Author Archive

June 1, 2016

GOP CONGRESS DISCOVERS IT’S THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH!: The WSJ has a hilarious and/or depressing piece, “McConnell, Ryan Use Balance-of-Powers Argument to Reassure Voters.

When asked about Mr. Trump, his effect on the party, or his prospects this November, each responds by talking about the importance of the legislative branch. Congress, they say, will assert itself again after eight years of an administration they see as having severely skewed the balance of powers.

Implied in their message is the assumption that they will be able to protect the prerogatives of the institution because they’ll still be running it. And that’s part of their underlying point: Keep us in charge, and we’ll keep the president—whoever it is—in check.

Mr. McConnell invoked the balance-of-powers argument when asked in a CBS interview Sunday about divisions within the party and Republican voters who might be part of a “never Trump” movement.

“What protects us in this country against big mistakes being made is the structure, the Constitution, the institutions,” he said. “No matter how unusual a personality may be who gets elected to office, there are constraints in this country. You don’t get to do anything you want to.” . . .

So let me get this straight: Now the GOP Congress is ready to assert its constitutional prerogatives, prophylactically flexing its muscles in anticipation of a Trump Administration? I’m in full support of Congress protecting its sole constitutional power to legislate, and using all available tools to do so against an overreaching President.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this latest “assurance” from GOP congressional leaders of their ability/willingness to check a runaway potential future President, whether Trump or Clinton (the latter of which I think is a far more realistic threat). Their track record for the past seven years says otherwise. Res ipsa loquitur.

May 31, 2016

YES. THIS. EXACTLY:  Victor Davis Hanson makes cogent observations on the “high IQs” of the establishment political class:

Turn on an evening cable show and ask which interviewer is married to which anchor on another channel, or which of the pundits are former politicos, or how many in the White House worked for Big News or are married or related to someone who does. How many pundits were advisers to political candidates or related to someone who was? How does Ben Rhodes do an interview on CBS News or George Stephanopoulos interview Hillary Clinton or a writer expound on the primaries when he is also an adviser to a particular campaign? The problem is not just that all this is incestuous or unethical, but that it blinds a tiny elite to what millions of quite different Americans value and experience.

Charles Murray recently wrote in anger, addressing those who would vote for Trump because “Hillary is even worse”: “I know that I am unlikely to persuade any of my fellow Establishmentarians to change their minds. But I cannot end without urging you to resist that sin to which people with high IQs (which most of you have) are unusually prone: Using your intellectual powers to convince yourself of something despite the evidence plainly before you. Just watch and listen to the man. Don’t concoct elaborate rationalizations. Just watch and listen.” . . .

Murray has a point that Trump’s crudity and buffoonery should be taken seriously, but when he says establishmentarians have “high IQs,” what exactly does he mean? Did a high IQ prevent an infatuated David Brooks (whom he quotes approvingly) from fathoming presidential success as if he were a sartorial seancer, from the crease of Senator Obama pants leg? What was the IQ of the presidential historian who declared Obama the smartest man ever to be elevated to the White House? . . . Or perhaps the conservative wit who once wrote that Obama has a “first-class temperament and a first-class intellect,” and that he is the rare politician who “writes his own books,” which were “first rate”?

Establishmentarian high IQs? The point is not to castigate past poor judgment, but to offer New Testament reminders about hubris and the casting of first stones — and why hoi polloi are skeptical of their supposed intellectual betters.

So how did a blond comb-over real-estate dealer destroy an impressive and decent Republican field and find himself near dead even with Hillary Clinton — to the complete astonishment, and later fury, of the Washington establishment? Simply because lots of people have become exhausted by political and media elites who have thought very highly of themselves — but on what grounds it has become increasingly impossible to figure out.

Indeed. If I hear one more of my conservative/libertarian “high IQ” colleagues (many of them long-time friends) denigrate Trump as stupid, racist, sexist or (I kid you not)  not “really” successful–I may puke.

One certainly may oppose Trump’s policies on a principled basis.  But to hear the right-of-center intelligentsia (who may be well-educated and perhaps even have high IQs, but are not necessarily intelligent) denigrate the presumptive GOP nominee–selected by We the People–using the same leftist tactics used to denigrate George W. Bush and many other conservative standard-bearers, is nauseating.

These “high IQ” members of the GOP intelligentsia simply cannot hide their disdain for ordinary Americans’ selection of a GOP nominee, yet they simultaneously claim that the GOP represents ordinary Americans’ values. The GOP intelligentsia is behaving like a delusional narcissist, reveling in its (false) superiority over the little people.

May 31, 2016

YES, TRUMP CAN WIN: So argues Sean Trende at RCP:

Throughout this primary season, I’ve had an ongoing fight with a co-worker about whether Donald Trump could win the general election.  I was pretty firmly in the “if the economy collapses, maybe, but he is much more likely to drag the entire Republican field down with him” camp.

To resolve this, my co-worker invited me to set up some benchmarks: what we would have to see in order to believe that Trump really could win the election – not just that he had some sort of outside shot in a perfect storm, but that he had a legitimate, realistic chance of winning.

To cover my bases, I tried to set benchmarks that I thought would be really difficult for Trump to meet: He would have to pull within five points of Hillary Clinton in the RCP Average within a month of wrapping up the GOP race (this was back when he was down by 10), and then he would have to prove that he could lead her in a polling average (rather than in the occasional outlying poll) by the end of the Republican convention.

So, here we are. Last week, Trump was up by 0.2 percent in the RCP Average, meeting both of my goalposts two months ahead of schedule.  I still believe that he is the underdog, but I have to concede that he can win. I would put his chances more around 30 percent today.  If at some point he establishes a durable lead (he returned to trailing Clinton Friday morning), or if he can push his average up into the high forties, I will revise things accordingly.

Why might this continue?  Here are a five reasons . . . .

Read the whole thing.

RELATED: National Poll shows Trump nearly even with Clinton, 47 to 45 percent among registered voters.

May 26, 2016

WHEN MALE IS FEMALE, BLACK IS WHITE, AND OLD IS YOUNG: Peder Zane explores the meaning of the Obama Administration’s absurd interpretation of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition of discrimination “on the basis of sex”:

A dispute about bathroom rights turned into a Pandora’s box of philosophical riddles about the nature of identity and the meaning of truth on May 13 when the Departments of Justice and Education issued a letter prohibiting “discrimination based on a student’s gender identity.”

The letter defines gender identity as “an individual’s internal sense of gender.” It also states “there is no medical diagnosis or treatment requirement that students must meet as a prerequisite to being treated consistent with their gender identity.” . . .

Sex is a biological fact. Almost everyone is born with distinct physical markers that define us as male or female.

Gender is a social construct that refers to the fluid range of expected behaviors taught to boys and girls. . . .

Though the administration might have the best of intentions, its fusion of sex and gender raises complex questions. Race, for example, is even more of a social construct than gender. Men and women will always be biologically distinct, but race is almost entirely an invention. It wasn’t too long ago that Italians, Jews and Aryans were considered separate races. . . .

Similarly, if one’s sex is a choice, why not one’s age? As 60 becomes the new 40, we increasingly see age as an attitude rather than a number. If I believe I am 65, what basis do you have for disagreeing with me? . . .It might sound absurd, but, given that logic, why can’t a white person claim the benefits of affirmative action or a middle-aged man demand Medicare and Social Security?

Exactly. If I feel like a 25 year-old black male today, who has a moral or legal basis to challenge this self identity? And if they dare to do so, they are “discriminating” against me based upon my age, race and gender.

Orwell would be so proud of today’s totalitarian progressives: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

As a legal matter, however, interpreting a 1964 law that bans discrimination “on the basis of sex” as banning discrimination “on the basis of sexual identity” is patently absurd. The 11 brave States that have filed a lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s newfound construction of the 1964 Civil Rights Act will ultimately prevail, as congressional intent drives statutory construction.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): A reader sends this takeoff on the #ManEnough4Hillary campaign.


May 26, 2016

ENFORCING LEGAL LIMITS ON GITMO TRANSFERS: My Daily Caller oped discusses the forthcoming transfers of one-third of the remaining 80 Gitmo detainees, and how Congress might enforce the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act’s limits on such transfers.

May 23, 2016

WELL NOW, ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?: Federal judge slams DOJ lawyers for lying to the court on immigration deportations.

The constitutional challenge to President Obama’s executive action on immigration keeps getting more remarkable. A federal judge has now exposed how the Justice Department systematically deceived lower courts about the Administration’s conduct, and he has imposed unprecedented legal measures to attempt to sterilize this ethics rot.

On Thursday District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas found that Obama Administration lawyers committed misconduct that he called “intentional, serious and material.”  In 2015 he issued an injunction—now in front of the Supreme Court—blocking Mr. Obama’s 2014 order that rewrote immigration law to award legal status and federal and state benefits to nearly five million aliens.

When 26 states sued to block the order in December 2014, Justice repeatedly assured Judge Hanen that the Department of Homeland Security would not start processing applications until February 2015 at the earliest. Two weeks after the injunction came down, in March, Justice was forced to admit that DHS had already granted or renewed more than 100,000 permits.

Justice has also conceded in legal filings that all its lawyers knew all along that the DHS program was underway, despite what they said in briefs and hearings. One DOJ lawyer told Judge Hanen that “I really would not expect anything between now and the date of the hearing.” As the judge notes, “How the government can categorize the granting of over 100,000 applications as not being ‘anything’ is beyond comprehension.”

Justice’s only explanation is that its lawyers either “lost focus on the fact” or “the fact receded in memory or awareness”—the fact here being realities that the DOJ was required to disclose to the court. The states weren’t able to make certain arguments or seek certain legal remedies because the program supposedly hadn’t been implemented, leaving them in a weaker legal position.

More to the point, an attorney’s first and most basic judicial obligation is to tell the truth. Judge Hanen concludes that the misrepresentations “were made in bad faith” and “it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct.” Many a lawyer has been disbarred for less.

As a result, Judge Hanen ordered that any Washington-based Justice lawyer who “appears or seeks to appear” in any state or federal court in the 26 states must first attend a remedial ethics seminar on “candor to the court.” He also ordered Attorney General Loretta Lynch to prepare a “comprehensive plan” to prevent such falsification. Such extraordinary judicial oversight is usually reserved for companies with a pattern of corruption or racially biased police departments. Justice is sure to appeal, and whether Judge Hanen has the jurisdiction to impose his plan is uncharted legal territory.

I’ve written about the DOJ’s astoundingly unethical behavior in the immigration case before here, here, and here, as well as other cases such as the litigation involving IRS targeting of conservative groups.

Liars gonna lie, I guess.  Usually, the threat of losing one’s law license is enough to prevent such blatant lies to the court. For some reason, the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice seems unable/unwilling to tell the truth. They must think they’re  “special.”



May 12, 2016

HOUSE WINS ITS HISTORIC OBAMACARE LAWSUIT: A federal district judge in D.C., Rosemary Collyer, today ruled in favor of the U.S. House of Representatives in its historic lawsuit against the Obama Administration. Judge Collyer granted the House summary judgment on its claim that the Obama Administration had violated separation of powers by spending money–without any congressional appropriation to do so–on the Affordable Care Act’s so-called “cost sharing subsidies” (subsidies that essentially help low-income individuals pay for out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and copays).

Judge Collyer back in December had ruled that the House of Representatives had standing to bring its separation of powers claim– which was itself an historic decision. Some of you may recall that my colleague David Rivkin and I have long arguedcontrary to many naysayers–that the House would have standing to sue the Administration, and that it would ultimately win its constitutional claim on the merits.

Now that the House has won its constitutional claim on the merits at the trial level, the Obama Administration will appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has been packed in recent years with Obama appointees. Depending on how the D.C. Circuit rules, the case may be headed for the Supreme Court.

This is for the Obama Administration, which seems to think it’s above the Constitution:

told ya so

May 11, 2016

TRUMP’S GENDER “PROBLEM”: The repeated talking point that Donald Trump has a “problem” with female voters turns out to be driven largely by party affiliation and race rather than gender itself.  The New York Slimes Times has a piece today titled “The Women Who Like Donald Trump,” as though it such women are a rare breed worthy of examination. Salon has an even more ridiculous piece, “Trump’s Misogynist Campaign.

But exit polling from the Republican primaries in West Virginia and Nebraska indicate that Republican women supported Trump at essentially the same rate as women’s participation in the primary. The same absence of a “gender gap” existed prior to Cruz and Kasich suspending their campaigns, as is evidenced by exit polls in Republican primaries such as New York, Wisconsin, and Indiana.

Even the Quinnipiac poll released yesterday that focuses on the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania show that while Clinton outpaces Trump among all women voters (not merely Republicans), her gender advantage appears to be race-specific, with Clinton holding a commanding lead with non-white women, but Trump actually beating Clinton among white women. In Florida, Clinton has a 13 point advantage among women (48-35) but Trump actually leads Clinton by 3 points among white women (43-40).  In Ohio, Clinton enjoys a 7 point lead among female voters over Trump (43-36), but once again, Trump has a 7 point advantage over Clinton among white women (42-35).  In Pennsylvania, Clinton enjoys her largest gender advantage, beating Trump by 19 points among women (51-32)– a gap that narrows to 6 points among white women (45-39).

Clinton’s gender advantage is weaker than Obama’s 12 point advantage over Romney with female voters in 2012.  And the gender difference in presidential elections almost always favors the Democrats’ candidate, suggesting that Hillary’s gender advantage may be due more to the fact that she is a Democrat than any particular gender “problem” specific to Trump.  Other recent Republican candidates had similar gender gaps without facing incessant accusations of misogyny. John McCain, for example, had a 14 percent deficit versus Obama among female voters in 2008.  George W. Bush had an 8 percent female deficit versus Gore in 2000. Indeed, the last Republican presidential candidate to win among female voters was George H.W. Bush in 1988, who beat Dukakis among women 52-48.

There is little doubt that Trump has high “unfavorable” ratings with women, but this doesn’t appear to be translating into voting against him, at least among Republican women and white women. This should not be particularly surprising, as Hillary Clinton’s “unfavorable” ratings among women are also quite high–with 52 percent of women characterizing Clinton as “unfavorable” in a recent PPP poll–and of course even higher among men (59 percent), yet it doesn’t appear to stop Democrats of either gender from pulling the lever for her.

Don’t get me wrong: Donald Trump is more popular among men than women, and Hillary Clinton is more popular among women than men. But the gender gap between the two candidates is not as large as has been reported by the media, and appears to be driven mostly by party affiliation and race than gender itself. I would be very interested to see any data that focuses specifically on the Trump-Clinton gender preference among independent voters, which may be a more accurate indicator.

April 29, 2016

AMERICANS ARE SICK OF IDEOLOGY: Peggy Noonan explains why the Trump train is gaining speed, “Simple Patriotism Trumps Ideology.”

In my continuing quest to define aspects of Mr. Trump’s rise, to my own satisfaction, I offer what was said this week in a talk with a small group of political activists, all of whom back him. One was about to begin approaching various powerful and influential Republicans who did not support him, and make the case. I told her I’d been thinking that maybe Mr. Trump’s appeal is simple: What Trump supporters believe, what they perceive as they watch him, is that he is on America’s side.

And that comes as a great relief to them, because they believe that for 16 years Presidents Bush and Obama were largely about ideologies. They seemed not so much on America’s side as on the side of abstract notions about justice and the needs of the world. Mr. Obama’s ideological notions are leftist, and indeed he is a hero of the international left. He is about international climate-change agreements, and leftist views of gender, race and income equality. Mr. Bush’s White House was driven by a different ideology—neoconservatism, democratizing, nation building, defeating evil in the world, privatizing Social Security.

But it was all ideology.

Then Mr. Trump comes and in his statements radiate the idea that he’s not at all interested in ideology, only in making America great again—through border security and tough trade policy, etc. He’s saying he’s on America’s side, period.

Exactly. The average American doesn’t give a damn about either political party. They vote for one party over another simply because one party comes closer to reflecting their views than another, or because one candidate seems more genuine, or less corrupt, than another.  They don’t place either political party above their own self-interest, or the nation’s interest.  The GOP (as well as the Democrats) has driven most of these independent-minded Americans away by elevating party and politics above country.

Trump’s appeal is grounded in an absence of a rigidly defined, party-centric ideology, and his elevation of country over party. In other words, Trump–the quintessential political outsider–is an average Joe (albeit a very wealthy one).

March 21, 2016

ME GUSTA TRUMP: PORTRAIT OF A HISPANIC TRUMP VOTER: The New Yorker’s piece is dripping with incredulousness, reading like a portrait of a rarely seen (and dangerous) species:

John Castillo grew up in Lincoln Heights, the heart of Hispanic Los Angeles, in a tight-knit Mexican-American family. His father’s name was Juan, but his mother decided to name their son John. . . .

After the Marines, Castillo moved back to California and went to work for U.P.S. He’s now an inspector for an aerospace company. He was once a Democrat but is now a conservative and a Republican. The transition happened in the Marines. “The way they scream at you, it hardens you,” he says. “It makes you understand the importance of respecting the law.” He also thinks travel helped him get rid of a “naïve” point of view that he associates with liberal politics. He believes in the importance of the Second Amendment. . . .

His Twitter bio reads “devout Catholic” and “lifelong pro wrestling fan.” He’s also a fan of Spanish-language radio, and he retweets Pope Francis and the W.W.E. with equal enthusiasm. And he is also a passionate supporter of Donald Trump.

Fourteen per cent of Hispanic voters say they will “definitely support” the Republican candidate in November, and Castillo, who describes himself as an “American of Mexican descent, in that order,” is not an anomaly in his support for Trump. Although eighty per cent of Latino voters held an unfavorable opinion of Trump in a recent Washington Post/Univision poll, a fifth of Hispanic Republicans said they planned to vote for Trump during the Party’s primaries. That level of support has remained constant in states with a discernible Hispanic presence. According to entrance and exit polls, Trump got just under half of the admittedly few Hispanic Republican votes in Nevada and a quarter of them in Texas, surpassing Marco Rubio in both instances. Rubio won Florida’s Latino vote (seventeen per cent of all Republican voters) by a wide margin, but Trump’s backing among Hispanics remained at twenty-six per cent. .  . .

Over several recent conversations, Castillo explained his support for Trump in meticulous detail. At times, he sounded like the many white voters who have been inspired by the candidate.  . . .

When I responded that plenty of those whom he wants to protect could potentially be deported en masse by President Trump (there are a million undocumented immigrants living in Los Angeles County, more than in any other county in the United States), Castillo rejected the idea that his views were contradictory. I’d much rather live surrounded by my own people than any other,” he says, “but illegal is illegal.” And yet, there is a possibility that gives him pause: What if Trump keeps his word and rounds up Castillo’s friends and neighbors? “If he were to try that there would be riots and uprisings,” he says, blinking rapidly. “If he did that I would fight back.”

The New Yorker writer, Leon Krauze, is a Mexican journalist and Univision news anchor out of Los Angeles. He is clearly baffled that any Hispanic would ever even consider voting for Trump because of Trump’s pledge to crack down on illegal immigration. He clearly assumes that illegal immigration–and illegal immigration alone–is the only issue of concern to Hispanic-American voters, in much the same way that liberal/progressives often assume that abortion is the only issue of concern to women, or affirmative action or police brutality are the only issues of concern to blacks.

The notion that an Hispanic, black, female, Asian, LGBTQ, or any other American could put “American” before these identity politics-driven categories is baffling to progressives. Yet Trump won the support of almost 3 in 10 Hispanic voters in the Florida Republican primary, almost half of Hispanic voters in the Nevada Republican primary, and 26 percent of Hispanic voters in the Texas Republican primary (the latter two States’ Hispanic population being heavily comprised of individuals of Mexican heritage). These are remarkable numbers, considering that the other two closest GOP competitors–Rubio and Cruz–are Hispanic-Americans and native sons in Florida and Texas, respectively.

Of course no one really wants to point out this inconvenient truth: Americans are Americans, and they don’t always march to the progressive, politically correct tune.

March 9, 2016

CAITLYN’S COURAGE: “Backlash over Caitlyn Jenner’s Cruz Support Proves Leftists are the Real Bigots.

Caitlyn Jenner’s support of GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz is sending the LGBT activist community into conniptions. True to form, radical liberals prove they’re the truly bigoted ones by calling the transgender reality star a “lunatic” for praising the most conservative candidate in the race.

In an interview with The Advocate, Jenner boldly said, “I like Ted Cruz. I think he’s very conservative and a great constitutionalist and a very articulate man. I haven’t endorsed him or anything like that. But I also think, he’s an evangelical Christian, and probably one of the worst ones when it comes to trans issues.”

If Jenner thinks Cruz is weak on trans issues, then why support him? With a commitment to constitutional principles that should make establishment politicians bury their heads in shame, Jenner explains that while Democrats are “better when it comes to these types of social issues,” if we don’t have liberty, we don’t have anything. This position truly goes against the liberal grain as identity politics takes a backseat to freedom.

“Number 1, if we don’t have a country, we don’t have trans issues,” Jenner said. “We need jobs. We need a vibrant economy. I want every trans person to have a job. With $19 trillion in debt and it keeps going up, we’re spending money we don’t have. Eventually, it’s going to end. And I don’t want to see that. Socialism did not build this country. Capitalism did. Free enterprise. The people built it. And they need to be given the opportunity to build it back up.” . . .

Jenner’s comments stunned LGBT activists. . . .

Well, I can see how they’d be stunned. I mean, the gall of Jenner, to elevate the needs of the country or the Constitution over those of the LGBT community! Doesn’t he know that once one is part of that community, there can be no deviation from the script?

March 3, 2016

GOPe IS DEMEANING ITS OWN BASE AND FIGHTING ITS EXPANSION: Investors Business Daily has an editorial, “Dazed and Confused: The Republican Establishment Has Had It Coming.”

Donald Trump’s string of victories on Super Tuesday has left the Republican establishment dazed and confused. The GOP’s political brain trust (and we use that term ironically) seems to be asking: Where did all these angry voters come from?

The revolt of the working class is dismissed as a movement of political philistines. The left calls them rednecks; the right calls them “low-information voters.” But that speaks volumes about the incompetence of pollsters, pols and campaign pros in both parties — the parties that profess to stand for and behind these voters — and how oblivious they are to what’s really desired.

Rank-and-file Republicans have been shouting at the political class for years, but no one’s paid attention. Party professionals are so disconnected that they’re seriously thinking of rolling out Mitt Romney as a last-minute alternative to Trump. How delusional can you get?

Trumpism rises above party identification and all the micro-compartmentalizing of voters that the political class has spent tens of millions of dollars supposedly perfecting. But if they’re so smart, why didn’t they see this voter hurricane coming?

Even more delusional are the elitist liberal Democrats who are celebrating because “Trump can’t win.” Right. That’s what the Republican brain trust said six months ago about The Donald’s chances. They could be wrong again. Trumpism may steamroll right over the Clintons; Hillary is the epitome of everything voters have come to detest about Washington.

Amen. What is the GOP establishment smoking? They’re behaving like they’re zoned out on crack–hypersensitive, overheated, paranoid, and filled with anxiety. Why do they not gracefully accept the decision of their own voters?

The rise of Donald Trump is a direct result of the GOP’s failure to listen to, or even care about, the issues of concern to ordinary (i.e., beyond the Beltway) voters. They want a leader who ardently defends U.S. sovereignty, security, and economic interests, and who overtly snubs stifling political correctness. They don’t want a patrician like Mitt Romney, whose speech today smacks of a controlling, wealthy father chastising his upstart children for their foolish attempts at independence.

We don’t need lectures. We need leadership. And more importantly, we need someone who can energize enough voters to defeat Hillary Clinton.

March 1, 2016

GO ON AND BURY IT ALREADY: Laura Ingraham on “The Suicide of the GOP Establishment.

Here is something to think about as we approach Super Tuesday.

If Marco Rubio becomes president, we can expect:

1.) That he will work with Democrats and the GOP leadership in Congress to pass something that looks like the Gang of Eight amnesty bill.

2.) That he will urge Congress to pass any trade agreements that Obama has signed.

3.) That he will send significant numbers of U.S. troops to the Middle East.

4.) That his foreign policy will be developed by many of the same people who advised George W. Bush.

5.) That his economic policy will reflect the views of those who were in power when the United States was hit by the economic crisis of 2008.

Now, I don’t think any of these points are truly controversial. Somewhere, there may be naïve people who actually believe that Rubio will put border enforcement first. But all sophisticated analysts of politics — including the folks at National Review — certainly expect that a President Rubio will support the same type of amnesty that was supported by Sen. Rubio. And on the other issues, Rubio has not even pretended that he will break with the Obama/Bush trade policy, the Bush foreign policy, or the Bush economic policy.

For almost eight years, it has been increasingly clear that many, many Republicans — probably a majority of the party — do not agree with any of the five principles outlined above. . . .

These voters have tried, through every means available, to make their opposition felt. They are the reason that Eric Cantor is no longer in the House. They are the reason that the Gang of Eight bill didn’t pass. They are the reason that John Boehner is no longer speaker. And they are the reason that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have dominated the polls for months. . . .

As a committed conservative for more than three decades, I am not happy about the potential break-up of the GOP. I have supported the Republican Party for almost 40 years, and I fully intended to support it for the rest of my life. I have great respect and admiration for many of the people in the Rubio camp, and I know we have won important victories together.

But I do not see how things can go on as they are now. I do not see how you can ask the working-class people of this country to support a collection of policies that have failed them over and over and over.

I couldn’t agree more. Rubio would be a far better President than Hillary Clinton (or Bernie Sanders), but he wouldn’t exactly shake up D.C. or the GOP establishment. I would certainly vote for him if he became the GOP’s nominee, much the same as I have for several prior GOP nominees–without enthusiasm. But I wouldn’t expect anything to really change.

