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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Will Mr Richard Cohen (Formerly SPLC CEO) Ever Go Away?

For John, BLUFThe United States is no longer a live and let live land.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller, by Mr Peter Hasson, 22 March 2019.

Here is the lede plus four:

Southern Poverty Law Center president Richard Cohen resigned Friday, in the latest blow to the embattled left-wing nonprofit.

Cohen’s resignation came nine days after the SPLC fired co-founder Morris Dees on March 13, citing unspecified conduct issues.

Cohen announced his resignation in a staff-wide email Friday evening, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Whatever problems exist at the SPLC happened on my watch, so I take responsibility for them,” Cohen’s email read, according to the Times.

Current and former SPLC employees have accused the organization of turning a blind eye to sexual harassment and racial discrimination within its own ranks.

And yet, the SPLC, and Mr Cohen, have been continuing to try to take down American Citizens, and their volunteer organizations, who do not conform exactly to what the SPLC believes to be the pure motives they believe they have.

The SPLC reminds me of Between the Wars Organization that tried to enforce cultural conformance.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Right Thinking vs the President

For John, BLUFFor a hundred years the Progressives have been trying to steer the nation along the right path, garnering ever more power, from a Congress anxious to relinquish that power.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New Neo, 31 October 2019.

To read the article, go to the link above.  The key point of the Blog Post is that members of the Bureaucracy believe themselves to the the superior protectors of America, regardless of the plans of the elected leadership who ran on certain policies, and were elected on those policies.

See what NewNeo has to say.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

A House Divided

For John, BLUFWe are a nation divided and in need of someone who can bridge that divide.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The American Conservative, by Columnist Rod Dreher, 4 October 2019.

As we go into a possible Impeachment trial in the US Senate this article by Mr Dreher looks to how the middle of the nation things, keying off of an article by New York Times Opinionator David Brooks (an original Never Trumper), in which he imagines a conversation between “Urban Guy” and “Flyover Man”, who is sticking with Trump.

Worth the read.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Nadler Is Incompetent?

For John, BLUFThat would be US Representative Jerry Nadler, Democrat from New York and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Examiner, by Columnist Byron York, 31 October 2019.

The House resolution to start an Impeachment inquiry has passed, 232 to 196, with 4 not voting.  Here is an excerpt from the column:

"It says they are authorized to disclose depositions," Meadows noted, "which means they can pick and choose which depositions they will release."  Perhaps Schiff will release them all.  But he doesn't have to.

The resolution would also give Schiff the authority to call and conduct public hearings on impeachment.  Schiff will control the witnesses.  Although there has been some discussion about whether Republicans will have the right to call witnesses, the resolution only gives the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Community, Rep. Devin Nunes, the right to ask Schiff to call a witness.

"To allow for full evaluation of minority witness requests, the ranking minority member may submit to the chair, in writing, any requests for witness testimony relevant to the investigation," the resolution says.  "Any such request shall be accompanied by a detailed written justification of the relevance of the testimony of each requested witnesses to the investigation."  Republicans will get nothing that Schiff does not approve.

"There's no guarantee we can call any witnesses," said Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a member of the Intelligence Committee, in an interview Wednesday.

"The rules the Democrats rammed through simply confirm the absolute control Schiff has been exercising this entire time," Nunes said.  "He shouldn't be involved in impeachment at all since none of this has any intelligence component, but Pelosi obviously thinks Nadler is incompetent."

That was a reference to Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.  The Judiciary panel traditionally handles impeachments, but after disastrous hearings with Robert Mueller and Corey Lewandowski, Nadler did not inspire confidence that he could run a successful impeachment effort.  So Pelosi passed him by in favor of Schiff.

We are off to the races.  I hope there are no major miscalculations by any of the parties.

For sure, to me, this looks like an effort to undo the 2016 election, the one Ms Clinton lost, due to over confidence.  That is sad.  Andy Jackson though he was rooked out of the Presidency in 1824, but his approach was to win big in 1828.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Impeachment vs Campaigning vs Gov't Shutdown

For John, BLUFI thought the Speaker was more clever than this.  But, then, I thought this was really about driving Former VEEP Biden out of the race.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On Twitter, Mr Ben Domenech, 29 October 2019.

Here is the Twitter thread:

Ben Domenech
@bdomenech · Oct 29
Expectations on both sides of Capitol Hill now moving toward a House impeachment vote not even happening until January, guaranteeing Senators running for president will be pulled from the trail in month before voting begins.

Ben Domenech
Needless to say, this irks campaign staff, who wish things would accelerate.  The possibility of Warren, Sanders, Harris, Booker, and Klobuchar unable to campaign right before Iowa while Biden and Buttigieg are free to do so is not sitting well.
10:42 AM · Oct 29, 2019·Twitter for Android

Ben Domenech

Oct 29
Replying to
The conventional wisdom of a vote by Thanksgiving having evaporated, now there's worry that the House is spending far too much time behind closed doors, drawing things out. That's as much of a factor in the Pelosi shift to a process vote as GOP pressure, I'm told.

Then there is the question of passing the Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2020, which started on 1 October of 2019.  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was today whinging about President Trump delaying approval of the Federal Budget to delay Impeachment proceedings.  It is just as likely the Democrats will use the Impeachment proceedings as a way of trying to force unwanted spending onto the President.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Change of Course

For John, BLUFPresident Trump was elected by Voters who want the swamp drained or just didn't want Ms Clinton elected.  I think it was a shock to Congress as well.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Althouse Blog, by Professor Ann Althouse, 30 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

"Have we ever had a chief executive who is so skeptical of the judgments of career diplomats and military leaders, who rejects the advice of top intelligence leaders, who trusts his family more than those with a lifetime of experience?  Yes we have.  And his name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy....  Throughout Kennedy’s presidency, he came more and more to distrust the received wisdom of the 'permanent government' or 'deep state' or 'military-industrial complex' or whatever term seems apt today. In his case, that skepticism may have saved the planet from nuclear annihilation....  [I]n the reflexive rush to criticize Trump, we risk forgetting the lesson of the Kennedy years:  There is danger in relying too heavily on the 'wisdom' of the elders.  A president with a well-honed resistance to the certainties of experts and a strong sense of history can be a crucial protection against disaster..."

From "When JFK Was Trump/In the rush to criticize the current president, we risk forgetting the lesson of the Kennedy years: There is danger in relying too heavily on the 'wisdom' of the elders" by Jeff Greenfield (in Politico).

I think the Professor, and Mr Greenfield are on to something.  The Bureaucracy is like a 550,000 DWT Super Tanker.  Gets a lot done, but does not change course very quickly.  President’s are elected to maintain course, or to change course.  President’s Kennedy and Trump were elected by Voters who wanted a new course.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tug of War

For John, BLUF.Tensions are rising and the rhetoric is rising.  Time to calm down a bit.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From According to Hoyt, by Author Sarah A Hoyt, 28 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Have you ever been in a tug of war? One with a fraying rope?  Probably not.

I suspect most tugs of war in the US would be supervised contexts, either at school or in other circumstances.

But I’ve had tugs of war with rotting rope.  It looks fine, and suddenly it parts.  And both sides fall.  Hard.  Sometimes there are injuries.

I wonder how many people out there are oblivious to the fact that we’re in a cold civil war.

I’d known it for over a decade, back when I was reading at Classical Values and saw the situation framed in that way.

But it became clearest to me over Sad Puppies.

