Transferring Money From Red States to Blue

The fifty states have functioned as laboratories of democracy in their varied responses to the Wuhan Virus Pandemic. For the most part, it’s been the blue states who have done the most damage to their economies, and it’s these states that the Democrats in Congress want to bail out.

It might be wise for Congress to review some basic principles of planning and economics before they act. I’m providing a link to a basic economics text at Amazon that should be simple enough for most of the members of the House and Senate to understand.

I’m Confused

After ending a prayer with the word awomen [autocorrupt really fights me when I try to type that word], the Democrats imposed a new rule on the House of Representatives that eliminates the use of such “gendered” words as mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, or uncle.

So are they for celebrating the biological differences between the sexes, or are they insisting that we’re all the same and the differences are socially constructed?

Or will they also end prayers with words like atrannie?

2020 has turned 21 and is now drinking openly.

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know

A Democrat representative who is allegedly an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church concluded a prayer he led in the House of Representatives with the word “awomen.” [Note: The term is so wrong that I’m having to fight with autocorrupt to get it typed into this post.]

I’m so old, I was taught to conclude my prayers with the word “amen” (Hebrew אָמֵן). The English word amen can be an adverb, interjection, or verb, and those parts of speech are genderless in English. It can also be a noun (a synonym for truth), and as a noun, its gender is neuter.

Grammar is hard.

Congress, the Supreme Court, and Impeachment

President Trump has remarked that if the House were to pass articles of impeachment against him that did not properly charge him with a crime (Orange Man Bad isn’t even a misdemeanor), he might go to the Supreme Court seeking to have the impeachment quashed. Various pundits and academics have tut-tut-ed and stated that the President doesn’t understand how impeachment works. Do they?

Alan Dershowitz has a piece over at The Hill suggesting that the President may not be too far off base.

Were Congress to try to impeach and remove a president without alleging and proving any such crime, and were the president to refuse to leave office on the ground that Congress had acted unconstitutionally, there would indeed be such a constitutional crisis. And Supreme Court precedent going back to Marbury v. Madison empowers the justices to resolve conflicts between the executive and legislative branches by applying the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Recall that when a president has been impeached by the House, the Supreme Court’s chief justice presides at his Senate trial and the senators take a special oath. This special oath requires each senator to swear or affirm that “in all things pertaining to the trial … [to] do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the law” (italics added).

If the House were to impeach for a non-crime, the president’s lawyer could make a motion to the chief justice to dismiss the case, just as a lawyer for an ordinary defendant can make a motion to dismiss an indictment that did not charge a crime. The chief justice would be asked to enforce the senatorial oath by dismissing an impeachment that violated the words of the Constitution. There is no assurance that the chief justice would rule on such a motion, but it is certainly possible.

No one should criticize President Trump for raising the possibility of Supreme Court review, especially following Bush v. Gore, the case that ended the 2000 election. Many of the same academics ridiculed the notion that the justices would enter the political thicket of vote-counting. But they did and, in the process, weakened the “political question” doctrine. The case for applying the explicit constitutional criteria governing impeachment is far more compelling than was the case for stopping the Florida recount.

So no one should express partisan certainty regarding President Trump’s suggestion that the Supreme Court might well decide that impeaching a president without evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors is unconstitutional.

Read the whole thing.

Lying Liars Gotta Lie

The Wall Street Journal reports that Michael Cohen instructed Stephen Ryan, his previous lawyer, to raise the prospect of a pardon after the FBI raided Cohen’s home last April. That statement by lawyer Lanny Davis, who now represents Cohen, directly contradicts Cohen’s testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee on 27 February.

Cohen: “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump.”

Davis: “During that time period, [Cohen] directed his attorney to explore possibilities of a pardon at one point with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as other lawyers advising President Trump.”

Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, but he has now flipped on his former client Donald Trump, so it makes sense that the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee would give him a forum for further lies.

Coming Attractions

So the Democrats say that they’ll be using their new control of House committees to do some investigating. We’ll see how that works out. Meanwhile, Conrad Black makes this observation over at the National Post

Now that the president has fired the attorney general and can confirm a replacement who is not emasculated on Russian matters, the administration can proceed to the indictment of all leading members of the Clinton campaign and the Obama justice department who appear to have incriminated themselves by lying to Congress or the FISA Court, including Hillary Clinton, Loretta Lynch, and agency heads John Brennan, James Clapper, and James Comey. This may happen anyway, but it certainly will if the Waters-Nadler-Schiff faction is unleashed. Trump has been put to extreme inconvenience by these spurious investigations and he can, if he wishes, exact a terrible vengeance. His moderation should not be presumed.

I’d better buy some more popcorn futures.

Congress v. The Courts

While considering my first cup of coffee this morning, I was scrolling through teh Twitterz and found this—
—which seems to be a neat summation of the real constitutional “crisis” being played out in this week’s SCOTUS nomination hearings: Congress has been failing to do its job writing legislation for more than a century.

One obvious problem is the deferral of too much of the regulatory process to executive branch agencies such as the FCC or the EPA. Another is the lack of Congressional pushback when the courts have engaged in legislation from the bench.

If Senator Hirono is so concerned about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, she should introduce legislation to remove the Court’s authority to consider abortion cases. Congress has that power under Art. III, Sec. 2 of the Constitution. Of course, the fallout from the debate over such a bill might have disastrous consequences for elected officials who could lose their jobs at the next election, so it’s understandable that she might prefer to leave such questions the responsibility of government employees with better job security. Even if they might vote the wrong way. Some things aren’t worth risking your job.

