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

Friday, July 13, 2018

Nothing at All

For about a microsecond, the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd within the four constituencies much have felt a tingle run down their collective legs. After all, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that he would hold a press conference to announce indictments that have come out of the now infamous Russia investigation. OMG, some of the TDS crowd must have thought, our dreams have come true, our deepest desires have been achieved—here come the indictments we told everyone—absolutely everyone—were in the offing. Except ... nope.

Rosenstein announced the indictment of 12 Russian nationals for hacking DNC computers. He specifically noted that there was no evidence that the hacking affected the results of the 2016 Presidential election (you know, the election that Hillary would have won hands down were it not for Trump "collusion" with Russia). To quote the deputy AG:
"There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count or affected any election result."
Hmmm. Last time I checked, everyone working on the Trump campaign was an American citizen and everyone working in the Trump White House is an American citizen. And the result of election itself—unaffected.

Of course, the Democrats love to trot out the fact that 17 or whatever indictments have arisen out of Robert Mueller's investigation (a.k.a, "witch hunt") but not a single one is even remotely connected to Russian collusion or the election. But Mueller's evidence-free "investigation" will grind on endlessly, ensnaring members of the GOP who, like most of the Washington elite working for both parties, have enriched themselves and their friends by influence peddling. Of course, Hillary Clinton and her crowd were above all that. It's just through hard work, intelligence, and moral superiority that Bill and Hillary Clinton went from "near bankrupt" 20 years ago to a net worth in excess of $150 million today. And all that without working in the private sector for a single day. Amazing!

Funny, though, that Rosenstein, the DoJ, and Mueller, with all the resources they can bring to bear, haven't indicted a single solitary person connected to Clinton, or any other Democrat for that matter. You'd think that Clinton's effort to affect the election by paying (through her law firm) for the creation of a phony anti-Trump dossier in cooperation with the Russians might cause Mueller's eyebrows to arch upward. But noooo. You'd think that when Clinton turned the dossier over to the FBI who knowing its provenance, still used it as evidence to get permission from a FISA court to spy on the Trump campaign, might cause Mueller's intrepid band of lawyers (most Clinton donors) to squint their eyes. Noooo.

All of that is just business as usual. Nothing for Mueller or his team to see there, nothing at all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

"Hey Hey, Ho Ho"

What do John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Neil Gorsuch, William Rehnquist, David Souter, and Anthony Kennedy all have in common. For one thing, they were appointed by GOP presidents. For another they were victims of the Chicken Little strategy. With each of their nominations to SCOTUS, the Left predicted an apocalypse—women's rights and health would degrade, constitutional protections would disappear, minorities would be relegated to a trash heap, and of-course, Roe v. Wade would be overturned. There's only one problem—none of that happened.

Each of those jurists applied their view of the law and the constitution in their own way, but each recognized the nexus of constitutional rights and a consideration of public sentiment and judicial precedent. Despite the "hey, hey, ho ho" idiocy of protesters who would have readily rejected Thomas Jefferson had he been a nominee, Brett Kavanaugh will do exactly what his predecessors did—apply the constitution and the law to make decisions that matter.

The Chicken Little strategy creates a boogieman who, if you are to believe the Dems, will destroy the rights of everyone, disregard precedent, and run roughshod over democracy. But like a boogieman in a bad dream, their claims are fantasy and their predictions simply haven't come to pass. John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Neil Gorsuch, William Rehnquist, David Souter, and Anthony Kennedy did NOT relegate women to backroom abortions; they did NOT trample the rights of minorities; they did NOT usher in an authoritarian state—in fact, they largely opposed one.

The editors of The Wall Street Journal comment:
Democrats will also claim that a new conservative 5-4 majority will mean the rollback of American rights from abortion to voting. Don’t believe it.

The change we expect would be a Court that returned to the role it played before the 1960s when the Justices became an engine of progressive policy. The American left is distraught because it fears losing the Court as its preferred legislature. A conservative Court won’t overturn liberal precedents willy-nilly. But we hope it will be inclined to let most political questions be settled where they should be in a democracy—by the political branches.

This still preserves for the Court a large role in protecting fundamental rights and the structure of the separation of powers that is a bulwark against tyranny. The Court has become far too embroiled in politics, which has undermined public faith in the law and Constitution.

