Thursday, December 27, 2018
President Trump has initiated a partial government shutdown, saying lifting it depends upon funding for the border wall. The Democrats say under no circumstances will they fund the wall, but they might provide a little for a fence. The Democrats are strong advocates today for open borders: Open borders for economic refugees Open borders for political refugees Oven borders for children Open borders for criminal victims Open borders for criminals Open borders for drug traffickers Open borders for terrorists The theory is that they want open border to keep replenishing the Democratic voting base. Poor immigrants vote for the candidates that can take care of them; that means Democrats, the party of government, in the big cities. They also want open borders in support of the undocumented immigrants who seek their families to join them in America. It’s also true that they do not want to give President trump anything that makes him look successful. All that is true, but that’s not why they are unwilling to compromise on funding. Both the President and the Democratic Leaders understand that 2020 may depend on the President’s success or unsuccess in closing the borders. Voters understand that candidates make promises that they either will not or cannot keep. Some candidates will say anything to get elected. (Think of the Democrats who promised never to vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House). Some promises though transcend the status of a promise to the level of a covenant. They may become the theme of an election campaign. For example, President George H. W. Bush’s “Read My Lips; No New Taxes” defined his 1988 campaign against Governor Dukakis of Taxachusetts. He breached it two years later in exchange for promises of spending cuts. The cuts never came. Even if they had, he lost the support of conservative Republicans. They deserted him in 1992, throwing their votes to H. Ross Perot, thereby electing Governor William Jefferson Clinton President. The Republican coalition consisted of three major constituencies: the Eastern Establishment, Religious conservatives, mostly Pro-Life, and political and economic conservatives. President Bush represented the Eastern Establishment, which could provide financial backing, but few votes. The President lost the conservatives, which left the Pro—Life Republicans in his base. They knew though that he was Pro-Choice in 1980. Breach of the promise cost him reelection. President Trump’s Make America Great Again Campaign had several planks: Appoint conservative judges Stay with the Evangelicals America First with bringing jobs back to America Lowering Taxes Building the Wall, with Mexican funding He successfully appointed two conservative justices to the Supreme Court and dozens to the appellate and district courts. He got Turkey to release evangelical Presbyterian Pastor Andrew Brunson after 24 months of detention. He also got American hostages released from Iran and North Korea. He’s making progress on getting factory jobs back to America - no thanks to General Motors Employment is booming under President Trump and the unemployment rate is dropping. Taxes have been lowered. Most American workers should see it in their payroll withholdings. The Wall remains to be built. The mainstream media is at war with the President, constantly trashing, demeaning and often defaming him. The President can never do anything right in their eyes. They would still find fault even if he were to resign. Reports are that members of the media communicate with each other during the evening to agree on their talking points for the next day. The Democrats are vehemently anti-Trump. Several federal district and appellate judges comprise the Judicial Resistance to the President. Hollywood damns the President. The Professoriate opposes the President. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and his anti-Trump lawyer are doing everything they can conceive of to “get” the President on behalf of the Deep State. His base has remained loyal throughout, and his approval rating is showing a rise. It’s all down to the Wall. If he reneges on the Wall, it will be déjà vu all over again with “Read My Lips, No New Taxes” and President Bush. Very few voters expected Mexico to pay for the Wall, but they expect the President to crack down on illegal immigration. The Democrats know this; thus their hardening on the Wall and unwillingness to compromise. Their problem is that the inevitable senseless murder spree by an illegal immigrant will destroy their position in the public’s eye.
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
The 40-60 million Kurds of the world have a simple dream: Independence. The history of the past century shows the Kurdish people regularly tossed aside, if not betrayed, by diplomacy and the Great Powers. The Turkish Sultans were a spent force before World War I. The Young Turks, Djemel Pasha, Enver Pasha, and Talaat Pasha, had seized control. They tossed out the existing sultan and replaced him with a figurehead. The Three Pashas made the disastrous decision to join the German side in the war. The Ottoman Empire, “The Sick Man of Europe,” which once spanned three continents, was shrinking for decades. It collapsed as the Ottomans were on the losing side in World War I. The victorious Allies agreed to carve up the Ottoman Empire. Even Turkey proper was to be cut into pieces. There was to be no Turkey! Greece was most avaricious and covetous against one of its historic enemies. Iraq, Lebanon, Syria emerged from the detritus of the Empire, but no Kurdistan.. The Ottomans may have been defeated, but not the Turkish people. They found a hero, Ataturk, and waged the successful Turkish War of Independence resulting in an independent Turkey, consisting of Thrace and Anatolia. Alas for the Kurds. The Allies agreed during the war to create an independent Kurdistan, carving comprising southwest Turkey, northern Iraq and Syria, and northwest Iran into Kurdistan. Ataturk’s victory in Turkey prevented the dismemberment of Turkey. There would be no independent Kurdistan. The Kurds unsuccessfully rebelled in 1925, 1930, and 1937-8. They were no match for Ataturk and the Turkey army. The Shah of Iran and Iraq engaged in a border dispute in 1970. The Shah with the backing of the United States encouraged the Iraqi Kurds to rebel against Iraq. The Kurds were supplied with arms and funds as they held their own against the larger Iraqi forces. Then in 1975 the Shah and Iraq reached a border agreement. The Kurds were abandoned, indeed betrayed, by the Shah and united States. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is famously known for a common quip he uttered after hearing of the Kurdish reaction to the “betrayal;“ Fuck the Kurds if they can’t take a joke.” Saddam Hussein retaliated against the Kurds, even using gas. The Allies, led by President George H. W. Bush, encouraged the people of Iraq to rebel against Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War. Saddam survived and he again struck out at the Kurds. The United States, which could have, but didn’t stop the Iraq attacks on the Kurds, stood by. Then came the quick ISIS conquest of much of Iraq and Turkey. The Kurds, the YPG fighters, provided the troops on the ground with United States backing to roll ISIS back into a small pocket in Syria. The Kurds currently occupy the historical Kurdish territories in Iraq and Syria, comprising half of the Kurdish lands. Turkish President Recip Erdogan is scared. He fears that the Kurdish enclaves in Iraq and Syria will form a safe haven and inspiration for the Turkish Kurds, the PKK (People’s Protection Units), fighting for independence in Turkey. Much of the area is leery of an independent Kurdistan. The Turks are using brutal, mostly unpublicized, tactics against the Turkish Kurds. President Erdogan said: “In the upcoming months, on the ground in Syria, we will follow a style of inclusion that eliminates both P.K.K.-Y.P.D. elements and remnants of Daesh. This should be known.” (Daesh is the Arab acronym and what President Obama referred to as ISIS.) The Kurds are threatening to release 1,000-2,000 captured ISIS fighters. President Erdogan made it clear; he intends to remove the Kurds from their base in Syria, seizing much of the Syrian oil fields in the process. The YPG has been protected to dare by 2,000 United States military soldiers in their territory. President trump announced a pullout of U.S. forces from Syria, thereby throwing the Kurds overboard, in essence betraying them – yet again. The presumption is that the Kurds will be no match for the Turkish planes, tanks, and artillery. If though the Kurds have a large stock of surface to air missiles and anti-tank weapons, it will be a very interesting, and bloody, contest. The Kurds are betrayed. Israel feels betrayed, and the Pentagon is apoplectic. Turkey’s Kurdish problem is of its own making. The Kurdish part of southeast Turkey was the historic Armenia. The Armenian Genocide created a vacuum in Southwest Turkey. The Kurds came down from the mountains and occupied the now virtually deserted lands. The Armenians were a peaceful people. The Kurds are fighters who yearn for independence.
