The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Candles and Fires

In an all to common occurrence, yet another "lone wolf" attack by a Muslim extremist occurred in London this past week, killing five and injuring many more, some critically. Local politicians get in front of the camera with brave words, Western leaders voice muted concern, intelligence agencies describe the problem with  'needles in haystacks' metaphors. But there is no outrage, there are no calls for Islam to reform itself, for local Islamic communities to identify and isolate extremists in mosques and community centers before they take the last step toward mass violence.

Richard Fernandez comments on the Muslim "lone wolves" and our reaction to them:
 In some respect the Lone Wolves are more accurately likened to the U-Boat wolfpacks of WW2 notoriety than to werewolves who mysteriously arise at random in the depths of the forest. The Wolfsrudel, like the Lone Wolves, were only loosely coordinated and "could attack as they saw fit ... If their number were sufficiently high compared to the expected threat of the escorts, they would attack."

And attack they do, surprisingly yet unsurprisingly. It is Western leadership that is more deserving of criticism for turning in such a poor defensive performance despite their vast resource superiority. Obsessed with looking good, timid to the point of inactivity, determined at all costs to proclaim their own virtue, the Western elites have proved singularly incapable of combating their vastly weaker foes. The ritualualistic candle-lighting, trite speeches, frightened processions and self-congratulation of the political class are completely ineffective against laser-like menace of their foes. They haven't noticed but the voting audience is starting to.
It is long past the time to stop worrying about offending Islam by suggesting, without equivocation, that it has at least some culpability for the lone wolves. After all, the lone wolves may be crazy and suicidal but they are devout Muslims who believe they are following the dictates of their holy books. It is long past the time to recognize that the battle isn't with ISIS alone (although they truly are barbarians). It is with Islamist thought throughout the Muslim world.  The only way Islamist thought can be eradicated is for Islam to eradicate it (fatwas from major clerics would be a good start, but major clerics are oddly silent on radicalism), and we must demand that they do just that. If Islam refuses, there will come a time when Donald Trump's "Muslim Ban" will look like a friendly gesture. It is long past the time to jettison the notion that if we act "virtuously" (and therefore meekly) it will somehow influence Islamic radicals to modify their behavior. It will not.

It's terribly un-PC to note that those who are sympathetic to the call for worldwide domination and Sharia law are NOT an infinitesmal percentage of all Muslims. They represent tens of millions of people, a small percentage of whom will become fully radicalized and therefore dangerous to the Western cultures that have absorbed them. The wolf pack will grow,

If we continue to light candles to mourn while Islamists light fires to kill, we're in far more trouble than we can begin to imagine.

UPDATE:
--------------

 After the terror attack in her home city,  Katie Hopkins writes this in London Daily Mail:
No anger for me this time. No rage like I’ve felt before. No desperate urge to get out there and scream at the idiots who refused to see this coming.

Not even a nod for the glib idiots who say this will not defeat us, that we will never be broken, that cowardice and terror will not get the better of Britain.

Because, as loyal as I am, as patriotic as I am, as much as my whole younger life was about joining the British military and fighting for my country — I fear we are broken ...

London is a city so desperate to be seen as tolerant, no news of the injured was released. No clue about who was safe or not.

Liberals convince themselves multiculturalism works because we all die together, too.

An entire city of monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Blind. Deaf. And dumb.
Western elites are truly blind to threat. Deaf to the warnings. And dumb as rocks.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Defeat

In a situation where everybody was a little right and everybody was a little wrong, Donald Trump's attempt at a repeal and replace measure for the collapsing legislation that is called Obamacare went down to defeat this afternoon. In my view, that's a good thing.

The proposed ACHA legislation did little to improve healthcare for Americans. It did save some money for the taxpayer, but did little to reduce premiums and even less to alter the course of what has become a collapsing entitlement. The Democrats will crow that Trump has suffered a major defeat, but did he really?

No one much liked the Trump/Ryan legislation, it polled very poorly, and it truly was Obamacare Lite. Few will remember the defeat of the bill in 3 months, but if it had passed, we'd be reminded of it's failings for the remainder of Trump's first term.