Look, I’m not an infant.  or a child.  I knew the establishment in science fiction was hard left.  I knew it well enough to keep my mouth shut till I couldn’t anymore.

I even knew there was a style of science fiction being pushed hard.  “Literary.”  And I know what Literary means these days.

Well, it means what it does every age, right?  The prestige writing, the type the contemporary critics value is that which displays the marks of an excellent education and hews to that which professors of literature (or the gentry, mutatis, mutandis) say books/plays/poetry should do.

As Winston said, "Jaw, Jaw, Jaw is better than war, war, war.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ilhan Omar Choose Poorly

For John, BLUFBless her little heart, she just doesn't understand the larger cultural ramifications.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This InstaPundit Blog post, by Mr Ed Driscoll, was up on 30 October 2019.

Here is the post:

UNEXPECTEDLY:  Ilhan Omar one of three House reps to vote ‘present’ on Armenia genocide bill.  “Omar refused to back a resolution Tuesday that recognized the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during WWI as a ‘genocide.'”
How her District votes in 2020 will tell us more about the Voters than it will about her.

To me, it seems this issue is exacerbated by the modern Republic of Turkey not being able to break with the Ottoman Empire, which it replaced in 1923.  If a distinction could be draw then there might be reconciliation.  But, it would require recognition that terrible things happened, things Representative Omar can't see—"some people did something."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Comparisons to Uncle Joe

For John, BLUFWe need some sense of balance in our discussions of who President Donald Trump is in the spread of history.  Comparisons to Adolph Hitler or Joseph Stalin seem over the top.  We need some historic perspective.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is a throwback by half a year, but with Impeachment heating up it is still of interest.

From The New Reform Club, by Blogger Seth Barrett Tillman, 11 April 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Professor ZZZ asks:  “Trump is not Stalin but in the history of national (federal) political figures in this country, I’m wondering … where [would] you put Trump? … Having a POTUS so publicly awful along those lines lowers the horrible bar so dramatically that we will pay for years to come.  Not being Stalin but being Roy Cohn is a hell of a legacy.”
One of the comparisons by Mr Tillman was to President Woodrow Wilson.  Remember, the President who resegregated the Federal Civil Service. Even as the House works toward formally and properly regularizing Impeachment of President Donald Trump, the inability to maintain perspective is astonishing.  I wouldn't presume to compare President Jefferson Davis to Joseph Stalin.  Do our schools not help students understand who Joseph Stalin was?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Compensation for Harassment

For John, BLUFA President distracted by Impeachment, whose supporters are distracted by Impeachment, deserves to have a shot at making up the time lost.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Blog Allahpundit, 25 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

A fun what-if from author William Mattox, who notes that enacting his idea as a constitutional amendment would set up a second Trump/Clinton election — Bill Clinton, that is.

Don’t laugh.  The Clenis is two months younger than Trump and several years younger than both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.  America deserves a chance to see if the Clintons collectively can go four-for-four on winning the popular vote without ever actually winning a clear majority.

Mattox’s idea is a bad one on balance but his core concern, raising the cost of trivial impeachment attempts, is valid enough.  And maybe prescient given the drift in American politics towards hyperpartisanship.

In that spirit, here’s an idea for dealing with impeachment fatigue.  In the National Football League, teams can challenge a call on the field—but there’s a risk.  If instant replay doesn’t merit overturning the call, the challenging team loses one of its three timeouts.  That discourages frivolous challenges and keeps the game flowing, while also providing a way to reverse egregious errors.

Why not amend the Constitution so that any president who is impeached and acquitted is permitted to serve a third term?  That would allow him to make up for the time lost advancing the agenda that voters elected him to enact.  It would preserve impeachment for genuine offenses but discourage its use for disputed ones and for mere politics.  Absent such an amendment, and in an era when government is divided more often than not, impeachment seems likely to become an increasingly common means of opposition.

Making up for the time lost seems exactly right.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Mattress Girl Today

For John, BLUFPeople faced with large, apparently indifferent institutions either knuckle under or become obnoxious and obstreperous.  The Red Pill mentioned represents seeking reality, as opposed to living in a comfortable fantasy world that fits one's hopes and dreams.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

At the very least, she’s found a new social set.

From The Cut, by Reporter Sylvie McNamara, 28 October 2019.

This article is about Ms Emma Sulkowicz, who you might remember as "Mattress Girl", from her protest while a student at Columbia University.  She was protesting what she saw as the University's lack of action vis-a-via the man she accused of rapping her.  Here is the second paragraph of the article:

Five years ago, while a student at Columbia, Sulkowicz lugged a dorm-issue, extra-long twin mattress around campus for as long as she had to attend school with her alleged rapist.  This was Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight), a globally viral art piece that made visible the weight of campus sexual assault. It transformed Sulkowicz into an icon.  Since then, her artworks have regularly roused the internet: a video of her reenacting her assault, a bondage performance at the Whitney that doubled as institutional critique. This past spring, she tweeted an image that was perhaps even more provocative:  a photo of her grinning alongside two of her libertarian critics — not performance art, she insists, but a byproduct of her new curiosity about other views.
At the time of Ms Sulkowicz's mattress toting I thought of her as an over the top deologue.  Based On this article I think I would enjoy knowing her and would find discussions with her interesting  On the other hand, those leaving comments sound like Progressive Prigs.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, October 26, 2019

James Comey to Move?

For John, BLUFSome Americans have not been able to recognize and accept the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, and it makes their political commentary somewhat cramped and misanthropic.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

‘Our leaders cannot be people who lie all the time’

From Grabien News, by Reporter Tom Elliott, 26 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Mr Comey talks about lies, and that may well be an area where he has expertise.

As for this promise to move to New Zealand, by Mr Comey, I hope that this is not another one of those "Hollywood Promise", which holds much promise, but in the end is hot air.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

Getting Justice in Trump's DC

For John, BLUFJustice, viewed through a partisan lens, is not justice.  Further, the proliferation of laws means that Federal Prosecutors can go after an accused six ways from Sunday, more often than not, forcing a plea deal  Look what they are doing to Actress Lori Laughlin for asking for her right to a trial by a jury of her peers.  Yes, she did wrong and deserves punishment, but this kind of bullying is wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The David J Harris Show, by Reporter Rich Welsh, 25 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Sidney Powell, General Michael Flynn’s new attorney, filed a 37-page motion on Thursday that alleges that FBI agents manipulated the official 302 records of the former national security adviser’s 2017 interview with now fired and disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok. That manipulation of the records was what led to the general being charged with lying to FBI investigators.

The motion is requesting that the government produce all evidence as it relates to Flynn asking the court to “dismiss the entire prosecution for outrageous government misconduct” and hold the prosecutors in contempt.

Lawyer Sidney Powell was the person who Rescued Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) from his corruption conviction by showing that the Department of Justice prosecutors had acted unethically, withholding exculpatory evidence, violating the Brady Rule.

The "302" is the fOrm the FBI uses to formalize an interviewer's notes.  It is the formal record of the FBI Agent's interview of someone who they talked to.  No, they don't use the modern tape recorder or the even more modern video recorder.

I would like Attorney General Barr, or the US Congress, to drag the FBI into the late Twentieth Century by mandating the use of electronic recording devices in formal settings.

It is interesting to me that the Federal Judge who picked up the Flynn case when the previous judge stepped aside, is Judge Emmet G Sullivan, who took over the Senator Stevens case and brought justice to Senator Stevens and a rebuke to DoJ.