Monday, December 10, 2018
The qualities of a great leader are not well defined. Several studies have attempted to assess successful leadership. Factors often include communication, empathy, strength, passion, inspiration, integrity, transparency, focus, trust, calmness. Examples could include Winston Churchill who stiffened the British people during the depths of 1940-41, and Mayor Rudy Giuliani who projected clam immediately after 9/11 even if he could not provide immediate answers. FDR reassured the American people in his 1933 inauguration speech, President Kennedy with the soaring rhetoric in his inauguration speech, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in many of his speeches. Some speakers project charisma, but many leaders simply project steady calmness in the eye of a storm. Whatever it is, British Prime Minister Teresa May lacks it with Brexit in England. She entered into negotiations in secret without conviction and from a position of weakness. The EU negotiators quickly sized her up. France President Emmanuel Macron has now failed the leadership test. Charisma is not filling the leadership gap. His popularity with the French people has slipped to 23%, half that of President Trump. So much for empathy! The French economy is so riddled with statutes and bureaucratic regulations that it is sclerotic. Economy growth is slow. Inequality if rising. The past two presidents of France, Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, failed to reform the economy. The French voters said a plague on both houses, the left and the right, the socialists and the conservatives. The young, charismatic Emmanuel Macron entered the race for France’s presidency like a breath of fresh air in 2017. He won a landslide election with 66.1% of the vote. The once socialist ran as a centrist liberal with a new political party, the En marche. He won a mandate to reform the economy and remove the shackles of the over-taxed, over-regulated economy. France is the most heavily taxed nation in the developed world. The effective tax rate is 46.2% of GDP, close to twice that of United States’ 27.2%. He’s made some steps along the way France had a wealth tax intended redistribute the wealth. It raised only €5 billion, but sent capital out of the country. He limited it to only real estate. He made it easier for employers to hire and fire workers. Taxes on business and capital were cut. Tax breaks were enacted for the lower and middle classes. So far, so good, but then he got diverted by the Paris Accords and climate change. He imposed a substantial increase in the gas tax, he said, to discourage the use of fossil fuels and fund alternative energy. The residents of Paris can rely on mass transit, but rural residents, small business, farmers, truckers, the middle class, lower income citizens, and assorted souls rely on gas and diesel fuel. This tax was the tax increase that finally awoke the French. He had earlier increased the social security tax. The President’s initial response to the complaints was not Marie Antoinette’s “Let Them Eat Cake,” but an updated “Let them Carpool.” His response was poorly received in a country with a history of revolution, street violence, and bloody riots. Other statements in the past include telling a jobless man to just cross the street. He told retirees with small pensions to stop complaining. Leaders can’t be tone deaf. The people have risen in protest over the past four weeks, protests turning to riots and damaging the Arc de Triomphe. One of the restrictions in French law is that French drivers must have florescent yellow vests in their vehicles for safety reasons in case of an emergency. Many of the protestors are wearing their yellow vests, thus giving rise to the “Yellow Vests” Movement. The original protests were spontaneous, generated by social media. Extremists, often violent, have joined, and perhaps corrupted, the movement. Unions are now demanding the repeal of his limited reforms. The French economy is taking a hit; tourism is down; restaurants are hurting. The charismatic President Macron’s tax increases exhibited a failure in leadership. Leaders need to communicate their reasons and enlighten their followers. He said it was to fight climate change; that was the end of the matter. His campaign did not mention (fuel) tax increases. Thus, it was a surprise to the 70% of adults drive to work in France. It seemed like yet another tax increase on the French. Not to those affected by the increases. These are the people who voted for Brexit in the United Kingdom, Donald Trump in the United States, and the new conservative government in Italy. These are Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables.” These are the people ignored and shunted aside in the global economy by the global elites and political classes. His leadership mistake was to stake his government on a global issue at an immediate cost to his citizens. The French people were not told why they would have to sacrifice for climate change. Leaders can lead their people, but not too far ahead and after educating them. The Paris Accords are very weak, and as the New York Times reported Saturday not being met. China and India don’t have to comply for several years. His attitude in office is one of aloofness. He is an elitist who knows what’s best. He had not been seen or heard from in recent days until earlier today. So much for communication! He addressed the French people, but it was a pre-recorded speech. It lacked the power of a live broadcast. It was as if his heart and soul were not in his concessions. He said “I might have hurt people with my words” as he also said “I take my share of responsibility.” Stepping up with a pre-recorded message is not stepping up. He may smooth the waters, but he lost what the Chinese call the “Mandate of Heaven” to govern. He failed the leadership test. He promised to raise the minimum wage by 7% and abolish taxes on overtime. He will also scrape the proposed tax hike on pensioners. The new fuel tax is history – at least for now. He old socialism came through. He asked employers to give their employees an end of year bonus.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
President George H. W. Bush’s funeral service Wednesday at the National Cathedral was on a blustery day. The weather was appropriate for the former President. He was a great man, a brave war hero, a skilled diplomat, a warn and generous person, compassionate, a dedicated public service, but a poor politician buffeted by uncontrollable forces. He cared for all Americans, but was characterized as a patrician, wimp, out-of-touch, part of the old WASP Elite. The media is commemorating the late President George H. W. Bush as the last great Republican after the earlier death of Senator John McCain. Yet, they loathed the two when running for President. The media celebrates RINO Republicans, such as Senator Jeff Flake or dead Republicans. They’’ll mourn you when you’re dead, but crucify you while alive. They extol the two as the anti-Trump. President Bush represented the end of an era. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Bush 41 all served in WWII. Carter and Bush 43 also served. President George H. W. Bush was caught in the change of paradigms when the parties would strive to reach a compromise versus the total partisanship of today. George H. W. Bush was a war hero in World War II, having flown 58 sorties by his 20th birthday. He enlisted the day he turned 18. He was also politically heroic in running for Congress in Texas. He was elected in 1966, becoming one of only two Republican Congressmen from Texas. He had campaigned for the Senate in 1970, but that was a lost cause for Republicans at that time. George Herbert Walker Bush was a dedicated public service. He may have grown up rich, bur he practiced noblesse oblige. He served in Congress, the first ambassador to the Peoples Republic of China, Director of the CIA, Vice President, and President. It was his duty. People could easily misjudge President Bush because he believed in and practiced quiet diplomacy rather than engage in histrionics. He did not do a victory dance on top of the Berlin Wall after it fell. The media says the death of President George Herbert Walker Bush marks the end of civility in American politics. The media seems to be suffering from acute memory loss or selective amnesia. They trashed Bush 41 and Bush 43, not to mention Reagan, Ford, McCain, Romney, and now Trump. They reviled the Republican predecessors of President Trump. The difference today is that deep down, they totally loathe President Trump. Words used to describe President Bush in the past few days were class, dignity, willing to compromise, loyal, gracious, compassionate, a dedicated public servant. Those were not the words used to describe him in 1992. Only 7% of the journalists admitted to voting for him. His Thousand Points of Light in his 1988 Acceptance Speech were mocked. The media may be commemorating President Bush today, but they excoriated him while in office. They labeled the man who enlisted in the Navy the first day of his 18th birthday and flew 58 combat missions in the Pacific a “wimp,” while giving a pass to Governor Bill Clinton, a draft dodger. George H. W. Bush was a philanthropist; William Jefferson Clinton a philanderer. Texas Governor Anne Richards famously said of Vice President Bush in her keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention: “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver boot in his mouth.” (Sweet revenge for the Bushes: George W. Bush defeated her reelection in 1994). He had two middle names. Who does that in modern America? The elitist preppie was out of touch with the people whereas Bubba was one of them. The President Bush purportedly did not know what a scanner was or the price of a pair of socks. The castigation for not recognizing a scanner is an example of fake news. The President was shown a new model scanner that could weigh groceries and read mangled and torn barcodes. A reporter at the scene wrote he had “a look of wonder” on his face. He was obviously amazed at the advance in technology. The New York Times rewrote the the short line to report he was “dumbfounded” by the scanner. The tale of his being out-of-touch was widely disseminated. President Bush used phrases like “deep doo doo,” “Big Mo” and Voodoo Economics” that sounded funny to many Americans. He talked at times like Mrs. Malaprop to the media’s amusement whereas they ignored the seemingly infinite gaffs by Joe Biden and similar misstatements by President Obama. He was only a one term President, but like President James K. Polk, he accompanied much. President Polk annexed Texas, reached agreement with Great Britain on the Oregon Territory at the 49th parallel, acquired the Southwest through the Mexican-American War, and created an independent treasury. Bush 41 presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War. He watched the independence of the former Soviet republics in Central and Eastern Europe. He fought for the reunification of Germany after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. He did not publicly humiliate in a victory lap Prime Minister Gorbachev of the Soviet Union. He further entered into the SALT Treaty (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) with Russia. He put together a coalition of western and Arab nations to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. He successfully supported the enactment of the Americans With Disabilities Act. He became the first Vice President since Martin Van Buren to be directly elected to the Presidency. He was also the last Republican to win California in a Presidential election. The preppie WASP from New England became an adopted son of Texas, but could not leave his twang behind. Several reasons account for his reelection loss to Governor Clinton. The media opprobrium certainly played a role, but it could not have done it on its own. His raising of taxes was the primary reason. The public expects politicians to breach promises, even perhaps to lie, but his 1988 Pledge “Read My Lips; No New Taxes” was more than a promise; it was a covenant. His 1992 reelection campaign was doomed when he raised taxes. His son, President George W Bush, never made the mistake of raising taxes during his 8 years in office. He agreed to raise taxes in exchange for spending cuts. He was snookered by the Democratic Congress which promptly raised taxes, but never came through with the spending cuts. The Republican Party had three main constituencies: 1) the Eastern elite; 2) economic conservatives; and 3) pro-life forces. He lost his base by raising taxes. The once great Eastern Establishment was substantially diminished, and he alienated the economics conservatives by raising taxes. That left pro-life as his constituency, but they knew he had earlier been pro-choice. Another reason was that he seemed lethargic against the young, energetic, charismatic Governor Clinton. The Governor relentlessly ran for the Presidency, while President Bush adhered to the tradition that campaigning began with the Labor Day weekend. The entry of H. Ross Perot into the election provided 19 million Americans with an alternative to the two front runners. The story was that Perot ran because of a deep seated animus to President Bush. The final blow to his campaign came four days before the election when Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh indicted former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger on charges arising out of the Iran Contra controversy. A judge later threw out this indictment because the statute of limitations had lapsed. The American public was suffering from Bush Fatigue by election day. Governor Clinton won with 43% of the vote compared to 37% for President Bush and 19% for H. Ross Perot. He deserved better in 1992 and America has paid a steep price for his defeat. America lost a man who enjoyed the zest of life. The so-called wimp was parachuting out of planes in his 90’s.
