How is this possible?

Is this really America? I’ve already spoken about the sacredness of the American vote in an American election in any State of the United States of America. Perhaps I was wrong.

This is a video of a live hearing by the Pennsylvania State Senators and State Congressmen of some of the people who were poll count observers who signed affidavits of fraudulent votes, questionable actions by the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court, incorrect behavior by count floor managers, poll workers who, for whatever reason, advised walk-in voters that that walk-in voter already had a vote listed under their name – and they had not yet voted. Watch and listen to this video very carefully – it will help you decide for yourself whether or not this was a free and unhampered election. [The convening Senator has been banned by Twitter, I’m told. so if the video has been disappeared, you’ll know why. Neo]

This is people; this is not even a look at the polling machines. People did these things. Our ‘fellow Americans’. Our neighbors, members of our churches or civic groups, our relatives – our fellow Americans. I am now at the lowest point I’ve been in since this whole election started. I’ve always – always – been proud to be American. Right now, I’m not so sure. If there are so many ‘fellow Americans’ ready, willing, and able to abort, alter, interfere, damage our voting process and its ultimate result, then the America I grew up in died a long time ago. I’m having a great deal of trouble processing that thought.

The allegations are horrendous. The people who signed affidavits are, indeed, very brave. This is the cancel culture now – these people have put themselves at risk; not only the risk of a felony if they are lying, but also the risk of the same ilk of people who threaten the head of the GSA. They may have put their very lives on the line in stepping forward. There are further ramifications – and outrage – and NEO is going to speak to those issues.


From Neo:

What happened this week, is best served by analogy, I think. Think of an Iowa class battleship going into a surface gun action in World War Two, say the USS Trump. The ship has 9 16 inch guns which can be individually aimed or fired from anything from one at a time to a full salvo. Each round has a range of about 30 miles and weighs as much as a small car. In fact, I have seen video footage of the New Jersey firing a salvo during the Korean War, the recoil literally shoves the 869 foot long 57,000-ton ship sideways through the water. That’s a lot of power. That what was fired in Pennsylvania above, I’m not sure if it was an opening shot or a salvo but it was main gun action.

The video listed above is the raw data, perhaps the best legislative hearing I have seen in years, serious people doing serious things, and is plenty self-explanatory. But for context here is another video, from a lawyer who I think knows what he is talking about

Yes, it is long, and he talks fast, but he covers the ramifications better than I can.

But the battleship has other weapons, the Iowa class had 25 5 inch guns (a full-on destroyer has 3). These are dual-purpose weapons for anti-ship (and shore) but also anti-aircraft use. These secondary batteries also fired this week.

As Scott Johnson of PowerLine tells us…

Sidney Powell has filed her federal lawsuit challenging the outcome of the vote in the presidential election in Georgia. The lawsuit is brought against Georgia state officials including the governor, the secretary of state, and the members of the election board on behalf of six Republican Georgia electors and two Georgia Republican Party officials.

Given that the complaint runs to 104 pages, readers may want to turn to John Solomon’s brief Just the News Just the News summary. Andrea Widburg goes into greater detail on the allegations in her American Thinker column on the complaint. […]

The lawsuit raises a host of factual and legal issues with respect to which I have no knowledge or expertise. Among other things, the complaint sets forth a legislatively unauthorized alteration in the method prescribed by statute for the handling of absentee ballots.

Among other things, the complaint alleges the huge international conspiracy that Powell previewed at the Trump legal team press conference last week. There seems to be some distance between proof of what theoretically could have happened and proof of what actually happened (in each case, according to the affidavits). I may well be mistaken, but there also seems to be some distance between proof of what actually happened and the relief requested.

This could be the secondary batteries firing but as it moves forward has the possibility of becoming targets of the main battery. If it can be proven, and Sidney Powell has a reputation as a sober and very effective lawyer, this could be quite a case.

