Time for Republicans to deliver or face defeat in 2018

Former Republican Colorado State Senator Mark Hillman:

Time for Republicans to suck it up and produce

The repeal-and-replace debacle ought to be a cold shower for every Republican in Washington. It demonstrated that with so many Republicans advancing their own agenda, the party’s lawmakers can’t shoot straight – except at each other.

Republicans of all stripes now face the urgent task of proving that they can actually deliver on their promises. Stop racing to the TV cameras and start governing.

Republicans must produce results well before the 2018 election or they will deserve to be thrown out.

This isn’t as difficult as it might appear. President Trump is no policy wonk. With few exceptions, he cares more about “winning” than about details. Help him win, and he’ll be your ally. Embarrass him, and he’ll bargain with Democrats – including for future Supreme Court appointments. [emphasis added]

Governing is best viewed as a football game. Move the ball forward with good policies on a variety of issues and build momentum for a successful drive with legislation that brings credibility to your agenda. That creates opportunity for most everyone on the team to take credit for success on their favorite issue.

Typically, Democrats execute this playbook of “incrementalism” better than Republicans. In part, that’s because Democrats see government as a lifetime pursuit.

Successful “Hail Mary” passes are rare. Sometimes they result in epic failure. ObamaCare was a big play for Democrats, but it flopped and cost them dearly in three elections. Republicans’ failed attempt at repeal-and-replace will be costly unless they immediately learn from it and start working together.

I wish Mark Hillman would run for governor of Colorado.

Read the rest at www.markhillman.com

The spectrum on the climate change debate


We’re told that those who see things as black and white [what shrinks call “psychological splitting”] will tend to fall on one of the two extremes, believing either that increased CO2 has no effect or a catastrophic effect on the climate.  As the above image says, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I’m on the side of the deniers, I don’t believe there is any evidence to show that CO2 is or will have much effect on the climate.

It  could have some effect, I’ll allow. But it’s increased only 1/10th of 1% in the last 250 years. In 1750 CO2 was about 3/10th of 1% of the atomosphere. Now it’s 4/10th of 1%. Whoa, you say. That a 33% increase! Well, it’s still only 4/10th of 1%. It’s still a very small concentration.

There has been climate change during the last 250 years, but not all in one direction. The climate has both warmed and cooled. That’s it. There is no evidence that CO2 had anything to do with it. A more likely cause is the change in sun spots over that time period.  But earthly humans clearly have no effect on sun spots, so sun spots don’t offer a narrative for the alarmists.

I don’t believe the truth is in the middle, as the above chart suggests. The truth as best we know it is with the deniers. Nobody knows whether CO2 is a prime mover of the climate. It’s nothing but conjecture on the part of people who need a soapbox. Taking the middle road where there is no evidence to support either side is stupid. No evidence means only one thing. We don’t really know what the truth is so why speculate that it might be in the middle of the argument? Especially since we know that there is no current threat of anything untoward in the climate, whether because of CO2 or cow farts or fracking or too much exhaling of CO2 by all animal life.

Here’s a thought: CO2 may increase very slowly in the atmosphere because plants and trees use it up as fast as it’s produced. As oxygen is the life-giving gas to 99% of all animal life, so CO2 is to plants and trees. Fracking has been shown to reduce CO2 emissions, but the alarmists are still against it. That should tell us something.

Carbon, with its 6 protons, 6 electrons, and (usually) 6 neutrons, is a very amazing thing. Carbon chain molecules are the basis of organic chemistry. Nearly every cell in our bodies are made up of these carbon molecules, put together in thousands of different configuations.  The most ordinary substance on earth may be coal, which is almost all carbon. Burning coal is what made the industrial revolution and gave us humans the possibility of a life that is not solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Diamonds are 100% carbon.

Clearly, it’s time for all the carbon hating to stop.


The biggest broken promise in history

Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner:

Broken promises are as old as politics itself, and there are many famous examples of them in modern history. President George H.W. Bush’s “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge comes immediately to mind, as does President Bill Clinton reneging on his middle-class tax cut, and President Barack Obama never closing Guantanamo Bay. But in each of those cases, those were promises that were made in a given campaign by a given politician. The promise of Obamacare repeal is much different.