Sunday, December 2, 2018
GM announced major plant closings, job cuts, and cutting car models. This time its assembly plants in Lordstown, Ohio, Hamtramck, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada, as well as transmission plants in Baltimore and Warren, Michigan, are earmarked for closure. No plant closure would be necessary if GM could sell cars. What else is new? GM consistently had problems marketing downsized cars that Americans were willing to buy since the two Arab oil embargoes of the 1970’s. The once industrial goliath has been losing market share for five decades, slipping from over half of the U.S. auto market to hovering around 17%. Its been cutting assembly plants for decades from Massachusetts to California, laying off tens of thousands of blue collar and white collar employees. Ask Buick City, St. Louis Truck, Wilmington, South Gate, Oakland, Detroit Cadillac, Norwalk, Framingham, Janesville, Willow Run, North Tarrytown, Baltimore, Oklahoma City, Fremont, Saginaw, Pontiac, Ypsilanti, Linden, Van Nuys, and Doraville. The GM bankruptcy gave GM a fresh start. It wiped out the pension liabilities, shuttered factories, cut dealers, walked away from toxic facilities, wiped out products liability claims, and emerged with a multibillion dollar tax loss carryforward, shielding it from federal income taxes for years. GM though could still not design and build cars Americans wanted to purchase. The Japanese and Koreans ate GM’s lunch in sedans. The Japanese and Germans control the luxury car market. “Cadillac” is no longer the standard of luxury cars. GM car sales in California, the largest market in the US, are negligible. Buick and Cadillac survived the bankruptcy only because they are big sellers in China, which is now GM’s largest market. Vehicle sales (cars and light trucks) peaked in 2016 at 17,547,028. Sales have slipped since then, with sedan sales leading the downturn. The top selling vehicles in October were the Ford F-150 pickup, Dodge Ram pickup, Chevy Silverado pickup, Toyota RAV 4, Honda CRV, Chevrolet Equinox, Nissan Rogue, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Honda Civic. Only the last three were cars; the top seven were pickups or SUV’s. 60% of GM’s sales in October were trucks and SUVs, up from 50% five years ago. Detroit is increasingly unable to compete in car sales. The imports are also dropping, but in smaller numbers from a higher base. They are feeling the pain less. Once again, GM is behind the curve. Fiat Chrysler announced in April 2017 that it will concentrate on Dodge Trucks and Jeeps. The only cars it will continue to produce are the Chrysler Pacifica Minivan, Chrysler 300, the Dodge Challenger and the Dodge Charger. The Charger, Challenger, and Chrysler 300 are built on the same platform. Ford in April, 2018 said it would discontinue all car models except for the Focus Active, a crossover hatchback, and Mustang. $11 billion is being reallocated from cars to trucks, SUVs, and electrics. GM at its peak could successfully lead from behind. It did not need to innovate because it had the resources to respond and adapt. No longer! GM’s travails are shown by the Chevy Volt. It announced the hybrid Volt as the future of the new General Motors during the 2010 reorganization with projected annual sales of over 100,000 units. The Volt was a flop, starting with its initial list price of $40,280. The remodeled Volt in 2016 started at $33,170. GM’s assumption must have been the large federal ($7,500) and state tax credits would make it affordable, such that that the car would pay for itself over time with fuel savings. GM sold 113,489 Volts in the United States from mid-December 2010 through December 2016. Many of those “sales” were low-priced leases. By way of comparison, Tesla has sold over 500,000 higher priced all-electric Teslas, while the Toyota Prius passed 1 million sales by April 2011. Companies respond to the market or go out of business. Detroit is responding to the changing dynamics of the domestic auto market. GM is shifting billions from cars to autonomous cars and electric vehicles. It paid $1 billion in early 2016 to acquire Cruise, a San Francisco self-driving company with 40 employees. It now has over 1,000 employees. It is further prioritizing factory investment in China and Mexico, away from the United States. President Trump is upset. He won Michigan and Ohio on a Make America Great Again Campaign, restoring manufacturing jobs to the heartland of America. He’s threatened to cut off the subsidies for electric vehicles and impose tariffs on imported cars. He said: “You know the United States saved General Motors, and for them to take that company out of Ohio is not good. I think she’s going to put something back in soon.” Mary Barry, GM's CEO, sees the future a self-driving cars, electric cars, and ride sharing networks. Time will tell if her vision is correct. General Motors executive Mark Reuss took his son to see the shuttered Buick City complex in Flint, Michigan. His son asked: “Why did this happen dad?” Mark Reuss responded: “This happened because we could not compete.” GM could not compete!!!!!
Monday, November 26, 2018
The Orange County of Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan Is No More: The Times They Are A-Changing
“The Times They Are A-Changing..” Bob Dylan. The Orange County of Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan is no more. A blue tsunami struck California November 5. The Democrats swept all 8 state constitutional positions. They reaped a supermajority in both houses of the legislature, thereby no longer needing voter approval for tax increases – all the taxes they put on the political backburner earlier this year. They will raise taxes, more taxes, and even more taxes. Democrats held 39 of California’s Congressional seats going into the November election. Republicans had 14 seats. The Republicans will probably hold 7 seats after November 5. One district is still not determined, but the votes are swinging Democrat. Republicans are becoming an endangered species in California. Seven Congressional District include Orange County voters. Two of them are essentially in Los Angeles County, so five are mostly in Orange County. The first, representing heavily Hispanic Santa Ana and Little Saigon, flipped in 1996 when Loretta Sanchez defeated Congressman Robert “B-1 Bomber” Dornan by 984 votes. That district has remained Democratic. Congresswoman Sanchez had unsuccessfully run for the Anaheim City Council in 1994 as a Republican using her married name of Loretta Sanchez Brixey. Orange County had four Republican representatives. Now there are none from the O.C. Orange County was the heart and soul of the modern conservative movement. It had a national reputation as the bastion of conservatism. One metaphorically crossed “The Orange Curtain” from Los Angeles into Orange County. It was the lynchpin of Arizona’s Senator Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential Campaign. It was the birthplace and home of Richard Nixon. The County was critical to the election of Republicans Ronald Reagan, Pete Wilson, George Deukmejian, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as governors of California. It fueled Governor Reagan’s road the White House. Ronald Reagan referred to Orange County as “Republican Heaven.” It provided substantial funds to the campaigns of both Presidents Bush. The Times They Are A-Changing. Orange County is no longer the White, Republican conservative homogeneous county ofa few decades ago. The estimated population for 2017 in Orange County is 3,190,400, of which Caucasians comprised 42%, Hispanics 34.2%, Asians 19.1%, and African Americans 2.1%. Registered republicans slipped from 660,561 in 2000 to 541,665 in 2018, barely surpassing Democratic registration of 523,624. No Party Preference (Independent) rose to 429,675 from 190,950). The Times They Have A-Changed. Orange County was a post-War World II development. The pre-War county was primarily agricultural. Farmers are political conservatives. The post-war Orange County was built on the military-industrial complex of military bases and aerospace plants. Developers turned the orange groves and lima bean fields into tract homes. There is matter and anti-matter. There is LA and anti-LA. Orange County was the anti-LA. Orange County partially grew on white flight from LA. Several reasons exist for the change. The first is the change in demographics. A second reason is the anti-Trumpers, who would normally vote Republican. He received 32% of the California vote in 2016 and even lost Orange County to Hillary Clinton. The initial “R” has become anathema to most Californians. For example, Los Angeles Sheriff McDonnell was heading to reelection in the non-partisan election. However, Alex Villanueva, a retired Sheriff Lieutenant, tossed his hat in the ring, and is now heading to election with the absentee, early voting tally. His key to the election was emphasizing he is a Democrat and will kick the immigration agents out of the county jail. He would though deliver dangerous immigrants to immigration. He recognized the need to deport dangerous convicted felons, rapists and sexually violent predators. Republicans lost the Hispanic vote in 1994 when Governor Pete Wilson won reelection by supporting Prop 187, which denied benefits and services, such as education, to illegal immigrants. The courts threw out the measure, but it damaged the Republican label with the growing Hispanic population in California. The fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the collapse of the Southern California aerospace industry. Military bases and factories closed. Thousands were laid off. 1990 saw a recession in California. About a million left the state. The emigres tended to be conservative Republicans. The Republicans had a 22% registration advantage over Democrats. Its been shrinking ever since. Businesses continue to flee California. Carl Jr.’s just announced a move to Tennessee. Texas is very attractive to California businesses. Sacramento sees the economy, and tax revenues, booming with Hollywood and Silicon Valley leading the boom. Sacramento is blind to businesses leaving the state. Once again, Californians leaving California exceeds Americans moving in from other states. Conservatives are fleeing the state. Another reason for the Orange County wipeout was the money pouring into Democratic campaign coffers. For example, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg threw $9 million into two Orange County races, those of Harley Rouda and Katie Porter. $4 million went into Harley Rouda’s campaign. Gil Cisneros won the lottery a few years ago. He poured $8 million of his own money in defeating the Republican candidate Young Kim, who only raised $1.9 million. Both Harley Rouda and Gil Cisneros had opportunistically switched from Republican to Democrat. Democrats Harley Rouda and Katie Porter in Orange County, and Katie Hill in Los Angeles dominated the airways with ads. The Republicans lacked the resources to compete. Orange County voted for Hillary Clinton two years ago. The signs were on the wall. The O.C. was changing. The O.C. suburbs voted Democratic this time, as they did nationally. The younger voters have turned away from the Republican Party. The Vietnamese and Persian refugees were conservative, but their children have been fully assimilated into the American culture, which entails many of them adopting the liberalism of their peers. The Times in the O.C. They Have A-Changed.
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Once again Lucy pulled the football out from Charlie Brown. This time though, she not only yanked the football out, but she then kicked the ball in his face. Oh it was disappointing. It was ugly. It was like getting hit on the head with a 2X4. Finally, the curse would be broken. Michigan had won 10 straight with the toughest defense in the nation. Finally the team had a decent offensive line and a healthy quarterback. Ohio State had been playing poorly, even losing to Purdue by 29 points. TOSU beat Maryland by one point a week ago. The signs were aligned. Michigan had blown out Penn State and Wisconsin. They beat Michigan State in East Lansing. Michigan defeated a top ranked team on the road for the first time in forever. The Wolverines were ranked fourth in the nation, headed to the Big (Ten) Conference Championship game, followed by a spot in the BCS final four, presumably in Dallas. Michigan had already defeated Northwestern. Yes, Jim Harbaugh had brought the Wolverines back to national prominence. Pre-season expectations were 8-4 or possibly 9-3. My prediction was 8-5 to 14-1. I held out for 14-1, predicting Michigan would win it all. That was excessive exuberance. The Michigan family was excited, ecstatic, exuberant. Finally, after 11 long years wandering the pig iron wilderness. 1-14 against the Buckeyes in the past 15 years. The Wolverine Revenge Tour had checked off Michigan State, Penn State, and Wisconsin. Only the Buckeyes were left. Someone forgot to tell Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes that Michigan was back. They quickly scored on a 57 second drive. That was just the beginning. Three touchdowns in their first five series. Michigan’s vaunted defense was shredded by crossing patterns. The great pass defense applied no pressure to the Buckeye’s Heisman candidate QB Dwayne Haskins, Jr., who put on a passing exhibition. He was never sacked or even pressured. Similarly, Michigan’s porous offensive line leaked, not on every play, but on many. Wisconsin similarly torched Michigan last year, winning 42-13 and gaining 502 offensive yards. Michigan’s defensive coordinator Don Brown said he woke up every morning since then, thinking about the game. Michigan won 42-7 this year. We hope he wakes up every morning until next year’s game thinking about the this year's TOSU rout. The viciousness of social media erupted after the game. Cries arose to fire Harbaugh, Don Brown, and Pep Hamilton. Rashan Gary and Chase Winocvich are overrated. A 10-2 record was absolutely unacceptable. Get a life! The 2018 Michigan Wolverines exceeded expectations. Many fans globally have high, not always justified, expectations The question is "What have you done for me lately"? They possess short memories and no patience. It’s happening on blogs for Florida State and USC. One blogger at FSU targeted first year football coach Willie Taggert by posting a meme showing him being lynched. Utterly despicable! Michigan – Ohio State may be The Game, but it’s only a game - not life. Get a life! It’s only a game!
