Friday, July 12, 2024

What Does the DOJ Not Want Americans to Know? | City Journal

Things are going poorly for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. Documents unsealed in Boe v. Marshall, a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s ban on hormonal and surgical transgender procedures for minors, reveal that WPATH manipulated the evidence review process when drafting its recommendations for treating youth and adults. It then misled the public and colleagues in the medical profession, claiming that its eighth version of “standards of care” (SOC-8) was “developed using an evidence-based approach.” Eli Coleman, SOC-8’s committee chair and lead author, claimed that the SOC-8’s developers employed “the most rigorous protocol in the world to ensure these standards reflect scientific evidence and meet the needs of transgender patients.”

The documents also reveal that Rachel Levine, a top official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, used an aide to pressure WPATH to eliminate age minimums for procedures including double mastectomy and genital surgery. Additionally, they showed that members of WPATH’s guideline-development group privately denounced the American Academy of Pediatrics’s 2018 policy statement on “gender-affirming care” as non-evidence based and as having “a very weak methodology.” When the American Medical Association declined to endorse SOC-8, the incoming president of WPATH dismissed AMA leaders as “probably some white cisgender heterosexual hillbillies from nowhere.”

Now, supporters of pediatric sex-trait modification are grappling with the fallout from the Alabama disclosures. Federal administrative agencies have molded their policies and legal advocacy around WPATH and SOC-8; HHS’s Levine has said that “the standard” for health-care decisions in this area is “set” by WPATH. Hospitals around the country use SOC-8 as the authoritative guideline for their providers, in some cases using it to pressure providers to set aside any doubts about the propriety of approving vulnerable teenagers for hormones.

The White House is apparently trying to deal with the fallout in two ways. First, it is sending mixed messages about its continued support for gender surgeries for kids, awkwardly balancing the demands of Democrats’ activist base with the public’s growing suspicion of a medical scandal. Second, the Department of Justice has initiated a clever legal maneuver, the effect and perhaps also intent of which is to suppress further publication of materials subpoenaed by Alabama in the Boe litigation. These materials may include internal WPATH communications, as well as communications between WPATH and other medical groups and between the organization and other federal officials.

via www.city-journal.org

Leor Sapir.

This is pretty, pretty evil.

July 12, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Youngkin would bring to a Trump ticket - Washington Examiner

Virginia has not voted for a Republican for president for 20 years — George W. Bush in 2004 was the last GOP candidate to win the state. Joe Biden won it in 2020. But there are some polls now, including one from Fox News, that show Biden and Trump dead even. If Trump could win Virginia, that would upset the Electoral College math in his favor.

Here is the most conventional way for Trump to win the presidency. First, he wins all the states he won in 2020, which he can probably do. Then he needs to win Georgia and Arizona, where he is looking strong. But then, he needs to win one more state. (Nevada, which Trump might well win, does not have enough electoral votes to do it; even with Nevada, he would still be two votes short of victory.)

In this scenario, if Trump wins the 2020 states and Georgia and Arizona, he would then have to win one of Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Wisconsin to win the White House. He wins just one of them and he will be the next president.

But what if he doesn’t win Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Wisconsin? Then there’s the Virginia scenario. This is it: If Trump wins the 2020 states and Georgia and Arizona and then wins Virginia — if he does that, he does not have to win Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Wisconsin. He can lose them all and still become president.

via www.washingtonexaminer.com

Byron York

July 12, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Polls show Democrats are right to panic about Biden

Polling averages aggregated by FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics show Trump surged and Biden dipped significantly in national polls after the June 27 debate. The averages put Biden a few points behind Trump, which is not by any means insurmountable. But Biden should be trouncing Trump, a corrupt aspiring autocrat, one of the most unpopular people to ever run for presidential office and a man recently convicted of 34 felony counts and found liable for sexual abuse. Around this time in their 2020 match-up, Biden was beating Trump by almost 10 points. It’s also important to remember that in 2016 and 2020 Trump outperformed the polls. That he’s consistently leading Biden this election cycle is alarming.

Pollsters at the Cook Political report changed the status of three battleground states from toss-ups to “lean Republican” after the debate. And according to the combined data of the New York Times/Sienna College polls, Biden is seeing an extraordinary dip — Trump now has not just his biggest lead over Biden in this election cycle, but his largest lead over a Democrat since his 2016 White House bid. New York Times chief political correspondent and poll guru Nate Cohn told The New Yorker in a recent interview, “There are no precedents in recent memory for Presidents to have approval ratings like Biden’s who then go on to win re-election.” 

via www.msnbc.com

It is rather remarkable that it's a national crisis that Trump might win and Biden lose, worthy of just about any machination now. Still, I do think the Dems would have a much better chance of winning with a young, fresh person whose absolute inappropriateness for the job has yet to be proven. They have lots of those, as do the Republicans tbf.

July 12, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge dismisses Giuliani’s bankruptcy case, allowing creditors to try to seize his assets | CNN Politics

CNN  — 

Rudy Giuliani is no longer entitled to bankruptcy protection, a judge decided Friday, making it possible for creditors to immediately pursue his assets within days.

The former mayor of New York sought bankruptcy protection after a jury awarded two Georgia election workers $148 million because Giuliani defamed them after the 2020 election. The judge’s decision Friday, to end his bankruptcy, paves the way for Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, as well as other creditors, who are trying to collect on the more than $150 million Giuliani owes.

Judge Sean Lane of the federal bankruptcy court in New York made the decision partly because of Giuliani’s lack of transparency after he filed for bankruptcy more than six months ago.

Lane highlighted in his 22-page opinion that Giuliani hadn’t provided any insight whatsoever into the books of companies he solely owns, and that have taken in thousands of dollars in wire transfers in recent weeks. The judge also said Giuliani hasn’t been fully transparent with his creditors – such as by not fully explaining on time an upcoming book contract he has, or keeping his personal earnings from a radio show and podcast coming into one of the corporate accounts.

via www.cnn.com

One is tempted to say this is just the big karma bug coming to bite Giulliani for what he did to Michael Milken, but one must resist these superstitious thoughts. We tend to see justice where there is none.

July 12, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Plagiarism and Disparities | City Journal

At first, the prestige press ignored these academics’ misbehavior. Then, under enormous pressure, they acknowledged it, couched with caveats and excuses. And finally, in the face of overwhelming evidence, they adopted the Left’s defensive counter-narrative, claiming that exposing plagiarism in academia is a form of “racial profiling” designed to “bully and intimidate” “Black women.”

