26 thoughts on “News/Politics 11-28-17

  1. Conservatism is dead, allegedly killed by pragmatism and reality.


    “Conservative fusionism was a matter of concrete personalities and institutions. Magazines such as National Review and the much better-written American Spectator, politicians such as Barry Goldwater, popular books by Milton Friedman that were more often cited than read, opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment and, eventually, to legal abortion, the Federalist Society, and other groups dedicated to promulgating a fetishistic reading of the text of the Constitution — these together comprised “conservatism” as it once existed.

    More so even than George W. Bush, who, with the exception of a handful of writers associated with the American Conservative magazine, was criticized by conservatives for his best decisions — expanding Medicare — and praised for his worst — the epochal folly of the Iraq War — Trump divided conservatives. Many rejected him out of hand because he had previously supported single-payer health care and raising taxes on the wealthy. Others found him simply too vulgar. Many got what they were hoping for when he was rude to Sen. John McCain and they felt they had an excuse to write Trump off. Voters did not, generally speaking, care about McCain’s feelings, nor did they mind very much when Trump dismissed conventional wisdom about entitlements and trade and Iraq and other issues about which conservatives had settled opinions — indeed, it was for this reason that they supported him.

    Today the remnants of the former conservative movement are scattered. They simply have nothing in common with one another. First Things, the magazine founded by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus to promote cooperation between Catholics, Protestants, and Jews on questions of social importance and to defend liberal democracy, runs essays in support of monarchy and the establishment of the Catholic Church as the state religion and against free-market absolutism. Reason magazine thinks that the rights of pornographers and white supremacists are in need of safeguarding. The editors of National Review continue to expound idealist views about political economy that have as much to do with the concrete realities of the distribution of goods and services as a polite game of chess does with the Battle of Gettysburg. With no common enemy in the Soviet Union and no Democratic president threatening any of their overlapping, if not shared, priorities — the “sanctity” of marriage when no-fault divorce is available in all 50 states, the rights of tycoons to construct pipelines, the looming problem of a national debt that is never going to disappear — they have no reason to cooperate with one another.

    How long will it be before the “conservative” label itself disappears?

    Conservatism exists now mainly in the minds of its former enemies. In America today it does not matter if one supports single-payer health care, the nationalization of major industries (including banking and internet service providers), stricter environmental regulations, and higher taxes for the wealthy, opposes NAFTA, “right-to-work” legislation, monopolies, and payday lending. If you are against abortion, you are, for all practical purposes, a conservative. As Matthew Continetti put it recently, “In 21st century America culture and identity take precedence over economics, and it is in regards to culture and identity that the true break between left and right is found.”

    Probably it is too late, but regardless of the baggage, I think that “conservative” was really not such an undesirable appellation. The most wholesome political trends of the 20th century were not radical — like communism and fascism and neoliberalism — but modest and pragmatic programs of reform: the patrician trust-busting and welfare statism of the two Roosevelts, the toast and jam socialism of Clement Attlee, post-war Christian democracy in Europe, the High Tory paternalism of Harold Macmillan that found its transatlantic counterpart in the common sense and moderation of Eisenhower. All of these things were “conservative” while having nothing whatever to do with the intellectual movement with which they share an adjective.

    Conservatism at its best was a temperament, not a body of writing or a set of policy prescriptions. It meant kindness and decency and good humor. It tended to involve a fondness for small and outdated and, very frequently, absurd things for their own sake. It rejected the windy meliorism that is the essence of liberalism. It was a repudiation of the Evil One, who, in the words of Cardinal Newman, promises “trade and wealth … knowledge, science, philosophy, enlargement of mind. He scoffs at times gone by; he scoffs at every institution which reveres them.” The greatest conservative thinker of the last century was probably Fred Rogers.

    At present there is no reason to believe that a post-conservative conservatism could go anywhere, not because there is no constituency for it — socially conservative and fiscally moderate to progressive describes the views of a majority of Americans — but because our two parties are beholden to their donors. I do not expect to vote for a pro-life socialist or anti-corporation Republican in my lifetime.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Michelle,

    Agreed upon by everyone…..

    Except the swamp dwellers.


    “But that’s exactly what Pelosi is: That woman, a faux feminist who has been enabling sexual predators for decades.

    We can start with her full throated defense of former President Bill Clinton. She’s been defending his documented and repetitive bad behavior since the 1990s and did so again on Meet The Press Sunday.

