25 thoughts on “News/Politics 7-3-18

  1. Donna posted this one from French late yesterday. It’s a good read, so I’m re-posting it again in case you missed it.


    “If you ever need much evidence that the growing “God gap” in American politics fosters an immense amount of ignorance and occasionally outright bigotry, look no farther than the concern — the alarm, even — that Amy Coney Barrett is on President Trump’s short list to replace Anthony Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court.

    The alarm isn’t about her credentials. She’s checked every box of excellence — law review, appellate-court clerkship, Supreme Court clerkship (with Justice Scalia), elite law-firm experience, law professor at an elite law school, and now experience as a federal judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She’s a young, brilliant woman at the apex of her profession.

    So, beyond her obvious originalist judicial philosophy (shared to varying degrees by every person on Trump’s list of potential nominees), what’s the problem with Judge Barrett. Why do some progressives single her out for particular scorn?

    It turns out that she’s a faithful Christian who lives a Christian life very similar to the lives of millions upon millions of her fellow American believers.

    No, really, that’s the objection. …

    … Many years ago, before I was married, I belonged to a parachurch organization that enriched my life immeasurably. We prayed together, worshipped together, ate meals together, and even lived together. My two roommates were members of the same group. We often engaged in the same kinds of community outreach (e.g., many members volunteered for Big Brothers/Big Sisters). We held each other accountable, and when one member of the group strayed from biblical teaching, the leaders confronted him or her. We spoke the language of “covenant,” and we’ve maintained deep relationships to this very day.

    What was the name of this radical, scary group? The Harvard Law School Christian Fellowship.

    So when I read tweets like this, from law professor Richard Painter, I hope they’re the product of ignorance, not malice:”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. We can add this one to it. It’s starting to look like malice and not ignorance as French hoped. This is a fight we really should have.


    “The mental relief that one will never again have to read an opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy is enough to satisfy for weeks. Just be glad for this, I’m telling myself. We never have to hear this man explain that his job is to “impose order on a disordered reality.” In an America of 300 million people, the likelihood of finding a new justice with Kennedy’s self-regard is near zero. After all, Donald Trump is unlikely to appoint himself.

    But we must refuse the natural complacency that should settle on a normal and well-adjusted people who have survived the rule of Anthony Kennedy. We must press ahead. To do so, Donald Trump should appoint Amy Coney Barrett to the highest court in the land.

    There are many good and fine people rumored to be on President Trump’s short list of candidates for the Supreme Court, including Amul Thapar and Senator Mike Lee. But Barrett’s qualifications match them all.

    And her appointment, in particular, has several political advantages. Millions of Republicans held their noses and voted for Trump because they felt it was necessary to protect the liberty to practice their faith. The fight over Barrett’s confirmation would almost certainly build trust between President Trump and social conservatives. It would energize Republicans ahead of the midterm elections.

    The facts of Barrett’s life — that she is a mother of seven children, and that when she speaks about her Catholic faith, she speaks about God as if she really believes in His existence — will provoke nasty and bigoted statements from Democratic senators and liberal media personalities. Again.

    You may recall that this has already happened. In 2017, during confirmation hearings for a seat on the Seventh Circuit, Senator Dianne Feinstein surveyed Barrett’s public statements on her personal faith and told her that she worried that “the dogma lives loudly within you.” The bizarre idiom she created was a sign that Feinstein didn’t have an easy way to say what she wanted to say: A Catholic is fine. A believing Catholic is not.

    The Feinstein incident caused Christopher L. Eisgruber, president of Princeton University, to publicly defend Barrett and her writings on how her faith relates to her duties as a judge. He then urged against what he saw as an emerging religious test. “In my view,” Eisgruber wrote, “Professor Barrett’s qualifications become stronger by virtue of her willingness to write candidly and intelligently about difficult and sensitive ethical questions: Our universities, our judiciary, and our country will be the poorer if the Senate prefers nominees who remain silent on such topics.”

