The EU

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Friday, January 18, 2019

The State of the Union

For John, BLUFI give kudos to the Democrats for strategic thinking in this instance.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Update:  Dems Planned Move For “Months”?

From Hot Air, by Cap't Ed Morrissey, 16 January 2019.

Here is the key Constitutional passage from Wikipedia:

The address fulfills rules in Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, requiring the President to periodically "give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."
For a long time the State of the Union was sent as a written document.  President after President did it the way G Washington did it.  Then came along Woodrow Wilson, who decided to do it in person.  I don't see that as a permanent change.

My solution is for the President to write up the State of the Union and mail it off to the Speaker of the House and Senate President.  Then he should sit down and do a live broadcast, from behind the Resolute Desk, in the Oval Office.

My wife favors the letter route, but thinks he should then go to the Senate Chamber and deliver the message live to the Senators, given that a majority might actually listen to and appreciate his message.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

UPDATE:  This seems to have disappeared and is being resurrected.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Opponents of Brexit

For John, BLUFWhile some view Brexit through the lens of Homo economicus, those who voted for Brexit may have been more about wanting to avoid a distant and impersonal government dictating to them.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New Reform Club, by Mr Seth Barrett Tillman, 16 January 2019.

Here is the lede and the last paragraph:

I did not “prais[e] the process that brought Brexit to the UK.”  I will say that the process was not “stupid” and it was not “criminally stupid.”  Why do you use this hyperbolic language?  It was just a referendum.  Cameron did not surprise the country (the UK) by putting the decision to the People.  It was a long-standing promise of the Tory Party to do just that.  That promise was made by the Tory Party in the two party manifestos in the two prior general elections.  After the first election, Cameron’s Tory Party did not have an absolute majority on the floor of the Commons, and his Liberal-Democratic coalition partners did not back a referendum.  So nothing happened.  After the second election, Cameron had a majority—and the referendum was a simple expression of a well known campaign pledge from the most recent general election.  I see nothing “stupid” about this; I see nothing “criminally stupid.”  Why this hyperbolic language?

Again, I don’t claim to know how the British people ought to have voted.  I am not British, and the UK is not my country.  I was not born there; I am not a citizen by naturalisation or otherwise; I was not educated there; I do not have any higher degrees specialising in British history, government, culture, etc; I do not live there; and, I do not pay taxes there. It is not my job to tell them how to vote.  I see no reason to call their elected politicians and their public “inept” or “stupid” because the People voted in a way which was not expected by those who think or thought they know or knew better.  So I am left wondering why you continue to use such strong language about a foreign country’s politics and politicians?  Is it that you believe the result was obviously wrong?—How did you reach that conclusion?  Or, is it that you believe the process was substantially defective (a process wholly free of gerrymandering—a subject which is a frequent source of complaint by academics here on Conlawprof)?—How did you reach that conclusion?  And even if you think the result wrong or the process defective, why are you using such strong language?  When you use such strong language about Brexit, and you do so for reasons that are (in my opinion) entirely opaque, it sort of undermines the force of the similar hyperbolic language you use in regard to Trump. You do see that, right?


Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Some Justice, At Last

For John, BLUFThis has been a long time coming, and it has come begrudgingly.  Bureaucracy doesn't like to admit error.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Signal, by Reporter M.D. Kittle, 11 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Dozens of conservative organizations are receiving late Christmas presents years after the IRS handed them a lump of coal.

The federal government in recent days has been issuing settlement checks to 100 right-of-center groups wrongfully targeted for their political beliefs under the Obama administration’s Internal Revenue Service, according to an attorney for the firm that represented plaintiffs in NorCal v. United States.

From Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds:
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Possible Mueller Outcomes

For John, BLUFThere is the option that the Russiagate Probe will never end.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is not authoritative, but just my doodling:

  1. Guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors (Section 4 of Article Two of the United States Constitution)
    • "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
    • At this kind of a report the US House of Representatives would spring into action, bringing impeachment articles against the President.
    • It does raise the question as to if the Vice President was involved, which may or may not be answered by a report by Special Counsel Mueller.
    • This raises an additional question, which is why this took so long.  An important question to emerge will be when did Mr Mueller know it and why did it take so long to get the news out?
  2. Not proven
    • This is the Scottish Verdict, where the jury thinks the person is guilty, but not beyond a reasonable doubt.
    • I would think this report would just sow confusion and conflict and would hurt the country.
  3. No indications of a crime by the President (or VEEP).
    • This would not quiet everyone, the House Democrats would proceed with their own investigations.
    • This would allow the President to focus more on being President, rather than being a defendant.
    • This might allow the President to now order the release of all pertinent documents, including the FISA Warrants and their supporting documentation.
  4. Finding that the FBI/DOJ engaged in unpardonable activities for political reasons.
    • There are those who believe the FBI has not been much cleaned up since the time of J Edgar Hoover.
    • There are those who believe that Mrs Clinton tipped her hand in late October 2016 when she talked about a Trump/Putin connection, right after leaks from the FBI and Fusion GPS brought us stories in the press.
Are there other possible outcomes?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

See Your Local Recruiter

For John, BLUFIf you join a Military Service, apply yourself and avoid drugs you will have a better shot when back on Civvie Street than you might otherwise.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Military Times, by Ms Natalie Gross, 13 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus four:

Women veterans were employed at higher rates than their male counterparts in 2018, federal data show.

