poorly educated, the uninformed and those lacking entirely in basic common sense.

It is an economic philosophy of entitlement and grievance, one that always ends in poverty, wanton destruction, the breakdown of civilization and even death — as the Venezuelans, who willingly handed control of their country over to the socialists, are now finding out.

The President has put Sweden in the spotlight recently and efforts to deny him by denying Sweden’s problems show just how tenaciously socialists hang on to their dreams. To put the Venezuela starvation crisis in perspective, Keven D. Williamson describes Planet Nebraska – “A hungry world no more.”

World hunger is in dramatic decline. As our friends at HumanProgress.org reported over the summer, the hunger indicators are all moving in the right direction: Fewer people are going hungry, both in absolute numbers and as a share of the world’s population; hunger has fallen dramatically in China after a program of partial economic liberalization; those people around the world who are underfed are less underfed than they were a decade or two ago, with their average daily calorie deficits down to about 85 calories — just 1.5 McNuggets short of a full day’s nutrition; and world food prices are down steeply, having fallen by half in real terms over the past century. The USDA reported on Tuesday that world wheat production is expected to hit a record high this year, and that U.S. producers will export — not produce, but export — more than 1 billion bushels of the stuff. Export projections are up 50 million bushels since January, driven higher by large orders from China.

Not long ago, the great dream and aspiration of most of the people walking this Earth was to have enough to eat, for themselves and for their children, and to be liberated from worrying about whether they would eat again tomorrow or the next day. Capitalism can be a great deal of work, but it works if you let it work.

On the ‘scandal free’ Obama administration and especially for those who consider Trump the fascist, there is Richard Pollock on the story Obama’s Feds Tried to Hack Indiana’s Election System While Pence Was Governor – “Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials tried to hack Indiana’s state electoral system with at least 14,800 “scans” or hits between Nov. 1, 2016, to Dec. 16, 2016, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.”

Federal officials are barred under DHS rules from trying to penetrate a state system without the express approval of the state. Neither Georgia nor Indiana approved the DHS scanning attempts.

The DHS inspector general has launched an official investigation into the Georgia breach attempt.

Governmental deployment of IT technology could be an evolving new tool against political opponents or to impose censorship, according to James Scott, a senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, a cybersecurity think tank.

“Censorship has always been an issue in the brick-and-mortar world. So, censorship in the digital landscape is simply just transference of methods,” Scott said. “I think within federal agencies it is possible to imagine that there are some overreaching, aggressive managers.”

There’s a solution for this …

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2/19/2017: Unhinged. Trumpian Thoughtcrimes, Imaginary News

John Hinderaker: McCain Drives Into the Ditch – “John McCain suggests on Meet the Press that President Trump is “suppressing” the free press, which is “the first thing that dictators do.”

John, John, get a grip! Who is “suppressing” the press? Do you seriously not understand the difference between criticizing the press and suppressing it? The press is not above criticism. On the contrary, it deserves to be called out constantly for bias and inaccuracy. President Trump has taken a good step in that direction, but a great deal more press criticism is in order.

Jazz Shaw: John McCain’s “dictator” talk ignores reality and his own past with the media – “We can have a debate over how much criticism should be fairly applied to cable news and the major newspapers if you like, but “suppressing the Free Press” is simply fake news.”

If you want to see actual suppression of the press you need look no further than the nation of Turkey. Over there, a nascent dictator on the rise quickly moved to engage in some actual press suppression immediately following the attempted coup last year. Rather than criticizing journalists who might have commented negatively on his policies, Turkey’s president simply shut down all of the media outlets aside from those sanctioned and controlled by the state. He upped the ante from there by not only putting hundreds of journalists on the unemployment line, but tossing a significant number of them in his dungeons just for good measure.

That, my friends, is what actual media suppression looks like. What’s taking place in the White House today is push back and criticism of American journalists. They are still on the air 24 hours a day and printing their newspapers, free to respond to these critiques and they have been doing so since the moment Trump began speaking in Florida yesterday.

Neo-neocon: The courts rule on Trump’s intent and the “Muslim ban” – “The EO does exactly what it says it does, and the court should not be guessing at whether there is some sort of Trumpian thoughtcrime behind it.”

Those who say that of course Trump’s EO on immigration was meant to be a ban on Muslims are relying on Trump’s long-ago campaign statements as well as a more recent remark of his and some recent comments by advisor Rudy Giuliani. As an example of this type of reasoning, see this article by law professor Ilya Somin, quoting Brown University Professor Corey Brettschneider (writing here)

Here is a direct quote from Giuliani during that interview:

“We focused on, instead of religion: danger, the areas of the world that create danger for us. Which is a factual basis, not a religious basis. Perfectly legal, perfectly sensible, and that’s what the ban is based on. It’s not based on religion, it’s based on places where there are [sic] substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country.”

I don’t know how Giuliani could have been more clear. Giuliani explicitly says what “it” means: the goal of banning the entry of people from places where terrorists come from and will be coming from (places which, by the way, had already been identified by Obama as such). But Somin calls the EO a “case of discriminatory motives hiding behind a vener [sic] of neutrality…an attempt to target Muslims without saying so explicitly.”