    It won’t just be her faith. In 2012, a columnist chastised two Republican presidential candidates for their “smug fecundity.” For Barrett, the comments on the number of children she has are likely to be much worse. The fact is that women nominated for positions of authority often inspire hysterical and self-defeating reactions in those who oppose them. And it will likely be other women who dislike Barrett’s way of life who will make the ugliest remarks. Trump will very likely understand the dynamics at play instinctively.

    Now, it would be churlish to choose Barrett only because her nomination will cause some Democrats to bleep, bloop disconcertingly before entering into auto-destruct mode. It would be good to nominate her, however, because the fight to confirm her will contain edifying political lessons. We don’t have religious tests for public office in this country, and having a republic that does not have an established religion does not require excluding sincere believers from positions of authority.”


  3. It’s a conspiracy!

    Or not. Probably not most likely…. Eben Slate sees that.

    And look, once again the R turncoat Painter is in the thick of it. He’s a special kinda cuckoo.


    “What if anything is going on here? ThinkProgress calls the connection between Trump and the Kennedy family a “suspicious business relationship,” while the New Republic labels it “shady.” Richard Painter, George W. Bush’s former chief ethics council—who is now a candidate in Minnesota’s Democratic Senate primary—tweeted that the “circumstances of Anthony Kennedy’s resignation must be investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee before any replacement is considered,” adding, “The Constitution does not give Trump the power to use underhanded means to induce Supreme Court resignations.”

    How might Trump have “induced” the justice’s retirement? The logic here is fuzzy because there’s no clear quid pro quo: Kennedy’s son loaned Trump money, and in return, Trump … did nothing in particular for Kennedy but got the justice to give up his Supreme Court seat? While that doesn’t make much sense, Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, hinted at this theory of the case in a viral tweet. Snopes spells out two other hypotheses: First, that Trump “somehow leveraged his financial connections with Kennedy’s son Justin to convince or coerce the jurist to retire”; second, that Trump ousted the justice so he could “nominate a friendly successor who would vote favorably on any issues involving Justin Kennedy that might come before the court” if the younger Kennedy’s name were to come up in the Mueller probe. The implication of both theories is that the administration somehow extorted Kennedy to quit the court. This is hogwash.”

    “Each flavor of this conspiracy rests on a series of assumptions that, when subjected to any real scrutiny, quickly fall apart. Nonetheless, it’s easy to see why these theories are so seductive. Progressives who are surprised by Kennedy’s retirement bought into the myth that the justice, who occasionally swung left on key controversies like abortion and gay rights, was a moderate who dabbled in liberalism. In reality, he never really was a centrist. He voted with the right flank on most issues; his big defections were deviations from the norm. On marriage equality, he was personally sympathetic; on abortion, he genuinely thought he could unite the warring factions. His major abortion decision declared that “the contending sides of a national controversy” must “end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.” This wishful thinking never came to fruition, and so he now leaves it to his successor to do what he never quite could: Kill off Roe for good.

    The justice is much more concerned about perceived threats to free expression than social issues, and he seemed to think these threats emanate primarily from Democrats. In the last days of his final term, Kennedy helped to crush public-sector unions on dubious free speech grounds and voted to strike down California’s disclosure requirements for anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers,” comparing the state to “relentless authoritarian regimes.” These decisions, along with legacy rulings like Citizens United, are what Kennedy is most concerned about preserving. He trusts the democratic process to prevent backsliding on gay rights but frets that free speech, once surrendered, is never recovered.

    Put simply, Kennedy retired under Trump because he’s happy to leave his legacy in Trump’s hands. It didn’t require blackmail to ease him off the court, just an unctuous campaign to butter him up. If the Times is correct, then Kennedy really was heartened by the appointment of arch-conservative Neil Gorsuch. We liberals who thought the junior justice’s arrogance might alienate Kennedy were, it turned out, caught in our own daydream.