Republicans ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare for seven years, over the course of four election cycles. They won the House majority in 2010 in large part because of the backlash against the passage of Obamacare — and the vow to “repeal and replace” Obamacare was part of their “Pledge to America” campaign document that year. The botched rollout of Obamacare helped them win the Senate in 2014. House candidates, Senate candidates, gubernatorial candidates, and even state legislative candidates ran against Obamacare — and won.

Though President Trump was always an unorthodox candidate on healthcare (vacillating between praising single-payer and touting a free market plan), he consistently campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare, and exploited news of spiking premiums in the weeks leading up to the presidential election.

Republicans were always moving the goal posts on voters. That is, during campaign season, they made boasts about repeal, and then once in office, they talked about procedural complications. In 2010, they campaigned on repeal, but by 2011, they said they needed the Senate. In 2014, they won the Senate, but by 2015 they said as long as Obama was in office, nothing would become law. In 2016, they told conservative voters, even reluctant ones, that if they voted for Trump despite any reservations, they’d finally be able to repeal Obamacare. In November, voters gave them unified control of Washington. And yet after just two months on the job, they have thrown in the towel and said they’re willing to abandon seven years of promises.

Trump says he wants to work with Democrats. That’s been tried many times and failed every time. It won’t do any good but someone ought to tell Trump what happens to Republicans who try to work with Democrats.

The conventional wisdom is to blame the conservatives in the Freedom Caucus for this. That’s crazy, they aren’t the ones who are refusing to repeal Obamacare. They objected to a bill that claimed it repealed Obamacare when it did no such thing. If Paul Ryan and Donald Trump  would offer a bill that repealed Obamacare the Freedom Caucas would be behind it.

Paul Ryan says he and his council are the only ones who want to repeal Obamacare. But they already showed they don’t want to repeal Obamacare. Why else did they write a bill that doesn’t repeal Obamacare?


Buffoons In Black Robes

Constitutional Buffoonery from the Federal District Courts

[“Buffoonery” is not too strong a word for the two Federal District Court judges who think they have the power to dictate immigration policy to the President of the United States]

American Greatness:

Departing from Precedent… and Common Sense

More than a century ago, the Supreme Court stated the common sense of the matter as it was understood by every American since the founding:

It is an accepted maxim of international law that every sovereign nation has the power, as inherent in sovereignty, and essential to self-preservation, to forbid the entrance of foreigners within its dominions, or to admit them only in such cases and upon such conditions as it may see fit to prescribe. [Ekiu v. U.S., 142 U.S. 651, 659 (1892).]

Some half-century later, the court made another commonsensical statement of the necessary consequences of sovereignty:

The exclusion of aliens is a fundamental act of sovereignty. The right to do so stems not alone from legislative power but is inherent in the executive power to control the foreign affairs of the nation. . . . When Congress prescribes a procedure concerning the admissibility of aliens, it is not dealing alone with a legislative power. It is implementing an inherent executive power. Thus the decision to admit or to exclude an alien may be lawfully placed with the President, who may in turn delegate the carrying out of this function to a responsible executive of the sovereign. [Knauff v. Shaughnessy, 338 U.S. 537, 542-543 (1950)]

Accordingly, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 granted broad latitude to the president:

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

This language is remarkable for the fact that it does not contain any limits or qualifications on the president’s discretion. Until the recent decisions enjoining President Trump’s executive orders, case law by and large, has supported the president’s broad authority to act under this provision. Until now, courts have always recognized that the President’s power over national security and foreign policy is extensive, deriving from inherent powers embodied in Article II of the Constitution and powers delegated by Congress. Courts almost always defer to the executive in these two areas.

Who would have thought one the greatest threats to the Rule of Law that is the basis of any civilized country would come from those whose sworn oath is to protect it? But then, that is always the evil to be guarded against. Montesquieu warned, “Experience has shown that every man who holds power tends to abuse it. He will proceed until he finds the limits.”

A couple of rogue judges need to be shown the limits. The post at American Greatness succinctly explicates the buffoonery and dishonesty of Judge Watson in Hawaii: The Hawaii case produced a thoroughly dishonest decision exposing progressive “post-constitutionalism” for the absurdity that it is. 