And,it would be nice if the Congress passed legislation removing Qualified Immunity protections from Federal Prosecutors and Law Enforcement personnel who abuse their positions to abuse the innocent.  And then DoJ starting enforcing it, recognizing that even some of its own sin from time to time.I wouldn’t,even mind if they later took back their now chastened employees.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Impeachment Vector?

For John, BLUFThe current investigation of President Trump and his actions in office seems like hearings seeking crime.  It is not a straight line.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Powerline Blog, by retired Minnesota Lawyer John H Hunderaker, 25 October 2019.

This short blog post talks to the weirdness of the current House Democrats preparation for a possible impeachment of President Trump.

As Fox News Commentator Dan Bongino said this morning, this isn’t yet an Impeachment.

In the back of my mind I wonder is this is really a "Deep DNC" effort to knock former Vice President Joe Biden out of the race, with the added benefit of throwing mud on President Trump.  It isn't like the DNC, in 2016, didn’t put its thumb on the scale during the Primary that gave us Ms Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party nominee.  It Speaker Pelosi working behind the scene to boost the chances of, say, Senator E Warren?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Sunspots Are Coming, Or Going

For John, BLUFPredicting the future is dicey, but it needs to be done.  And, in preparing for the future one must invest in the likely outcome, but also put some money in hedging against alternative futures.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez put a racial spin Wednesday on climate change and hurricanes, attributing emissions from “predominantly white” corporations and communities for juicing recent storms that cost “predominantly black and brown lives” in Louisiana and Puerto Rico.

Even as House Republicans argued that cheap electricity from fossil fuels has helped lift more than a billion people out of poverty around the world, the New York Democrat asked a witness about whether “the Global South and communities of color” bear the brunt of climate “havoc.”

“[T]he people that are producing climate change, the folks that are responsible for the largest amount of emissions, or communities, or corporations, they tend to be predominantly white, correct?” she asked at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties.

The National Wildlife Federation’s Mustafa Ali replied that “yes, and every study backs that up I know no one is intentionally trying to kill people and hurt people.”

But, looking back to April of this year, we have this headline:

From the Blog Behind the Black, by Mr Robert Zimmerman, 8 April 2019.

Here is the lede plus two:

Even though we are now deep into the beginning of what might become the first grand minimum in sunspot activity since the invention of the telescope, that does not mean the Sun has as yet stopped producing sunspots. Yesterday NOAA released its the monthly update of its tracking of the solar cycle, adding sunspot activity for March 2019 to its graph. Below is that graph, annotated by me to give it some context.

It shows the Sun with a slight burst in activity in March, suggesting that though we are now in the solar minimum that minimum still has the ability to produce sunspots.

At the same time, for me to say that we might be heading to a grand minimum, a time period lasting many decades where no sunspots are visible and the sunspot cycle essentially ceases, is not click bait or hyperbole. It is instead based on what I now think the solar science community is thinking, based on this very graph.

So, while we need to be looking at the environmental and engineering tradeoffs of global warming, we also need to be hedging against 50 years of global cooling.

The other thing is we need to talk about is the billion (repeat one billion) people we pulled out of abject poverty in the last quarter century.  We couldn't have done as much, as fast, without carbon fuels, Ms Ocasio-Cortez notwithstanding.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

One Needs Multiple Sources of News

For John, BLUFWhen much of the news media are Democratic Party operatives, or at least on the side of "Never Trump", one must make sure one samples a number of different news source, and then compare  As you do, John.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller, by Mr Andrew Wilford (National Taxpayers' Union Foundation), 15 April 2019.

This is from six months ago and will still be timely six months from now.

Here is the lede plus three:

While conservatives won the legislative war, polling shows that liberal groups are still winning the messaging battle around the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).  A very effective campaign convinced the American public that the “#GOPTaxScam” would take from their paychecks and hand the wealthy a tax cut.

That this factually-bankrupt campaign was able to take place with so little resistance (and sometimes even with support) from major media outlets may strike many as unsurprising, but the messengers don’t usually so publicly pat themselves on the back for deceiving the American public in an open forum.

That’s what happened this month when Vox writer Matthew Yglesias praised progressives on Twitter for how completely they misled American voters on tax reform.  “Nobody likes to give themselves credit for this kind of messaging success, but progressive groups did a really good job of convincing people that Trump raised their taxes when the facts say a clear majority got a tax cut,” Yglesias wrote in response to CNBC reporter John Harwood’s article about how just 17 percent of Americans think their taxes would go down.

There’s a reason people don’t like to give themselves credit for lying.  Approximately 80 percent of Americans received a net tax cut in 2018, while only 5 percent saw their taxes increase.  On top of this, the tax cut actually made the tax code more progressive, not less.

From my point of view the tax cut in 2017 were important in freeing up money to be spent by consumers and money to be invested by investors.  The result was a reduction in unemployment, through job creation.  On the other hand, confidence in what the Federal Government will do played a part.  Impeachment, If it comes, could damage that confidence, sending the economy in the other direction.  I wish us all the best of British luck.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Pierre Trudeau, Minority Winner

For John, BLUFOur neighbors to the North didn’t just vote in a minority Prime Minister, they voted in on whose party came in second place in the vote.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Power Line Blog, by Mr Steve Hayward, 22 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

A few days ago I was on a panel disputing the subject of replacing the current electoral college method of selecting the president with the “national popular vote compact,” in which states adding up to more than 270 electoral votes would pledge to cast their electoral votes for the national popular vote winner, regardless of how any particular state’s voters may have come out.  This effectively abolishes the electoral college.

Picture this scenario:  Trump wins the popular vote next year but loses the conventional electoral college narrowly, but under this scheme California’s electoral votes would go to Trump and make him the winner after all, even though he’ll likely lose the vote in California by 2.5 million or more.  Would this abject contradiction of local majority sentiment really please California voters?  I’d love to see this happen, just to watch liberal heads explode when yet another grand reform blows up in their faces.

One of the republican merits of the present electoral college system is that the winner’s electoral majority by necessity takes in or expresses a wider range of interests than are contained in a mere numerical majority, especially a numerical majority that is now so lopsided or concentrated in a few metropolitan areas on the coasts.  Take out Los Angeles County, the Bay Area, and the New York metro area, and Trump carries the rest of the country by a large majority.  Think those three urban areas are well representative of a cross-section of American interests and opinions?  Ask yourself this:  the most popular vehicle in America is the pickup truck.  Yet you don’t seen many pickup trucks in these major urban areas, and when you do they are typically owned and driven by small service enterprises.  Are the interests and opinions of pickup truck drivers (and NASCAR fans) less legitimate because they are not shared by a narrowly concentrated numerical majority?  Federalism and the electoral college are good means to strike a balance between majority rule and minority rights and interests, though I will admit that if I was a Democrat, seeing my party lose two presidential elections in 16 years due to this subtle system would drive me nuts, too.

Which brings me to Canada’s election.  Justin Trudeau is the “winner,” even though his party lost the popular vote!  The Conservative Party won the largest share of the vote, but Trudeau’s Liberal Party won more seats—though not an overall parliamentary majority—and will thus form a minority government.  (See chart below.)  CNN calls it “a humiliating night for Trudeau.”

I still like the Electoral College, for bringing in many parts of the nation.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

May I Say That?

