19 thoughts on “News/Politics 2-14-18

  1. “A continuing pattern of usurping Executive Branch authority and substituting judicial policy preferences.”


    “Earlier today I was reading Prof. Josh Blackman’s post responding to criticism he has received for using the term Judicial Resistance, On the Judicial Resistance:

    Over the past year, I have discussed at some length the self-professed “legal resistance,” which has coordinated legal strategies to resist President Trump in the courts. This front is part of the broader #Resistance movement against President Trump in the political sphere. These actions are completely rational, and unsurprising from the party that (unexpectedly) lost the election….

    Without question, I have been extremely critical of these judicial opinions, which I firmly believe are profoundly flawed. Yet, I work very hard to ground my opposition in substantive arguments (many of which are published on Lawfare), and not devolve into political barbs….

    The clearest articulation of my views on the judicial resistance comes in an October 2017 National Review essay that doesn’t even use the phrase. It develops three points that I’ve developed over-and-over again.

    First, I have written at voluminous length that these judges have abandoned the traditional deference afforded to the President based on Trump’s conduct. That is, the presumption of regularity has been abandoned…

    The consequence of this jurisprudence is that in effect, President Trump is disabled from exercising his own constitutional authority because of the circumstances in which he became president….

    Second, courts have been motivated to reach out to resolve difficult constitutional questions when countless prudential barriers (standing, justiciability, constitutional avoidance, etc.), which would usually be adhered to, are ignored. In particular, the courts have shown no hesitation in second-guessing the government’s national security rationales,…

    Third, the courts have repeatedly questioned the president’s motivations as acting in bad faith, and doubted government lawyers who have offered legitimate reasons in court….

    Read the entire post by Prof. Blackman, in which he explains that while he doesn’t claim bad faith by any judges, the result has been an abnormal judicial interference (my terminology).”

    Here’s the LawFare piece.



  2. David Brooks is sick of our current two political parties, and is waiting for a new conservative party with Reagan’s optimism and understanding of economics.


  3. Why did Flynn plead guilty?

    To protect his son.

    And Mueller is such a class act, that Flynn was more or less forced to.


    “According to York, sources close to Comey’s meetings with Congress last March said that what actually happened in those meetings did not match what the media reported:

    According to two sources familiar with the meetings, Comey told lawmakers that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe that Flynn had lied to them, or that any inaccuracies in his answers were intentional. As a result, some of those in attendance came away with the impression that Flynn would not be charged with a crime pertaining to the Jan. 24 interview.

    Nine months later, with Comey gone and special counsel Robert Mueller in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation, Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the FBI in that Jan. 24 questioning.

    It’s also important to remember that as incoming national security advisor, it’s not illegal or out of the ordinary that Flynn spoke with Kislyak. Bush’s national security advisor Stephen Hadley even said that he didn’t find it a problem if Flynn spoke to Kislyak about Russian sanctions and a Washington Post report showed that nothing happened:

    “I don’t see what would be wrong if [Flynn] simply said, look, don’t retaliate, doesn’t make sense, it hurts my country, it makes it harder for us as an incoming administration to reconsider Russia policy, which is something we said we’d do. So just hold your fire and let us have a shot at this.”

    Indeed, it appears the FBI did not think Flynn had done anything wrong in the calls. On Jan. 23, the Washington Post reported that the FBI had reviewed the Flynn-Kislyak calls and “has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government.” (The calls had been intercepted by U.S. intelligence because the U.S. monitored the Russian ambassador’s communications — something which Flynn, a former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, surely knew.)

    So why on earth did Flynn plead guilty!? I pitched this to Professor Jacobson, who brought up Flynn’s son, and it looks like he’s not the only one. Andrew McCarthy at National Review also noticed the oddities in this case as well.

    Last September, the media reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller turned his eyes to Michael Flynn, Jr., due to “his role as chief of staff to his father at the Flynn Intel Group, a lobbying and consulting firm that worked for international and domestic clients.” From NBC News:

    Several legal experts with knowledge of the investigation have told NBC News they believe Mueller, following a classic prosecutorial playbook, is seeking to compel key players, including Flynn and Manafort, to tell what they know about any possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia. Mueller has brought onto his team a federal prosecutor known for convincing subjects to turn on associates. Any potential criminal liability for Michael G. Flynn could put added pressure on his father, these legal experts said.