    During her time as Speaker of the House, Pelosi ignored disgraceful sexual harassment by former Congressman and San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. During his time as Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Filner sexually harassed female veterans who were victims of rape during their time in the military. He knew about their vulnerable positions and took advantage of them. He offered them “help” in return for dinner dates. A total disgrace and gross abuse of power. ”

    “”What goes on in San Diego is up to the people of San Diego. I’m not here to make any judgements,” Pelosi said at the time and after Filner admitted to wrongdoing, again ignoring his known behavior in Congress.

    It wasn’t until years later when the Filner story hit a fever pitch that Pelosi started to give a damn, not because she cared about his victims, but because he was making the Democrat Party look bad. She ultimately called for his resignation under pressure.

    Filner eventually resigned in disgrace, but managed to secure a full pension on his way out the door, did a short stint in sex rehab, pleaded guilty to battery against two women and was quickly welcomed back into California’s powerful circle of Democrats — locally and in Washington D.C. After a dozen women came forward will allegations of sexual harassment and assault, Filner’s legal bills were fully covered by California taxpayers.

    Pelosi knew all about filthy Filner’s depraved behavior, but because he was a close friend who helped her co-found the Congressional Progressive Caucus, she gave him pass. He also, naturally, was close to Bill Clinton. Clinton endorsed his run for mayor in 2012 after more than a decade in Congress.

    Needless to say, Pelosi’s stammering over sexual harassment allegations and sudden interested in due process when a Democrat stands accused is nothing new. She’s long been defending and carrying political water for sexual predators.”


  3. And when it comes to DC, there’s plenty of disinterest in scandals among the biased and ignorant press that they aren’t interested in pursuing. That’s why they’re part of the problem. Apathetic voters enable it all.


    “There is a kind of “court party” in American politics — one that is actually strengthened by the diffusion of power across Washington, D.C. It behaves like a cartel, restricting alternative supplies of policies or ideas. Political theorists have called this the “mobilization of bias.” In other words, there are just certain ways of getting things done in Washington, D.C., and alternative methods of policymaking are not up for discussion.

    This court party is sustained by several features of our polity. The first, and most important, is the overwhelming rate at which politicians are reelected. It tops 90 percent in most cycles. Apart from a handful of bellwether districts, incumbents are all but guaranteed victory when they choose to run again. Voters simply do not care enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. The court party continues to exist because the country cannot be bothered to do anything about it.

    The second important feature is the way political campaigns are financed. Forget for a moment the super PACs, those well-heeled, largely anonymous entities that swoop in during competitive elections. Again, most elections are not competitive. Incumbents in these contests raise funds by drawing in large measure upon the interests that have business before the government, particularly the jurisdictions they oversee in their committees. This conflict-of-interest financing of our politics is a bipartisan phenomenon.

    Third, there is lobbying. Put aside any traditional views on how lobbying works. It is not a brown envelope stuffed with cash, or even a fancy dinner on the corporate card. It is the provision of information. Legislators are required to make judgments on all sorts of policy matters that they cannot possibly hope to possess expertise on. Where do they gain the knowledge necessary to make prudent decisions? Not from the tiny congressional staff, which is overworked, underpaid, and inexperienced. Instead, lobbyists provide a large body of information about the political and policy consequences of particular legislation. Such knowledge is hardly objective or comprehensive; naturally, it favors the interests of those who provide it.

    The fourth is the revolving door between the public and private sectors. This gives those in government an incentive to look out for private interests, as they anticipate that they’ll need to have a job after they retire from public service. It also creates cultural and social affinities between people with private interests and those who are in public service. Everybody is in the same “club.”

    These are the main pillars that support today’s court party. Note that journalists are nowhere to be found among them. In my view, the importance of journalism in sustaining or challenging this architecture has declined dramatically over the years. Slumping ratings for the broadcast networks, the sharp drop-off in newspaper subscriptions, and the rise of cable-news talk shows have forced mainstream media outlets to make all sorts of cutbacks in their traditional journalism. The result is that journalists lack the expertise necessary to understand, let alone dominate, the byzantine pathways of Washington, D.C., power relations. Factor in as well that journalists are themselves part of the revolving door: How many former reporters ended up in the Obama administration? How many former Obama officials now work in media outlets? Given this cycling, we have a fourth estate that often does little more than transcription.

    Think back to Ben Rhodes’s quip, in an interview with the New York Times’ David Samuels, about playing journalists like fiddles on the Iran deal: The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing. Samuels observed: “In this environment, Rhodes has become adept at ventriloquizing many people at once.”