And it’s not just women.  A military background also boosted the civilian job prospects for racial minorities that have historically had a harder time finding work.

Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show the annual unemployment rate for women veterans was 3 percent last year — the lowest unemployment rate on record for this group in the 21st century — while male veterans had an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.

Among post-9/11 veterans in particular, women again outshined men with a 3.5 percent unemployment rate, compared to 3.9.

Breakdowns by race and ethnicity showed similar trends. White, black and Hispanic or Latina women who have served in the military since Sept. 11, 2001 all had lower unemployment rates than men of those races who did the same. The biggest gap was between black women, with a 3.6 percent unemployment rate, and black men, at 6 percent.

The alternative is to have two parents, living together, who give you solid middle class values.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Path Ahead to 2020

For John, BLUFThis is assuming President Trump isn't forced out.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Ricochet, by Mr Gil Reich, 14 January 2019.

A nice review.  But, I leave it to you to click on the link and read the ten reasons.

As the InstaPundit says, don't get cocky.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The New Class

For John, BLUFI don't think the Progressives yet understand this.  I think they still think it is just ignorance and bigotry.  Sadly, they are misinformed.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

What’s happening in America is an echo of what’s happening in democracies around the world, and it’s not happening because of Trump.

From USA Today, by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, 15 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

To understand events around the world today, one must think in terms of the class struggle.

This sentence sounds like something that could be written by a doctrinaire Marxist.  But it is nonetheless true.  Much of the current tension in America and in many other democracies is in fact a product of a class struggle.  It’s not the kind of class struggle that Karl Marx wrote about, with workers and peasants facing off against rapacious capitalists, but it is a case of today’s ruling class facing disaffection from its working class.

In the old Soviet Union, the Marxists assured us that once true communism was established under a “dictatorship of the proletariat,” the state would wither away and everyone would be free.  In fact, however, the dictatorship of the proletariat turned into a dictatorship of the party hacks, who had no interest whatsoever in seeing their positions or power wither.

Yugoslav dissident Milovan Djilas called these party hacks the "New Class," noting that instead of workers and peasants against capitalists, it was now a case of workers and peasants being ruled by a managerial new class of technocrats who, while purporting to act for the benefit of the workers and peasants, somehow wound up with the lion’s share of the goodies.  Workers and peasants stood in long lines for bread and shoddy household goods, while party leaders and government managers bought imported delicacies in special, secret stores.  (In a famous Soviet joke, then-leader Leonid Brezhnev shows his mother his luxury apartment, his limousine, his fancy country house and his helicopter only to have her object:  “But what if the communists come back?”)

I am not sure the New Class sees the problem here.  Maybe the increasing number of working homeless on the Coast will help them visualize the problem.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Look From Inside the Barricades in France

For John, BLUFA too quick dismissal of this French protest movement would lead to missing some important political points.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New English Review, by Author Erik Svane, January 2019 edition.

Here is the start:

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.
     —Lao Tzu
Not a single media report I have read or seen about the Yellow Vest demonstrations in Paris and across France has not been slanted by Fake News.  The problem is that crucial information has been omitted.

It is not wrong to say that the demonstrations were caused by the government's decision to raise gas prices.  But that view seems to pit two more or less equal sides against each other—people (responsible government officials) seeing the necessities of taxes in life versus carefree people (common citizens) unconcerned with the sacrifices that life entails and who go overboard with their protests.

What is missing from most all of the coverage of this crisis in France is that this is just one of several draconian measures dating back half a year, i.e., the recent tax hike that sparked the wave of protests was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

For the past four to five months, the nation's drivers and motorcycle riders have been growing increasingly irate at les sangsues (bloodsuckers) in the French government who seem to do little else, road-security-wise, but double down on bringing more and more gratuitous oppression upon their necks and saddling them with more and more unwarranted fines and costs.

In fact, the imposition of ever harsher rules has been going on for the past decade and a half or so—whether the government was on the right or on the left—and that is why the choice of garb, les gilets jaunes (the yellow jackets), by the demonstrators is particularly ironic.

The 2008 law (under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy) that requires the presence of high-visibility vests (gilets de haute visibilité) aka security vests (gilets de sécurité) in every vehicle—hardly an unreasonable rule, for sure, as similar ones exist throughout the continent—was just another example of the myriad of evermore-onerous directives for car and motorcycle owners over the past 15 years, and so the government, in effect, provided the 2018 rebels with their "uniforms."

This unsettled populace is not just some creation of Donald J Trump.  Rather, it is the unsettledness the has given us President Trump.  There is a segment of the voters, across the West, that is restless.  They would go along with the Gleichschaltung if the bien-pensant didn't seem to be stepping on them.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Venezuela Experiencing Bad Luck

For John, BLUFI wonder if we should think about rich people being the tax we pay to allow all who wish to prosper and live a good life?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Castro and his ilk showed us that under socialism, the powerful grow rich — and everyone else grows poor.

From USA Today, by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, 27 November 2016.

Yes, 2016, but things have only gotten worse.  This has been a slow moving train wreck and no one could stop it over the last few years.  Today we have several million who have fled Venezuela and we have South American nations resisting the diaspora from Venezuela and nations even building walls (but not big, beautiful walls).  Who would have believed it?

Here is the lede from the article, plus some:

Robert Heinlein once wrote:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man.  Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people.  Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

I thought about this statement this weekend, reading two news stories.  The first was about the tide of Venezuelans taking to boats to escape Venezuela’s economic collapse.  As The New York Times reported, “Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East."