They based this accusation on the racial identities of our targets. But I specifically tasked my researchers with investigating potential plagiarism by Harvard scholars and administrators of all racial groups. The initial evidence, though not systematic, pointed to an inconvenient result: a ponderance of plagiarism by academics who specialized in “diversity.”

Nevertheless, the Harvard student newspaper, mimicking the legacy press, cried foul. It called the investigation a “witch hunt,” and suggested that I was “[t]argeting [b]lack [f]aculty.” Jennifer Hochschild, a white professor of African-American studies, deemed our reporting a “targeted” attack on black women. The existence of racial disparities in our plagiarism reporting, they believed, was prima facie evidence of racist intent.

But we did not “target” black women. We examined Jennifer Hochschild’s work, for example, and did not find plagiarism. (In fact, Hochschild’s failure to plagiarize is contributing to the white-black plagiarism disparity at Harvard, and by her logic, is bolstering a white-supremacist narrative.) We simply found that individuals in this subgroup copied-and-pasted more than did individuals in other subgroups. Plagiarism is not committed by racial categories, but by individual scholars who choose to break the rules of academic honesty.

Our critics have clung to the mistaken notion that disparities can only result from discrimination. But in truth, numerous potential explanations exist for group inequalities. Racial and ethnic disparities are the rule, rather than the exception, in everything from income to education to athletics to ownership of nail salons and dry cleaners.

There is a reasonable alternative hypothesis to racism for our disparate plagiarism findings. First, universities have practiced decades of formal and informal affirmative action, recruiting, admitting, advancing, and hiring black scholars with lower standardized test scores than their white peers. Second, it stands to reason that grievance disciplines, such as critical racial studies and DEI administration, have lower academic standards than, say, astrophysics.

Put together, lower admissions standards and scholarly expectations could easily produce racially disproportionate outcomes when measured against general demographics.

via www.city-journal.org

Christopher Rufo.

July 12, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Opinion | The Strongest Case for Biden Is His Resilience in the Face of the Onslaught - The New York Times

Joe Biden is still standing, refusing to bow out — he reiterated that once again in a lengthy and mostly successful news conference on Thursday night. Some may view it as selfish and irresponsible. Some may even see it as dangerous. But I see it as remarkable.
Despite sending a clear message — in his recent flurry of interviews and rallies, in his stalwart address this week to members of the NATO alliance and in his

via archive.is

Charles Blow can be resilient too you know. And now we have a "mostly successful" news conference. We can add "mostly successful" to the lexicon. A "mostly successful plane ride" for the craft that crashed upon landing, for instance.

July 12, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Is Kamala Harris a Stronger Candidate Than Biden? - WSJ

GREENSBORO, N.C.—In the background of President Biden’s decision on whether to continue his campaign against Donald Trump sits another crucial question: Would Kamala Harris do any better?

Some Democratic lawmakers and donors have long fretted over Harris’s potential political weaknesses, citing the rocky start to her tenure as vice president and the shortcomings of her own 2020 presidential bid. Now those vulnerabilities are under an intense spotlight, even as her poll numbers have improved and she is increasingly seen as a viable alternative to the 81-year-old incumbent. 

Democratic lawmakers, strategists, county chairs and donors say they are hearing more support and praise for Harris than ever before. Even if Biden doesn’t bow out of the race, party leaders are pushing the campaign to elevate Harris more to counter concerns about his age and ability to effectively make the case against the 78-year-old Trump. 

Several Democrats also acknowledged lingering concern about whether she would be able to withstand intensified attacks from the GOP in either scenario. 

Some Democratic voters at a Harris stop in North Carolina on Thursday shared those fears. 

via www.wsj.com

My money is with Vivek Ramaswamy who says that Biden will not be the nominee and that Kamala or Michele will be. And that Trump has a tough run ahead of him. And a late switch makes sense tactically. It will be strange and the whole thing is a threat to our democracy. No, really. I'm not kidding. Really.

July 12, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Democratic Socialists Abandon AOC - WSJ

The Democratic Socialists of America’s National Political Committee withdrew its pledged endorsement of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday. The group said the New York Democrat had failed to meet “conditions” the DSA tied to its endorsement, a majority of which centered on Israel and antisemitism.

According to the group’s July 10 press release, one of the key actions that did Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in was her decision to host a June 10 panel on antisemitism with Jewish leaders. The DSA called the move “a deep betrayal to all those who’ve risked their welfare to fight Israeli apartheid and genocide.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is an unlikely candidate for the DSA’s public lashing. She has a history of voting against aid to Israel and attacking the pro-Israel lobby. Less than a month after the Oct. 7 attacks, she maligned the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in a tweet as “racist and bigoted” and “no friend to American democracy.” She also voted against a resolution that urged all countries to “unequivocally condemn Hamas’ brutal war” and another that condemned support for “Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations at institutions of higher education.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s statements at the June 10 panel didn’t stray too far from her previous record. She condemned antisemitism as “real and dangerous.” She also admitted that criticism of Zionism and Israel’s government sometimes “crosses a line into real harms against our Jewish community.” But she was careful to clarify that neither is “inherently antisemitic.” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez also made the case that “bad-faith political actors” have been increasingly “weaponizing antisemitism” against “people of color and women of color.”

via www.wsj.com

The DSOC I knew was practically all Jews. Now, unless you're down with killing them all, they'll chuck you out of the Party! Poor, poor AOC.

July 12, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 11, 2024

ED MORRISSEY: Dems, Media Begin Captain Louis Renault Award Contest Over Declinin’ Biden. Get the V

Assuming Kamala replaces Sundown Joe, the media will coalesce lockstep around her, just as they did during Obama’s rapid rise to power during the 2008 election cycle. As Jim Treacher wrote last week:

I don’t normally do predictions, but here’s one you might not like: Kamala Harris will be the Democratic nominee, and she’ll defeat Donald Trump in November.

I said what I said.

Think about it: What Democrat in good standing is gonna sit at home on Election Day, when they’ve got a chance to stop Trump and make history by electing the first woman president? A multiracial POC, to boot!

Plus, she’s not bad-looking for a woman her age. For most Americans, that’s all they’ll see. They don’t know anything about any of the issues. They’ll just see an attractive, youthful person of color against a grouchy old white man they really hate.

It’ll be 2008 all over again.

via instapundit.com

I think this is more likely than everybody seems to think. It would at least be a nail-biter, I hazard.