    “Any time a family member is identified as a subject that does increase pressure,” said Peter White, a former federal prosecutor. “In the typical parent-child relationship the last thing any parent would want is for their child to get in trouble for something they initiated.”

    In March, The Wall Street Journal published an article, in which former CIA Director JamesWoolsey claimed he attended a meeting with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Turkish Foreign Ministers to discuss removing Fehtullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania. Mueller put that meeting under investigation.

    So even though Flynn didn’t do anything illegal or wrong with his phone call it’s not out of this realm that someone pressured him to plead guilty in order to release the pressure on his son over that meeting.

    Just like everything else lately (like all those stupid memos) this has brought up more questions. Mueller has been investigating supposed collusion between Trump and Russia for a very long time. Did he feel like he had to show something?”

    Meet the new Scooter Libby.


  4. On the other hand, I am becoming more and more convinced that Ross Douthat is actually just a name that Debra uses when she writes for the New York Times.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Are parents looking for an Autism diagnosis in order to excuse bad behavior by kids and to cover up for their own poor parenting?

    It looks like it.


    “One of my former trainees, now an experienced consultant child psychiatrist, shocked me with an admission recently: ‘You will never believe how things have changed,’ he said.

    ‘I’d say 75 per cent of the kids I see have either got ADHD or they are on the autistic spectrum.’

    There was no doubt in his mind about this, but I saw things a different way. ‘Surely not,’ I told him. ‘What’s really going on is that you have chosen to diagnose them as that.’

    Let me make one thing clear: I do not doubt the existence of autism spectrum disorder and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, to give it its full name). Actually, I am convinced we have underdiagnosed these hugely debilitating conditions in the past.

    But today, I believe such conditions are vastly, and dangerously, over-diagnosed. As a former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, I am convinced that something else is going on — something that most parents don’t want to acknowledge and won’t thank me for saying.

    Of course, autism and ADHD can wreck the lives of children and their families. And I have seen many genuinely heartbreaking cases of children struck down with these conditions.

    But, very often, the children I see with these diagnoses plainly have not got these conditions at all. Instead, they happen to be troublesome children reacting to awful situations in their families.

    To put it bluntly, they are heartily sick of being tossed around on a sea of adult wishes. But, instead of being listened to, they get labelled with a disorder. These incorrect diagnoses are deeply damaging. Yet, I am one of the very few child specialists who are fighting against this trend.

    So why is this chilling over-labelling of the nation’s children taking place? First and foremost, it is my view that some parents love a diagnosis. It lets them off the hook because it means their child’s behaviour is not their problem or their fault. They do not have to address their own role in their children’s unhappiness.

    Secondly, a behavioural diagnosis on a child is seen by many as some kind of badge of honour. For example, a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome — a condition on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum that is often linked to super-cognitive function — is something you’ll find many parents boasting about.

    The parents can talk about it in the pub as a recognisable condition they have seen and heard about on TV. This is a condition, they say, not a distressed child. ‘Oh, I’ve heard of that,’ their companions will inevitably say. ‘Perhaps our Johnny has that, too.’

    In some cases boasting of these diagnoses can be a middle-class parent’s way of dodging responsibility for how their child has turned out. I won’t be popular for saying it, but a diagnosis can be a guaranteed way of reducing the stigma of their child’s awful and embarrassing behaviour among family, friends and teachers.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brit Hume likes Jonah Goldberg’s explanation that it is the nitwits around Trump who are out for revenge against John Kelly. Hopefully, Kelly will stay. If not, there will be more laughs.


  7. I too, am sick of both parties.
    But I don’t see an alternative.
    It ain’t Rand Paul. All he is is obstructionist.
    He wants to balance the budget.
    I do too.

    He wants to cut the military.
    The military is the only thing in the budget that has Constitutional justification.
    The only thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Chas, I think the ideas on how to balance the budget are going to come from the taxpaying young people on whose backs we have shoved all this debt. I have heard them talk. They think all parts of the federal budget are bloated.