Read the whole thing.

Brexit lives — No turning back now

Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Brexit today starting the 2-year period of talks for the withdrawal from the EU. She said: “This is a historic moment from which there can be no turning back.”

A majority of Brits support leaving the EU, an even larger majority today than the 53% majority that voted for it. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland still don’t accept the outcome of the Brexit vote and are hopping mad at Mrs. May. Too bad, it’s happening and they can’t stop it. Expect to see a new round of efforts for Scotland to separate from the UK, but don’t expect it to happen. It won’t.

The PM tried to sooth the ruffled feathers: “Now is the time for us to come together, to be united across this House and across this country to ensure that we work for the best possible deal for the UK and the best possible future for us all.”

Whatever the future for the UK might be, it will better than if it stayed under the dysfunctional governing of the EU.

The full text of the PM’s letter to the EU president is here.

News that fails to advance the social justice narrative is not fit to print — UPDATED

The gang rape of a 14-year old girl by two men would make the news, right? Well, maybe not. If it detracts from the narrative that the news media wants to advance then it may be, probably will be, ignored. If it happened in Rockville, Maryland while Maryland is trying to become a sanctuary state and the two men are illegal immigrants, well then it’s just not news that’s fit to print. It’s not fit to print because it detracts from the social justice narrative the liberal news media, which is almost all of the news media, wants to advance.

False rape stories will get wide coverage if they advance the cause of the social justice warriors. Remember allegations of “Jackie” about a gang rape that never occurred but sensationalized in the pages of Rolling Stone. The Duke LaCrosse team falsely charged with raping a black stripper. Big stories, those were. When it came out that these stories were completely false and that nothing the news media told us ever happened, well the truth had to be downplayed and if printed at all appeared on the back pages of newspapers or mentioned perfunctorily on broadcast news outlets.

Social justice warriors are not really interested in justice. They have a cause to advance, a narrative to build upon. Any time an adjecitive is used to modify “justice” that is what tells us that it’s not about justice at all.

Kelly Riddell in the Washington Times:

Rape stories, when they can be used to vault social-justice issues into the nation’s psyche, get exhaustive coverage and opining by the mainstream media, regardless of whether they’re even true.

But if a 14-year-old girl gets gang-raped while attending high-school by two illegal immigrants?

Crickets. That’s a narrative that doesn’t need to be advanced. Lord forbid, it may even help persuade some that President Donald Trump’s positions on illegal immigration may be correct.

The bias is almost too much to bear.

The news media’s ultimate power is the ability to suffocate stories they disagree with, and fan the flames of narratives they want to advance. And in many cases, those narratives are false.

The gang rape of the 14-year-old girl a week ago by two older illegal immigrants while she was in school, is every bit as horrifying as what the debunked tales in North Carolina and the University of Virginia depicted. Police evidence collected so far, supports the case as described — that she was forced into the boys’ bathroom, then into a stall, where the two men made her perform oral sex, sodomized and raped her.

Yet, the story has received scant attention in the mainstream media.

The social justice war in America is a dirty war.

UPDATE: CNN’s Brain Stelter Hammers Fox News For Covering Rockville Rape Case. Not only do they refuse to report a story that fails to support their pet narrative, they get angry at any other news outlet that does cover it.  No matter how disgusting we think they are, they always show us we under estimated them.


The real reason Ryancare bombed

Given a choice of whether to persuade or coerce, true believers opt for the latter. — Eric Hoffer

Ryan and his buddies tried to shove their healthcare bill down the throats of other members.

Bad process at the core of healthcare bill failure.

The former chairman and a founder of the House Freedom Caucus emphasized this morning that “good process will lead to better policy,” and the rush of the White House-backed Obamacare replacement bill that crashed last week due to a lack of GOP support was “fundamental” in its failure.

“They rolled it out after it was hidden away. When they rolled it out, they said it’s a binary choice, take it or leave it. Normally when you have hearings on a piece of legislation that impacts this much of our overall economy, you would bring in some witnesses and hear from some witnesses about what’s going to happen if this legislation actually becomes law,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told MSNBC this morning.

