Patterico's Pontifications


All We Have Is Conversation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:01 am

As I recently listened to an older Sam Harris podcast, I heard him make the point that “all we have is conversation.” In other words, to change things, we either have force or we have conversation. (He made the point in the context of decrying the left’s tendency to reject conversation by using threats and violence to shut people up.)

It’s a simple but profound observation.

He also makes the point elsewhere that Donald Trump, together with any followers of his who excuse his rampant lying, is also helping to destroy civil conversation by removing the concept of truth from the tools of meaningful discourse. (Truth is important to Harris, and to me. He once tried to speak with Jordan Peterson, and a two-hour conversation was completely hijacked by Harris’s inability to get past Peterson’s odd concept of truth as a malleable concept whose meaning somehow depends on its evolutionary value. But that’s another discussion.) So Harris believes that the left and Trump are both destroying civil conversation. I agree wholeheartedly. It’s another reason I like listening to Harris.

I’m going to again recommit to trying to have civil conversations without engaging in the type of behavior that derails it. I am not perfect and my adherence to this commitment will not be perfect. But a commitment to try ensures that I’ll try harder. So here you go.

P.S. Like the last time I announced a similar commitment, this announcement can easily be misunderstood as a declaration that I will no longer criticize Donald Trump or something. If that’s what you’re taking from this, you’re not getting it. I hope to be civil in the way Sam Harris is civil. He decries Donald Trump in the fiercest terms possible, but he is willing to have a polite conversation with anyone about that or any other topic.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Justice Kennedy Retiring

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:06 pm

Place your bets on the replacement.

Supreme Court: No More Forced Union Dues for Public Sector Unions

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am

Three cheers for the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday in Janus v. AFSCME that nonunion workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions.

The case, one of the most hotly anticipated of the term, is the second in two days to hand a major victory to conservatives, following Tuesday’s holding by the court that President Donald Trump’s travel ban is constitutional. Some experts have said that a holding in favor of the plaintiff, Mark Janus, would be the most significant court decision affecting collective bargaining in decades.

They have been taking these dues from me at gunpoint for years.

I have one question.

Do I get my money back?

[H/t: Steve Malynn.]

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

MSNBC Yapper: The United States Is Now Worse than Venezuela or Cuba

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:45 am

Steve “Compassionate Conservative” Schmidt is upset, and he wants you to know it:

“The extraordinary and astounding hypocrisy of it, to see the constancy of the assertion of Christian virtue by political leaders in this country who have established internment camps for babies and toddlers,” Schmidt said. “By the way, and I never in a million years thought I would sit here or anywhere and say this, but the difference now between Venezuela and Cuba and the United States is this. Venezuela and Cuba are the countries without internment camps for babies and toddlers.”

Also they have poverty, starvation, and political repression:

Venezuela is currently in extreme economic distress due to the socialist policies of authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro. Maduro has cracked down on human rights as the country faces food and medical shortages owing to its current crisis. Cuba is a Communist country with a poor human rights record and a regime that imprisons political opponents.

You might remember Schmidt from such campaigns as Ahhhhnold or John McCain. He’s great at backing people who are Republicans but not particularly conservative. Now he’s an MSNBC analyst: a natural progression.

Allahpundit explains the game happening here:

The game is called “Crisis” and you win to the extent that your sense of despair at it outstrips others’. Opposing child separation is meh; demonstrating against it is better; saying that it places us at a moral disadvantage to the Maduro regime is an all-star performance. The spate of liberals demonstrating outside Trump aides’ homes, kicking staffers out of restaurants, and all the tedious Antifa-esque defenses of it online over the last few days are big point-scorers too. How much do you care? Enough to yank that cheese plate out of Sarah Sanders’s hand? Enough to write political spank material for leftists about how civility towards persons such as these is itself immoral? It’s a game.

The United States is attempting to stem a flood of immigrants into our borders, because we have the highest standard of living on the continent. That is what is happening. Full stop.

The trouble with statements like Schmidt’s, other than that they are idiotic, is that they get used as propaganda in other countries. Other countries where actual repression occurs. Other countries with actual internment camps.

Pro-tip: Don’t exaggerate the faults of the United States, and compare us to actual terrible countries — unless your goal is to give aid and comfort to actual terrible countries. In which case, your moral compass is way of whack. Maybe even more out of whack than Donald Trump’s!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

For the Man Who (Says He) Owns Everything, Get Him a Medium Where He Can Own Himself

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:08 am

Wow! President Donald J. Trump:

The woman who beat him, socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, says she’s for impeaching Trump:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday that she would support impeachment for President Trump if she wins in November.

The 28-year-old Democratic socialist, fresh off a shocking primary upset over 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D) in New York’s 14th district, made the comments in an interview on CNN.

“I would support impeachment,” the first-time candidate and former Bernie Sanders campaign organizer said. “I think that, you know, we have the grounds to do it.”