  9. @ 6:44 Poor David Brooks. His insights are sometimes so close to the mark, and yet he falls short of real understanding on a fairly consistent basis these days. This article is a case in point, as it briefly explores the theme of the abundance mindset vs. the scarcity mindset. And of course, Brooks identifies the abundance mindset (good) with Reagan, while the scarcity mindset (bad) is all Trump and his supporters.

    And yet, an educated teenager who has paid attention in Sunday School might have pointed out the bug in the ointment:

    The Wall Street Journal editorial page was the most important organ of conservative opinion. The party’s views on other issues, like immigration, were downstream from confidence in the abundant marketplace and the power of the American idea.

    That Brooks would think that a publication dedicated to market cultism is, was, or should be the “most important organ of conservative opinion” is indicative of a very non-conservative way of thinking. And this would certainly help explain the unfortunate downward trend of conservative thought in general which has come to be synonymous with allegiance to unregulated markets without regard to the people, families and communities who are affected by such lawlessness.

    But Brooks is not ignorant of this, he’s only forgotten. He should go back and re-read his own column written in 2012 before the election:

    …The economic conservatives were in charge of the daring ventures that produced economic growth. The traditionalists were in charge of establishing the secure base — a society in which families are intact, self-discipline is the rule, children are secure and government provides a subtle hand.

    Ronald Reagan embodied both sides of this fusion, and George W. Bush tried to recreate it with his compassionate conservatism. But that effort was doomed because in the ensuing years, conservatism changed.

    In the polarized political conflict with liberalism, shrinking government has become the organizing conservative principle. Economic conservatives have the money and the institutions. They have taken control. Traditional conservatism has gone into eclipse. These days, speakers at Republican gatherings almost always use the language of market conservatism — getting government off our backs, enhancing economic freedom. Even Mitt Romney, who subscribes to a faith that knows a lot about social capital, relies exclusively on the language of market conservatism.

    It’s not so much that today’s Republican politicians reject traditional, one-nation conservatism. They don’t even know it exists. There are few people on the conservative side who’d be willing to raise taxes on the affluent to fund mobility programs for the working class. There are very few willing to use government to actively intervene in chaotic neighborhoods, even when 40 percent of American kids are born out of wedlock. There are very few Republicans who protest against a House Republican budget proposal that cuts domestic discretionary spending to absurdly low levels.

    The results have been unfortunate. Since they no longer speak in the language of social order, Republicans have very little to offer the less educated half of this country. Republicans have very little to say to Hispanic voters, who often come from cultures that place high value on communal solidarity.

    Republicans repeat formulas — government support equals dependency — that make sense according to free-market ideology, but oversimplify the real world. Republicans like Romney often rely on an economic language that seems corporate and alien to people who do not define themselves in economic terms. No wonder Romney has trouble relating.

    Some people blame bad campaign managers for Romney’s underperforming campaign, but the problem is deeper. Conservatism has lost the balance between economic and traditional conservatism. The Republican Party has abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition. It appeals to people as potential business owners, but not as parents, neighbors and citizens.


  10. Ricky @7:01 I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but dogs will not be allowed on the ballot this time around—at least not in Kansas. We should be beyond this kind of blatant discrimination, but we are not. And it gets worse. It turns out that the dog’s candidacy was quashed by the Kansas Secretary of State, who is also running for governor. Shame piles upon shame in this doggone mess.

    Tell Arnold to keep his chins up. As well-wishers, we are still hoping that Texas is not so backward in their thinking.


    Liked by 2 people

  11. Debra,

    Don’t be too upset with Brooks.

    This comment expired as soon as they got behind Trump.

    “The Wall Street Journal editorial page was the most important organ of conservative opinion. The party’s views on other issues, like immigration, were downstream from confidence in the abundant marketplace and the power of the American idea.”

    Now he no longer thinks much of the WSJ editorial page.


    While it is sad, how is it logical? You’ll let a Dem win because you don’t like Trump?

    All this is is “I’m taking my toys and going home.”

    It’s not logical, it’s childish, as is voting for a dog.


  12. Thoughts?


    “Obama may have wanted to be a transformative President, but Donald J. Trump appears well on his way to owning this title.