The Democrats seem perfectly comfortable continuing forward with Obamacare. Their willful blindness of its many, many failings will put the continuing health insurance of millions at risk. The Dems own Obamacare, and they should have been first in line to try and get it fixed. They were AWOL.

Although the Dems are smiling with bravdo now, the passage of the ACHA would also have gotten them off the hook for Obamacare. Deep down, there must be some worry in Dem ranks.

When outright collapse begins, it will be difficult, even for the Dems' trained hamsters in the media (who in their typically unhinged manner are now predicting that the Trump presidency is over) to avoid the fallout as millions begin to lose their insurance. Anger will be focused on both Democrats who created this monstrosity and the GOP, who failed to have the courage or patience to properly replace it. Maybe then, the public will demand that Dems and the GOP work together to craft legislation that is less an entitlement and more an effective approach to health for all Americans. It will not be free, it will not be comprehensive, it will not be without flaws, it will not cover everyone on day one, but if properly done, it would be hard for it not to be an improvement on Obamacare.

In admitting defeat, Donald Trump showed some class by inviting the Dems to help in the next round. We'll see whether their hatred of this president is more important than their professed concern about insuring millions.

Self-Reliance

In an article entitled, "The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death," Jia Tolentino, writing in the left-wing New Yorker, laments the manner in which gig workers (e.g., people who work for Lyft or Fiverr) work so hard as independent contractors, rather than paid employees with the usual pension, healthcare, and other employee benefits (e.g., maternity leave). Tolentino writes that gig companies that celebrate their contractors dedication and hard work are somehow morally bankrupt and that the reason is, well, read on:
At the root of this is the American obsession with self-reliance, which makes it more acceptable to applaud an individual for working himself to death than to argue that an individual working himself to death is evidence of a flawed economic system. The contrast between the gig economy’s rhetoric (everyone is always connecting, having fun, and killing it!) and the conditions that allow it to exist (a lack of dependable employment that pays a living wage) makes this kink in our thinking especially clear. Human-interest stories about the beauty of some person standing up to the punishments of late capitalism are regular features in the news, too. I’ve come to detest the local-news set piece about the man who walks ten or eleven or twelve miles to work—a story that’s been filed from Oxford, Alabama; from Detroit, Michigan; from Plano, Texas. The story is always written as a tearjerker, with praise for the person’s uncomplaining attitude; a car is usually donated to the subject in the end. Never mentioned or even implied is the shamefulness of a job that doesn’t permit a worker to afford his own commute.
Phew. It's all about the evils of capitalism and about the horrors of worker exploitation.

It is interesting that Ms. Tolentino doesn't ask a fundamental questions: Why has a gig economy boomed over the past eight years?

Could it be that under the executive edicts and deficit spending of a left-wing president and the inaction of a stalemated Congress:
  • taxes grew higher and higher, depressing business investment?
  • regulations grew at a rapid pace, depressing the creation of small businesses—a primary employer of the kinds of people now doing gigs?
  • mandatory healthcare edict kept moderate size business from growing? 
  • "living wage" mandates (think: $15/hr) in many blue cities have caused entry level jobs to dry up?
Maybe that's why there are fewer and fewer hourly and salaried jobs with benefits and why so many young people have to make their way with gigs. And maybe, just maybe, the gigs might lead to something better ... but no, it's all about exploitation, isn't it?
    Based on her CV, I would venture to guess that Ms. Tolentino has never run any business that created anything but words, has never had to meet an actual payroll, has never had to navigate through a forest of regulations that forces many tiny businesses to shutter their doors, has never had to work long, long hours at no pay for a start-up in the hope that the infant business would grow and become profitable. Oh wait—profitable!! That's a bad thing, right?

    Better for "the government" to control the economy, mandating a "living wage," placing price controls on products to be sure that everyone is treated "fairly." Better for left-wing intelligencia like Tolentino to ridicule the story of a man who walks to work, shows up every day, rejects the welfare state, and tries hard to support himself and his family.