    The conspiracy theories surrounding his retirement fail not just because they are baseless and illogical, but because they rest on a fundamentally dubious premise. Kennedy wasn’t extorted off the bench or recompensed for his vacancy. He left because he wanted to let Donald Trump control the fate of the Supreme Court. Mission accomplished. “


  4. Merkel caves. Seems maintaining power is more important than immigrants. And I guess border camps for immigrants is only bad when Trump does it.


    “Merkel Strikes Deal to Avert Government Collapse, Agrees to Tighten Borders

    Germany to set up border camps and turn away migrants on arrival.”

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel averted a split in her coalition government after she reached a compromise on migration policy, agreeing to set up border camps for migrants and implementing stricter border controls.

    Last week, German Interior Minister and the leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), Horst Seehofer triggered a major political crisis when he threatened to quit the government over the open-door policy for migrants.

    “The problem has been deferred. Nothing more,” said the German daily Die Welt. “Merkel conceded in her strife with the CSU—for now. The prospect of losing power amid uncertain global situation and an imminent mutiny made her susceptible to blackmail. But nothing has been solved.” The newspaper described the deal as a defeat for Chancellor’s migration policy, adding that “Merkel conceded what she always wanted to prevent.”

    Merkel’s arrangement with the CSU is a “toxic solution,” commented the German tabloid Bild. “The solution may possibly work. One thing though is certain: the atmosphere within the coalition government is poisoned like never before.”

    New York Times called it a “spectacular turnabout for a leader who has been seen as the standard-bearer of the liberal European order.” The liberal newspaper was alarmed at the European “nationalism” that “challenged multilateralism elsewhere in Europe is taking root — fast — in mainstream German politics.”

    “Merkel has managed to secure the hold on her party by agreeing to the demands of Horst Seehofer. It is not going to go well for long,” predicted the left-wing German daily Die Tageszeiting.”


  5. The actual collusion by Dems with foreign agents story gets even more weird. I guess we can add obstruction and destroying evidence to the list of charges that should be forthcoming.


    “The Daily Caller has another development in the Imran Awan story. Last fall the DC reported that when police requested a copy of a Democratic caucus server run by Awan, they were provided with a fake. Today, the DC reports on the contents of a memo from Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving describing the fake server and the disappearance of the real server.

    A secret memo marked “URGENT” detailed how the House Democratic Caucus’s server went “missing” soon after it became evidence in a cybersecurity probe. The secret memo also said more than “40 House offices may have been victims of IT security violations.”…

    Rep. Louie Gohmert — a Texas Republican on the House Committee on the Judiciary who has done oversight work on the case — said the missing server contained copies of Congress members’ emails.

    “They put 40 members of Congress’s data on one server … That server, with that serial number, has disappeared,” he said.

    Multiple sources connected to the investigation told TheDCNF that shortly after an IG report came out identifying the House Democratic Caucus server as key evidence in a criminal probe, the evidence was stolen.

    An attorney representing Imran Awan tells the DC that there is no missing server, contrary to the memo from Irving. But the DC notes that the attorney didn’t provide any evidence to back up his claim.”

    Let’s be clear here. It’s Debbie Wasserman-Schulz who holds much of the blame for this fiasco. She hired them and ordered others to as well. Those 40 she convinced aren’t happy about it either. She needs to be held accountable. The MSM of course continues to mostly ignore this story because she’s a Dem.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. More….


    “Multiple sources connected to the investigation told TheDCNF that shortly after an IG report came out identifying the House Democratic Caucus server as key evidence in a criminal probe, the evidence was stolen.

    “They [the Awans] deliberately turned over a fake server” to falsify evidence, one official close to the CHA alleged. “It was a breach. The data was completely out of [members’] possession.”