July 11, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Court Holds Federal Ban on Home-Distilling Exceeds Congress' Enumerated Powers

Yesterday, in Hobby Distillers Association v. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a federal district court in Texas held that federal laws banning distilled spirits plants (aka "stills") in homes or dwellings exceed the scope of Congress' enumerated powers. Specifically, the court concluded that the prohibitions exceed the scope of the federal taxing power and the Interstate Commerce Clause, even as supplemented by the Necessary and Proper Clause. The court further entered a permanent injunction barring enforcement of these provisions against those plaintiffs found to have standing (one individual and members of the Hobby Distillers Association.) The plaintiffs were represented by attorneys at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and background on the case (and the various filings) can be found on CEI's website here.

Hobby Distillers Association has the potential to be a significant post-NFIB challenge to the expansive of use of federal power. A few excerpts from the decision are below the jump.

via reason.com

Jonathan Adler.

Sadly, California regulates distillers as well. But this case looks promising for the law and all that.

July 11, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Political Desperation Fuels Spy Agencies’ Latest Russia Conspiracy Theory

NBC News and CNN reported yesterday that Russia is trying to interfere in this year’s presidential election using “information warfare.” Russia is engaging in covert influence operations to help former president Donald Trump, just like it did in 2016, and is targeting swing states in particular, CNN and NBC News claim.

But the intelligence community (IC) has not presented any evidence of this alleged Russian election interference. NBC News and CNN simply cited an anonymous official from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, whose claims are vague and unsubstantiated.

It’s true that Russia and other countries may try to influence Americans on social media. On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that Russian actors had created a social media bot farm that spreads “disinformation” and uses artificial intelligence. The Associated Press reported that “U.S. officials described the internet operation as part of an ongoing effort to sow discord in the U.S. through the creation of fictitious social media profiles.” This, IC officials and the news media imply, is a repeat of 2016.

Yet there is no evidence that the Russian bot farm had sown discord or that any significant number of people were reached by the ostensibly dangerous sock puppet accounts. The Justice Department said it took control over two domain names and “searched” 968 accounts on X. Those numbers suggest the “internet operation” had no measurable reach.

via www.public.news

Michael Shellenberger and Alex Gutentag.

July 11, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

JD Vance | America is a Nation | NatCon 4

via www.youtube.com

I hadn't realized that J.D. Vance is a pretty good speaker. You can definitely pick up on the big tropes of his "National Conservatism." I'm sympathetic to some of his points. But I think America *is* a credal nation before it is a blood-and-soil type nation, which Vance stresses. My roots are in Boise, but God forbid I should ever have to die for it, as Vance would be prepared, I gather, to do for his family's little patch of paradise in old Kentucky. I think the problem is people aren't educated with the right ideas or get no ideas, of what the US stands for.

July 11, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vivek Ramaswamy: This Is Likely When Biden Will End His 2024 Presidential Campaign

via www.youtube.com

Vivek is a pretty smart guy. His analysis of why Biden will be pushed out not now but later, and why this will maximize the Dem's chances, makes a lot of sense.

July 11, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

The magnificent mind of Emmanuel Macron – POLITICO

Therein lies the Macronian paradox — he comes across simultaneously as a global statesman with grand vision and an eager puppy desperate for love. 

He’s a man of interstellar ego who is deeply insecure; a kind, charming and warm person with almost no friends; a retail politician who cannot connect with or relate to the French public.

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Why do people, especially “the people” of France, hate him so much? As one of my expert colleagues says, he is a weirdo — seen as arrogant, elitist, unrelatable and a stranger to the French.

via www.politico.eu

He sounds exactly like what a French president would be.

July 10, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden support slips in deep blue New York: ‘We’re a battleground state now’ - POLITICO

NEW YORK — President Joe Biden has a new problem: a competitive race in deep blue New York.

Elected officials, union leaders and political consultants are panicking over polls showing a steady erosion of Biden’s support in a state he won by 23 points four years ago. They’re so worried they’ve been trying to convince the Biden team to pour resources into New York to shore up his campaign and boost Democrats running in a half-dozen swing districts that could determine control of the House.

Biden aides have not focused on New York, committing no significant resources to a state where they expect the president to easily win all 28 electoral college votes in November.

via www.politico.com

Don't get cocky, as the man said.

July 10, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Democratic Party’s War On Populism Led To Its Self-Destruction

It’s obvious for everyone to see that the media’s sudden criticism of Biden is not motivated by honesty, but rather a desire to, once again, prevent Trump from taking office. As former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson wrote in Semafor, “I worry that too many journalists didn’t try to get the story because they did not want to be accused of helping elect Trump. I get that.”

The media, the deep state establishment, and America’s globalized oligarchical elites in 2012 had two presidential candidates they approved of in Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Today, they actively disapprove of both candidates. We are thus in an extraordinary situation where Trump could win an electoral college landslide and the Republicans could win both houses of Congress or at least significantly increase their representation.

The media had already lost the trust of Republicans with its war on Trump since 2016. Now, it may lose the trust of many Democrats, who constitute the mainstream media’s core audience. The media colluded with Democratic Party elites and the White House to conceal the signs of Biden’s aging, telling voters not to believe their own eyes. Only once the polls definitively showed that this tactic had failed, and Biden had his disastrous debate for all to see, did Democrats and their media allies confess that Biden may be unfit for the presidency.

Two of the most powerful political institutions in society, the Democratic Party and the news media, are imploding. What went wrong for America’s liberal Democratic and media establishment? And what are the implications for what happens next?

via www.public.news

Michael Shellenberger and Alex Gutentag.

July 10, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Great Democratic Lawfare Bust - WSJ

When Donald Trump was hit with four indictments last year, the prevailing Democratic belief was that Mr. Trump would be a convicted felon by Election Day. How could President Biden then possibly lose? Yet trying to defeat Mr. Trump through the courts instead of at the polls has turned out to be one of the great political miscalculations in presidential history.

via www.wsj.com

Kinda looks that way.

July 10, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

3 sentenced for cartel-related kidnapping of 2 women from El Cajon home

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Three people who kidnapped two women from an El Cajon residence, then threatened and assaulted them on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel, have been sentenced to lengthy state prison terms, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office said Tuesday.

Prosecutors said that, believing the victims stole drugs from the cartel, the defendants broke into their home and, at gunpoint, took the women to one of the defendant's Chula Vista home.

The women were held for ransom, drugged, threatened with torture, and "brutally assaulted," the D.A.'s Office said.