    Last week I posted on the smug style of far too many progressives. Tolentino's piece is just another example of the arrogant condescension that exemplifies the attitude of many social justice warriors.

    For them, "America's obsession with self-reliance" is the problem. After all, if we'd just go all-in as a socialist country, we could achieve the utopian social justice that has been achieved in places like, say, Venezuela or Cuba. Yeah ... that's the ticket!

    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Sanctuary Cities

    In my post on the Meta-Characteristics of Fake News,  the first two characteristics of many are:
    • Promoting one ideological narrative to the exclusion of other competing narratives.
    • Emphasizing stories that support one ideological narrative (the progressive narrative) and burying or completely omitting stories that conflict with that ideological narrative.
    We'll return to these characteristics later in this post, but first let's explore an important narrative. For the trained hamsters of the mainstream media, sanctuary cities are the epitome in virtue. Blue cities (e.g., New York, SF, LA) flaunt their violation of federal law, refusing to work with immigration officials to deport illegal aliens who commit crimes. This, of course, signals their contempt for Donald Trump's suggestion that it might be a good idea to remove dangerous illegal aliens from our country. More and more Democratically run cities are joining the sanctuary city movement in an epic display of moral preening. One of those cities is Rockville, MD, who city council proposed it become a sanctuary city just last week.

    And now, our story begins: Tragically, two older teenager boys, one an illegal alien and one whose status is uncertain, raped a 14 year-old girl in their high school bathroom in Rockville, MD a few days ago. The 18-year old illegal alien was stopped at the border a number of months back, but was released by ICE under order from the Obama administration. He was then resituated in Rockville, MD. The city is now aghast, it's democratic majority suffering from the cynical but accurate adage that "a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged."  There are angry parents worried about the safety of their children in school and angrier citizens who are now livid over the suggestion the people like the 18-year old rapist shouldn't be deported.

    But here's the thing. Although this story is many days old, as of yesterday, not one mainstream media outlet has covered it—not one. Not NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, the NYT, the LAT .... (a few have covered the story at their web-sites, but not in their flagship news programs or publications). That may change as time passes, but the omission is a glaring as it is biased. The trained hamsters unfailingly exhibit the meta-characteristics I noted at the beginning of this post.

    The problem, of course, is that this legitimate news story conflicts with the prevailing narrative—about illegals, about sanctuary cities, about the past administration's overly lenient treatment of illegal aliens detained at our borders, and even about "dreamers." The story demands that the reader or viewer consider the impact of decisions made by leaders of the sanctuary city movement. The story notes that like any population of people, there are bad actors among the illegal aliens who currently reside in our country and those bad actors should be removed without equivocation. But the left-leaning media would rather not have their viewership consider any of this.

    So therefore, the story is buried or omitted in it's entirely because it doesn't promote the politically correct narrative. Fake News!

    Circumstantial Evidence

    The Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media keep telling us that there was "collusion" between the Russians and the Trump campaign during 2016. They (the Dems and the media ... but I repeat myself) have more reporters investigating this unsubstantiated charge than they had investigating all of the myriad serious scandals that actually did occur under the previous administration put together. After all, weaponizing the IRS to attack private citizens—no big deal, nothing to see there, move along. Politicizing and terror attack in Libya and then lying about its cause, no big deal, nothing to see there, move along. Hillary and Bill Clinton taking millions from foreign governments while Clinton was Secretary of State, no big deal, nothing to see there, move along. The Dems and their trained hamsters imply that the "Russian collusion" resulted in Hillary Clinton's upset lose. After all, how could a progressive agenda possibly be rejected by the America people?