For John, BLUFWe seem to be heading into an era where the bien-pennant decide what the rest of us may and may not say.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Victory Girls, 23 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Our republic is under attack.  The enemy isn’t standing on the outside, lobbing artillery across the border. The enemy is here, in our halls of justice and corridors of government.  They are the politicians who appear devoted to not just limiting but tearing down our First Amendment right to freedom of speech.  They are the men and women who won’t be satisfied until the nanny state they dream of becomes a reality.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Those 45 words form one of the cornerstones of our nation.  Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble and the right to petition the government for redress.  We fought a revolution to insure those freedoms and now too many of our elected officials want to sweep them out the door.  They don’t care that doing so will cause the foundations of our republic to crumble.  In fact, I have no doubt some of those pols hope that is exactly what happens.

In the last 24 hours or so, we’ve seen the three latest examples of lawmakers using their position to not only limit the freedom of speech but to do so in such a way that many of us could easily find ourselves in trouble with the law.

Here are the three:
  • Some college students in Connecticut shouting the n-word to no one in particular.
  • The President saying Lynching while Republican,
  • A Mass General Court State Rep introducing legislation to ban the use of "Bitch".
In fairness to State Rep Dan Hunt, he introduced it at the behest of one of his constituents, who asked him to.  It is his responsibility as a legislature in Massachusetts.

Free speech that does not allow for offensive speech is NOT free speech.  It is rank conformity and unworthy of a Democratic People.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Misreading the Voters

For John, BLUFThe Democratic Party elites missed the slow dissipation of their base in 2016 and may be missing it in the run up to 2020.  For sure, Mrs Clinton is..  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Examiner, by Reporter Salena Zito, 20 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

In the weeks, then months, and now years after losing the presidential election in 2016, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly demonstrated in speeches and television interviews she has no idea why she lost.  She has blamed everything from racism to Russia, from the media to sexism, from deplorables to backwards-looking stubborn nostalgia.

Now she’s out saying Trump’s presidency is illegitimate and that she would defeat him again.

She has not visibly reflected on the effects of her position on guns, her anti-fossil fuel talk, and her open embrace of globalism. She seemingly hasn’t considered the political cost of living within the bubbles in Washington, New York, and Hollywood.

Talk to Democrats today who live outside her bubble, those who either volunteered endless hours to help elect her or voted for her, and they will tell you that Clinton has no idea why she lost.  Worse, they see their party going down the same road that led to her defeat four years ago, blaming white resentment, as well as Russia, the media, sexism, and deplorables.

The most important point of the article is this:
It was never about Trump.  It was always about their communities.  Trump was the symptom, not the cause.
It is only 2019 and none of us know what will transpire in the next year.  However, from my vantage point things are not going well for the Democrats.  There may be enough progressives in the cities to make a difference, butI don't think so..

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Is It Impeachment?

For John, BLUFIf it wasn't so serious, it would be very humorous.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From NewsMax, by Professor Stephen B. Presser, 21 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus four:

The premise behind these essays is that we still have much to learn from the framers of our Constitution.  In our time this is controversial, given that the framers were all male, many of them were slaveholders, and the document they drafted is now more than two centuries old.

There are those, primarily Democrats, who appear ready to jettison major features of the Constitution, such as the Electoral College, which provides for indirect election of the president, and occasionally results, as it did with Donald Trump, in a president who gains the office but did not win a numerical majority of votes cast.

For some, such as Mrs. Clinton, this is enough to render Mr. Trump illegitimate, and, surely, that feeling lies behind the unceasing attempts to tarnish the Trump Presidency, from the Russia Collusion hoax right onto the current secret impeachment proceedings.

Some have begun to understand that the impeachment effort is itself an attempt to subvert our Constitutional scheme.

Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ), recently published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner, arguing that by proceeding in secret, Mrs. Pelosi and her designated impeachment hatchet man, Adam Schiff, are violating our Constitutional norms of due process.  These violations include the fact that the president has been deprived of the right to confront witnesses, the failure to follow the Nixon and Clinton precedents of initiating impeachment proceedings by a vote of the entire membership of the House, and the failure to accord Republicans the right to summon witnesses to the closed-door hearings.

The good news is that it hasn't really gotten to Impeachment, since the House hasn't voted to start an Impeachment Investigation.  We don't think they would try to pass over to the Senate some sort of "Secret", Dem Eyes Only Impeachment, do we?

From Law Professor Green Harlan Reynolds:

What’s funny is, people say that we should impeach Trump because he’s a threat to norms and the Constitution.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff


For John, BLUFThis kind of thing used to be not so obvious.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Yes, six months old, but worth holding in our memory.  Forgive, But never forget.

From PJ Media, by Mr Roger L Simon, 20 April 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

I had a good first night of Passover seder in my new Nashville home thanks to some friends who took us to the impressive local Chabad.

Chabad, to their credit, likes to make sure no Jew is left out on the holidays. (There were plenty of gentiles at the festivity as well.) Also to their credit, this consistently outreaching branch of the Hasidic movement is determinedly upbeat, looking to the future and the joy of life for all. L'chaim!

But even with this positive atmosphere, my mind drifted off and I kept thinking of Isaac Singer's post-Holocaust novel Shadows on the Hudson because there was clearly a shadow over Passover 2019.

For the first time in decades, anti-Semitism is growing in the United States. The old-line Jewish organizations like the Anti-Defamation League want us to believe this is being caused by a rise in white nationalism. This is no more than reactionary self-hypnosis leavened with a bit of nostalgia for the days of Father Coughlin. (Here's an irony for you. Coughlin's anti-Semitic newspaper was called "Social Justice.")

While there are and always will be — in a nation of three hundred and twenty-plus million — racist lunatics like the madman who shot up the Pittsburgh synagogue, such people, like the KKK today, are rare and considered extreme pariahs in our country. Tragically, they may do violence, but they have no influence on our culture. Indeed, they and their ideas are abhorred, as they should be.

The truly dangerous anti-Semitism, however, is coming from within the Democratic Party and its allies, often masquerading under the thinnest veneer of anti-Zionism. This growing bigotry has its origins in a vile alliance of the left and militant Islam (despite the obvious misogyny and homophobia of Islam — the left doesn't care, for some reason). It has infected our college campuses to the degree that Jewish students often feel threatened and if they are supporters of Israel or (gasp!) Republicans, are forced to go underground in a democracy.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Clawing Back Power

For John, BLUFThe elites started us on the road to modern democracy, back in 1215 AD.  Now they want to take the power back.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New Neo, 21 October 2019.

Here are the last two paragraphs:

I note several things, one of which is the participation of Alan Dershowitz, who seems to be fighting this fight on several fronts.  Another is the more general idea that one of the ways that the elites are fighting back is through lawfare (something we already know) but in particular through the redefinition of politics as a form of corruption.  For those of whom they approve, no act is bad enough to prosecute, but for those they wish to remove, actions that would never have previously been defined as corrupt are now defined that way and the legal system is the means to accomplish their aims.

This parallels the manner in which the legal system manned by liberal judges has been used to circumvent the people’s reluctance or slowness on certain issues in the recent past.  One was abortion, of course.  Another was gay marriage.  State-by-state solutions and decisions were not allowed, and new constitutional rights were created by liberal justices impatient with the pace of change.$nbsp; The time-tested process of using amendments to the Constitution to effect change is considered too tedious and democratic as well.