Victor Medrano, 44; Eliceo Flores, 36; and Emily Gonzalez, 33, were indicted by a grand jury and pleaded guilty earlier this year to various crimes, including kidnapping.

A fourth defendant, Julie Soto, 32, awaits trial. The D.A.'s Office said Soto was referred to by one co-defendant as "the big boss" and "the one that takes care of most (of) SD."

Medrano and Flores were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and Gonzalez was sentenced to 24 years and eight months in prison.

via www.10news.com

Bad dudes.

July 9, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (2)

How Biden’s Inner Circle Worked to Keep Signs of Aging Under Wraps - WSJ

Senior White House advisers for more than a year have aggressively stage-managed President Biden’s schedule, movements and personal interactions, as they sought to minimize signs of how age has taken a toll on the oldest president in U.S. history.

The White House has limited Biden’s daily itinerary and shielded him from impromptu exchanges. Advisers have restricted news conferences and media appearances, twice declining Super Bowl halftime interviews—an easy way to reach millions of voters—and sought to make sure meetings with donors stuck to scripted pleasantries. 

Senior aides dismissed travel suggestions over worries the president didn’t have the stamina for them, including an idea for Biden to make weekly cross-country trips in 2022 to tout the benefits of his infrastructure law. 

All of this unfolded as Biden’s slips became increasingly obvious, and his top advisers were assuring everyone the president was fine. 

When the 81-year-old president took the stage at last month’s debate, his abysmal performance in the 90-minute event stunned members of his party, including some White House staffers who rarely spend one-on-one time with Biden. 

via www.wsj.com

It's easy to see how it happened. If Biden's condition wasn't worsening, they might have gotten away with it.

July 9, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Congress’ despondent Biden rebels see their revolt crumbling: “It’s over”

Just before House Democrats' Tuesday morning "come-to-Jesus" meeting on President Biden's path forward, a smaller group of swing-district Democrats held what sources described as a despondent gathering with "actual tears."

Why it matters: The bloc of battleground House Democrats is one of the last firm pockets of a rapidly disintegrating movement on Capitol Hill to get Biden off the ticket.

  • One shell-shocked lawmaker who was present at the meeting would offer only one word to characterize it: "Intense."
  • Another described the mood as "pretty much unanimous" that Biden has "got to step down," adding, "There were actual tears from people, and not for Biden."

Zoom out: Democrats' full caucus meeting was far less unanimous, with lawmakers both defending Biden and airing concerns about his ability to take on former President Trump, attendees told Axios.

  • One House Democrat who was in both meetings said: "Most of our caucus is still with him ... meaning he'll stay in. Which sucks for our country."
  • Going in and out of the meeting, several House Democrats who have previously raised concerns about Biden said they are now with him: "Whether or not I have concerns is besides the point. He is going to be our nominee, and we all have to support him," said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.).

via www.axios.com

How about a Joe.ai? That might work. They'd have to phase it in though, or nobody would believe it. You could say he's trying an experimental drug. But only Presidents and similar can get it. Sort of like Ozempic, only worse.

July 9, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Justice Sotomayor’s Bodyguard Shoots Suspected Carjacker Outside Her Home

Two deputy U.S. Marshals thought to be guarding Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s home in Washington, D.C. shot a suspected carjacker who pulled out a gun last week, officials said.

The U.S. Marshals office said that suspect Kentrell Flowers, 18, allegedly walked up to one of the deputies’ cars at around 1:15 a.m. on July 5 and pointed a gun at the bodyguard.

The Marshal fired four shots, hitting Flowers in the mouth. Flowers was taken to hospital for treatment and arrested.

“The Deputy U.S. Marshals involved in the shooting incident were part of the unit protecting the residences of U.S. Supreme Court justices. As a general practice, the U.S. Marshals don’t discuss specifics of protective details,” Abigail Meyer, a spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service, said in a statement to The Hill.

Authorities have not suggested Flowers was intentionally targeting Sotomayor or the security detail.

via www.yahoo.com

Shot him four times in the *mouth*. That had to hurt. Still, as I'm sure the Justice would agree, the accused should probably be released without bail, as he was probably just trying to feed his family.

July 9, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Why Is Biden Hanging On? | City Journal

If Biden bows out before getting nominated, one can easily imagine a host of candidates emerging to replace him. Even if, as many prominent voices are urging, Biden throws his support to Vice President Kamala Harris, his pledged delegates will be allowed to vote for a candidate of their choosing. Elements in the Democratic Party would prefer other candidates besides Harris, whose own electability is a major question. Progressives dogged her 2020 campaign, for example, with taunts of “Kamala is a cop,” referring to her supposedly tough-on-crime stint as California attorney general, and delegates in favor of police abolition could easily support someone else. Her 2020 run fizzled out months before the first primary.

Though not much is expected of vice presidents, Harris’s tenure has been especially mediocre. Soon after taking office, Biden assigned her the unenviable task of addressing the “root causes” of Central American poverty and instability; she told Latin Americans, “Don’t come” to the United States. Aside from that, Harris has become the subject of viral social media memes mocking her ramblings about overcoming the burden of time in multiple speeches, as well as for her characteristic cackle, which erupts at awkward moments.

Even if Harris were to win the nomination at an open convention, the Democrats are not in a position to risk the possibility of floor fights over her candidacy, her choice of running mate, the party position on Israel, and so forth. The embarrassing cover-up of Biden’s incapacity has already damaged the Democrats’ national credibility; public exposure of major ideological divisions within the party would not help their candidates in November. The Biden campaign’s current efforts to tread water, which many find mystifying, may reflect the Democratic leadership’s desire to carry the president over the line to the nomination, only then having him step aside in favor of a new candidate.

via www.city-journal.org

Why is Biden hanging on? Why did he go into politics in the first place? Why is Hunter such a sad, some might say contemptible, case? Why did Biden approve such a lightweight and apparently unintelligent running mate? You could ask these questions all day. That's probably not good for you.

July 9, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, July 8, 2024

A Better Path for Ukraine and NATO | Foreign Affairs

We know what will not happen at NATO’s 75th anniversary summit in Washington this week: Ukraine becoming the alliance’s 33rd member. U.S. officials are talking instead about giving Ukraine “a bridge to NATO,” as National Security Council Senior Director for Europe Michael Carpenter put it recently. But when it comes to membership, many of the alliance’s leaders—including the United States and Germany—remain concerned that a formal move will be impossible as long as Kyiv is at war, given the centrality of the alliance’s Article 5 guarantee that an attack against one will be considered an attack against all.