    But for just a moment, let's take these specious allegations at face value. Here are a few simple (but embarrassing) questions:
    1. All of the Russian (and Chinese and Iranian and NoKo) hacking occurred under the previous Democrat administration. Did that administration drop the ball by not doing more to stop it? Were they even aware of it? What were our diplomatic actions against perpetrators during mid-2016 in this regard?
    2. All of the embarrassing leaks (at DNC and from other sources) focused on Dem's email. Were the Dems irresponsible for not better protecting their private communications?
    3. If there was collusion between Trump and the Russians, why didn't the Obama administration initiate surveillance on the evil operatives who worked for Trump, or for that matter Trump himself? The past administration claims they didn't surveil Trump, why not?
    4. And if there was even a whiff of Russian collusion, why didn't the authorities move in, arrest Trump and save the country from his election? Where were the Justice Department and the FBI, and why didn't they act?
    In fact, if Trump was as nefarious as the Dems claim, wouldn't they proudly note that surveillance was on-going throughout the election?* After all, as Adam Schiff tells us in the grand style of Joseph McCarthy, there's lots of "circumstantial evidence," isn't there?

    FOOTNOTE:
    --------------------------
    * Yesterday, we learned that, in fact, surveillance was on-going at Trump tower, although now the claim seems to be that it was "only incidental" that Trump campaign officials (and possibly Trump himself) were caught up in it. The surveillance was touted as perfectly legal, but the fact that people like Mike Flynn were "unmasked" (a felony) as a consequence of the surveillance is certainly worthy of investigation. The Dems, of course, scurried to negate the news of surveillance arguing that Trump's tweet about "wire tapping" continues to be a lie. Maybe so, but it's a lot less of a lie this morning than it was 24 hours ago. Heh.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    Homeland

    In its early seasons, the Showtime series, Homeland, was critically acclaimed. It provided an unvarnished view of CIA operations (with all their warts) and honestly depicted the clear and present threat of Islamic terrorism in the Middle East and worldwide. The writers were brave, penning plot lines that were complex and often unpleasant. Their writing was not politically correct.

    The series was criticized by the pro-Hezballah advocacy group, CAIR, for encouraging "Islamophobia," (absolute nonsense!) but the producers held their ground. That was then.

    This is now. Although I can't know for sure, my best bet is that the show's writers have been replaced by a more "evolved" crew. Written and filmed before last year's election, the writers sort of assumed a different election result and therefore a different political viewpoint emanating from Washington. They tailored this season's story line to be sure it was P.C., to define the correct bad guys (from the left-wing point of view), and to suggest that a continuation the past administration's disastrous soft power approach is the only way forward.

    In this year's Homeland story line, a female president-elect, we'll call her "Hillary," is grappling with her desire to make nicey-nice with Iran, reign in the CIA and the U.S. military, and otherwise peacefully control the unpleasantness in the Middle East. She's anti-interventionist, very suspicious of the military and our intelligence services, hard-nosed (of course), and a true leader (double of course). The story revolves around a evil CIA-Israeli plot to convince "Hillary" that Iran is violating her ptedecessor's Iran deal. Of course, Iran is pure as the wind-driven snow and would never violate any deal—ever! BTW, there no mention in the script of the tens of billions of dollars that her predecessor gave to the Iranians to buy weapons and foment Islamic terrorism around the globe, but that's inconvenient information for both the story's "Hillary" and the screen writers.

    The show's female lead, Cary Matheson, is ex-CIA operative who (in the last season) thwarted a vicious Islamic terrorist attack in Berlin. The attack was intended to use WMD nerve gas to kill thousands. But now Cary inexplicably has decided to join an activist group in New York. The group defends American Muslims from unfair persecution (this is, after all, Hollywood). Within the CIA Cary has an ex-colleague, Sol Berenson, a complex character who believes that the Iran deal is being upheld by Iran (in the real world, I suspect he would be the only person at Langley who believes this, but this is Hollywood, where Iran never cheats or lies and is just misunderstood when its leaders chant "Death To America).

    The plot thickens when the Israeli intelligence service (the Hollywood bad guy to Iran's misunderstood regime) plots with a truly sinister CIA operative, Dar Dahl, to convince "Hillary" that Iran is developing nuclear weapons in violation of the deal. Of course, in the fevered minds of the Hollywood writers who have hijacked Homeland, Iran would never do this because Barack Obama and John Kerry told us they wouldn't. So evil are the CIA and the Israelis that they stage a terrorist attack in NYC that kills dozens—all to convince Hillary that she must be more aggressive toward Iran.