Is it that the "Elites" don't think the Proles are smart enough to participate in the decision making process or do they just want the power for themselves?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Multiculturalism Tested

For John, BLUFCulture is important and to lose part of one's culture may mean a move in a positive direction, or in a negative direction.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Reuters, by Reporter Sabine Siebold, 16 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus two:

Germany’s attempt to create a multicultural society has “utterly failed,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, adding fuel to a debate over immigration and Islam polarizing her conservative camp.

Speaking to a meeting of young members of her Christian Democrats (CDU), Merkel said allowing people of different cultural backgrounds to live side by side without integrating had not worked in a country that is home to some four million Muslims.

“This (multicultural) approach has failed, utterly failed,” Merkel told the meeting in Potsdam, south of Berlin.

The Germans, between 1944 and 1950, integrated millions of folks who were ethnic Germans or German Passport holders who had previously lived East of the Oder River and were expelled by Soviet (Russian) forces as the front line moved West.  But, while they have done a fair job of integrating Communist East Germany and Capitalist West Germany, but can't integrate immigrants welcomed as Guest Workers (Gastarbeiter) in the 1950s, '60s and early '70s.

This segregation problem seems to exist everywhere, from the US to China.  Professor Joshua M Epstein, when at Brookings institution, working with computer models, came to the conclusion that segregation, not integration, was typical.  That is, entities prefer to "live" close to others similar to themselves, leading to some degree of self-segregating.

The United States does a fairly good job at multiculturalism, but not perfect.  To what extent does multiculturalism mean that the native culture must give way to the newly arriving culture?  And why did the immigrants leave their homeland and what good did they see in the welcoming culture, and would they not which to preserve this culture to which they are moving?  The crude way of asking the question is if one is emigrating to find a better life in a new Homelife, to what extent do the immigrants wish to drag their old culture with them?

Do we have some way of sorting the good from the bad?  Salsa is good, as is spaghetti.  What about an Avocado Cartel?  Is folks not voting in local elections, for cultural reasons, a social good or the opposite?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Plot to Remove Trump

For John, BLUFThe folks in DC, and places like Portland, are looking more and more wacky.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Americans might soon wish they just waited to vote their way out of the Trump era

From the Blog of Reporter Matt Taibbi, 11 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

I’ve lived through a few coups. They’re insane, random, and terrifying, like watching sports, except your political future depends on the score.

The kickoff begins when a key official decides to buck the executive. From that moment, government becomes a high-speed head-counting exercise. Who’s got the power plant, the airport, the police in the capital? How many department chiefs are answering their phones? Who’s writing tonight’s newscast?

When the KGB in 1991 tried to reassume control of the crumbling Soviet Union by placing Mikhail Gorbachev under arrest and attempting to seize Moscow, logistics ruled. Boris Yeltsin’s crew drove to the Russian White House in ordinary cars, beating KGB coup plotters who were trying to reach the seat of Russian government in armored vehicles. A key moment came when one of Yeltsin’s men, Alexander Rutskoi – who two years later would himself lead a coup against Yeltsin – prevailed upon a Major in a tank unit to defy KGB orders and turn on the “criminals.”

We have long been spared this madness in America. Our head-counting ceremony was Election Day. We did it once every four years.

That’s all over, in the Trump era.

On Thursday, news broke that two businessmen said to have “peddled supposedly explosive information about corruption involving Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden” were arrested at Dulles airport on “campaign finance violations.” The two figures are alleged to be bagmen bearing “dirt” on Democrats, solicited by Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

This is sad if true, and there is a risk it is true.  Does anyone really want to get up tomorrow and go downtown to fight the Brownshirts or some Communist for?  Of Course not.  But…

I like the sketch of former FBI Director James Comey used with the piece.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Cartel Government in Mexico

For John, BLUFI don't think President Trump is wrong to be worried about Mexico and I am very happy every time he moves to help Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrado (AMLO), who I think is trying to do the right thing for Mexico, which includes getting control of the internal crime problems.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Operation to free Ovidio Guzmán was unprecedented in scope and sophistication

From The Wall Street Journal, by Reporters David Luhnow, José de Cordoba and Santiago Pérez, 18 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

A son of the infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán is captured. Cartel gunmen respond with a vicious attack on soldiers and civilians across a major Mexican city, killing at least eight people. The government gives in and releases the son, a top figure in the cartel.

One of the most violent and harrowing days in Mexico's long fight against drug cartels unfolded late Thursday as members of the Sinaloa cartel wreaked havoc across Culiacán, a modern, middle-class city of around 800,000 residents, in response to what appeared to be a botched attempt to arrest Ovidio Guzmán.

Heavily-armed gunmen riding in convoys engaged in more than 70 separate firefights with Mexican security forces, set fires to vehicles, shot at government offices and engineered a jailbreak that freed 55 prisoners, with six recaptured, officials said. By nightfall, it was clear that the cartel was in charge of the city.

The article notes that this was the third major gunbattle of the week.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrado (AMLO) has his hands full.  And there are implications for these United States.  At some point the Cartels will look north for additional profits and power.  We need to be reading more by Researchers like Dr Robert J Bunker.  People may be worried about threats to the US Homeland originating from Syria, but we should also be looking closer to home.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ethics in Government

For John, BLUFThe convolutions in DC can be read at several levels.  Charlie Dunlap gives us a couple most commentators don't expose.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Lawfire Blog, by Prof Charlie Dunlap, JD, 1 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

The recent events that have produced the impeachment inquiry have generated some questions to ponder:  should those who classify themselves as whistleblowers always be entitled to have their identity kept from the American people?  Do the principles of transparency, accountability, and fundamental fairness in cases of enormous import to a democracy mean that sometimes the public must be allowed to assess the credibility of an accuser?

A devil’s advocate might provocatively put the key question this way:  should Americans permit an officer of a secret intelligence agency to exploit his or her access to sensitive, non-public matters to collect information against a U.S. citizen without seeking the normal approvals for doing so, and thereafter be able to remain in the shadows even when the product of his probe is used in an effort to unseat an elected American who has sharply criticized the intelligence agency that employs the accuser?

In unpacking these issues let’s also ask ourselves: are there unique considerations when the informer is an official of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (an organization which says its “mission is to collect information related to foreign intelligence and foreign counterintelligence,” and whose charter generally prohibits the domestic collection of information against American citizens) and is someone who did not witness the events in question but instead collected information from others about them and his U.S.-person target?

Does an “investigative mission” which collects information on a US citizen and was “carried out in stealth” and “behind the scenes” effectively constitute spying?

Officially, the CIA insists that “Myth 1” about the agency is that it “spies on US citizens.”

Yet the Washington Post, says the CIA officer who in this instance “has almost single-handedly set in motion the gears of impeachment,” initiated what the Post characterized as his “investigative mission” with information, he says, he was able to collect in the “conduct of…[his] official duties.”  Notably, the Post says that the officer’s investigation was “carried out in stealth.”

That “stealth” operation, the officer’s own report indicates, lasted a period of at least four months and involved collecting and analyzing reports from what he says are “multiple U.S. Government officials.”  The Post claims the CIA official “moved swiftly behind the scenes to assemble material from at least a half-dozen highly placed — and equally dismayed — U.S. officials,” and then “wove their accounts with other painstakingly gathered material” to create his allegations.

Clearly, the CIA operative – employing “stealth” and operating “behind the scenes” – conducted an extensive collection of materials in his investigation of a U.S. citizen, so decide for yourself if that is effectively “spying.”

And there is more at the link.