    His administration is now proposing a food delivery program that would replace about half of food stamp benefits for households who qualify for the boxes. The program is referred to as “USDA America’s Harvest Box”.

    The Trump administration is proposing replacing a portion of the federal food stamp program with actual boxes of food delivered to recipients’ front doors, putting the U.S. government directly in charge of what goes on the dinner plates of more than 16 million low-income households.

    White House budget director Mick Mulvaney likened the model to that of the dominant meal-kit delivery service, Blue Apron, and called it one of the most “innovative” ideas in the president’s budget.

    “I don’t want to steal somebody’s copyright,” Mulvaney told reporters Monday. “You actually receive the food instead of receive the cash.”

    In a nutshell, the program would reduce government over-spending and mismanagement while ensuring people used the funds for their “Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program” for foods that would truly supplement nutrition.

    Under the proposal, which was announced Monday, low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month — just over 80 percent of all SNAP recipients — would get about half of their benefits in the form of a “USDA Foods package.” The package was described in the budget as consisting of “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.” The boxes would not include fresh fruits or vegetables.

    …The USDA believes that state governments will be able to deliver this food at much less cost than SNAP recipients currently pay for food at retail stores — thus reducing the overall cost of the SNAP program by $129 billion over the next 10 years.

    This and other changes in the SNAP program, according to the Trump administration, will reduce the SNAP budget by $213 billion over those years — cutting the program by almost 30 percent.

    Additionally, it would reduce the potential for fraud like seen in “Operation Meal Ticket”.

    “Of course, social justice activists are already outrageously outraged by the proposal.”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This one makes me smile. 🙂


    “At times like these, it’s best to remember the words of philosopher Han Solo, or whatever his name turns out to be next: Nice shooting, kid. Don’t get cocky. Cocky is precisely how Democrats find themselves trailing for the first time in a national poll on the 2018 midterms:

    Republicans have erased the Democratic advantage on the generic congressional ballot in a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll that, for the first time since April, also shows President Donald Trump’s approval rating equaling the percentage of voters who disapprove of his job performance.

    Fully 39 percent of registered voters say they would support the GOP candidate for Congress in their district, while 38 percent would back the Democratic candidate. Nearly a quarter of voters, 23 percent, are undecided.

    Voters are split almost evenly along party lines. Democratic voters break for their party, 85 percent to 5 percent, while Republicans similarly favor the GOP, 84 percent to 8 percent. Among independent voters, 26 percent would vote for the Democrat, 25 percent for the Republican and nearly half, 49 percent, are undecided.

    That’s quite a shift in just a two-month period — but Democrats only have themselves to blame. Republicans had stepped on their own feet plenty of times in 2017, but they finally managed to pass a major part of their agenda in December with the tax reform package. Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats shrieked that it would literally kill people, prompting protesters in the Senate and House galleries to chant “Kill the bill, don’t kill us.”

    After it passed and people didn’t LITERALLY DIE, Democrats tried changing the subject by sneering at wage increases and bonuses as “crumbs.” They insisted that workers didn’t get any real benefit, while the workers themselves saw immediate boosts in pay. Multinational corporations announced major reinvestment initiatives in the American economy based on favorable tax conditions for repatriation of overseas capital, precisely as Republicans had predicted.

    In other words, Democrats argued that people were too stupid to understand that keeping more of their own money was bad … for Democrats. Their collapse in credibility and standing was so predictable that only Democratic leadership could have missed it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. And so does this one. 🙂


    “More than 500 churches around the globe rolled out the red carpet for special needs children and adults participating in the Tim Tebow Foundation-sponsored “Night to Shine” prom Friday evening.

    “Night to Shine,” which marked its third year Friday evening, honored 90,000 guests in the special needs community in 540 host churches located in the U.S. and 16 other countries.

    Social media users shared their best moments from the prom with the hashtag #NightToShine, with many guests donning their best outfits and hitting the dance floor for a night out. Here are some of the best moments from the red carpet Friday evening:”

    Liked by 2 people

  15. It worked, but it wasn’t the one I thought it was. Though interesting.
    What I saw was something about Maryland, Michigan and (another state) allowing Muslims to pray at certain times in school
    This has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
    How can exceptions be made?


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