It would be business as usual: The same, tired faces populating the cabinet and political appointments within the agencies. The same, tired policies. The same, tired political gridlock and finger-pointing, but no real changes to the lives of ordinary Americans. The GOP establishment in D.C. would be thrilled: They would have full employment, be appointed to high-ranking government positions, obtain lucrative consulting, lobbying and other government contracts, and generally have a sense of well-being because they are “back in power” (which is the most important thing to the D.C. elite). But for the rest of us, the oppressive sense of Republican stagnation (both intellectual and economic) would continue unabated.

February 23, 2016

IT’S JUST THE GOPe’S LATEST DELUSION: Sahil Kapur at Bloomberg examines “Four Problems With the ‘Winnowing’ Theory of Trump’s Downfall.

Jeb Bush’s decision to drop out of the presidential race after a dismal fourth-place finish in South Carolina sped up a process that Republican elites have long been praying for: a winnowing of the field that could thwart the candidacy of Donald Trump.

The theory is that Trump, who notched his second consecutive primary victory on Saturday, is a factional candidate with a “hard ceiling” of support limited to the one-third of the party. . . .

Trump, however, bristled at that argument during his victory speech Saturday night.

 “A number of the pundits said, ‘Well, if a couple of the other candidates dropped out, if you add their scores together it’s going to equal Trump,'” he said in a mocking tone. “But these geniuses—they don’t understand that as people drop out I’m going to get a lot of those votes also. You don’t just add them together.”

Trump has a point, and a close examination of Republican voter data shows that the “winnowing” theory has four serious flaws.

1. It’s unclear Trump loses a three-person race

An Economist/YouGov national survey released last week tested the theory that Trump would suffer in a three-person race with his two chief rivals. It found Trump winning with 46 percent of the vote, ahead of Marco Rubio with 28 percent and Ted Cruz with 26 percent. . . .

2. Trump’s ‘hard ceiling’ is overrated

. . . . One way to test this, pollsters say, is to gauge what percentage of voters could see themselves supporting a candidate.

The January NBC/Wall Street Journal survey found that 65 percent of likely Republican voters could see themselves supporting Trump, a staggering jump from the 23 percent of voters who did last March, before he announced his presidential run. Cruz and Rubio fared modestly better, at 71 percent and 67 percent, respectively.

“The longer Donald Trump stays in the race, the more likely GOP voters are willing to vote for him,” Republican pollster Frank Luntz tweeted in response to that statistic.

By contrast, in January 2012, 59 percent of Republicans saw Romney, who went on to win the nomination, as “acceptable,” according to Gallup.

3. Trump’s support is broad-based in the party

While Rubio pitches himself as best-positioned to unite the party, Trump has a case of his own to make. Exit polls in the first three states show strong support for the New York billionaire across age groups, sexes, ideologies, income level, religious inclinations, issue preferences and candidate qualities.

Though he lost some subgroups in South Carolina—like well-educated voters, who Rubio won, and very conservative voters, who Cruz won—exit polls showed no glaring vulnerability that could undermine him. The only GOP faction that overwhelmingly views Trump as unacceptable is national party leaders and senior operatives, whose influence is diminished by the fact that they are loathed by the GOP base (a dynamic that helped give rise to Trump in the first place). . . .

4. ‘Second choice’ votes aren’t all anti-Trump

While a crowded field arguably helps Trump more than a small field, a NBC/SurveyMonkey poll released Thursday indicates that supporters of other candidates would not unify against Trump as others drop out.

The survey found that Bush backers are torn between Rubio (19 percent), John Kasich (16 percent), Cruz (12 percent) and Trump (11 percent). Kasich fans are torn between Rubio (24 percent), Trump (16 percent) and Cruz (10 percent). Ben Carson supporters split between Cruz (24 percent), Trump (22 percent) and Rubio (16 percent). . . .

Trump’s “unfavorable” ratings are not as high as many of the establishment pundits incessantly suggest. A February 10-15 Quinnipiac poll among registered voters (MOE +/- 2.7 percent) found that among Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents, Trump’s favorable rating was 62 percent, with unfavorables of 31 percent (the other 7 percent didn’t know one way or the other).

Cruz’s favorable/unfavorable rating, by contrast, was 62/23 (with 15 percent unable to say); Rubio’s favorable/unfavorable was 64/17 (with 19 percent unable to say).

One thing that is striking about the favorability numbers is that Trump’s fame translates into most Americans having an opinion of him, one way or the other (with only 7 percent not yet having formed an opinion). Cruz and Rubio, by contrast, have relatively large percentages of the public–more than two times as many–who have not yet formed an opinion about favorability (15 and 19 percent, respectively). This naturally makes the “unfavorable” ratings of Cruz and Rubio appear markedly smaller. The “favorability” ratings of all three candidates among Republicans, however, is remarkably similar, with 62 percent for Trump, 62 percent for Cruz, and 64 percent for Rubio–a virtual dead heat.

Trump’s favorability numbers among Republicans are very similar to Romney’s in February 2012 (65/28 among Republicans; not including Independents) and Trump’s favorability among Independents seems to be notably higher. Specifically, the Quinnipiac poll has Trump with a 62/29 favorability rating among Independents, whereas the February 2012 Gallup poll had Romney at 37/44 favorability among Independents. Romney’s low favorability ratings improved significantly after he became the presumptive nominee of the Republican party, a typical phenomenon that would presumably happen to Trump (or Cruz or Rubio) as well. Moreover, there is some evidence that Trump enjoys the support of around 20 percent of likely Democratic voters in a general election.

I’m not sure how accurate any of these polls are, but if one is going to attempt to rely upon them to prognosticate, the story being told about Trump’s favorability ratings leading to “unelectability” seems both exaggerated and incomplete.

RELATED: Trump’s lead grows with Jeb out of the race.

February 19, 2016

EVEN A BROKEN CLOCK IS RIGHT TWICE A DAY: Charles Koch has an oped in the Washington Post, “This is the One Issue Where Bernie Sanders is Right.

As he campaigns for the Democratic nomination for president, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) often sounds like he’s running as much against me as he is the other candidates. I have never met the senator, but I know from listening to him that we disagree on plenty when it comes to public policy. . . .

Democrats and Republicans have too often favored policies and regulations that pick winners and losers. This helps perpetuate a cycle of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty in the United States. These are complicated issues, but it’s not enough to say that government alone is to blame. Large portions of the business community have actively pushed for these policies. . . . 

Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit. This pits individuals and groups against each other and corrupts the business community, which inevitably becomes less focused on creating value for customers. That’s why Koch Industries opposes all forms of corporate welfare — even those that benefit us. (The government’s ethanol mandate is a good example. We oppose that mandate, even though we are the fifth-largest ethanol producer in the United States.)

It may surprise the senator to learn that our framework in deciding whether to support or oppose a policy is not determined by its effect on our bottom line (or by which party sponsors the legislation), but by whether it will make people’s lives better or worse. . . .

Our criminal justice system, which is in dire need of reform, is another issue where the senator shares some of my concerns. Families and entire communities are being ripped apart by laws that unjustly destroy the lives of low-level and nonviolent offenders.

Today, if you’re poor and get caught possessing and selling pot, you could end up in jail. Your conviction will hold you back from many opportunities in life. However, if you are well-connected and have ample financial resources, the rules change dramatically. Where is the justice in that? . . .

At this point you may be asking yourself, “Is Charles Koch feeling the Bern?”


I applaud the senator for giving a voice to many Americans struggling to get ahead in a system too often stacked in favor of the haves, but I disagree with his desire to expand the federal government’s control over people’s lives. This is what built so many barriers to opportunity in the first place. . . .

I don’t expect to agree with every position a candidate holds, but all Americans deserve a president who, on balance, can demonstrate a commitment to a set of ideas and values that will lead to peace, civility and well-being rather than conflict, contempt and division. When such a candidate emerges, he or she will have my enthusiastic support.

I’ve always thought it was strange for Democrats to spend so much energy demonizing the Kochs who are, after all, libertarians who agree with the left on many social issues. Most of their non-profit spending goes to educational efforts aimed at enhancing individual liberty (which explains why they are the functional equivalent of Lucifer to liberals/progressives/totalitarians).

I guess the left needs to have its base hate someone specific who is really rich–their anti-Soros, if you will. Most of the other mega-wealthy Americans either try to stay out of the political spotlight, or they become supplicants to the political left (e.g., Bill Gates or Warren Buffett) in their attempt to ward off its ire. Just ask Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Cracker Barrel, Whole Foods, Exxon, and many other businesses that have been the subject of negative publicity and boycotts (largely unsuccessful) after they dared to defy the political left. 

February 18, 2016

SIX PROMINENT DEMOCRATS & 3 BLACK CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS: These are the high profile funerals Obama has attended since becoming President, according to the Washington Post.

Anyone see a pattern here? But hey, I’m sure Obama’s decision not to attend the funeral of one of the most prominent Supreme Court Justices of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries isn’t political or anything.

February 17, 2016

INDICATIONS OF SANITY?: USA Today national poll shows entire Republican field can beat both Hillary and Bernie.

Against Hillary:

Trump wins 45% to 43%.

Cruz wins 45-44

Rubio wins 46-42

Against Bernie: 

Trump wins 44% to 43%.

Cruz loses 42-44

Rubio wins 46-42

The ads touting a “vote for Trump/Cruz” is a vote for the Democrats are not only offensive to a large segment of GOP voters who support these candidates, but also not supported by current polling data. Apparently each of the top three GOP candidates are capable of beating either Clinton or Sanders. Of course, that’s not necessarily saying much, since Clinton and Sanders are arguably the worst two presidential candidates in recent history.

February 16, 2016

DEMOCRATS’ ESTABLISHMENT FIGHTING THE BERN: This piece by Jay Michaelson at The Daily Beast is entertaining, and telling: “Dear Bernie Voters: A Vote for Him is a Vote for Donald Trump”:

Dear Bernie Voter,

Unlike many Clinton supporters, I am not writing to you because I think you’re naïve, or misguided, or sexist, or dumb, or any of the other patronizing and condescending crap that Hillary voters often say. In fact, I probably agree with you on most issues. I am writing to you because I am sincerely worried that you will hand this election to the Republicans, and I want to do my best to convince you not to do so.

The point of primary elections is not to select a president; it’s to select a candidate. For that reason, “electability” is not just one among many issues: It is the central issue. Yet despite having absorbed several dozen pro-Bernie articles and videos, I have yet to hear a plausible path to victory for Bernie Sanders. . . .

Now, some of my pro-Bernie friends say that even if Bernie isn’t ultimately electable, they can’t vote for Clinton in the primary because she’s so awful on, well, insert your key issues here. That is, of course, a coherent position to take. If Clinton’s negatives, or Bernie’s positives, are so high as to be worth losing the general election, then of course it makes sense to vote your values. . . .

Show me a Sanders path to victory, or admit that you’re making that choice, and putting the Republican Party in charge of all three branches of government. . . It’s not compromising, selling out, or picking the lesser of two evils to choose a candidate that can appeal to the broad middle of America—it’s democracy.

Funny, this sounds exactly like the arguments that the GOPe makes against Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. The Democrats’ elite seem to think that in a Sanders vs. Cruz or Trump matchup, the GOP wins. The Republicans’ elite seems to think that in a Clinton vs. Cruz or Trump matchup, Clinton wins.

Presumably, then, both parties think that in a Clinton versus Cruz or Trump election, Clinton wins. While the latest RCP average does show Clinton beating Trump by an average of 4.7 percent, it actually shows Cruz narrowly besting Clinton by an average of 0.2 percent.  Of course none of this polling matters if you don’t believe the polls, and they are acknowledged by many as increasingly inaccurate. So who knows?

What is clear is that both parties are feverishly trying to convince their base to abandon the “outsider” candidates. It’s almost like the more the political establishment (of either party) yells and screams at the unwashed masses, the more the unwashed masses tune them out.

February 15, 2016

THE SENATE’S ROLE ISN’T “ADVICE AND RUBBER STAMP”: The Appointment Clause of Article I, section 2 of the Constitution makes it clear that while the President has the power to nominate Supreme Court Justices, no appointment can take place without the “Advice and Consent of the Senate.”

As Michael Barone explains, the Senate’s checking function–particularly in a presidential election year–should be (and historically has been) taken seriously:

Obama has made it clear, in his statement after the announcement of Justice Scalia’s death and through press spokesman Eric Schultz, that he will send a nominee’s name to the Senate and that he will not do so during the current 10-day President’s Day recess. But the Senate doesn’t have to act on the nomination at all. . . .

The Constitution clearly gives the president the duty of appointing a justice and it clearly gives the Senate the prerogative to confirm or deny confirmation to that nominee. . . .

Newspapers like the Washington Post will be full of articles about the Obama nominee’s great skills and attractive background. For an example of what’s coming, consider this article on one possible nominee, who if confirmed and if he lives as long as Scalia would serve until 2052. The writer relishes the prospect of Republicans opposing an outwardly attractive Mexican-American nominee, though to me it brings back the spectacle of the Democrats in the first term blocking the appeals court nomination of Miguel Estrada for fear that he would become an attractive Supreme Court nominee. Estrada’s nomination was not reported to the floor when Democrats were in the majority and when Republicans gained the majority it was filibustered — the first filibuster of an appeals court nominee in history. So much for precedent. . . .

Republicans could argue, as their presidential candidates did in Saturday’s debate, that the president should not get to nominate a justice in his last year in office. That’s a principled stand, and one for which there is ample precedent. . . .

The last three times a justice was nominated and confirmed in a presidential year were in 1956, 1940 and 1932. In 1956 and 1932, Republican presidents named a Democratic nominee who served on their state’s highest courts: Dwight Eisenhower chose William Brennan (whose selection he later called one of his biggest mistakes) and Herbert Hoover chose Benjamin Cardozo. In 1940 a Democratic president named a Democratic nominee, Attorney General Frank Murphy, who was nominated on January 4 and confirmed by a Democratic-majority Senate 12 days later. If you want to take this as a precedent for consideration and confirmation of a nominee in an election year, note that it is 76 years old.

UPDATE: Adam J. White, on the basis of impressive historical research, makes the point in the Weekly Standard blog that the Senate has no constitutional duty to vote on Supreme Court appointments. In fact, the Senate has confirmed only 124 of 160 presidential Supreme Court nominations, and of the 36 unsuccessful nominees fully 25 received no up-or-down vote. The Senate would be well advised, in my view, to treat an Obama nominee the same way.

The last three times when a terminal-year President nominated and obtained confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee all involved Democrats being confirmed–two involving Republican Presidents (Hoover and Eisenhower) who named to the Court Democrats, who were then confirmed by a Senate that was very closely divided (47-48 Democrat/Republican in 1932; 48-47 Democrat/Republican in 1956); the other involving a Democratic President (FDR) who named a Democrat, who in turn was confirmed by Democrat-controlled Senate (69-23 Democrat/Republican in 1940).

So basically this recent history of terminal-year presidential Supreme Court appointments has been a one-way street in favor of Democrats only.

February 15, 2016

NO JOKE: TRUMP CAN WIN PLENTY OF LATINOS: So says the Daily Beast’s Ruben Navarrette:

Latinos for Trump? Oh yeah, that’s a thing.

Keep in mind three points. First, you have to understand that we’re talking here primarily about Latino Republicans, many of whom might live in red states such as Arizona or Texas. Those Latinos who are Democrats (as about 80 percent of them are, according to surveys) are busy dividing up their support between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, with most of it going to Clinton. . . .

Finally, if it’s true that Trump is inspiring voters who feel alienated and abandoned by the political process, then the fact that there might be Latinos who support Trump makes sense. America’s largest minority knows about alienation and abandonment. . . .

new poll confirms it. In the national survey, which was conducted by Beck Research on behalf of the American Federation for Children, 38 percent of Latinos favor Trump. Ted Cruz got 15 percent. Jeb Bush pulled in 14 percent. And Marco Rubio, the guy who’s supposed to be the one who could unite the party and win? Just 8 percent. . . .

And interestingly enough, with most Puerto Ricans and Dominican-Americans solidly in the Democratic camp, and Cuban-Americans splitting their allegiance between Rubio and Cruz, it is in the Mexican-American community in the Southwest where you are most likely to find Latinos lining up with Trump.

They’re in red states like Texas and Arizona, and the battleground state of Colorado. There’s a lot they like about Trump, including his independence, plainspokenness, success in business, and disdain for political correctness. They see him as strong and resolute, and not having to cater to moneyed interests since he is self-funding his campaign. And either they don’t buy the idea that he is anti-Mexican, or they don’t care.

Let’s not forget that the relationship between U.S.-born Latinos and Latino immigrants, and even between foreign-born Latinos who have been naturalized and Latino immigrants, is complicated to say the least. There is an ambivalence there.

As a Mexican-American, I can tell you that many Mexican-Americans think that Mexican immigrants who come to the United States illegally are taking advantage—of a porous border, of the social-services safety net, of loopholes in immigration law, and of an insatiable appetite among U.S. employers for cheap and dependable labor. And they’re not wrong about that.

That’s a problem. Trump isn’t the solution. But there are some Latinos who give him credit for even starting the conversation.

It’s an interesting perspective. Hispanics are not a homogenous group, so I assume that some will support Trump, as well as every other candidate. We should stop trying so hard to stereotype individuals.

February 14, 2016

COULD OBAMA MAKE A RECESS APPOINTMENT TO REPLACE SCALIA?: The answer appears to be “yes,” because (once again), the GOP-controlled Senate voluntarily has left itself vulnerable to the exercise of such presidential power. Article II, section 2 of the Constitution gives the President power to fill vacancies “during the recess of the Senate”:

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there. For example, a report by Fox News mistakenly focuses on the Adjournment Clause of Article I, section 5, which merely states that neither House of Congress may adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other.  The Fox News reporter wrongly concludes:

[S]o long as both the House and Senate haven’t jointly agreed to “adjourn” for a stretch longer than three days, then there appears to be no way the president could make a recess appointment.

But the House and Senate are not operating under those circumstances right now. Both bodies of have adjourned until later this month for the President’s Day recess.

The Senate last met on Thursday. When doing so, it approved a “conditional adjournment resolution” for the Senate not to meet again until Monday, Feb. 22. The House met on Friday and at the close of business adopted the same adjournment resolution to get in sync with the Senate. The House is out until Tuesday, Feb. 23.

So, the House and Senate will not be meeting in the coming days. This is an adjournment and is not challengeable in court  the way the NLRB recess appointments were because both bodies have agreed with each other to adjourn.

Whether the House of Representatives is in adjournment is irrelevant to the Recess Appointments Clause power. The only salience of the Adjournment Clause is that, in NLRB v. Noel Canning (2014), the Supreme Court looked to the Adjournment Clause as relevant evidence in its quest to ascertain a minimum period of time for determining the meaning of a “Recess of the Senate” in the Recess Appointments Clause.  Specifically, the Court concluded:

The Adjournments Clause reflects the fact that a 3-day break is not a significant interruption of legislative business. As the Solicitor General says, it is constitutionally de minimis. A Senate recess that is so short that it does not require the consent of the House is not long enough to trigger the President’s recess-appointment power. . . .

 If a Senate recess is so short that it does not require the consent of the House, it is too short to trigger the Recess Appointments Clause. And a recess lasting less than 10 days is presumptively too short as well.

Thus, a Senate recess of fewer than 3 days is not enough to trigger the President’s recess appointment power; the Senate’s recess must be at least ten days in duration. 

So how long is the Senate’s present recess? It began on Friday, February 12, with the passage of S. Con. Res. 31 which states:

That when the Senate recesses or adjourns on any day from Thursday, February 11, 2016, through Saturday, February 20, 2016, on a motion offered pursuant to this concurrent resolution by its Majority Leader or his designee, it stand recessed or adjourned until 12:00 noon on Monday, February 22, 2016, or such other time on that day as may be specified by its Majority Leader or his designee in the motion to recess or adjourn, or until the time of any reassembly pursuant to section 2 of this concurrent resolution, whichever occurs first; . . .

Sec. 2. (A) The Majority Leader of the Senate or his designee, after concurrence with the Minority Leader of the Senate, shall notify the Members of the Senate to reassemble at such place and time as he may designate if, in his opinion, the public interest shall warrant it.

A Senate recess from February 12 (at noon) until February 22 (at noon) is a recess of exactly 10 days. Thus, under Noel Canning, the Senate is potentially in recess, and President Obama’s recess appointments power may be exercised.

Under S. Con. Res. 31, the only way to recall the Senate back into business before February 22 is with the “concurrence [of] the Minority Leader of the Senate,” Harry Reid (D-NV). Somehow I doubt Sen. Reid will grant such concurrence to reconvene, should President Obama decide to use this 10-day recess to make a recess appointment and replace Justice Scalia. But should President Obama try use this particular 10-day recess to replace Justice Scalia, the replacement would only be constitutionally permitted to serve until the end of the next session– i.e., until the end of the 1st session of the 115th Congress, which would be sometime in early January 2018. [H/T to Mike Rappaport and Casey M for noting this, as my original post referenced the end of the current session].

But there is another potential wrinkle. Specifically, the Congressional Record of February 12 shows that Senate declared that it would be in pro forma session (where a member of the Senate gavels in and gavels out every few days), declaring:

A unanimous-consent agreement was reached providing that when the Senate completes its business on Friday, February 12, 2016, it adjourn, to then convene for pro forma sessions only, with no business being conducted on the following dates and times, and that following each pro forma session, the Senate adjourn until the next pro forma session: Monday, February 15, 2016, at 11:00 a.m., and Thursday, February 18, 2016, at 9:00 a.m.; and that when the Senate adjourns on Thursday, February 18, 2016, it next convene at 3:00 p.m., on Monday, February 22, 2016, unless the Senate receives a message from the House of Representatives that it has adopted S. Con. Res. 31; and that if the Senate receives such a message, it stand adjourned until 3:00 p.m., on Monday, February 22, 2016.

Notice, however, that the pro forma status of the Senate’s recess is made conditional: “unless the Senate receives a message from the House of Representatives that it has adopted S. Con. Res. 31; and that if the Senate receives such a message, it stand [sic] adjourned until 3:00 p.m., on Monday, February 22, 2016.”

This matters because if the Senate is in pro forma session, the Noel Canning majority agreed that such pro forma sessions will block the president’s recess appointment power:

We hold that, for purposes of the Recess Appointments Clause, the Senate is in session when it says it is, provided that, under its own rules, it retains the capacity to transact Senate business.

Unfortunately for the GOP Senate, however, the GOP-controlled House agreed to S. Con. Res. 31 on February 12 without objection. This means that under the plain language of S. Con. Res 31, the Senate is “in recess”–and not in pro forma session.

If this is indeed the case, the Senate is presently in the midst of a 10-day recess (not a pro forma session), and under Noel Canning, President Obama possesses the power to make a recess appointment to the Supreme Court until noon on February 22, when the Senate comes back in session.

February 13, 2016

JUSTICE SCALIA HAS DIED: No indication yet as to the cause of death. He was 79 years old.

Will the Republicans in the Senate have the fortitude to resist the inevitable far-left Obama replacement nominee? The Constitution literally hangs in the balance.

February 12, 2016

SO TRUMP IS A WHITE OBAMA?: Reihan Salam has column in Slate (he is also an executive editor of National Review, btw), “I Can’t Hate Donald Trump: I Do Hate Republicans Who’ve Enabled His Remarkable Popularity.”  The thesis seems to be that Trump is essentially a “white Obama” whose campaign is a dog whistle for working class whites:

I can’t bring myself to hate Donald Trump. Part of this is a quirk of biography. Like a lot of native New Yorkers around my age, I find his outer-borough accent so comfortingly familiar that I can’t help but smile whenever I hear his voice, even when he’s saying something outrageously offensive. To a certain kind of smart, scrappy, lower-middle-class New York youth in the ’80s and ’90s, Trump was the living embodiment of gaudy success—a kind of mash-up of Santa Claus, Scrooge McDuck, and Vito Corleone. . . .

Trump is strongest not in the metropolitan corners of America, where he’s spent most of his life. Rather, his strongholds are the mostly overlooked sections of the South, Appalachia, and the rural and semi-rural North. . . .

Many have been struck by the overwhelming whiteness of Trump’s campaign, not least the small number of self-identified “white nationalists” who’ve rallied around his campaign. I would argue that the Trump coalition illustrates how whiteness as a category is so expansive as to be almost meaningless. The Scots-Irish or “American” whites who see Trump as their champion are profoundly different from the metropolitan whites who dominate the upper echelons of U.S. society—so much so that the convention of lumping them together as “white” detracts far more from our understanding of how they fit into our society than it adds to it. J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, a forthcoming book on the place of Appalachian whites in modern America, estimates that roughly one-quarter of whites belong to the Scots-Irish tribe that has embraced Trump. If we were to separate out these Americans as a race or ethnicity unto themselves, Vance writes, we would finds rates of poverty and substance abuse that would shock our national conscience. But we don’t generally collect detailed statistics on the Scots-Irish. . . .

When Barack Obama first emerged on the political scene, he excited voters who saw in him a reflection of their own experiences. His mixed ancestry, his upbringing as the son of an intellectually curious and at times very poor single mother, and his experience of upward mobility through higher education—all of these experiences resonated with Americans who’d had similar journeys, and who felt validated by Obama’s narrative.

Trump and Obama are almost as different as one American can be from another. Nevertheless, Trump has built a gut-level connection that is no less formidable, and with an entirely different set of Americans. . . .

I’m not sure what makes Salam think that Americans of “Scots-Irish” descent are poor Appalachian hillbillies with substance abuse problems. This odd racial stereotyping aside, Salam is simply wrong that Trump’s primary support emerges from poor, uneducated whites, an unsupportable myth I’ve written about before that keeps getting repeated by the GOPe and Democrats alike.

