The Last Shot of the 2018 Senate Battle

The Republicans staggered out of the 2018 Senate Mid-Terms with a final tally of 53 seats to the Democrats 47.  They’ve netted two seats but lost Arizona and Nevada through poor decisions and poor messaging.  The good news is that 53 seats means Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, those two northern RINO dames won’t have a veto over who gets into the Supreme Court and the President’s Cabinet.  Hallelujah.  The bad news is that 53 is the best they could do in the best Senate election the Republicans are likely to get in a long time.

But I’m a glass half-full kinda guy so let’s call this one a definite win.  We can look forward to a potential one or two more Supreme Court appointments and just as importantly, a competent Attorney General and FBI Director.  And that’s just in time.  With Manafort reneging on his Mueller plea-bargain and details of Manafort’s apparent role in providing the Trump administration intel on Mueller, it looks like that pot is about to boil over.  So this Senate gain is important but just one more step in the never-ending war.  In the immortal words of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, “Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends.”

I Can Never Be A Supreme Court Justice

The recent allegations against Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh has forced me to accept a very bitter pill.  I could never withstand the vetting process to be a Supreme Court Justice.  Now you might retort, “But photog,you don’t want to be a Supreme Court Justice and  you’re not a judge, in fact you’re not a lawyer, and to be brutally honest, you’re a completely unqualified vindictive jerk.”  So who asked you to be brutally honest?  But anyway let’s suppose for the sake of argument that President Trump selected me for this great honor.  It would be only a matter of time before Camera Girl would be harassed by Mueller until she finally flipped and accused me of some kind of sexual mopery-dopery.  After reading the description of what Kavanaugh’s harpy is accusing him of I realized that what I was up to at that age was ten times worse.  Now granted, at the time I somehow brainwashed Camera Girl into thinking that she was complicit in this patriarchal mating ritual but without a doubt I would be flung into the outer darkness with much wailing and gnashing of teeth if those records were uncovered.  But in my defense it was the 1970s and Animal House had recently come out and we were both seventeen and you know what I mean, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Seriously, reading what was alleged to have gone on sounds like every make out party that ever happened since Adam first played doctor with Eve.  I’m assuming if this gal ever managed to get married she was blind-sided on her wedding night to discover that her new husband was expecting her to engage in sex with him.  She probably called 911 and demanded a SWAT team to extract her from the bridal suite.  I guess from now on every time the Democrats want to up-end a Republican Supreme Court nominee they will find some strident feminist shrew that went to school with the nominee and she will channel her inner victim and morph some attempt at a clumsy pass into an encounter with Jack the Ripper.

It should be interesting to see if the republicans have the smarts to move through this quickly and get the vote in during the time table that they’ve laid out.  What should be interesting is if some facts emerge to make it clear that the accuser is a partisan hack that was selected because of her willingness to fabricate a story that will be extremely hard to prove or disprove and thereby raise doubts in the minds of spineless Republican Senators.

So anyway I’m late for an appointment with a defense attorney who will help me trick Camera Girl into signing a pre-emptive waiver against any claims of sexual skullduggery from the beginning of time all the way up to the Final Trump.  We’re going to try and convince her that she’s won the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes and her signature will release all twenty five million dollars of prize money.  Wish me luck, oh my brothers.

Good Things Come To Those That Fight

A friend of mine at work who follows President Trump on Twitter alerted me that SCOTUS had struck down the Lower Court ruling against the Muslim Travel Ban.  https://apnews.com/3a20abe305bd4c989116f82bf535393b/Court-upholds-Trump-travel-ban,-rejects-discrimination-claim

My immediate thought was, finally!  And that is the beauty of Donald Trump, he’s indefatigable.  They attack and delay and obfuscate and he just keeps coming back to his purpose.  And this must be the first man with a backbone and a work ethic to inhabit the White House since the 1980s.  Hallelujah!  So Gorsuch continues to pay off and in a few days we’ll see whether we also have to wait for Kennedy to go away.  He has been moderating his extreme left-wing social biases in the last couple of decisions but I’d feel a lot better if he were about to call it a career.  And what a relief it is to have someone who understands politics and how to sell a plan and how to strong arm the mindless boobs that make up the majority of the Republican Congressional Delegation.  Since the President’s poll numbers have continued to rise the spineless congress critters have begun to take heart and maybe even start acting like the dominant party that their numbers represent.  Of course it’s too much to ask for them to understand what their own constituencies are shouting to them from the rooftops, “Stop the Illegals!, Build the Wall!”  That would be beyond their barely reptilian brains.  But maybe they can be taught to trust their party’s leader once he has shown them what winning looks like.

