Sunday, February 5, 2017

Pelosi Still Believes Democratic Policies Worked for Americans Under Obama! ^ | 2/5/17 | Alyssa Canobbio 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that she still believes the policies that the Democratic Party implemented during the Obama administration are working for the American people.

Host Chuck Todd played a clip from Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D., Mass.) speech in Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday in which she listed the Russians and FBI Director James Comey as reasons that helped Donald Trump win the presidential election in November. Warren then held her own party accountable for the results.

"We can't let ourselves off the hook so easily," Warren said. "Not as progressives, not as Democrats. The excuses end now."
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

ALERT: House IT staffers abruptly FIRED for bone-chilling reason…

Allen ^ | 2/4/2017 | Matt Palumbo 

It goes without saying that Democrats have had a number of problems with computer security over the past few years, whether it be the controversy that arose through Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, or the following hacks into the DNC.

Most blamed Russia for the hack, and they quite well could be responsible, but while their eyes were on Russia, they forgot about any threats to their security from inside.

According to the Daily Caller; Three brothers who managed office information technology for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers were abruptly relieved of their duties on suspicion that they accessed congressional computer networks without permission.

Brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives Thursday, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.

Three members of the intelligence panel and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues, information and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Time to Get the VA Out of Medical Care Delivery

American Thinker ^ | February 5, 2017 | Mike Ford 

To all my fellow veterans, I'm about to tip a sacred cow here. I would ask that for the sake of our many fellow warriors who need relief ASAP, please read this with an open mind and a willingness to offer tweaks, embellishments or outright different approaches:

Many of us can agree that the Veterans Administration has done a less-than-stellar job in delivering timely, high-quality and cost-effective medical care, especially when it comes to "wait times," for veterans injured serving this great nation. However, there is one piece of good news in this situation: The American public is outraged and sincerely wants to help. This gives us a window of opportunity and leverage to achieve major changes, something historically, very difficult to do in the D.C. bureaucracy.

An intermediate solution now in place, has its own issues. In response to the public furor over Veterans' Health Care, the Obama Administration initiated the "Veterans Choice" initiative, which allows Veterans to seek service outside the VA, if there is expected to be a long wait period for internal service. A longtime friend and fellow vet wrote the following about this:

If you are considering Veterans Choice with the VA, think long and hard. I am out and here is why.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Lawmakers Haven't Protected Free Speech On Campus -- Here's How They Can

Forbes ^ | February 5, 2017 | George Leef 

Much as administrators and faculty may dislike it, the fact is that public colleges are subject to both the First Amendment and the state legislatures that fund them. Legislators shouldn’t micromanage the campuses, but they must set some basic rules.
One of those rules should be that free speech and open inquiry will be protected.
You might find it surprising that academics need to be told to protect free speech and inquiry, but American campuses have become increasingly intolerant of speech that conflicts with “progressive” orthodoxy. I have often written about the rules imposed by campus officials that run afoul of the First Amendment, such as the speech infringement at Iowa State and the miniscule “free speech zone” at Grand Valley State.
Conservative and libertarian speakers have frequently been shouted down or disinvited from giving a scheduled address; students who say something that hurts someone’s feelings are likely to face charges brought by a “bias incident” team. In one of the most shameful events of all, a speaker at the University of Wisconsin, Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity, was prevented from completing his off-campus talk when a mob of students that had been organized by a school administrator broke into the room where he was discussing the evidence of racial preferences in UW admissions.
Hitting the nail squarely on the head, in his January 31 Wall Street Journal column, Professor Peter Berkowitz wrote, “The yawning gap between universities’ role as citadels of free inquiry and the ugly reality of campus censorship is often the fault of administrators who share the progressive belief that universities must restrict speech to protect the sensitivities of minorities and women. They often capitulate to the loudest and angriest demonstrators just to get controversies off the front page.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Press Eunuchs Rattling Their Cups

American Thinker ^ | February 5, 2017 | Clarice Feldman 

In Imperial China, the palace eunuchs were given cups (paos) in which their external genitalia were preserved in alcohol. Watching the once docile and obedient to Obama press continuing their rage at the new order reminded my friend Thomas Lipscomb of the scene in the movie The Last Emperor when the exiled eunuchs “proceed to demonstrate their anguish by waving their mummified masculinity and howling.” I cannot think of a better analogy to this week’s continuing media meltdown.
I cannot begin to list all the fabrications being peddled by the now out of favor and all but exiled mainstream media this past week. John Nolte published a list of fake news by the national media as of January 25 and this week followed up with another list of the biggest lies for the ensuing week. If you read a newspaper or watched TV newscasts, you might want to read his dissection and links lest you remain forever misled. Paraphrased in short form, here are some of the most significant:

  • The entire media lied about Trump’s immigration suspension being a Moslem Ban
  • Time magazine blamed its misreporting on Trump’s Executive orders on Trump.
  • The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler “called on foreign service officers to sign a dissent memo” which was then used as an anti-Trump story.
  • The media has omitted informing its audience of the documented threats from foreign-born immigrants. AP misled readers into thinking that Trump’s vote fraud expert committed fraud because his name appears on registrations in three states.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Democrats Find a Use for Violence

American Thinker ^ | February 5, 2017 | Karin McQuillan 

Conservatives are torn these days. We wake up happy and excited to read the headlines and see what great new thing Trump has done. Then we're hit with images of thugs in black masks beating up Trump supporters. It is very disturbing.

Democrats are scared stiff that Trump's sensible, practical polices will make our country safer, boost our economy, and deliver jobs to blacks and millennials. That's why they are running around in pink hats and black masks, beating dissenters up literally or verbally.

Democrats are rejecting the heart of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power via the ballot box.

Democrat leaders says Trump has no right to enact the conservative policies we voted for, that our election victory is illegitimate. They have embraced violence and violent rhetoric. In Congress, senators boycotted committee meetings, forcing an emergency rule to move nominations forward. Progressives are training government employees in passive resistance. That will create another confrontation. There is talk of impeachment before Trump is in office two weeks.