More importantly, I hardly think that a platform of issues that are important to all Americans–national security, jobs, immigration (all of which are intimately related)–is fairly characterized as a racial dog whistle, unless one believes that these issues are particularly “white” (or more specifically,
“Scots-Irish”) issues.

Salam’s column suggests to me that while elites may abhor finding themselves in political association with the unwashed masses (i.e., working class whites), they can’t seem to help themselves because like the masses, there’s something about Trump that they can’t help but like. It suggests that Trump’s political umbrella is (at least potentially) larger than many have acknowledged. Could it also be that Trump holds the potential to unite, rather than divide? Only time will tell.

February 12, 2016

MOST ASTUTE TAKEAWAY FROM DEM DEBATE: Black Lives Don’t Matter to Clinton and Sanders–Only Black Votes. The self-proclaimed “Conservative Black Chick,” Crystal Wright, has an oped in The Telegraph that documents the vomit-inducing racial pandering of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during last night’s Democrats’ debate:

Sanders’ solution to his black and brown problem is to break bread with Sharpton in Harlem. The good Reverend Al, who hasn’t given a sermon since I can recall, never met a racial riot or protest he didn’t want to incite.

How insulting to black people that Sanders thinks all he has to do is meet with a buffoon like Sharpton to secure the black vote. As I wrote in my new book Con JobDemocrats “don’t grant blacks permission to be free-thinking individuals”. We’re merely supposed to follow the orders of a profiteer like Sharpton.

Not that Sanders is any better than Clinton, who in 2008 spoke in a “black” accent at a campaign event at a black church in Charleston. Democrats in general take the black vote for granted and insult blacks as political dummies. . . .

The fact is Hillary will say and do anything to get elected and black votes matter to Hillary more than black lives ever will. It’s outrageous for any black American to vote for Hillary. They’d be voting for their demise. . . .

What’s so sad is the black vote can be won or bought so easily with these optical illusions from Democrats like Hillary and Bernice. No other race in America but blacks votes solidly for one party and allows themselves to be politically manipulated like stuff animals. . . .

There is a high price to be paid for leaving the Democrats’ plantation. Just ask Rep. Mia Love, Sen. Tim Scott, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, or any other prominent Republican black person.

Hillary and Bernie are overtly pandering to make sure that rank-and-file blacks remain firmly rooted to the plantation, picking Democrats’ divisive, dependent, racially-tinged cotton ad infinitum.

February 11, 2016

THE GROWING STENCH OF CLINTON CORRUPTION: The Washington Post is reporting that the “Clinton Foundation Received Subpoena From State Department Investigators.”

Investigators with the State Department issued a subpoena to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation last fall seeking documents about the charity’s projects that may have required approval from the federal government during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state, according to people familiar with the subpoena and written correspondence about it.

The subpoena also asked for records related to Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons.

The full scope and status of the inquiry, conducted by the State Department’s inspector general, were not clear from the material correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post. . . .

The potential consequences of the IG investigation are unclear. Unlike federal prosecutors, inspectors general have the authority to subpoena documents without seeking approval from a grand jury or a judge.

But their power is limited. They are able to obtain documents, but they cannot compel testimony. At times, IG inquiries result in criminal charges, but sometimes they lead to administrative review, civil penalties or reports that have no legal consequences.

POWERBALL: A Federal judge today ordered the State Department to release all Clinton emails by Feb. 29. 

Until now, the State Department has been posting Clinton emails about once a month on its website. The plaintiff in the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit before [judge Rudolph] Contreras’ court, reported Jason Leopold of Vice News, has complained that the slow pace of production, with an additional deadline extension requested by the State Department, would delaying some of the most potentially explosive Clinton documents until after important early Democrat presidential primaries.

Politico notes that even the new court-ordered release schedule will deliver two batches of emails after the Nevada caucuses on February 20, and one batch after the Democrat’s South Carolina primary on February 27.

The State Department wanted to deliver one batch on February 13 and another at the end of the month; the court-imposed schedule will ensure more emails are released before each of the two upcoming primary contests. Unfortunately, some of the hottest Clinton emails will still be dropped just a day before the Super Tuesday primary.

Contreras remains very annoyed with the State Department. Politico quotes his order as follows: “The court expects that defendant will endeavor to avoid any additional delay. Therefore, it is FURTHER ORDERED that defendant shall promptly bring any unanticipated problems to the court’s attention.”

Judge Contreras (himself an Obama appointee) is apparently under the odd impression that the Obama Administration is beholden to the rule of the law.

February 11, 2016

HOW IT MUST BURN THE GOPe: They couldn’t figure this out by themselves, so the voters are giving them a little remedial lesson. Stephen Moore explains, “America Trumped: Trump is the Anti-Obama in Every Way.”

It is striking that Trump is the anti-Obama in every way. Obama blames America first for every problem on the earth, from global warming to terrorism. Trump emanates love for America and pledges to “make America great again.”

Obama hates business. Trump runs businesses.

Obama is a pessimist. Trump is an optimist.

Obama is an elitist. Trump is a populist.

Obama ‎is a college professor and a community organizer. Trump is a job creator and a profit maker.

Obama is incompetent. Trump is a professional — he exudes competence. . . .

In February 1980 the Republican establishment said that a staunch conservative Hollywood actor could never be president ‎and he won two landslide elections. Trump isn’t Reagan — but he’s one of the most talented retail politicians in modern times. For nine months everyone has been underestimating this man, saying that he was surely going to go away. He’s not going away. He’s rising and proving his critics on the left and right dead wrong. That’s Reaganesque.

Cruz has many of these qualities, too, but may have narrower appeal than Trump. Both are populists, running on a long-overdue theme of patriotism. With either candidate, the GOPe is getting a long-overdue spanking.

February 9, 2016

THIS IS VERY BIG BREAKING NEWS: The Supreme Court has stayed the Obama Administration’s vastly overreaching Clean Power Plan:

The surprising move on Tuesday is a blow to the administration and a victory for the coalition of 27 mostly Republican-led states and industry opponents that call the regulations “an unprecedented power grab.”

By temporarily freezing the rule the high court’s order signals that opponents have made a strong argument against the plan. A federal appeals court last month refused to put it on hold.

The plan aims to stave off the worst predicted impacts of climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions at existing power plants by about one-third by 2030.

Appellate arguments are set to begin June 2.

The decision to stay the regulation was along ideological lines, 5-4.

February 9, 2016

WELL, YES AND NO: Sarah Wright, the chair of a group called Unmarried Equality, writes in the Washington Post,  “Why It’s Time to Stop Glorifying Marriage.”

In an era when the average American now spends the majority of his or her life unmarried, it is time to stop glorifying and privileging marriage to the total exclusion of all other patterns of family formation, caregiving relationship, living arrangement and property ownership. Despite its ubiquity, marriage is exactly “one size does not fit all.” Yet at the same time, the high price of being single in the United States is a well-known fact of life. What’s a thinking person to do?

For the majority of children now born outside of marriage, (estimated atroughly half of births today), the ramifications of growing up in an unmarried household are generally immediate and negative: Increased poverty is all but guaranteed. At the same time, promoting marriage at taxpayer expense to solve this problem has been a colossal boondoggle. For starters, there was little demand from its target audience, not to mention that marriage has a nearly 50 percent failure rate. . . .

In fact, public support for people who constitute functional but poor families of any type should be based entirely on need. If the body politic ever reaches consensus on comprehensive immigration reform, for example, marital status could be replaced by citizenship as the basis for doling out various benefits. This is in line with more recent suggestions that the state remove some of the benefits attached to marriage and give them to those who need them most. Another option would be to expand the definition of family to encompass more than just romantic unions, and to extend the benefits of marriage to the unmarried, including the advantages that accrue through Social Security and tax law.

Or, the state could leave the marriage business altogether. Various red states moved to eliminate all marriage licenses as recently as last year, in anticipation of and reacting to the Obergefell gay marriage decision. Just last month, a Republican lawmaker in Indiana introduced a bill that would abolish marriage licenses in the Hoosier State. . . .

Privatizing marriage is an idea that draws together strange bedfellows — fromlibertarians to feministsliberals to conservatives; and academics to clerics. Yet what binds our common view is the notion that personal relationships are best defined by individuals themselves. Since we all engage in various contractual agreements everyday, the basic concept is hardly new.

Abolishing marriage as a legal category would not eliminate the institution, which has enduring appeal for many people. What it could bring is a real understanding that unmarried families exist and that unmarried adults deserve full representation in society — not just a little extra love around Valentine’s Day.

The writer is correct in her observation that marriage isn’t for everyone. I (sadly) know too many people who are married solely for their own convenience (usually financial), and not because of any notions about love, fidelity or devotion. And hey, I understand how such marriages can be rationalized based purely on self-interest: Who wants to lose half of the assets they’ve worked hard to accumulate just because they aren’t “in love” anymore?  On the other hand, when there is genuine love, or when there are children involved, marriage is non pareil.

The writer is also correct that the time may have come for getting the state out of the business of defining marriage. Now that the Supreme Court has made it clear that “the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy,” the scope of this “right to personal choice” regarding marriage presumably cannot be arbitrarily defined (and thus limited) by the state.

If one’s own happiness and individuality leads to loving two, three, or even four people at the same time, what right does the state have to prohibit polygamy? Now that the traditional procreative and corollary child-rearing justifications of one man, one woman marriage have been constitutionally dispensed with, there is no longer any principled constitutional basis for limiting marriage to two people. The Supreme Court in Obergefell desperately tried to use the phrase “two people” as much as possible, but logically, its autonomy-based analytical framework for recognizing same-sex marriage will not justify such numerical limitations in the long-term.

If the Constitution no longer allows gender or (presumably) even numerical limitations on state-sanctioned definitions of marriage, then perhaps it is indeed time for the state to get out of the marriage business altogether, leaving marriage as it was until about the mid-to-late 1700s: a private, usually church-sanctioned, status.

The times they are a-changin‘.

February 9, 2016

THE TRUTH ALWAYS COMES OUT, EVENTUALLY: For habitual liars–like the Clintons– this is a very scary prospect. Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller opines, “This Might be Why Hillary Won’t Release Her Goldman Sachs Speech Transcripts.”

As Hillary Clinton resists calls to release transcripts from her paid Goldman Sachs speeches, details of those events are emerging, and they aren’t good for the Democratic presidential candidate.

“It was pretty glowing about us,” one attendee at an Oct. 2013 Goldman Sachs event in Arizona told Politico about Clinton’s speech, which earned the former secretary of state $225,000. “It’s so far from what she sounds like as a candidate now. It was like a rah-rah speech. She sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director.” . . .

Clinton does have the ability to release the transcripts if she chooses.

Her speaking contracts — which went through the Harry Walker Agency — stipulate that the speeches be transcribed and that she retain rights to them.

She won’t be voluntarily releasing these transcripts. I am waiting for the audience-generated videos to emerge. I bet they’re worth a lot of money.

RELATED: Bill Clinton accuser Kathleen Willey to campaign against Hillary: “Willey is joining the Rape Accountability Project for Education PAC, or RAPE PAC, as its paid national spokeswoman, Reuters reported Monday. She will give public remarks and appear in political advertisements detailing claims of Bill Clinton’s past sexual misconduct.”

February 8, 2016

BUT IT WOULD MAKE TOO MUCH SENSE: Pressure on Lynch to Step Aside in Clinton Email Probe.

If the FBI finds sufficient evidence to launch a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton or one of her top aides for mishandling classified information, Lynch’s Justice Department will have to decide whether to press ahead.

Even if no evidence of wrongdoing is found, Clinton’s many critics are unlikely to take the word of an appointee of President Obama’s and will doubt that justice has been served.

Already, top Republicans are calling for a special prosecutor to be brought in and evaluate the situation.

No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn (Texas) took to the floor of the Senate last week to call for a special counsel to be appointed “because of the conflict of interest by asking Attorney General Lynch to investigate and perhaps even prosecute somebody in the Obama administration.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) agrees that Lynch ought to consider a special counsel, a representative said, to reassure the country that decisions are made “without regard to any political considerations.”

The Justice Department, however, has so far declined the request.

“This matter is being reviewed by career attorneys and investigators and does not meet the criteria for the appointment of a special prosecutor,” department spokeswoman Melanie Newman said in a statement. . . .

Maybe this explains why Hillary is “one hundred percent confident” that nothing will come of the FBI investigation.

The current federal regulations relating to the appointment of a special counsel state that the Attorney General “will” appoint a special counsel when:

he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted and

(a) That investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances; and
(b) That under the circumstances, it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter.
But hey, I’m sure that Lynch can be impartial. After all, just because she received her first appointment as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York thanks to the nomination of then-President Bill Clinton, and her second stint as U.S. Attorney and elevation to AG thanks to President Obama (who told 60 minutes that her use of an unsecured email server did not endanger national security), this doesn’t reasonably suggest that Lynch would feel pressure to deep-six criminal charges against the Democrats’ equivalent of the Queen.
Nothing to see here. Move along.

February 8, 2016

KEEPING AMERICA SAFE, OBAMA EDITION: Pentagon Orders Commanders to Prioritize Climate Change in All Military Actions.

The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies. . . .

The directive, “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” is in line with President Obama’s view that global warming is the country’s foremost national security threat, or close to it.

. . .

Climate change must be integrated in:

• Weapons buying and testing “across the life cycle of weapons systems, platforms and equipment.”

• Training ranges and capabilities.

• Defense intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance.

• Defense education and training.

• Combatant commander joint training with allies to “assess the risks to U.S. security interests posed by climate change.”

• Joint Chiefs of Staff collaboration “with allies and partners to optimize joint exercises and war games including factors contributing to geopolitical and socioeconomic instability.”

Yes, this makes sense. I can see why the President of the United States would direct our military to prioritize climate change, since all those military exercises, training, weapons tests, humvees and other military vehicles–not to mention actual weapons use–add to our carbon footprint, maybe as much as Air Force One or Obama’s limousine-and-SUV motorcade.

I mean, really, since climate change is a bigger threat than radical Islamic terrorism, we probably ought to just eliminate the military entirely. And the President should use a bicycle or sailboat to travel. The safety of the planet depends on it!

isis climate change cartoon

February 4, 2016

PERVERSITY PREVAILS: Dr. Peter Cook explains, “How Perverse Incentives Are Ruining Health Care.” It’s an eye-opening read about the present state of bureaucratic American medical practice.

February 4, 2016

MORE OF THIS, PLEASE: Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) have an oped in NRO, “A Stronger Congress, a Healthier Republic.”

The federal government is broken. And while there is plenty of blame to go around, only Congress can fix it.

We don’t mean this as an indictment of any one leader or party, because the dysfunction in Washington today has accreted over decades, under Houses, Senates, and presidents of every partisan combination, as well as the many different justices of the Supreme Court. . . .

The stability and moral legitimacy of America’s governing institutions depend on a representative, transparent, and accountable Congress to make its laws. For years, however, Congress has delegated too much of its legislative authority to the executive branch, skirting the thankless work and ruthless accountability that Article 1 demands and taking up a new position as backseat drivers of the republic.

So today, Americans’ laws are increasingly written by people other than their representatives in the House and Senate, and via processes specifically designed to exclude public scrutiny and input. This arrangement benefits well-connected insiders who thrive in less-accountable modes of policymaking, but it does so at the expense of the American people — for whose freedom our system of separated powers was devised in the first place.

In short, we have moved from a nation governed by the rule of law to one governed by the rule of rulers and unelected, unaccountable regulators. Congress’s abdication, unsurprisingly, has led to a proliferation of bad policy and to the erosion of public trust in the institutions of government. Distrust, also unsurprisingly, is now the defining theme of American politics. . . .

That is why we have joined with eight colleagues in the House and Senate to develop and promote a new agenda of structural reforms that will strengthen Congress and reassert its vital role in our society. We call it the Article 1 Project (A1P). . . .

First, Congress must reclaim its power of the federal purse. Our formal budget process, which dates to 1974, has fallen apart, and we must restructure it for a post-earmark world. We need to bring entitlement programs back onto the actual budget and bring self-funding federal agencies back under annual appropriation.

Second, we need to reform legislative “cliffs” that loom behind expiring legislation — at the end of the fiscal year and when the federal debt nears its statutory limit — to realign the incentives of the American people and their government.

Third, Congress must take back control of actual federal lawmaking. Today, the vast majority of federal laws are unilaterally imposed by executive-branch agencies. The bureaucrats in these agencies then serve as police, prosecutors, and courts in the ensuing cases. All major regulations should be affirmatively prioritized and approved by a vote of Congress.

Finally, we must clarify the law governing executive discretion, which right now allows presidents and federal bureaucrats to ignore or rewrite federal statutes, so long as they have a clever enough reason.

Yes, yes, yes, and yes to these four commonsense proposals. But they are only a small start in the right direction. Congress’s voluntary abdication of its legislative power since the early twentieth century is perhaps the single most significant flaw in our constitutional architecture– and one that the founding generation never foresaw. As James Madison expressed it in Federalist No. 48:

[I]n a a representative republic where the executive magistracy is carefully limited, both in the extent and the duration of its power; and where the legislative power is exercised by an assembly, which is inspired by a supposed influence over the people with an intrepid confidence in its own strength . . .  it is against the enterprising ambition of this department [the legislature] that the people ought to indulge all their jealousy and exhaust all their precautions.

Like Dorothy and her ruby slippers, Congress has always held the power to “go home” and restore the Constitution’s separation of powers. It can simply click its collective heels and, well, legislate, particularly in areas such as the power of the purse and passing statutes that carefully circumscribe (and limit judicial deference to) the unconstitutional “fourth branch” of the administrative state.

Of course the success of the Article I Project (or any similar effort) will require either: (1) a President who does not veto any such laws (i.e., a Republican President); or (2) a veto-proof supermajority of two-thirds of both chambers of Congress (i.e., a House and Senate comprised of at least two-thirds GOP members). Sadly, the Democrats have shown zero willingness in restoring Congress’s constitutional power, and have indeed cheered President Obama’s incessant executive power grab.

February 4, 2016

OBAMA TO PROPOSE UNDERMINING OBAMACARE?: Yep, you read that right. The Washington Examiner is reporting that President Obama’s budget proposal is expected to include a narrowing of Obamacare’s so-called “Cadillac tax” of 40 percent on benefits-rich health insurance plans.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman and chief economist Matthew Fiedler wrote that the budget, to be published next week, will propose raising the threshold for the cost of plans affected by the tax.

The change, they wrote, will prevent the tax from “creating unintended burdens for firms located in areas where health care is particularly expensive.”

The Cadillac tax was made law as part of the funding for Obamacare. It is also intended to slow the growth in health care costs created by the existing incentives in the tax code. . . .

While the tax is popular among economists, it is opposed by unions that have bargained for costly expensive plans as well as by business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Congress and is generally viewed unfavorably in Congress. Congress voted in December to delay the imposition of the 40 percent excise tax from 2018 to 2020.

No one ever thought the Cadillac tax was politically sustainable, long-term, precisely because of the vigorous opposition by unions, who give so generously to Democrats every election cycle.  So it was always a “fake” revenue raiser for Obamacare. The problem, however, is that the Cadillac tax is one of the largest revenue sources within Obamacare–an estimated $108 billion over a ten-year period.

When you narrow, or eliminate, this revenue source, suddenly Obamacare becomes much more expensive than the rosy “deficit reducing” bill of goods sold to the American people. As Obama told the American people in his address to a Joint Session of Congress on health care in September 2009:

And here’s what you need to know.  First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future.  (Applause.)  I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period.  And to prove that I’m serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don’t materialize. . . .

Now, add it all up, and the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years — less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest few Americans that Congress passed at the beginning of the previous administration.  (Applause.)  Now, most of these costs will be paid for with money already being spent — but spent badly — in the existing health care system.  The plan will not add to our deficit.

Of course, this promise–that Obamacare would not add to the deficit–was completely false. But when you begin to narrow or repeal Obamacare’s major revenue-raising provisions such as the Cadillac tax, the deficit problem grows even worse.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m certainly not advocating for keeping the Cadillac tax, or any other provision of Obamacare. The whole thing was a massive, ill-considered jumble from day one, and it should never have been rammed through Congress via reconciliation. We are all now literally paying the price of such a raw political maneuver.

But when the namesake of Obamacare begins to propose repealing/narrowing the most significant revenue generating provisions of his own (only) major legislative achievement, you know something is seriously rotten in the state of Denmark. Obama is (predictably) throwing a bone to the Democrats’ union constituency, but it only emphasizes how Obamacare was and still remains, at its core, nothing but a stinky pile of crony capitalist payoffs to every single affected sector of economy. Even Obamacare’s Cadillac tax “punishment” of high-value union health plans turned out to be a ruse.

February 3, 2016

WELL, HE’S A FOX GUARDING THE HENHOUSE: I’m referring to President Obama, who has a constitutional duty to faithfully execute the law, making him the chief guardian of the rule of law.

Obama’s track record on fulfilling this constitutional duty has been consistently abhorrent–the worst in history–so perhaps this is merely another transgression that will trigger a collective yawn from the mainstream media. But nonetheless, Andy McCarthy cogently explains “Obama’s Growing Conflict of Interest in the Clinton Email Scandal.”

[C]lassified information so pervades the thousands of pages of e-mails communicated through and stored on Mrs. Clinton’s unsecured, homebrew server system that the court-ordered disclosure process has ground to a halt. . . .[I]t turns out [her emails] were so threaded with classified information that the State Department and intelligence agencies have fallen hopelessly behind the court’s disclosure schedule: The task of reviewing the e-mails and redacting the portions whose publication could harm national security has proved much more complicated than anticipated. Thousands of remaining e-mails, and any embarrassing lapses they contain, will be withheld from voters until well into primary season.

So egregious have the scandal’s latest developments been that a critical State Department admission from last week has received almost no coverage: Eighteen e-mails between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama have been identified, and the government is refusing to disclose them. The administration’s rationale is remarkable: Releasing them, the White House and State Department say, would compromise “the president’s ability to receive unvarnished advice and counsel” from top government officials.

Think about what this means. Not only is it obvious that President Obama knew Mrs. Clinton was conducting government business over her private e-mail account, the exchanges the president engaged in with his secretary of state over this unsecured system clearly involved sensitive issues of policy. Clinton was being asked for “advice and counsel” — not about her recommendations for the best country clubs in Martha’s Vineyard, but about matters that the White House judges too sensitive to reveal. . . .

If the administration is refusing to disclose the Obama-Clinton e-mails because they involved the secretary of state providing advice and counsel to the president, do you think those exchanges just might touch on foreign-government information, foreign relations, or foreign activities of the United States — deliberations on which are presumed classified?

Will anyone in the press corps covering the White House and the State Department ask administration officials whether this is the case? .  . .

To summarize, we have a situation in which (a) Obama knowingly communicated with Clinton over a non-government, non-secure e-mail system; (b) Obama and Clinton almost certainly discussed matters that are automatically deemed classified under the president’s own guidelines; and (c) at least one high-ranking government official (Petraeus) has been prosecuted because he failed to maintain the security of highly sensitive intelligence that included policy-related conversations with Obama.

From these facts and circumstances, we must deduce that it is possible, if not highly likely, that President Obama himself has been grossly negligent in handling classified information. He discussed sensitive matters on a non-government, non-secure e-mail system that could easily be penetrated by foreign governments (among other rogue actors). By doing so, he left an electronic- and paper-trail that was outside the government’s tightly secured repositories for classified information. He also personally indulged, and thus implicitly endorsed, Clinton’s use of private e-mail to do government business.

Law enforcement investigations are supposed to proceed independent of political considerations, but I’d wager few people believe the decision whether to indict Mrs. Clinton will be made by Attorney General Loretta Lynch alone. It will be the president’s call. In making it, he may face a profound conflict of interest. A prosecution of Clinton might expose that Obama engaged in recklessness similar to Clinton’s, albeit on a far smaller scale. Moreover, Clinton would likely argue in her defense that the president, who is ultimately responsible for safeguarding classified information, not only authorized Clinton to use private e-mail but knowingly used it himself in order to communicate with Clinton.

I’m not so sure about the “far smaller scale” conclusion. But that aside, gosh, I’m shocked that an inexperienced, insouciant, and narcissistic President would be so careless with our national security. And so corrupt.

February 2, 2016

THE REAL IOWA HEADLINE IS REPUBLICAN TURNOUT: While everyone is disputing how to spin the post-Iowa momentum–did Hillary “really” win, or did Rubio “really” come in second–the real headline is that the turnout numbers suggest strong Republican enthusiasm and significantly depressed Democratic enthusiasm:

Eight years ago, when Clinton was the favorite to defeat Barack Obama and John Edwards in the caucus, around 220,000 Democrats turned out. The Democrat turnout was almost double the Republican turnout, a clear sign of Democrat enthusiasm after 8 years of the Bush Presidency.

This year, however, just over 170,000 Democrats turned out to caucus, in a contest that was widely regarded, and broadcast by the media, as a nail-biter. Despite a massive turnout operation by the Clinton campaign and record-breaking rallies from Bernie Sanders, Democrat turnout dropped around 25 percent from 2008.

The Republican turnout was around 180,000, the highest turnout in its history. It is also the first time more Republicans turned out when both races were contested.

Indeed, the Republican turnout of 180,000 was about 60,000 more than the turnout in 2012, which was itself a record Republican turnout.

Overall, the Republicans experienced a 50 percent increase in turnout over 2012, whereas the Democrats experienced a 23 percent decrease.

If this enthusiasm gap continues through the general election, the Democrats will really need to work overtime on voter fraud to have a decent shot at the White House.

February 1, 2016

“PROGRESS”: University of Connecticut building racially segregated dorm for black males. Ah, sweet “progress.”