We firmly believe that liberals have much less to fear from a conservative majority than they imagine. A genuinely conservative Court might even help progressives by liberating them to focus once again on the core task of self-government—persuading their fellow Americans through elections, not judicial fiat.
The coming war against Brett Kavanaugh will be ugly. It will attempt to use hysteria, dishonesty, and hyperbole to defeat the nomination of a respected judge. The Democrats will, in the process, hurt themselves, and far more important, erode respect for government institutions. But that's what they've been doing for the past two years.

We'll see what happens.

UPDATE:
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Law Professor Glen Reynolds comments:
As a lawyer messaged me on Facebook today, Kavanaugh will be Hitler, because whoever Trump nominated was going to be Hitler.

But, of course, when everyone’s Hitler, nobody’s Hitler, and the Democrats have been slinging the H-word around rather a lot for the past couple of years. When you have the hysteria turned up to 11 all the time, it has less traction when you need it. (As comedian Dennis Miller tweeted: “Just to keep things in perspective, or not, Trump could nominate either Amy Coney Barrett or Vladimir Putin tomorrow and the headlines would be exactly the same.” He’s not wrong).

Still, brace yourself for a lot of hysteria. But here’s a parting thought: If so much hangs on the appointment of a single person to the Supreme Court that it matters more than almost anything else in our politics, then maybe the Supreme Court matters too much. In a healthier republic, it would matter less.
The reason it matters so much is that Democrats want the court to circumvent their failure to enact left-leaning legislation through the congress, by cretaing law from the bench. Part of the Dem's legislative failure has to do with the simple reality that they have failed to win congressional elections during the past decade. A more introspective party might ask why that might be, why their policies and proposals don't resonate with the electorate. Instead, they blame the Russians.

A left-leaning SCOTUS would undoubtedly be more activist. That can't happen until the Dems win the presidency and the congress. And that won't happen if the Dems drift ever-further to the left.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Connection Diagram

In the run-up to the 2008 presidential election and on into his first term, some on the Right wrongly contended that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. If that allegation were true, it might disqualify him as president. Based on all available evidence, the claims were false. It's worth noting that there was no formal allegation offered by senior members of the losing party (the GOP), there was no special counsel appointed to investigate, and after a time, the story died away, only to be revisited by Obama's own party as an example of "racism" run amuck.

During that time, Obama's Praetorian guard in the media leaped into action, calling any such allegations unhinged conspiracy theory. The media worked hard to find exculpatory evidence and did just that. Fine.

This weekend, left-wing writer Jonathan Chait in a once prestigious media outlet, New York Magazine, penned a long screed entitled "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?" Without going through Chait's tortured logic, his repeated claims of guilt by association, and even more unhinged allegations, Chait believes that Trump is a Russian agent and has been one since -- 1987!!

In Hollywood, the visual image of an obsessed, deranged conspiracy theorist is of a person who draws large connection diagrams on the wall—you know, pictures of events and people connected by lots of strings and pins that PROVE an evil conspiracy is afoot. It is, literally, a cliche image. Of course, Chait can't resist providing us what I'm sure he believes is irrefutable proof that Trump is a Russian agent and that the 60+ Million people who voted for him are unwitting accomplices:
In the fevered imaginations of some who suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome, Chait's diagram is undoubtedly proof-positive that Trump is a Russkie tool. For those who are more grounded in reality, it's an example of peak—TDS.

I wish I could argue that Chait's piece is the apex of the TDS crowd's lunatic hysteria, but I can't. Just wait until the SCOTUS nominee is named tonight.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Shots on Goal

Nearly two years after the upset of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, we still hear Clinton, her supporters, and most Democrats tell us that she won the majority of all votes cast nationally and therefore, Donald Trump should not be president. It's a meme that has become as tiresome as it is ridiculous.

Following the illogic of that argument, the people of Brazil should be outraged at the fact that Belgium recently beat their national soccer team to advance in the World Cup. After all, although Belgium prevailed 2 goals to 1, Brazil had 9 shots on goal to Belgium's 3, therefore getting a clear majority of shots; Brazil possessed the ball 59 percent of the time and had a clear majority of time of possession, its passing accuracy was higher and it made more passes, meaning it won the majority of passing stats.