This is not the 1960s. This is not a mass movement protesting an unpopular war or supporting civil rights legislation. We have Obama's community agitation, not Martin Luther King's nonviolent resistance.

Via powerlineblog, The Week in Pictures.
It is hard to claim the moral high ground when men in black masks beat a Trump supporter unconscious, sending him to the hospital with a concussion. They are "protesting" Americans' right to vet Syrian refugees.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Let’s Get Real About the Trump Travel Ban ^ | February 5, 2017 | Bruce Bialosky 

Before we get started, let me convey the Bialosky Rule: The more protests and the more screaming and yelling, the better Trump is doing.

Hysteria reigned last weekend over President Trump’s executive order (EO) restricting travelers from seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia). These countries are located in the Middle East and North Africa. There are a few aspects of this executive order that need to be reviewed.
This is not an attack against Muslim countries. You all know that this is branding by the Left, but not real. There are 46 other majority Muslim countries that were not included in the EO. You probably also know that these countries were designated by the prior presidential administration as countries “of concern.”
Let’s examine why these countries are considered Muslim countries. Many of them had substantial Jewish populations, but those Jews left in the past 50 to 70 years -- partially because of the creation of Israel and partially to save their lives. A large Iranian-Jewish population settled in America. There are only an estimated 40 Jews left in Yemen. An estimated 900,000 to 1 million Jews were run out of these countries. Would any Jew relocate to these seven countries today? No. Yet many liberal Jews were vociferous in defending people coming from these countries despite the radical anti-Semitism emanating from them.
Then there is the treatment of Christians in these countries. If you review the history of how Christians have been abused in these countries, they followed the Jews out the door. You may not remember all the instances so take some time to review how often Christians have been murdered in these countries for the sin of being Christians.
Unlike most other countries which have Muslim majorities, these countries are Muslim countries because they have run out or killed people of the other major religions in the area. You can put a sign out stating “Jews and Christians not welcome.” Yet I am not aware of anyone from these countries marching to stop the actions against Jews or Christians. Very few if any coming to the U.S. from these countries ever cared to act to protect Jews or Christians.
Supposedly now people coming from these nations as refugees have been properly vetted despite the Intelligence Community telling us last year they are unable to assure us of that. That is because these countries are all failed states except for Iran (and that one speaks for itself). You cannot get birth certificates for these people. We know nothing about these refugees other than what they tell us.
Take a look at the unrest over the weekend. There are a lot of questions about the people who arrived here and how they were treated. There were questions about why we would stop people who have green cards. If you are not familiar with that, these are immigrants who legally went through a process to gain the right to work here, usually with the idea they may further the process to become citizens.
Let’s forget about the fact that the number of people questioned was a small number of the approximately 500,000 people entering the country from foreign lands in the first 72 hours. A little over 1,000 people who arrived here were questioned and provided waivers to come into our country, while 721 were deferred from coming here before they got on a plane. This is less than .2% of the arrivals and most were held for a very short time. Let’s also forget that the crowds out protesting were organized by the same people who were at the Women’s March. It was surprising they were all not out there wearing their pink hats. As Secretary Kelly stated, his people knew about the EO, executed the EO and stated “The only chaos they knew of was going on in other parts of the airport.”
Let’s talk about travel. If you are a regular reader, you know my wife and I are avid world travelers. We sadly have only been to somewhere north of 50 countries. My wife created a business with a blog (Travel with Teri B.) about our travels. We have a list of places to go and have trips planned out into future years. I also encourage my readers to travel because it is the best way to understand the world.
I can say without equivocation that not one of these countries is on our travel plans. Some destinations have interesting history such as Iraq, Iran and Yemen. The only thing I am familiar with that comes out of Somalia is pirates. Do you want to know why we have no plans to travel to these countries? It is because we are not nuts. Plain and simple. They are highly dangerous places. They have many dangerous people living in them. Their governments are either failed or totally belligerent to the civilized world.
Thus, my question would be why do we not have established procedures to intensively screen anyone coming from these countries whether they are American citizens, legal residents or just foreign visitors? Why would anyone visit there? I know some are saying that they went there to visit family. That does not matter to me. These countries do not have stable governments except for maybe Iran, and think of the wonderful people running that country.
I told my brother that if he went to any one of these countries, I would want to know why. I want to know exactly what he did, with whom he met, where he stayed, where he ate, and what he ate. You mean to tell us that under the prior administration you could come and go to these countries without extensive interrogation upon reentry? If that is not proof positive that we needed to revamp our border enforcement what else do you need to know?
Here are some questions for those who erupted over the weekend over the EO travel ban: 1) Would you travel to any of these countries? 2) Would you send a child to visit any of these countries? 3) Do you have concerns about the fact that these countries have either chased out or killed virtually every Jew or Christian from the country? 4) If you are so gung ho for our country to take in refugees from these countries, are you willing to take one of those refugees into your home?
We now have reality about the issue of the travel ban from these seven countries which are certainly among the most dangerous and lawless countries in the world. The only question is why are not a few more countries on the list?

Chelsea Clinton Is the Last Thing the Democratic Party Needs

Observer ^ | Febuary 5,2017 | Michael Sainato 

Instead of moving on—and being better off for it—another Clinton in public office would broaden the party’s disconnect with working and middle class voters. Electing Chelsea to a major role among Democrats would do little to convey a message of change and progression.