The awkwardly long acronym ScHOLA²RS stands for “Scholistic [sic] House Of Leaders who are African Amercian[sic] Researchers and Scholars.” ScHOLA²RS House will be among seven distinct communities at UConn’s $79 million, 210,000 square-foot NextGen Residence Hall, which is set to open in the fall.

It’s not clear if the words “Scholistic” and “Amercian” are purposefully misspelled for some reason.

In any case, the mission of the segregated dorm is “to groom, nurture, and train the next generation of leaders to address grand challenges in society through the promotion of academic success in undergraduate programs at the University of Connecticut and in competitive graduate programs.”

The concept, supporters of the neo-Jim Crow dorm say, is to increase college graduation rates for black males at UConn.

UConn education professor Erik Hines, the faculty director for the dorm, observed that black males at the school get diplomas at a rate of just 54 percent. The rate for all students on campus is 82.5 percent.

“It is a space for African American men to, one, come together, and validate their experiences that they may have on campus,” Hines told Hartford Fox affiliate WTIC-TV. “Number two, it’s also a space where they can have conversation and also talk with individuals who come from the same background who share the same experience.” . . .

About 40 black males are expected to live in ScHOLA²RS House.

It is not clear what would happen if a male who is not black applied to live in the ScHOLA²RS House community.

Yeah, this sounds logical: We can increase the graduation rate of African-American men by giving them safe spaces where they can “validate their experiences” (translation: confirm their own racial biases) and talk “with individuals who come from the same background who share the same experience” (translation: confirm their own racial biases). This predictably will exacerbate racial tension on UConn’s campus and further alienate these young men, many of whom are present on campus only due to very aggressive affirmative action programs. Racial balkanization is a (progressive) recipe for disaster.

You can separate the races, but it won’t make them equal; indeed, separation is inherently unequal. Didn’t we affirm this as a guiding constitutional (equal protection) principle in Brown v. Board of Education?  This should make an interesting lawsuit–one for which the UConn alums, students and Connecticut taxpayers sadly will have to pay.

January 28, 2016

A TRUMP-LED TRIUMVIRATE?: Well, not exactly, but it’s not far off the mark. Huckabee and Santorum to join Trump at his fundraising event for veterans following their GOP undercard debate.

Huckabee tweeted that he will participate in an earlier debate of lower polling candidates and then head off to nearby Drake University, where Trump is holding his event after bolting from the debate after a war of words with Fox News and Megyn Kelly, who is set to co-moderate the event.

Huckabee’s announcement is part of a last ditch effort for the 2008 Iowa victor to boost his standing with caucus-goers before Monday and stick it to Sen. Ted Cruz, who he has been harshly attacking on the campaign trail. By early Thursday afternoon, Santorum representatives confirmed to the Washington Examiner, as well as multiple media outlets, that he, too, would attend the event. Santorum won the caucus in 2012. . . .

More than anything, Huckabee and Santorum’s appearance at the event helps provide cover from criticism being launched at Trump by Cruz for ducking the debate and plays into Trump’s image as a candidate who doesn’t play by the normal rules of politics.

Santorum and Huckabee are angling to steer attention and votes away from other candidates–particularly Cruz– so their appearance at the Trump-led event isn’t any sort of endorsement. But still, their attendance illustrates how Trump is undeniably a flame to the media moths.

RELATED:  Ted Cruz Mega-Donors Holding Veterans’ Charities Hostage for Donald Trump Debate.

In response to Senator Ted Cruz’s challenge of a one-on-one debate, the principal donors of the Keep the Promise I and II super PACs are offering presidential candidate Donald Trump a truly fantastic deal, pledging to donate $1.5 million to charities committed to helping veterans if Mr. Trump agrees to debate Senator Cruz in Iowa.

That’s right, a group of Ted Cruz mega-donors have offered the princely sum of $1.5 million, but only if Trump agrees to debate Cruz. Otherwise, tough luck, heroes! This is sick, even by the stunt-charity standard being set by Trump, who, along with his own sketchy history of exploiting veterans, is apparently only raising money for them tonight because Fox News pissed him off. But at least he’s raising the funds, not withholding them as a political ransom.

Apparently, Carly Fiorina has offered her own $1.5 million contribution to veterans’ groups if she can join any Cruz-Trump debate.

Meanwhile, one veterans’ group has said it would decline any such donations, from Trump or any other GOP candidate participating in the event, calling it a “political stunt.”  Of course it’s a political stunt–it’s being organized by politicians, for goodness sake. But it seems odd–and itself perhaps political– that the head of a veterans’ organization would turn down a charitable gift for this reason.

January 27, 2016

TO BE FAIR, MAYBE DESPERATE WILL SUFFICE: Uber-progressive Dana Milbank confesses, “Democrats Would Be Insane to Nominate Bernie Sanders“:

I adore Bernie Sanders.

I agree with his message of fairness and I share his outrage over inequality and corporate abuses. I think his righteous populism has captured the moment perfectly. I respect the uplifting campaign he has run. I admire his authenticity.

And I am convinced Democrats would be insane to nominate him.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, is a dreary candidate. She has, again, failed to connect with voters. Her policy positions are cautious and uninspiring. Her reflexive secrecy causes a whiff of scandal to follow her everywhere. She seems calculating and phony.

And yet if Democrats hope to hold the presidency in November, they’ll need to hold their noses and nominate Clinton. . . .

Watching Sanders at Monday night’s Democratic presidential forum in Des Moines, I imagined how Trump — or another Republican nominee — would disembowel the relatively unknown Vermonter. . . .

It doesn’t speak well of Clinton that, next to her, a 74-year-old guy who has been in politics for four decades is a bright and shiny object

Ouch. You know your party is in deep trouble when apologists like Milbank call your presumptive nominee “dreary,” “uninspiring,” “calculating,” and “phony,”– while simultaneously admitting that it would be “insane” to nominate the next most likely alternative.

If/when Hillary finally gets indicted, it will likely be too late for Uncle Joe Biden or any other “savior” of the Democrats to ride in on a white horse. The filing deadline for appearing on the presidential ballots in most states will have expired by mid-March 2016–about 6 weeks from now.

So if Hillary implodes, the Democrats will most definitely be #feelingtheBern. #NoAlternative


January 26, 2016

GOP ESTABLISHMENT “PEER PRESSURE” ISN’T WORKING: A new Washington Post/ABC poll shows that Trump is enjoying a growing lead, his support is strong and stable with likely GOP primary voters/caucus-goers, and he is now deemed “acceptable” as a candidate by two-thirds of Republicans.

The poll also finds no sign that Trump’s support wavers among the Republicans who are most likely to attend primaries and caucuses, which are typically low-turnout contests. Trump’s 16-point advantage among all registered Republican voters is similar to his lead among Republicans who say they are certain to vote, report voting in 2012 Republican contests or are following the race “very closely.”

Although there was resistance to his candidacy at the beginning, Trump now is broadly acceptable to GOP voters. About 2 of 3 Republicans say they would find him acceptable as their nominee, a percentage almost identical to Cruz’s and Rubio’s. Rubio is seen as the least unacceptable, followed by Cruz, Carson and then Trump. Only about half of Republicans say Christie and Bush are acceptable, and Bush has the highest “unacceptable” percentage at 45. . . .

The new Post-ABC survey suggests that a sizable majority of Republicans believe that whatever happens in those early states, Trump will emerge with the nomination — a dramatic shift from when he first entered the race in June to mixed reviews and overcame widespread unfavorable impressions among GOP voters before his campaign launched. Today, more than 6 in 10 Republicans say Trump is most likely to win the nomination, up from 4 in 10 in the late fall.

Trump leads among nearly all demographic groups, including a narrow advantage among white evangelical Christians, a key target of the Cruz campaign. Trump’s strongest support comes from those with incomes below $50,000. Previous surveys showed Trump with significantly more support among those lacking a college degree, compared with those who have graduated from college. The new survey finds no significant difference. . . .

On a wide range of issues and candidate attributes, Trump dominates his rivals. Majorities of Republicans say he has the best chance of getting elected president and is most likely to bring needed change to Washington. More than a third say he is closest to them on issues. He and Carson are seen as the most honest of the GOP candidates, while Trump and Cruz are seen as having the best personality and temperament to serve as president.

So apparently, the GOPe talking point that I’ve heard repeatedly in the last week or so–that Trump may be leading in Iowa but his supporters are political neophytes who are less likely to “turn out” to a long, drawn out caucus event— is not panning out in the polls. Likewise, the GOPe’s elitist attempt to brandish Trump supporters as xenophobic/racist, uneducated, low-information voters who aren’t “really” Republican is not merely overtly insulting to the GOP itself, but utterly wrong. According to a new CNN/ORC poll released today:

[Trump] leads among both men and women, younger and older voters, white evangelicals, conservatives and both self-identified Republicans and independents who lean toward the party.

There are two subgroups where Trump’s lead is less dominant: college graduates and tea party supporters. Even among those groups, however, he remains at the head of the pack. Among those holding degrees, 26% back Trump, 20% Cruz, and tea party supporters split 37% for Trump, 34% for Cruz.

In fact, when I dug deeper into this CNN/ORC poll, I found several potential headlines that CNN would never report.  The most surprising one, to me, was that Trump’s lead among GOP women is substantial, with 37% likely to vote for Trump, with the next closest candidates being Ted Cruz with 21 percent, and Marco Rubio with 11 percent. Perhaps more importantly, when asked to describe how they would feel if Trump were the GOP nominee, 42 percent of GOP women said they would be “enthusiastic” (the highest ranking), versus only 39 percent of GOP men.

As for voters’ age, Trump’s lead over Cruz is larger with younger voters than older ones. Among poll participants age 50-64, Trump leads Cruz 43 to 20 percent, whereas among those age 65 and older, Trump’s lead over Cruz fell, 38 versus 25 percent.

Regarding income, Trump’s support among the “over $50K” income group (42 percent) is virtually the same as among the “under 50k” group (43 percent). Trump also leads among college grads, with 26 percent supporting him versus Cruz, who has 20 percent of college grads’ support, and Carson, who garners 12 percent of the likely GOP college grad voters.

So apparently, Trump has strong support among younger, highly educated, high-income, and female GOP voters. Who knew? Apparently, not the GOPe.

RELATED: James Taranto discusses the social-acceptability bias with respect to Trump: “I don’t know anybody who supports him.”

January 22, 2016

WATCH OUT OBAMA VOTERS, HILLARY WANTS YOU, BAD: Clinton lobbies hard to woo Obama voters in a  Huffington Post op-ed, “What President Obama’s Legacy Means to Me”:

By the time President Obama was sworn into office, we were on the brink of another Great Depression. . . .President Obama changed all that. Look where we are today. We’ve had 70 straight months of private-sector job growth. Our businesses have created 14.1 million jobs. The unemployment rate is the lowest in seven years. And the auto industry just had its best year ever.

That’s a pretty outstanding record for any president — let alone one who took office amid an economic disaster. That’s not all. We’ve imposed the toughest regulations on Wall Street since the 1930s. We created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just over a year ago — and it’s already returned nearly $11 billion to consumers.

We’ve restored our standing around the world. Under President Obama’s leadership, we worked with Congress and the United Nations to impose crippling sanctions against Iran, which paved the way for a landmark deal that will keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. We stood up for LGBT rights and women’s rights around the world. We brought Osama bin Laden to justice. And thanks to a lot of painstaking diplomacy by the president and his team, nearly 200 countries have signed on to a landmark agreement to tackle the urgent threat of climate change.

Then there’s the progress we’ve made toward a cause close to my heart: putting quality, affordable health care within reach for everyone. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 18 million Americans now have health coverage. . . .

As president, I will carry forward the Democratic record of achievement. I’ll defend President Obama’s accomplishments and build upon them. I’ll work to get incomes rising for middle-class families, make college affordable, alleviate the crushing burden of student debt, protect LGBT Americans from discrimination, preserve women’s access to health care and reproductive choice, and keep America safe from threats at home and abroad. And I’ll never allow the Affordable Care Act to be repealed.

We’ve made tremendous progress over the past eight years. That shouldn’t be dismissed or taken lightly. Let’s keep that progress going. Let’s make sure no one turns the clock back. We’ve come too far. We’ve accomplished too much. We can do even more for our families, our communities, and the country we love. And together, we can build an economy and a country that works for everyone. That would be truly revolutionary.

So apparently, to Hillary, everything is just peachy, and let’s keep this good thing going! Yeah, that will work.

With about two-thirds of Americans thinking the country is on the “wrong track,” I’d say Hillary’s attempt to run on a message of doing “even more” of what Obama has done–and selling herself as “truly revolutionary”–is about as useful as teats on a bull. Bless her little shriveled, lying progressive heart.

RELATED: Michael Mukasey in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Clinton’s Emails: A Criminal Charge is Justified.”

January 21, 2016

HILLARY EATS PUPPIES!: Okay, maybe not, but her private email server contained SAP (special access program) material, highly classified information that could have put the lives of Americans at risk. Which do you think would be worse for a former Secretary of State and presidential candidate–eating puppies or endangering American lives? (If you are a hard-core progressive/liberal, presumably it’s the former.)

When Team Clinton warns of a vast right-wing conspiracy, it’s a sure sign of political distress. Hillary Clinton’s accusation that even an independent federal watchdog is conspiring against her is another sign that her email problems are escalating.

The Clinton attack is a response to a Jan. 14 letter from the intelligence community’s inspector general, Charles McCullough, to Congress’s intelligence committees. Mr. McCullough said he has received sworn declarations from the intelligence community that former Secretary of State Clinton’s private email server contained intelligence about the government’s most important secrets. Reviewers have found “several dozen emails” containing information deemed to be at “confidential, secret, and top secret/sap” levels.

The SAP—special access program—reference in particular is ringing Washington alarms. A SAP usually refers to a highly covert technology program, often weaponry. Knowledge of these programs is usually restricted to small groups of people on a need-to-know basis.

NBC News first reported that the SAP reference on Mrs. Clinton’s server is so sensitive that Mr. McCullough had to get special clearance before he could even view the intelligence-community declarations. Later on Wednesday NBC quoted “senior U.S. officials” as saying that the information was “innocuous” chatter about U.S. military drone strikes.

This quote looks like an attempt at political damage control because the SAP news undermines Mrs. Clinton’s previous claim that the emails on her server weren’t classified “at the time.” The fact of drone strikes may have generally been known to the public, but classification levels often involve specific details—such as targets and timing. Mrs. Clinton would surely have recognized the sensitive nature of such a program—the details of which were sitting on her unsecured email server, affording “special access” to any quality Chinese hacker. . . .

All of this is relevant to the FBI probe into Mrs. Clinton’s intentions and negligence in handling classified information. Mrs. Clinton put U.S. secrets at risk for the selfish political purpose of hiding her correspondence from public view. She should be held accountable.

But will she be held accountable? Will the present DOJ, headed by Loretta Lynch, do what’s best for the country and the rule of law? I won’t hold my breath. Besides, what difference does it make that our Secretary of State had “beyond top secret” national security information on her unsecured private email server?

If the American people elect this woman President, we will get what we deserve. But then again, I said the same thing back in 2008.

Hillary bumper sticker

January 19, 2016

INTERESTING: Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump.

January 19, 2016

OBAMA’S KEYSTONE XL DECISION TRIGGERS CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE: Oil giant TransCanada has filed an intriguing (and underreported) lawsuit against various Obama Administration officials involved with the Administration’s decision to deny a cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The gravamen of the lawsuit is that the President has no unilateral authority under the Constitution to restrain foreign commerce, since the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce is given solely to Congress under Article I, section eight.

Writing a few days ago in the Wall Street Journal, TransCanada general counsel Kristine Delkus explained:

This decision . . . was contrary to basic principles of constitutional law. The president can exercise only powers granted by a statute or the Constitution. The administration acknowledged that no statute supports its action. Nor does the Constitution.

The Supreme Court’s famous 1952 ruling in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyerrejecting President Truman’s claim that he could seize private steel mills, sets out the governing principles that also defeat President Obama’s similar claim of unilateral power. Unless Congress expressly or implicitly approves of presidential action, the president has no independent power to act unless the matter falls beyond the scope of Congress’s constitutional interests.

Article I of the Constitution provides Congress with power over the domestic and international commerce at issue. And in early 2015, both houses of Congress passed legislation—later vetoed by the president—directing that the Keystone XL pipeline be constructed without any further presidential action.

Still, even if Congress had not acted, Mr. Obama’s action is unlawful because it falls far outside of the limited tradition of presidential-permit approvals. Presidents have for many decades lightly regulated certain border facilities through a permit-approval process focused on distinctly cross-border and operational concerns. No president before has prohibited construction of a major infrastructure project affecting such extensive domestic and international commerce. Nor has any other president ever claimed the power to block cross-border trade to enhance his negotiating power abroad.

The key is the last paragraph. Congress has not enacted a law authorizing the Keystone XL (bills must, after all, survive a presidential veto to become a law). But so what? Congress–and Congress alone–possesses the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce. When Congress fails to use this power, the power does not magically devolve to the President, any more than do the other enumerated congressional powers such as the power to tax, establish a uniform rule of naturalization or bankruptcies, coin money, establish post offices, etc.

In the absence of an affirmative exercise of Congress’s power to regulate foreign commerce, the legal default is a “free flow” of such commerce. Indeed, this is the essence of the Court’s Dormant Commerce Clause jurisprudence, in which courts invalidate state laws that interfere with the free flow of interstate commerce (by discriminating against out-of-staters), even though Congress has not chosen to exercise its affirmative commerce power.

President Obama’s justification for his executive order denying the free flow of oil across the U.S.-Canadian border? Climate change. Yes, you read that right. President Obama claims the right to regulate foreign commerce because of climate change. In his words:

America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change.  And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. . . .As long as I’m President of the United States, America is going to hold ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold the rest of the world.  And three weeks from now, I look forward to joining my fellow world leaders in Paris, where we’ve got to come together around an ambitious framework to protect the one planet that we’ve got while we still can.

So President Obama is claiming a unilateral power to restrict the free flow of foreign commerce based upon his perception that the U.S. needed to have credibility with an international community hellbent on reaching a climate change agreement in Paris. But this is not a situation in which national security concerns could, at least in theory, support unilateral presidential action under Article II. There is no evidence–nor does the Obama Administration make such a claim–that the Keystone XL pipeline poses a risk to national security; if anything, reducing dependence on oil generated by OPEC nations enhances U.S. security. In the words of the State Department’s Record of Decision and Statement of National Interest:

Canadian oil is a relatively stable and secure source of energy supply for many reasons, and few countries share all of the political or physical characteristics that enable Canada to remain in this position. Its producing areas are physically close to the U.S. market, and there are limited chokepoints to disrupt trade between Canada and the United States. Canada has a low likelihood of political unrest, resource nationalism, or conflict – above-ground factors that sometimes disrupt oil production in other regions. Additionally, it is not a member of OPEC, which acts to restrict oil production and influence market conditions. The Canadian oil sector is efficiently run, without undue political interference. Canadian oil sands projects have low production decline rates compared to conventional oil fields, providing greater geologic certainty of future supply levels.

Instead, the Obama Administration’s purported constitutional basis for restricting foreign commerce is that the President’s “executive power” under Article II, section one, combined perhaps with his power over foreign affairs in Article II, section two includes a shockingly broad power to do what the President thinks is best for the country, including regulating commerce, if/when doing so may enhance the President’s ability to negotiate non-binding international “agreements” that do not even rise to the level of treaties. I suppose by this logic, President Obama could have enacted much of Obamacare unilaterally, without the need for legislation, if the international community was in the middle of “universal health care” talks.

But hey, I’m sure this President–who is a self-proclaimed constitutional law scholar–would never do anything to undermine the Constitution’s separation of powers.

January 16, 2016

THEY STILL DON’T GET IT: Catherine Rampell at the Washington Post has a shockingly ignorant piece, “Tea Partyers Love the Constitution So Much–They Want to Blow it Up.

Sometimes I think tea partyers are in an emotionally abusive relationship with the Constitution.

One day, they proclaim its inerrancy and say it must be loved, honored and obeyed in all its original perfection. The next day, they call for a constitutional convention, arguing that it’s broken, outdated and desperately in need of a facelift.

In other words: I love you, you’re perfect, now change. . . .

Consider Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), a tea party darling, who wants to convene a constitutional convention to amend this precious political heirloom.

And not to push through just a single amendment, but nine. . . .

In a 92-page document defending his proposals, Abbott laments widespread ignorance of the Constitution and argues that his plan is “not so much a vision to alter the Constitution as it is a call to restore the rule of our current one.”

The Constitution itself is not broken,” Abbott writes in italics. “What is broken is our Nation’s willingness to obey the Constitution and to hold our leaders accountable to it.”

In other words, the Constitution says what Abbott thinks it says, not what it actually says, or what the Supreme Court decides it says — so now we just need to rewrite it so that the text fits what’s in his head.

Abbott is not the only right-wing Constitution-thumper to call for reframing the Founding Fathers’ allegedly perfect handiwork. . . .

Because, obviously, the best way to honor that cherished, perfect, original text is by getting rid of it. 

All I can do is shake my head and feel sorry for the ignorance this column displays.

Apparently, Ms. Rampell has forgotten her basic civics, and doesn’t realize that these calls for amendment by “right-wing Constitution thumper[s]” would employ Article V, which provides a lawful, supermajoritarian and republican process for amending the Constitution. Article V–which has been used  27 times to amend the Constitution–is evidence that the founding generation did not consider the original Constitution to be “perfect.” Indeed, the first ten amendments–the Bill of Rights–were ratified only two short years after ratification of the original Constitution.

Ms. Rampell fails to grasp that the method of changing the Constitution–i.e., the process employed–matters to a “Constitution-thumper” because, well, the Constitution allows for amendments only via the processes set forth in Article V.  To a liberal/progressive, by contrast, the method of constitutional change is irrelevant, so long as the Constitution changes in the “right way”; it’s only results, not process, that matters.

Thus. to a liberal/progressive like Ms. Rampell, it is perfectly fine for five liberal/progressive Supreme Court Justices to “amend” the Constitution with a stroke of their outcome-oriented pens.  In Ms. Rampell’s eyes, using Article V’s legitimate, supermajoritarian, republican processes to effectuate constitutional change is so time-consuming and republican, it’s downright silly, and maybe even dangerous. Surely, it’s much better to just let elitist, liberal/progressive Supreme Court Justices alter the Constitution on the people’s “behalf” (unless of course they want to overrule decisions such as Roe v. Wade or roll back the Commerce Clause).

“Constitution-thumper[s]” believe in the Constitution–and this includes employing its only legal mechanism for alteration: Article V. Given the Supreme Court’s long history (since about 1937) of misconstruing the Constitution to serve liberal/progressive ends, calls to change the Constitution and restore its original vision is far from hypocrisy. It’s the height of principled constitutional conservatism. But I wouldn’t expect someone like Ms. Rampell to get that.

January 15, 2016

SHOWING OTHER FACETS: Bloomberg political reporters Michael Bender and Kevin Cirilli pen their post-debate takeaway,”Trump Bolsters Closing Argument With Most Solid Debate Yet.

The candidate who faced doubts for months over the true strength of his commanding poll numbers is proving doubters wrong on another count: With about two weeks until the presidential nominating process starts in Iowa, Donald Trump just delivered his most complete performance of the Republican primary season.

Instead of melting under the bright lights of the debate stage, as many Republicans predicted when the former reality TV show host first rose to the top of the polls, Trump has not just survived six debates in a series that began way back in August, but started to shine. On Thursday, the billionaire added substance to his trademark charisma to defend his own attacks on China, embrace criticism that he’s appealing to voters’ anger, and fend off incoming fire from rivals across the debate stage.

Trump’s highlight of the night—and perhaps of the debate season—was an impassioned defense of New York City, his hometown. The moment came in response to an attack from U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Trump’s closest rival in the polls, that the real estate developer isn’t a conservative because he embodies “New York values.”

“When the World Trade Centers came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely, than New York,” Trump said. “We rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched. And everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers. I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made.” . . .

Peter Wehner, a veteran of the past three Republican administrations and author of a recent op-ed column titled “Why I Will Never Vote for Donald Trump,” said the candidate was “emotional and moving.”

“This was Trump’s best moment, and this is his best debate,” Wehner said in an e-mail exchange with Bloomberg Politics. “People will remember the Trump answer, with even Cruz applauding his answer.” . . .

Trump seemed more prepared than he had in other debates and “blew it out of the park” with his answer on New York, said Reed Galen, a Republican strategist who was deputy campaign manager for John McCain’s presidential bid.

“I never thought I’d say this, but I think I’d give him most improved,” Galen said in an interview. “Hoping that he was going to implode? We’ve been waiting six months for that. And I wouldn’t expect that he’ll be less prepared next time.” . . .

Asked about South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s Republican response to Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, when she urged her party to resist the “siren call of the angriest voices,” Trump called potential vice presidential pick a friend.

“I’m very angry because our country is being run horribly, and I will gladly accept the mantle of anger,” Trump said. “We have no borders. Our vets are being treated horribly. Illegal immigration is beyond belief. Our country is being run by incompetent people. And yes, I am angry.”

Anger can be productive in the right moment. But it cannot be a candidate’s only note, and must be balanced with both softer and more intellectual sides, when appropriate. Trump’s debate performance last night shows that he is well aware of this. 

As Matthew Continetti put it in today’s Washington Free Beacon, “Trump’s considerable political skills were on display Thursday evening. Provocative, gauche, funny, emphatic, and fearless, Trump doesn’t back down when the crowd boos him, he holds his own against more polished opponents, and he has identified and exploited the anger of many Republican and independent voters.”

The “new and improved” Trump has surprised a lot of people. It’s almost like some reporters, pundits or other political “pros” thought he was stupid or something. How ironic.