Trump Obeys Constitution—Democrats Hardest Hit

The Constitution specifically forbids the spending of any money from the Treasury of the United States unless the expenditure is authorized by a law passed by Congress. Congress has never authorized any Obamacare subsides, and a federal court has ruled them unconstitutional. President Trump has ordered that no further unconstitutional payments be made. The whining by the Democrats in Congress and with media bylines is interesting to watch.

The President sure is unpredictable. Why, the next thing you know, the President might do something like start acting as if treaties have to be ratified by the Senate.

Do Something!

One of the most offensive things that I’ve heard from certain quarters on the Left is that we Conservatives who say that we pray for the victims of mass shootings should “do something” instead. As someone who believes in the efficacy of prayer, I believe that praying is doing something.

Moreover, the Left also generally implies that we Conservative don’t want legislative action taken to make mass shootings or gun violence less likely, and that’s simply not true. The rejection of flawed proposals from the Left by thoughtful Conservatives is not a call to do nothing. Rather, we propose solutions which involve moving away from failed policies and repealing ineffective (or actually harmful) laws.

For example, the elimination of gun-free zones allows people to better defend themselves. A mass shooting was nipped in the bud at a church near Nashville a few days ago by a concealed carry permit holder who resisted the shooter.

So it is time to do something. Let those of us who pray do so, and let’s all of us demand that Congress repeal and replace federal laws and regulations that cannot be shown to have improved public safety and demand that Congress exercise its authority under the Fourteenth Amendment to preempt state laws which deprive citizens of their rights under the Second Amendment.

Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine

Politico has a post up about how some bureaucrats and former bureaucrats are upset with Congress reviewing and repealing regulations under the Congressional Review Act of 1996. Toward the end of the post it has a quote from one of the regulators that shows his upside-down view of the constitution.

“I believe there’s a good chance that, in a legal challenge, that a court will overturn Congress’ actions here as an unconstitutional usurpation of the executive branch’s powers,” he said.

Uh, no. The ability of the bureaucrats to regulate does not generally flow from the President’s powers under Article II. It’s is generally derived from Congress delegating it’s Article I powers to the Executive Branch. What Congress can delegate, it can take back.

Credit Where Credit’s Due

Marc Thiessen has a piece over at WaPo about federal government spending. (H/T, VodkaPundit) For the first time in decades, certainly the first time in my memory, the federal government’s spending will decrease. In 2010, the feds spend $3.457 trillion. Spending for this fiscal year should come in at $3.455 trillion. A couple of billion out of 3+ trillion may not seem like much, but as Senator Dirksen once said, “A billion here and a billion there, and soon you’re talking real money.” Actually, when you figure in inflation, that’s about a 5 % decrease in spending.

However, don’t be too quick to credit the President. He’s fought for ever more spending. The House GOP probably should get most of the credit because of the Budget Control Act.

You know, we could have balanced the budget this year. The actual revenue to the government would have allowed us to pay the interest on the debt and fund every agency at about 94 % of FY 2003 levels accounting for inflation. Most of us could have gotten by on 94 % of our 2003 income. Why couldn’t the government? Sure, some adjustments would have to be made, but couldn’t you gotten by with only 6 % decrease in the government you had in 2003?

Congress and Obamacare

Senator Grassley (R-IA) successfully offered an amendment to the Obamacare bill that required Congress and the Congressional staff to be offered insurance plans only from those created by Obamacare or the state exchanges.

Opps.

Now that Congress is in the unusual position of not being exempt from a law, panic is setting in. You see, under the present plans, Congresscritters, Senators, and staff receive a substantial subsidy as federal employees. Under the “Affordable Care Act,” they have to pay retail. Politico reports that sticker shock is causing many staffers and some Congresscritters to consider other employment.

Hubris, meet Nemesis.

We’re From the Government, and We’re Here to Help

And more and more Americans are beginning to say, “No, thank you.” Why? Peggy Noonan suggests this answer in a post at WSJ.

A major problem for those who want an immigration bill is lack of faith in government to do all the jobs it’s set itself well. People don’t trust it to be able to execute—to do, adequately, the thing it’s set itself to do in its big new laws. We always look at the motives and politics behind a big bill, and talk about that. But simple noncrisis execution—the ability to track and deal with a Tamerlan Tsarnaeu, or to patrol and control a huge border—is a big reason why which people lack faith. Because, you know, they read the papers.

Most of us have to work pretty hard to get things right. Babe Ruth had a lifetime batting average of .342—which means he failed to make it to first base almost 2/3 of the time. Government doesn’t seem to be doing nearly as well as the Sultan of Swat, and as it has become more unsuccessful in many of its basic functions, it has tried to meddle in area outside its rightful sphere. Managing public safety is one thing. Regulating Big Gulps is another.

Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism outlines the history of what I call “nannystateism,” a form of socialism with a smiley face. The control freak forms of socialism split into two main streams a bit over a hundred years ago. In Europe, they wound up with totalitarian forms such as Italian Fascism, German National Socialism, and Russian Communism. They were police states. In America, we flirted with police state socialism during the Wilson Administration, but returned to normalcy during the ’20s. When the Progressives returned to power during the Great Depression and the Second World War, the horrors of the gulag and the holocaust kept Americans away from that kind of state brutality. Instead of control through fear, our politicians have tried to practice control through gift giving.

And so we have a kind and gentle form of control freak meddling by the government. The path we’re on doesn’t lead to Orwell’s Room 101, but it seems headed to a place very like Huxley’s Brave New World. The problem is that there isn’t enough soma to go around, and there probably never will be. Most of us will have to work to support ourselves and our families. So when folks see that a couple of immigrants who never had jobs were supported well enough that they had cell phones and nice clothes and leisure time to party and guns and explosives with which to attack us, they naturally begin to wonder about what’s going on. Some will ask, “Where’s my share of the goodies?” Others will ask, “Why are we supporting these creeps?”

I hope that the second group is larger.