A lot to think about.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hillary v Tulsi

For John, BLUFProbably because I am a Republican, I find Representative Tulsi Gabbard one of the most attractive Democrats in the race.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Hot Air, by Mr John Sexton, 18 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Earlier Ed wrote about Hillary Clinton’s claim that the Russians are preparing Tulsi Gabbard for a third-party run to ensure Trump is reelected.  That was certainly a highlight of Hillary’s appearance on the podcast hosted by David Plouffe, but it wasn’t the only truly paranoid thing she said.

A bit earlier in the same interview, Hillary argued that Trump’s goal was to ensure he never has to leave office.  She’s wasn’t talking about a 2nd term after a successful reelection campaign.  Hillary believes Trump is seeking to become a permanent American dictator.

The former First Lady, aided and abated by parts of the Mainstream Media, has gone off the rails.  Her seeing Russians around every corner and under every bed is destroying comity across the land.  And why isn't her husband showing some leadership in this kerfuffle.

One thing you could do to fight this stupidity would be to contribute $5 or $10 to the Tulsi Gabbard campaign.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, October 18, 2019

Refocusing Children From Violent Video Games

For John, BLUFCareful what you ask for.  Nothing to see here; just move along.


From The Babylon Bee, 19 October 2018.

Regards  —  Cliff

NBA Goes Pro PRC and Anti-Israel

For John, BLUFWhat can I say?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A Tweet from Ben Shapiro.

Here is the Tweet:

Ben Shapiro
Tfw you love Chinese oppression but really have a problem with those Jews and their having a state
Adam Kredo
· Oct 10
The NBA is doing fantastic work these days: Portland Trail Blazers Join Boycott Against Israel -- Team severs ties with company that works with Israeli Defense Forces…
10:35 AM · Oct 11, 2019
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Succession in Illinois

For John, BLUFThis is from several months ago, but it shows that no everyone is happy with the direction of large Democratic Party controlled cities.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Effingham County, half way between Indiana and Missiouri, a little over half way down.

From Bearing Arms, by Blogger Tom Knighton, 17 April 2019.

Here is the lede plus four:

On Tuesday, I wrote about how there was a move afoot to create the 51st state by basically cutting Illinois off from Chicago.  It’s an interesting plan, though not one I see likely to happen.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s not being taken seriously.

County board members passed a referendum question which will go on the 2020 ballot.  It asks if people support separating the rest of the state from Cook County.

It asks this: “Shall Effingham County coordinate discussions with the remaining 101 Counties of the State of Illinois, with the exception of Cook County, regarding the possibility of forming a new state and ultimately seeking admission to the Federal Union as the 51st State, pursuant to the provisions of the United States Constitution?”

The referendum proposal passed 7 to 2, which tells you where the county board stands.
It isn't likely to happen, but it would be interesting if it did.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Brownshirts in the Streets

For John, BLUFPresident Trump went to Minneapolis and was greeted by a large number of supporters, supporters who were attacked as they left the venue.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Powerline Blog, by Blogger John Hinderaker, 17 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

I wrote here about the riot that occurred in downtown Minneapolis during and after President Trump’s rally last Thursday night.  Trump supporters were assaulted, their vehicles were blocked, police officers and police horses were attacked, and so on.  This video, filmed by Alpha News, shows how violent and disgusting the “protest” by liberal Democrats was.

You might think that in the aftermath of such appalling lawlessness, mainstream Democratic politicians would rush to denounce the violence.  In fact, to my knowledge, not a single Minnesota Democrat has criticized what you saw in that video.  At least one Democratic legislator, Aisha Gomez, participated in the riot, and several others tweeted their support for it.  And Ilhan Omar, the darling of Minnesota’s Democratic Party, expressed regret that she wasn’t taking part in the riot along with Rep. Gomez

Video at the link.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Marriage Bonus

For John, BLUFOne is better off married than single.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Part of the marriage benefit could be explained by the fact that people in good health are more likely to marry, said Katherine Ornstein, a professor at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine.

From United Press International, by Reporter Dennis Thompson, 10 October 2010.

Here is the lede plus two:

Married folks not only live longer than singles, but the longevity gap between the two groups is growing, U.S. government health statisticians report.

The age-adjusted death rate for the married declined by 7 percent between 2010 and 2017, according to a new study from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Not only is the rate for married lower, but it's declining more than any other group," said lead author Sally Curtin, an NCHS statistician.

Between the headline and the sub-headline I am confused.  Was it causation or merely correlation?

My personal conclusion, based on this and other things I have read, is that marriage is a social good, and we have done a bit of damage to it since the 1960s.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Life Tradeoffs

For John, BLUFPer "A Guide to Longevity Throughout History, From the Prehistoric Onward", life span has doubled since around 1800.  But, there were costs.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New York Post, by Reuters, 16 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus four:

Poor air quality caused about 400,000 premature deaths in Europe in 2016, the most recent year data is available and almost every city-dwelling European is exposed to pollution levels that exceed healthy levels, according to a report on Wednesday.

“Air pollution is currently the most important environmental risk to human health,” the European Environment Agency (EEA), the EU’s health agency, said in the report.

The report’s author, EEA air quality expert Alberto González Ortiz, said that while the level of dangerous particles in European cities was dropping, it was not dropping fast enough.

“We have not yet reached the EU standards and of course we are far from reaching the WHO (World Health Organization) standards,” Ortiz said.

EU law currently requires countries to assess the level, notably in urban areas, of a range of pollutants, including ozone and particulate matter and take action if certain limits are hit.

So, what are the tradeoffs?  I assume we all attribute these deaths to pollution from the industrial revolution.  Thus, the question is, how much would we trade off to save those 400,000 lives?  And, the Supplementary Question:  How many additional early deaths would accrue from giving up the some of the benefits of modernity?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Tuesday Dem Presidential Debate

For John, BLUFThe Democratic Party "Long March" through their Presidential Primary.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the overnight hot takes on the Democratic Party Presidential Primary debate.

A fair assessment.  And I suffered through all three hours.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Lessons From Lebanon

For John, BLUFThere are a number of forms of Islam and also a question of how Islam fits into the American culture.  We here here in the United States, don't seem to be engaged.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Pajama Media, by Mr Tyler O'Neil, 14 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Last week, President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago hotel canceled an ACT for America gala after an orchestrated pressure campaign from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), two left-wing groups that have branded ACT for America an "anti-Muslim hate group."  They could not be more wrong, but since even Mar-a-Lago caved to their pressure campaigns, it seems necessary to explain why the accusation is wrong.

Here are five reasons ACT for America is not "anti-Muslim" or a "hate group."

Go to the Link to read the five reasons.

I think the Left is fairly inconsistent with regard to how it deals with Christians and Muslims.  This will not end well, if not corrected.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Protesting Athletes

For John, BLUFThe idea of athletes doing political protest has become popularized, but the NBA may have put paid the idea.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From USA Today, by Columnist Dan Wolken, 15 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

On behalf of the 327 million American citizens who generally believe that freedom is good and authoritarian regimes are less good, let me apologize to LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

It must have been a real inconvenience to take that 13-hour chartered flight to China last week and hang around a luxury hotel in Shanghai for five days while promotional appearances got canceled.  Surely it was awful to be in the middle of an international firestorm where the stakes were so high: Would preseason NBA games be played or not?

And to think, LeBron and his teammates were so disrupted all because Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had the temerity to send a relatively anodyne tweet supporting a protest that pretty much every one of his countrymen — whether on the left or right side of the political spectrum — would agree with over the rights Hong Kongers were promised when the United Kingdom handed control of the territory over to China in 1997.