Also, in Georgia

Lin Wood writes: “Thanksgiving Eve News! 11th Circuit granted my Emergency Motion for Expedited Review of lawsuit challenging validity of GA election procedure. We The People delivered a historic landslide win for @realDonaldTrump in GA & nationally. We The People will not allow it be stolen.”

Also in Pennsylvania, a Court has ordered a stop to any further action in perfecting the vote. this may be too late about that but there is a hearing tomorrow in this court on the legality of the modifications to absentee voting that turned it into vote by mail, without legislative authority. This is one of the cases that may well go to SCOTUS.

And there is something else, call it action for the 20  mm and 40 mm automatic cannons on that battleship. Has anybody thought about what will happen if the election of Biden is overturned, either into the Congress or in the Electoral College? It may not be likely but it is certainly possible. Especially to the Legacy Media, who have memory-holed or not even covered the story at all. I rather doubt that they (including Fox, which committed public suicide on Election Night) can survive such a thing. I read yesterday that Fox News is threatening their contributors who also appear on Newsmax that they will not be on Fox if they don’t quit. As they are doing so they sound like CNN talking about Red State America, and Red State America is returning the ‘love’ with interest.

Finally, on a Trump legacy issue, the Supreme Court Wednesday issued an injunction that said the Governor of New York may not violate the 1st Amendment by shutting down the free exercise of religion while allowing liquor stores to open, as he tried recently. From The Federalist.

The per curium opinion determined that New York’s targeted responses run in direct opposition to the First Amendment, stating, “Even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.”

This is from Justice Gorsuch:

Nothing in Jacobson purported to address, let alone approve, such serious and long-lasting intrusions into settled constitutional rights. In fact, Jacobson explained that the challenged law survived only because it did not “contravene the Constitution of the United States” or “infringe any right granted or secured by that instrument.” Id., at 25.
Tellingly no Justice now disputes any of these points. Nor does any Justice seek to explain why anything other than our usual constitutional standards should apply during the current pandemic.

Mr. Ed at Samizdata notes that:

Whilst the United States Supreme Court is so constituted, there is hope for the Republic, even though this was a 5-4 victory. Meanwhile in the UK, any hope of help from the courts is a deranged fantasy. But the courts may serve a purpose in demonstrating that point.

And that is how President Trump may yey save the Union.

 

The Thomas Court is Coming

The first thing I want to do today is to welcome back my former (and future?) cooblogger Jessica Hoff back to her first current affairs post in a bit more than four years. I have missed her sense, her humor (or is that humour), her British take on American affairs, and her ability to read my mind. Welcome back, dearest friend 🙂 xxx

With her remarks last night after taking the oath as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett gave us a master class on what a US judge is supposed to be, here it is:

This, like the entire speech, is both remarkable and heartening.

I have spent a good amount of time over the last month at the Senate; both in meetings with individual senators and in days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The confirmation process has made ever-clearer to me one of the fundamental differences between the federal judiciary and the United States Senate, and perhaps the most acute is the role of policy preferences. It is the job of a senator to pursue her policy preferences; in fact, it would be a dereliction of duty to put policy goals aside.

By contrast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences.  It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give in to them. Federal judges don’t stand for election, thus they have no basis for claiming that their preferences reflect those of the people. This separation of duty from political preference is what makes the judiciary distinct among the three branches of government. A judge declares independence not only from Congress and the president, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her. The judicial oath captures the essence of the judicial duty; the rule of law must always control.

That is exactly like the founder’s intended. As for her personally, I like the way Jessica put it this morning.

Amy Coney Barrett did it without sacrificing her womanhood. She did not do what so many career women have had to do, which is to choose a predominantly male way (job first) over her kids. Not only did she adopt two black orphans, she has a Downes syndrome child whom she chose not to abort. What’s not to like? You’d have thought that feminists everywhere would be throwing their bras over the windmill (no, don’t go there, a lady never tells), so why the hoo-hah? It’s that last bit. She didn’t have an abortion. Not only that, she is an actual practising Catholic, not a Pelsoian/Biden Catholic (that is one who wants the vote but not the faith).