January 14, 2016

WELL, ARROGANCE BEGETS BLINDNESS: Henry Olsen at NRO writes about how the GOP establishment must try to understand, not ridicule, concerns of blue collar workers.

Thanks to Donald Trump, American elites are finally paying attention to blue-collar, white America. They do not like what they see. Racist. Bigoted. Irrational. Angry. How many times have you read or heard one or more of these words used to describe Trump’s followers? Whether they are the academic, media, and entertainment elites of the Left or the political and business elites of the Right, America’s self-appointed best and brightest uniformly view the passions unleashed by Trump as the modern-day equivalent of a medieval peasants’ revolt. And, like their medieval forebears, they mean to crush it.

That effort is both a fool’s errand for the country and a poisoned chalice for conservatives and Republicans. It is foolish because the reasons the peasants are revolting will not fade easily. Ignoring and ridiculing their concerns, the way European elites have done with their own electorates for most of the last two decades, will simply intensify the masses’ rage and ensure that their political spokesmen become more intransigent and radical. If you want an American version of Marine Le Pen tomorrow, ignore the legitimate concerns of blue-collar Americans today.

And it is a poisoned chalice for the Right because such a strategy requires a permanent informal coalition with the Left. Keeping blue-collar white Americans out of political power will result in exactly what Washington elites have wanted for years: a series of grand bargains that keep the status quo largely intact and the Democratic party in power. . . .

The constituency that is rallying to Trump is not fully conservative, but it shares more values with conservatives than do any of the other constituencies that could possibly be enticed to join our cause. It is thus imperative that conservatives understand what these fellow citizens want and find ways to make common cause with them where we can. . . .

I agree with Olsen’s basic thesis that the GOP establishment must consciously embrace and court blue collar workers, but the overall “us” (“true” conservatives) versus “them” (blue collar workers) tone of the piece seems to reinforce the notion that these groups are fundamentally distinct– a proposition of which I am not yet convinced.

It presupposes that there is a rigid definition of “true” conservatism that blue collar workers inherently do not embrace, such as Olsen’s notion that any “true” conservative would never support spending power-based entitlements such as Social Security or Medicare. In Olsen’s words:

Blue-collar whites are also more open to government action than many movement conservatives. For example, 87 percent of “Steadfast Conservatives,” Pew’s term for movement conservatives, think government is doing too much that should be left to individuals and businesses; only 44 percent of Hard-Pressed Skeptics agree. Sixty percent of Hard-Pressed Skeptics think government aid to the poor does more good than harm; only 10 percent of Steadfast Conservatives agree. Seventy-nine percent of Hard-Pressed Skeptics say that cuts to Social Security benefits should be off the table. Clearly a campaign based on cutting food stamps and reforming entitlements will not resonate with blue-collar whites.

I’m not so sure. Blue collar workers may well vigorously support “reforming entitlements” such as food stamps and Social Security (particularly the former) if the reform is phased in, offers commonsense incentives, and/or expands individual choice. Just because blue collar workers do not want to completely eliminate middle-class entitlements such as Social Security or Medicare (entitlements upon which they rely post-retirement) does not mean they are not “true” conservatives who would not support well-crafted reforms.

What Donald Trump has captured–and the GOPe still remarkably hasn’t yet figured out–is that these “Reagan Democrats” were lured away from the GOP post-Reagan, in part, by some of the moderate reforms embraced by Bill Clinton (e.g., welfare reform) and the simple fact that Clinton (himself a product of a blue collar upbringing) seemed like “one of them.”

Blue collar workers’ general fiscal conservatism, patriotism, and general cultural conservatism are “conservative” values that should, in theory, fit comfortably under the GOP umbrella. The intriguing question, to me, is why hasn’t the GOP understood this all along? Why and when did the GOPe decide to shun the backbone of America?

The GOPe’s elitist condescension, combined with the Obama Administration’s overt 8-year progressive bias towards fringe, non-white, non-blue collar issues, has created the 2016 presidential phenomenon and the voters’ hunger for a candidate who doesn’t embody either of these extremes.

January 13, 2016

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? APPARENTLY, A LOT: Clinton Vulnerable to Attack Ads Among Millenials. A Republican research firm conducted a randomized-controlled trial with over 1,000 18-to-34-year-old respondents, seeking to determine how effective anti-Hillary attack ads were among young voters. A “treatment group” was shown an anti-Hillary attack ad, and a placebo-control group saw a non-political Coca-Cola commercial. The firm then asked the young participants to “vote” for President. The results were fairly significant.

After viewing just one attack ad, support for Hillary Clinton slipped 5, 7, and 8 points with millennial voters in matchups against Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Control Attack Impact
Trump 34.6% 39.4% 4.8%
Cruz 37.7% 46.0% 8.4%
Rubio 43.8% 50.6% 6.8%

Here’s the video:

The takeaway from the research firm?

Younger voters were key to Barack Obama’s victories, of course, and Adam Schaeffer, chief science officer of Evolving Strategies, said Clinton appears to be surprisingly vulnerable with that demographic, especially given that the ad used in the test “was pretty lame and muddled in my opinion, but was the best thing out there.” . . .

We already know that younger voters favor Clinton’s Democratic primary rival Sen. Bernard Sanders by large margins – and that millennials don’t reliably turn out to vote.

But Schaeffer argues that the findings should concern the Clinton campaign because she will need those voters to win. The attack ad used in the test, which was sponsored by the Stop Hillary PAC, focuses on Clinton’s handling of the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi — an issue that isn’t particularly potent with younger voters, who generally aren’t as concerned about terrorism as older voters. . . .

[Because Clinton is already very well known], she should be more impervious to an attack that this one test suggests she might be. “It’s hard to move an incumbent, and we thought Clinton would test much more like an incumbent,’’ given how long she’s been on the national stage, Schaeffer said.

I don’t see any indications that Hillary Clinton will motivate young people enough to vote. I think it’s safe to say that she has lost that portion of the Obama coalition.

But do such attack ads make a difference with middle aged or older voters who lean independent or even toward the Democrats? That’s the question. 

January 12, 2016

IS TED CRUZ A “NATURAL BORN” U.S. CITIZEN?: According to Widener law school’s Mary Brigid McManamon, who has an oped in the Washington Post today, the answer is “no.” Her reasoning is a bit shaky:

On this subject, the common law is clear and unambiguous. The 18th-century English jurist William Blackstone, the preeminent authority on it, declared natural-born citizens are “such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England,” while aliens are “such as are born out of it.” The key to this division is the assumption of allegiance to one’s country of birth. The Americans who drafted the Constitution adopted this principle for the United States. James Madison, known as the “father of the Constitution,” stated, “It is an established maxim that birth is a criterion of allegiance. [And] place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States.” . . .

Article I of the Constitution grants Congress the power to naturalize an alien. . . . But Article II of the Constitution expressly adopts the legal status of the natural-born citizen and requires that a president possess that status. . . . Congress simply does not have the power to convert someone born outside the United States into a natural-born citizen.

McManamon’s quotation from Blackstone’s Commentaries purposefully omits key language. Specifically, Blackstone stated:

Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England, that is, within the ligeance [sic] or as is generally called, the allegiance of the king; and alien such as are born out of it.

The key to this passage is the concept of “allegiance”–whether the individual has been born with allegiance to the king, or not. Individuals born with allegiance to the sovereign are  “natural-born” subjects; those lacking such allegiance are not. It is not, as McManamon implies from her selective portion, a question merely of being born within the geographic confines of the country. McManamon’s citation to the James Madison passage confirms this, as Madison acknowledges that “place is the most certain criterion,” but he is not suggesting that it is the only criterion, as he states unequivocally that the “established maxim” is that the ultimate criterion is “allegiance,” of which the place of birth is but one (albeit “certain”) criterion.

Article I, section eight gives Congress the authority to “establish a uniform rule of Naturalization,” and thus identify, by statute, those who must to go through a naturalization process to obtain U.S. citizenship.  Those citizens who do not need to go through the naturalization process are “natural born” citizens.  As former Solicitors General Neil Katyal and Paul Clement have recently noted in the Harvard Law Review Forum,

All the sources routinely used to interpret the Constitution confirm that the phrase “natural born Citizen” has a specific meaning: namely, someone who was a U.S. citizen at birth with no need to go through a naturalization proceeding at some later time. And Congress has made equally clear from the time of the framing of the Constitution to the current day that, subject to certain residency requirements on the parents, someone born to a U.S. citizen parent generally becomes a U.S. citizen without regard to whether the birth takes place in Canada, the Canal Zone, or the continental United States. . . .

The Supreme Court has long recognized that two particularly useful sources in understanding constitutional terms are British common law and enactments of the First Congress. Both confirm that the original meaning of the phrase “natural born Citizen” includes persons born abroad who are citizens from birth based on the citizenship of a parent.

McManamon asserts that Katyal and Clement behave in an “unforgivable” fashion by “equat[ing] the common law with statutory law.” But they do no such thing. Instead, Katyal and Clement correctly note that the longstanding British legal understanding–as evidenced both by its common and statutory law–was that children born abroad to British subjects were, themselves, “natural born” subjects at birth, without the need for naturalization proceedings. As Randy Barnett succinctly put it,

England had numerous and changing legal rules governing exactly who was and who was not a “natural born subject,” which can be used to muddy the waters. But one consistently applied rule is particularly germane: The offspring of the King were natural born subjects of the King regardless of where they were born, whether on English territory or not.

As We the People–both individually and collectively–posses the sovereignty in the U.S., our offspring are the functional equivalent of he King’s offspring in England–i.e., “natural born” citizens of the U.S., regardless of where they are born.

Indeed, by the time of Blackstone’s Commentaries (published beginning in 1765), Blackstone himself acknowledged that the law of England had evolved to recognize “that all children, born out of the king’s ligeance [sic] whose fathers were natural-born subjects, are now natural-born subjects themselves, to all intents and purposes, without any exception.” 

McManamon also criticizes Katyal and Clement for placing “much weight” on the Naturalization Act of 1790, which stated that  “the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizensprovided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States .  . . .”

Assuming that modern Equal Protection Clause jurisprudence would not permit any constitutional distinction of children based upon fathers versus mothers who are U.S. citizens (Cruz’s mother was a U.S. citizen at his birth; his father was not)–and there is no legal reason, today, to think that a mother who is a U.S. citizen owes less “allegiance” to the U.S. than would the father–the law existing at the time of the U.S. founding suggests that, in interpreting Article II’s phrase “natural born citizen,” children born abroad to U.S. citizens  should be considered “natural born.”

McManamon dismisses this evidence of the founding generation’s understanding of “natural born” by asserting:

The debates on the matter reveal that the congressmen were aware that such children were not citizens and had to be naturalized; hence, Congress enacted a statute to provide for them. Moreover, that statute did not say the children were natural born, but only that they should “be considered as” such.

This is specious argument. The 1790 Act reveals that the members of Congress–many of whom were heavily involved in the writing and ratification of the Constitution–understood that children of U.S. citizens who were born abroad should be “considered” as “natural born” in the sense that they did not need to undergo any naturalization process and were accordingly legally entitled to be considered U.S. citizens at the time of their birth–the same as an individual born within U.S. borders. The fact that Congress memorialized this common understanding in the 1790 Act does not, in any way, suggest that such children born abroad “had to be naturalized”; quite the contrary.

In short, while Trump and Harvard Law prof Laurence Tribe are correct that the U.S. Supreme Court has not definitively grappled with the full meaning of “natural born citizen,” the available evidence suggests that if/when the Court ultimately must grapple with it, the evidence points strongly in Cruz’s favor.

January 11, 2016

BUT WILL DOJ PROSECUTE?: Catherine Herridge and Pamela Brown at Fox report that the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State has now expanded to include investigation of public corruption via the fundraising activities of the Clinton Foundation:

The FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state has expanded to look at whether the possible “intersection” of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business may have violated public corruption laws, three intelligence sources not authorized to speak on the record told Fox News.

This new investigative track is in addition to the focus on classified material found on Clinton’s personal server.

“The agents are investigating the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts and whether regular processes were followed,” one source said.

The development follows press reports over the past year about the potential overlap of State Department and Clinton Foundation work, and questions over whether donors benefited from their contacts inside the administration. . . .

One intelligence source told Fox News that FBI agents would be “screaming” if a prosecution is not pursued because “many previous public corruption cases have been made and successfully prosecuted with much less evidence than what is emerging in this investigation.”

The FBI is particularly on edge in the wake of how the case of former CIA Director David Petraeus was handled.

One of the three sources said some FBI agents felt Petraeus was given a slap on the wrist for sharing highly classified information with his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell, as well as lying to FBI agents about his actions. Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in March 2015 after a two-plus-year federal investigation in which Attorney General Eric Holder initially declined to prosecute.

In the Petraeus case, the exposure of classified information was assessed to be limited.

By contrast, in the Clinton case, the number of classified emails has risen to at least 1,340. A 2015 appeal by the State Department to challenge the “Top Secret” classification of at least two emails failed and, as Fox News first reported, is now considered a settled matter.

It is unclear which of the two lines of inquiry was opened first by the FBI and whether they eventually will be combined and presented before a special grand jury. One intelligence source said the public corruption angle dates back to at least April 2015.  On their official website, the FBI lists “public corruption as the FBI’s top criminal priority.” . . .

On Sunday,  when asked about her email practices while secretary of state, Clinton insisted to CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” “there is no there, there.”

Nothing to see here. Move along. Surely there are more important things to talk about than massive political corruption, like how “proud” Hillary is of Obama’s executive action depriving law-abiding citizens of their constitutional rights, or how women are victims of male patriarchy or something. Squirrel!


January 11, 2016

IF ONLY: The Washington Times editorializes about “Multiculturalism Reconsidered.

A generation ago the Europeans, who had bled themselves white in war after war, usually in the service of chauvinistic nationalism, decided they could save the day with a new concept called multiculturalism. . . By cultivating their differences, rather inviting them to join a melting pot that had worked so well for so long in North America, tolerance and “cultural enrichment” became the norm.

But there’s a growing realization that maybe “multi-culti” hasn’t worked so well, after all. Prominent Europeans are turning their backs on the idea. Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany have called the scheme, however well meant, into serious question.

The reasons are clear enough. The idea that new arrivals would inherit a mixture of the old and the new turned out to be non-achievable. Instead, multiculturalism created ghettoes, often impoverished ones. The institutionalized subsidies to the new arrivals created dependence on government handouts rather than self-reliance through integration in the workplace. This in turn produced resentment among the native population . . . .

I’m doubtful that the European left or middle is going to seriously consider leaving the multi-culti cult anytime soon. It’s too deeply engrained. The coverup about the nature and extent of the mass sexual assaults committed by immigrants in Cologne and elsewhere in Germany on New Year’s Eve is evidence of just how far the European left will go to keep multi-culti alive. According to a detailed story in the Daily Mail:

Mrs Merkel said: ‘Everything must be done to identify the guilty parties without regard to their background or origins. We must send clear signals to those who are not prepared to abide by our laws. Questions arise over whether some groups are subscribing to misogyny.’

Her words were clearly carefully chosen to avoid specifically linking migrants with these attacks against women. But the truth is the mass assaults have clear echoes of the sex crimes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in Egypt in 2011, during celebrations welcoming the so-called Arab Spring, when groups of men violently harassed women.

Lara Logan, a CBS reporter, was sexually assaulted by a mob in scenes reminiscent of those in Germany. Her clothes were torn off, and between 200 and 300 men took pictures of her naked body as her attackers ‘raped her with their hands’ over and over again.

Another deeply worrying aspect of the New Year horror in Cologne also emerged this week.

Many Germans, including some of the victims themselves, have accused authorities of a conspiracy of silence over the assaults to stop criticism of the mass immigration policy pursued by Mrs Merkel and her politically-correct supporters. The mainstream media in Germany has, until recently, toed the Government line; a top public broadcaster, ZDF, recently refused to run a segment about a rape case on its prime-time ‘crime-watch’ show because the ‘dark-skinned’ suspect was a migrant.

The programme’s editor defended her decision, saying: ‘We don’t want to inflame the situation and spread a bad mood. The migrants don’t deserve it.’ . . .

And until Thursday, a week after the attacks, there had been silence from Mrs Merkel’s ministers about the backgrounds of the perpetrators. Initially, they insisted there was no evidence that new migrants were involved in the violence.

A leaked police report which emerged 48 hours ago showed this was far from the truth. It revealed that one of the Cologne attackers said: ‘I am Syrian. You have to treat me kindly: Mrs Merkel invited me.’

Indeed. Read the whole thing.

January 8, 2016

NEW EMAIL SHOWS HILLARY EVADED NATIONAL SECURITY MEASURES: Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller has a story today revealing that while Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton instructed her top advisor to send potentially sensitive national security information to her via a nonsecure method:

On June 16, 2011, Hillary Clinton’s top foreign policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, was having trouble sending his boss a list of talking points that contained sensitive — and possibly classified — information. Sullivan told Clinton there were issues “sending secure fax,” an email released by the State Department early Friday shows.

So Clinton offered a shocking solution: remove the markings identifying the information as sensitive and send it by regular fax.

“Turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure,” Clinton instructed Sullivan. . . .

It is possible that the talking points Sullivan intended to send Clinton did not contain classified information. A document being sent via a secure method does not necessarily indicate that information contained in it is classified. But Clinton hadn’t seen the talking points at that point, and likely would not have known whether they contained classified information.

By instructing Sullivan to remove markings noting the sensitive nature of the talking points, Clinton appears to have invited her aide to violate the the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual, and possibly, federal law.

The legality of Clinton’s command would likely depend on whether Sullivan followed through with his boss’ instruction. A State Department official told The Daily Caller that there is no indication that the stripped talking points were emailed to Clinton.

The official also declined to “speculate” on whether the talking points contained classified information. . . .

[T]he email is troubling because it is the first to show Clinton displaying her willingness to skirt State Department protocol — and federal law, potentially — regarding the handling of sensitive information on her personal email account.

Drip, drip, drip.

Is this the kind of person you’d trust as Commander-in-Chief? During her tenure as Secretary of State, Clinton’s cavalier disregard for simple measures designed to protect our country’s national security is breathtaking. If she were a Republican, the mainstream media would have (appropriately) disgraced and branded her as a traitor by now.

January 6, 2016

GERMAN WOMEN, WELCOME TO SHARIA: Germany shocked by Cologne New Year (Muslim) gang assaults on women.

The mayor of Cologne has summoned police for crisis talks after about 80 women reported sexual assaults and muggings by men on New Year’s Eve.

The scale of the attacks on women at the city’s central railway station has shocked Germany. About 1,000 drunk and aggressive young men were involved.

City police chief Wolfgang Albers called it “a completely new dimension of crime”. The men were of Arab or North African appearance, he said.

Women were also targeted in Hamburg. . . .

What is particularly disturbing is that the attacks appear to have been organised. Around 1,000 young men arrived in large groups, seemingly with the specific intention of carrying out attacks on women.

Police in Hamburg are now reporting similar incidents on New Year’s Eve in the party area of St Pauli. One politician says this is just the tip of the iceberg.

And there are real concerns about what will happen in February when the drunken street-parties of carnival season kick off.

And this gem from the New York Slimes Times:

Calls came from the Bavarian Christian Social Union on Tuesday to deport any asylum-seekers found to be among the perpetrators in Cologne, a sentiment echoed by the left-leaning Süddeutsche-Zeitung in a commentary that noted that German law provides for such action.

Yet the commentary, by Heribert Prantl, also warned about the risks of the debate’s taking on a poisonous tone that would only make integration of the many young refugees and immigrants legitimately in the country that much more difficult.

“The young men who come to Germany must begin working as quickly as possible,” he wrote. “Work socializes. It is about our national peace, which is threatened by the excesses in Cologne and the excesses in the Internet.”

Yeah, I’m sure that’s it: Give these men a job–and/or rich taxpayer-funded benefits–and all of this violence and sexism will magically disappear. I mean, it’s not like Islam considers women to be objects or anything. And a sovereign nation can’t deny entry to non-citizens because of such dangerous beliefs or kick them out; that would be a violation of their “human rights.” 

muslim world cartoon

January 5, 2016

MARCO RUBIO: Writes in today’s NRO, “Iran Thumbs Its Nose at America and Obama Does Nothing.

Last week, the White House hailed Iran for shipping most of its low-enriched uranium stockpile to Russia. Secretary of State John Kerry called it “one of the most significant steps Iran has taken” under the nuclear deal signed this past summer. But the real news happened several days earlier: Even as the administration heaped praise on the mullahs in Tehran, Iranian Revolutionary Guard ships fired unguided rockets near a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz.

This provocation is just the latest in a series of dangerous acts committed by Iran that belie President Obama’s rosy promises of putting pressure on Iran for its aggressive actions. . . .

Iran has already stretched the terms of Obama’s deal. Iran is now trying to claim that a U.S. law aimed at protecting Americans from terrorists trying to come to the United States is an American violation of the agreement. This is a blatant attempt to pressure the Obama administration not to seek or enforce any new sanctions whatsoever, even those targeting human-rights abuses and support for terrorism, which are allowed under the deal. It has twice tested ballistic missiles — violating a U.N. Security Council resolution. On December 31 the supposed moderate Iranian president Hassan Rouhani even stated that Iran would be expanding its ballistic missile program. This comes just weeks after the Obama administration joined with its diplomatic partners to sweep Iran’s past illicit nuclear-weapons activities under the rug. . . .

That is why as president I will scrap this fundamentally flawed deal. Instead, I will reimpose the sanctions that President Obama waives and will impose crushing new measures targeting all of Iran’s illicit behavior.

It’s almost as if President Obama is an apologist for Iran. Rubio at least tried to insert a “poison pill” into Corker-Cardin (which effectively approved of the Iran deal as an ordinary statute rather than a treaty) to condition the deal on Iran’s explicit recognition of Israel.

But as Bruce Ackerman and David Golove recently argued in The Atlantic liberals/progressive (ironically) assert that repudiation by a Republican President would violate Article II, section three’s command that the President “take care that laws be faithfully executed.”

This argument is specious, as Corker-Cardin was not an expression of approval of the Iran deal, but instead a decision by Congress not to approve of the Iran deal as a treaty (as it should, constitutionally, have been handled). Since Congress has never “approved” of the Iran deal by majority vote, a future President that chooses to repudiate the deal could hardly be characterized as failing to “faithfully execute” a law enacted by Congress.

January 5, 2016

BUT WILL HE STILL HUMP EVERY LEG?: William McGurn on how “The Big Dog–Bill Clinton–Gets Fixed.” Donald Trump’s statement that Bill Clinton’s sexual past is “fair game” for discussion has set the pace:

Now the Clintons must expect such moments throughout her 2016 campaign. Nor can Mrs. Clinton brush them off as her hubby’s problem, especially given that many of the women who accused Bill of sexual assault also say it was Hillary who orchestrated the smears against them. . . .

Mr. Clinton is now facing the heat himself as he gets into the race. It can’t help that his past misbehavior is resurfacing at the same time Bill Cosby, once a beloved figure himself, has just been charged with sexual assault. The comparisons between the two men are too obvious.

So is the question about the different responses the two men have received. Even before Bill Cosby was charged with a crime, the allegations against him led to his being stripped of honorary degrees, booted off boards and seeing his name replaced on buildings. Bill Clinton, meanwhile, is feted and rakes in the millions.

All this would be academic except for one thing: Mrs. Clinton needs the Obama coalition, especially its young women, to propel her into office. Unfortunately, as a recent New York Times feature about a Democratic mother and her daughter recently reported, “younger women are less impressed” by Mrs. Clinton than are older women. . . .

For one thing, Americans now know that the Clintons were often lying to us about her husband’s accusers. Exhibit A? When Hillary appeared beside Bill on “60 Minutes” to deny an affair with Gennifer Flowers that her husband would later admit to under oath.

As Christopher Hitchens once put it, Bill Clinton didn’t lie about sex. He lied about women. The Clintons’ problem today is that they are being called on these lies—and neither he nor his wife has a good answer.

I always use my mom as the bellwether for presidential elections; she has supported the winner as far back as I can remember. And as a Southern lady of a certain age, she absolutely adored Bill Clinton–almost as much as Elvis. She initially planned to vote for Hillary because, in her mind, voting for Hillary would mean a “third term” for Bill.

Today, my mom says she will “never” vote for Hillary. She (correctly) thinks she is a liar who, along with Bill, has used the Clinton Foundation to sell political influence and abuse power.

I also have another, middle-aged liberal woman friend who recently told me that she will no longer support Hillary. Why? Because after Trump began the discussion about Bill’s past sexual behavior, she thinks there’s an important difference between a man who is a common philanderer, and one who abuses power to get a piece. She feels sorry for Monica Lewinsky and the way her life was ruined at a very young age.

These are only anecdotes, of course. But in my mind, they indicate that there is an “abuse of power” theme with the Clintons that is resonating very powerfully with women voters.

Trump has (once again) dared to tackle an issue that others were too fearful to address, and in doing so struck a chord with a critical part of Hillary’s “war on women” base.

Hillary war on women cartoon

January 4, 2016

NO. NEXT QUESTION?: Can Jeb Bush Make a Comeback? Joe Rago at the Wall Street Journal interviews Jeb! to ascertain the answer to a question that answers itself:

Contra Mr. Trump, Mr. Bush is medium energy, if graded on the overly amped-up curve of his competitors. That isn’t meant as a put-down. Part of Mr. Bush’s appeal—an acquired taste, apparently—is his analytic thoughtfulness and sometimes ironic detachment. A more deliberative debate might underscore his strengths. His challenge will be to translate the exclamation mark on his “Jeb!” logo, which he told Stephen Colbert “connotes excitement,” into the genuine article. . . .