“We had none of that. We went straight to mark-up. No amendments could be offered in the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Ways and Means Committee, the Budget Committee,” he added. “And finally they took a manager’s amendment at the last hour to try to get people to vote for it.”

Axios reported that a few days before House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was forced to pull the American Health Care Act from the floor, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told members of the Freedom Caucus, “This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill.”

It’s not smart to tell someone they have no choice when they think they do have a choice and are ready to prove it to you.

Of course, I’m assuming Bannon wanted the bill passed. I could be wrong about that. But if he wanted the bill to go down, why would he have wanted the Freedom Caucus to get the blame? Or credit?

So far, Trump supporters are still behind him. They aren’t blaming Trump for Ryan’s blunder. But danger lies ahead. Some are advising Trump to work with Democrats.  That will be a huge mistake and could be the one thing that could turn his supporters against him. Chuck Shumer and Nancy Pelosi have no intention of “working with” Trump. They may pretend they do, but it will be solely an attempt to snare him in a trap where he loses and they win. They know they can get help from Senate Republicans Susan Collins, John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Lisa Murkowsky to give them a majority on a bill that will give Trump a huge defeat. I hope he is smart enough to see this coming before it happens. Pelosi is cunning and stupid. Shumer is cunning and smart enough to be dangerous.

The truth is the bill that was pulled on Friday was a terrible bill that did not keep the GOP promise to repeal Obamacare. It will be seen, I believe, that what happened on Friday was a good thing, and those few members of the Freedom Caucus are responsible for it and they are heros. The important thing now if to hope Trump doesn’t fall for any Democrat trickery. They are salivating right now because they see an opportunity to whack him in a Barzini trap. Politically, of course.

“Stayin’ alive” on the road

Stephen Green at Instapundit on surviving the drive in city streetsI’ve found that the best way to avoid an accident is to imagine the stupidest thing each driver around you could possibly do in each instant, and then to count on them actually doing it.

I’ve never articulated it as well as Green does, but that is what I’ve always done. It explains why I’m still alive after riding motorcycles almost continuously from age 15 to a present 72. My actual thought process has been to imagine that on a motorcycle I am essentially invisible. It’s not far from the truth.

Bee Gees

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive


What is the Judicial Doctrine of Originalism?

The following are excerpts from the Statement of Lawrence B. Solum, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of  Law at Georgetown University Law Center, given at the Senate Hearings on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court. [Bracketed and italicized text is added by me and is not part of Professor Solum’s statement]

What is Originalism?

Judge Gorsuch is an originalist and a textualist, but what does that mean? The core of originalism is a very simple idea. In constitutional cases, the United States Supreme Court should consider itself bound by the original public meaning of the constitutional text.

Judge Gorsuch believes that the meaning of the constitutional text is its public meaning—the ordinary or plain meaning the words had to the public at the time each provision of the Constitution was framed and ratified. If the words employed are technical, the technical meaning must be accessible to the public. [i.e., at the time the words were written]

The original public meaning of the text is the meaning that the words had then—and not necessarily the meaning that they have today. For example, Article Four of the Constitution refers to “domestic violence” but in the Eighteenth Century that phrase did not refer to spousal abuse. It referred to riots and insurrections within a state. When we interpret Article Four, we should understand the words as they were used at the time the Constitution was written. What is called “linguistic drift” is not a valid method of constitutional amendment.

The Supreme Court today should consider itself bound by the text. The Court does not and should not have the power to amend the text on a case-by-case basis. It should decide constitutional cases in a way that is consistent with the original public meaning of the text.

Originalist judges do not believe that they have the power to impose their own values on the nation by invoking the idea of a “living constitution.” Instead, they believe that the proper mechanism for changing the Constitution is by amendment through the process provided in Article Five—as has been done twenty-seven times. [As George Mason University economist Walter E. Williams has said, “Would you want to play poker with someone who insists that the rules of the game be “living?”]