Because as James tweeted on Monday night, trying to clarify comments he made to the media earlier in the evening:  “My team and this league just went through a difficult week.  I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others.  And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen.  Could have waited a week to send it.”

The odds that Hong Kong Protesters win are slim, but, still, to not sympathize with their hopes seems Un-American.

And, does Mr James boycott in the US (South Carolina), but give China a free pass?

There is, apparently, some blowback on Social Media.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, October 14, 2019

Attack On First Amendment

For John, BLUFOne of the things that has made America great has been the willingness to tolerate divergent, even stupid, ideas.  We seem to be moving away from that.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The candidate seems not to realize that eliminating tax exemptions for certain religious institutions would be catastrophic.

From The Atlantic, by Professor John Inazu (Professor of law and religion at Washington University in St. Louis), 12 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus five:

The issue of gay rights and recognition and acceptance of the LGBTQ community has moved at warp speed—in political terms anyway—this past decade.

“I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.  I am not in favor of gay marriage,” said the candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

At Thursday night’s nationally televised forum on LGBTQ rights, candidate Beto O’Rourke showed how far, and how quickly, the Democratic Party has moved.  The former Texas congressman caused quite a stir when he said he would support revoking the tax-exempt status of religious institutions—colleges, churches, and charities—if they opposed same-sex marriage.

Though his swift “yes” in response to the CNN moderator Don Lemon’s question received an enthusiastic response from the Los Angeles audience, much of America—including those blue-hued states—might see troubling ramifications of this that go well beyond O’Rourke’s applause line.

The candidate’s view isn’t entirely new to Democrats.  It echoes, for example, then–Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s concession during his oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 that the tax-exempt status of Christian colleges and universities who hold traditional views of marriage was “going to be an issue.”  And it aligns with the Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet’s policy recommendation to take a “hard line” with religious conservatives because, after all, “trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War,” and “taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.”

. . .

But more troubling than the rhetoric is where it leads. And for that, let me offer three suggestions to people with skill sets I lack: one for pollsters, one for journalists, and one for policy analysts.

First, I would like to mention the aftermath of the American Civil War.  Harvard Professor Tushnet may think that the people of the South could be easily cowed, and cheaply, but that is not obvious to me, Germany and Japan notwithstanding.  There are examples of where repression did not garner obedience, including several Latin American nations, a chunk of Africa, the Middle East, Burma, Tibet and modern day Spain, where the rebellion goes on.  Guerrilla Warfare across the South, and into the Great Plains, would have been very ugly.  Professor Tushnet gave us a flip comment on a subject outside his area of expertise.

With regard to the three issues raised by Professor Inazu, the second stands out to me.  Here is what he writes:

Second, journalists should ask O’Rourke and every other Democratic candidate how this policy position would affect conservative black churches, mosques and other Islamic organizations, and orthodox Jewish communities, among others.  It is difficult to understand how Democratic candidates can be “for” these communities—advocating tolerance along the way—if they are actively lobbying to put them out of business.
Here is the nub of the problem.  There are various minority groups, with various minority opinions.  How do we make them all part of America.  We have accommodated the Amish and the Mormons.  We have learned to live with Catholics and Jews.  Today we are making space for Muslims and Buddhists.  But, it won't work out well if we are intolerant of all ideas with which we don't agree.  How do Democrats rationalize this.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, October 13, 2019

What Is Adam Schiff's Plan?

For John, BLUFAs The Babylon Bee tells us,"Survey Finds More People Would Support Impeachment If They Knew What Crime Trump Was Supposed To Have Committed".  You can count on the The Bee.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Pajama Media, by Reporter Matt Margolis, 13 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Appearing on CBS's Face The Nation Sunday morning, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff essentially conceded that there was no quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by saying "there doesn't need to be a quid pro quo."

We have discovered in short order not only the contents of that call, but also the preparatory work that went into the call.  The effort to condition something the Ukrainian president deeply sought, and that was a meeting with the president to establish that this new president of Ukraine had a powerful patron in the president of the United States that was of vital importance to Ukraine, was being conditioned on digging up dirt on the Bidens," Schiff told to Margaret Brennan.

"So, you see that as the quid quo pro, not just the military aid," she replied.

"Well, first of all, there doesn't need to be a quid pro quo," Schiff told her.  "But it is clear already, I think, from the text messages that this meeting that the Ukrainian president sought was being conditioned on their willingness to intervene in the U.S. election to help the president."

For weeks now, we've been told that the transcript was evidence of a quid pro quo, and now Adam Schiff is saying "there doesn't need to be a quid pro quo."  Does anyone see this a huge concession on Schiff's part?

This is, of course, the same Representative Adam Schiff who promised us that the evidence was there for Russiagate.

I am unimpressed.

I am, however, impressed that the Democrats in Congress are finally setting standards and trying to hold someone to some standard.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sally Yates Fails the Ethics Test

For John, BLUFActing Attorney General Sally Yates failed the ethics test, but so are a bunch of others, including presumable dedicated neutral Civil Servants.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Civil servants too often forget they work for the people and seek to impose their own policy agendas.

From The Wall Street Journal, by Reporter Kimberley A. Strassel, 11 October 2019.

Probably behind a paywall.

Here is the lede plus four:

House Democrats are plowing ahead with an impeachment effort inspired by accusations from an anonymous “whistleblower.”  The lawmakers may allow the witness to testify anonymously, sources who themselves remained anonymous told the Washington Post this week.  It’s as if the whole effort is designed to confirm President Trump’s complaint that the “deep state” is determined to sabotage his presidency.

By “deep state,” Mr. Trump seems to mean any current or former federal employee who works to undermine him.  I find that definition too broad, and it misses an important distinction.  Officials like James Comey and John Brennan, respectively former directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, were appointed by politicians and are subject to some public scrutiny and political accountability.

The “deep state”—if we are to use the term—is better defined as consisting of career civil servants, who have growing power in the administrative state but work in the shadows.  As government grows, so do the challenges of supervising a bureaucracy swelling in both size and power.  Emboldened by employment rules that make it all but impossible to fire career employees, this internal civil “resistance” has proved willing to take ever more outrageous actions against the president and his policies, using the tools of both traditional and social media.

Government-employed resisters received a call to action within weeks of the new administration.  Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates became acting attorney general on Mr. Trump’s inauguration and Loretta Lynch’s resignation.  A week later, the president signed an executive order restricting travel from seven Middle Eastern and African countries.  Ms. Yates instructed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the order in court on the grounds that she was not convinced it was “consistent” with the department’s “responsibilities” or even “lawful.”  She decreed:  “For as long as I am Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order.”

Mr. Trump fired her that day, but he shouldn’t have had to.  Her obligation was to defend the executive order, or to resign if she felt she couldn’t.  Nobody elected Sally Yates.

Every subordinate owes his or her boss a "But, sir".  However, after that "But, sir" one is obligated to execute or resign.  To stick around and sabotage some project of the boss is not just unethical, it is destructive of the idea of our form of Government.  It returns us to 1880, to the time before the Pendelton Act and a professional Civil Service, in the wake of the assassination of President James A Garfield.

But, the neutrality of the Civil Service was questioned before the Administration of President Trump.  There was the IRS and Ms Lois Lerner, working against the Tea Parties, and other groups, including those oriented toward Democratic Party themes, by denying tax except status in an effort to thwart those political factions.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Our Scary Past

For John, BLUFHeroes on all sides.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

September 18, 201712:32 PM ET Greg Myre - 2016 - square GREG MYRE.