  4. Newsweek doesn’t seem to like Mueller much. Neither does the conservative watchdog group Freedom Watch. Not fond of his leaky ways.


    “Robert Mueller, special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, is a “gruff guy” who routinely undermined his subordinates and evaded responsibility as head of the FBI, according to several former aides and investigators who worked with Mueller interviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

    In a lengthy profile published on Friday, the Times dredged up some of Mueller’s most difficult moments throughout his career as government prosecutor and as the sixth director of the FBI, a post he maintained from 2001 until 2013.

    Those interviewed criticized Mueller’s handling of many high-profile cases stretching back to 1979, his temperament with government witnesses, and for directing his subordinates at the FBI to shield him from criticism.

    One former aide went so far as to say that Mueller is “someone that can’t accept the fact that he screwed up.”

    The Times profile begins by focusing on Mueller’s tenure at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where he was criticized for mishandling high-profile cases and for his treatment of government witnesses and subordinates.”


    “Conservative watchdog Freedom Watch is suing to have Robert Mueller removed from his role as special counsel investigating alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russia.

    The lawsuit was filed by Freedom Watch founder Larry Klayman against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray and the heads of the Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and Inspector General in their official capacities, and seeks to have Mueller removed for “gross prosecutorial misconduct” over the leaks of grand jury information.

    “Robert Mueller is not a ‘man of integrity’ as the Washington, D.C., Democrat and Republican political establishment like to spin. He is just another pol who is representing his establishment benefactors in both political parties who want to see the presidency of Donald Trump destroyed,” Klayman said in a statement on the lawsuit.

    “Regardless, he must be held accountable to the law and should not be able to do as he pleases to further his and his friends, like former FBI Director James Comey’s, political agenda. We are hopeful that the court will order Justice to do its job and conduct an expeditious and impartial investigation and then order Mueller to step down as special counsel,” he added.”
    “The lawsuit from Freedom Watch does not propose an end to the probe into Russia’s alleged attempt to influence the outcome of the U.S. election, but rather suggests the probe should continue with someone else at the helm.

    “There are others, perhaps who practice outside of the Washington, D.C., swamp, who could step in and do an honest and conflict-free investigation of so-called Russian collusion,” Klayman said.”


  5. Busted by WaPo, while trying to bust WaPo.


    “A conservative group known for undercover investigations has been linked to a woman who falsely told The Washington Post that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore impregnated her as a teenager, the newspaper reported.

    Moore has been accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct. But the Post determined that one accuser who approached the newspaper earlier in the month, identified as Jaime Phillips, made up a fake story likely designed to embarrass the newspaper.

    The Post published a story Monday about its dealings with Phillips. Earlier in the day, reporters from the newspaper saw Phillips walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas, a conservative group with a long track record of targeting Democratic groups and major media outlets, often by hiding their identities and using hidden cameras.

    “We don’t comment on investigations real or imagined, or imagined stings,” conservative activist and Project Veritas leader James O’Keefe told The Associated Press Monday evening.

    O’Keefe released an unrelated video that he said exposed liberal bias at the newspaper hours after the Post story was initially published.

    The video featured a series of secretly recorded conversations with Post employees. One reporter, Dan Lamothe, suggests the Post’s opinion page is too critical of the Trump administration. He also says its more traditional news coverage calls out the Trump administration’s missteps while giving “him credit where there’s credit” due.

    The Post reported Monday afternoon that Phillips approached one of its reporters earlier in the month as Moore faced several accusations of sexual misconduct. In a series of interviews over two weeks, Phillips told the Post about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15.”


  6. See, this is why less and less people trust the press. They all knew it, had the bully pulpit to write stories and stop it, yet they chose their careers and access over decency and doing the right thing. You people aren’t brave, you’re frauds.


    “Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Cokie Roberts made a startling admission: “every female in the press corps knew” to avoid being in an elevator with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and has apparently known about this “for years.” Conyers has been accused of multiple instances of sexual harassment and has stepped down from the House Judiciary Committee.

    Despite the allegations against him, major players in the Democratic Party have defended Conyers and will not say that he should resign. Pelosi even referred to the embattled congressman as an “icon.”

    Roberts was discussing the current culture on Capitol Hill with Martha Raddatz and Anna Palmer. Roberts said that while this has been the status quo for decades, she believes that things could change now that people are coming public with their experiences.