Friday, November 23, 2018
President Trump Versus Chief Justice Roberts: America Loses President Trump is justifiably frustrated with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and its district court judges. They are the leaders of the anti-Trump judicial resistance. Federal judges have lifetime appointments. Many therefore act like a captain of a ship, or even God. A large number of the Ninth Circuit appellate and district court judges are social activists, who believe in the Rule of Man rather than the Rule of Law. The Ninth Circuit has 16 appellate judges appointed by Democrats and 7 by Republicans with six vacancies. Five replacements have been nominated by the President, awaiting Senate confirmation President Trump responded to a reporter’s question yesterday about Judge Tigar’s nationwide injunction Tuesday against his new amnesty policy, which would allow amnesty only for immigrants who entered the country legally. He replied “Every case that gets filed in the Ninth Circuit, we get beaten. And then we end up having to go to the Supreme Court, like the travel ban, and we won.” He also said It’s a disgrace, and I am going to put in a major complaint because you cannot win – if you’re us – a case in the Ninth Circuit.” He added: “This was an Obama judge. And I’ll tell you what, it’s not going to happen like this anymore.” Chief Justice John Roberts responded through a statement: “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal best to do equal rights to those appearing before them. An independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.” President Trump responded: “Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ‘Obama judges,’ and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country,” beginning a series of presidential tweets. “It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an ‘independent judiciary,’ but if it is why are so many opposing view (on Border and Safety) cases filed there, and why are a vast number of those cases overturned. Please study the numbers, they are shocking,” the tweets said. He continued on Thanksgiving: “Justice Roberts can say what he wants, but the Ninth Circuit is a complete and total disaster. It is out of control, has a horrible reputation, is overturned more than any circuit in the country, 79%, is used to get an almost guaranteed result – judges must not legislate security.” He added “It’s a terrible thing when judges tell you how to protect your borders. It’s a disgrace.” Many of the federal judiciary would have been unsympathetic to the Trump Administration proposals. He made it worse by “taking out” one of them during the campaign. Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a second generation Mexican American from Indiana. His parents emigrated to America to seek a better life for themselves and their family. The Judge was hearing two Trump University fraud suits in San Diego. Donald Trump had won some rulings, but lost others. He said in May 2016 the judge was of Mexican heritage and a member of a Latino lawyer’s group and thus had a conflict of interest because of Trump’s “building a wall.” The case was later settled for $25 million. Ironically Judge Curiel ruled in February 2018 that the Department of Homeland Security could proceed with building the wall. I have to believe that some of the district court decisions are the judges expressing their displeasure in his behavior. Donald Trump complained about the Chief Justice before being elected President. He tweeted after the Chief Justice upheld ObamaCare: “Congratulations to John Roberts for making Americans hate the Supreme Court because of his BS.” The candidate referred to the Chief Justice during the campaign as “disgraceful” and disappointing for his Obamacare opinions. We know several realities about President Trump. First, he is a New York City streetfighter. He fights back. Second, he will tweet and otherwise express his feelings. He is transparent. Third, he is not diplomatic or euphemistic in his comments. He calls them as he sees them. Fourth, he says what many think, but will not say. He’s right about the Ninth Circuit. The are constantly creating new law to fit their social beliefs, often engaging in judicial legislation. Judge Stephen Reinhardt was liberal guru on the bench. His attitude was that the Supreme Court couldn’t reverse them all. His wife Ramona Ripston, was executive director of the ACLU of Southern California for four decades. His opinions had a high reversal rate before he Supreme Court. He felt loosely bound by precedence. He believed courts should be an instrument of social change. His name on an opinion was a red flag for the Supreme Court. Judge Reinhardt passed away on March 29, 2018. President Trump will not fill the vacancy with another progressive judge. Several of the President’s tweets are ill-advised and counterproductive. His comment about Senator McCain was one of his most objectionable and particularly costly. He said about the Senator during the campaign: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.” The ailing Senator flew back from Arizona to cast the deciding vote on repeal of ObamaCare. He campaigned against ObamaCare in his reelection campaign. He voted NO on the repeal, to the surprise of almost everyone. I can’t read his mind, but the vote seemed to have been a vindictive payback to President Trump. His NO vote contributed to the defeat of several Republicans two weeks ago because they had no answer to the preexisting-condition claim that they were opposed to coverage of pre-existing conditions. The Kavanaugh Hearings confirmed that the Supreme Court is a political body, not that there was ever much doubt. The Court, as a political body, is open to criticism. The Chief Justice denies the obvious in publicly defending the district judges. He knows what’s happening. The Chief Justice is not above reproach when using the Court as a political instrument. His two opinions upholding ObamaCare were politically motivated. His fellow justices knew he was against it, but then he suddenly pulled a rabbit out of the hat, calling it a tax rather than a penalty. The second time around, three years later in 2015, he ignored the plain language of the statute which provided “An individual could receive tax credits only if the individual enrolls in an insurance plan through ‘an Exchange established by the State.’” Chief Justice Roberts went through judicial conniptions to hold the individuals could receive the tax credits if they were enrolled in a state or federal exchange. Justice Roberts received withering criticism from the media and Democrats before issuing his 2012 ObamaCare decision. The charge was that a rejection of the Act would serve as an institutional failure for the Court. A ruling on unconstitutionality would harm the Republic and subvert the will of the people. The Chief Justice caved. He caved to political pressure, making the Court a political body. He was strangely quiet when President Obama in his 2012 State of the Union address, trashed the Supreme Court, misconstruing its Citizens United opinion, as six justices inter judicial robes sat in front of him. Justice Alito was seen muttering "Not sure, Not sure," but never a peep from the Chief Justice. He has shown signs of following the paths of Justices Stevens, O’Conner and Kennedy in succumbing to Potomac Fever. We can only hope that the President’s tweets do not push him further in that direction. What’s Chief Justice Roberts going to do next time on Obamacare since Congress has rescinded the individual mandate and the tax penalty?
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Make Every LEGAL Vote Count. Back to the Bush-Gore 2000 Florida Vote Democratic mantra: Make Every Vote Count. 2018 the Florida Vote Democratic mantra: Make every vote count that counts. Yes, let every vote count: The non-residents. The illegal voters. The legally disenfranchised. The double voting. The graveyards voting. The totally bogus votes. The voters who can’t read or follow the voting instructions. Adjust the undercount as desired. Fill in the blanks. No, let every legal vote count. A history of late suspicious, “newly discovered” bundles of votes switching elections to Democrats from the erstwhile winning Republicans. Let’s start with “Landslide” Lyndon Johnson. Congressman Johnson lost his first race for the Senate in 1941. He went to bed on election night, declared the winner by 5,000 votes. He made the mistake of declaring early the vote count in the counties he controlled. He woke up the next morning learning that Governor W. Lee “Pappi” O’Daniel won by 1,311 votes through the voter fraud late returns from East Texas. LBJ, the master politician, learnt to control the final vote. Next time in 1948 he controlled the late returns, turning a 20,000 vote loss into a 87 vote victory over Coke Stevenson. The icing on his victory cake was Precinct 13 from Alice, Texas with 202 votes in alphabetical order six days after the polls closed. The 1960 Presidential Election resulted in Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy defeating Vice President Richard Nixon by 8,800 votes in Illinois and 46,000 votes in Texas. History tells us Mayor Daley in Chicago and Vice President nominee Lyndon Baines Johnson of Texas stole the election. Nixon would have won with an honest count in Illinois and Texas. He decided, for the good of the country, not to contest the result. How times have changed? We have the miraculous discovery of votes that gave Al Franken a 225 vote victory over Senator Norm Coleman in 2008. The incumbent Senator initially had a 726 vote victory on election night with the official count showing him winning by 215 votes. Then came a recount, reconsidering rejected absentee ballots. The comedian suddenly won by 225 votes. The Supreme Court of Minnesota reviewed the case and raised Al Franken’s victory margin to 312 votes. The Democrats controlled the Senate so an appeal to the Senate by Senator Coleman would have been futile. 1,099 felons voted illegally. Senator Coleman could not effectively appeal to the Senate because the Democrats controlled it. Senator Franken and Senator Arlen Spector, who switched from Republican to Democrat, gave the Democrats the 60 Senate votes necessary to break a filibuster and pass ObamaCare. The lead attorney for Al Franken was Marc Elias, who currently is the lead attorney for Senator Bill Nelson in Florida. The attorney arranged for the preparation of the Fusion GPS Russia-Trump Dossier – “The Russian Connection.” Then we have Florida in 2000 when Broward and Palm Beach County wanted to keep recounting until they found the magic number to overturn Governor Bush’s election as President. The Democrats only tried to recount in the Democratic counties. They wanted to count every ballot, or so they proclaimed. They tried to exclude the overseas military ballots. And now we have Florida redux. Bundles of ballots suddenly found after the election. A history of misfeasance or malfeasance in Broward County. An admitted exclusion of 28 ballots by non-citizens and then placing those ballots into a stack of 250 legitimate ballots with no way to distinguish them. That was either an anomaly or the tip of the iceberg. Democratic watchers attempting to get a ballot from an illegal resident counted. Count every vote, or make every vote that counts be counted? Make every legal vote count. Don’t try to divine the intent of voters. It’s no more accurate than the Oracles of Delphi. Don’t presume the undervotes intended to vote for the Senate candidate. If they didn’t mark it, they didn’t mark it. Don’t let federal district judges decide the elections. If Broward and Palm Beach Counties tilt the outcome to Senator Nelson, then the right will cry stolen election. The final recount on the Florida Senate election will be by the Republican Senate and not by the state. If the state rules for Senator Nelson and the United States Senate reverses, then the left’s cry of stolen election will ring out through the country. Let all legal votes count. I really wanted to write: Send in the clowns Send in the lawyers
Saturday, November 10, 2018