 

But I digress.  My point is that with someone running the ship, someone who isn’t a feckless dilettante without any concern for the people he’s supposed to be leading, actual progress on the right wing agenda can be made and, in fact, quite rapidly.  You just have to keep up the pressure and keep fighting back.  And I predict that once some real damage gets done to their agenda, the leftists will start to deflate and even the media will begin to lose heart.  These are not strong people, they are herd creatures and once they get stampeded it’ll be every roach for himself.  And that brings me to the Mueller – Sessions situation.  Something is going on there under the surface that must be something like an arm wrestling contest.  On the surface there seems to be no motion, nothing going on, but what is occurring is a dynamic tension that can’t last.  I predict that President Trump is positioning his forces there to allow both sides to retreat from the field of battle without a decisive event.  Basically there must be a mutually assured destruction in place and once both sides figure out how to retreat they will.

 

So that’s my read.  Trump is banging away at this agenda of things and every once in a while he makes enough progress against the concerted forces of the media and the swamp to declare victory and plant his flag on some hard fought hill.  And they call that bragging.  I’d call them rallying cries to the troops.  Well done Mr. President.

Kennedy Allows That the First Amendment Still Somewhat Exists and Finds for the Colorado Wedding Baker

Reading the decision, it’s the most wishy-washy defense of religious freedom to ever come out of the Supreme Court.  Well at least it’s a start.  Now if he’ll just have the decency of retiring we can put a real conservative in and get some actual justice for this country.

 

Update:

In honor of this decision I will link here to my Trump vs Justice Kennedy homage.  Boy, I hope Kennedy resigns this month.

How Will Affirmative Action End?

For many people on the right wing, Supreme Court appointments are the highest priority for the Trump to-do list.  Gorsuch was the first act of that play.  But what they really want is a clear majority of socially conservative justices willing to act on issues where unconstitutional policy has been imposed on the country.  High on that list are the moral outrages of abortion and so-called homosexual marriage.  But at the very top of the list of unconstitutional policies that damage American life is affirmative action.  Here are a laundry list of protected classes ranging from half the population (women) to all non-white populations, to homosexuals and other deviants who only share one thing in common, they are not normal white men.  These groups are provided the coercive force of the federal and/or state government to gain preference in employment, housing and education.  And lately the sexual orientation and gender identity protected statuses are being used to dictate everything from who can be a boy scout to who can use a bathroom reserved for women.  But the truth of these laws is that they should really be called what they are.  They should be called Legalized Discrimination against Normal White Men.  Because this is the only group that is systematically discriminated against by every one of these policies.  An attempt to do this against any other group would be challenged legally and morally condemned.  But normal white men are undefended and in fact assumed to be unworthy of receiving the universal fairness that the left demands for every other group.

I am not an expert at how the Court system works.  What I think happens is some lower Court adjudicates some case that contradicts a Federal law.  If the lower court agrees with the existing law and finds against a plaintiff or defendant on the other side of this precedent then he has the right to appeal to a higher level of the federal court structure.  And if this continues, eventually it can reach the Supreme Court.  The decision of the Supreme Court is considered final and can even overturn a federal law if the Supreme Court finds it unconstitutional as happened with the Defense of Marriage Act.  That was Justice Kennedy’s handiwork.

How I would see affirmative action overturned will be when some white man is discriminated against because of one of these policies and he gets his day in court and a majority of Supreme Court Justices says enough is enough.  Once the whole range of affirmative action policies are looked at it will be easy to justify their complete dismantling based on the very question of fairness that the left is always trumpeting.  The only question I’m not sure about is whether the Court will decide to phase out these policies or just end them outright.  I can foresee an enormous legal and bureaucratic endeavor to strip out all the affirmative action policies scattered throughout the federal and state statutes and government policy documents.

But none of this can happen until one of the sitting left-leaning Supreme Court Justices retires (or passes away) and there exists a conservative President and Senate to put a conservative appointee on the Supreme Court bench.  I have to confess this is one of the things I wait for most impatiently.  And as much as I’d like to see Kennedy go, I’d prefer it was Bader-Ginsburg or Breyer.  Kennedy’s bad but he is alright on the non-social issues.  I can wait for him to go next.

Gorsuch Heads to the Hill

When Neil Gorsuch heads up to the Senate this week it’ll be interesting to see if his only enemies will be Democrats. Chuck Schumer has promised that he will force the Republicans to go nuclear.  What he is saying is that he will not release the Democratic senators in red states to vote against a filibuster.  The filibuster would prevent the nomination from being brought to the full senate for a simple majority vote.  This is a tricky situation.  There are seven Democrats up for re-election in 2018 who are in states that voted for Trump.  If all of those voted against the filibuster and the vice president threw in his vote that would be sixty.  But realistically it doesn’t seem likely that all seven would cave.  So if the Democrats can let a few of the most vulnerable vote for cloture it still allows few of the more secure senators to vote against.