Yet such concerns, while understandable, do not take sufficient account of either the current state of U.S. politics or the war itself. Ukraine’s “bridge to NATO” could easily become a bridge to nowhere if Donald Trump wins the November U.S. presidential election. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the alliance—or, as former NATO and Trump administration officials wrote together in Foreign Affairs recently, he could undermine the alliance by “withholding funding, recalling U.S. troops and commanders from Europe, and blocking important decisions in the North Atlantic Council.” He has also pledged to end the war in Ukraine in a single day.

Even without a Trump victory, it is unlikely that the flow of assistance from the U.S. and European governments will continue at anywhere near the levels of the past two and a half years. Chances of a major Russian advance or breakthrough will grow. Those could cause destabilizing refugee movements and panic among Russian border states (and beyond). Some countries might respond by doing what French President Emmanuel Macron proposed—sending their own forces to Ukraine, which could provoke retaliation against their NATO-protected home territories.

via www.foreignaffairs.com

Sad day in Kyiv. A Russian missile hit a children's hospital. 20 some dead.

Luke and Ania have moved back to Kyiv. They prefer living there, even though many nights, like last night, they can't sleep for the bombardment and the anti-missile missiles.

July 8, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 7, 2024

France’s left-wing parties projected to finish first in parliamentary elections, keep far right at bay

A tense alliance between France’s centrist and leftist parties has kept the far-right National Rally party at bay, according to exit polls, with Prime Minister Gabriel Attal set to resign.

In a surprising upset for the far-right, a bloc of left-wing parties is projected to finish first, while President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance is predicted to come in second. Polling agencies suggest National Rally, known in France as RN, is set to come in third, despite having swept to victory after the first round of voting last weekend and polling highest among the parties.

Voter turnout was the highest in decades at 67.1%, and official results are expected early Monday.

via www.nbcnews.com

July 7, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (1)

What China's Historic Firing of Two Defense Ministers Means for Taiwan | Opinion - Newsweek

On June 27, the Politburo of the Communist Party of China announced corruption investigations into Generals Wei Fenghe and Li Shangfu, the two previous defense ministers, and expelled both from the ruling organization. (The People's Liberation Army reports to the Party, not the Chinese state.) The two former ministers were also stripped of their ranks and now face investigations by the military.

This was the first time in the history of the Chinese military, founded in 1927, that the Party announced corruption investigations of two defense ministers on the same day. The "unusual decision," writes William Zheng of Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, "has underscored the fury and frustration of the Communist Party's leadership over persistent graft that is deemed a threat to China's fighting capacity and nuclear deterrence."

"You can sense the Party's anger and fury in the accusations on Wei and Li," a Nanjing University political scientist, speaking anonymously to the paper, said. "You can almost tell there is a feeling of, 'How dare you let me down on the most important job!'" The expert speculates that Communist Party leaders believe that corruption in the officer corps calls into question Xi Jinping's control over China's nuclear arsenal.

via www.newsweek.com

Gordon Chang.

July 7, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hold off the death squads: Highly misleading coverage of SCOTUS immunity decision

On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow warned that the Supreme Court had just unleashed death squads to roam our streets. CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen announced that murder was now legal (at least for presidents), while others predicted that the ruling on presidential immunity would invite “tyranny.” 

Anyone reading the coverage would conclude that James Madison has been replaced by John Wick in a new “Baba Yaga” Republic.

President Biden fueled the sense of panic in an address that repeated widespread false claims about the decision in Trump v. United States. Biden told the country that “for all practical purposes, today’s decision almost certainly means that there are virtually no limits on what a president can do.”

That, of course, is not true. 

via thehill.com

Jonathan Turley.

July 7, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Where we are now | Power Line

A famous American observed on a historic occasion: “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it.” Our current political situation seems to me to lack any helpful precedent to orient us. We’ve got Woodrow Wilson, of course, but Wilson’s stroke occurred in the course of his second term. Democrats didn’t have the temerity to serve him up for another term. I thought it might be useful to offer a few arguable plot points that may bear on where we are now.

via www.powerlineblog.com

Scott Johnson.

Why the Dems can't tap someone reasonable for a Democrat, such as Mitt Romney, I have no idea. But Scott seems to have his finger on the pulse.

The more I read on twitter/X, the more it seems there really are a number of legit communists and legit fascists churning about on the fringes of our politics. The extremes of one seems to justify the extremes of the other. Much ignorance on both sides, but quite of lot of well informed conviction as well. More on this to come.

July 7, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 6, 2024

President Joe Biden's family's 'damaging' response to Donald Trump debate fiasco as they seek to 'settle old scores' and seize control | Daily Mail Online

They blame his staff for failing to adequately prepare him for the debate and more broadly for not putting him in a position to show his strengths.

'I believe the family has witnessed blunder after blunder by key staff personnel and the debate is likely the straw that broke the camel's back,' one of 13 sources close to the president told NBC.

'Post-debate, the supposed loyal staff, instead of taking responsibility, pointed the finger back at the president and said: 'His fault.' I can think of no other singular action that would agitate the Biden family more.' 

Aides in turn believe the president's family is blinded to the political realities by emotion and likened their 'unhelpful' meddling to a Shakespearean drama.

'The debate fiasco has opened up a lane for the family to surpass staff and start helping out their father and brother who they love dearly,' another insider said.

Biden's closest family visited the White House over the past week to console him after the debate and plot the next steps.

They included his sister Valerie Owens, and son Hunter and his wife Melissa Cohen Biden, along with various grandchildren who came for July 4th celebrations.

via www.dailymail.co.uk

July 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shark attack victim speaks out after South Padre incident

One of the victims is speaking out and providing an update after her left calf was bit by a shark while in waters at South Padre Island in Texas. Tabatha Sullivent wrote on her GoFundMe page on Friday, July 5 that she lost her left calf and still has movement in her toes and circulation in her foot after the shark attack.

Sullivent was one of the four victims who encountered a shark on the island on the Fourth of July. Officials believe the four bites happened across two incidents, with one person bit and another injured in the first and the other with two people bit at a second location. South Padre Island Fire Chief Jim Pigg said a single shark is responsible for all four injuries. It's unknown what kind of shark was involved in the attacks but it has been moved to a deeper part of the sea.

via www.mysanantonio.com

I guess sometimes a calf is enough.