Their argument, such as it is, rests on believing the worst of Trump (and Giuliani) without proof, claiming Giuliani is flat-out lying here—and not even giving their readers the benefit of the full quotes, so the readers can decide for themselves. They are certainly free to think that, but as a logical argument it leaves a great deal to be desired.

Scott Adams: Imaginary News – “I think we can all agree that there has been plenty of fake news coming from both sides.” A logical fallacy is not a good way to start in trying to explain hallucinations.

The Huffington Post is literally seeing something that is invisible to me and other observers. We see a President Trump talking the way he normally talks. They see a 77-minute meltdown.

So how can we know who is hallucinating in this case? The best way to tell is by looking for the trigger for cognitive dissonance. In this case, the trigger is clear. Trump’s unexpected win forced the Huffington Post to rewrite their mental movies from one in which they were extra-clever writers to one in which they were the dumbest political observers in the entire solar system.

The key is objective observation of behavior. From “banning Muslims” to Presidential meltdowns and other such things there are many examples of stretching reality to fit fantasy. Whether it is disciplining children or leading a large organization, being able to match perceptions to reality and making sure that it is real, observable behavior and that distinct and clear standards are used to determine measurement is a key to success. 

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2/12/2017: Justice and Prayer

It is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. 

Law Professor Glen Reynolds cites a comment on Althouse:

“As seriously botched as this Ninth Circuit opinion is, all sides assume that all 4 Democrat-appointed Justices on the SCOTUS would vote to uphold it if it were appealed to an 8 Justice Court. That perception, more than any disparaging words of Donald Trump, should dishearten any lawyer or judge in the USA.”

Mark Andrew Dwyer: On Trump’s Immigration Executive Order, Wrong Question

The right question that should have been asked was whether Judge Robart had the authority to issue the TRO and whether the said TRO was legally binding to the President. Neither answer is clear nor are they settled by a sound basis or valid legal reasoning (as opposed to, say, legalistic sophistry, court-approved or not).

Josh Blackman: The Failure of the 9th Circuit to Discuss 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) Allowed It To Ignore Justice Jackson’s Youngstown Framework

Once again, Trump has stumbled into an important jurisprudential point. The fact that the President is exercising powers given to him from Congress, augmented by his own inherent authorities, indicates we are in Justice Jackson’s first tier from Youngstown, where judicial scrutiny is at its minimum.

Ed Morrissey: WaPo columnist asks: Should the faithful pray for Trump? – “How are the faithful called to handle prayer life in a time when political leadership who oppose our own preferred agendas?”

King’s argument seems based on the assumption that praying for Trump is an endorsement of whatever Trump does, and whatever he and his advisers do — even if one agrees with King’s (rather uncharitable) judgment of them. However, we know from the Gospels that this is not how Jesus saw prayer at all. In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus gave one of the most difficult of all instructions on prayer and love

Clearly, Jesus did not mean for His disciples to love what their enemies did, or pray that their persecutors succeeded in their actions. Loving one’s enemies does not mean endorsing their intentions. Love in this case is caritas, the self-giving love that wills the best for others over our own desires. Jesus called us to love our enemies and persecutors, but not for any evil which they commit. Indeed, praying for them in love is to ask the Lord to save them from their evil, so that they may return to the Lord as well. This part of the Sermon on the Mount is meant to stress that all people are children of God and have the potential for redemption if they choose it. Jesus then exemplified this when he prayed for His tormentors as they crucified Him (Luke 23:34): “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

This teaching applies even more when we put this in the context of political opposition. We are not enemies but political opponents, a distinction that gets lost in today’s hyperbolic and polarized political environment. We are called to pray for each other as brethren, and especially for our nation’s leaders so that they may find wisdom.

To act in love is also to testify to the truth. Offering prayers on behalf of our leadership does not negate our standing to criticize it and demand accountability for transgressions … Hopefully that criticism stays focused on actions rather than attempts to judge what’s in the hearts of others, and prayer reminds us of the obligation to keep that perspective.

We start with ourselves.

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2/11/2017: Who has a focus?

Kelly Riddell: Courts are politicized and rule based on prejudice – “Activist judges must be called out for biased immigration rulings.” It’s not only the current EO and there’s a very troubling pattern that says the law doesn’t matter to the courts.

Annalee Newitz: Handful of “highly toxic” Wikipedia editors cause 9% of abuse on the site – “New study of Wikipedia comments reveals most attackers aren’t anonymous.” The research being described is a bit more rigorous that most. They picked the ad hominem as being “relatively easy to identify” for statistical analysis. From that, they could also identify ‘piling on.’ The study also found that less than a fifth of personal attacks were moderated. These findings should be no surprise to astute observers of social behavior whether in the classroom or the political gathering.