[Stanislav] Petrov died on May 19, at age 77, in a suburb outside Moscow, according to news reports Monday.  He had long since retired and was living alone. News of his death apparently went unrecognized at the time.
Here is the lede plus one:
Stanislav Petrov was a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union's Air Defense Forces, and his job was to monitor his country's satellite system, which was looking for any possible nuclear weapons launches by the United States.

He was on the overnight shift in the early morning hours of Sept. 26, 1983, when the computers sounded an alarm, indicating that the U.S. had launched five nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"The siren howled, but I just sat there for a few seconds, staring at the big, back-lit, red screen with the word 'launch' on it," Petrov told the BBC in 2013.

It was already a moment of extreme tension in the Cold War. On Sept. 1 of that year, the Soviet Union shot down a Korean Air Lines plane that had drifted into Soviet airspace, killing all 269 people on board, including a U.S. congressman. The episode led the U.S. and the Soviets to exchange warnings and threats.

What is missing in this story is a discussion of NATO Exercise ABLE ARCHER 83, which commence on 7 November 1983.  The Soviets reacted, for the first time, by loading out "tactical" nuclear weapons in forward Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO) countries.  It was also a moment of nuclear crisis.

Legend has it that Air Force General Leonard H Perroots is the person who told President Reagan that he had to back off because he was scaring the Russians into paranoia.  Wikipedia says that Lenny Perroots "is credited with helping to avert nuclear war during the Able Archer 83 war scare." I am so old I have participated in a couple of ABLE ARCHER Exercises.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Extinction Rebellion Questioned

For John, BLUFIt seems there is a certain amount of Fake News surrounding Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, and the organization Extinction Rebellion.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Blog of Guido Fawkes, Order Order, 10 October 2019.

Here is the lede plus four:

Last night, Andrew Neil took Extinction Rebellion spokesman Zion Lights to task over her organisation’s alarmist claims and anti-scientific arguments.  Lights was taken to task over the Extinction Rebellion claim that “billions of people will die over the next few decades”, eventually admitting that what they were saying did not fall within the scientific mainstream and disclosing that “unfortunately alarmist language works.”

Extraordinarily for people who use soundbites like “listen to the scientists”, Lights ended up arguing against the scientific mainstream IPCC report, attacking it as presenting “very conservative numbers… using pre-industrial levels of data.”  That’s undermining 6,000 scientific references, 91 authors, representing a global consensus with review editors from 40 countries.  Lights ended up sounding like the people she purports to argue against, cherry-picking one or two eccentric researchers, against the vast scientific consensus…

Extinction Rebellion continually says “listen to the experts” but their demand of net zero emissions by 2025 directly contradicts the 2050 target that the experts are recommending.

When Neil posed the reality that in order to achieve Extinction Rebellion’s six year target, all flying would have to come to an end; all cars would have to be confiscated; meat would have to be rationed by the state; and all gas boilers and cookers would have to be removed from every home; Lights did not deny it, merely responding with the platitudinous comparison “we put a man on the moon.”  The entire excruciating interview is worth watching in full.

Extinction Rebellion have escaped proper scrutiny for months, despite receiving blanket news coverage.  Other broadcasters and journalists should watch this interview and take note…

I want to hear how we are going to continue to pull people out of poverty while dealing with climate change.  And do it without giving us a Communist like rigid society where there is little or no freedom of choice.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Fighting Back

For John, BLUFAt some point we need to realize that the most important diversity is in our learning and thinking.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Wire, by Mr Hank Berrien, 21 September 2019.

Here is the lede:

On Wednesday, Candace Owens appeared at a hearing before House Oversight Joint Subcommittee as they took on the subject of white supremacy, and after white witnesses lambasted her Owens absolutely eviscerated not only them but Democrats for making every presidential election about race. She fired, “I’ve been black in America my whole life, all 30 years, and I can tell you that you guys have done the exact same thing every four years we have an election cycle and it needs to stop.”
If you care, go to the link.

If you would like to see the bio of Ms Candace Owens [Farmer], look at her web site click here.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, October 11, 2019

Beto Goes Rogue

For John, BLUFSome on the left wish to impose their moral code on the rest of the nation, regardless of First Amendment protections.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr Tyler O'Neil, 10 October 2019.

You can read the full article at the link, but the title tells us everything.  There is a branch of the Democratic Party that feels the petty beliefs of people in Flyover Country need to be suppressed, notwithstanding the Bill of Rights.

This is like a gift to the Republicans come 2020.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Brexit Alive

For John, BLUFBrexit, which has been counted down and out several times, and which opponents try to frustrate at every turn, seems to be creeping ahead.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Order Order, the blog of Guido Fawkes, 11 October 2019.

Here is the lede:

The state of Brexit negotiations still remains unclear, with only slivers of information leaking to the press, however what does now look certain is Boris has forced the EU to prise open the Withdrawal Agreement and renegotiate – the precise thing we were told by the anti-Brexit punditry and MPs was under no circumstances going to happy.  That was just a Boris fantasy.  Guido thought it appropriate to revisit some of these cracking and emphatic predictions from this country’s top Europe pundits:
And, if you go to Guido's Blog you can see his examples.

Interestingly, this 11th of October is the Anniversary of the Ordinances of 1311, which built on the Magna Carta. The Ordinances of 1311 were eventually overturned some 11 years later.  However, they were an important step toward the idea of a limited monarchy and the rise of the House of Commons.

One of the things that might be helping The Honorable Boris Johnson (BoJo), the British Prime Minister, in his fight with the European Union is his threat to fight from inside the EU, upsetting the current applecart.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Climate Change in Perspective

For John, BLUFThe people who are panicking over climate mate change, eg, te end is in ten years, are not doing good analysis.  As California is learning, life is not as modern and acceptable when the electricity goes out.  Are People prepared to go back to how it was in 1800?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Globe and Mail (Canada), by Prof Bjorn Lomborg, 26 September 2019.  (Bjorn Lomborg is president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and a visiting professor at the Copenhagen Business School.).

Here is the lede plus four:

Speaking at the United Nations, 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg said that if humanity really understands the science of climate change and still fails to act, we’re “evil.”  This is because climate change means “people are dying.”  Helpfully, she also told us what we must do to act correctly:  In a bit more than eight years, we will have exhausted our remaining allowance for carbon emissions, so we must shut down everything running on fossil fuels by 2028.

While this claim is not uncommon, it is fundamentally misguided. Yes, global warming is real and human-caused, but her vision of climate change as the end of the world is unsupported.  The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that by the 2070s, the total effects of climate change, including on ecosystems, will be equivalent to a reduction in average income of 0.2 to 2 per cent.  By then, each person on the planet will be 300 to 500 per-cent richer.

We don’t emit CO2 with malign intent.  Indeed, it is a byproduct of giving humanity access to unprecedented amounts of energy.

Just a century ago, life was back-breaking.  Plentiful energy made better lives possible, without having to spend hours collecting firewood, polluting your household with smoke, achieving heat, cold, transportation, light, food and opportunities.  Life expectancy doubled.  Plentiful energy, mostly from fossil fuels, has lifted more than a billion people out of poverty in just the past 25 years.

That is not evil – it is quite the opposite.

Stopping climate change may be important but the shortcut that leaves billions in poverty is not an acceptable solution.  We need more engineering, and more trade offs.

Regards  —  Cliff