Well, except that I doubt Justice Barrett, or Jess for that matter, is any sort of feminist that we see in the 21st Century. Neither of them either needed or wanted anything other than a chance to let their light shine. I’m quite sure that either of them is quite content to be rewarded for what they do, not because they are women, but because they are the best at what they do. And that is at it should be

It was fascinating that Justice Thomas swore her in, for at least two reasons

First, he is the very man that Joe Biden when he was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee attempted to, in Justice Thomas’sown words, to lynch in the hearings. To see him sweary in Ms. Coney oh Hillary’s birthday had to hurt.

When President Bush nominated Justice Thomas, he called him the most qualified for the job, The left loudly dissented. But as The Daily Signal says:

Bush was right. Thomas was the best qualified, because he was a fiercely independent thinker with an unwavering commitment to decide cases based on what the Constitution said, not what he or the public wanted in the moment. Bush knew that Thomas had these qualities because he had watched Thomas go through fire during the Reagan administration.

As a black conservative intellectual, Thomas has been an existential threat to the liberal ruling class since he joined the Reagan administration in May 1981. As chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Thomas earned the very public enmity of the civil rights establishment for opposing quotas and racial preferences.

On the court, Thomas is an originalist, a justice who believes that the Constitution’s provisions must be interpreted consistent with the original meaning when they were ratified. Liberals do not believe a black man can legitimately hold these views.

In his 29 years on the court, Thomas, even more than Justice Scalia, has written the originalist canon. Some 700 opinions, combined with a willingness to revisit precedent when necessary. This makes a generational change in the court, at least as long as we hold the Presidency and/or the Senate.

Imagine that, judges who rule based on the law, not politics or whatever they think might work. It’s not a new day exactly though. This is exactly what the Federal courts were from the beginning until they lost their nerve at Franklin Roosevelt’s threat to pack the court.

If they do little but force Congress to again legislate, we will start to improve.

 

Vote next Tuesday, for America

ACB

I seem to be in a small minority among my friends in being delighted that Amy Coney Barrett has been confirmed as a Justice of the Supreme Court. That doesn’t surprise me. I’m a feminist in my thirties (okay, let’s be honest, pushing forty, but don’t tell anyone) and until I got with my partner I worked’ I worked in areas where the usual political views were of the leftist variety.  I think the example set by Justice Barrett is marvelous. I wish, when I was a little girl or an adolescent, there had been someone like her to whom I could look up.

Amy Coney Barrett did it without sacrificing her womanhood. She did not do what so many career women have had to do, which is to choose a predominantly male way (job first) over her kids. Not only did she adopt two black orphans, she has a Downes syndrome child whom she chose not to abort. What’s not to like? You’d have thought that feminists everywhere would be throwing their bras over the windmill (no, don’t go there, a lady never tells), so why the hoo-hah? It’s that last bit. She didn’t have an abortion. Not only that, she is an actual practising Catholic, not a Pelsoian/Biden Catholic (that is one who wants the vote but not the faith).

I am sickened by the reaction of some of my “sisters” to Judge Barratt. She’s the “wrong sort” of woman. Only women, and for that matter ethnic minorities, with the “right” (that is the “left”) view should be promoted. To me, that’s the epitome of intolerance. The showing the left is making at this time makes me fearful. Orwell’s 1984 was supposed to be a warning, not a blueprint.

I am not a lawyer. What I know of Judge Barrett is what I saw on the news – a poised, super-intelligent (and yes, beautiful) woman dealing with second and third-rate politicos the way a fly swatter deals with the fly. The spectacle of “lazy Masie” asking her about whether she’d ever sexually assaulted anyone was one of the most crass pieces of questioning ever seen; how can that Senator look anyone in the eye after that? But they could not lay a finger on her – or hold a candle to her. Amy Coney Barrett went through all that because she believes in her country and the rule of law.