Cal Thomas: Major media remain in denial – “Without journalism’s resolve to battle bias, public trust will continue to decline.” These ‘highly toxic editors’ have not been moderated up to now and are having a problem with being called out for their behavior all of a sudden. There’s not only denial, there is also projection.

The psychologywikia.com defines it: “Denial is a defense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.”

While the major media seek to apply that definition to President Trump — Scott Pelley opened a recent broadcast of the “CBS Evening News” claiming that the president’s statement Monday about unreported terrorist attacks were part of a growing list of comments that prove he is “divorced from reality” — they ought to spend some time looking in the mirror.

Overnight, it seems, major media have become interested in facts following eight years of ignoring lies and dissembling by Democrats and members of the Obama administration, including the president. The list is long …

The public’s trust in major media continues to decline. Their denial ensures that decline will continue. If it is a threat to democracy, as Mr. Koppel claims, it is a threat of the media’s own making.

Mercedes Schlapp: Democrats have a focus and a strategy, but do Republicans? – It is hard to see any focus when the effort is described as “The [Democratic]Congressional leadership has criticized every single effort or action taken by the president, including his executive orders and Cabinet nominees, and they are not looking to back down any time soon.” Focus means you pick targets for a specific purpose and that is not what the Democrats are doing. They are not opposing, they are protesting and they are even protesting their own causes.

The mainstream media is comparing the Democrats opposition of efforts to the Tea Party. Some GOP congressman recently have faced protestors on the issue of dismantling Obamacare during their town-hall meetings, ironically reversing the issue that put them in power in the Tea Party era.

This dramatic and rebellious behavior by the Democrats is quite the opposite of the GOP when it lost in 2012. Then, the Republican National Committee produced an autopsy that concluded they needed to be more inclusive and reach out to more minorities and women. They blamed themselves for not connecting to the American people.

i.e. more Fake News from the major media.

The days of camaraderie, unity, and civility in Congress are over. The damage will be lasting if members can’t get along and find common ground, and the liberal Democrats refuse to even listen to the other side. The only saving grace will be moderate Democrats, such as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who have been willing to sit down with President Trump.

The stakes are high for Republicans, while the Democrats have nothing to lose. The liberal Democrats’ anger is visible and their determination to place party over country is evident. The Republicans face their own challenges of supporting a president who is unconventional and at times politically unfriendly.

But asserting that the President is not focused when he is checking off his campaign promise list item by item? Schlapp seems to be missing something here. Words like focus seem to be taking on a meaning at polar opposite of traditional meaning. The Democrats do have a lot to lose as well: their ability to play any role in government.

Pete Vanderzwet: Study: Liberal-to-conservative faculty ratio in academia will blow your mind – “As the largely conservative “Greatest Generation” faded into retirement in the 1990s, “Baby Boomers” holding increasingly liberal worldviews came to dominate university faculty … So dominant is leftist ideology that across university departments in nearly all states, an average ratio of 10:1 exists among faculty who identify as liberal versus conservative.”

In any rational quest for diversity, such numbers would not be acceptable. The problem, however, isn’t only the lack of diversity when it comes to ideologies fueling the minds of those teaching our children, but the outright hostility presented to their conservative peers and the environment on campus to which conservative students are exposed.

One would expect critical thinking, true objectivity, balanced reason, and clarity of expression free from groupthink and dogma to be found in the storied halls of our great institutions of learning. While this may once have been true, this growing collection of studies demonstrate that not only are universities becoming more dominated by the ideology of the left, but that openly displaying any sort of conservative leaning is often met with outright hostility and the potential stunting of your academic career.

This climate of hostility is not limited to academic professors; it’s now a near unanimous experience of conservative students on campus, and, as the below video shows, conservative youths residing in typically liberal neighborhoods now fear to publically expose their identities.

In the political arena, the numbers are more balanced but the behavior still reflects what is seen on campus. It is the Left throwing a tantrum. David Solway describes it in his essay about A Strategy for Trump’s Political Success – he must keep his promises because

Donald Trump is regularly denounced as an electoral interloper, someone ignorant of the rules of the political game and who possesses a brash and mercurial temperament unsuited to the demands of presidential office. The litany of complaints and condemnations shows no sign of abating and is indeed picking up momentum with every passing day: he is a dictator in the making, a Putin in American clothing, a man with an itchy nuclear finger, and a potential killer of journalists and political opponents. Calls have been heard for impeachment and assassination. The attack on a lawfully elected president is not only visceral and remorseless but arguably bordering on treasonous.

It should be clear by this time that the U.S. is no longer on the brink but in the very midst of an undeclared civil war.

As for the Left’s agenda. John Sexton has this bit of horrifying news: Venezuelans eating cats, dogs, donkeys, horses and even pink flamingos to survive – The pink flamingo is the grand totum of the classic Airstream RV crowd. Oh, my!

It looks like a judge on the 9th circuit wasn’t that happy about its immigration TRO support. He made a sua sponte request for reconsideration en banc (PDF Filed). This is highly unusual as it is normally the losing party that wants more judges to weigh in on the decision. It may be that some adults in the room are considering the implications of what has been done?

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