July 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

‘We’ve Got to Kill’: Inside New Zealand’s Mission to Wipe Out Predators - WSJ

BANKS PENINSULA, New Zealand—Armed with a .22-caliber rifle, a GPS tracker and a dog named Scmack, Jason Millichamp set off into the hills here with a license to kill. His mission: find and eliminate brushtail possums, an intruder that eats baby birds and strips vegetation from native trees.

Millichamp, a 59-year-old former helicopter mechanic, is on the front lines of New Zealand’s drive to be “predator free” by 2050. That means eradicating invasive species such as possums, rats and mustelids—a group that includes weasels, ferrets and stoats.

Millichamp and Scmack, who can locate possums with his nose, are the mop-up team. They are often deployed to find the last few animals, after most possums in an area have been killed with poison and traps.

It’s not an easy job. On their recent expedition at a cattle farm overlooking a picturesque bay, Scmack detected a possum living in a hollow tree on a hillside. By the time Millichamp scrambled up, he couldn’t find it.

via www.wsj.com

July 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Inside the Dangerous Work of Defending Ukraine’s Skies - WSJ

ODESA, Ukraine—Like a World War II fighter ace, commander Viktor Petryshyn has stenciled onto the side of his air-defense system the 58 drones, missiles and planes he has shot down.

The war in Ukraine has shown how a comprehensive air defense can keep even a formidable air force like Russia’s at bay. It has also revealed limitations as Ukraine defends against waves of drone attacks and harder-to-hit modern missiles, with a limited supply of ammunition.

Behind these sophisticated air-defense systems, which fire missiles to intercept aerial threats, are men and women who often make split-second decisions that can save scores of lives. 

Their own lives are also increasingly at risk as Russia targets Ukrainian defensive positions. Winning the upper hand in the air has significant ramifications for a war that has become a grinding stalemate on the ground

via www.wsj.com

July 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Stunning Reversal of Trump’s Legal Fortunes - WSJ

A year ago, the legal system seemed to be closing in on Donald Trump.

Prosecutors painted a sweeping portrait of a president who allegedly tried to overturn the results of an election he knew he lost, hung on to classified documents he knew he should return and secretly paid off a porn star to keep quiet about an affair he knew voters would care about. No one in America, prosecutors said, not even a former president, is above the law. 

Instead, the four different cases against him have both boosted his third bid for the White House—and paved the way for him to enjoy an unprecedented level of authority if he gets there. 

While a Manhattan jury in May found Trump guilty on 34 counts in the hush-money case, jailtime seems unlikely. His other cases have been delayed and likely curtailed in court. Instead of turning off voters with their detailed descriptions of misconduct, the prosecutions rallied supporters to his side. 

The Supreme Court’s decision this week to effectively shield Trump from prosecution for many acts he took as president has cast into sharper focus a question that has haunted criminal investigations of the former president from the start: If the point of prosecution is to hold someone accountable for wrongdoing and punish them within the judicial system, what happens if that prosecution ends up being a political gift? 

via www.wsj.com

July 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden Forcefully Rejects Efforts to Push Him Out of Race - WSJ

President Biden defiantly and repeatedly rejected calls for him to withdraw from the presidential race following last week’s disastrous debate performance, insisting to supporters and prime-time television viewers that he was Democrats’ best shot to defeat Republican Donald Trump.

Biden acknowledged at a rally in Madison that there was speculation about whether he might pull out of the contest in favor of another Democratic candidate, ahead of the party’s August convention in Chicago. Biden declared: “I am running and going to win again,” prompting cheers from the audience in the liberal enclave.

“Guess what, they’re trying to push me out of the race. Well let me say this as clearly as I can: I’m staying in the race,” Biden said, reading from a teleprompter.

via www.wsj.com

July 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Federal judge blocks Biden’s pause on LNG export permits - POLITICO

A federal judge in Louisiana on Monday put the Energy Department’s pause on natural gas export permits on hold, dealing another legal blow to the Biden administration’s climate agenda.

Judge James Cain of the Western District of Louisiana, a Trump appointee, granted a request for a stay from 16 red states that had challenged the pause, arguing it will harm their economies.

The decision to stay the LNG pause upends one of Joe Biden’s major policy nods to climate-focused activists who have accused the president of not doing enough to mitigate planet-warming emissions despite Democrats passing the largest investment in climate in history via the Inflation Reduction Act.

via www.politico.com

Hooray.

July 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How DEI Becomes Discrimination - WSJ

In Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard (2023), the Supreme Court held that colleges and universities couldn’t engage in racial discrimination in the name of diversity. The 45-year-old dispensation from civil-rights law that the court effectively overturned had never applied to employment decisions. But its end ought to provoke institutions to scale back “diversity, equity and inclusion” initiatives more broadly. Some appear to be doing so: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard said recently they would no longer require “diversity statements” from prospective hires.

Yet there is evidence that many universities have engaged in outright racial preferences under the aegis of DEI. Hundreds of documents that I acquired through public-records requests provide a rare paper trail of universities closely scrutinizing the race of faculty job applicants. The practice not only appears widespread; it is encouraged and funded by the federal government.

via www.wsj.com

John Sailer.

Well my small but formerly cute university indulged in sex and racial discrimination in hiring, while taking fairly obvious steps to create a pretext of not doing so. Everybody does it was the frequently heard defense. I'm sure they do. But as one can imagine, it is not my problem now.

July 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Donald Trump and the Clouseau Democrats - WSJ

Even this understates the degree of malpractice. Mr. Biden apparently wants to make his party fight, perhaps all the way through Election Day, over how bad his condition is. Is he senile or not? Is he up to the job or not? And that’s just week one. In weeks two, three and four come the intraparty recriminations about who kept Joe’s condition from whom, whether his family is too attached to the perks of office, who should get the shiv if Mr. Trump wins in November.

The Trumpians, who would have been counted out little more than two years ago, discover now they only have to shut up while Democrats manufacture round-the-clock free TV ads for the Trump campaign, arguing over whether their own candidate is fit for office.

Mr. Trump, whose defining political quality has been his bottomless cynicism about the game of politics, must be astonished (as the rest of us should be) by the willingness of institutions like the FBI and media to self-obliterate their reputations. Add the CIA. Mr. Biden’s own Justice Department, on the eve of his next election, was obliged to acknowledge the lie that secured his last election. The claim by 51 intelligence veterans about Hunter’s laptop being a Russian plant, the department special counsel asserted during Hunter’s gun trial, was a “conspiracy theory with no supporting evidence.”