    I could go on, but nausea would follow.

    Homeland has made the transition from a thoughtful, textured treatment of the real-world challenges Western intelligence services face to formulaic, grossly biased, intelligence-insulting Hollywood garbage.

    Too bad.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    Only Progressives

    Today, we'll listen to political theater as only the Democrats can deliver it. We'll hear them ask accusatory questions that indict Neil Gorsuch for judicial rulings that followed the law ... but, came into conflict with the notion, particular to Dems, that the law should favor one group over another.* We'll hear mindless accusations that Gorsuch is "out-of-the mainstream," even though 98 percent of his rulings were in line with the majority of the federal court on which he served. We'll hear pontification and hypocrisy, whining about the fate of Merrick Garland, and a variety of other unrelated nonsense. We'll listen to statements that imply that the progressive way is the only way, all intended to provide some measure of solace to the Democrat base.

    And where is the Democratic base? I ran across a prescient essay on American liberalism written in April, 2016 by Emmett Rensin at Vox, a generally left-leaning on-line media source. Rensin's words are particularly appropriate, given the events that led to Donald Trump's upset victory in the presidential election and in the unhinged response to his victory by the America left. Whether it's urban hipsters, social justice warriors, the glitterati, or any of the other subcategories and groups that define American progressive thought, Rensin nails it when he writes:
    There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what's good for them.

    In 2016, the smug style has found expression in media and in policy, in the attitudes of liberals both visible and private, providing a foundational set of assumptions above which a great number of liberals comport their understanding of the world.

    It has led an American ideology hitherto responsible for a great share of the good accomplished over the past century of our political life to a posture of reaction and disrespect: a condescending, defensive sneer toward any person or movement outside of its consensus, dressed up as a monopoly on reason.
    Condescension may be the single most important reason that the Democrats are out in the wilderness. Those who don't agree with every progressive shibboleth are viewed by many within the progressive movement as flawed, uninformed, unintelligent, or otherwise "deplorable."

    This progressive condescension has grown in both depth and breadth in the months following the election. Nothing Trump says or does—no policy, no appointee (think: Gorsuch), no position—is acceptable, and anyone who suggests otherwise is beneath contempt.

    Here's an example of progressive condescension from an article by Conor Lynch in hard-left Salon. Lynch actually references Rensin's piece:
    Sure enough, many liberals have seemingly doubled down on this smug style, which tends to come out in full force whenever the president screws over his dumb, country-bumpkin supporters. But this attitude has also been challenged by those on the left who argue that the Democratic Party has to offer a more populist vision and break out of its technocratic bubble in order to start winning elections again. This tends to offend many liberals, who respond by reminding everyone that the Democrats ran on the “most progressive platform in party history,” yet still failed to persuade uninformed blue-collar Americans who credulously fell for the countless lies and false promises of Trump.

    Both sides have a point, of course, and it is hardly smug to point out that American voters are overwhelmingly ignorant and uninformed about politics and government, or that Trump supporters are particularly misinformed. Nor is it smug to correct someone when they state an obvious falsehood, or to challenge the nonsensical rhetoric of a demagogue like Trump. The truth is, it can be hard not to come across as smug when you have to repeatedly debunk the endless falsehoods and conspiracy theories that come out of the president’s mouth (and when so many of his supporters seem unwilling to listen to reason).
    Lynch does exactly what Rensin describes when he states: " ... it is hardly smug to point out that American voters are overwhelmingly ignorant and uninformed about politics and government, or that Trump supporters are particularly misinformed." Really? Only progressives are "informed" and sophisticated in their election choices? Only progressives have defined the right path for the country? Only progressives understand healthcare, or free speech, or the proper approach to immigration, or climate change, or school choice, or the role of government in the every day lives of citizens? Only progressives should be appointed to the Supreme court?