I know that here I am preaching to the choir, but at home, well, I might as well get my handmaid’s dress and bonnet out – I am sure my other half will approve. In the meantime, God bless Justice Coney Barrett and God bless America!

A Credible Witness?

How many hundreds, or perhaps thousands of times, have we, in the last fortnight, heard Dr. Christine Basey-Ford referred to as a credible witness? Yeah, me, as well. But is she?

First, she is not properly, in modern usage, a witness at all, she was a participant, granted if we believe her version, an unwilling participant, but she participated in it, if only as a victim. Yes, she is witnessing her account to the Judiciary Committee, but that is a somewhat different definition. She is in fact, the plaintiff or the complainant.

Then there is that word credible, which has become a seemingly necessary prefix to the word witness. Oxford dictionary defines it as follows:

Able to be believed; convincing.

Ok, there is the first problem, I’m not likely to find her more credible because every left-wing rag in western civilization tells me she is. Deciding her credibility is my job, or at least the job of the Senators on the committee. That is why we go through the whole rigamarole of testimony. It helps us to define whether a witness is credible.

The witnesses looks and demeanor matter, as does their consistency. In this case, her looks, and general demeanor fit with her c.v. But her voice sounded more like an entitled, whiney, teenager than an Adjunct Professor with a Ph.D. in her 50s. The voice was jarring, not of a piece with the rest. And little things matter, like facial expression, remember this picture from yesterday:

That look, just like it is on Strzok, is the look of a smug, self-satisfied person who has outsmarted themselves, and thinks they have put one over on somebody. It speaks pretty loudly against credibility.

What makes a credible witness? Well, it certainly helps if there is more than one. In this case, we have Dr. Ford, the supposed victim, accusing Judge Kavanaugh, naming four people who were there, all of whom, including her best friend, deny that it ever happened. That works strongly against credibility.

And along that line, we have seen much of Judge Kavanaugh wife, children, parents, friends, and all the rest. Dr. Ford either is, or at least was, married, she certainly has, or at least had parents, and likely siblings, and one hopes, friends. Where are they all, we have heard nothing from any of them, and a cursory Google search brings up nothing on point. Has she driven away all human contact, or are they simply not willing to support this charade. I have no clue but am curious. And that too, speaks to her credibility or perhaps incredibility.

It is also useful if one can speak to when and where, here the only witness seems to have no clue at all, really. That doesn’t speak as much to credibility (although it does, to a point) as to making the whole thing unactionable because it is inconceivable that it can either be proved or disproved. In other words, it’s a story, maybe a fable. Perhaps a lesson as to why teenage girls should not get drunk at parties, but little more.

Then we have to compare her credibility to that of Judge  Kavanaugh, the accused here. It would be difficult to find another person whose c.v. is more consistent, from childhood to today. A smart, conscientious overachiever, who always shows respect to everybody and,, more than most, to women, and who promotes women professionally if anything more than is equitable.

Yep, he likes beer, and when he was young, he liked to party, perhaps a bit too heartily. Well, I hate to say it, but quite a few of us did, and when we were 16, we made stupid fart jokes too. My high school yearbook burned down in my folk’s house, so you can’t introduce it into evidence, and that’s a good thing for me.

But the thing is, nothing in Judge Kavanaugh, is not consistent, not his professional life, not his personal life, not his religious life. Not even his impassioned statement. How many of us could sit there and listen for hours to some person tell unsupported derogatory tales about us, and not at some point burst into an impassioned defense? In fact, I found his self-control admirable.

Then there is the way the committee Democrats, above all Senator Feinstein, handled the matter.

Hiding the accusation, instead of passing it along so it could be properly (and quietly) examined by the committee investigators and/or the FBI. Referring her to a highly partisan law firm who a arranged a non-credible lie detector test, which is nothing of the sort in the first place, done once again by a partisan operator, and then outing Dr. Ford as a ‘Hail Mary’ bomb when all other ammunition had been expended, against (supposedly) Dr, Ford’s own wishes. With friends like Diane Feinstein, one has no need for enemies.