"But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.”

Now, in their absence, things have gotten worse, and it’s poorer Venezuelans — the very ones that Chavez’s revolution was allegedly intended to help — who are starving. Many are even taking to boats, echoing, as the Times notes, “an image so symbolic of the perilous journeys to escape Cuba or Haiti — but not oil-rich Venezuela.”

Economics is about mutually beneficial exchanges.  It is not about fairness, but about prosperity.  If someone making a bundle means you are making a good amount, why is that a problem for you?  The thing is that capitalism and capitalist like economic systems are bringing the world's population out of poverty and that is a good thing.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, January 14, 2019

Poor Coice of Terms

For John, BLUFOne wonders if R Representative Steve King is just clueless, or if he was trying to have a free and open discussion with a reporter, which in and of itself is a sign of being clueless.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Washington Examiner, by Reporter Al Weaver, January 14, 2019.

Here is a key excerpt:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans voted Monday night to strip Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, of all committee assignments after he appeared to wonder when ‘white supremacist’ and ‘white nationalist’ became offensive terms. . . . King said his remarks were misunderstood over the course of a lengthy interview with the Times.  At one point King said in the interview, ‘White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? … Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?’ according to the Times.  But King said his use of the term ‘that language’ was only meant to refer to Western civilization and not white nationalism or white supremacy.
Here is a comment from Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds:
Wow, this really jacks up the pressure on the Democrats to police the racist, antisemitic statements of Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.  Just kidding.
I wonder if this is curtains for Rep King or if there is a path back from Coventry?.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Other Thoughs on Illegal Immigrants

For John, BLUFIt is not clear that we have moved from compassion to serious thinking about the implications of mass migration from Latin America to these United States.  The linked Blogger below appears to have.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

From the blog Baldilocks, by Ms Juliette Ochieng, 12 January 2019

Here is the lede plus one:

Since I have one parent who was a legal immigrant to the US and another who is the descendant of African slaves brought to America, people sometimes think they can figure out what I think about illegal aliens.

I'll make it easy for them.  I think all illegal aliens should GTFO and go fix their countries of origin.  This includes illegal aliens from my father's country.

I commend the whole thing to you.

Building on the post, I wonder if we believe people who can't make democracy work in their own country have the social, cultural and education background to become part of our democracy, or at least raise their children to become part of our way of government.  Granted, Ms Ochieng thinks some who welcome immigration (mass migration) really don't like our current approach to government and would like to see it changed to a different model.

Ms Ochieng brings up an additional cultural point, which is whether the current flow of immigrants from Latin America will displace Blacks as one of the key Demographic groups for the Democratic Party.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Going Out and Meeting the Voters

For John, BLUFIt is time for Republicans to come out of their shells and court the voters they thought they had lost to FDR and HST and JFK.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Examiner, by Reporter Salena Zito, 11 January 2019.

Here is the payoff paragraph:

Anderson said his biggest takeaway from the survey is this is a result of eight years of showing up.  “That is not six months of showing up, that's eight years of showing up and speaking Spanish the best you can,” he said.  “You don't get to that level where a Republican sitting governor has 58 percent of Hispanic voters saying that he cares about them without doing that.”
It is time for Republicans to reach out to all sorts of groups, because there are folks out there with Republican like values, who just don't feel appreciated by Republicans.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Democrats on Trump Force Withdrawals

For John, BLUFThis is one person's view, but one that resonates with me.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Make no mistake, the Democrats have been tacking to the right on foreign policy and burgeoning their tough-guy-interventionist credentials for decades now

From Common Dreams, by Mr Danny Sjursen, 11 January 2018.

Here is the lede plus three:

If anyone else were president, the “liberals” would be celebrating.  After all, pulling American soldiers out of a couple of failing, endless wars seems like a “win” for progressives.  Heck, if Obama did it there might be a ticker-tape parade down Broadway.  And there should be.  The intervention in Syria is increasingly aimless, dangerous and lacks an end state.  Afghanistan is an unwinnable war – America’s longest – and about to end in outright military defeat.  Getting out now and salvaging so much national blood and treasure ought to be a progressive dream.  There’s only one problem: Donald Trump. Specifically, that it was Trump who gave the order to begin the troop withdrawals.

Lost in the haze of their pathological hatred of President Trump, the majority of mainstream liberal pundits and politicians can’t, for the life of them, see the good sense in extracting the troops from a couple Mideast quagmires.  That or they can see the positives, but, in their obsessive compulsion to smear the president, choose politics over country.  It’s probably a bit of both.  That’s how tribally partisan American political discourse has become.  And, how reflexively hawkish and interventionist today’s mainstream Democrats now are.  Whither the left-wing antiwar movement?  Well, except for a few diehards out there, the movement seems to have been buried long ago with George McGovern.

Make no mistake, the Democrats have been tacking to the right on foreign policy and burgeoning their tough-guy-interventionist credentials for decades now.  Terrified of being painted as soft or dovish on martial matters, just about all the “serious” baby-boomer Dems proudly co-opted the militarist line and gladly accepted campaign cash from the corporate arms dealers.  Think about it, any Democrat with serious future presidential aspirations back in 2002 voted for the Iraq War – Hillary, Joe Biden, even former peace activist John Kerry!  And, in spite of the party base now moving to the left, all these big name hawks – along with current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – are still Democratic stalwarts.  Heck, some polls list Biden as the party’s 2020 presidential frontrunner.