So we should forget the FIFA rules—Brazil really did win and Belgium is a fraud. Umm, I'm not sure FIFA or the people of Belgium would agree.

Since the Dems actually believe that the constitutionally mandated rules of the election (a vote of the electoral college) are irrelevant and that their claim of a win out of a loss is meaningful, they've decided to go a step further along the same rule-changing path. Jenna Ellis comments:
As liberal fury over Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement continues to escalate, there's a clear mindset behind the Left's opposition tactics: "If we stop winning, we want to immediately change the rules." In the week after Kennedy’s retirement was announced, some Democrats have revived their calls to “court pack”— increase the number of seats on the Supreme Court and fill those seats with justices sympathetic to their social agenda. This is something they also called for during the confirmation hearings for Justice Neil Gorsuch ...

What I find most incredulous about liberals’ argument is how they feign disgust at conservative originalist justices for “literal interpretation” but then their very own plan recognizes they have to interpret the Constitution literally and textually to achieve their results. In other words, they are actually using the very text of the Constitution to recognize it gives Congress power to set the number of justices on the Supreme Court, and it further gives power to the president to nominate a new justice and confirm with advice and consent of the Senate.
But here's the thing—since Trump lost the national vote and the electoral college is a very, very bad idea, the Dems believe Trump really isn't president. Therefore, he has no constitutional right to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. Ahhh, now I get it.

Friday, July 06, 2018

It's Not Okay

Despite every effort to obfuscate, delay, and resist congressional inquiries, the Crossfire Hurricane scandal involving the politically motivated FBI "investigation" of the Trump campaign in 2016 simply won't die. The Democrats dismiss hard facts (e.g., text messages in the perpetrators' own words, a damning report by the FBI's own Inspector general), panicking because they might taint the Mueller "investigation" (a.k.a. witch hunt); the trained hamsters of the main stream media simply ignore the whole thing, and the FBI hierarchy defies Congress on a weekly basis. Man, with that much effort being expended to avoid releasing information, there must be something really big hiding in the weeds, and all of the constituencies involved do NOT want the public to know what it is.

Kim Strassel is one of the few journalists who has been on this story from the beginning. Her investigative reporting is embarrassing to the past Obama administration and to senior executives at the FBI. She writes:
The FBI and its media allies have waged a ceaseless campaign to lower the bar on what counts as appropriate. We are told it is OK that the government opened a counterintelligence probe into a presidential campaign. OK that it obtained a warrant to spy on a U.S. citizen. OK that it based that warrant on an unverified dossier from the Democratic campaign, and then hid that true origin from the FISA court. OK that it paid a spy to target domestic political actors.

It’s not OK. Not so long ago, the FBI would have quailed at the idea of running an informant into any U.S. political operation—even into, say, a congressman under criminal investigation for bribery or corruption. These are the most sensitive of lines. But Mr. Trump’s opponents, in government and media, have a boundless capacity to justify any measures against the president.

If it turns out that the Justice Department and FBI lied about how and when this all started, that is scandalous.
At every turn, the trained hamsters have worked hard to use their "squirrel strategy" to redirect public attention away from the scandal. It is an interesting coincidence that on the same day that the FBI Inspector General report was released to the public, the Dems began their hysteria over the temporary separation of children of illegal immigrant families. Never mind that the practice had been going on for years, that day seemed to be appropriate. Look!! A Squirrel!

It's an even more interesting coincidence that stories about porn star Stormy Daniels, Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen, and various other campaign aides get plenty of air time and column inches, but the Crossfire Hurricane scandal has all but disappeared. And Scott Pruitt of the EPA? His serial scandals (some quite minor by government standards) got hours and hours of air time and damnation, but Crossfire Hurricane? Crickets.

And gosh, it does seem odd that Robert Mueller, who has run far afield in his "investigation" of Trump (think: Stormy Daniels), has chosen not to look into any allegation of FBI wrong-doing, even though it's directly relevant to the whole Russian angle. After all, what possible nexus could exist between the predicate for the investigation and claims of Russian collusion? Nah, nothing to see there, let's look at Stormy's tale (no pun intended) instead. Incredible!