The big winner Tuesday night was Fox News. Its viewership of 7.78 million exceeded all other broadcasters, the networks, cable and satellite. Money usually talks in political campaigns. The Democrats heavily outspent the Republicans. The Democrats raised $951 million for House candidates as of October 17, 50% more than Republicans. The airways in the LA/Orange County area were flooded with ads for Harley Rouda, Katie Hill, and Katie Porter. Their opponents, incumbent Republicans Dana Rohrabacher,Steve Knight, and Mimi Walters, were drowned out. Harley Rouda had $11.3 million to spend versus $4.14 million for Congressman Rohrabacher. Steve Knight was outspend $5.8 million by Katie Hill. They outspent the Republicans by 40% for the Senate. For example, Beto O’Rourke in Texas had $69 million to spend compared to $40 million for Senator Ted Cruz. Professor Dave Brat upset the Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, four years ago. He lost this time to Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who raised $3.8 million more than him. The Democrats are opposed to Citizens United. They claim much of their money came from small donors. So they say. Many of their checks were signed by Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, and Tom Steyer. The media kept predicting a blue wave, a tsunami, a tsunami blue wave. 2018 was to be a wave election rejecting President Trump. 1994 was a wave election in President Clinton’s first midyear. The Republicans won 54 House seats and 9 Senate seats, turning the House of Representatives over to the Republicans for the first time in 42 years. 2010 was a wave election in President Obama’s first midyear. The Republicans won 63 House seats, six Senate seats, and swept the Frost belt from Pennsylvania through Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and much of Minnesota. They won the governorships in all but Minnesota and swept to victory in the state legislative branches. Tuesday was a good day for the Democrats, a very good day for the Democrats, but far short of the 1994 and 2010 waves. It may not have been a wave election, but a W is a W and a L is a L. Whether it’s by one vote or 35, the Democrats control the House of Representatives, and all the power that comes with that. Many of the victory margins were 2,000-3,000, illustrating the closeness of the elections. A W is still a W. Many of the pickups were made easy by 41 Republicans retiring. Democrats regained control of the governorships in Michigan and Wisconsin. They swept the statewide offices in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, but Republicans retained control of the legislatures in Michigan and Wisconsin and the Senate in Minnesota. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker lost his bid for a third term by 30,000 votes. They gained at least 32 seats in the House. Kansas elected Laura Kelly governor, defeating the arch conservative, anti-immigrant Republican Kris Klobach. The Republicans held onto Florida, Ohio, and Texas as well as governorships in the erstwhile Blue States of Maryland, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Senator Joe Manchin won reelection while Senators Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Claire McCaskill lost. Senator Manchin’s polls showed he would lose reelection if he voted against Judge Kavanaugh. He voted accordingly. Senators Donnelly and McCaskill didn’t run this time against Republican opponents who uttered incredibly stupid, insulting statements about abortion. Florida Senator Bill Nelson has little to show for 18 years in the Senate, but he suddenly became pro-active by demanding a recount. The Republican Karen Handel defeated Pajama Boy in a special election in Georgia’s Sixth District in 2017. She was narrowly defeated this year by Lucy McBath. President Trump’s blessings allowed Katie Arrington to upset Congressman Mark Sanford in the South Carolina Republican primary. She was upset in the general election by Joe Donnelly by 4,100 votes. Where was former President Bill Clinton this election cycle? Has he finally become radioactive to Democrats? Once again, as he did as President, President Obama campaigned heavily for some candidates, especially Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum. They lost. Taylor Swift’s endorsement didn’t come through in Tennessee for Phil Bredesen. Oprah didn’t come through for Stacy Abrams. California Governor elect Galvin Newsom has the potential to become the next Governor Gray Davis. As expected the billionaire J. B. Pritzker defeated the millionaire Governor Bruce Rauner in Illinois. The prognosis for Illinois is taxes piled on taxes as Illinois emulates Governor Murphy in Connecticut. Illinois is in a race with Connecticut to see which state goes belly-up first. Connecticut voters did their state a grave disservice by electing Democrat Ned Lamont to the Governorship as well as Democrats to all statewide positions, and returning the state senate to Democratic control. Connecticut is suffering from a capital flight, which will only accelerate in the next years. Ned Lamont spent $12 million of his own money on the election. Governor Lamont was a piker compared to Governor Pritzker, who spent $171 million of his fortune on getting elected. The good news for Illinois is that this governor is probably not bribable. The suburbs deserted the Republicans this election cycle. The blame is placed on white educated women in the suburbs rejecting the President. Two other factors were at work. The first is the legacy of Senator John McCain. The House of Representatives voted to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Senator McCain flew from his treatment to the Senate to cast the deciding vote on the bill. He cast a NO, to the surprise of almost everyone. Repeal and replace was dead. The Democrats ran this election on healthcare, hammering the Republicans on their opposition to the coverage of preexisting conditions. Second was the tax bill which limited the SALT (State and Local Tax) deduction to $10,000. The combined income and property taxes in these Blue State suburbs greatly exceed $10,000 annually. The Democrats had the chutzpah of accusing Republicans of raising taxes! Pennsylvania replaced five Republican members of Congress with five Democrats, thanks to a liberal Pennsylvania Supreme ordered reapportionment. Tuesday was a reaffirmation of the double standard between Democrats and Republicans. The ethically charged Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey won reelection by 10% after the Senate Majority PAC and Democratic Senatorial Committee poured $millions into his campaign to save him. A mistrial on bribery charges and rumors of cavorting with underaged prostitutes in the Dominican Republic haunted his campaign. Congressman Keith Ellison won a plurality election to be Attorney General of Minnesota despite serious, credible charges of sexual harassment. Virginia Democrat Representative Bobby Scott was unopposed for reelection. He was accused in 2017 of sexual misconduct. The Los Angeles County Democratic Party endorsed Representative Tony Cardenas for reelection while attacking the Republicans on the Kavanaugh hearings eventhough the Representative was accused of assaulting a 16 year old girl. The Democrats only applied the #MeToo to Republicans. To be fair, Republicans voters in New York and San Diego have apparently reelected two Representatives under federal indictment. Texas beats that by reelecting state Representative Ron Reynolds while he was serving a year in jail on five misdemeanors. The late returns from Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Florida and Maricopa County in Arizona threaten to flip the election night Republican victories to Democratic, shades of the selective and inconsistent Florida recounts in 2000, and a repeat of the Al Franken 2008 election. It seems the Chicago election model has migrated to Broward County, Florida. Always remember the great title of Hugh Hewitt’s book, “If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat.” The dead may vote in Chicago, but Arizona beats that by electing a dead, brothel owner, Dennis Hof, to the state legislature. The new 116th Congress will be the most diverse in history, with at least 118 women in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Two Native American women and two Muslim women will enter the House as will two African American woman from Connecticut and Massachusetts. If Katie Porter holds on to her lead against Congressman Steve Knight in California and Max Rose’ victory over Congressman Dan Donovan in New York stands, then neither Los Angeles County nor New York City will have a Republican member of Congress. Maine’s outgoing Governor Paul LePage is packing up and moving to Florida for the usual reasons of winters and taxes. New York state voters removed 8 Republican Senators from the legislature, replacing them with Democrats. The effect is that for the first time in decades democrats will control both houses of the legislature. The tacit agreement in the past is that the Assembly would reapportion itself and the Senate itself every ten years. The Democrats will control all the entire reapportionment process after the 2020 election, which will strike a severe blow to the shrinking Republican base in New York. Democrats flipped over 300 state legislative seats, but that’s far short of the roughly 1,000 seats lost to the Democrats under President Obama. State ballot results paint an interesting vignette. Colorado and Washington are both purple states leaning blue. Colorado voters defeated Prop 112, an effective ban on new fossil fuel development. It would have banned oil and gas production within 2,55 feet of homes, hospitals, schools, buildings with a certificate of occupancy, and “vulnerable” areas, as well as parks, playgrounds, public open spaces, lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Colorado voters also rejected Amendment 74, which would require just compensation to be paid landowners whose properties dropped in value as a result of government regulations. Washington voters defeated Initiative 1631, a proposed carbon tax, which would have increased the gas tax on cars, starting at $.13/galloon. Seattle residents supported the tax, but were outvoted by the rest of the state. They also approved Initiative 1634, which bars communities from imposing food and beverage taxes. Conversely, California voters rejected Prop 6, which would have repealed Jerry Brown’s gas tax increase, which could cost the average family $800/year. Much, but not all the tax revenues, would go to road and street repairs. The state Attorney general changed the label on the initiative to rescinding the funds for road repair, backed up by over $30 million in ads opposed to the repeal. California voters also rejected Prop 10, which would have allowed communities to reimpose rent control. Florida voters approved 69-31 a ban on offshore drilling. California’s Democrats won 5 of the 8 statewide elections by about a 20% margin. A major exception was Senator Dianne Feinstein, who was expected to defeat State Senator Kevin DeLeon by a astronomical margin. Instead, she won by only 8%, reflecting Republican blowback over her treatment of Justice Kavanaugh. Colorado and Michigan approved the creation of an independent reapportionment commission. Colorado elected the first openly gay governor while Wilton Manor, Florida now has an all LGBTQ city council. Voters in Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah approved the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. Montana approved it a few years ago, but defeated a cigarette tax increase to fund the expansion. Free medical care sounds attractive, but Medicaid is failing to deliver in fact. The 2017 expenditure for Medicaid was $557 billion, of which the feds covered 62% and the states 38%. The Medicaid expansion is a Faustian bargain. San Francisco and Mountain View voters decided the solution to the sad homeless problem was to tax large employers in their community. Let’s see how well that works out. Mountain View obviously believes Google will not leave town. Michigan, Missouri, and Utah voters approved toking up, at least for medical purposes. A wonderful election in Kentucky was the defeat of Rowan, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis, who had refused to license a gay marriage because of her religious beliefs. Jefferson County, Alabama (Birmingham) elected African Americans as Sherriff and District Attorney. Bull Conner must be rolling over in his grave. New Yorkers elected Letitia James, an African American woman, Attorney General. The Democrats ran on no platform, except Trump. It worked. Their priorities seem to be: 1) Resistance; 2) Subpoena; 3) Get President Trump’s tax returns; 4) Impeach Justice Kavanaugh 5) Investigate, investigate, investigate 6) Pursue the Russia conspiracy. Is this what the electorate elected them to do?