More disturbing than the inconsistency of these political hacks is the vacuousness of the supposedly liberal media.  After Trump’s announcement of troop withdrawals, just about every MSNBC host slammed the president and suddenly sounded more hawkish than the clowns over at Fox News.  Take Rachel Maddow.  Whatever you think of her politics, she is – undoubtedly – a brilliant woman.  Furthermore, unlike most pundits, she knows a little something about foreign policy.  Her 2012 book, Drift:  The Unmooring of American Military Power was a serious and well-researched critique of executive power and the ongoing failure of the wars on terror. Drift was well reviewed by regular readers and scholars alike.


Well, I did think "clowns" was a little harsh in describing the folks at Fox News.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Spruce Goose

For John, BLUFNot actually made of spruce, but rather birch.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Warfare History Network, by Mr Allyn Vannoy, 31 December 2018.

This is the story of Howard Hughes' flying boat and its flight inside the breakwater of Long Beach, California.

It is also the story of imagination and of bureaucratic efforts to accomplish things.  And the power of Congressional hearings.

Hat tip to my Brother, Lance.

Regards  —  Cliff

Yellow Vests Protest into 2019

For John, BLUFNo everyone in France (in Europe) is happy with the vision of the EU bureaucrats.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The Gilets Jaunes in 2019

From Unz, by writer Diana Johnstone, 11 January 2019.

Here are two important paragraphs:

That objection is answered by what has quickly emerged as the single overriding demand of the movement:  the Citizens’ Initiative Referendum (CIR).

This demand illustrates the good sense of the movement.  Rather than making a “must” list, the GJ merely ask that the people be allowed to choose, and the referendum is the way to choose.  The demand is for a certain number of signatories – perhaps 700,000, perhaps more – to gain the right to call a referendum on an issue of their choice.  The right to a CIR exists in Switzerland, Italy and California.  The idea horrifies all those whose profession it is to know best.  If the people vote, they will vote for all sorts of absurd things, the better-knowers observe with a shudder.

Yes, Democracy is dangerous.

The thing is, it looks like the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) or (GJ) are going to continue into 2019.  How that will work out is yet to be see.  One finds it hard to believe the graduates of Sciences Po, or the Civil Service, are going to go along with it.

As for a referendum, or a ballot initiative, that has to rattle cages of the establishment.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Deep State v Trump

For John, BLUFYes, President Trump was within his rights, and doing his duty, when he fired FBI Director James Comey.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Boston Globe, a New York Timess article by By Messers Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos, 12 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

In the days after President Trump fired James Comey as FBI director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security.  Agents also sought to determine whether Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

The investigation the FBI opened into Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Comey constituted obstruction of justice.

Agents and senior FBI officials had grown suspicious of Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude.  But the president’s activities before and after Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.

So, The Old Gray Lady publishes old news and does it based on information leaked to the Press.  But that is how that city (DC) works.  When I was a lowly colonel on the Joint Staff the watchword was to not share anything that one would not wish to see on the front page of The Washington Post.  Someone I knew and worked with from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, an organization with a huge number of people, was incorrectly accused of leaking information to the press and it took months to clear it up.

As for not knowing how to proceed if they were suspicious of the loyalty of someone high up, there was precedent.  After all, FDR replaced one of his VEEPs with Harry Truman for his run in 1944.  surely the late FBI Director, J Edger Hoover, left some notes on how to move forward.

This was a slow news day regurgitation of already known material.  And, it lacked any real insight, any real analysis, and real nuance and balance.

I do hope this is not the Press carrying water for Mr Comey, who is not a shining example of what a Federal Civil Servant should be.

But, what really grabbed me was the comments at the end of the article.  Some, like mine, were brilliant.  Some were so bad they were deleted before we could view them.  Some were printed, but were just vitriol.  A lot of them of them did not speak well for the readership of The Boston Globe.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, January 11, 2019

Warren Run Update—Watch Tulsi Gabbard

For John, BLUFThere may be a number of not brain dead candidates in the Democratic Party.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From CNN, today.

Here is the tweet:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says she will run for president in 2020. "I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week," the Hawaii Democrat and Iraq War veteran told CNN's @VanJones68
That would be US Rep Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hi).  In 2016 she was a "Bernie Bro".

To quote Wikipedia:

Gabbard supports abortion rights, opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has called for a restoration of the Glass–Steagall Act, and changed her stance to support same-sex marriage in 2012.  She is critical of aspects of American government policy regarding Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and opposes removing the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad from power.
So, in some ways she more aligned with Senator Warren than Senator K Harris, and thus on the Trump edge of her Party.  The election of 2020 should prove to be interesting.

She announced her pursuit of the Presidency today, 11 January 2018.

Regards  —  Cliff

Who Are We Following?

For John, BLUFEveryone has a religion, even if it is Atheism.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr David P Goldman, 11 January 2019.

Here is the lede:

Jews around the world tomorrow hear Parsha Bo (Exodus 10:1 to 13:16) declaimed in the synagogue, recounting the last of the biblical plagues, the killing of Egypt’s first-born, and our midnight departure from Egypt.  It is a solemn moment in our religious calendar.  Our rabbis emphasize that God did not simply rescue us from Egyptian bondage, but brought a terrible judgment against their gods.  Lord, hear our cry, and bring judgment against the pagan gods who are worshipped today!
Who are these modern day Pharaohs?  Read the short article to find out.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Senator E Warren Goes Middle Class

For John, BLUFRepublicans should be paying attention here.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Way back on 26 December of 2018, the Blogger Ann Althouse gave us this post, which is Pollster and Number Analyst Nate Silver saying:

I mention this because I think folks are too quickly dismissing the Presidential hopeful, Senator E Warren of Massachusetts.