    The six-page letter says:

    • In September of 2016 … the CHA and [IG] briefed the former Chairman of the Democratic Caucus about suspicious activity related to their server that the [IG] identified. As a result, the former Chairman of the Democratic Caucus directed the CAO to copy the data from their server and two computers.
    • The CHA directed the IG to refer the matter to the US Capitol Police. The USCP initiated an investigation that continues to this day.
    • In late 2016, the former Chairman of the Democratic Caucus announced his intention to resign from Congress to assume a new position. The CAO and [sergeant-at-arms] worked with the Chairman to account for his inventory, including the one server.
    • While reviewing the inventory, the CAO discovered that the serial number of the server did not match that of the one imaged in September. [Investigators] also discovered that the server in question [the replacement server] was still operating under the employee’s control, contrary to the explicit instructions of the former chairman to turn over all equipment and fully cooperate with the inquiry and investigation. [A House source said the “employee” was Abid Awan.]
    • The USCP interviewed relevant staff regarding the missing server.
    • On January 24, 2017, the CAO acquired the [replacement] server from the control of the employees and transferred that server to the USCP.

    President Donald Trump referenced the Democratic Caucus’ missing server in a tweet. But because the letter to the CHA was kept secret, many news outlets have not grasped that the House’s top cop documented a “missing server” connected to the Democratic Caucus.

    The timeline laid out in the letter also shows that Becerra — now California’s Democratic attorney general — failed to ensure that the Awans didn’t have access to House computer systems during the 2016 election, which was wrought with cybersecurity scandals.

    An IG presentation from September 2016 shows that Becerra knew of problems months before the server disappeared.

    “The Caucus Chief of Staff requested one of the shared employees to not provide IT services or access their computers,” it read. “This shared employee continued.” It’s unclear why that request was not granted or why it was a request rather than an order.

    A House official close to the probe said the employee was Abid, who was not on Becerra or the Caucus’s payroll. The official said Becerra Chief of Staff Sean McCluskie apparently knew Abid was accessing Caucus servers. According to payroll records, Abid’s sister-in-law, Hina Alvi, was the Caucus’ systems administrator.

    The Awans’ continued physical access to Becerra’s equipment after red flags emerged enabled the server to disappear after it became evidence, House officials close to the investigation told TheDCNF.

    Becerra has refused to comment, citing an ongoing criminal investigation.”


  7. They’re at it again…..


    “A Berkeley man was arrested on suspicion of threatening a federal official last week, just days after he allegedly wrote to a member of Congress he would “gut you like a hog” and kill the member’s family.

    Nathanial Blaine Luffman — a former Kentucky resident, according to his Facebook page — was arrested June 27 and is being taken to Oregon to face a single charge of retaliating against a federal official by way of threats. It carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison.

    While Luffman’s alleged victim is not named in court records describing the threats, U.S. Capitol Police describe him as an Oregon elected official with an office at a federal building in Portland. The court records also say the suspect has been associated with “other known threatening communications to members of Congress.”

    Luffman allegedly wrote emails and sent voicemails to the official. His email told the victim he’d “gut you like a hog” and leave “your kids bowels splayed out across floor blood spattered on the door as you lay dead,” police said.

    Luffman also allegedly left a voicemail threatening to “hack to pieces” the official and his daughters, used the hashtag #ObamaForLife and claimed that the official was involved in a plot to assassinate ex-President Barack Obama in Kentucky.”


  8. Bad news for Dems hoping to delay things until after the midterms, as if things will be better for them then. 🙄

    Sure looks like the voters want Trump’s nominee confirmed.


    “A majority of Americans want a vote on President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court before the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

    Trump is expected to announce his choice for the Supreme Court Monday and 62 percent of voters said his nominee should be confirmed or rejected before the midterms, according to an NBC News poll. Thirty-three percent said the Senate should wait until after the elections to confirm Trump’s nominee.

    Among Republicans, 85 percent said the Senate’s vote on the nominee should take place before Nov. 6. With Independents, 61 percent also believe the vote for the Supreme Court nominee should happen before the elections. Democrats had a much different view, with 55 percent saying the voting should be postponed until after the midterms.