    “The fact that people are willing to be public can change things. I mean, we all talked about for years,” said Roberts.

    Further, Roberts says that it “does make a difference” now that women are not being shy about this kind of misconduct. Roberts implied that Conyers’ predatory behavior was an open secret among the press corps.

    “Don’t get in the elevator with him, you know, and the whole every female in the press corps knew that, right, don’t get in elevator with him,” said Roberts. She continued, “Now people are saying it out loud. And I think that does make a difference.””


  7. And another taxpayer supported slush fund to help enable bad behavior…..


    “Rep. Raul M. Grijalva quietly arranged a “severance package” in 2015 for one of his top staffers who threatened a lawsuit claiming the Arizona Democrat was frequently drunk and created a hostile workplace environment, revealing yet another way that lawmakers can use taxpayer dollars to hide their misbehavior on Capitol Hill.

    While the Office of Compliance has been the focus of outrage on Capitol Hill for hush-money payouts in sexual harassment cases, the Grijalva payout points to another office that lawmakers can use to sweep accusations under the rug with taxpayer-funded settlements negotiated by the House Employment Counsel, which acts as the attorney for all House offices.

    The employment counsel negotiated a deal for taxpayers to give $48,395 — five additional months’ salary — to the female aide, who left her job after three months. She didn’t pursue the hostile workplace complaint further.

    The arrangement appears to run contrary to House rules that constrain severance packages, and it caught the eye of watchdogs who were already demanding answers about payouts in the wake of harassment complaints.

    “It seems like all of these House bodies are designed to help cover for members of Congress,” said Melanie Sloan, an ethics lawyer in Washington. “A large part of the problem is that each member of Congress can treat their staff as their own fiefdom and also know that it will remain silent.”

    It seems that way because it is that way.


  8. Oh boy.

    A lot of folks won’t like this. Especially WaPo and the Dems, who were sure this would be enough to swing the seat to their side. But they didn’t take the Trump Effect into consideration. When you pile on too hard, you run the risk of turning your villain into the hero. It happened with Trump, and it seems to be happening again here.

    View story at Medium.com

    “Alabama Republican Roy Moore has reopened a 49–44 lead over Democrat Doug Jones in the race for U.S. Senate. In Change Research’s third poll since the sexual misconduct allegations against Moore first surfaced on November 9, we found that he has completely erased the 3-point lead Jones had opened up in mid-November. Moore’s lead is now just as large as it was just after the story broke.

    What has changed? The largest difference is turnout: many Republicans who ten days ago said they might not vote, now say they plan to show up on Election Day and vote for Moore. In mid-November, 82% of those who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 said they would “definitely” vote on December 12; that number has climbed to 88%. Additionally, Moore has made some gains with his base: his 91–5 lead with them ten days ago has grown to a 93–4 edge. In mid-November, 10% of voters had planned to cast a write-in vote; that number has dropped to 7%.

    Why is Moore doing better among all three groups of Republicans? Compared to ten days ago, fewer Republicans believe the allegations against Moore. While all voters believed the allegations by a 46–30 margin ten days ago, they now believe them by only 42–38. Among Trump voters, the split was 16–51 (believe-don’t believe) in the middle of the month, and it’s 9–63 now. However, Hillary Clinton voters’ belief of the allegations has remained constant: 91% believe them and 1% disbelieve them.

    Donald Trump also expressed his support for Moore this week, and it may have provided the Republican with a small bump. The vast majority of voters said it had no impact on their plans. However, about 3.5% of Trump’s voters, or just under 2% of the entire electorate, said that Trump’s support pushed them closer to supporting Moore.

    AL.com’s strong support for Jones may have provided a modest bump for him: 3% of voters said that they now plan to vote for him as a result of the editorial.

    While voters were previously evenly split on whether Moore should be expelled if elected to the Senate, 50% now believe he should not be expelled, while 38% think he should. Likewise, the number who agree with Senator Richard Shelby’s suggestion that Moore should drop out of the race has dropped from 36% to 33%.”


  9. Yes. Conservatism is dying, replaced by dishonesty, imbecility and amorality. Liberalism still exists in its more extreme socialist and pro-perversion form. Liberalism is not strong or popular, but I think it will defeat amoral idiocy led by a Northern con man and a Southern pedophile.

    Trump is much funnier than Moore. This week’s comedy is based on the fact that Trump has told three people that the Access Hollywood tape (which he previously confirmed had his voice and for which he apologized) is fake. It is only a matter of time before The Cult blames Comey, Mueller and CNN for this “fraud”.