Essentially Diane Feinstein poisoned whatever chance Dr, Ford’s accusation ever had, which wasn’t much since the process is evidence-based, and there still ain’t any.

So, in the final analysis, is Dr. Ford a credible witness? No, she is not. I’m sympathetic that something of this sort may have happened to her at some point but am completely convinced that it was not by Brett Kavanaugh.

In fact, this whole kerfluffle has become an incredible demonstration of arrogance and disdain for the proper evidence-based procedure by the Democratic Party and looks rather like an attempted fascist take over of the government, incredible as that seems.

 

An Originalist Court!

On another site the other day, I commented that the Justices (Judges, too) that Trump is appointing are not so much conservative (or liberal) as they are originalists, as was Scalia. The term is one from the law bloggers, and it means that they look at what the Constitution says, and say it means what it says.

Sort of a civil American Sola Scriptura. Like that concept, it doesn’t preclude change, nor does it disallow other influences especially over time, but it does state that they may not contradict the Constitution.

It matters a great deal going forward. David French has an outstanding article up at National Review on the post-Kennedy Court.

[Y]ears ago, when I was a young lawyer, I had an interesting conversation with a much older judge. He was a Democrat, an old-school liberal, and he said something revealing: “There’s the law, and then there’s what’s right. My job is to do what’s right.” Or, to put the philosophy in the words of one of my leftist law professors, “You determine the outcome first, then you do your reasoning.” Time after time, that’s exactly what Justice Anthony Kennedy appeared to do.

I can think of few better summaries of Kennedy’s jurisprudence — especially in the cases that fired his passion the most — than this infamous passage from Planned Parenthood v. Casey: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” As a statement of dorm-room philosophy, it’s mildly interesting. As the expression of a constitutional ideal, it’s wildly incoherent.

Looking at Trump’s list of 25 candidates (and reading the speculative “short lists”) to replace Kennedy, one thing seems certain: The moment the new nominee is confirmed, no matter who it is, the Supreme Court will grow appreciably more originalist. Look for fewer sweeping moral statements — like Kennedy’s declaration in Obergefell that “marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there” — and more close textual and historical analyses of the Constitution.

That will constitute the start of a return to the tough old pre-New Deal federal courts, that ruled on the law, not their feelings, an altogether good sign of optimism in the US.

So, what to expect? Here are his top three.

First, when the sexual revolution collides with the First Amendment, expect to see the First Amendment win. That’s the way the conflict played out in NIFLA and Masterpiece Cakeshop, to take the two most prominent examples from the Court’s most recent term. A more solidly originalist court would likely have decided Masterpiece Cakeshop on broader free-expression grounds, would scoff at the very notion that the government could revoke religious institutions’ tax exemptions for upholding their own notions of sexual morality, and may well take a dim view of efforts to prohibit counselors or pastors from sharing such notions with gay or transgender clients.

Second, look for the court to offer greater clarity on the Second Amendment. Since Heller and McDonald, the Court has essentially gone quiet about gun rights. Left undecided are questions about the extent of the right to bear arms outside the home (implicating carry permits) and the nature and type of weapons precisely protected. If an originalist court follows the late Antonin Scalia’s reasoning that the Second Amendment attaches to weapons “in common use for lawful purposes,” then broad “assault weapons” bans will likely fail.

Third, you’d likely find interesting majorities protecting civil liberties from police abuse. There was a time when a “conservative” judge was essentially a judge who was traditionalist, statist, and institutionalist. Indeed, one of the quickest ways to determine the difference between a liberal and conservative jurist was to examine their record in criminal cases. The conservative judges sided with the state in close cases; the liberals sided with the defendant. With the increasing influence of originalism in conservative legal circles (and the increasing distrust of state power), the entire Bill of Rights has new life.  (At the same time, judicial efforts to end the death penalty would likely prove fruitless. Who can credibly argue that abolishing capital punishment was part of the “original public meaning” of the Eighth Amendment?)