Yet one obstacle to a Bush comeback is that, at minus 25.8 points, the spread between his favorable-unfavorable polls in the Real Clear Politics average—27.5% to 53.3%—is the highest of any candidate, including Mrs. Clinton at minus 8.5. Mr. Trump, the runner-up, has net favorability at minus 23.3. The difference is that the businessman is disliked by Democrats, while Mr. Bush is not well liked among Republicans. In a Dec. 22 Quinnipiac poll, 30% of registered GOP voters viewed Mr. Trump unfavorably, versus 52% for Mr. Bush.

Mr. Bush broke with one faction of the political right on immigration and education standards—but it’s hard to imagine any specific policy apostasy that could rationalize this level of dislike. Not in an election where Mr. Trump, a lifelong Democrat who in 1999 proposed a one-time 14.25% tax on wealth, is feted as a conservative luminary. . . .

The problem with Jeb! is that he fails to exude strength and leadership at a time when Americans are desperately yearning for it. His personality reminds one of a geeky, boring history professor who drones on and on about details, when at this particular moment of history, Americans seem to want a larger-than-life hero who may be short on details, but long on courage.

December 28, 2015

FREE STUFF! OBAMACARE EDITION: Despite subsidies, the poor are spending big on Obamacare.  A new study by the Urban Institute–quietly released just prior to Christmas–reveals that lower income Americans are paying about 10-20 percent of their income on Obamacare premiums.

The Urban Institute study would normally be an interesting, albeit dry, topic of discussion in a class on health economics or the limits of tackling huge challenges through public policy. The findings, though, should signal a serious warning alarm for the future of ObamaCare.

The fundamental vulnerability of ObamaCare is that relatively healthy individuals would decide that the costs of even subsidized coverage exceeded its benefits. According to the Urban Institute study, even relatively healthy individuals are paying over 15 percent of their income for ObamaCare health insurance plans.

The costs for insuring those with even modest health care needs are in effect subsidized by these healthier individuals. If these healthier Americans decide that even the subsidized costs are too high, they will likely opt out of the program entirely. This will push the costs of those with more health care needs even higher, creating what economists warn could be a “death spiral,” where both premium and out-of-pocket costs skyrocket.

Gosh, who could ever have predicted that Obamacare would raise premiumscause a death spiral and ultimately, the demise of private health insurance?

December 26, 2015

SO MUCH FOR PRIVACY: The New York Slimes Times editorial board laments that “Political Dark Money Just Got Darker.”  After (again) bashing the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, the NYT editors focus on the liberal/progressive campaign finance cause du jour: mandating disclosure of the identity of donors to 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, such as some tea party groups, the National Organization for Women, AARP, various ACLU chapters, right to life committees, kennel clubs, Rotary clubs, environmental groups, fan clubs, and voting rights organizations.

The rationale for such disclosure? So-called “dark” money. In the words of the NYT editors:

In the new budget bill, Republicans inserted a provision blocking the Internal Revenue Service from creating rules to curb the growing abuse of the tax law by thinly veiled political machines posing as “social welfare” organizations. These groups are financed by rich special-interest donors who do not have to reveal their identities under the tax law. So much for effective disclosure at the I.R.S.

In another move to keep the public blindfolded about who is writing big corporate checks for federal candidates, the Republicans barred the Securities and Exchange Commission from finalizing rules requiring corporations to disclose their campaign spending to investors. It was Citizens United that foolishly envisioned a world in which: “Shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests.”

In acting to seal that pocket and hobble the I.R.S., congressional Republicans are advancing what has become the dark age of plutocratic money in campaign spending. At every turn, they are veiling the truth about the special-interest ties they have with rich donors shopping for favors. Since the Citizens United decision in January 2010, politicians have collected more than $500 million in dark money from phantom donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, with hundreds of millions more expected in the current campaign.

Since the people’s elected representatives have so foolishly thwarted the liberals’/progressives’ attempt to invade individual privacy in the guise of “disclosure,” the NYT editors have this modest proposal:

Is there any ray of light in this moneyed darkness?

For two years, President Obama has dithered and withheld the one blow he could easily strike for greater political transparency: the signing of an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their campaign spending. This would not solve the overall problem, but in mandating new disclosures in time for the 2016 elections it would help affirm that democracy is about transparency. Mr. Obama should sign the order now. If Republicans want to make an issue of this, let them — and let them defend the scourge of dark money before the voters on the campaign trail.

That’s classic. An iconic liberal/progressive newspaper’s editorial board, frustrated by the “inaction” (i.e., disagreement) by Congress on its liberal/progressive agenda, is demanding that the President “go around” Congress to issue an executive order mandating disclosure of the identities of donors to 501(c)(4) organizations that have government contracts.

I guess liberals/progressives only value individual privacy when it comes in the form of de-identified metadata about cell phone calls and “democracy” only when it creates results with which it agrees. Big Brother wants to know to whom you are giving your money, so that it can bring you out of the “darkness” of privacy.  And if the people’s elected representatives won’t force you out of the “darkness,” one person–the President–should do it unilaterally. Nice.

December 22, 2015

NARCISSIST-IN-CHIEF: “It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?”  Kevin Williamson over at NRO explains President Obama’s narcissistic trait of turning around criticism about his presidency, implying that his critics are racist:

In a pre-vacation interview with NPR, the president argued that (as the New York Times decodes the message) “some of the scorn directed at him personally stems from the fact that he is the first African American to hold the White House.” I.e, “It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?”

This is kind of clever, in a way. The president says that much of the unhappiness with his administration is “pretty specific to me, and who I am and my background,” which is slippery in that by saying it’s about him, he’s really saying it’s about his critics, and their bigotry and prejudice. “It’s not me, it’s you.”  . . .

The really maddening thing, though, is that President Obama thinks the reason he isn’t perceived as being especially good at his job is that we yokels aren’t smart enough to understand how spectacularly spectacular he is. Barack Obama is a man almost entirely incapable of self-criticism, and in the NPR interview, he repeated one of his favorite claims: He has had trouble with public opinion because he didn’t explain his awesome ideas well enough. That’s a very politic way of saying: “These rubes don’t get it.”

Yep, this is the way narcissists behave. It’s never their fault. They are so perfect, so awesome, that ordinary mortals cannot comprehend their greatness. Those who dare to criticize The Great One must be haters or idiots.

December 17, 2015

ACTUALLY, OVERT RACISM IS THE CULPRIT: Sigal Alon writes in The Nation about “How Diversity Destroyed Affirmative Action.” Alon is reading the Supreme Court tea leaves after it heard oral arguments Dec. 9 in Fisher v. University of Texas-Austin (Fisher II):

The Bakke case is often looked upon as the landmark ruling for legitimizing race-conscious admissions policies in higher education. Justice Powell set the stage for what came to be known as the “diversity rationale” for race-conscious admissions policies—the argument that having a diverse student body in postsecondary institutions serves a compelling government interest because “the ‘nation’s future depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure’ to the ideas and mores of students as diverse as this Nation of many peoples.” Race-conscious admissions, then, are permissible because, when narrowly tailored, they serve this substantial educational interest.

The Bakke ruling shifted the rationale for affirmative action from reparation for past discrimination to promoting diversity. This, in essence, made the discourse about affirmative action race-neutral, in that it now ignores one of the key reasons for why we need to give an edge to minorities. Today the University of Texas, Austin, when defending the consideration of race and ethnicity in admission decisions, cannot say that this practice is needed because of persistent racial inequality; because minority students do not have the same life chances as white students; because there is extensive racial discrimination in the labor and housing markets; because students who study in poor high schools have less chances for learning and lower achievements; or because growing up in poverty impedes your cognitive development. The only argument at the disposal of UT Austin in defense of its admission practices is that it needs a diverse student body to enrich the educational experience of privileged white students.

Today, the fate of affirmative action rests solely on the Court’s endorsing diversity as a compelling societal interest. The oral arguments in Fisher this week demonstrate the fragility of this situation. Chief Justice Roberts questioned the educational benefits of racial diversity, asking, “What unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?… I’m just wondering what the benefits of diversity are in that situation?” . . .

The root causes for the practice of affirmative action in higher education—that is, the systemic effects of racism and segregation in America—were shoved under the rug. This likely causes a frustration among minority students, especially blacks. But what is more troubling it that it also may lead to race-neutral admissions.

The point Chief Justice Roberts was making (as Alon surely knows) is that no one benefits from the notion that a physics class is improved by having the “black perspective” in the room, not even the poor black kid who, under affirmative action, inevitably bears this heavy burden.

God forbid we should be a colorblind nation with a colorblind Constitution. It’s far better, in the warped liberal/progressive mind, to have all Americans in 2015–not just white, but Asian, Hispanic, native American, or purple polka-dotted–relinquish their dream of attending X, Y or Z college so that someone who is black (regardless of socio-economic status or other “privilege”) can achieve theirs.

In the liberal/progressive worldview, the U.S. history of slavery forever brands all blacks (even those whose ancestors were not slaves) as perpetually “behind” the rest of society, entitled to special “help” from other Americans (even those whose ancestors were not slave owners), as a sort of penance for the pain suffered and inflicted by those long dead. The very articulation of this “benign” justification for affirmative action reveals its ugly, rotten, racist core.

In 2015, if a black child performs poorly in school–rendering him/her academically non-competitive with a non-black child–how could it ever be “fair/just/equitable” and consonant with “equal protection of the laws” to to reward that black child (and thus necessarily punish the non-black child who performed better) with the functional equivalent of college admissions “extra credit”?

If the problem of poorly performing black students is going to be solved, it must be solved within the black community, starting with the parents, but extending also to the teachers, administrators, and the students themselves. But of course this commonsensical approach will never be embraced by the race-baiting “civil rights” leaders, who make their living by fueling the fire of perpetual black victimhood.

For the rest of America, however, colorblindness is the only way to ensure “equal protection” of the laws in an increasingly racially diverse society. As Chief Justice John Roberts said in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1,  “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” It’s really not that complicated.

December 16, 2015

WELL, EVIL GENERALLY LACKS SELF-AWARENESS: Ronald Kessler, “The FBI’s Problem with Muslim Leaders.”

As we all know, the vast majority of Muslims are peace-loving. We all have Muslim friends or co-workers who are admirable people. And a handful of terrorist plots have been rolled up by the FBI based on tips from Muslims.

But what the FBI finds disturbing is that Muslim leaders by and large are reluctant to cooperate with the FBI to let the bureau know of radicals within their midst. The FBI is not about to publicize this. But for my book “The Secrets of the FBI,” Arthur M. “Art” Cummings II, who was the FBI’s executive assistant director in charge of counterterrorism and national security investigations, opened up about the problem.

The FBI has outreach programs to try to develop sources in the Muslim community and solicit tips, but Mr. Cummings found little receptivity. He found that while Muslims have brought some cases to the FBI, Muslim leaders in particular are often in denial about the fact that the terrorists who threaten the United States are Muslims.

“I had this discussion with the director of a very prominent Muslim organization here in D.C.,” Mr. Cummings told me. “And he said, ‘Why are you guys always looking at the Muslim community?’ “

Mr. Cummings began laughing.

“OK, you know what I’ll do?” Mr. Cummings said. “I’ll start an Irish squad, or how about a Japanese squad? You want me to waste my time and your taxpayer’s dollars going to look at the Irish? They’re not killing Americans. Right now, I’m going to put my money and my people in a place where the threat is.” . . .

While Muslims will occasionally condemn al Qaeda, “rarely do we have them coming to us and saying, ‘There are three guys in the community that we’re very concerned about,’” Mr. Cummings said. “They want to fix it inside the community. They’re a closed group, a very, very closed group. It’s part of their culture that they want to settle the problem within their own communities. They’ve actually said that to us, which I then go crazy over.”. . .

“I talked to a very prominent imam in the U.S.,” Mr. Cummings said. “We would have our sweets and our sweet tea. We would talk a lot about Islam. I would say we understand Islam and where they’re coming from. We’d tell him what our mission is, trying to keep people from murdering Americans or anybody else, for that matter.”

Months later, the FBI found out that the man’s mosque had two extremists who were so radical that they kicked them out. Clearly, those two extremists would have been of interest to the FBI. If they only engaged in anti-American rhetoric, the FBI would have left them alone. More likely they were planning action to go with their rhetoric.

Mr. Cummings asked the imam, “What happened?”

“What do you mean?” the imam asked.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this?” the agent said.

“Why would I tell you about this?” the imam said. “They’re not terrorists,” he said of the radicals. “They just hate the U.S. government.”

This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who understands Islam, which considers non-Muslims to be third class citizens (behind Muslim women) and does not recognize the legitimacy of authority exercised by non-Muslims.

Plus, you know, evil is rarely self-aware, incapable of introspection, excuses its own behavior, and always tries to exert control.   

December 15, 2015

BERGDAHL TO FACE COURT-MARTIAL FOR DESERTION: Frankly, the only surprising thing about this is that Army General who made this decision, General Robert B. Abrams, had the courage to move Bergdahl’s case forward despite the Obama Administration’s repeated attempts to downplay the seriousness of Bergdahl’s offenses

Obama broke U.S. law by failing to notify Congress in advance of his decision to swap Bergdahl’s freedom for five high-ranking Taliban leaders, several of whom have attempted to resume hostilities against the U.S.  All five of the freed Taliban–Mullah-Norullah Noori, Mohammed A Fazl, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa, Mohammed Nabi Omari, and Abdul Haq Wasiq–were classified by the Department of Defense to pose a “HIGH” risk the the U.S.

The Bergdahl swap is a perfect illustration of the incompetence and/or treasonous behavior of Obama. Our President released five highly dangerous Islamic radicals for one treasonous U.S. soldier. He broke the law in doing so. Is this a decision that makes you feel safe? A recent Washington Post-ABC poll shows that a majority of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of terrorism, and a Gallup poll released yesterday indicates that terrorism is now the most important problem identified by respondents.

It has taken awhile to sink in for some, but most Americans are finally beginning to understand that this President does not have America’s best interests in mind.

December 14, 2015

WHEN POLITICAL CORRECTNESS TRUMPS NATIONAL SECURITY: . . . you get a presidential election cycle such as 2016. Americans’ pushback against “political correctness gone wild” is manifesting itself in multiple ways this election cycle, including most notably issues relating to national security, such as immigration.  The latest illustration is the Department of Homeland Security’s decision not to view visa applicants’ social media activity for fear of “bad public relations”:

“[I]mmigration officials were not allowed to use or view social media as part of the screening process,” John Cohen, a former under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis, told ABC News, where he now works as a national security consultant. . . .

According to Cohen, who left DHS in June 2014, officials with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement pushed for a change to DHS’ social media policy but were met with resistance from top brass.

“Immigration, security, law enforcement officials recognized at the time that it was important to more extensively review public social media postings because they offered potential insights into whether somebody was an extremist or potentially connected to a terrorist organization or a supporter of the movement,” Cohen told ABC News during a segment on “Good Morning America.” . . .

According to Cohen, who left DHS in June 2014, officials with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement pushed for a change to DHS’ social media policy but were met with resistance from top brass.

“Immigration, security, law enforcement officials recognized at the time that it was important to more extensively review public social media postings because they offered potential insights into whether somebody was an extremist or potentially connected to a terrorist organization or a supporter of the movement,” Cohen told ABC News during a segment on “Good Morning America.” . . .

“It was primarily a question of optics,” said Cohen. “There were concerns from a privacy and civil liberties perspective that while this was not illegal, that it would be viewed negatively if it was disclosed publicly.”

Another former counter-terrorism official cosigned Cohen’s frustration.

“Why the State Department and Homeland Security Department have not leveraged the power of social media is beyond me.” . . .

The female San Bernardino terrorist, Tashfeen Malik apparently posted anti-American and pro-terrorism rants on her Facebook page. Her sister, Fehda Malik, has posted similar comments as well, but told the New York Slimes Times that her sister was not an extremist, was “very religious” and was a person who “knew what was right and what was wrong.” Um, yeah, right.

Just last week, an agent with U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center told Megyn Kelly that an investigation into San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook’s California mosque was shut down–and all files deleted–due to the Obama Administration’s desire not to “profile” Islamic groups.

Americans are a tolerant and welcoming people, but they don’t lack commonsense. When P.C. goes wild–crossing the line from “I will go along because I don’t want to offend you” to “I will go along even if it endangers national security”–most Americans will demand change. It is the first (and really only) duty of government to keep us safe. Politicians who seem to understand this basic concept will continue to surge.

December 10, 2015

OBAMA’S WHEEL OF MISFORTUNE: Mr. President, can you solve the puzzle?


December 10, 2015

IS ISLAM A “RELIGION”?: Andy McCarthy has an interesting piece discussing whether Islam is merely another religion:

Since we want to both honor religious liberty and preserve the Constitution that enshrines and protects it, we have a dilemma. The assumption that is central to this dilemma — the one that Trump has stumbled on and that Washington refuses to examine — is that Islam is merely a religion. . . . But Islam is no mere religion.

As understood by the mainstream of Muslim-majority countries that are the source of immigration to America and the West, Islam is a comprehensive ideological system that governs all human affairs, from political, economic, and military matters to interpersonal relations and even hygiene. It is beyond dispute that Islam has religious tenets — the oneness of Allah, the belief that Mohammed is the final prophet, the obligation of ritual prayer. Yet these make up only a fraction of what is overwhelmingly a political ideology.

Our constitutional principle of religious liberty is derived from the Western concept that the spiritual realm should be separate from civic and political life. The concept flows from the New Testament injunction to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.

Crucially, the interpretation of Islam that is mainstream in most Muslim-majority countries does not accept a division between mosque and state. . . .

The lack of separation between spiritual and civic life is not the only problem with Islam. Sharia is counter-constitutional in its most basic elements — beginning with the elementary belief that people do not have a right to govern themselves freely. Islam, instead, requires adherence to sharia and rejection of all law that contradicts it. So we start with fundamental incompatibility, before we ever get to other aspects of sharia: its systematic discrimination against non-Muslims and women; its denial of religious liberty, free speech, economic freedom, privacy rights, due process, and protection from cruel and unusual punishments; and its endorsement of violent jihad in furtherance of protecting and expanding the territory it governs.

Let’s bear in mind that permitting immigration is a discretionary national act. There is no right to immigrate to the United States, and the United States has no obligation to accept immigrants from any country, including Muslim-majority countries. We could lawfully cut off all immigration, period, if we wanted to. Plus, it has always been a basic tenet of legal immigration to promote fidelity to the Constitution and assimilation into American society — principles to which classical sharia is antithetical. . . .

[M]any Muslims accept our constitutional principles and do not seek to impose sharia on our society. They have varying rationales for taking this position: Some believe sharia mandates that immigrants accept their host country’s laws; some believe sharia’s troublesome elements are confined to the historical time and place where they arose and are no longer applicable; some think sharia can evolve; some simply ignore sharia altogether but deem themselves devout Muslims because they remain Islamic spiritually and — within the strictures of American law — culturally.

For those Muslims, Islam is, in effect, merely a religion, and as such it deserves our Constitution’s protections.

For other Muslims, however, Islam is a political program with a religious veneer. It does not merit the liberty protections our law accords to religion. It undermines our Constitution and threatens our security. Its anti-assimilationist dictates create a breeding ground for violent jihad.

If we continue mindlessly treating Islam as if it were merely a religion, if we continue ignoring the salient differences between constitutional and sharia principles — thoughtlessly assuming these antithetical systems are compatible — we will never have a sensible immigration policy.

Exactly. How to distinguish between the “religious” and “political” Muslims is the question. But the complexity of this question shouldn’t stop our elected representatives from beginning the important task of devising policies designed to answer it.

December 10, 2015

ACTUALLY, IT’S ALREADY HERE: James Antle on “The Coming Republican Immigration Civil War.”

“This is not conservatism.” With those four simple words, House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entry into the United States until the federal government gets terrorism committed in the name of Islam figured out.

“This is not what our party stands for,” Ryan added, “and, more importantly, it’s not what our country stands for.”

That may depend on how the party is defined. While elected Republicans have almost unanimously distanced themselves from Trump’s Muslim gambit, one poll found that nearly two-thirds of GOP voters agreed with him. Another determined that more than three-fourths believe the United States is accepting too many immigrants from the Middle East. . . .

Trump isn’t the most articulate or consistent spokesman for immigration control in the GOP. That distinction goes to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. And Trump’s Republican critics would be the first to point out he isn’t the most conservative. But his rise has fueled a family argument inside the party about how conservatives should view immigration.

Ryan’s position has a long conservative pedigree. He has followed in Jack Kemp’s intellectual footsteps. . . Restricting immigration, according to these Republicans, isn’t conservative because it requires government bureaucracies to interfere in labor markets. Immigration is like free trade and restricting it is like protectionism.

Adherents of the other immigration view tend to see America as a historic people, not an ideological abstraction. They also look at immigration as the pre-eminent national security issue. They may not go as far as Trump, but they worry less about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria than the Islamic State in San Bernardino.

According to this side of the argument, too much immigration can also alter the political character of the host country. . . Effecting such a transformation at the national level, these Republicans argue, would frustrate just about every conservative policy objective and instead validate the thesis of hopeful progressive polemics like The Emerging Democratic Majority.

To these conservatives, current immigration policy is less like free trade than corporate welfare. . . .

Many Republicans in the Ryan/Kemp camp also purport to be national security hawks, and I believe they normally are. If there is a coming global war on radical Islam, however, increased restrictions on immigration will likely be necessary to ensure national security. So in a time of war, what is more important to “conservatives”: free trade/labor markets, or national security? It seems reasonable to assume that, to most Americans, a war necessitates that national security must trump (no pun intended), at least temporarily.

December 9, 2015

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION BEFORE SCOTUS AGAIN: Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the second round of litigation in Fisher v. University of Texas.  As Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog explains:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has twice upheld the Texas policy — once before the Supreme Court examined it in 2013, and once on the orders the Court gave it in that decision.  Each time, the Fifth Circuit ruled that the program makes only limited use of race, and serves the university’s interest in a racially and culturally diverse student body in a way that obeys Supreme Court mandates.

In this second time around, Fisher has put forward both a quite modest claim, and a more ambitious — even momentous — claim.

The simpler challenge is that the Fifth Circuit disobeyed the Supreme Court’s 2013 order to reconsider the Texas policy using a rigorous “strict scrutiny” approach.  The majority in the two-to-one ruling, the new petition argued, gave the university a pass, allowing it to control the defense of the admissions program on the university’s terms, without the majority boring deeply into the actual use of race. . . .

The case may well turn on the narrow meaning of just how strict “strict scrutiny” really is, in the context of race-conscious affirmative action programs. Fisher’s more interesting substantive claim is that UT-Austin’s affirmative action program cannot survive “true” strict scrutiny because it is not “narrowly tailored” to further the “compelling” government interest in diversity.

More specifically, she asserts that the State of Texas’s “Top Ten Percent Law”–which grants automatic admission to UT-Austin to anyone graduating in the top ten percent of their high school class–is sufficient, alone, to further the University’s goal of achieving racial diversity. But UT-Austin does not stop there; it also additionally considers race as a “plus factor” in its decision whether to admit students who do not graduate in the top ten percent of their class. Is this additional, race-conscious admissions program truly “necessary” to further the university’s interest in having a racially diverse class, or is the race-neutral Top Ten Percent Law sufficient to achieve such racial diversity?

According to Denniston’s post-oral argument analysis:

The case, it would appear, now comes down to three options: kill affirmative action nationwide as an experiment that can’t be made to work, kill just the way it is done at the Texas flagship university because it can’t be defended, or give the university one more chance to prove the need for its policy. . . .

There was no doubt on Wednesday that there are three and probably four Justices who have grown deeply skeptical, if not hostile, to affirmative action in general.  That would include, for sure, Justices Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas.  (Although Thomas did not ask any questions today, his views on the issue are well known.).  A fourth could be Chief Justice John J. Roberts, Jr., who openly fretted about whether the time would ever come when race would no longer be used in affirmative action on college campuses.  He noted that, twelve years ago, the Court had predicted that there would be no need to use race in college admissions within twenty-five years, but about half of that time is now gone.

Equally, there was no doubt that there are three Justices clearly on the university’s side — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who would have upheld the plan two years ago and was the lone dissenter in that ruling, and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

As Justice Kagan has recused herself from the case (due to her past involvement in the Solicitor General’s office), the deciding fifth vote–to prevent a 4-4 tie (which would effectively affirm the Fifth Circuit’s opinion)–is once again Justice Anthony Kennedy, who held his cards close during oral argument.

December 8, 2015

MISSTATING THE CONSTITUTION: The mainstream media and politicians across the political spectrum are having a field day excoriating Donald Trump for his statements that he would ban Muslims from entering the country. Glenn has already posted Eric Posner’s piece that explains why limiting immigration–to any category whatsoever, whether it be race, religion, national origin or otherwise–is within the “plenary power” of Congress, and hence, perfectly constitutional, as the Supreme Court has long recognized.

The latest iteration of PC-induced apoplexy over Trump’s comments comes in the form of comparing restricting Muslim entry to the Japanese internment camps during World War II.  But once again, commentators on both the right and left seem to have conveniently forgotten that the Supreme Court upheld the internment of individuals of Japanese ancestry, including American citizens, in Korematsu v. United States (1944). In another case upholding the imposition of a curfew on Japanese-Americans, Hirabayashi v. United States (1943),  the Court explained the constitutional basis for such actions:

The war power of the national government is “the power to wage war successfully.” . . .  Since the Constitution commits to the Executive and to Congress the exercise of the war power in all the vicissitudes and conditions of warfare, it has necessarily given them wide scope for the exercise of judgment and discretion in determining the nature and extent of the threatened injury or danger and in the selection of the means for resisting it. Where, as they did here, the conditions call for the exercise of judgment and discretion and for the choice of means by those branches of the Government on which the Constitution has placed the responsibility of warmaking, it is not for any court to sit in review of the wisdom of their action or substitute it judgment for theirs. . . .