If the best the Democratic establishment can come up with in regards to the “resistance” against Donald Trump is sensationalizing tweets from establishment elites as legitimate opposition, the Democratic Party is worse off than anyone understands. Huffington Post, ABC News, New York Post, the Hill and several other outlets covered the brief series of tweets between Chelsea Clinton and Kellyanne Conway, attempting to portray Clinton as a formidable spokesperson against Trump. Touting another Clinton to oppose his administration will only help Trump.
Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign drove the Democratic Party into the ground. Doubling down on her flawed strategy, partnering with wealthy elites and establishment celebrities to “get things done,” continues to show Americans that the Democratic Party belongs to the top one percent.
Chelsea Clinton’s potential emergence into politics opens the door for Democratic opposition to continue citing the litany of scandals and disastrous policies championed by the Clintons. The only good to come out of this would be for Chelsea Clinton to lose a congressional race, thereby re-teaching a lesson the Democratic establishment has continuously failed to learn.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Democratic Madness

Glory to God for All Things ^ | 02-02-2017 | Fr. Stephen Freeman
Dostoevsky’s The Demons tells the story of a revolution within the context of a small village and a handful of personalities. The strange mix of philosophy and neurosis, crowd psychology and fashionable disdain for tradition all come together in the madness of a bloodbath. It is a 19th century Helter Skelter that presciently predicted the century to come. Our own version of the same sickness plays out with less bloodshed though with similar passion. This article attempts to describe that passion. I have termed it the “sin of democracy,” the notion that the universe is devoid of hierarchy and that all things, ourselves included, are rightly described as equal. This is the third appearance [with editing] of this article which indicates that my mind is frequently drawn back to its observations. It bears repeating.
Jesus’ encounter with the Roman Centurion is one of the least modern experiences in all of Scripture. Of all the stories in the New Testament, this one would be the most difficult to repeat in our culture. In our world, we ourselves are our only authority – we are neither over anyone else nor subject to any. We are filled with the spirit of democracy, and, as such, despise the Kingdom of God.
The world of kings and rulers began to collapse at the very time that nation-states began their rise. In 1534, Henry VIII of England repudiated any authority greater than himself with regard to the Church of England. A little over a century later, Parliament followed his example and overthrew the King himself and beheaded him. The same fate met the king of France 150 years later. The march of modern progress has meant death to tyrants.
Except that it has not. When Henry refused to recognize the Pope’s authority, he made himself a “Pope.” With every advance and repudiation of authority, authority itself does not disappear – it simply becomes more universalized. Today, in contemporary Christianity, it is said that “every man is a Pope.” Whereas a few generations ago, people asserted that the Bible alone had authority, today, that, too, has been overthrown. Each person is his own authority. And I will add, that if every person is his own authority, then there is no authority.
This is perhaps stated in an extreme way. We do have bosses in the work place, teachers in the classroom and other authorities. But as anyone in “authority” can confirm, such positions are under increasing pressure and scrutiny. They often have authority, only because they have coercive power. Authority that rests naturally with a person or position has virtually disappeared from our world.
I am fully sympathetic with the political place of democracy. It evolved as a means of addressing tyranny – though it is often quite ineffective in confronting modern leaders who tyrannize in the name of democracy (or the tyrannies of various “democracies” as they vanquish their foes at the ballot box). But I offer no political suggestions in this article and have no interest in a conversation on the topic.
I am, however, deeply interested in the spiritual disease that accompanies the interiorizing of the democratic project. We have not only structured our political world in a “democratic” manner, we have spiritualized the concept and made of it a description for how the world truly is and how it should be. The assumptions of democracy have become the assumptions of modern morality and the matrix of our worldview. It is this interiorization of democracy that makes the Centurion impossible in our time.
People of the modern world have a sense of inherent equality, and often resent any assertion of authority. Of course, equality is true in a certain manner, and utterly false in another. It is true that all people have equal worth – no one life is more valuable than another. But by almost any other measure, we are not equal, because we are not commensurate. I am of equal worth, but I am not as smart as another. I am of equal worth but I am not as talented, or handsome, or wealthy, or wise, etc. Apparently, intelligence, talent, beauty, wealth and the like are not the proper standards of comparison when we speak of equality. But our interior sense of equality often makes us assert equality where none exists.
This is particularly true in the spiritual life. I am sometimes told, “I do not need to confess my sins to a priest. I can pray directly to God.” A young man said this to me recently and added, “The Bible says we should only confess to God.” I pointed out to him that he was actually incorrect, that in its only mention of confession, the Bible says we should confess our sins “to one another.” He was surprised and dismayed.
The Scriptures also speak of elders and leaders and obedience and respect and many other things that have no place within the spirit of democracy. The young man’s mistake was to think that the Bible affirmed his democratic world-view. But the Scriptures belong to the world of the Roman Centurion.
Much of what today passes for Protestantism is nothing of the sort. Rather, it is a thinly veiled cloak for the democratic spirit at “prayer.”  “Salvation by grace through faith” is a slogan for individualism, a Christianity “by right.” There are no works, no requirements, only a “grace-filled” entitlement. For the ultimate form of democracy is the person who needs no one else: no Church, no priest, no sacrament, only the God of my understanding who saves me by grace and guarantees that I can do it alone.
Our outward forms of Christianity are morphing as quickly as the market can imagine them. Even the “New Atheist” Sunday meetings differ little from many Christian gatherings. God Himself may not be necessary to the spirituality of our democracy. Where does God fit in a world of equals?
The classical world of Orthodox Christianity is profoundly undemocratic. It holds that the universe and everything that exists is hierarchical. This teaching is not an artifact of an older patriarchy (a typical democratic critique), but an essential part of the Christian gospel. For if Jesus is Lord, then the universe has a Lord. Democratic spirituality distrusts all hierarchy – anything that challenges the myth of equality is experienced as a threat. “Jesus never said anything about…”
The veneration of saints, the honoring of icons and relics, the place held by the Mother of God are deeply offensive to modern democracy. The complaints heard by those who reject such things are quite telling. It is rarely the classical protest of true iconoclasts that are heard. Rather, it is the modern declaration, “I don’t need anyone between myself and God.” It is the universal access to God, without interference, without mediation, without hierarchy, without sacrament, ultimately without any need for others that is offended by the hierarchical shape of classical Christianity.
A spiritual life without canon, without custom, without tradition, without rules, is the ultimate democratic freedom. But it unleashes the tyranny of the individual imagination. For with no mediating tradition, the modern believer is subject only to his own whim. The effect is to have no Lord but the God of his own imagination. Even his appeal to Scripture is without effect – for it is his own interpretation that has mastery over the word of God. If we will have no hierarchy, we will not have Christ as Lord. We cannot invent our own model of the universe and demand that God conform.
It is a great spiritual accomplishment to not be “conformed to this world.” The ideas and assumptions of modern consumer democracies permeate almost every aspect of our culture. They become an unavoidable part of our inner landscape. Only by examining such assumptions in the light of the larger Christian tradition can we hope to remain faithful to Christ in the truth. Those who insist on the absence of spiritual authority, or demand that nothing mediate grace will discover that their lives serve the most cruel master of all – the spirit of the age.