This leads to the nuclear option. The Dems under Harry Reed eliminated the filibuster for every confirmation approval type but the Supreme Court justices.  This occurred because the republicans effectively blocked Obama’s other court selections.  Schumer at the time was hesitant about the decision.  Now he is shown prescient.  Trump has the potential of appointing another two (and possibly more) SCOTUS picks during his tenure.  And eliminating the filibuster would make the appointments under the current congressional make-up almost routine.

Great! What’s not to love?  Well, not so fast.  If I were to guess, John McCain and Lindsey Graham would be the usual suspects in any revolt in the ranks.  I can just imagine high flowery prose defending the sanctity of the filibuster as a sacred check and balance against the tyranny of the majority.  Blah, blah, blah.

Okay, how does it end up? My guess, Trump tells McConnell to promise McCain and Graham either some senate perks or some pork for their states and they find a way to vote for the change.  Then the same kabuki theater gets repeated during the actual approval when some other senators discover they have perks or pork that need to be addressed.  Long story short, Vice President Pence comes over to the Senate and Gorsuch gets approved 51 – 47.

You can say that eliminating the filibuster is a dangerous play. In four years President Warren will be nominating Justice Obama for the bench and we’ll be powerless to block that appointment.  To that I say, whatever.

You only get to worry about the bullet you dodge today. If you die today, writing on your tombstone that your bullet proof vest is on order would sound pretty pathetic. So the play is sound.  Get Gorsuch in.  Get Kennedy to resign and replace him with Tomás de Torquemada as soon as is humanly possible. And add another conservative jurist as soon as superhumanly possible.  So much damage has already been done that it will take eight years of a Trump administration just to get us back to the baseline of where we were under John Kennedy.

So gentlemen of the Senate, get off your asses and get it done. I was promised a (sort of) conservative Supreme Court by Easter.  But I’m getting impatient.  Let’s shoot for Palm Sunday.

An Early Spring

For a man of whose forebears inhabited the summery Mediterranean for millennia, living in New England is akin to imprisonment on Pluto.  Even when you aren’t personally thrust into the jaws of hyperborean cold, you still are surrounded by vistas that at best include the endless blank-white of snow and ice and at worst are restricted to stygian blackness.

There have been recent winters where it snowed relentlessly from New Year’s Day to April Fool’s Day.  The ordeal of clearing snow and going back and forth to work basically took up every waking hour.  And because of the short winter day it seemed like your whole existence took place in snowy twilight or inky darkness.  After living here for the last thirty years I’ve come to completely sympathize with Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining and see the wisdom of cutting his losses.  Although, to be fair, my wife is nowhere’s near as annoying as Shelley Duvall was.

But this year is quite different.  We’ve probably had only about thirty inches of snow all winter and we’ve had so much balmy weather and rain that my entire roof is free of snow.  There’s been so little snow removal that my back is in excellent shape.  And today I saw a small shoot poking out of the exposed dirt.  My wife said it was a Shasta Daisy plant that she planted a few years ago.  And even the chipmunks have awakened from their winter stupor and begun racing around looking for trouble.  Without a doubt, Spring has sprung.

They say in Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.  Well, young I ain’t.  So, to thoughts of what will my fancy lightly turn to?  Why, Supreme Court appointments of course!

Yes, there is no poetry left in my soul.  The progressives have rotted it all away.  In its place is spite, a desire for revenge.  And what better vehicle for this petty malice than the Trumpian blitzkrieg!  Trump’s current nominee is slated to begin hearings next month and be approved by Easter (April 16th).  This will allow his executive orders on immigration to be upheld in SCOTUS and begin the work of challenging some of the other federal court outrages that have cropped up since Scalia’s death last year.

But I must confess I have a fonder and more nefarious hope than Gorsuch’s succession to Scalia’s spot.  What I really want (and actually hope for) is a replacement for Kennedy.  There have been rumors that such an occasion is coming up this year.  Kennedy will be eighty and he has said he wanted to allow a republican to pick his successor.  There are some circumstantial events that have encouraged these thoughts and even though Kennedy has denied any present intention it is not unlikely that he is planning a retirement soon.

This I look forward to with great enthusiasm.  I envision a reversing of all the recent social over-reach that Kennedy allowed and returning these decisions to the states where they can be decided to the satisfaction of the people, the outraged, frustrated, spiteful, vindictive people.  I think that would be true social justice.  So, here’s to an early spring.  In the words of the poet George Costanza, “life, renewal, all that crap!”