How Gorsuch’s nomination hearing is going

Neil_Gorsuch_February_2017Neil Gorsuch is reportedly doing well in Senate hearings for his nomination to the Supreme Court.

In three days of marathon sessions lasting up to 10 hours,  Judge Gorsuch has been handling the hostile Democratic interrogations with aplomb.  He distanced himself from comments about him from the president, saying that he made no promises to repeal Roe v. Wade or any other rulings.  He sidestepped commentary on issues that he may have to rule on.

Republicans have 52 votes in the Senate.  Gorsuch needs 60 votes to shut off a potential filibuster.  Unless at least eight Democrats vote for the nominee, the Republican leadership is threatening “the nuclear option.”  That is, to change the Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster option.

One development that Democrats will jump on:  The Supreme Court just overturned one of Judge Gorsuch’s decisions.

There will be another day of testimony on Thursday.  The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on April 3.  The goal is for the whole Senate to vote on the confirmation before the mid-April recess.  See this for more background.  (The Senate has the “advise and consent” responsibility for confirming Supreme Court justices, cabinet members, and other high government office.  The House of Representatives is not part of the picture.)

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The Trump/Russia collusion charge is fizzling

32314073056_4387da7f0f_zThe Democratic base, fanned by left wing pundits, is all fired up about the prospect that Donald Trump and his campaign conspired with the Russians to steal the election.

But despite lots of searching, no evidence of that collusion has turned up.

Now Democratic officials are trying to tamp down expectations from the rank and file, many of whom are convinced that exposing the Russian connection will bring Trump down.

Even former intelligence officials from the Obama administration are admitting that there is nothing there.  Democrats on the congressional committees investigating the possibility are also saying they have found nothing.

But they fear their base.

When Barack Obama took office, conspiracy theories abounded, conservative pundits kept everything at a fever pitch, and Tea Party activists vowed to hold Republican officeholders’ feet to the fire if they co-operated with the new president.

We are now experiencing the mirror image of those times, with liberals doing what conservatives once did.

Glenn Greenwald tells the tale after the jump.

UPDATE:  Not that the issue is dead.  FBI director James Comey has just told a congressional committee that the FBI is investigating the matter.

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The end of Reaganism?

384px-Official_Portrait_of_President_Reagan_1981At the Conservative Political Action Conference, attendees swooned over President Trump.  They applauded him even when he advocated policies that used to be anathema to conservatives:  paid family leave; economic protectionism; a big public works program.

Rich Lowry, marveling, concluded that President Trump, with his brand of nationalistic conservatism, has triumphed over small-government conservatism.  That is to say, the ideology of Ronald Reagan is no longer dominant among conservatives.

If Reaganism is over, Lowry says, the Reaganites themselves are largely to blame.  They repeated the same mantras–lower taxes, supply side economics, cutting government–even as American voters moved on to other concerns, such as wage stagnation and (I would add) immigration.

At CPAC, Trump advisor Steve Bannon said that nationalism is what unites conservatives, with small government conservatives being one strain of the larger movement.

What do you think of Bannon’s analysis?  Rich Lowry’s?  Is Reaganism dead?  Or just beaten down for the time being?

Or has Trump, in fact, rebuilt the Reagan coalition of business interests, Christian conservatives, and disaffected blue-collar Democrats?

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Shutting down the government over the Wall & Planned Parenthood

Chuck_Schumer_January_2016Senate Democrats say they will shut down the government by filibustering any spending bills that include building a wall along the Mexican border or that defund Planned Parenthood.

The government runs out of money on April 28 unless more funding is approved.

President Trump plans to release his proposed budget this week.

If the government gets shut down, the Democrats are convinced that Republicans will get blamed.


Photo of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by Senate Democrats ( [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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The ACLU “resistance”

American_Civil_Liberties_Union_The American Civil Liberties Union conducted livestreamed training across the country Saturday, teaching people how to stage protests and other acts of “resistance” against the Trump administration.

The ACLU also said that it would be organizing “freedom cities” to defy immigration laws.

The Executive Director of the ACLU promised new lawsuits.  “We’ll do the work in the courts,” he told participants in the workshops. “You do the work in the streets.”

The ACLU’s priorities, he said, would be immigration, free speech, religious freedom, “reproductive rights” (a.k.a., facilitating abortion),  and LGBT issues.

Honest questions:  Does the ACLU defend free speech on college campuses?  Does the ACLU restrict its “freedom of religion” activities to Muslims and other minority religions, or do they also defend Christians who have been restricted or punished for acting on their beliefs?  Is there any “civil liberties” emphasis left in the organization, or has it become just another leftwing political group?

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The difference between Mike Pence’s e-mails and Hillary Clinton’s

email-1818544_640Vice-President Mike Pence, it turns out, used his private e-mail account for government business when he was governor of Indiana.  Democrats are indignant, accusing Republicans of making it into a big scandal when Hillary Clinton did the same thing.

But the two cases are not at all the same.  Tyler O’Neil gives three reasons why not.  The most important:  The state of Indiana has no laws regarding state officials using their own e-mail accounts.  Whereas there is a law against U.S. State Department officials using unauthorized accounts.  Mike Pence, unlike Hillary Clinton, didn’t break the law!

O’Neil’s other two reasons are also telling. [Read more…]