Berkeley and Hitler

Dilbert ^ | 2/3/17 | Scott Adams 

Here’s the best article you are likely to read about the absurdity of calling ANY American president Hitler. This is the sort of persuasion (sprinkled with facts) that can dissolve some of the post-election cognitive dissonance that hangs like a dark cloud over the country. Share it liberally, so to speak. You might save lives.

Speaking of Hitler, I’m ending my support of UC Berkeley, where I got my MBA years ago. I have been a big supporter lately, with both my time and money, but that ends today. I wish them well, but I wouldn’t feel safe or welcome on the campus. A Berkeley professor made that clear to me recently. He seems smart, so I’ll take his word for it.
I’ve decided to side with the Jewish gay immigrant who has an African-American boyfriend, not the hypnotized zombie-boys in black masks who were clubbing people who hold different points of view. I feel that’s reasonable, but I know many will disagree, and possibly try to club me to death if I walk on campus.
Yesterday I asked my most liberal, Trump-hating friend if he ever figured out why Republicans have most of the Governorships, a majority in Congress, the White House, and soon the Supreme Court. He said, “There are no easy answers.”
I submit that there are easy answers. But for many Americans, cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias hide those easy answers behind Hitler hallucinations.
I’ll keep working on clearing the fog. Estimated completion date, December 2017. It’s a big job.

Trump vs Judge Robart: What Happened?

National Review Online ^ | February 5, 2017 | Dan McLaughlin 

It’s never a dull day in Donald Trump’s Washington. There’s a lot to unpack in Saturday’s controversy over the temporary restraining order issued by U.S. District Judge James Robart of the Western District of Washington (based in Seattle) against portions of President Trump’s executive order on refugees, and Trump’s ensuing tweets in response. For now, let’s start with what happened.
Judge Robart’s decision, handed down Friday night, did four things. First, it concluded that the States of Washington and Minnesota had legal standing to challenge the executive order. Judge Robart seems to have accepted the argument that the states could sue as “parens patriae” (a legal concept that basically says the state can sue as if it is the parent of its citizens) on behalf of various groups of their residents – groups that work with refugees, residents who already have visas or green cards, businesses who want to employ refugees, and possibly the refugees themselves. This is questionable on a number of levels, as the asserted “harms” to some of these groups are too attenuated to create standing for them to sue on their own, and others (i.e., refugees who have not been admitted previously to the country) are not Washington or Minnesota residents unless and until federal immigration law says so – begging the entire question. The states were relying largely on a U.S. Supreme Court case that had allowed Puerto Rico to sue on behalf of Puerto Ricans suffering certain types of discrimination by U.S. states, but in that case there was no question that the Puerto Ricans were both residents of the suing government and citizens of the United States with legal rights here. Judge Robart’s decision appears to draw no distinction between green card holders (who aren’t even mentioned in the order and against whom the Administration is no longer trying to enforce it) and people seeking to enter the country for the first time.
Second, it temporarily enjoined the Administration from enforcing Sections 3(c) and 5(a)-(c) of the order (the ones containing a 90-day halt to admissions to the United States from seven specified countries, a 120-day suspension of the refugee admission program, and an indefinite suspension of refugees from Syria in particular). This is a nationwide injunction, which may sound broad, but if a federal court concludes that a national federal policy violates a federal statute or the constitution, it can’t very well leave it in place in some states and not others. The injunction appears to apply to completely restore Obama Administration policy, with the exception that it leaves in place Section 5(d), which imposes a cap of 50,000 refugees overall compared to Obama’s 2017 goal of 110,000 refugees.
Third, it temporarily enjoined Section 5(e) of the order “to the extent Section 5(e) purports to prioritize refugee claims of certain religious minorities.” Section 5(e), the only part of the order to address religion, states among other things that “the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may jointly determine to admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis, in their discretion, but only so long as they determine that the admission of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest — including when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution…” Taken to its logical conclusion, the idea that the government cannot consider religious minority status in determining who faces persecution requires it to be blind to reality: Judge Robart’s order, if in place in 1943, would have prohibited the United States from considering Jewish refugees from Germany to face a higher threat of persecution than German refugees from Germany. And yet, ​this is the only part of the order that references religion at all, so it’s hugely important to the legal case against it.
Why? The federal government can act if (1) it has been given the power and (2) that power isn’t restricted by someone’s rights. And the courts can stop an action that exceeds either of these only if (3) someone has standing to challenge the action.
As a matter of power, there is no question that Congress has effectively total power to exclude anyone it wants from the United States, subject to collision with some enforceable rights; Article I establishes that power. And it has a lot of leeway to delegate aspects of that power to the president, either ordering him to enforce rules or empowering him to fill in the gaps. The president currently has a fair amount of authority in this area (not unlimited; President Obama, for example, likely exceeded his authority by a blanket assertion that he could turn “prosecutorial discretion” into an affirmative grant of legal status). It’s debatable whether Trump has been given all the authority he needs to issue this order – Andrew McCarthy says yes, while Patterico says no.
But if he does have the authority, then the only remaining question is one of rights. Yet, in a line of cases running from the Court upholding the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1889 to a 1972 case effectively holding that prospective Communist immigrants have no right to raise free speech challenges to their exclusion on grounds of political viewpoints, the Court has taken the position that Congress’ plenary power in this area is not restricted by any individual rights, since foreigners have no such rights to enter the country (the 1972 case also held that Americans don’t have constitutional rights to demand the admission of an immigrant).
That seems to leave challengers hanging their entire hat on the idea that any preference for religious minorities in refugee admissions violates the Establishment Clause, on the theory that this is the effective equivalent of turning federal immigration law into a state church. This is a novel argument (its novelty is one reason I think Sally Yates had no good-faith basis to conclude that the order was unenforceable) but it matters for standing-to-sue purposes because the Court has long allowed a much broader array of people (effectively, any taxpayer) to sue over Establishment Clause violations than any other Constitutional violation.
It’s unfortunate that Judge Robart’s decision, like the one handed down last weekend in the Eastern District of New York, includes nearly no legal reasoning or explanation, such that we could judge why he found the order unconstitutional or illegal. Federal district judges often issue very summary orders when they are asked to rule on an emergency basis on a request for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction, so expecting a scholarly opinion is unrealistic. But with the order halting a nationwide Executive Branch policy in its tracks and sure to be used as a political club, it should not have been too much to ask the court to provide some clue to its reasoning for just saying “this is illegal.”
Fourth, this is a TRO: it applies only until the court can hold a more complete hearing, which it scheduled for Monday. The Administration has, however, already filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit (a very large Circuit full of liberal judges but also some very conservative ones and some idiosyncratic libertarians, so until you see the panel you can’t guess what they’ll do). At this point, what Judge Robart does or thinks is likely to quickly become moot. But with the Supreme Court still divided 4-4, it’s possible (depending on the timing of the appeals) that the Ninth Circuit might end up getting the last word nationwide.

