2/7/2017: But Mom, he hit me back!

Ed Morrissey: Senate talk-a-thon: Full of sound and fury signifying … no change

Democrats spent the entire night and morning exhausting its debate time in an effort to convince the other Republicans to abandon DeVos and hand Donald Trump his first defeat on Cabinet nominations. … This morning, Sen. Chris Smith (D-CT) admitted that it’s not doing any good 

And it’s not quite over yet. Having realized that they’re impotent, Senate Democrats have set phasers on full gadfly, a setting several power levels below stun

it’s not a rebuke unless they can keep them from getting confirmed. This looks more like an historic temper tantrum, one which provides a large contrast between Senate Democrats now and Senate Republicans eight years ago. That’s the real “historic” comparison. And don’t think for a moment that the lessons of this tantrum are lost on voters, even if the tantrums take place when few are awake to watch them.

Victor Joecks describes the ‘compare and contrast’ viewpoint as Bad blood in the Nevada Senate – In this case, the Californication of Nevada has Las Vegas Democrats as the majority in the Nevada Legislature. They are seeking to turn over anything the previous session passed, bi-partisan or no, and are backstabbing the previous legislator’s leaders. This year the legislative leaders were selected by race. So it’s spite, bigotry, and racism driving the majority party.

Morrissey also notes Schumer says Gorsuch will need to get 60 votes in Senate

What’s rather remarkable about this piece — it’s short and easy to read in full — is that it barely mentions Gorsuch himself, and makes no case that his confirmation is problematic. That makes some sense, given that Senate Democrats confirmed him to the appellate court by acclamation over a decade ago. That includes every current member of Senate Democratic leadership, including Schumer himself.

Furthermore, Schumer’s essay contains exactly zero acknowledgement of the fact that his party put the 60-vote threshold on the chopping block with its own exercise of the nuclear option in late 2013.

It’s an amazing example of projection. For those who have children, the entire article can be summed up thusly: “Mom, he hit me back!”

Actually, the question is how much damage has already been done to the country by Senate Democrats, and whether they will ever own up to it

And another Morrissey: Are Senate Dems planning a government shutdown? – “that the shutdown will be over nearly nothing but spite … Democrats will have nothing but Trumpophobia as their issue.” That can compare to when Republicans tried the tactic when they did have a rational case.

Kevin D. Williamson: There is no serious case against DeVos, Price, or Mnuchin – [update: DeVos approved by Chair tie breaker vote Tuesday morning]

The leaders of the Democratic party, especially Senator Chuck Schumer, need to think a little more deeply about the precedent they are setting with their near-unanimous and purely partisan opposition to virtually all of President Donald Trump’s remaining Cabinet choices.

The Democrats are making a dishonest argument, most intensely against DeVos, that being “qualified” for an office means agreeing with the Democrats on substantive policy questions.

A generation ago, Democrats thought they could destroy Robert Bork in an act of petty political score-settling against President Ronald Reagan and never pay a price for it. They have, and the country has, as an increasingly politicized federal bench has undermined both the prestige and the perceived legitimacy of the judiciary. If you are wondering why Americans haven’t exactly gasped at Trump’s ugly denunciation of a “so-called judge,” that is part of the explanation: We may believe that judges should be above politics, but who believes that they actually are?

Sally Zelikovsky: The Blood Libels of the Left – the must read for today

Antifa is short for “anti-fascist” and is pronounced an-TEE-fah. According to left-leaning tech magazine Wired, they are “militant anti-fascist[s]” and “anarchists prone to property destruction and online abuse.they double down on political polarization, driving the national narrative even further from center.”

Do not brush off these protests as the usual left wing rent-a-mobs. This is the stuff coups and revolutions are made of.

When Democrats characterize mainstream Republicans and conservatives as members of the alt-right, they aren’t just on a slippery slope, but a sheer vertical drop from which there is no return. If this continues unaddressed, they will have our blood on their hands.

Peter Hasson: In Their Own Words: Anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ Leaders Say They Want To Make America ‘Ungovernable’ – “leaders of anti-Trump “resistance” efforts are communicating the same simple but dark message: they want to make America “ungovernable” for the president of the United States.” Do they not consider the implications of their behavior?

These protesters say they will do whatever it takes to keep Trump from enacting his agenda, and many of them have shown a willingness to destroy public property, assault law enforcement officers and inflict violence upon their fellow citizens.

“We won this night. We will control the streets. We will liberate the land. We will fight fascists. We will dismantle the state,” Occupy Oakland captioned the photo. “This is war.”

Willis Eschenbach pleads Scientists, Please Don’t March – “Why is this a bad idea? Three reasons. There’s no clarity on what they are marching for. There’s no clarity on what they are marching against. And they are marching on Earth Day.”

I feel sorry for these folks. They are most likely good scientists in their fields, but they truly are out of their depth organizing either a march or a movement. A public march is only worth doing if you have a clear and compelling message. You need to show people a path from here to the desired future, offer real actions people can take, and urge people to take those actions. But “You should listen to evidence”? Where does that go?