The alternative, which appellant insists must be accepted, is for the military authorities to impose the curfew on all citizens within the military area, or on none. In a case of threatened danger requiring prompt action, it is a choice between inflicting obviously needless hardship on the many or sitting passive and unresisting in the presence of the threat. We think that constitutional government, in time of war, is not so powerless and does not compel so hard a choice if those charged with the responsibility of our national defense have reasonable ground for believing that the threat is real. . . .

There is support for the view that social, economic and political conditions which have prevailed since the close of the last century, when the Japanese began to come to this country in substantial numbers, have intensified their solidarity and have in large measure prevented their assimilation as an integral part of the white population. In addition, large numbers of children of Japanese parentage are sent to Japanese language schools outside the regular hours of public schools in the locality. Some of these schools are generally believed to be sources of Japanese nationalistic propaganda, cultivating allegiance to Japan. Considerable numbers, estimated to be approximately 10,000, of American-born children of Japanese parentage have been sent to Japan for all or a part of their education. . . .

Viewing these data in all their aspects, Congress and the Executive could reasonably have concluded that these conditions have encouraged the continued attachment of members of this group to Japan and Japanese institutions. These are only some of the many considerations which those charged with the responsibility for the national defense could take into account in determining the nature and extent of the danger of espionage and sabotage in the event of invasion or air raid attack. The extent of that danger could be definitely known only after the event, and after it was too late to meet it. Whatever views we may entertain regarding the loyalty to this country of the citizens of Japanese ancestry, we cannot reject as unfounded the judgment of the military authorities and of Congress that there were disloyal members of that population, whose number and strength could not be precisely and quickly ascertained. . . .

Because racial discriminations are in most circumstances irrelevant, and therefore prohibited, it by no means follows that, in dealing with the perils of war, Congress and the Executive are wholly precluded from taking into account those facts and circumstances which are relevant to measures for our national defense and for the successful prosecution of the war, and which may, in fact, place citizens of one ancestry in a different category from others. “We must never forget that it is a constitution we are expounding,” “a constitution intended to endure for ages to come, and, consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs.” The adoption by Government, in the crisis of war and of threatened invasion, of measures for the public safety, based upon the recognition of facts and circumstances which indicate that a group of one national extraction may menace that safety more than others, is not wholly beyond the limits of the Constitution, and is not to be condemned merely because, in other and in most circumstances, racial distinctions are irrelevant.

The Constitution is not a suicide pact. Protecting national security is a “compelling” government interest that should survive the strictest of judicial scrutiny. The only open constitutional question, it seems to me, is whether today’s Supreme Court would change its mind about these pragmatic realities, or instead sacrifice commonsense national security measures to the God of Political Correctness.

Trump’s statements about Muslim immigration/entry do not even rise to the level of World War II’s internment of Japanese Americans. His less intrusive measures–aimed at individuals who are outside US borders, not US citizens, and reasonably viewed as a potential threat to US national security interests during a War on Radical Islamic Terror–are clearly constitutional. Korematsu and Hirabayashi also suggest that even more severe measures against Muslims present within the country–including US citizens–could also be constitutional if narrowly tailored to further compelling national security interests.

December 8, 2015

INFECTED: David French, “Dispelling the ‘Few Extremists’ Myth-The Muslim World Is Overcome with Hate.”

It is simply false to declare that jihadists represent the “tiny few extremists” who sully the reputation of an otherwise peace-loving and tolerant Muslim faith. In reality, the truth is far more troubling — that jihadists represent the natural and inevitable outgrowth of a faith that is given over to hate on a massive scale, with hundreds of millions of believers holding views that Americans would rightly find revolting. Not all Muslims are hateful, of course, but so many are that it’s not remotely surprising that the world is wracked by wave after wave of jihadist violence.

To understand the Muslim edifice of hate, imagine it as a pyramid — with broadly-shared bigotry at the bottom, followed by stair steps of escalating radicalism — culminating in jihadist armies that in some instances represent a greater share of their respective populations than does the active-duty military in the United States. The base of the pyramid, the most broadly held hatred in the Islamic world, is anti-Semitism, with staggering numbers of Muslims expressing anti-Jewish views. . . .

The next level of the pyramid is Muslim commitment to deadly Islamic supremacy. In multiple Muslim nations, overwhelming majorities of Muslims support the death penalty for apostasy or blasphemy. . . .

Moving beyond Islamic supremacy to the next step of the pyramid, enormous numbers of Muslims are terrorist sympathizers. . . .

It’s definitely a problem the Muslim faith needs to address. But will anyone left-of-center admit these inconvenient truths? Or will political correctness blind liberal/progressives to serious national security risks emanating from a particular religion?

December 4, 2015

MEET TASHFEEN: First photo of female San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik.

But hey, don’t worry–all those Syrian refugees that President Obama is letting in “are mostly women, children and families” according to the Obama Administration’s new propaganda video, “Meet Reema.”

December 4, 2015

AMERICANS BETTER START BELIEVING IN EVIL: When a mother chooses jihad over life. Maggie Gallagher at NRO writes:

The San Bernardino shooters brought a baby into the world, then slaughtered 14 adults.

‘The motive is unclear.” That’s the headline CNN is flashing on its screen Thursday evening. “They haven’t ruled out terrorism,” Don Lemon intones. Is this a newscast or an Onion parody?

Sure, somehow the San Bernardino shooter got himself a Pakistani wife in Saudi Arabia just two years ago who was willing to turn their baby’s home into a bomb factory, willing to drop the baby off at his mom’s, willing to go back to an office Christmas party with two assault rifles, several handguns, and three connected homemade pipe bombs and murder 14 people. Because the lady is not going to let her man be dissed in the workplace? . . .

I am trying to imagine what kind of woman could do this: get married to a man she met online, come to America, have a baby that by all the neighbors’ accounts appeared well-loved and cared for — while building pipe bombs, collecting bullets, planning to die in a murderous spree in the name of her foul false god who demands blood sacrifices. What could she have felt when she dropped the baby off? Did she turn one last time to kiss the life she brought into the world, moments before she went to snuff out 14 other lives?

A mother whose soul is so dark that she calmly, deliberately, chooses mass murder over mothering — who can explain it?

It’s called “evil,” and it tries very hard to look normal. Indeed, radical Islam exhibits all of the traits of evil.  As psychiatrist Scott Peck’s book, “People of the Lie” suggests (a terrific book that I highly recommend), evil is always convinced that it is “right” or “righteous” or “good” and works hard to maintain that appearance. It projects evil onto others (scapegoating). It is strong-willed, controlling and intolerant. And it hides it motives by confusing others with lies and “magical thinking” (think 72 virgins for Allah’s martyrs).

December 3, 2015

GENDER “EQUALITY”?: Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced today that the military is opening all combat units to women. 

The decision opens the military’s most elite units to women who can meet the rigorous requirements for the positions for the first time, including in the Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces and other Special Operations Units. It also opens the Marine Corps infantry, a battle-hardened force that many service officials had openly advocated keeping closed to female service members.

“There will be no exceptions,” Carter said. “This means that, as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before.”. . .

About 220,000 jobs and 10 percent of the military remained closed to women before Tuesday’s announcement, Carter said. 

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies for women. I assume this portends that any future military draft will include both men and women.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): I told you so!

December 3, 2015

PARIS COMES TO SAN BERNARDINO?: First suspect identified as Syed Farouk, “very religious” Muslim.

“He was very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim,” his estranged father of the same name told the New York Daily News. . . .

A sympathetic neighbor of the deceased suspect said that “maybe two years ago, he became more religious. He grew a beard and started to wear religious clothing: the long shirt that’s like a dress and the cap on his head.”

He may also have traveled to Saudia Arabia, in a pilgrimage to Mecca.

One other suspect who was killed in a shootout with police was identified as Tashfeen Malik, Farook’s wife, who was born in Pakistan. Farook met Malik online and she left Saudi Arabia to join him in the U.S. . . .

RELATED:  ISIS adherents praise San Bernardino massacre, “America burning.”

ISIS extremists began celebrating the mass shooting in San Bernardino hours after the massacre, creating the hashtag #America_Burning, Vocativ discovered. The Islamic State, however, did not take credit for the shootings in the ghoulish postings.

Vocativ deep web analysts used our technology to discover the sickening ISIS posts on web forums where the extremists frequently share information.

“Three lions made us proud. They are still alive,” one ISIS adherent tweeted in Arabic after the shootings at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. “California streets are full with soldiers with heavy weapons. The Unites States is burning #America_Burning #Takbir”

ثلاث ليوث اثلجوا صدورنا بفضل الله مازالوا أحياء ويتجولون شوارع كاليفورنيا بالزى العسكرى وبأسلحة ثقيلة#أمريكا_تشتعل#تكبيـر

— ﺳ̲ﻟ̲آﻣ̲يےﻋ ﺂ̲ﻟ̲ﺩ̲ۆﻟة (@alSaoD__yahoD__) December 2, 2015

“God is great and he the one to be praised for that,” another supporter posted in the forum in Arabic. “This is hell with god’s will.” But the hashtag was primarily used on Twitter where one ISIS extremist taunted the United States with a tweet that read “Let America know a new era #California #America_burning.”

لتعلم #أمريكا أننا في زمان جديد #كاليفورنيا#امريكا_تشتعل — أبومصعب المصري (@abomossabelmass) December 2, 2015

Another ISIS supporter posted in reference to the shooting on Twitter, “God is the greatest. May god spread fear in the homes of the Crusaders.”

الله اكبر…اللهم انشر الرعب في عقر ديار الصليب فكم اذو المسلمين — john–almwhid (@almwhid_john) December 2, 2015

Hope, and change. But hey, I’m sure it was just a dispute over a party, workplace violence or something. As President Obama told reporters this morning, “At this stage, we do not yet know why this terrible event occurred,” Obama said during remarks at the White House. He added: “It is possible this was terrorist-related, but we don’t know. It is also possible this was workplace related.”

December 2, 2015

LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES: Hamilton College edition. Steven Hayward at Power Line exposes a mind-boggling list of 83 demands presented by progressive infants students at Hamilton College, a small private college in New York:

We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the end of the inevitable tokenization of all marginalized bodies at Hamilton College. Hamilton College cannot continue to overwhelmingly perpetuate narratives that center whiteness, able-bodied individuals, colonization, heteronormativity, and cisnormativity.  The faculty, administration, staff, and student body at Hamilton College almost ubiquitously encompass a single population that continues the exclusion of historically underrepresented communities.

This syndrome produces a methodically unfair system that inhibits these underrepresented bodies from thriving. . . .

We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand that the Office of the President releases an official statement without clause acknowledging that Black Lives Matter. . . .

We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand for questions aimed at the prospective President-Elects to center systematic oppression and Hamilton Colleges’ accountability with institutional racism. We demand a President of Color for the twentieth President of Hamilton College. . . .

We, the Students of Hamilton College demand that President Joan Hinde Stewart issues a formal apology to all Faculty, Students, Staff, and Administrators of Color, as well as their allies, neither of whom were provided a safe space for them to thrive while at Hamilton College.

We demand an immediate increase in Faculty of Color on campus. We also demand an increase in tenure track hires for Faculty of Color. In order to retain Faculty of Color, we demand an increase in mentorship for tenure track Faculty of Color. We demand the prioritization of Faculty of Color in new hires. We demand the representation of all students by fostering diversity within our classrooms. We demand the active recruitment of Indigenous Faculty, Gender Nonconforming and Transgender identifying Faculty, and an increase of all Faculty of Color in the STEM fields. We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand Black Faculty to make up thirteen percent of Faculty before 2025. This number must exclude members of the Africana Studies Department .

We, the Students of Hamilton College demand mandatory yearly diversity and inclusion workshops for all Faculty and Staff with optional workshops being offered consistently throughout the academic year. . . .

We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the immediate an increase in the recruitment of undocumented students to the college. We demand for the endowment of various scholarship programs to benefit these students presence on our campus. Hampshire College of Massachusetts executes an effective model. These undocumented students would be admitted under the Dream Act.

We, the Students of Hamilton College, demand the immediate institution of free tuition for all Indigenous peoples. . . .

Translated: We, the students of Hamilton College, hate whitey. We are racist and vile infants. We want what we want–now!–or we will sit here and throw a tantrum.

Yeah, this affirmative action thing is really working out well.  I hope les infants terribles get everything they want. It would serve them right. Because an expensive degree from THAT new and shiny “safe space” college (current tuition is almost $50,000 per year) would be utterly worthless.

December 1, 2015

LET THEM REAP WHAT THEY HAVE SOWN: A West Virginia college divests its remaining conservatives.  A conservatarian academic discusses his experience at a financially ailing, ideologically intolerant college:

Why would a cash-strapped liberal arts college in West Virginia turn its nose up at $1 million in grants? University officials wouldn’t say it explicitly, but the reason couldn’t be more obvious: the money came from classically liberal and libertarian foundations. Even in a fiscal crisis, that simply would not do.

Last academic year, faculty and staff at West Liberty University (WLU) went on the ideological warpath to oust its center-right president simply because he was politically right of center. The public fallout of their acrimonious demands plunged the university into an enrollment and budgetary shortfall as the staff and faculty aired their disdain in public. Turned off by vitriolic statements about their overburdened life, parents sent their kids to other schools and major donors began to withhold funds. . . .

In September, administrators informed me the college was eliminating the entire political science major, and, as a result, my services were no longer needed. When I inquired how they arrived at such a decision, they fumbled an answer, citing a lack of majors in the program. However, several other programs on campus have fewer students.

When I offered to help offset some of the departmental costs from the nearly $1 million in grants I secured, the administration balked. So, there must have been another reason they wanted to terminate my contract. My position on campus did not fit their ideological biases. As a result, I had to go.

I taught one of the few classes on campus that was dedicated to the classical liberal arts. It was, in part, funded by the generous grants from BB&T, Koch, and the Institute of Humane Studies at George Mason University. It also funded grants and scholarships for promising students to offset the cost of books and tuition. The sole purpose of the grants was to expose students to the ideas of free markets, liberty, and equality rightly understood. . . .

Parents should be questioning whether to send their sons and daughters to institutions that are long on indoctrination and short on the ideas of freedom and liberty.

These are deeply unserious and vapid times in higher education. Unfortunately, the ideological intolerance at WLU is no different than that we see on many other campuses in the nation.

Yep. Smart parents (and students) are beginning to vote with their feet/tuition dollars. Schools like this one–that lack the “prestige” factor–will soon pay the price for their intolerance. 

December 1, 2015

ALAN KEYES: “The next crisis could be the end of the republic: Why we must impeach President Obama.”

There are those who will say that, with less than a year left in his occupancy of the Oval Office, it’s too late to hold him accountable. I have no doubt that among them are some of the same people who rejected the need to turn the 2014 election into a referendum on the issue of impeaching and removing him from office. They reflect the general mentality, suspiciously prevalent in this era of elitist faction domination, which seems never ready to hold elected officials to account for the damage they inflict upon the sovereignty and constitution of the people of the United States. . . .

Given the dictatorial bent Obama’s tenure has more than amply demonstrated in service to their agenda, it’s excusable to suspect that the neglect of accountability intentionally serves the larger agenda of overturning the U.S. Constitution, an agenda now more and more openly avowed.

It’s never too late for the U.S. Congress to use its Constitutional power to thwart this agenda, but it will be too late if and when the U.S. is hit by a crisis damaging enough to encourage Obama, or the next elitist faction tool, to declare that circumstances have suspended the Constitution’s implementation until further notice. Say if you like that it could never happen here. That was true in the days when Americans still had the confidence to stand on the rights the Constitution guarantees, and the courage to defend their stand. Thanks to the triumph of partisan passivity and subservience, that stalwart character is now in doubt. If it were not, the GOP majorities in both Houses of Congress would have already been moved to do what the Constitution requires.

Sadly, the GOPe has repeatedly proven that it thinks it’s more important to win the White House in 2016–at all cost– than to defend constitutional principles. Its elevation of “Republican” over “republic” makes it complicit in the country’s precipitous decline. Yet the GOPe still scratches its head, wondering why its own political base prefers outsider candidates such as Trump, Carson, Cruz and Fiorina.

November 25, 2015

OBAMA SIGNS DEFENSE BILL DESPITE GITMO PROVISIONS: President Obama has quietly (and on the eve of Thanksgiving) signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which renews tight prohibitions against using any federal funds for the transfer of Gitmo detainees to the U.S.

Obama has previously intimated that he would transfer Gitmo prisoners to the U.S. despite congressional opposition. It is unclear whether Obama’s decision to sign the NDAA indicates that he has abandoned plans for U.S. transfer, or whether (as some former Obama Administration officials have argued) Obama believes he has the independent constitutional authority to transfer the detainees to the U.S. anyway.

November 25, 2015

P.C. RUN AMOK: Political correctness likely contributed to a flash mob theft of a designer store in Georgetown. The store–a Diesel clothing store on M Street–was overtaken by a mob of more than 20 juveniles Tuesday evening, who stole more than $12,000 worth of merchandise within a matter of minutes. The Washington Post story conveniently omits the racial identity of these juveniles.

Some in the Georgetown area started using the app service in February, 2014 after the business organization — Georgetown Business Improvement District — worked with police in the District to launch it. The service called “Operation GroupMe” was meant, some in the area said, as a tool to try to reduce shoplifting in the area. Georgetown is one of the nation’s poshest shopping districts.

But a look at the bulk of the correspondence over a nine-month period of those using the service had some people expressing suspicions about African Americans. About 90 percent of the photographs that were put up showed blacks. And there were descriptions in offensive language.

Joe Sternlieb, chief executive of the Georgetown business group, had said there were concerns that the app could be used to violate shoppers’ “civil rights and individual dignity.”

Um, does anyone care about the rights, dignity, or safety of the store owners, patrons, and employees who work in these stores? If blacks are suspected of crimes in an area, it isn’t “racial profiling” to report suspicion of such individuals. If they are black, they are black. If they are white, they are white. If they are Asian, they are Asian. Simply reporting a suspect’s race is not racial profiling. It is reporting a fact that is useful in preventing crime. Geez. Political correctness is becoming very dangerous.

November 25, 2015

THEY NEED TO CRYOGENICALLY FREEZE IT: Senator John Barroso (R-WY) has an oped in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Congress Can Cool Off Obama’s Climate Change Plans.”

When the U.N. climate-change talks convene in Paris next week, the risks will be high for American taxpayers. President Obama wants a climate deal and is willing to pay dearly to get it. The inevitable outcome is a plan with unproven benefits and unreachable goals, but very real costs. It will be up to Congress to check the president’s ambition of committing the U.S. to an international green scheme that will produce little or no return. . . .

Todd Stern, the chief American negotiator heading to Paris, has tried to justify the disconnect. Mr. Stern recently told the Senate that developing countries need to be allowed to keep emitting so that their economies can continue to grow by 8%-9% a year. . . .

Why should the U.S. accept a plan—and pay to grease the deal—that keeps its economy stuck at 2% growth while American taxpayers subsidize other countries’ economies growing at 9%?

Almost as bad is that President Obama will likely pledge $3 billion of taxpayers’ money to the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund. Developing nations are eager to accept this cash, which in theory they will use to address the effects of extreme weather. It seems more likely that the money will end up in the pockets of government officials in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. . . .

The envoys in Paris should understand: Congress does not support the president’s $3 billion promise. Earlier this year Mr. Obama requested in his budget the first $500 million installment. That budget was voted down 98-1. Congress should continue to reject this spending and insist that any agreement reached in Paris be subject to Senate approval—regardless of whether or not the administration formally calls it a treaty.

Whatever comes of the Paris talks, there is reason to be wary. We’ve seen the Obama administration’s negotiating skills. Anyone who watched the Iran nuclear agreement play out has good reason to be nervous about the concessions this administration will make in closed-door negotiations.

So here we go again: The President of the United States is hellbent on accomplishing a goal that is opposed by the majority of Americans. He is looking for a way (once again) to “work around” Congress. He is willing to strike a deal that puts the U.S. at a disadvantage, in the name of “helping” other “developing” countries, and the “globe” (even though it won’t actually help the latter).  Who does he think he’s the President of, exactly? Because it sure doesn’t seem to be Americans.

Let’s hope Congress shows more courage and intelligence in stopping the President this time than it did with the Iran deal. I won’t hold my breath.

November 24, 2015

PRINCETON STUDENTS FIGHT BACK: Steven Hayward over at Power Line shares a letter that a group of intrepid Princeton students has sent to the President of the University:

Dear President Eisgruber,

We write on behalf of the Princeton Open Campus Coalition to request a meeting with you so that we may present our perspectives on the events of recent weeks. We are concerned mainly with the importance of preserving an intellectual culture in which allmembers of the Princeton community feel free to engage in civil discussion and to express their convictions without fear of being subjected to intimidation or abuse. Thanks to recent polls, surveys, and petitions, we have reason to believe that our concerns are shared by a majority of our fellow Princeton undergraduates. . . .

This dialogue is necessary because many students have shared with us that they are afraid to state publicly their opinions on recent events for fear of being vilified, slandered, and subjected to hatred, either by fellow students or faculty. Many who questioned the protest were labeled racist, and black students who expressed disagreement with the protesters were called “white sympathizers” and were told they were “not black.” We, the Princeton Open Campus Coalition, refuse to let our peers be intimidated or bullied into silence on these–or any–important matters. . . . 

We oppose efforts to purge (and literally paint over) recognitions of Woodrow Wilson’s achievements, including Wilson College, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and his mural in Wilcox Dining Hall. As you have noted, Wilson, like all other historical figures, has a mixed legacy. It is not for his contemptible racism, but for his contributions as president of both Princeton and the United States that we honor Wilson. Moreover, if we cease honoring flawed individuals, there will be no names adorning our buildings, no statues decorating our courtyards, and no biographies capable of inspiring future generations.

We worry that the proposed distribution requirement will contribute to the politicization of the University and facilitate groupthink. However, we, too, are concerned about diversity in the classroom and offer our own solution to this problem. While we do not wish to impose additional distribution requirements on students for fear of stifling academic exploration, we believe that all students should be encouraged to take courses taught by professors who will challenge their preconceived mindsets. To this end, the University should make every effort to attract outstanding faculty representing a wider range of viewpoints–even controversial viewpoints–across all departments. Princeton needs more Peter Singers, more Cornel Wests, and more Robert Georges.

Similarly, we believe that requiring cultural competency training for faculty threatens to impose orthodoxies on issues about which people of good faith often disagree. As Professor Sergiu Klainerman has observed, it reeks of the reeducation programs to which people in his native Romania were subjected under communist rule.

As Hayward observes, “May I suggest that employers write down the names of each of these signatories, for the obvious reason that they’re the kind of young people you want to hire.”

November 24, 2015

SO SHE’S EMBRACING A TERRORISTS’ VETO? Hillary Clinton says blocking Syrian refugees will make Muslims angry at police officers.

Clinton, who wants to import thousands of Syrian refugees, told reporters in Reno that it would look bad not to let in Syrian refugees, and that might inflame Muslims against law enforcement.

“If you’re in law enforcement, … you want the people in the communities that you are looking to get information from to feel like they want to help you,” Clinton said at a Nevada roundtable. “And if the message from people who are running for president, for example, is that we don’t want to take any Muslims whatsoever, that’s not good for law enforcement.”

“Let’s not be casting this broad, negative rejection of everybody who might be Muslim. That is not smart to protect ourselves. And I want people to understand — that is a law enforcement issue,” Clinton added.

Translated: We’d better let every Muslim refugee in, otherwise Muslims already present in the U.S. will commit acts of terrorism and other violence. Well, that sounds logical.

November 23, 2015

GITMO FIGHT HEATS UP: 16 veteran GOP House members have signed onto a letter to members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, encouraging them to consult with lawyers before executing any presidential order to transfer Gitmo detainees to the U.S.

“The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) contemplates that with respect to enlisted personnel and officers in the United States armed forces, when an order given by one’s superiors comes into conflict with the laws of this nation, the latter prevail. We believe that in our democracy — in which governance is undertaken, in the words of Founding Father John Adams, by ‘…a government of laws, and not of men…’ – that understanding necessarily applies equally to orders given by the Commander-in-Chief,” writes the group of 16 House members who are all military veterans.

Current U.S. law does not permit the expenditure of any funds to transfer Gitmo detainees to the U.S., or to construct or modify facilities to house the detainees.

November 23, 2015

MUSLIMS IN N.J. CHEERING AFTER 9/11? This is what Donald Trump has asserted, and according to the Washington Post report of Sept. 18, 2001, Trump is right.  John Hinderaker over at Power Line has uncovered this Washington Post piece–conveniently archived and available only if one pays $3.95 for it–that the Washington Post’s own fact checker, Glenn Kessler, apparently could not find.

Here’s an excerpt from the 2001 Washington Post story:

In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners’ plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.

So the real question here is this: Why is the mainstream media–and even conservative media–unable to find a story like this, that appeared immediately after 9/11, in one of the largest papers in the country? I think Hinderaker gets it right:

Why does this happen? Are NPR, the Times and the AP incapable of using Google? Perhaps. But here is another possibility: note that the Times and the AP coyly limited their denials to news accounts of “mass cheering” or “mass celebrations” in Jersey City. I think they found the Washington Post story but preferred not to mention it. Instead, they deceived their readers by silently making the implicit judgment that “a number of people” are not a “mass.”

I think that these news outlets are so hysterically eager to discredit any concerns about Islam that they won’t let something as minor as the facts get in their way. There is dishonesty here, but it is on the part of NPR, the New York Times and the Associated Press, not Donald Trump.