The Travel Ban From 7 Countries: A strange ruling from a strange judge!

Liberty Unyielding ^ | 02/05/2017 | By Jerome Woehrle 

Immigration laws have long treated different countries differently. For example, a citizen of France can travel to America without a visa — but not a citizen of Poland. But a Seattle judge has blocked President Trump’s executive order restricting entry from seven violence-wracked or terrorism-supporting countries, suggesting (without explanation) that it violates the Constitution. Judge James Robart’s order has no legal basis, and barely pretends to. It is a bizarre ruling from a bizarre judge.
Judge Robart’s Friday order against Trump sheds little light on his thinking. But at an earlier hearing on Washington State’s motion for a temporary restraining order, he asked what rational basis the government had for restricting entry from the seven countries covered by Trump’s order: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. As NPR notes, these seven countries were previously singled out by Congress for milder restrictions on visas. Congress did so after terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, in a 2015 law tightening up the Visa Waiver Program that was signed by President Obama. Critics argue that there was no rational basis for restricting travel from these countries but not other countries in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia. This argument is silly, since America has deep economic links and security ties with Saudi Arabia that it lacks with the seven countries subject to the 2015 law and Trump’s executive order. America need not antagonize a key ally when it takes steps to increase border security. Perhaps for this reason, Judge Robart’s order in State of Washington v. Trump does not even make this argument, simply suggesting that for some unexplained reason the executive order may violate the “Constitution.”
To cover up the embarrassing weakness of Judge Robart’s temporary restraining order, reporters at the Washington Post and elsewhere have trumpeted the fact that Robart was nominally appointed by President George W. Bush. They have done this to suggest that his ruling must have merit, because otherwise he would not have ruled against a President of the same party as the man who appointed him. But this is misleading, since Robart is a “staunchly liberal” judge whose appointment was “effectively forced on Bush” by liberal Senator Patty Murray in 2004, when Washington State had two liberal Senators.
The media ignores the fact that Robart’s appointment as a federal judge was championed by liberal Senators like Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who used Senatorial custom allowing senators to veto Presidential appointments of trial judges to obtain the appointment of liberal trial judges like Robart in Washington State. An April 13, 2005 press release by Murray touts Robart’s appointment as the “bipartisan” result of using a state commission to select federal trial judges in Washington, whose appointment Bush then rubberstamped. This Senatorial veto power, known as the “blue slip,” is an old tradition, dating back to at least 1917, that lets senators have a say on which trial judges are appointed to courts in their home state.
When Obama was president, the media did not do this. They would not cite the fact that Obama appointed a judge to suggest that the judge’s ruling against Obama had merit. When Judge James Boasberg ruled against the Obama IRS, few news stories mentioned the fact that he was a liberal Democrat appointed by Obama himself. When Judge Amos Mazzant issued an injunction against Obama’s overtime rule, most of the media either did not report the fact that Mazzant had been appointed by Obama; or if they did, they also suggested that he was a conservative judge, because Republican Senators in Texas used their “blue slip” privilege to block Obama from appointing liberal trial judges in Texas.
Even critics of Trump’s order have found Judge Robart’s order senseless. As one put it,
Judge Robart’s temporary restraining order … may make things even worse in the long run, and had no basis in law. The judge’s temporary restraining order is harmful — it bans giving priority in asylum claims to Yazidi and Christian applicants, even though they are the ones who face a high risk of being killed in Iraq and Syria. (It bans ‘proceeding with any action that prioritizes the refugee claims of certain religious minorities,’ see Order at pg. 5, paragraph 1). This ban is perverse, because under U.S. law and international treaties, asylum is SUPPOSED to be given to members of groups facing persecution based on religion, and the threat of genocide faces only certain religions. The judge provided NO REASONING AT ALL for his assertion that the constitution might be violated by the executive order, and lawyers like Scott Johnson have noted that the judge’s order had no real legal basis.
As another observer pointed out, Judge Robart has a history of strange rulings:
Judge Robart, the oddball judge who issued that TRO against the executive order, is the same guy who issued the bizarre college sexual assault ruling that Robbie Soave wrote about earlier at Reason Magazine.
He ruled a falsely-accused male student could not depose or obtain relevant documents from the female student who got him expelled because that would traumatize her (never mind that it was SHE who performed a sex act on him when he was blacked out, meaning that if anyone was guilty of sexual assault it was HER). Reason’s article about it can be found here.
…Robart also bellowed “Black Lives Matter” in open court, as the Daily Caller noted (in a context in which it made little sense).
Robart’s “Black Lives Matter” utterance came in the context of a hearing about the Seattle Police Department. Robart apparently believes that when blacks are arrested or shot by police at higher rates than whites, that is proof of police racism. That politically-correct belief is at odds with statistical reality, and it was rejected by the Supreme Court in United States v. Armstrong (1996). That ruling rejected the “presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes” at the same rate, because it is “contradicted by” reality. For example, Wikipedia notes that the murder rate is eight times higher among blacks than among non-Hispanic whites. The FBI reports that more than half of all murders are committed by blacks, who are just 13% of the population. Similarly, researchers such as black Harvard economics professor Roland Fryer have found that racism is not the reason that blacks are shot more often by police than whites; Fryer’s study, “analyzing more than 1,000 officer-involved shootings across the country, reports” that there is no evidence of systematic racial bias in police shootings.