I am think that, in her own stumbling way, Senator Warren is working to combine her Progressive credentials with her Midwest background.  That would give her the best of both worlds and a shot at voters that perhaps only former VEEP Joe Biden could get for the Democrats.

Look at what she brings to the game:

This is something that can be built on.

If Ms Salina Zito (The Great Revolt) is correct in suggesting the mantle of "Hope and Change" fell from President Obama's shoulders onto Candidate Trump's, then perhaps Senator Warren recognizes this and is hoping she can slip it onto her shoulders, appealing to those folks across the Fruited Plain who still are looking for a better outcome.  While still retaining sufficient Coastal Progressives who vote Democrat.

I don't see many other Democratic Party hopefuls able to do this.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Right to Sue

For John, BLUFThis reminds me of nothing more than the "Voting" lawsuit against Lowell, ongoing.  It is a money making scam for the lawyers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The ADA litigation monster continues to run amok.

From , by Mark Pulliam January 10, 2019.

Here is the lede plus four:

Is it Beyoncé’s fault that some of her fans are blind?  Is the performer a “public accommodation,” like a hotel, restaurant, or department store?  Is it society’s obligation to rectify all misfortunes in life’s lottery?  These questions may seem silly, but they lie at the heart of a cottage industry of abusive class-action litigation against websites pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a well-intentioned but poorly conceived—and horribly drafted—law that continues to generate unintended consequences decades following its passage in 1990.  Computer users afflicted with various disabilities—blind consumers seem especially litigious—regularly sue companies hosting websites that allegedly aren’t sufficiently “accommodating” of their condition.  Beyoncé and her website (, through her management company, became their latest target.

The federal court complaint naming Beyoncé, as is typical of this predatory genre, is a cookie-cutter document.  Both the plaintiff and her lawyer are serial ADA litigants, sometimes referred to as “ADA trolls.”  Given the lack of any fixed legal standard for “web accessibility,” almost any grievance involving the technical features of a website is litigable, and there is no shortage of contingent-fee lawyers eager to file suit.  The principal requirement: a defendant with deep pockets.  With 22 Grammy awards to her credit, the phenomenally successful Beyoncé qualifies.  She and her husband, rapper Jay-Z, reportedly have a net worth over $1 billion.

Such lawsuits plague merchants engaged in e-commerce, even though the ADA was enacted before the advent of the Internet.  Wheelchair ramps and restroom grab rails are among the accommodations that businesses with physical premises must provide for disabled patrons, pursuant to regulations adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice to implement the ADA.  No such rules exist for websites.  Congress’s silence on the topic has not deterred disabled consumers from filing extortionate lawsuits under the ADA.  Most businesses choose to settle to avoid exorbitant (and unrecoverable) defense costs.

As I’ve pointed out in City Journal, applying the ADA to websites exposes businesses to “the worst of both worlds:  mandates without directions.”  The Beyoncé lawsuit is an example.  She is not a “brick and mortar” establishment.  She is an entertainer—singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer—with a huge social media presence. is primarily a marketing platform to update fans and promote her music and upcoming live shows.  The site, brimming with photos of the star and archived media coverage, also advertises her line of fragrances and peddles some themed swag and inexpensive apparel such as t-shirts and sweats.  It’s basically a cyber fan club.

For plaintiff Mary Connor, a visually impaired New York resident who requires screen-reading software to read website content on her computer, represents nefarious discrimination in violation of Title III of the ADA because it is an exclusively visual interface, making it impossible for Connor and other visually impaired customers to browse the site or make purchases without the assistance of a sighted companion. - In this respect, the website is no different than a newspaper, magazine, or mail-order catalog. Connor’s specific complaint is that she wanted to buy an embroidered hoodie but couldn’t, denying her the “full and equal access to, and enjoyment of, the goods, benefits and services of”  The class-action lawsuit seeks to compel Beyoncé to add features to make the website accessible to blind and visually impaired users, and—of course—to receive “compensatory damages” and attorneys’ fees.  Alternatively, Beyoncé could simply shut down or discontinue selling themed merchandise on the site, inconveniencing millions of her sighted fans—an outcome that apparently does not concern Connor.

It is bad, but not as bad as if there weren't laws and lawyers.  Or as bad as a system were we couldn't sue when we see injustice.  Sue on!

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Don't Believe Everything on Facebook

For John, BLUFThe social media tools are out there and being used.  We all need to be heads up.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Ms Debra Heine, 9 January 2019.

If it was a Republican it would be news.  As it is, it was a Democrat, so just move along.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Hindu Defends Catholics

For John, BLUFIt is a stretch, but not much of a stretch, to say US Progressives are becoming Communist China-like in terms of resistance to Christianity.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From National Review, by Ms Alexandra DeSanctis, 9 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus four:

Representative Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii, published an op-ed in The Hill yesterday, implicitly criticizing two of her fellow Democratic congresswomen for subjecting a judicial nominee to a religious test as a result of his Catholic faith and his long-time membership in the Knights of Columbus.

Though she doesn’t mention them by name, Gabbard was referring to Democratic senators Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), both of whom have targeted federal judicial nominee Brian Buescher for his Catholicism, and the latter of whom has demanded that he drop his membership in the Knights and recuse himself from any case on which the organization has taken a position.