A conclusion is hard to escape: America suffers from an incompetent leadership class. Its problem isn’t ruthlessness but softness, its inability to deal with the world without a media that constantly lies to make it feel better about itself. This includes, as I’ve documented in this column, pretending the collusion episode never happened so as to avoid taking into account its effect on voters who might otherwise be won back to the Democratic cause.

via www.wsj.com

You can almost see the hand of God getting Trump elected. That's if God is somehow causing the Dems to act as stupidly as they are. It's less a matter of Trump playing 4D chess than it is the Dems throwing the pieces at each other. Ok, it probably not God.

Holman Jenkins.

July 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court Overturns Evil System; Evil Bastards Cry Foul I TWS #2512

via www.youtube.com

Chevron was a terrible decision. Finally the Court has overruled it. So not everything is horrible.

July 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

First Amendment WIN! SCOTUS Rules Social Media Companies Can't Censor Political Beliefs

via www.youtube.com

Good job, SCOTUS.

July 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Horrific tragedy struck moments after this July 4 video when South Carolina dad, 41, decided to put lit firework on top of his top hat | Daily Mail Online

A South Carolina dad was seen dancing in his front yard while dressed as Uncle Sam, moments before he died after igniting a large firework on top of his head.  

Allen Ray McGrew, 41, had been celebrating the 4th of July on Thursday evening at a neighborhood block party in Summerville, Dorchester County. 

Dressed as Uncle Sam, footage captured by his wife Paige showed McGrew dancing a jig in his full festive rig out as he celebrated the holiday. 

Witnesses told investigators that McGrew had placed a large firework on the top hat he was wearing, before lighting it - causing the device to explode. 

According to a police report seen by WCBD, McGrew's wife told deputies she believed he placed the firework on his head to 'show off' and was drunk at the time.

The HVAC worker was found laying dead in the road by deputies who rushed to the scene after the party came to an abrupt end. 

via www.dailymail.co.uk

July 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 4, 2024

'Horizon': 'Yellowstone' Fans Will Be Bored by Kevin Costner's Western

During the last hour of “Horizon,” a man sitting several rows behind me descended the steps in the dark theater, spilled his half-full bucket of popcorn midway down, reached to pick it up — but was interrupted when he let out an audible fart. At this point, he abandoned the bucket and hustled to the door. If only “Horizon” matched that level of compact storytelling and wit, featuring a memorable character facing challenging odds.

via variety.com

I call that a pretty bad review.

July 4, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden Tells Governors He Needs to Sleep More and Work Less at Night - The New York Times

President Biden told a gathering of Democratic governors that he needs to get more sleep and work fewer hours, including curtailing events after 8 p.m., according to two people who participated in the meeting and several others briefed on his comments.

The remarks on Wednesday were a stark acknowledgment of fatigue from the 81-year-old president during a meeting intended to reassure more than two dozen of his most important supporters that he is still in command of his job and capable of mounting a robust campaign against former President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Biden’s comments about needing more rest came shortly after The New York Times reported that current and former officials have noticed that the president’s lapses over the past few months have become more frequent and more pronounced.

But Mr. Biden told the governors, some of whom were at the White House others who participated virtually, according to the White House, that he was staying in the race.

via www.nytimes.com

Biden's schedule, relaxed as it is, must be exhausting. He shouldn't be president. No one should be, really.

July 4, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Endangered parrot shot by BB pellet in Spring Valley

SPRING VALLEY, Calif. (KGTV) - An endangered wild parrot was found injured outside a home in Spring Valley, but the biggest shock came when a veterinarian took a closer look.

On Saturday morning, Daisy and her husband hung out with their dogs in their side yard, off Bancroft Street.

“There were five parrots flying around,” said Daisy.

On the ground, Daisy's husband found a wild parrot in the mouth of one of her dogs. Her husband freed the bird.

“It walked and tried to fly, but it couldn’t fly,” said Daisy.

The couple called County Animal Services. The parrot eventually ends up at SoCal Parrot in Jamul, a group that rehabs wild parrots.

An X-ray revealed a stunning finding: a BB pellet lodged near the abdomen.

“It was very surprising because I was assuming that puncture wound was from the dog's tooth,” said SoCal Parrot Operations Manager Ashly Cass.

The injured parrot is an adult, lilac-crowned Amazon, one of three endangered parrot species in the area.

In the San Diego area, there are a few thousand wild parrots, about eight species in all.

Locally, wild parrots date back nearly a century. Cass says it's believed the first parrots were trafficked across the border to be sold as pets.

In the past decade, the parrots have been targeted several times.

“Simple cruelty, somebody wanting to be a bully,” said Cass.

via www.10news.com

We like our rare birds, even if they're immigrants.

July 4, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Are We Already in Recession? - by Peter St Onge

To give a flavor, the official inflation rate since Covid has been around 21%. But fast food menu prices -- a go-to indicator for Foreign exchange investors -- are up between 35% and 50%. People posting grocery receipts online say it's actually more than 50%.

The problem is if inflation was actually, say, 35% it means GDP hasn't gone up at all since pre-Covid. It means it actually went down. Implying we've been in recession for nearly 5 years.

This is because official

via www.profstonge.com

This is why having accurate numbers on the economy is so important. I suspect the corruption goes deep.

July 4, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

WSJ Exclusive Poll | Trump Expands Lead Over Biden as Age Worries Grow - WSJ

Donald Trump has opened a 6-point lead over President Biden among voters nationally, with 80% saying that the president is too old to run for a second term, a new Wall Street Journal poll finds.

Trump’s lead over Biden in a two-person matchup, 48% to 42%, is the widest in Journal surveys dating to late 2021 and compares with a 2-point lead in February. The new survey began interviewing voters two days after the debate with Trump that left Democrats panicked about the 81-year-old president’s possible cognitive decline and their party’s weakening election prospects in November.

via www.wsj.com

It just occurred to me. Could we be witnessing a sort of fundamental transformation of the Democratic Party? Traditionally, it has been regarded, with good reason, as the Evil Party. Think LBJ, the JFK assassination, Woodrow Wilson, Obama. One could go on. The Republicans on the other hand are the Stupid Party. There are too many examples to mention. Now we seem to be witnessing a sort of conversion, or birth rather, of a new entity where the Democrats have been, of a party that is both Stupid and Evil. The consequences bear thinking about.