Barnard College Pledges New Hiring Policy Based on Race

Legal Insurrection ^ | February 4, 2017 | Aleister 

Only the left could get away with doing such a thing without being called racists.

The College Fix reports:
"College pledges to hire professors based on skin color, mandates social-justice workshops.
A women’s college is planning to hire new professors based on the color of their skin because of the “demonstrated benefits” of nonwhite faculty.
Whether such faculty benefit the college enough to be paid for a full teaching load remains to be seen, however.
After a year of deliberation, the Barnard College Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion released a set of draft recommendations last week with the aim of improving “representation, inclusion, and social justice” in the classroom and on campus.
Beyond hiring a new C-level official to oversee diversity efforts, the recommendations include mandatory social justice workshops for all community members and extra academic support specifically for racial minorities.
The effort is so expensive that Barnard, which is affiliated with Columbia University, will have to launch a new fundraising campaign to pull it off, as the recommendations acknowledge.

The Disgusting Media Double Standard Between Obama and Trump

breitbart ^ | TOM TANCREDO 

Pop quiz: Who said, “The Middle East is an issue that has obviously plagued the region for centuries”? No, it wasn’t Ross Perot, and it wasn’t Donald Trump. It was Barack Obama, the same man the White House press corps hailed as the smartest man to ever sit in the Oval Office. The political bias of the establishment media has never been more outrageous than what we see in the press’s double standard for covering President Donald Trump. For contrasts that will make your head spin and your heart ache, compare Trump’s treatment to the press’s idolatrous treatment of President Obama.
The media’s fan-club attitude toward Obama was unprecedented in the modern era. Not even handsome Jack Kennedy or war hero Eisenhower got the kids-glove treatment that Obama got. Obama’s frequent goofy statements and embarrassing gaffes were either overlooked entirely or treated as amusing sidebars.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Anarchists and Democrats ^ | 2/2/2017 | John Velisek USN (Ret.) 

Once again at Berkeley, it was shown to the American people who the real Nazis are. In a fit of childish outrage, a group of about 150 people with the faces covered created chaos on the campus. Starting fires, beating Trump supporters, destroying ATM’s, and even pepper spraying one lady who they felt might be a Trump supporter just for wearing a red hat is just showing how intolerant the “tolerant opposition” really is. It is nothing more that normalizing violence in the agenda to meet the ends the progressive/socialist want.