[In the next part of his statement Professor Solum dispells the many myths that have been associated with Originalism. He argues that originalism is not the same as original intent. It matters little what those who wrote the words of the Constitution intended, because it is a tricky business for us to even know what they intended nor whether they all intended the same thing. It is the words they used and public understanding of those words at that moment that matters. This is how courts construe contracts, not by what the parties may have meant to say, but by what they actually did say in their contract. Professor Solum dispels the myth that originalism is inconsistent with changing circumstances, or that it is inconsistent with prior precedent. He acknowledges that originalism would gradually move the law away from prior cases that are inconsistent with the text of the Constitution. That is a feature and not a bug of originalism.]

Originalism is in the Mainstream of American Jurisprudence

Is originalism somehow outside the mainstream of American jurisprudence? The answer to that question is an emphatic “no.” The idea that judges are bound by the constitutional text is very much in the mainstream of American legal thought.

…giving judges the power to override the Constitution and impose their own vision of constitutional law is dangerous for everyone.

The Case for Originalism

Originalism is the simple and highly intuitive idea that the Justices of the Supreme Court are bound by the constitutional text. The Justices, like all federal judges and the members of this Senate, take an oath to perform their duties under the Constitution of the United States. There are good reasons for the obligation of constitutional fidelity represented by the oath.

First and foremost is the rule of law. John Adams is famous for insisting on the “rule of law and not of men.”1 The commitment to the original meaning of the constitutional text is the best way to ensure that the awesome power entrusted to our Supreme Court—the power to have the ultimate say in constitutional cases and declare that statutes passed by Congress are unconstitutional—is the rule of constitutional law and not the rule of the men and women appointed to the Court.

What is the alternative? Living constitutionalists believe that the Supreme Court has the power to amend the Constitution by judicial fiat. [Citizens and their lawyers should be able to discern the likely outcome of a case before a court soley on the basis of the law and the original public meaning of the written words. They should not be required to study each judge’s personal politics, whims, or eccentricities to gain perspective on the strength or weakness of their case.] 

There is much more in Professor Solum’s statement. You might want to bookmark it so you can read the whole thing when time permits.

The future of conservatism in America

Now that “liberals,” who are and always have been leftists, are trying to change their title to “progressive”, maybe conservatives can take back the name “liberal.”  Classical liberalism, the old time liberalism, is essentially what conservatives mean to describe themselves today.

From David Boaz, 25 years later, is it still the Hayek Century?

Reagan and Thatcher may have admired Hayek, but he always insisted that he was a liberal, not a conservative. He titled the postscript to The Constitution of Liberty “Why I Am Not a Conservative.” He pointed out that the conservative “has no political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both can obey their convictions. It is the recognition of such principles that permits the coexistence of different sets of values that makes it possible to build a peaceful society with a minimum of force. The acceptance of such principles means that we agree to tolerate much that we dislike.” He wanted to be part of “the party of life, the party that favors free growth and spontaneous evolution.” And I recall an interview in a French magazine in the 1980s, which I can’t find online, in which he was asked if he was part of the “new right,” and he quipped, “Je suis agnostique et divorcé.”

Even if you don’t speak French you can probably translate Hayek’s French  as “I am agnostic and divorced.”

The sort of conservative Hayek was referring to is not what we call conservative today. He was referring to the Tories in Britain, or the French and German conservatives of Europe. The establishment of the current GOP will also qualify as such a “conservative” to Hayek. Those so-called conservatives have no desire to stop the advancement of socialist institutions and theories, only to slow them down. They are the “cross the aisle” conservatives that will make deals with “progessives” to allow them to get most of what they want most of the time. Those conservatives lack the will to fight for anything so never advance any ideas for improvement of government or the lives of the people. Those are the conservatives who promise to repeal Obamacare only to propose small modifications that keep most of Obamacare in tact. That definition of conservative does not at all describe what I and others think of as a conservative in 2017 America. We are much more like the liberals that Hayek so admired. Open-minded liberty-loving devotees of freedom and limited government.  Our idea is to take care of ourselves and not to rely on a little elite bunch of self-centered crooks in Washington to run our lives for us.

Progessives are what Eric Hoffer described as “True Believers, who given the choice of whether to persuade or coerce choose the latter.” We endeavor to persuade them, they just want to coerce us.