[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


New York Democrats Lurch Further Left [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 7:56 pm

[guest post by JVW]

In what is looking like an Eric Cantor moment for Democrats, Congressman Joe Crowley of New York’s 14th District (parts of the Bronx and Queens) was defeated in today’s Democrat primary by newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Bernie Sanders acolyte who won the endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America. The 14th district is roughly 50% Hispanic and a mere 18.4% white, so an old Irish blarney artist like Crowley no doubt was smothered by the incessant drone of “toxic white masculinity” and “white privilege” beloved of social justice warriors.

Crowley was a political lifer who crawled his way up through the sewers of New York politics, working as a Congressional aide before serving six terms in the New York State Assembly. He was essentially deeded his House seat by the retiring incumbent, Thomas Manton, who waited to retire until after the filing deadline for the primary had passed then slotted his former aide Crowley into his position on the ballot. As a ten-term Congressman, Crowley maintained an impeccably left-wing voting record, favoring public spending in virtually all cases save for defense, supporting ObamaCare first and subsequently joining the “Medicare for All” chorus, and desiring a tax system with higher brackets for the wealthy. In his large Hispanic district, he was a loud voice against President Trump’s immigration policies. Crowley’s reliable party-line voting record had allowed him to rise to the Chairmanship of the House Democrat Caucus, the fourth ranking position in the House minority leadership, positioning him as a possible successor to Nancy Pelosi as party leader.

But that was not enough to get him past his 28-year-old challenger, a Boston University alumna and former Ted Kennedy staffer who returned to her native Bronx to work as a — wait for it! — community organizer. Outspent by a factor of 18:1, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez nevertheless parlayed her endorsements from the Democratic Socialists of America and MoveOn to beat Crowley, who had not faced a primary challenger in the past fourteen years. She too supports Medicare for All as well as abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez now goes on to face some poor Republican schlub (if the party bothered to nominate anybody) in a district that Hillary Clinton won by 58 points two years ago, so I think it’s a safe bet to assume she’s going to Washington. Meanwhile, tonight in New York some old party hacks are beginning to realize that they are no longer the ringmasters of the Democrat circus.

UPDATE: The more I read about it, the more I feel like congratulating Ms. Ocasio-Cortez on her victory. Sure, I find her politics to be detestable, but it is very clear that she just kicked ass on the entire corrupt and fetid New York Democrat machine. Look at Crowley’s endorsements: a bunch of SEIU chapters, a bunch of NY AFL-CIO chapters, teachers unions, and every other organized labor group that has their hand in the till, alongside of Moms Demand Action, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, a bunch of gay and lesbian organizations, Kristin Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer, Andrew Cuomo, Maxine Waters (yeah, seriously, Maxine Waters), and a whole other assortment of knaves, liars, and fools. All of these groups are now going to line up behind Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, but this was a giant Eff-you to the NY Democrat party and should strike fear in the hearts of all the time-servers that their day is coming to a close. In that regard, well done to the party’s new nominee.


Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban 5-4

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:19 am

The opinion is here.

Analysis as I can manage it.

UPDATE: I went straight to the language analyzing what I have discussed here at length: the interplay between 1182 and 1152. Here is the relevant part of the Court’s analysis:

Sections 1182(f) and 1152(a)(1)(A) thus operate in different spheres: Section 1182 defines the universe of aliens who are admissible into the United States (and therefore eligible to receive a visa). Once § 1182 sets the boundaries of admissibility into the United States, § 1152(a)(1)(A) prohibits discrimination in the allocation of immigrant visas based on nationality and other traits. The distinction between admissibility — to which § 1152(a)(1)(A) does not apply — and visa issuance — to which it does — is apparent from the text of the provision, which specifies only that its protections apply to the “issuance” of “immigrant visa[s],” without mentioning admissibility or entry. Had Congress instead intended in § 1152(a)(1)(A) to constrain the President’s power to determine who may enter the country, it could easily have chosen language directed to that end.

In all the debates over this, I don’t remember anyone making this point, which the Court makes clearly and succinctly, in quite this way. If someone made this simple point, either it was not made clearly, it was buried inside a mass of bad arguments, or (this is possible) I just missed it. (I’d have to be shown clear evidence of that, with a link and a quote, before I believe it.) I don’t understand the nuts and bolts of how immigrants actually enter the country and never pretended to; I deferred to people with greater expertise than I had. And based on the arguments I saw, I always operated under the assumption — which was obviously incorrect — that visa issuance was central to the initial admission of immigrants (i.e. how can they get in without a visa?). Thus, I believed, the two provisions operated in the same sphere. (Recall that I said, over and over, that I am not an immigration law expert and my opinion on the statutory construction could be wrong.) If the two operated in the same sphere, it would be clear that Congress had limited the President’s authority under 1182. Since, as the Court explains today, they operate in different spheres, Congress didn’t.

Breezing through the dissent, I don’t see any significant argument against the Court’s position in this area. (Again, I could be missing it.) I assume it’s right.