    The news comes as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, freeing a seat up in the court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor hours after the announcement, saying he and the Senate are ready to confirm Trump’s next nominee. “


  9. As Trump has said, no one has a problem with legal immigrants, or increasing their numbers if needed. (right now it’s not) It’s illegal immigration that’s the problem. He’s doing what his supporters asked.

    Also,where have those visas been mostly limited from?

    Why from the country’s known to be state sponsor’s of terrorism of course.

    From the WaPo link…

    “As the national immigration debate swirls around the effort to discourage illegal immigration by separating families at the border, the Trump administration is making inroads into another longtime priority: reducing legal immigration.

    The number of people receiving visas to move permanently to the United States is on pace to drop 12 percent in President Trump’s first two years in office, according to a Washington Post analysis of State Department data.

    Among the most affected are the Muslim-majority countries on the president’s travel ban list — Yemen, Syria, Iran, Libya and Somalia — where the number of new arrivals to the United States is heading toward an 81 percent drop by Sept. 30, the end of the second fiscal year under Trump.

    Last week, the Supreme Court upheld that ban, paving the way for an even more dramatic decline in arrivals from those countries.

    Legal immigration from all Muslim-majority countries is on track to fall by nearly a third.”



  10. And also note that these numbers are known for Obama, but estimated and extrapolated for Trump. Apples and Oranges. They’re basing 8 known years against a year and a half of known, and estimating the rest of the year. Why not use the most recent last 2 years of Obama’s term? Wouldn’t a 2 to 2 comparison be fairer?

    Well because his numbers surged immensely then, and then the numbers would be what they need them to be to push their story. The whole charade would collapse.

    Talk about flawed methodology.

    And that’s not on York, just the flawed WaPo piece he sited. They have an agenda, and it’s obvious.


  11. A more apples to apples shows I’m correct, and exposes WaPo’s biased telling of the “facts”.Less under Trump, and specifics on where the cuts are happening.


    “In 2016, 1.49 million foreign-born individuals moved to the United States, a 7 percent increase from the 1.38 million coming in 2015.”

    They didn’t have 2017 numbers, Politico did. Also, lot’s of specifics by country.


    “By one measure, the U.S. granted 13 percent fewer visitor visas over the past 12 months when compared with fiscal year 2016, according to State Department data analyzed by POLITICO — a downward trend that appears to have accelerated in the past six months.”


  12. Pass the popcorn, it’s show time! 🙂


    “The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed former FBI official Peter Strzok to appear at a public hearing July 10.

    Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte issued the subpoena to force Strzok to appear before both the House Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees. The hearing will focus on Strzok’s work on both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.

    Strzok’s attorney, Aitan Goelman, said on Monday that his client had retracted a previous offer to testify publicly. Goelman cited a closed-door interview on June 27 with the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees as evidence that Republicans were setting “a trap” for the embattled FBI agent.”

    Oh, so it’s like an “insurance policy”? Sucks when traps gets used on you, instead of by you, huh? I’m sure he’ll plead the 5th to most, because he knows he’s guilty of numerous offenses. Time to own your actions agent.


  13. Another black eye for the DoJ, once again, to protect Democrat politicians.


    “In an incredible sweetheart plea deal, Imran Awan – a former IT aide to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and other congressional Democrats – pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of making a false statement on a home equity loan.

    I sat flabbergasted in the courtroom in Washington as the plea agreement was entered.

    I spent the last year interviewing hundreds of people and chasing leads for my upcoming book –titled “Spies in Congress” – about the alleged spy ring believed led by Awan that may have operated in the offices of more than 40 Democratic members of Congress.

    If not for my extensive research on this case, I might have assumed the government just couldn’t find enough evidence to make a solid case against Awan on more serious charges than bank fraud.

    When I asked Justice Department prosecutor J.P. Cooney why the government made this odd plea deal he just smiled and waved me away as he told me to ask the Justice Department Office of Public Affairs. The office declined to answer my questions.