    Yeah ... only progressives.

    FOOTNOTE:
    --------------------

    * As if on cue, CT Senator Richard Blumenthal demanded that Gorsuch answer questions on how he would vote in specific future cases. That is, of course, an absolute violation for any judge, but Blumenthal is too dishonest or too political to acknowledge that. By the way, Blumenthal was State Attorney General in CT. The Wall Street Journal documents the utter hypocrisy of this position:
    That’s [requiring any Supreme Court nominee to answer questions about future rulings] wildly inappropriate since Judge Gorsuch can’t know the facts or the law of future cases that would come before the Court. If he were to speak out extensively on any case at the confirmation hearing, his comments could require his recusal.

    Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor didn’t have to meet this open-kimono standard. Neither did Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said at the time of her confirmation hearings in 1993 that “[a] judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints; for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case, it would display disdain for the entire judicial process.”

    Mr. Leahy told nominee Ginsburg at the time that he “certainly” did not want her “to have to lay out a test here in the abstract which might determine what your vote or your test would be in a case you have yet to see that may well come before the Supreme Court.” At the 1967 hearings for Thurgood Marshall, then Senator Edward Kennedy called it a “sound legal precedent” that “any nominee to the Supreme Court would have to defer any comments on any matters which are either before the court or very likely to appear before the court.”
    Ahhh. We return to the "smug style" of Democrat Senators, defining one set of rules for conservative nominees and a completely different set of rules for progressives. Why? ... only progressives need apply.

    Monday, March 20, 2017

    Political Theater

    After almost 60 days of mass protests, pussy hats, hysteria on subjects ranging from healthcare to cutting funding for the EPA or the UN, and unhinged claims that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to cause the defeat of the sainted Hillary Clinton, more political theater begins today. The Senate begins its confirmation hearings on Neil Gorsuch for a seat on the Supreme Court. The editors of The Wall Street Journal comment:
    The Senate begins confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch Monday, and the image to keep in mind is professional wrestling. Democrats have dug up so little on the supremely qualified Supreme Court nominee that they’ll be huffing and puffing and pretending to body slam the judge around the hearing room. It’s mostly political theater.

    Progressives frustrated at the judge’s stellar record are pressuring Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to turn the hearings into the next show of political resistance to President Trump. In a recent letter to Democratic Senators, groups including abortion activists, MoveOn.org and the Service Employees International Union called Judge Gorsuch an “unacceptable nominee” and demanded the nomination meet a 60-vote threshold.

    “Democrats have failed to demonstrate a strong, unified resistance to this nominee despite the fact that he is an ultra-conservative jurist who will undermine our basic freedoms and threaten the independence of the federal judiciary,” the groups wrote. By “basic freedoms” they must not mean free speech, religious liberty or gun rights that Judge Gorsuch has upheld.

    Mr. Schumer has responded by posing with flexed muscles, but he makes a lousy CM Punk. Mr. Gorsuch “may act like a neutral, calm judge” and “he expresses a lot of empathy and sympathy for the less powerful,” the Democratic leader said last week, but in reality the judge “harbors a right-wing, pro-corporate, special-interest agenda.”
    Oh my. In the fantasy world of Chuck Schumer and many other Dems, it's perfectly okay for a judge to be left-wing, anti-corporate, and side with special interests that have the Left's stamp of approval. But intellectual consistency is not a hallmark of the opposition party in 2017.

    Gorsuch is eminently qualified for the Supreme Court. He fills a "conservative" seat, so his appointment would not be a loss for the Dems. They would be far better served to keep their powder dry and save the real fight for the replacement of, say, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But that's not how they roll. Because—#resistance.

    UPDATE:
    ---------------

    Carrie Severino comments on Gorsuch's legal opinions:
    Democrats also complain that Judge Gorsuch’s textualist approach to the law, by which he interprets laws according to their plain meaning as written, makes him a judicial radical. In fact, Judge Gorsuch clearly swims in the mainstream of American jurisprudence. According to one study, 98% of the opinions he wrote for the Tenth Circuit have been unanimous, even though that court tilts to the left. Seven out of twelve of its active judges were appointed by Democrats.