Powerful anti-Trump interests inside the government keep telling us there's no there there. Except there is. We'll see whether the dirty truth ever comes out.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Penumbras

Daniel Henninger argues that the pivotal reason for the Democrats' hysteria over the Donald Trump's Supreme Court nomination can be traced to the court’s 1965 decision, Griswold v. Connecticut, a decision that interpreted the constitution rather broadly. He explains:
Justice William O. Douglas famously explained how this [broad interpretation] could be, arguing that “specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.”

Douglas’s “penumbras” decision, though ridiculed, defined the post-’60s era of “judge-made law,” in which achieving a result that reflected liberal values or policy goals mattered more than the legal reasoning to justify it. This results-driven view is what routinely sent Justice Antonin Scalia into eloquent and volcanic dissents.

Though capable of rigor in his reasoning, Anthony Kennedy was willing to swing toward decisions that simply affirmed what he thought were ascendant cultural mores. With the Trump Supreme Court nominations, this long era of judge-made law is at risk, if not over.

First with Neil Gorsuch and now with Justice Kennedy’s successor, Donald Trump is putting a stop to ruling by penumbra. It’s a historic shift, and Mr. Trump’s opponents are going absolutely crazy.

As the Times editorial suggests, the left seems to believe the Supreme Court will virtually cease to exist as a branch of government. That puts liberals in a tough spot, because they had already thrown in the towel on the legislative branch.

From the 1970s onward, modern liberalism increasingly came to rely on filing lawsuits to effect policies that couldn’t survive passage through representative bodies like the House and Senate. Or they deployed executive mandates—which reached an apotheosis with Barack Obama.

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ended the filibuster for appellate-court nominees so his party could pack the D.C. Circuit with judges who would affirm the Obama regulatory orders that covered vast swaths of American life.

Having all but abandoned the legislative branch to achieve their goals, progressives now think the Trump Supreme Court nominations will close off the judiciary as a policy tool. Thus, the hysteria.
And hysteria it is. The chicken little strategy is already in full effect and will explode into a new level of vicious opposition once the SCOTUS nominee is appointed next week.

Personally, I prefer a moderate—not aggressively conservative—SCOTUS. I like justices whose votes are unpredictable (hence, I liked Kennedy). Unlike the hard core conservatives and equally hard-core liberal justices whose votes are predictably ideological.

What we all should be looking for is a jurist who interprets the constitution, not a jurist who makes new laws. On the other hand, Justice Douglas was right—any rational interpretation of the constitution should recognize the potential for penumbras, but those penumbras should extend the edges of the constitution only slightly, adjusting it for the realities of modern life, but not using it to eclipse the job of the legislative branch of government.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

#Walkaway

Have you ever heard the old saying, "Moderation in all things?"

Yeah, I know, some would think that it leads to a boring existence. After all, almost everyone professes their desire for an exciting life, filled with cool adventures that somehow energize their own psyche.

But I'll stick with moderation.

In politics, moderation used to be the meme followed by both major political parties. Sure, they differed in their approach to governance, but in the main, they wanted the same things—a strong economy, respect around the world, safety for the country's citizens, and a better life for those who have struggled. One of those moderate parties believed that big government could achieve those things. The other believed that they could be achieved with a more limited government, but again, the approach on both sides of the aisle was relatively moderate.

Today, based on media coverage, you'd think that one party was "extreme" and the other was calm and concerned. According to the Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media, Donald Trump and his supporters have an "extreme agenda," institute "extreme policies" have an "extreme" view on race and immigration. Now that SCOTUS appointment is in play, they tell us that Trump et al want "extreme" justices for the Supreme Court (e.g., the chicken little strategy). "Extreme" is a word that is supposed to conjure images of positions that are way outside the mainstream, causing fear and loathing among the populace—all to the advantage of the Democrats.

Yet in the aftermath of the 2016 election, the Dems have become the party of "extreme." They have lurched to the hard-Left, embracing socialist positions that are, well, considerably outside the mainstream. They have adopted positions on immigration that do not resonate with recent public polling (Harvard-Harris poll). They refuse to acknowledge that the economy is doing very well and that African American and Latinos are experiencing record low unemployment—people who want a job can get a job. They insist on telling those same communities that they are "victims" of a racist society. These positions certainly resonate among the #Resistance and within the echo chamber of the Left, but something odd is happening.