July 4, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Takes Back Control - WSJ

WASHINGTON—Congress might be gridlocked and the postdebate White House reeling, but at the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts showed himself firmly in charge. 

That was clear Monday with Roberts’s resounding declaration of presidential immunity for Donald Trump. The term that just ended wasn’t merely a conservative triumph but one that moved the law to match the priorities of the chief justice. 

In a series of watershed opinions, Roberts led the court’s conservatives to curb federal power. The court raised barriers to regulations that impose costs on businesses and property owners—at the expense, liberal dissenters argued, of the government’s ability to confront emerging national problems. 

At the same time, Roberts and his majority clipped the wings of prosecutors and private citizens to seek legal sanctions against officeholders. Decisions reduced the scope of federal bribery law and benefited Trump—and those of his followers who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

via www.wsj.com

Hmmm.

July 4, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biden Moves to Shore Up Support as Democratic Unity Cracks - WSJ

WASHINGTON—President Biden polled allies about what he can do to recapture the support of his party as he scrambled to keep his place at the top of the ticket amid deepening fissures in Democratic unity.

Over the last 48 hours, Biden has called Democratic congressional leaders as well as his biggest allies in Congress, part of an all-hands effort by the president and his senior advisers to reassure lawmakers, boost party morale and convince skeptics that he is capable of serving another four years in office.

Sen. Chris Coons (D., Del.), who spoke to Biden on Tuesday, said in an interview that the president was “determined to beat Donald Trump,” and was seeking advice and input in light of his debate performance, asking “how do you rebuild confidence?”

via www.wsj.com

July 4, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Who’s Afraid of Kamala Harris? - WSJ

We figured Republicans would try to make an issue of Kamala Harris’s fitness to be President, but who thought the Vice President would become central to the strategy to keep President Biden in the race?

That seems to be a big part of the emerging Team Biden game plan to stem the Democratic panic about having Mr. Biden at the top of the ticket in November. The theme: Go with Joe or you’ll get Kamala.

News reports this week say a Biden aide told donors their money would go to Ms. Harris if Mr. Biden dropped out. This was meant as a threat, not a promise.

Various Democrats are also popping up in the press noting that much of the party’s base would revolt if Ms. Harris were denied the nomination. The suggestion is that the party base thinks the first woman of color on a national ticket has a birthright to move up to the top job, as opposed to the party choosing a candidate more likely to win.

via www.wsj.com

I do not see VP Harris as being a very tenable candidate. But what do I know? She does in many ways reflect the current state of the Democratic Party. So there's that.

July 4, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

American by the Grace of God - Tablet Magazine

America is more special than other countries. Moreover, it has withstood greater crises than these, and each time, a divine hand has guided it onward to greatness.

But the only way this will happen is by understanding that grace, while freely given, is nevertheless contingent—it is decidedly not an entitlement. It requires a fundamental transformation in accordance with the rules of the house, and so it comes with an inherent warning against precisely the sort of exploitations we’re seeing these days from our fellow Americans.

We immigrants have been invited into this great house, but ungrateful guests can and should be asked to leave. Grace is an act of adoption, the incorporation into a familial bond that is not yours by birthright, not a license to demolish the very foundations on which we all stand.

As students of the Bible and of Hebrew, we are inspired by the fact that the Hebrew name for America is Artzot Ha’Brit, or the lands of the covenant. Ours is a covenantal nation, which means that each generation must renew the covenant with the Almighty and be found worthy anew of the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our predecessors did so by repelling the British, ending slavery, and preserving our legacy of freedom and equality. It’s now our turn to do the same. As we stand by the barbecue soon and enjoy our bounties, then, we’ll do so with the three words on our lips that had inspired immigrants since the dawn of our national sojourn: God bless America.

via www.tabletmag.com

Liel Leibovitz and Tony Badran.

A little July 4th cheer for you all. I had not heard that the Hebrew name for America means "lands of the covenant." That's nice.

July 4, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 1, 2024

Tech Industry Wants to Lock Up Nuclear Power for AI - WSJ

Tech companies scouring the country for electricity supplies have zeroed in on a key target: America’s nuclear-power plants.

The owners of roughly a third of U.S. nuclear-power plants are in talks with tech companies to provide electricity to new data centers needed to meet the demands of an artificial-intelligence boom. 

Among them, Amazon Web Services is nearing a deal for electricity supplied directly from a nuclear plant on the East Coast with Constellation Energy CEG 2.36%increase; green up pointing triangle, the largest owner of U.S. nuclear-power plants, according to people familiar with the matter. In a separate deal in March, the Amazon.com AMZN 1.91%increase; green up pointing triangle subsidiary purchased a nuclear-powered data center in Pennsylvania for $650 million.

The discussions have the potential to remove stable power generation from the grid while reliability concerns are rising across much of the U.S. and new kinds of electricity users—including AI, manufacturing and transportation—are significantly increasing the demand for electricity in pockets of the country. 

via www.wsj.com

July 1, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chevron, The Supreme Court, and the Law

Under Chevron deference, when an agency interprets a statute it administers (e.g., the EPA and the Clean Air Act), a court will uphold its interpretation so long as it is (generously assessed) a reasonable one, even if it is not the interpretation the court would have come up with on its own.  As you might imagine, this, at least potentially, gives agencies a lot more leeway, particularly when, as is often the case, Congress has drafted the statute ambiguously. 

With Chevron overturned, courts will now apply their own judgment instead of deferring to agencies.  Of course, this isn’t as big a deal as Larry and Norm seem to think, because Chevron has been dying the death of a thousand cuts for a while.  Under the “major questions doctrine,” courts already decline to defer to agency interpretations where the issue has major social or economic ramifications.

So the upshot now is that if Congress wants agencies to do things, it has to tell them to.  If agencies think their statutes are inadequate to their purpose, they can ask Congress to amend them.  Rather than a threat to democracy, this is  a modest return of decisionmaking to democratically elected legislators, and out of the hands of unelected bureaucrats.

I say modest because Chevron was dying for years, and because it was never entirely clear just how much difference it made where the rubber meets the road.  Some post-Chevron studies found it made a modest difference in how often agency actions were upheld by courts post-Chevron; others held that it didn’t make much difference at all.  It is, if anything, most significant as a statement of who is actually supposed to be boss in our system, and perhaps a notice that the judiciary is supposed to ride herd on agencies more closely than it has done in the past.

via instapundit.substack.com

Glenn Reynolds.

July 1, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)