Gabbard does explicitly cite the controversial comments of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), who in the fall of 2017 questioned circuit-court nominee Amy Coney Barrett about her Catholic faith during her confirmation hearing, saying, “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.” Feinstein’s remark received significant backlash from the right, and from Catholics in particular, who rightly noted the senator’s obvious implication that practicing Catholics are not suited to serve on U.S. courts as a result of their faith.

“While I oppose the nomination of Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, I stand strongly against those who are fomenting religious bigotry, citing as disqualifiers Buescher’s Catholicism and his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus,” Gabbard went on. More from her op-ed:

The party that worked so hard to convince people that Catholics and Knights of Columbus like Al Smith and John F. Kennedy could be both good Catholics and good public servants shows an alarming disregard of its own history in making such attacks today. We must call this out for what it is – religious bigotry. . . . Elected leaders engaging in religion-baiting are playing with fire.
This activity Representative Gabbard has called out is just wrong, but not without precedent.  Remember the Know Nothing's?

The Progressives, the Secular Humanists, can drive religious people out of the public square, but only by destroying the First Amendment.  And it won't succeed in destroying belief in God.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Fight, Mr President

For John, BLUFSome don't wish for the President to back down.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:


From Webutante, 8 January 2018.

And this from Fox News:

Sen. Graham:  Republicans 'Deserve to Be Punished' If They Give in on Border Security
Here is the lede plus three:
President Trump now needs to back up his very fine speech tonight in favor of legal immigration by controlling illegal entry to the United States.

He must not back down. Congress certainly has as it has dilly dallied on this issue for decades, making promises, passing bills to fund a border wall which has never been implemented.  Mr.Trump has drawn the line for the American people and forced a crisis that's long, long overdue.  Good for him.  Now the president must not let this crisis go to waste.  He must not back down. Real leadership is taking a stand and letting the chips fall where they may.

President Trump is doing the right thing for the American people.  He's doing the right thing for his presidency.  Trump needs to hang tough for as long as it takes.  He must not back down.

He can not back down now.  Thank you President Trump for taking this tough, hard stand against the entrenched powers and principalities of the air.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


For John, BLUFWe have to do a better job of teaching parenting.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Real Clear Investigations, by Ms Helene Stapinski, 7 January 2019.

Here are two key paragraphs:

Chronic absenteeism plagues public education in general across the United States.  The U.S. Department of Education recently reported that about one in seven students missed 15 days or more during the 2013-14 school year.  Although these numbers are not broken down by race, ethnicity and class, experts say that the problem is especially acute in high-poverty schools, including those where many students take English as a second language.  The stakes for these children are especially significant because school is often a gateway to American culture as well as career opportunities. 

But because of the highly charged atmosphere surrounding immigration, hardly anyone wants to talk about the problem of truancy.  [David] Ishibashi [executive director of the Youth Success Network] was one of the few officials who would even agree to be quoted by name regarding the problem among immigrant families.  Most school advocates and immigration experts interviewed by RealClearInvestigations would speak only on condition of anonymity.

One of the issues here is parental responsibility, and how to instill it.  Another is adaptation to the nominal American Culture. Otherwise, why did you come here?

Read the whole short article!

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Democratic Party Future

For John, BLUFWhere is the Democratic Party and where is it going?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

To counter Donald Trump, and to prepare for 2020, the Party needs to think big.

From The New Yorker, by Ms Margaret Talbot, 14 January 2018.

Here is the lede plus two:

One of the worst side effects of Trumpism is the way that it drives its opponents into reactive mode, amid an atmosphere of cooked-up chaos.  Donald Trump wants to build a “great, great wall,” and last week he considered declaring a national emergency to do it, despite the fact that illegal border crossings have drastically decreased since 2000, and that many of those trying to cross these days are women and children who are not evading border guards but seeking them out, to ask for asylum.  At the outset of 2019, we’re in the second week of a partial government shutdown—which Trump said could last for months or years—because congressional Democrats have had to take his fixation seriously and insist that they won’t allocate the five billion dollars that he wants for the wall.  (The actual costs of a concrete barrier could climb as high as forty billion dollars, according to an analysis in M.I.T. Technology Review, and a report from the Government Accountability Office warns that the wall could “cost more than projected, take longer than planned, or not fully perform as expected.”)

Democrats are offering two compromises that would reopen government agencies and give the Department of Homeland Security $1.3 billion to improve border-security technology and other measures, including fortified fencing.  Meanwhile, some sense of the psychological vagaries that Democrats have to contend with can be derived from the increasingly peculiar way that Trump talks about the wall, as though it were not a policy but a totem—for the protection of his own ego, perhaps.  “The wheel, the wall, some things never get old,” he said last week, at a rambling Cabinet meeting.

Still, whatever compromise is eventually reached to reopen the government, the best path forward for the Democrats as they take over the House of Representatives—the most effective way to counter the Administration’s frantic, unmoored agenda-setting, while also motivating voters for 2020—will be to pursue ambitious ideas.  These could include the once utopian-sounding Medicare for All; a Green New Deal, to combat climate change while creating jobs; a national fifteen-dollar minimum wage; and a Voting Rights Advancement Act, to revive some of the protections that the Supreme Court eradicated in 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder.

Of course this depends on the individual Democrats being able to stay sane and stable, but they don't seem to have a good track record in that area.