Yep. Muslims in New Jersey cheering after 9/11 doesn’t further the liberal/progressive narrative (so it is simply ignored).  And many of the conservative outlets are still hoping that Trump goes away very soon, so they’re not likely to jump to his defense.

November 22, 2015

HE’S RIGHT: Trump says he’d bring back waterboarding. Good for him for clinging to his common sense.  It isn’t “torture,” as the President’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded in a well-reasoned legal memo back in 2002. The “torture” label is (as usual) just a liberal/progressive subjective conclusion, not an actual legal argument.

November 22, 2015

WELL, IT’S NOT THE “RADICAL JIHAD” STATE, YOU KNOW:  Rex Murphy writes in the Canadian National Post about Hillary Clinton’s doublespeak hypocrisy:

It’s an odd world. Glamour magazine recently named the former Bruce Jenner as its Woman of the Year. In all respectable circles, she is of course now recognized as Caitlyn Jenner, after coming out as a woman. In this context, coming out is simply to be understood as an act of self-declaration. If a person self-identifies as X, Y or Z, then he, she, ze or hir has to be what he, she, ze or hir professes to be. If it’s a nightmare for grammarians, just think of the chaos in biology departments. .  . .

This is a Euclidean axiom in the new geometry of gender and progressive thought. Names matter — what people are called, and what they themselves wish to be called, matters greatly. So if Jenner says “call me Caitlyn,” Hillary will not oppose the right-thinking baptism. . . .

ISIL is of course Islamic, and it is radical by any definition of that weary word. The president of France, François Hollande, declared war on radical Islam in the wake of its multiple ambushes on Paris’ defenceless citizens. He recognizes it for what it says it is — radical, Islamic and terroristic.

Yet in a debate on this very subject, Clinton refused to utter the phrase radical Islam, pushed vigorously against the idea of naming Islamic terror for what it is, even though ISIL itself wears its radical Islamist motivations, goals and methods with arrogant pride.

On Jenner’s right to call herself what she wants, Clinton is on board. On a fanatic organization brutalizing the Middle East and exporting terror to the capitals of the world, she declines.

She is one with U.S. President Barack Obama on this — they steadfastly refuse to call our enemies by their name. In other words, when it comes to words and concepts that correspond to unalterable reality, she will deny words their meaning to the point of refusing to say them. But on matters that Glamour magazine takes seriously, on which DNA itself has spoken, Clinton is one with all the buzz factories of trendy thought.

She was, it must be noted, for four years the secretary of state of the most powerful country on Earth, and now wishes to be its president. Heaven help us.

Amen. ISIL stands for the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” not the “Radical Jihad State of Iraq and the Levant,” which Clinton, Obama and the other P.C. Democrats seem to think it is. Geez.

Besides, why do Clinton and the Democrats think they need to further clarify matters by prefixing the word “radical” in front of “jihad”? Jihad alone isn’t radical enough?

While the term “jihad” can refer to the struggle to maintain Islamic faith, it also (more commonly) refers to a Holy War against non-Islamists. Either way, “jihad” is an exclusionary term, reflecting a religious zeal that is highly intolerant, and possibly quite violent. Under either definition of jihad, it seems pretty “radical” to me.

Liberals/progressives defend Islam so vigorously that they insist on qualifying “jihad” with the adjective “radical,” and they refuse to utter the (accurate) phrase “radical Islam.” How ironic that these liberals/progressives–who repeatedly evince an overt hostility to religion, and who wave the banner of “tolerance” in our faces, to the point of aggression–are so deeply committed to defending such intolerant, religiously motivated actions and beliefs.

November 21, 2015

THIS EXPLAINS A LOT: US Pilots Confirm: Obama Admin Blocks 75 Percent of Islamic State Strikes.

Strikes against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) targets are often blocked due to an Obama administration policy to prevent civilian deaths and collateral damage, according to Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The policy is being blamed for allowing Islamic State militants to gain strength across Iraq and continue waging terrorist strikes throughout the region and beyond, according to Royce and former military leaders who spoke Wednesday about flaws in the U.S. campaign to combat the Islamic State.

“You went 12 full months while ISIS was on the march without the U.S. using that air power and now as the pilots come back to talk to us they say three-quarters of our ordnance we can’t drop, we can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target in front of us,” Royce said. “I don’t understand this strategy at all because this is what has allowed ISIS the advantage and ability to recruit.”

When asked to address Royce’s statement, a Pentagon official defended the Obama administration’s policy and said that the military is furiously working to prevent civilian casualties.

“The bottom line is that we will not stoop to the level of our enemy and put civilians more in harm’s way than absolutely necessary,” the official told the Washington Free Beacon, explaining that the military often conducts flights “and don’t strike anything.”

I’m not surprised. The Obama Administration wages war with the zeal of a sleepy llama.

RELATED: New ISIS video says it will lead Obama and other US leaders “like slaves, like dogs.” 

November 20, 2015

FAUX “HATE” AT HARVARD LAW: Heather Mac Donald wisely suggests, “Don’t Bet on the Harvard Law School Hate Crime.”

November 20, 2015

HARVARD LAW “HATE” CRIME: John Hinderaker over at Power Line has an amusing story about the “hateful” genesis of the HLS shield and the school’s early, slaveholding benefactor:

The back story is that the money that founded the law school came from a man named Royall, who was a slaveholder. This is how the law school itself tells the story:

Harvard Law School was established through a bequest from the estate of Isaac Royall, a wealthy Antiguan plantation owner and slaveholder who immigrated to Boston. Royall’s coat-of-arms, with its three stacked wheat sheaves, remains the school’s crest to this day.

The law school’s crest is displayed, among other places, at Wasserstein Hall. Someone, presumably a person associated with the movement on campus to do away with such reminders of the Royall family, put black tape over the seal. Then, overnight, someone removed some of the pieces of black tape and put them over portraits of black faculty members that hang in the hallway.

This supposed hate crime was described by a second-year student named Michele Hall, who also posted photos of the portraits with tape over them . . . . The reaction was what you would expect. Ms. Hall writes:

I am constantly reminded of the legacy of white supremacy that founded this school and still breathes through every classroom and lecture hall. I am also shown the small inroads that professors of color have made, breaking apart the notion that whiteness is the epitome of legal scholarship.

Whiteness is the epitome of legal scholarship? Seriously?

Ms. Hall further declared, “The defacing of the portraits of black professors this morning is a further reminder that white supremacy built this place, is the foundation of this place, and that we never have and still do not belong here.”

Okay, so if you really believe this, Ms. Hall (and like Hinderaker, I don’t think she does), why don’t you go to Howard or some other “historically black” law school, where you won’t have to be “reminded” that former benefactors, students and alumni were possibly slaveholders? Is it not sufficient to soothe your soul that you very likely attend one of the best law schools in the country because HLS has vigorously embraced the liberal/progressive policy of affirmative action? And do you really think that any institution that has received a generous grant from a slaveholder means that you do not “belong” there? If this is the case, you do not “belong” in about 90 percent of the best universities in the country, I suspect.

The truth is that Ms. Hall doesn’t really belong in any decent law school. She apparently has zero talent at logic, and her emotions control her brain. Sadly, these traits would likely put her on the short list for a federal court judgeship by the Obama Administration.

November 20, 2015

I’M NOT SURPRISED: Anonymous Yik Yak threat to “shoot every black person I can on campus” was made by . . . wait for it . . . a black student. His name is Emmanuel Bowden and he’s been arrested on a single charge of making a false report of a threat of terrorism.

This kind of thing is happening a lot these days. So much so, that there is a website dedicated to documenting all of these false accusations of “hate crimes,” and it contains 213 cases in just the last few years.

November 20, 2015

MORE OF THE SAME, REALLY: Krauthammer: After Paris, Obama refuses to lead.

[S]ocialist President Francois Hollande has responded furiously to his country’s 9/11 with an intensified air campaign, hundreds of raids on suspected domestic terrorists, a state of emergency, and proposed changes in the constitution to make France less hospitable to jihad.

Read more at:, Barack Obama, titular head of the free world, has responded to Paris with weariness and annoyance. His news conference in Turkey was marked by a stunning tone of passivity, detachment, and lassitude, compounded by impatience and irritability at the very suggestion that his Syria strategy might be failing. The only time he showed any passion was in denouncing Republicans for hardheartedness toward Muslim refugees. One hundred and twenty-nine innocents lie dead but it takes the GOP to kindle Obama’s ire. . . .

Obama’s priorities lie elsewhere. For example, climate change, which he considers the greatest “threat to our future.” And, of course, closing Guantánamo.

And don’t forget gun control. Of course, the Paris attacks likely would have ended much sooner if someone nearby had been carrying a gun. But hey, never let a good crisis go to waste, right?

November 19, 2015

THE WOMEN OF THE ISLAMIC STATE: An oped in the Wall Street Journal today discusses radical Islam’s growing appeal among some women:

Why do these young women and girls go? Surely they can see that life is far more just and liberated in the West?

The short answer is that Islamic State is highly effective at analyzing its target audience and tailoring its propaganda to them . . . . The group is especially adept at exploiting Muslim women who feel isolated, perhaps as a result of anti-Muslim hatred, domestic turbulence, gender inequality or the lack of representation in society. As an alternative, they are offered a strong narrative of Islamist ideology, with suggestions that by joining Islamic State they can reverse the ills of life outside the caliphate. They are enticed by the idea that they will find a tight-knit collective sisterhood there that will provide them with support and friendship. This new Islamic life, in turn, is eventually used as a means to justify their radicalization and sacrifice. . . .

Now with the advent of the female suicide bomber Wednesday morning, we are potentially seeing Islamic State synthesize the idea of women as state builders into the idea of them as operational spearheads too—another luring and dangerous appeal to idealistic young women. We may now see women actively targeted and recruited by Islamic State for specific terrorist violence rather than just “state building.” History shows that the allure of physically taking up arms is not limited to men. Recall that the core operatives of Germany’s Baader-Meinhoff gang in the 1970s were women.

Recruiting women in such roles holds a tactical appeal for Islamic State and raises new security challenges for Western officials. Female terrorists can sometimes avoid detection more easily than men, and are less likely to be stopped and searched. Concealing weaponry or physical signs of trepidation before an attack—warning signs that security forces look for—can be achieved by wearing appropriate clothing. . . . .

So Muslim women want to join the “tight-knit collective sisterhood” and become a “spearhead” for misogynist men who view them as little more than property? Um, okay. So ISIS is basically an institutional form of a sociopathic predator:  It lies, lies, lies to get the target “hooked,” with visions of love/grandeur, with the goal of using/abusing them for its own selfish needs.  

November 18, 2015

THEY HAVE LEARNED NOTHING: French President Francois Holland announced today that his country will accept 30,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years.  Yeah, that sounds logical.

November 18, 2015

YOU SPELLED TRAITOR WRONG: The Wall Street Journal editors on “President Guantanamo.”

President Obama rode into the White House vilifying George W. Bush’s “unchecked presidential power” and “ignoring the law when it is inconvenient,” as he put it in 2007. Yet now Mr. Obama is poised to exceed any executive action his predecessor so much as contemplated as he may shut down Guantanamo Bay in defiance of inconvenient laws he signed. . . .

With the end of his tenure in sight, the President is now looking for legal excuses to close the prison without Congressional approval. Since the KSM fiasco in 2009, Congresses run by Democrats and Republicans have specified in defense bills that no Treasury money may be used to transfer or maintain detainees to the U.S. The prohibitions in the most recent defense legislation—which passed the Senate 91-3 and the House 370-58—are the strongest ever.

Yet the Pentagon may soon announce a plan to transfer the remaining 107 dangerous combatants that no other country will accept to a domestic facility such as Fort Leavenworth or the Colorado supermax. Amid Mr. Obama’s many executive rewrites on carbon, ObamaCare and labor this flouting of the law would be the worst.

Mr. Obama’s legal surrogates including former White House counsel Gregory Craig now argue that Congress’s spending restrictions are unconstitutional. They claim the executive has exclusive Article II powers as Commander in Chief over the tactical conduct of war and diplomacy, including the custody of detainees.

But control over wartime prisoners is divided between the President and legislature. The Constitution vests Congress with the power to “make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water,” and not even the most zealous unitary executive theorists read the Captures Clause out of Article I. Congress cannot micromanage military operations, but it has a constitutional role in regulating them.

In 2009 Office of Legal Counsel chief Steven Bradbury wrote an opinion disavowing the legal argument Mr. Craig is now promoting, and Mr. Obama has abided by Congress’s restrictions for seven years. No current emergency justifies ignoring Congress, as Mr. Obama claimed when he traded five Taliban for Bowe Bergdahl in violation of a prisoner swap law.

With this President, it’s not the Constitution that defines his power; it’s what he can get away with.  

November 18, 2015

4 UNBIGOTED REASONS TO BE WARY OF SYRIAN REFUGEES: Ian Tuttle at NRO explains why today’s Syrian refugees are not analogous to 1939’s Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, contrary to the assertions of liberal/progressive pundits:

The first, and most obvious, difference: There was no international conspiracy of German Jews in the 1930s attempting to carry out daily attacks on civilians on several continents. No self-identifying Jews in the early 20th century were randomly massacring European citizens in magazine offices and concert halls . . . .

On a related note, the sympathies of Syrian Muslims are more diverse than those of Nazi-era German Jews. A recent Arab Opinion Index poll of 900 Syrian refugees found that one in eight hold a “to some extent”-positive view of the Islamic State (another 4 percent said that they did not know or refused to answer). A non-trivial minority of refugees who support a murderous, metastatic caliphate is a reason for serious concern. No 13 percent of Jews looked favorably upon the Nazi party.

Third, European Jews in the early 20th century were more amenable to assimilation than are Syrian Muslims in the early 21st.  . . .

Finally: Jewish refugees — for example, those in the SS St. Louis — were coming from Germany (or Nazi-controlled Austria or Czechoslovakia), but most Syrian refugees seeking entry into the United States have already found refuge elsewhere. . . .

Asylum is not a blanket solution to every refugee situation that arises around the globe.  It makes sense in certain contexts, but not in others. One size does not fit all, and employing such reasoned judgment is not tantamount to bigotry. Playing the xenophobia card is (as usual) a distraction from the actual facts and issue.

November 17, 2015

A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF PROGRESSIVE FREE SPEECH ILLOGIC:  A writer in the Guardian exemplifies muddled progressive thinking about the meaning and value of free speech:

The American university system is currently the battleground for what looks to be our next great culture war: free speech versus political correctness. On one side are the ever-harrumphing Reasonable White Men, such as New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, who fretted extravagantly over “political correctness” in an interview with National Public Radio: “I would define PC as a new ideology that is completely intolerant of dissent on issues relating to race and gender. So, it’s an illiberal kind of politics that does not grant any political legitimacy to criticism on identity issues. So, even if it’s made in response to legitimate racism and legitimate sexism that people have every right to be concerned about, it shuts down democratic politics in a way that we should be concerned about.”

The other side – which is not really a “side” at all so much as a vast, multifarious crowd of marginalised people all advocating for their own humanity with varying degrees of success and silliness – includes trauma survivors requesting trigger warnings, feminists criticising rape jokes, people of colour trying to explain cultural appropriation to white people who think the earth is their toy chest, and black students sick of universities gobbling their tuition money but treating them like dangerous interlopers. . . .

After setting up her false dichotomy between “ever-harrumphing Reasonable White Men” and “a vast, multifarious crowd of marginalised people all advocating for their own humanity,” the writer then draws a (predictable) false conclusion:

But here is the thing: white students parading around campus in blackface is itself a silencing tactic. Telling rape victims that they’re “coddled” is a silencing tactic. Teaching marginalised people that their concerns will always be imperiously dismissed, always subordinated to some decontextualised free-speech absolutism is a silencing tactic.

Framing student protests as bratty “political correctness gone mad” makes campuses a hostile environment for everyone except for students who have no need to protest. . . If you’re genuinely concerned about “free speech”, take a step back and look at what’s actually happening here: a bunch of college students, on the cusp of finding their voices, being publicly berated by high-profile writers in national publications because they don’t like what they have to say. Are you sure you know who’s silencing whom?

So basically, her argument is this: If individuals–mostly “white students”–express their disagreement with the views of the “marginalised people” (who may well come from very privileged backgrounds, but that doesn’t matter of course)–is a “silencing tactic” that is antithetical to free speech. She believes, in other words, that it is imperative to silence some speech so that others’ voices may be heard.

The writer has obviously not been schooled on the Constitution’s First Amendment, which is grounded in the theory that a robust–even offensive–marketplace of ideas is necessary to individual liberty and the quest for truth. But then again, I’m certain the writer does not care much for the pesky Constitution, which is precisely why her perspective is so dangerous.

UPDATE:  Just to be clear: the writer of this Guardian piece is an American journalist, not British.

UPDATE: C. Bradley Thompson points me to an open letter he and some colleagues at Clemson recently penned to Clemson students, pledging their opposition to any unconstitutional attempts by the university to suppress free speech, including speech that makes others uncomfortable. We need more faculty like this, but I won’t hold my breath.

November 12, 2015

HOPE AND CHANGE: Mizzou protesters segregate by race, demanding a “black-only healing space.”  Nice.  Well played, race baiters, well played! There can be no healing when whitey’s around.

What’s next, separate but equal dorms and classes? Because, you know, we wouldn’t want there to be racial violence or anything.

The best thing about the Obama Administration has been all the post-racial healing.

November 11, 2015

REAPING WHAT PROGRESSIVISM HATH SOWN: Kevin Williamson on “Yale’s Idiot Children“:

On Friday, I was honored to be a guest of the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale, where I participated in a panel on freedom of speech with the wonderful writer Harry Stein and Professor Bradley A. Smith, a noted law scholar. The Yale kids did their screaming best to prevent us from having a conversation about free speech — the Yale kids are utterly immune to irony — but the event went much as planned. Coming and going, we were chanted at by idiot children screaming, “Genocide is not a joke!” . . .

If you’re wondering about the genocide thing, so were we.  . . . The idiot children were screaming about Lukianoff because he said they were overreacting to Christakis’s criticism that they tend to scream and overreact. Well played, idiot children.

Of course, these idiot children aren’t children. These are young adults who can serve in the military, get married, buy firearms, drink alcohol, etc. They are at the beginning years of adult life, but they are entirely unprepared for adult life. . . .

As for me, I think that they’re clowns, and worse than that, really: They’re bad citizens, and defective people from defective families. They aren’t motivated by good will, but by fear: of the dawning realization that they, as people, aren’t really all that important, despite having been told all their lives how important they are.

We’re all real sorry about your safe spaces and your pacifier and your stuffed puppy, Caitlyn. Really we are. Yet the perpetual revolution of configured stars continues in its indifference, and the lot of man is ceaseless labor, and though you may find the thought terrifying — and thinking itself terrifying — it may turn out to be the case that the screaming in the dark you do on campus is more or less the same screaming in the dark you did in the crib, the same howl for the same reason.

Christakis–the liberal Yale Professor who dared to question P.C. orthodoxy–has profusely apologized to the “offended” snowflakes who are now running the progressive asylums universities:

“I have disappointed you and I’m really sorry,” Nicholas Christakis told about 100 students gathered in his living room on Sunday for a meeting also attended by Jonathan Holloway, the dean of Yale College, and other university administrators. Christakis said his encounter on Thursday with students in the college’s courtyard, in which numerous black women upbraided him for being inattentive to them, broke his heart, according to a voice recording of the conversation provided to The Washington Post.

“I mean it just broke my heart,” Christakis said. “I thought that I had some credibility with you, you know? I care so much about the same issues you care about. I’ve spent my life taking care of these issues of injustice, of poverty, of racism. I have the same beliefs that you do … I’m genuinely sorry, and to have disappointed you. I’ve disappointed myself.”

James Taranto aptly noted the Orwellian tone of Christakis’s apology,  “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” 

November 11, 2015

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS ISN’T ONLY FOR DEMS: Charles Hurt explains, “Jeb Bush, John Kasich seal their fates by pandering to illegal immigrants.”

Outside the debate hall, protesters beat drums and screamed for amnesty. One man with a bullhorn kept repeating over and over again that justice is not possible in America. And every third time or so he accused Mr. Trump of being a “racist” for vowing to enforce America’s immigration laws. No word on whether he was a plant, paid for by the Bush campaign.

On stage inside the debate hall, Mr. Trump stuck to his guns and said that immigration laws passed by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and approved by presidents from both parties should simply be enforced. That is all he is saying.

Yet Mr. Bush not only thinks these laws should be summarily dismissed, he said during the debate that even having a discussion about enforcing our immigration laws is a terrible thing. We should dismiss these laws and there should not even be a debate about it.

Wow. Truly astonishing. Not only does Mr. Bush not belong in the White House or the Republican Party, he should just be deported. Perhaps to Mexico, where he might be happier and find greater success in politics.

Astonishingly, Mr. Bush was not alone on the Republican stage. “Think about the families!” cried Ohio Gov. John Kasich. “C’mon, folks!”

These people really have no clue how desperately frustrated and estranged American voters in both parties are over this issue of rampant illegal immigration and Washington’s absolute refusal to take simple, common sense measures to fix the problem.

John Kasich should be deported right behind Jeb Bush.

Yep. When I heard Bush and Kasich make these remarks about (not)  enforcing existing immigration laws, I wondered if they realized how much damage they were doing to their quest to obtain the GOP nomination. While I’m sure both Bush and Kasich sincerely hold these beliefs, they are shockingly out of touch with GOP voters.

November 9, 2015

HERE WE GO AGAIN: White House Not Sure if Closing GITMO With Executive Order is Constitutional, Hints Obama Might Do It Anyway.

Congress has repeatedly prohibited the transfer of Gitmo prisoners into the U.S., including most recently in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.  But as the Wall Street Journal editorial board put it last week:

Mr. Obama’s inability to negotiate honestly with the legislature is a hallmark of his Presidency. More damaging is the precedent he is setting by making major policy changes with no more than a wave of his executive hand. Press reports note that Administration lawyers are working on legal justifications for the Gitmo order. Decision first, the law later.

The 2016 NDAA recently passed by Congress would have extended the anti-transfer prohibition, which is likely one reason why President Obama vetoed the bill on October 22.  It is unlikely that there are sufficient votes in Congress to override the President’s veto (which requires a 2/3 supermajority of both houses of Congress). Consequently, the House leadership has indicated that it plans to markup an entirely new NDAA rather than attempt to override the veto.  Media reports suggest that GOP leadership does not anticipate that the President would veto this revised NDAA

If Congress cannot managed to pass a new NDAA or otherwise statutorily extend the anti-transfer provisions, President Obama’s legal position is strengthened considerably, as any transfer of Gitmo prisoners would no longer be contrary to law.

November 6, 2015

WHO’S BURNING BLACK CHURCHES? OH. Michelle Malkin exposes the media myth that angry, racist white folks have been burning down black churches:

Over a two-week period in October, an arsonist targeted seven churches in the St. Louis area — including several in Black Lives Matter protest hotspot Ferguson, Missouri.

The Atlantic magazine, invoking the “long history of terrorism against black churches in America,” lamented that the crime spree had been “slow to get the same attention” in the local and national media as another string of church arsons that occurred earlier this summer.

Reminder: Several of those hyped hate crimes against “black churches” had been committed by black suspects; a significant number of the “black churches” were, in fact, white churches; and the complex motives behind the crimes included mental illness, vandalism and concealment of theft.

Reminder: The same hyperventilators who stoked fears about this summer’s church incidents had also stoked hysteria about the 1990s black church arson “epidemic” that fell apart under scrutiny and ended with USA Today admitting that “analysis of the 64 fires since 1995 shows only four can be conclusively shown to be racially motivated.”

Undaunted, agitators did their best to fan the flames over the latest alleged wave of race-based black church burnings in October. On Twitter, social justice activists resurrected the #WhosBurningBlackChurches hashtag. “Black churches are burning again,” Oklahoma State University professor Lawrence Ware lamented in Counterpunch. The far left propaganda outfit U.S. Uncut concluded unequivocally: “Racists in Ferguson Burn Down 5 Black Churches in 9 Days.”

Except, they didn’t. Again.

Last week, police charged 35-year-old David Lopez Jackson, who is black, with setting two of the fires. “Forensic evidence linked him to the fire on Oct. 18 at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1011 Theobald Street,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, and “video of his car near New Life Missionary Baptist Church, 4569 Plover Avenue, links him to the fire there on Oct. 17, police Chief Sam Dotson said.” Jackson is a suspect in the other fires and additional charges are pending.

The arrest follows another black church hate crime spree-gone-bust in my adopted hometown of Colorado Springs. In late June, after a pair of churches received menacing notices (“Black men, be aware, you are the target,” read one), black suspect Vincent Broughton admitted to posting the ugly signs.

And yes, Colorado Springs is also the home of the January 2015 NAACP office bombing that wasn’t.

Why is it that liberals/progressives–whose ideological core is defined by its adamant belief in various -isms (e.g., racism, sexism)–feel compelled to create examples of -ist actions? Logic suggests that if American society is so racist or sexist, liberals/progressives would not be compelled to invent these faux -ist incidents to justify their own hateful worldview.

Can you imagine conservatives purposefully engaging in activities they condemn, to “prove” that such activities are ubiquitous? Would conservatives obtain an abortion in the sixth month of pregnancy and inform the media that they did so because they decided they just didn’t want the inconvenience and expense of a child, hoping reporters would write stories about the moral/ethical hazards of late abortions? Would a conservative ever bomb or deface a church and spray paint “Christians beware–your faith is a lie!,” to trigger media reports about “hate” crimes and discrimination against Christians by atheists or non-Christians?

And even if conservatives did violate their own principles in a desperate attempt to keep a narrative alive, would the liberal/progressive media even bother writing a story to “highlight” such “hateful” or “disturbing” behavior?