There are more, so read the article, but just in those three, one can feel the clean air of freedom blowing out the cobwebs of leftism that have accumulated in America these days.

A panacea that will solve all problems? Nope. We have many and important other things to work on, especially education. But it is a start because, without our God-given rights, we can’t even talk about the others – that’s at the bottom of the problem in Europe, even Britain. They have allowed their governments to curtail free speech (especially) so badly that they can no longer even properly define the problem.

I must admit, I never expected Trump to be this good for America, and yes, the world.

Freezing in the Dark for Obama

We’ve said before that much of the climate change debate/hysteria is driven by nothing more than grantsmanship and/or self-interest. It’s still true. Isaac Orr writing in The American Spectator had something to say about it the other day.

More than 200 cities and 12 states have pledged to uphold the Paris climate accord, even after President Donald Trump announced his administration would withdraw the United States from the agreement. These pledges have led four states — Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, and New York — to enact climate and energy policies based on the Obama-era social cost of carbon (SCC) calculations, which attempt to quantify the long-term economic damages associated with emitting one ton of carbon dioxide into the air. The Obama administration concluded for every ton of carbon dioxide released, $36 worth of damage occurs.

The SCC is based on flawed scientific and economic assumptions. As a result, the dozens of regulations imposed on the energy sector that were based on these calculations significantly and needlessly increase the cost of electricity without delivering any measurable environmental benefits.

The SCC overestimates how much warming will occur from increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the air because it is based on outdated estimates from 2007. These figures were derived from a study that concluded doubling the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would warm the planet by between 1.72 degrees Celsius and 7.14 degrees C, with their “most likely” estimate to be 3 degrees C.

More than a dozen scientific studies have since found the range of possible outcomes for global warming is much smaller than the scenario relied upon in the SCC calculation. For example, a study by a group of climate modelers who conducted analyses for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2013 found a much smaller range of potential outcomes; they concluded there is a low-end estimate of 1.2 degrees C and a high-end estimate of 4 degrees C, with a “best guess” of 2 degrees C. Other studies have found the best estimate to be a 1.64-degree Cincrease, if accompanied by a doubling of atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations.

If the actual range of possible warming is much lower than what was assumed by the Obama administration in its SCC calculations, its cost estimate of $36 per ton is much too high.

And it is, and it was. Almost in its entirety, the whole thing is driven by self-aggrandizement, politically, financially, and often both. Add to that a political leaven that very often indeed sounds like nothing so much as fascism, and you have a toxic brew, that will leave the average guys freezing in the dark while he starves. Environmentalism, or more correctly, stewardship of the land is all very good.

We should all strive to leave the world at least as good as we found it. But that does not supersede our need to live and to eat. But that is exactly what most organized environmentalism does seek these days. I don’t buy the nonsense, and neither should you.

You should not waste energy, because it costs you money, that most of us work hard for. But you have a right to try to make yourself comfortable, whether it is air conditioning in the summer or actual heat in the winter. But what if you can’t afford it, well that’s a problem isn’t it? And there is the problem, the radicals in the field, and that includes those states and cities above will make that problem worse. If they could prove that it was good stewardship, maybe it would be worthwhile, but they can’t.

Let’s note that in passing that no environmentalist ever used the word stewardship, likely because it contains a theory that we have as much right to use natural resources as any other denizen of the earth, and the ability to make intelligent decisions.

That goes against dogma. The only important thing is to propitiate Gaia, and cute polar bears, people don’t matter. It’s an elitist position because it inherently assumes some people have the right to tell others what to do. They don’t; except enforcing an objective law that prevents people from harming each other. No reason that doesn’t include polluting and such, it is readily apparent that it harms others.

In sum, Mr. Orr is correct:

Lawmakers considering policies that would hold their communities to the Paris climate agreement’s standards should recognize the flaws in the SCC and reverse course. If they don’t, voters should keep their higher electricity bills in mind when they head to the polls on Election Day.

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