There is, also before us, the Example of Senator E Warren, who seems to be combining her left wing experience with a sense of the issues of flyover land, perhaps based upon her experiences growing up in Oklahoma and time living in Texas.

I am wondering when we will see a like item from The New Yorker with regard to the GOP.

Regards  —  Cliff

Countering Extremism

For John, BLUFI think these are ideas (at the article) that Congress should look at.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Brookings Institution, by Mr Eric Rosand, 4 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus two:

Democrats taking control of the U.S. House today with the start of the 116th Congress have a long and growing list of policy (as well as investigative) priorities. Included on it should be the development of an appropriate national framework for preventing extremist violence of any type in the United States, whether committed by a white supremacist, a neo-Nazi, or someone inspired by ISIS or al-Qaida propaganda. The Trump administration ignored the request from the 115th Congress to submit such a framework by June 2018 and has cut funding for locally-led prevention efforts. The new Congress should act.

Plenty has been written about the shortcomings in the United States in this area. The focus is typically on the unhelpfully labelled “CVE” (countering violent extremism) efforts in this country, which lag behind those of most U.S. allies. Some place the blame on the executive branch; some argue for more leadership and solutions from civil society and other non-governmental organizations; some simply say CVE doesn’t work.

Yet few point to the absence of any bipartisan congressional leadership on this topic. That dereliction of duty has been striking, particularly given the steady rise in anti-Semitic incidents, hate crimes, and far-right extremist attacks. The 115th Congress passed legislation and appropriated funds ($10 million) to the U.S. Institute of Peace to develop a comprehensive plan to prevent violent extremism in Africa and the Middle East. But what about violent extremism at home?

His five ides make some sense, but I am not sure they will work here as well as they work in Canada.  Remember, Canada doesn't have a First Ameendment.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, January 4, 2019

Blame For Shutdown

For John, BLUFIs President Trump winning the "long game" on shutdown?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The FiveThirtyEight Blog, by Mr Nathaniel Rakich, 4 January 2019.

Before Christmas those polled tended to blame the President for the partial Federal shutdown.  Subsequently, there has been a shift to Congress, but with Congressional Republicans leading in taking blame.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Will House Take Up Impeachment?

For John, BLUFImpeachment is just the opening round.  Getting a conviction in the Senate is a harder row to hoe.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Hot Air, by [Captain] Ed Morrissey, 3 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

It was the question of the 2018 midterms: will Democrats use a House majority to pursue impeachment of Donald Trump?  The answer was always consistent — That would be “premature.”  We need to wait for Robert Mueller to finish up.  No, no, no …

Er … yes

Well, there is this headline from today's LA Times:
California’s Rep. Brad Sherman to introduce impeachment measure
It reads, in part:
Rep. Brad Sherman plans to introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump on Thursday, the first day of Democratic control of the House.

Sherman (D-Northridge) is reintroducing a measure that he first rolled out in 2017.  But this year it carries more political significance:  The decision of whether to act on it rests with Democrats — not Trump’s Republican allies.

Sherman’s articles of impeachment accuse Trump of obstructing justice by firing former FBI Director James B. Comey, among other wrongdoing.

All they have to do is be calm and deliberate and they can't even do that.

By the way, Mr James Comey needed to be fired and it is possible a President Clinton would have done the same.  I believe Rep Sherman is either not well informed about the clue bag or he is just hiding behind a Democratic Party Wall, build to keep out, not illegal aliens, but, the truth.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Pondering the Way Ahead in the Middle East

For John, BLUFI would chip in that I am much less impressed with a bureaucracy in Foggy Bottom, and the Pentagon, that didn't figure out where the President was going and get ahead of him to give him decent options—or maybe they did, which is why there is, apparently, Sunni Arab backfill in Syria.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr Richard Fernandez (Wretchard), 21 December 2018.

The discussion is about withdrawal from Syria, but it is also about the larger regional and global strategic issues.  Then it ends with this thought:

With any luck the Syria controversy will jolt the public awake and restart a debate on these issues.  We must learn to re-recognize our world.  One of the biggest dangers for a purposeless hegemon is getting tied down in outposts purely for legacy reasons.  The MENA region probably still remembers how Lawrence of Arabia beat the Ottoman Empire.  Lawrence's amazing counsel to to Faisal to avoid capturing Medina is instructive even today:
We must not take Medina.  The Turk was harmless there.  In prison in Egypt he would cost us food and guards.  We wanted him to stay at Medina, and every other distant place, in the largest numbers.  Our ideal was to keep his railway just working, but only just, with the maximum of loss and discomfort....  [His] pride in his imperial heritage would keep him in his present absurd position -- all flanks and no front.
The great danger is that someone -- there is an enemy right? -- is playing the same game on Washington's bureaucrats.  The conflicts accumulated over the War on Terror years may have become America's Medinas.  Trump may be wrong about withdrawing from Syria, or he may be right.  The important thing to understand is why.
MENA is "Middle East and North Africa".

Ponder away.

Hat tip to Ms Sarah Hoyt, at the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Did Developer Trump Read The Times?

For John, BLUFOne of my Sons thinks I am unreasonable to hold the eight decade old Walter Duranty Fake News series on the Holodomor against The Old Gray Lady.  Thus, I welcome fresh ammunition.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Former New York Times editor slams publication as being unmistakably anti-Trump, younger employees throw out standards

From Fox News, by Reporter Howard Kurtz, 2 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus two:

A former executive editor of the New York Times says the paper’s news pages, the home of its straight-news coverage, have become “unmistakably anti-Trump.”