My family came to the United States in 1934 from Czechoslovakia. They saw the degeneracy, the intolerance a small minority of low IQ pedophiles and immorality that had become the culture of the true Nazis of the time. Speaking far and wide and abetted by a socialist media they talk to the need of “social justice” “white privilege” and “revolution”. What they really want is a degenerate world made to their liking.
The media, complicit in anything that will bring down Trump is facilitating the damage being done to our culture and the damage to property and victims of their riots. San Francisco papers, this morning, are calling these peaceful protests even as the country has seen the pictures and knows better. They do not mention the fact that was shown in videos that rioters threw bricks and fired fireworks at the police, threw red paint on Trump supporters and lit a generator and light pole that the police had brought in on fire. They smashed windows, burned cars , and have called for the deaths of any Trump supporter or in the case of one Portland teacher associated with the Black lives Matter movement called on white to give to blacks all the property, money and houses in the possession of any white.
And then there is the latte sipping, ignorant, gated community living celebrities who think they are so politically in tune with America. Self important fools like Judd Apatow tweeting that this is just the beginning and adding “When will all the fools who are still supporting Trump realize what is at stake? Hey Judd Boy. We do realize what is at stake. Get out of your cushy little area where all you do is talk about revolution over dinner at your favorite café and go out and work for a living. Get your hands dirty in Middle America where people actually work hard every day to make a living for their family. Those are the “real” people who know what is at stake. Your degeneracy and culture of drug use and pedophilia in Hollywood, you attitude of being better than the so called unwashed masses and looking down your nose at anyone not part of your clique would be an awakening of epic proportions. After years of lecturing the right about dangerous rhetoric that causes violence and blaming every act of violence on the right, at least until it was proven most attacks were by progressive/socialists, these same people are openly advocating violence in our entertainment, in our politics and in our classrooms. Gone are the days of reasonable debate, call discussions of alternative viewpoints, and respect. The individual has become expendable to the progressive agenda
Lexi Alexander, another filmmaker of low intelligence declared “punch a Nazi, riot when your college invites a Nazi and set it all on fire. Acting like a true Nazi, and not allowing those of a differing opinion to speak and truly what Naziism looked like. It is informative that most of those in Hollywood will speak out about how terrible our country is, and how much white people have destroyed it, look down their noses on non-Hollywood types and speak of how ignorant they are. How many of you have ever read the Constituion, or the Bill of rights, or even have idea about how government works? She makes a declaration that in case you doubt you should study History. If you do you will find that Lexi, Judd, and the rioters are acting just like the brownshirts of 1936-39. You want us to read History? Some of us already have, and some know people who have lived through the second World War. There is no difference between the anarchists and the sycophants that back them like you and the Gestapo of the second World War. I suppose you think you will survive the chaos you create, but you need to understand that there are enough patriots in this country to assure failure and those causing the anarchy to be help personally responsible. So please quit calling others Nazi when you are the epitome of what the Nazis were. I would not be surprised if you and your ilk learned the steps to take from George Soros, a Nazi collaborator. After all, it has been proven that Soros is financing the rioters.
And then there is David Harbour called for punching people who he feels are disenfranchising people to loud ovations from the crowd. By that he means those that the majority of the people in this country should work for a living and not just get a handout. He made quite a thunderous speech about accepting freaks and outcasts and those who have no home. Hey David, how about you take them into your home, your city. Think that will happen. He speaks of casual violence, but what was Berkeley if not casual violence? He speaks of heart, and soul, and joy and then calls for punching people in the face. Sir, you are a hypocrite, like much of Hollywood. Where is the closest homeless shelter to you, where are the nearest refugees to where you live, have you helped them, have ANY of you in Hollywood helped them? And I mean personally, not just throwing a pittance of your millions in their direction to some group.
There have been others who have called for violence against those that disagree with the progressive/socialist way of thinking. The agenda is all that matters, and it starts in the halls of Congress with Democrats boycotting hearing and SAN FRAN Nancy Pelosi going on a rant about the nomi8ness for the Supreme Court, stating this if you breathe, eat, need medical help this man is a danger. Such stupidity can only take place in someone elected in San Francisco. Of course, there were no examples to back up this diatribe, because there are none. But your Democrat party doesn’t care if it isn’t true, they will blather it enough so that low information voters and those on the dole will believe it, aided and abetted by a socialist media. This is the same media that justifies violence against Trump supporters, and has since the election, because they believe them to fascists, a term lightly used by these people with no idea of its meaning. Being in the pocket of the progressives/socialists that continually find anyone who disagrees with them as being eligible to have their rights violated.
How long before these upstanding members of the Weimar Republic and their toadies in the media proclaim that all anarchists and rioter are beneficial to our country and they should actively go looking for the” Nazis” on the right? And what right does anyone have to demand that CEO’s of any company make known where they stand in politics? Kara Swisher, executive editor of Recode is doing precisely that I order to let the progressives know who the target of their destruction must be.
Hitler would be proud. George Soros learned his lessons well. The anarchists have the media, entertainment and academia under his control. There will be violence in the future. Both the media and the anarchists will attempt anything they can to destroy this government and the culture that has made America what it is today.
The anarchists who created Berkeley and will create more violence must be stopped. They must be jailed, they must be prosecuted with domestic violence and incitement to riots. They should receive a jail sentence as long as legally possible. And those responsible for this incitement such as Janet Napolitano and chancellor Nicholas Birks should be jailed as well for creating an atmosphere where something like this would happen.
Something needs to done. There needs to be a way found to end the violence and get back to reasonable discussion over disagreements. I hope it happens soon. It probably won’t because the progressives/ socialist think the only way to win is through violence, and those in the Democrat Party are aiding this violence with all the talk of “Trump is Hitler” and obstructing all paths to a better understanding through slandering those that do not agree. After all, that is where the anarchists learned what they are doing now. All they are doing are turning people away from the Democrat party. Let’s hope that a way can be found to find a common ground before real bullets start to fly.

Backlash for Starbucks after Trump protest

Speisa ^ | 2/4/17 

The American cafe chain Starbucks has faced hefty criticism since it last Sunday declared that the company will employ 10,000 refugees in protest against President Donald Trump's immigration ban.

"There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business," wrote Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz in a statement Sunday.

During the US election campaign, Schultz campaigned for Hillary Clinton, and now that Trump instead has been sworn in to the office, he supports those who want to fight the new government policy.

But the news has attracted unusually strong protests, reports Reuters. Thousands of tweets are tagged with #BoycottStarbucks in a call to boycott the coffee shop chain. The call has reached out to millions of tweeters.

The protesters also come from very different political camps. African Americans, for example, are raging against Starbucks' investment in new immigrants instead of doing something about unemployment among the black population. Others think that Starbucks should focus on offering jobs to former servicemen instead of refugees, which the café giant talked about doing a few years ago.

Black Rifle Coffee Company, a smaller new contender founded by Evan Hafer, a veteran of the Iraq war, took the opportunity to take advantage of the protests. He now promises to hire 10,000 veterans, reports Fox News, in response to Starbucks politically correct belly flop.

Howard Schultz has responded to the criticism with that the company has hired thousands of veterans in recent years, writes Business Insider. Many left-wing activists also say they intend to support Starbucks after the company's decision to hire new immigrants. So good luck dining with Antifa.