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Senator Chuck Grassley, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, threw out the Senate’s blue slip tradition. The Chair of the Committee will send a blue slip to the two Senators from the state of residence of a Presidential nominee. The Senators can check aye or nay on it or not return it. The effect of the blue slip varied over the past century. Some chairs would veto a nominee unless two aye sips were returned. Others would forward it to a committee vote if only one aye were received. Some only treated it as an expression of how a Senator would vote when the nomination came to a floor vote. That’s about what it amounts to now. President Trump nominated three appointments to the liberal dominated Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. All three are conservatives, members of the Federalist Society. The Trump Administration had negotiated with Senator Feinstein into last summer over the open seats on the Ninth Circuit. The discussions broke down. Senator Feinstein was apoplectic in learning Thursday that President Trump nominated three she had opposed to the Ninth Circuit. She wrote: “The decision to move forward on Ninth Circuit nominees without consultation or responding to my acceptance of the White House’s offer reflects President Trump’s desire to stack the court. I expect my blue slips to be honored as I was acting in good faith.” The Senator said she repeatedly told the Trump Administration that she wanted to reach an agreement on the package of three appointees, but the President moved ahead without consulting her on these three. Senator Feinstein doesn’t get it. It is irrelevant how much “good faith” she has, she has to “goodwill” in the bank after her Kavanaugh machinations. Senators Feinstein and Harris said they sent a list od three appointees to the White House, to which they were, of course, unacceptable. Conservatives are equally fed up with both Senators and the Ninth Circuit, the radical Ninth Circuit stacked with progressive judges. The court is known as the “Nutty Ninth Circus.” The Ninth Circuit includes nine states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington consistently have 2 highly progressive Senators. The blue slip gave them the power to stack the federal district courts in the Ninth Circuit and the Court of Appeals with progressive judges. Thus, the district and appellate judges have led the judicial resistance to the Trump Administration. Even if the three new appointees are confirmed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Democratic appointees will still be 16 judges compared to 10 for the Republicans. It’s a start. President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley are committed to reforming the federal judiciary. A major reason for the President’s election was the control over appointments to the Supreme Court. President Trump responded with the appointment of Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The Republican Senators have further confirmed 29 appellate judges and 53 district court judges. Another 7 appellate judges and 48 district court judges are pending before Congress. Senator McConnell pushed through 15 judicial appointments last Thursday by threatening to keep the Senate in session through the election season unless they acted on the judges. The Democrats capitulated on the 15. Another 57 confirmations are pending. Several will be confirmed before 2019. Senator McConnell said Saturday “We’ll keep confirming them.” President Obama had two Supreme Court justices, 55 court of appeals judges, 268 district court judges and 4 United States Court of International Trade confirmed in 8 years. President Trump is on pace to surpass President Obama. The Democrats have then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to blame. The democrats under Senator Reid marched in lockstep in 2012 to eliminate th efillibuster on district and appellate judges. The intent was to pack the judiciary, especially the D.C. Circuit, with progressive Obama appointees. What goes around, comes around. The Republicans are engaged in payback. The November 2018 Senate elections are for control of the judiciary.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
J’Accuse Democrats on Kavanaugh Have the Democrats no shame? Emile Zola published an open letter, J’Accuse on January 13, 1898, accusing the French military of framing Captain Alfred Dreyfus. J’Accuse Democrats for Lowering the Discourse The Senate Democrats Dianne Feinstein for demanding a FBI investigation after sitting on Dr. Ford’s letter for six weeks. Senator Cory Booker: I am Spartacus groped a girl in high school, and urged activists to “get up in the face of some congresspeople.” Senator Richard Blumenthal who, after mispresenting his military past for years, attacked Judge Kavanaugh’s credibility. “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.” Senator Mazie Hirono, who used the hearings to send out a fundraiser letter. Ten women were allegedly assaulted by Senator Daniel Inouye, her mentor. She stood by him 100%. Representative Keith Ellison for domestic violence. Senator Sherrod Brown for domestic violence. President Bill Clinton Res Ipsa Loquiter Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Res Ipsa Loquiter Senator Ted Kennedy both for Chappaquiddick and Borking. Senator Elizabeth Warren for lying about Indian ancestry on job applications. Ronan Farrow, Jane Mayer, and the New Yorker for publishing unverified claims by Deborah Ramirez. Michael Avenatti and Julie Swetnick The main stream media for collusion with the Democrats in the Trump Derangement Syndrome. The Harvard and Yale faculty members, students, and alumni who immediately assumed Justice Kavanaugh was guilty of the unverifiable accusations. Ariel Dumas, writer for the Late Show With Stephen Colbert, who tweeted: “Whatever happens, I’m just glad we ruined Brett Kavanaugh’s life.” Samantha Ness, Minnesota Special Education teacher, who tweeted Saturday “So whose (sic) going to take one for the team and kill Kavanaugh?” Cartoonist Chris Britt for two cartoons, 1) Brett Kavanaugh jumping on the Predator Bus with Clarence Thomas and Roy Moore, and 2) Justice Kavanaugh’s 10 year old daughter praying by her bed: “Dear God, Forgive My Angry, Lying, Alcoholic Father for Sexually Assaulting Dr. Ford.” Erik Brady, sportswriter for USA Today, for writing “The U.S. Senate may yet confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, but he should stay off basketball courts for now when kids are around.” Sarah Silverman for tweeting about President Trump “I hope you someday understand what it is to be held down against your will and violated.” Dave Hogue, Google’s UX Design Head, tweeting “You are finished, @GOP. You polished the final nails for your own coffins. F—K You. All. TO HELL” and “I hope the last images burned into your slimy, evil, treasonous retinas are millions of women laughing and clapping and celebrating as your souls descend into the flames.” Eric Holder, former Attorney General, “When they go low, we kick ‘em. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.” Hillary Clinton, again: “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.” Representative Maxime Waters who urged supporters to harass Trump Administration officials: “Tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” Antifa. Tell me again, who’s taking the low road?
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Senator Dianne Feinstein is the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She is the only one of the ten Democrats who is not a lawyer. The other nine Democrats are all graduates of the nation’s most elite law schools: Richard Blumenthal (Yale) Cory Booker (Yale) Chris Coons (Yale) Richard Durbin (Georgetown) Kamala Harris (Hastings) Mazie Hirono (Georgetown) Amy Klobucher (Chicago) Patrick Leahy (Georgetown) Sheldon Whitehouse (Virginia) These elite law schools have outstanding faculties. They teach courses in Constitutional Law and Criminal law. They teach due process and the presumption of innocence. Due process traces back to the Magna Carta. It is the bedrock of the Anglo-American legal system and the human rights of the people. Due process is the essence of the Fifth Amendment. Citizens would be subject to the whim of the sovereign (king, emperor, sultan, shah, sheik, emir, president, prime minister, dictator) without due process and the presumption of innocence. These Democratic Senators are turning the #MeToo Movement into today’s McCarthyism – guilt by accusation. Proof is unnecessary. The Democrats’ statements and actions show a blatant disregard of due process, the presumption of innocence, and the rights of Judge Kavanaugh. They start and end with the presumption of guilt on the part of the judge because it suits their political goals. Trashing the Rule of Law for political advantage, if successful, can be the death knell for our democracy and republic. Once the abusers taste success through unbridled power, they can find it addictive and intoxicating. Many believe Judge Kavanaugh is guilty through association because he is a white male. White males sexually assault women. Thus the judge must be, is guilty as charged. Cory Booker uttered the ultimate denial of due process: “It doesn’t matter if Judge Brett Kavanaugh is innocent or guilty. He should be voted down: Ultimately, not whether he’s innocent or guilty – this is not a trial –but ultimately, have enough questions been raised that we should now move on to another candidate?” It’s enough “that his credibility has been challenged by intimates ….” By this reasoning, if enough charges, no matter how spurious, are hurled at a nominee, then the nominee is unqualified for office. Of course, the Senator said in July that it would be “evil” to support the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. Senator Hirono doesn’t believe in the presumption of innocence for conservatives. She said the judge has no presumption of innocence because of “how he approaches his cases – He’s very outcome-driven, he has an ideological agenda.” She attacked Judge Kavanaugh’s “lack of credibility” and “inability to be fair” because “I put his denial in the context of everything that I know about him in terms of how he approaches his cases.” She responded when asked if she were open to voting for Judge Kavanaugh: “Maybe if he turns miraculously into a Sotomayor.” The irony is that she asserted Judge Kavanaugh is suspect because he “doesn’t even get the basics of the law.” Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is also a Harvard Law School graduate as is Congressman Adam Schiff. Senator Schumer vowed to stop the nomination with everything in his power. Some Democrats are threatening impeachment of Justice Kavanaugh if he is confirmed and they gain control of the House. Representative Jerrold Nadler (Fordham Law School), ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee said: “If he is on the Supreme Court and the Senate hasn’t investigated, then the House will have to.” Justice Kavanaugh was subject to intensive investigations. The problem for the Democrats is that they found nothing to corroborate unverifiable claims from 3½ decades ago. A Nancy Pelosi led House of Representatives will ignore due process. Representative Nadler warned “We would have to investigate any credible allegation, certainly of perjury and other things that haven’t been properly looked into before.” He also said about the FBI investigation if not a “free hand” investigation: “If they don’t , that’s a real problem. It would call into validity the entire Senate process. I would hope that Senator Flake and others would make clear that their votes will not be for the nominee unless there is a free hand for proper investigation of these very serious allegations of sexual assaults.” Does Representative Nadler really want to drag Dr. Ford back to D.C. for what could well be a brutal cross-examination that could emotionally crush her? Senator Whitehouse said: “As soon as Democrats get gavels,” they will further investigate the allegations. Representative Eric Swalwell (Maryland Law) said: “If the Republicans rush through a nominee where you have unanswered sexual assault allegations, I can promise you that Democratic senators will be interested in going and looking and those allegations, and if Judge Kavanaugh lied under oath, you could see a judicial impeachment, and that’s not good for anybody, so we should try and avoid that.” The Democrats already believe Judge Kavanaugh has lied. If the Democratic lawyers are unconcerned about due process and the presumption of innocence now, why will they worry about evidence or proof in the future? The dilemma for the Democrats is who should be impeached first: President Trump or Justice Kavanaugh? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Haven't the Democrats learnt that what goes around, comes around? Justices Grouch and Kavanaugh are on the Supreme Court because then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid eliminated the filibuster on federal district and appellate court judges? Impeaching a judge for political reasons is incredibly dangerous. If it occurs, the Republicans would love to toss the liberals off the Court.
Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed 50-48 earlier today. Democrats have threatened impeachment. Let the Republicans play the same game. Perhaps at some point both sides will come to their senses for the good of the Republic and adhere to recognized mores of behavior. The Democrats unleashed furies in the Kavanaugh political battle. Until then let the FBI, Republicans and the Administration initiate investigations of all those who transgressed during the confirmation process. Illegal conduct should be punished. . First start with all those on social media who threatened the justice and his family, Dr. Ford and her family, and members of Congress and their staffers through social media or the telephone. Death and other threats have sadly become the stock in trade of many in social media. They wrongly believe anonymity will protect them. Second, investigate all those who may have lied in providing affidavits under pain of perjury in the Kavanaugh confirmation. If they committed perjury, indict them. Remember that perjury requires intent. Third, investigate those who may have engaged in witness tampering. Fourth, investigate Dr. Ford’s lawyers for possible ethical violations. She indicated at the Thursday hearing that she was unaware the Judiciary Committee was willing to interview her in private in California. If true, her lawyers breached their ethical obligation to inform her, their client, of the offers. Fifth, investigate those who buttoned holed Senators and otherwise accosted them. Bullies and mobs should not physically threaten the nation’s elected representatives. Sixth, investigate Senator Feinstein for sitting on the accusation for over 6 weeks. Seven, also investigate who leaked the letter from the Senator’s office or wherever. Magnanimity in victory is usually desirable, but the Democrats’ scorched earth conduct should not go unpunished. Send a message, or see more of the same.
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Now We Know: They Tell Us After Thursday That Judge Brett Kavanaugh Lacks the Judicial Temperament to Sit on the Supreme Court
Judge Brett Kavanaugh broke an unwritten rule Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was not dutifully deferential to them. He talked back rather than appeasing the democrats on the Committee. Witnesses are not supposed to aggressively respond to the Congressional interlocutors. Witnesses are not supposed to upset the grandstanding bloviations of the Senators. The judge knew it wouldn’t be a reasoned discourse. Some Senators would act like bullies. He stood up to the bullies. He knew it was not a court of law. He would play to the court of public opinion. He had nothing to lose; he knew the ten Democrats on the Judiciary Committee would never vote to confirm him. He said to the Senators: “You have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.” He called the proceedings a “national disgrace.” He showed anger. He cried. He showed defiance. He said “My family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional allegations.” He was not going to sit back and placidly accept more of it from the Democrats. Yes, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was righteously defiant. He threw down the gauntlet: “You may defeat me in the final vote, but you will never get me to quit.” The New York Times editorialized: “Defiant fury … evidence of an unsettling temperament in a man trying to persuade the nation of a judicial demeanor.” Thus he lacked judicial composure and temperament. The New York Times labeled his presentation a “diatribe.” Rebecca Traister of the Times said Dr. Ford “trembled” while Judge Kavanaugh “bellowed.” A columnist wrote he is “an injudicious man, unfit for the Supreme Court.” Adam Liptak for the Times called his diatribe “angry and emotional, embracing the language of slashing partisanship.” Michelle Goldberg of the Times said Kavanaugh “was all snide, self-pitying fury.” The Boston Globe called him belligerent. Nothing subtle about the Boston Globe: “Make no mistake; Brett Kavanaugh’s a liar.” The Times’ Roger Cohen called him “an injudicious man, an angry brat.” Eric Thomas in Elle said he was “petulant and surly.” The judge “Gave a messy, angry performance ….” David Savage of the Los Angeles Times remarked “in tones that were by turns angry, mocking and scornful of the Democratic senators” He further opined “[H]is angry, partisan words …. also may have damaged his ability to be seen as a fair justice on the nation’s highest court.” Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of University of California Berkeley School of Law piped in “There will be damage to the court and its reputation.” CNN viewed his angry rhetoric as a divisive message. The Los Angeles Times called it “a raw combative defense.” Virginia Heffernan of the Los Angeles Times had several choice words for Judge Kavanaugh: “Kavanaugh would rob the court of its magic power” “Hurly-gurdy self-pity jamboree” “Insolent snot who snarls at members of the U.S. Senate” “Rabid far-right agent on the court” The New Yorker saw “not even a hint of the composure one would think a potential Supreme Court justice would have carefully cultivated.” The Star called him “Incensed and wounded, combative and partisan.” Nancy Pelosi called him hysterical and unfit to serve on the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh did not question Dr. Ford’s belief, but called out the politically motivated attack by vengeful Democrats. The judge called the hearings a “circus.” He was not going to play the fool or clown (my words – not his). He knew, going into Thursday, that none of the ten Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee would ever vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court. He knew that they would do their best to politically crucify him. Senator Feinstein was stunned by his response: “Candidly, in my 25 years on this Committee, I have never seen a nominee for any position behave in that manner. She called him “angry and belligerent.” Of course, she was shocked. Appointees are supposed to be dutifully meek and mild, putting up with whatever abuse is hurled at them. The Senator had asked the judge why he wasn’t calling for an FBI investigation. He responded by saying she could have done it six weeks earlier if she had promptly released Dr. Ford’s letter rather than it being leaked at the last moment. The Senator was not used to being called out by at a Senate hearing. Judge Kavanaugh was not meek and mild. He was fighting not only for the appointment, but his honor and reputation. If we are going to talk about judicial temperament, let’s talk about the liberal’s favorite Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, affectionately referred to as RBG. Justice Ginsburg in July 2016 called Donald Trump a “fake” and couldn’t imagine what America would be like with Trump as president. A political comment of that nature is hardly showing a judicial temperament. She followed up in February 2017 by saying “We’re not experiencing the best of times.” Then we have her 2012 rejection of the United States Constitution. She told an Egyptian audience: “I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a Constitution in the year 2012. I might look to the Constitution of South Africa.” She called our constitution “a rather old Constitution.” Our “old” Constitution is the fabric that built our great country and held it together. An update on the 100 plus page South Africa Constitution. The new South Africa government is seriously considering seizing without compensation the lands of White farmers and redistributing the lands to Blacks, thereby following the path of Zimbabwe. I’ll take Justice Kavanaugh’s judicial termperament any day over Justice Ginsburg.
Thursday, September 27, 2018
University of Michigan Professor John Cheney-Lippold and the Denial of a Letter of Recommendation to a Student Who Wishes to Study Abroad in Israel
Professor Cheney-Lippold of the University of Michigan is caught up in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) against Israel. He equates Israel with the Apartheid regime of South Africa. The professor agreed to write a letter of recommendation for a student who wished to study abroad for a semester. Oops! He sent a retraction letter two weeks later to the student. He hadn’t read that the study abroad would be at Tel Aviv University in Israel. He emailed her: “I am very sorry, but I only scanned your first email a couple of weeks ago and missed out on a key detail. As you may know, many universities and departments have pledged an economic boycott against Israel in support of Palestinians living in Palestine. This boycott includes writing letters of recommendation for students planning to study there.” The July 2014 Guidelines by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel included the refusal to write recommendations for students wishing to study in Israel. He was wrong. No University of Michigan department has pledged an academic boycott against Israel. It would be against university policy. Professor Cheney-Lippold told the Michigan daily that he is not anti-Semitic. He continued that he was “following a call by representatives of Palestinian civil society to boycott Israel in a very similar tactical frame as South Africa.” He’s against the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians, viewing Israel as an occupying force. He said the purpose of BDS is to put pressure on an Israeli government that perpetuates “violence and dehumanization.” The BDS Movement proclaims itself to be against Israel and Zionism. It’s anti-Semitism masking under the guise of BDS. Anti-Semitism never disappeared, but it is growing in Europe and in higher education. He’s following the BDS guidelines, but not those of the University of Michigan. The University said it was “disappointed” in his action. It said it will engage “in deep discussions to clarify how the freedom of our shared values plays out in support of all our students.” The Central Student Government voted 23-17 with five abstentions last year to request the University to divest from companies that “violate” Palestinian human rights. The Board of Regents rejected the student resolution. The problem with the University is that the professor has tenure. Governor Snyder last year signed a statute that prohibits boycotts against individuals or a public entity of a foreign state. Professor Cheney-Lippold has the academic freedom and freedom of speech to support the BDS Movement against Israel. He can speak and write in support of it. What he can’t do is shove his political bias down the throats of his students. About 7,000 Michigan’s students are Jewish, 17% of undergrads and 11% of graduate students. UM President Marc Schlissel is Jewish. President Schlissel said at a Board of Regents meeting September 20 that a professor’s “personal views and politics should never interfere with our support of students.” He reiterated: “I will state again: the University of Michigan strongly opposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.” Regent Denise Ilitch called the professor’s remarks “anti-Semitic.” The University issued a statement on September 18: “Injecting personal politics into a decision regarding support for our students is counter to our values and expectations as an institution.” “While members of the University of Michigan community have a wide range of individual opinions on this and many topics, the university has consistently opposed any boycott of Israeli institutions of higher education” The professor has breached his obligation to his students. His obligation includes writing letters of recommendations for students. Students come to me for recommendations for employment, graduate programs and bar certification. They also seek recommendations to transfer. I hate those requests. I hate seeing good students transfer, but I have an obligation to write the best recommendations I can for them. I wish them the best in their careers as they move on. I will only refuse specific students if I cannot write a good recommendation for them, but they rarely come to me. Professor Cheney-Lippold is very selective in his outrage as are many of his leftish colleagues that populate the professoriate. He doesn’t say a word about the 600,000 Jews forced off their lands by the Arabs. What is their right of return? He doesn’t write about the Contemporeaneous oppression and terrorist attacks against Jews and Christians in many of the Arab countries. He doesn’t write about how the Palestinians in Israel have a better life than those in Gaza and the West Bank. He doesn’t write about how the Palestinians in Israel are treated better than the Christians and Jews in much of the Mideast. He doesn’t write about the continued forced exodus of Christians from the Mideast. What does he think about Turkey and first the Armenians and now the Kurds? Professor John Cheney-Lippold is proof that a Ph.D. does not necessarily bestow wisdom or tolerance. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- By way of disclosure, I grew up the son of a single mom. My parents split about 3 months before I was born. My father stayed totally out of my life. He only gave me two things in life: my surname and half my DNA. My mom didn’t want to talk about him and I didn’t ask. 23andMe a few years ago reported I am 46.5% Ashkenazi. My dad was Jewish. I later went on Ancestry.com. His parents, my grandparents, emigrated from Romania in 1905 and spoke Yiddish. A second opinion from Ancestry.com said I was 40% European Jewish. The two companies analyze DNA differently. Ancestry.com a few weeks ago issued an updated report in light of 16,000 representatives compared to the earlier 3,000. It now says I am 57% European Jewish, which means my mom was right about my Swedish grandmother. My mom thought her mother, Grandma Rose, born in Sweden, might be Jewish as part of the Jewish diaspora fleeing pogroms in Russia. I am neither Jewish by religion nor culture, but I am obviously Jewish by ancestry. My ancestry from countries is 1/8 French, 1/8 Italian, ¼ Swedish and ½ Romanian. The Romanian is Ashkenazi.