  10. Whatever Trump may or may not have said behind closed doors to others, he is not now and has never publicly claimed the tape was fake. On the contrary, he acknowledged it. It was one of his more degrading moments, and probably not something he’s proud of.


  11. Ricky,

    Missing from your CNN piece, and the NYT piece as well, are names.

    Which adviser? Which Senator? And where is their on the record account verifying it’s true?

    All are absent, but hey, unverified allegations and innuendo have become your thing now, much like the mainstream press. You never require actual proof, and they never provide it.

    Forgive some of us if we don’t blindly believe what’s being sold here, by you and the press and their “unnamed sources.”.

    I get it, it’s your thing now, same goes for the press now that an R’s in charge. So you be you, and keep doing whatever gets you thru the night. 👍

    But don’t be mad if I laugh. 🙂


  12. Message to The Trump Cult: Journalists sometimes use anonymous sources for various obvious reasons. Here there were several. In Watergate , Deep Throat wasn’t really the source’s actual name.

    Importantly, yesterday Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Trump’s assistant liar) refused to state which account of the tape Trump is now claiming is true.

    AJ, I am happy you can laugh. All of educated America laughs daily at The Trump Cult. We will laugh and laugh until the Democrats control everything in 2020. Then things will no longer be funny.


  13. This will be Trump’s legacy. And it could be even better if Congress would move it along.


    “There is still a “never-Trump” faction among conservatives, but for all their complaints about the president, there is one simple truth they cannot escape. If Trump hadn’t won the election, we wouldn’t have Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

    Gorsuch was an outstanding choice for the Supreme Court, and seven months in, people on the right are pleased.

    Mark Sherman of the Associated Press:
    Gorsuch establishes conservative cred in 1st year on court

    More than 2,000 conservatives in tuxedos and gowns recently filled Union Station’s main hall for a steak dinner and the chance to cheer the man who saved the Supreme Court from liberal control.

    Justice Neil Gorsuch didn’t disappoint them, just as he hasn’t in his first seven months on the Supreme Court.

    “Tonight I can report that a person can be both a publicly committed originalist and textualist and be confirmed to the Supreme Court,” Gorsuch said to sustained applause from members of the Federalist Society, using terms by which conservatives often seek to distinguish themselves from more liberal judges.

    The 50-year-old justice has been almost exactly what conservatives hoped for and liberals dreaded when he joined the court in April. He has consistently, even aggressively, lined up with the court’s most conservative justices. He has even split with Chief Justice John Roberts, viewed by some as insufficiently conservative because of his two opinions upholding President Barack Obama’s health law.

    During arguments, Gorsuch has asked repeatedly about the original understanding of parts of the Constitution and laws, and he has raised questions about some long-standing court precedents, including the civil rights landmark ruling on “one person, one vote.

    When Antonin Scalia died in 2016, the Obama administration wanted to fill the seat as quickly as possible. Republicans did the right thing by insisting on waiting until after the election.

    Speaking of Scalia, Gorsuch is acutely aware of the legacy of the late justice. He’s a fan, too.

    Ryan Lovelace writes at the Washington Examiner:

    Neil Gorsuch: Scalia’s views on the Constitution aren’t ‘going anywhere on my watch’

    Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch touted his confirmation to the high court as evidence that the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s legal thinking had triumphed.

    Gorsuch spoke at a dinner Thursday night held by the Federalist Society in honor of Scalia at Union Station in Washington, D.C., and said the jurisprudential philosophies of originalism and textualism popularized by Scalia had emerged victorious.

    “Tonight I can report that a person can be both a publicly committed originalist and textualist and be confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Gorsuch said. “Originalism has regained its place at the table … textualism has triumphed … and neither one is going anywhere on my watch.”

    It would be nice if the “never-Trump” wing of American conservatism would give the president some credit for this. It doesn’t end with Gorsuch either. He was just the beginning.”


  14. Trump’s legacy will be a Democratic Congress, President Bernie Sanders and possibly Roy Moore. We will all miss the days of humorous idiocy from Trump.


  15. Just saw pointed out on Twitter that Prince Harry is marrying an American which means his children will be dual-citizens, American. If one of those children became president? The tweeter pointed out that’s a really outside chance of the British throne retaking America . . .

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Michelle, constitutionally, to be president a man’s father has to have been born here, too (which is why Obama was not qualified, legally).


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