With violence and extremism, the Left has lost the moral high ground on Trump

InForum ^ | February 4, 2017 | Rob Port 

I desperately want Donald Trump to be a good President.
If he could unravel the harmful policies of the Obama administration, and take a wrecking ball to entrenched bureaucratic and political power in Washington D.C., he could go down as one of our nation's greatest leaders.
Or he could become a laughing stock. An embarrassing political footnote. Something akin to Minnesota electing Jesse Ventura to be governor.
Sometimes the moment can make the man. I've been waiting for Democrats to rise to the occasion of the Trump presidency by becoming the loyal opposition.
Trump would be a better sort of president, I believe, if faced with principled, reasoned, rational dissent.
Unfortunately what we've gotten from the left has been petulance and a violent sort of extremism.
Trump's election was met with days of violent rioting.
Trump's inauguration prompted more violence and vandalism.
At the University of California Berkeley, home of another generation's Free Speech Movement, a College Republicans event featuring infamous pro-Trump provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled as left wing activists rioted. They threw bricks, set fires, vandalized campus buildings, and trashed local businesses. Ultimately a half dozen people were injured.
Some of you reading this might argue that Democrats who oppose Trump don't necessarily condone these violent acts, but they kind of do. Far from condemning the violence, they're encouraging it.
"This is just beginning," left wing celebrity and prominent Democrat donor Judd Apatow tweeted about the Berkeley riot.
Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's running mate, urged Americans to "fight in the streets" during an appearance on MSNBC this last week.
Former President Barack Obama himself encouraged activists disrupting American air travel over Trump's immigration orders, saying he was "heartened" by their activities which, in some instances, devolved into violence.
Former President George W. Bush has been largely silent on political issues in his years since leaving the White House. Obama couldn't extend that same courtesy to Trump for longer than 8 days.
In North Dakota, Chase Iron Eyes, nominated by North Dakota Democrats to run for the U.S. House last year, was arrested in what have often been violent and unlawful protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Nor is this merely a national phenomena. Left wing commentators in North Dakota glibly refer to Trump administration officials as "white supremacists." Newspaper editorials blame "xenophobia" for perfectly valid concerns over refugee resettlement.
Back in 2009, before it was co-opted by various political factions, I was a member of the Tea Party movement. I helped organize rallies around the state attended by thousands of concerned citizens. I remember at the time being told by editorial boards and left wing commentators that we were extremists engaged in dangerous, ominous rhetoric. When we expressed support for states' rights and the 10th amendment, it was suggested that we were probably secessionists to boot.
When former Congresswoman Gabbie Giffords was shot by a deranged man in Tucson, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chairwoman of the DNC, blamed the Tea Party movement.
The Tea Party movement which, unlike the anti-Trump left, was responsible for exactly zero riots. Zero public beatings. The number of highways or airports blocked by rioting tea partiers? Also zero.
The Tea Party was never about secession, but today California liberals have started a real drive to remove that state from the union.
I guess violent rhetoric and secessionist movements are OK as long as they're perpetrated by people of the right political persuasion.
And even as Hillary Clinton voters riot in the streets, Democrats refuse to attend committee hearings on Trump's appointments. Democrats aim to obstruct Trump's Supreme Court nominee, though many of them voted for that same nominee when he was appointed to lower courts.
What this petulance and extremism from Democrats has left those of us inclined to be skeptical of Trump with nowhere to go. Their behavior almost seems to justify Trump's.
What a shame.

"Dear Leftist, You Need To Take A Closer Look At The Real 'Refugees' Before You Denounce 'Vetting'"

Zero Hedge ^ | 4 Feb, 2017 | Tyler Durden 

Plenty of mainstream media outlets have been critical of the Trump executive orders regarding immigration and “vetting” of refugees. There are too many to list, but I will use an excerpt from a U.S. News article to drive the general point home:

When the United States accepts refugees from countries with a significant Muslim population, we undermine the anti-American hatred that underlies Islamic State group recruitment. Closing America’s door to Syrian refugees, therefore, is not only a heartless hiccup in our nation’s history, it also validates Islamic State group propaganda, advances the group’s agenda and drives refugees back into the arms of dangerous terrorists. By turning away Syrian refugees, Trump is plunging America into a national security nightmare.

......But, Express makes it appear as though these are just “hopeless” children who are playing with toy guns, and that Western nations denying refugees entry into our nations are just awful.
I can already feel the next quote coming: “Those kids in Express’s slideshow were playing with toy guns, and even if the kids in the above video have real guns, they have no real training, and would never shoot anyone!”
Well… when I said the MSM and the many immigration protesters were either willfully ignorant or outright malicious, I really meant it.
The below video is so graphic, I was hesitant to post it. But Free Market Shooter is not a “safe space,” and if you are looking for one, you’re in the wrong place. I will however provide one last warning – if you are squeamish, easily disturbed, or just plain scared of the truth, DO NOT WATCH THIS VIDEO, BECAUSE IT IS EXTREMELY GRAPHIC. A description is provided below the video, if you cannot watch.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Trump is no fascist. He is a champion for the forgotten millions!

The Manchester Guardian ^ | February 4, 2017 | John Daniel Davidson 

Amid the ongoing protests against President Trump, calls for “resistance” among Democratic politicians and activists, and the overheated rhetoric casting Trump and his supporters as fascists and xenophobes, an outsider might be forgiven for thinking that America has been taken over by a small faction of rightwing nationalists.

America is deeply divided, but it’s not divided between fascists and Democrats. It’s more accurate to say that America is divided between the elites and everybody else, and Trump’s election was a rejection of the elites.
That’s not to say plenty of Democrats and progressives don’t vehemently oppose Trump. But the crowds of demonstrators share something in common with our political and media elites: they still don’t understand how Trump got elected, or why millions of Americans continue to support him. Even now, recent polls show that more Americans support Trump’s executive order on immigration than oppose it, but you wouldn’t know it based on the media coverage.
Support for Trump’s travel ban, indeed his entire agenda for immigration reform, is precisely the sort of thing mainstream media, concentrated in urban enclaves along our coasts, has trouble comprehending. The fact is, many Americans who voted for Trump, especially those in suburban and rural areas across the heartland and the south, have long felt disconnected from the institutions that govern them. On immigration and trade, the issues that propelled Trump to the White House, they want the status quo to change.
During his first two weeks in office, whenever Trump has done something that leaves political and media elites aghast, his supporters cheer. They like that he told Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto he might have to send troops across the border to stop “bad hombres down there”....
(Excerpt) Read more at ...