Karen McQuillan comments:
Democrat hate speech targeting deplorables has always worked -- on their own voters. Libeling Republicans as racist, homophobic morons has kept Democrat voters in line. President Trump laughs at their insults, and just gets stronger. Suddenly, one more Trump success. The Democrat line is breaking. Our minorities are breaking free.

President Trump’s off the charts achievements on jobs and security are improving the lives of every single Democrat identity voting bloc. A small, but increasingly significant number are noticing. With his MAGA gains on the economy and foreign affairs, President Trump is slowly chipping away at the Democrat Party’s foundations. The white working class already belongs to Trump. Fed up blacks, Hispanics, millennials and gays are starting to follow.

Ordinary people, including our minorities, are focused on the reality of their lives. Most Americans actually care about exactly the two big issues Trump cares about: jobs and personal safety. They notice more money in their paychecks. They notice when they get off food stamps and the unemployment line. They notice when they move from flipping hamburgers to a high-paying construction or assembly-line jobs. Securing our border, supporting cops, defeating ISIS in Syria, pressuring North Korea to “denuke” -- ordinary people get that we are safer than we were under Obama. Democrats can scream as loud as they want, but they cannot drown out reality.
And those Democrats who are still anchored in reality have begun to push back. They are uneasy with the rhetoric of the #Resistance which demonizes half of the country by arguing that those who support another path are "racists, misogynists, bigots, Nazis and white supremacists." Democrats who are still anchored in reality think those are pretty "extreme" allegations. They reject the notion that mob intimidation (proposed by Congresswoman Maxine Waters and supported by far too many Dems) is an American value.

A small minority of Dems and African American and Latinos have had enough. They are disgusted by the viciousness of #Resistance and have decided to #Walkaway. African Americans and Latinos, recognizing the benefits of a strong economy and seeing historically high levels of employment and economic opportunity, have begun to realize that they're not victims and instead, have control over their own destiny. They have decided to #Walkaway.

As this is going on, a troubling percentage of Democrats have decided to double down on "extreme." They seem incapable of recognizing that their flirtation with socialism will not win elections. But at the same time, those Dems with extreme views appear to be taking over the party. More Dems who don't want to walk that path may very well decide to walk away. That's a good thing.

But ... but ... but ... what about millennials and people of color, propagandized over their entire lives to hate the GOP and love the Dems. After all, polling indicates that millennials think socialism is okay.* Right?

Not so fast.

McQuillan comments:
Millennials are growing up, getting jobs and paying taxes. They are still turned off by the Republican Party (as are Trump supporters). They are stubbornly unwilling to give President Trump personal credit. But they recognize his pro-growth agenda is a good thing, and they don’t want Pelosi to wreck the economy.

Millennials are telling Reuter/Ipsos pollsters that they are going to vote Republican in the mid-terms. In 2016, white millennials supported Democrats for Congress by a whopping 47 to 33 percent. No more. Millennial support for Democrats has fallen by almost 10 percent. If sustained, this is seriously bad news for Democrats.

For the first time, millennials will be the largest eligible voting bloc surpassing baby boomers come November. Historically Democrats have relied on the youth vote to carry them over the finish line. This new polling suggests a blue wave may be less likely than previously thought.

Racial appeals are at long last getting old. Race-baiting is less effective delivered by Maxine Waters than by the nation’s first black president. A redpill video by a young black woman named Candace Owens, praised by Kanye West, is credited with creating a fateful first chink in the black voting bloc. Following Kanye’s tweet, President Trump’s approval among black men doubled, to 22 percent, and among all blacks, to over 16 percent.
It may very well be that the Dem's "extreme" positions and behavior over the past 18 months will obliterate any possibility of a blue wave in this year's mid-term election. One thing is certain—if they fail to retake the House, they'll never blame themselves.

FOOTNOTE:
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* It is true that millennials don't have as many qualms about socialism as those of us who have observed its serial (and often catastrophic) failures over much longer lifetimes.

I can't resist quote a comment made by Glen Reynolds on the subject:
Socialism is the Axe Body Spray of political ideologies: It never does what it claims to do, but people too young to know better keep buying it anyway.
I can forgive young people for their position, after all, it all seems so socially just, so utopian, so good for the common people. In reality (oops, that word again), it's anything but.