    What’s more, his opinions have been unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court four times. These numbers show that he’s a consensus builder, which is why the Senate confirmed him to the federal bench by voice vote in 2006. It’s why his nomination has received support from many liberals, including a former acting solicitor general in the Obama administration. And it’s why the American Bar Association has twice given him its highest rating.
    Last time I checked, the ABA leans decidedly left, so rating Gorsuch so highly indicates that he is an exceptional judge and intellect.

    But no matter, a great legal mind from Harvard violently opposes him.

    This morning, Elizabeth Warren wrote an anti-Gorsuch screed in The Boston Globe that makes her sound like what she is—a broken record (sorry for the anachronistic reference). Rather than making an substantive argument against Gorsuch she writes:
    Over the past three decades — as the rich have gotten richer and middle-class families have been left behind — the scales of justice have been weighted further and further in favor of the wealthy and the powerful. That tilt is not an accident. It’s the result of a deliberate strategy by powerful interests to turn our courts over to the highest bidder.

    Its effects have been devastating. Recent court decisions have let giant corporations that cheated their consumers off the hook, unleashed a flood of secret money into the political process, and made it easier for businesses to abuse and discriminate against their employees.
    Of course, Warren's tired "solution" to this is to give centralized government intrusive power to control "big business," and in so doing, to wreck our once robust economy. She advocates judges who ignore laws they do not agree with or interpret laws in a way that stacks the deck again one litigant over another. Actually, the same socialist sentiment was espoused by Hugo Chavez and Nicholas Maduro in Venezuela. How has that worked out for the people of that country?

    Saturday, March 18, 2017

    Lawfare

    When the Left encounters a government decision (policy or law) that it doesn't like, a common strategy is to conduct "lawfare"—bring a lawsuit in front of a friendly court (i.e., a court with predictably liberal judges) and convince that court to issue an injunction. This tactic works well, delaying or scuttling government actions effectively.

    As long as the judge bases his or her ruling on the law and on past legal precedent, lawfare, although frustrating and often maddening, is part of our legal system and must be tolerated. But when a judge completely disregards the law and instead bases an opinion on what he or she thinks the author of the decision intended, we move into a very dangerous area.

    That's what happened in the recent ruling against Donald Trump's decision to limit immigration (temporarily) from six mostly Muslim countries. Mollie Hemingway comments:
    Throughout the ruling, Judge Watson [of Hawaii] concedes there’s nothing about the executive order that would be problematic if not for his interpretation of Trump’s statements made in the months and years prior to issuing it. He repeatedly states his feeling that Trump had a bad motive in issuing the order.

    Judges using campaign rhetoric to infer intent instead of plainly evaluating the law as written is a dangerous development. Also because the public can witness the selective use of this trick, it undermines confidence in the judiciary at a time when the judiciary can’t afford too much erosion of trust.

    Imagine, for instance, if [conservative] judges ruled that the Obama-era Health and Human Services mandate forcing nuns to pay for birth control and abortifacients against their religious will was motivated by President Barack Obama’s religious animus, since he had made derogatory comments during his campaign about people bitterly clinging to God. Judges have ruled against powerful mandates such as that one for much better reasons than a parsing of Obama’s campaign rhetoric or political speeches.

    Or remember when the Supreme Court saved Obamacare by ruling it constitutional because the individual mandate — the penalty people had to pay for not buying health insurance — could be considered a tax? They ruled that way despite the fact that President Obama repeatedly maintained that the mandate was not a tax.
    Judges should rule on the letter of the law and, if you want to go one step further, on any affects implied by the actual words in the written law. They should not try to read the author's mind; they should not look back at comments made by the author in months or years past, and they should follow the constitution and well-established precedent. When they don't so this, judges erode the respect that all American's should have for our legal system. That's beginning to happen with ruling like the one offered by Judge Derrick Watson.