Jill Abramson, the veteran journalist who led the newspaper from 2011 to 2014, says the Times has a financial incentive to bash the president and that the imbalance is helping to erode its credibility.

In a soon-to-be published book, “Merchants of Truth,” that casts a skeptical eye on the news business, Abramson defends the Times in some ways but offers some harsh words for her successor, Dean Baquet. And Abramson, who was the paper’s only female executive editor until her firing, invoked Steve Bannon’s slam that in the Trump era the mainstream media have become the “opposition party.”

Yes, this is about you buying the book, Merchants of Truth:  The Business of News and the Fight for Facts, which isn't available until 5 February.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Economics Is A Driver In Life

For John, BLUFFree market principles to the rescue.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Town Hall, by Dr Walter E. Williams, 2 January 2019.

Wherein Professor Williams argues that the solution to Black problems is to be found within the Black community.  Not by separation, but by rejection of the socialist like principles of modern liberals.

It makes sense to me, but what do I know?

Hat tip to an EMail Correspondent.

Regards  —  Cliff

Shrinking Venezuela

For John, BLUFAt the InstPundit This was introduced with the phrase "LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM".  Indeed.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Beeb, by BBC South America correspondent Katy Watson, 30 December 2018.

Here is the lede plus four:

In Venezuela, the discussion about how long to stay, or where to flee and how to begin a new life, is never far from many people's minds. Every time I visit the country, there are fewer friends and contacts to catch up with.

An estimated 5,000 people pack up their lives and leave every day, eager to flee the economic collapse and humanitarian crisis which has beset the oil-rich nation.

More than 3m people have fled Venezuela in recent years. According to the UN, that number is expected to rise to more than 5m by the end of 2019.

The vast majority of Venezuelans travel to other parts of South America.  More than a million Venezuelans have chosen neighbouring Colombia as their new home, with half a million more travelling through it on their way further south to Ecuador, Peru and the countries beyond.

The lucky ones, those with connections, family members already established and an education, have found work in other parts.  But I've also met plenty of former professionals selling water or food on the streets of Peru and Colombia to make ends meet.

Tell me again why we have proud [Democratic] Socialists in the US Democratic Party?  Would they prefer living in Venezuela?  There are apparently three million people out there who think such people would be wrong, and so voted with their feet.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ukraine's East Under Threat

For John, BLUFThe Russia irritation with Ukraine is not going away, at least under President Putin.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Defense News, by Reporter Kyle Rempfer, 1 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus four:

After Russia fired on two Ukrainian naval ships in late November, seizing the vessels and crew, tensions between Russia and the West waxed and waned in a succession that has become all too common.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea roughly five years ago, and sponsorship of separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region, brought similar condemnation from the U.S. and its NATO allies, as did the Russian annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia in 2008.

And yet those breakaway regions remain under Russian control, as the Kremlin proves that geographic boundaries can be redrawn without much more than stern words from the West.  But absent harsher measures and greater push-back, the former commander of U.S. Army Europe warns that the Russian Federation won’t let up.

“I think they won’t stop until they completely own the Sea of Azov and have choked out Ukraine’s very important seaport of Mariupol," said retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who helmed U.S. European Command’s Army component from late 2014 through 2017.

During his tenure, Hodges helped oversee the largest buildup of U.S. troops and base infrastructure since the Cold War, as Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a quest for client states to buffer against what he sees as NATO’s own expansionism.

To be fair, the two Ukraine naval vessels were barges with field artillery pieces mounted, but the point is a good one.  The Russians are acting like imperialist bullies.  This is not a good thing for a member of the UN Security Council with veto power.  This is made worse by the Budapest Agreement, signed by the US and Russia.  Without the agreement and assurances this would be a confrontation between nuclear armed nations.

All those people, all those pundits and Democrats, weeping crocodile tears over us pulling out of Syria, should ponder this situation and its potential for trouble in 2019.

Hat tip to the Defense News.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New York State's New AG to Crack Down on Citizen Trump

For John, BLUFThe bsession of some with President Trump could derail our system of government.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is Blogger Ann Althouse's take on The New York Times article "N.Y.’s New Attorney General Is Targeting Trump. Will Judges See a ‘Political Vendetta?’", by Reporter Jeffery C. Mays, 31 December 2018.

Here is the key paragraph:

"She calls him an 'illegitimate president.'  She says her decision to run for attorney general was largely 'about that man in the White House who can’t go a day without threatening our fundamental rights.'...  Her strident attacks on the president could potentially threaten the legal standing of cases that her office brings against Mr. Trump, his family members or their business interests, legal experts said....  In an interview, Ms. James defended her remarks about the president, adding that she believed that her race and gender were shaping what she characterized as assumptions and misconceptions about how she would perform as attorney general.  Ms. James is the first woman in New York to be elected as attorney general, the first African-American woman to be elected to statewide office, and the first African-American to serve as attorney general.  Before winning election, she was the New York City public advocate.  'This is similar to when I was about to take office as public advocate, and individuals expressed concerns,' Ms. James said.  'What I have done repeatedly throughout my life is I have been underestimated and have continued to perform.'"
I wonder if this approach will end up with the Federal Government turning on individual State Attorneys General, to the detriment of the Constitutional separation of powers and our political process?

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Happy New Year

For John, BLUFI just wanted a vehicle to check on the date rolling.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Regards  —  Cliff