So I implore all scientists, please don’t add your names to this foolish attempt. Don’t go on this march around Washington to lecture us on why we’re wrong. It will just piss people off and further damage the reputation of science and scientists. We’re lectured out, you’ve cried “wolf” too many times. Stay home and enjoy the day.

Rich Lowry: Sorry: Trump’s immigration order is totally legal – “If the law means anything, the Trump administration will succeed in overturning the so-called court ruling against its travel ban.”

The nationwide stay of the ban issued by Judge James Robart, a Washington state-based federal district judge, is tissue-thin. It doesn’t bother to engage on the substance, presumably because facts, logic and the law don’t support Robart’s sweeping assertion of judicial authority in an area where judicial power is inherently quite limited.

Judge Robart may not like the Trump policy, but that doesn’t mean that it is illegal or unconstitutional. His ruling is worthy of the generally unhinged opposition to President Trump. If the judge doesn’t deserve the abuse that Trump heaped on him on Twitter, he produced what should rightly be considered so-called jurisprudence.

Lowry tosses in a ‘both sides’ aside with “President Donald Trump tweeting that Robart is a “so-called judge.” and suggesting the comment “may encourage other judges to tilt against Trump’s ban in response.” That ignores the similar or worse behavior of previous presidents and impugns the judiciary in asserting that they cannot rise above such comments to meet their obligations to the law. As such, Lowry indicates his own dissonance in grappling with reality.

Morrissey has been busy and offers another essay about Former nat-sec officials file brief to fight Trump EO – this is the more insidious revolt as “Nine former high-ranking government officials filed an affidavit with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal to urge that the temporary restraining order on Donald Trump’s “travel ban” executive order remain in place.” They are asking the courts for a political judgment, not a legal one.

The question for courts in this situation is not whether the policy implemented by Donald Trump through this EO is wise, but whether it fits within his legal authority. We have elections to deal with wisdom or lack thereof on policy, and Congress to work with the president on statutory obligations and boundaries on policy (as well as the Constitution).

It’s true that presidents do not have “unfettered” authority to do anything, but that’s as meaningless as saying that neither do judges. … The ability to craft policy on visa and refugee entry falls within the constitutional authority given to the executive for national defense, and within statute specifically dealing with those issues. As such, it falls easily within Youngstown‘s Zone 1 of presidential authority.

But what about the policy? Is it really all that irrational? Not according to a study from the moderate-Muslim think tank Quilliam

The key issue here is whether the courts will follow the law or the ideology of the judges. That is what worries people who know that we have no civilization unless law has precedence. It is a very clear cut Constitutional Crisis on the plate. Will the law prevail?

Scott Johnson has a Ninth Circuit Update with links to a special page set up by the court for the case and other useful information. One of those links is to Andrew C. McCarthy explaining why he thinks even SCOTUS may go against law and precedent. Essentially, it is Justice Kennedy’s previous cases where he has indicated that the courts are superior to everybody else. “as I’ve been arguing for years now, the Supreme Court operates more like an unelected super-legislature than a judicial tribunal.”

McCarthy also asserts: Prosecute the Rioters – “And make sure that we condemn them as well.”

The message could not be clearer: For the political Left in this country, violence in the pursuit of “social justice” is not to be condemned, it is to be understood. There is the occasional winking rebuke of the forcible methods, but the underlying “progressive” cause is always endorsed, and the seditionist vanguard is the object of adulation.

It is a huge problem in our country.

What is being championed is not dissent. It is the destruction of the right to dissent. It is the suspension of the rule of law, without which a free society protective of life, liberty, and property is impossible.

One of the Fake News items is about UCB being the birthplace of the free speech movement. Jonah Goldberg begs to differ with The ‘Reasonabilists’ of Berkeley – “If you think free speech is assault but assault is free speech, you’re a moron of world-historical proportions.”

I’m not going to wade deep into the weeds on all this, but if you want to you can read, say, Nathan Glazer’s 1965 Commentary essay “What Happened at Berkeley.”

“Those of us who watched the Free Speech Movement (FSM) daily set up its loud-speakers on the steps of the administration building to denounce the president, the chancellor, the newspapers, the Regents, the faculty, and the structure and organization of society in general and universities in particular, could only admire the public-relations skill exhibited in the choice of a name for the student movement,” Glazer wrote.

The Coyote has an interesting model for a broken organization that seems to fit very well with the public school system. See Why We Need School Choice, in One Chart – “I call all these factors “organizational DNA”. This is from years ago about a corporate example, but the same is true of any organization.”

One will hear that criticism of public schools in unfair because they have all these great teachers in them. Examples will be cited. I say: “Exactly!” That is why change is needed. Public schools are hiring good people and putting them in an organization and system where they deliver poor results. Let’s liberate this talent.

By the way, one of the misconceptions about school choice is that it necessarily means the end of public schools. I find this an unlikely outcome, at least in most areas. Competition from Japan meant that Ford lost some of its customers to Toyota, but it also meant that Ford became a lot better.

Judith Curry provides a Response to critiques: Climate scientists versus climate data and provides a set of examples that show why a reasoned debate can be rather difficult.


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