    Shockingly, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia issued a news release about Awan’s plea agreement that made no mention of his IT work for Democrats in Congress, no mention of Wasserman Schultz, and made his case sound like a minor local criminal matter of little interest to anyone. It was headlined: “Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Making False Statement on Application for Home Equity Loan.”

    Ho-hum, right? Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.

    Awan is due to be sentenced Aug. 21 and could get off with no jail sentence, according the plea agreement. Prosecutors said they would not recommend jail time – in effect, giving Awan a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    Just like that, the Department of Justice is making an important case go away as if nothing much happened.

    Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, is having all charges against her dismissed as part of the agreement.

    Awan, as a part of this plea agreement, also “will not be charged” for any other nonviolent crimes he may have committed in Washington prior to the agreement, according to this deal.

    The plea deal agreement even exonerates Awan by saying in part that “the Government agrees that the public allegations that your client (Imran Awan) stole U.S. House of Representatives (‘House’) equipment and engaged in unauthorized or illegal conduct involving House computer systems do not form the basis of any conduct relevant to the determination of the sentence in this case.”


  14. This is what we’re up against.


    “With a loud and unified voice, the feminists have collectively echoed the haunting words of Faye Dunaway in “Mommy Dearest” ahead of the SCOTUS vote — “No wire hangers.”

    Now that Roe v. Wade is up for grabs thanks to Justice Kennedy’s retirement, the feminists have turned (quite misguidedly) to liberal GOP Senator Susan Collins to save them from President Trump’s SCOTUS pick. Per usual, they have resorted to theatrics and flooded the senator’s office with coat hangers — the universal pro-choice symbol warning against women undergoing back-alley abortions.”


  15. Np, AJ is talking to me… and you. I don’t have much to say about all of it.I am just tired of all the crap coming out of Democratic mouths. Something about mouths moving and lying…

    Congress can’t seem to get much out of the DOJ or the FBI. If they just stall long enough, people will forget. Congress will be term limited. Statue of Limitations will come to fruition.

    It is time for me to fix breakfast for my wife and me. And that is the problem, Life goes on but Congressional over sight is stuck on Pause. And Whoopi is blabbing on The View.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. The nation has sinned in the theory of the government. Atheists, Deists, Jews, Pagans, and profane men, of the most abandoned manners, are as eligible to office by the United States Constitution, as men fearing God and hating covetousness. Its words are:—”No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” U.S. Con., Art. VI, sec. III. God’s law is:—”Elect able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.” Ex. 18:21. “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” 2 Sam. 23:3

    –– James R. Willson, “Prince Messiah’s Claims to Dominion Over All Governments and the Disregard of His Authority by the United States, in the Federal Constitution”


  17. Happy Fourth or as the Queen calls it Happy Treason Day.

    Harley Davidson knows the US is not where the action is. Harley is far better off targeting the vast emerging middle class of India and China than the aging shrinking US market. Harley has an image problem in North America. Millennials and hipsters want nothing to do with a Harley …but for other markets Harley is associated with Americana, not bikers and old men not acting their age. Trump can whine and threaten but Harley knows the right corporate devision.


  18. Immigration — aging populations need immigrants to maintain a revenue basis to support old people. For the US to reduce legal immigration will dry up the revenue base and without a working population the economy will stagnated. The US needs to have an immigration policy that recognizes this reality. Look at Japan…..its been stagnating for over 25 years. It has a very old population with a small workforce. Japan has a very stringent immigration policy. You need a working base whether they be from natural increase or immigration. As the US birth rates lower, immigration is the only way.


  19. Supreme Court

    Social conservatives need to stop letting economic neoconservatives use Roe v Wade to allow them to run the country for the benefit of the few. The truth is prolife won the moral argument; abortion is at a 45 year low. Roe v Wade isnt going anywhere and even if it were repealed, the situation wouldnt change much. A return of abortion to the states wont lower the rate…..its neglible in the south and other “red” states. Instead of focusing on judicial activism focus on legislative activism …..pass laws that make prolife a viable option. Free health care for maternity and children, education for all, etc. Social programs that support a family….


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