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
The Ford-Kavanaugh is not about domestic violence. The debate is neither about Dr. Ford nor Judge Kavanaugh. Sexual harassment is dominating the media coverage. The partisans recognize it’s about the future of the Supreme Court. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is a proxy or surrogate to stop the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh, a conservative jurist, to the Court. Her claims provide the leverage previously lacking to reject the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. Women are widespread victims of sexual assaults, domestic violence, harassment, and a multitude of various forms of discrimination. Racism and sexism persist. The #MeToo Movement opened the door for many women to come forward. The accused in the entertainment, media, and academic sectors were often prominent. The cloak of silence was broken. But not every claim is valid or verifiable. The Duke Lacrosse Team, Rolling Stone Magazine and the University of Virginia, and several false claims of rape, racism and sexism illustrate this reality. Just because you believe it, or it’s believable, doesn’t make it true. Victims have several choices: 1) Report the crime to the authorities; 2) File a civil lawsuit; 3) Seek counseling; 4) Discuss it with family and friends; 5) Post on-line today 6) Stay silent and internalize it. Dr. Ford apparently chose to keep it in her until 2012 when she and her husband went to couples counseling. Contemporaneous corroboration is lacking in Dr. Ford’s story. The reality of Deborah Ramirez’s story is even doubtful. She came forward “After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney.” She admitted to being inebriated, on the “floor, foggy, and slurring her words.” There’s gaps in her memory. Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer in paragraph 10 of their New Yorker article admitted “has not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was at the party.” The New York Times also failed to confirm the story. To quote Gertrude Stein: “There is no there, there.” Be that as it may, Dr. Ford is now the catalyst, proxy and representative of the multitudes of victims. Dr. Ford has become their symbol and exemplar. Harvey Weinstein was a sleaze bucket for decades. Brett Kavanaugh is a poster child of the elite, apparently perfect in every way. The judge was allegedly a spoiled preppie, reported to imbibe, in high school. Alcohol and drugs are all too common in our schools. That doesn’t make him guilty. Many times the facts unascertainable. That may well be the case with Dr. Ford’s allegations. To quote Sergeant Joe Friday in Dragnet: “Just the facts, ma’am.” We will not know without reliable corroboration or forensic evidence if the harassment occurred. Is it possible that the incident occurred as Dr. Ford has related? Yes. Is it possible that Judge Kavanaugh’s denials are accurate? Yes. Is it possible both are telling the truth, as they believe it? Yes Memories are both amazing and often unreliable over the passage of time. We cannot be certain if Dr. Ford’s recollection is accurate. She says she can’t remember many details of the incident, including the year, location, and how she got there and back. She may have misidentified her attacker. We cannot be certain if Judge Kavanaugh’s memory is accurate. The incident may have been clouded by alcohol or he has blocked it out. The memories of the other attendees at the house where the alleged incident occurred may also be unreliable. They have all denied it, often under penalty of perjury. She says she has gaps in her memory and told others she wasn't sure Brett Kavanaugh was the culprit. Both protagonists may legitimately believe themselves. Judge Ford may have been a saint most of his life, but he is human. It is possible that he engaged in such an act in high school while under the influence of alcohol. He may not remember if it had occurred. “Possible” is not evidence, proof, fact, or truth. Similarly, the memories of the others who were claimed to have been present may be flawed. The reality is that we will probably never know over the passage of time what may or may not have occurred 3½ decades ago. Yet we have to decide. Unverifiable, uncorroborated, witnessed, unreliable. Remember, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on July 10 on CBS that he would do everything in his power to block the nomination. Ignore the rhetoric and histrionics. The Senate Democrats don't really believe the accusations, but they believe in stopping the nomination. Those who abhor President Trump will believe the worst of Judge Kavanaugh. The fact that recent polls show most Americans now oppose his nomination is a sad statement of the Rule of Law upon which our nation depends. Many Democrats and progressives have jumped on the accusation to derail the nomination. It doesn’t matter to many if the charges are correct or incorrect, if Judge Kavanaugh is guilty or innocent. The Supreme Court is at stake. Wishing it were true doesn’t make it true. Hoping it is true doesn’t make it true. Projecting one’s own victimhood onto Dr. Ford doesn’t make it true. We have rules of evidence and concepts of due process and statutes of limitation that preclude judicial litigation in cases of this nature. This though is not a court of law, but the court of public opinion. It is a raw political battle over the future of the Supreme Court. Yes, it’s about Roe v. Wade and the future of abortion. It’s more though. It is about the continuation of 6½ decades of progressive judicial legislation, going back to the Warren Court continuing through Roe v. Wade, Lawrence v. Taylor and Obergefell v. Hodges. It’s about the Progressive Agenda which is pushed through activist courts when legislatures balk. The Constitution provides for amendments. They gave us the Bill of Rights, ended slavery, bestowed the right to vote on African Americans and women, lowered the voting age to 18, ended the Poll Tax and gave us the income tax. Judicial legislation negates the need to amend the Constitution. The current Court is split 4:4 with Justice Kennedy usually voting conservative but was the swing vote on environmental and social issues. It is believed that a Justice Kavanaugh will be solidly conservative on the bench. It’s more though; It’s the Rule of Law versus a Living Constitution, an evolving Constitution which negates some of the fundamental principles which protect our rights.
Friday, September 21, 2018
Questions About Judge Kavanaugh, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, Senator Cory Booker and Congressman Keith Ellison
Questions About Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, Senator Cory Booker and Senator Sherrod Brown What do we know about the night in question? NOTHING Do we even know the day or year? No – probably summer in the 1980’s Do we know the situs of the alleged assault? No Do we know who was there? 2? 4? 3? Was she even there? ???? Do we know how she got to the party or home? She doesn’t know Could she have been drunk? She said she only had one drink How does she know who was there? What if something happened? Is this a case of repressed memory? Is there any collaboration? The media’s trying to find someone to counter Judge Kavanaugh’s denial? They never found the missing ballots that meant Al Gore won the 2000 election What are the details of the polygraph? Polygraphs are notoriously unreliable. They are not a lie detector test. A person who believes a falsity will be reported as “truthful” Who paid for the polygraph? Who’s paying the legal fees of her two Democratic activist attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks? If Professor Ford did not want to go public, why did she 1)Hire activist Democratic lawyers in August? 2) Do a polygraph test in August 3) Contact the Washington Post on a tip line last July? 4) Send the letter to Congresswoman Anna Eshoo last July? Did she really believe she could keep her story private and not public as well as her identity private? What about the presumption of innocence? That’s in a court of law, not the court of public opinion Shouldn’t the accused have a right to confront the accuser? Is this a replay of the Duke Lacrosse team? Is this a replay of the Rolling Stone article on the University of Virginia rape article? Who’s paying the legal fees of her attorneys, ? What will the temperature be next week in D.C.? Will she testify without conditions? Why are so many Senators quiet on her accusations? Why haven’t the Democratic staffers of the Senate Judiciary Committee participated in the investigation of her claims? Is there concern that if her accusations are false or unverified that it will hurt the #MeToo Movement? Why do they try to compare Judge Kavanaugh to Senator Al franken, who was doomed by a photo? What about Senator “I Am Spartacus” and his 1992 Stanford Daily column about groping a girl? Why are claims of sexual harassment inherently believable against conservatives and Republicans, but not against liberals and Democrats? What about the allegations by Congressman Keith Ellison’s ex-girlfriend about domestic violence? What about the court documents showing Senator Sherrod Brown engaged in spousal abuse on his wife? Why about Senator Tammy Baldwin scheduling a fundraiser in the office of Professor Ford’s attorneys? What about Senator Tom Carper who admits hitting his wife decades ago, giving her a black eye? Is Senator Dianne Feinstein worried she might lose reelection? What about the San Francisco Chronicle op-ed saying Senator Feinstein committed the worst possible timing on her disclosure? Why can’t Hillary Clinton just go away? Why can’t we muzzle social media’s scurrilous posters and death threats? Is this a replay of Justice Clarence Thomas? Is this a replay of Judge Ray Moore? Why now? What about the process? Even Justice Ginsburg thinks the process is flawed