That’s good. All I was ever concerned about was the President usurping the authority of Congress. It appears he didn’t. In that case, I revert to what was always my support for the executive order on policy grounds — that support no longer being undermined by concern that it is a power grab from Congress.

UPDATE x2: A quick glance suggests the reasoning behind the rejection of all Trump’s bigoted anti-Muslim statements as a basis to strike down the ban: “we may consider plaintiffs’ extrinsic evidence, but will uphold the policy so long as it can reasonably be understood to result from a justification independent of unconstitutional grounds.” That makes perfect sense, and once you realize that is the standard, the answer is clear.

Looks like a good decision at first glance — but again, I have had time only for a glance.

UPDATE x3: This interesting dictum, announced with a flourish, will get some attention once the experts have told the reporters about it:

The dissent’s reference to Korematsu, however, affords this Court the opportunity to make express what is already obvious: Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and -— to be clear -— “has no place in law under the Constitution.” 323 U.S., at 248 (Jackson, J., dissenting).

Golf clap. As Dan Rather would say: “Courage!”

Prediction: you’ll probably see a debate about whether Korematsu has been “overruled,” with clueless reporters saying it has been, and other people correcting them. (As far as I can tell, it has not been overruled, but I have not had a chance to read the whole opinion so I will refrain from making a pronouncement.)

UPDATE x4: My memory in UPDATE number one may not have been entirely accurate. I was far more steeped in all this at the time and probably should not be writing about this in a hurry. Take literally everything I say in this hastily constructed post with bushfuls of salt. A quick glance (again, glances are all I have time for this morning) at old posts suggests that the distinction between entry and visa did come up, and I quoted one of the experts as making this response, which made sense to me at the time:

Here’s the Goverment’s initial argument on that issue:

Washington argued in district court that the President’s authority under § 1182(f) is limited by 8 U.S.C. § 1152(a)(1)(A), which provides, with certain exceptions, that “no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.” But this restriction does not address the President’s authority under § 1182(f) to “suspend the entry” of aliens, which is an entirely different act under the immigration laws. An immigrant visa does not entitle an alien to admission to the United States, and even if an alien is issued a valid visa, he is subject to being denied admission to this country when he arrives at the border. See, e.g., Khan v. Holder, 608 F.3d 325, 330 (7th Cir. 2010). There is no inconsistency between § 1152(a)(1)(A) and the President’s issuance of the Order under § 1182(f).

I thought Bier disposed of that pretty well in his original op-ed:

Mr. Trump may want to revive discrimination based on national origin by asserting a distinction between “the issuance of a visa” and the “entry” of the immigrant. But this is nonsense. Immigrants cannot legally be issued a visa if they are barred from entry. Thus, all orders under the 1952 law apply equally to entry and visa issuance, as his executive order acknowledges.

As far as the two statutes being “entirely different” acts, I think the point I made in an update to this post and fleshed out in this post has never been rebutted to my satisfaction. Namely:

I have shown that: 1) the two provisions are indeed in conflict when a President issues an order discriminating against immigrants on the basis of nationality or place of residence; 2) the only way to resolve this conflict is to view the President’s power to suspend entry under section 1182(f) as an exception to section 1152(a); and 3) Congress foreclosed the possibility that section 1182(f) functions as such an exception, by listing other exceptions but pointedly refusing to list 1182(f) as one.

This makes sense to me again, as a non-expert. This is why I thought the two were related. I now officially throw up my hands in confusion.

Again: what I say in haste this morning should not be viewed as anything but the opening of a discussion. I don’t have the luxury of reading the whole opinion, going back and looking at my old posts, and coming to a considered decision in this morning post. I have to go to work — right now.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Tracey Ullman Needles the Crybullies

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:17 am

[guest post by JVW]

A few weeks after taking the measure of the odious Jeremy Corbin, the magnificent Tracey Ullman sets her sights on young social justice warriors with this brilliant sketch.

Make sure you catch Ms. Ullman’s final line at the end. Absolutely brilliant.


Maxine Waters: Hassle Trump Cabinet Members in Public

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 am

Self-righteousness is the most dangerous human emotion.

And if you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!

This is wrong. Jim Geraghty has a good take at National Review:

Angry mobs are not good for deterring a particular unwanted behavior. They are good for instilling fear and giving a lot of people an excuse to let out all of their antisocial or violent impulses with a thin patina of moral righteousness. “I’m not harassing and assaulting another human being, I’m standing up for human rights!” No doubt the man who tried to kill as many GOP congressmen as he could at the baseball field in Alexandria, Va., believed he was standing up for good causes and doing the right thing.

Harassment of public figures on the right is only going to lead to harassment of public figures on the left. No doubt everyone remembers their own favorite example of a breach of decorum and proper behavior: the guy in the Miami cheesecake factory, Joe Wilson shouting out “you lie!” at an Obama address to Congress, the man who dumped a beer on a lawmaker in a bar, the guy who harangued Ivanka Trump on a flight. The fake blood thrown at the private home of an NRA lobbyist. The guy who threw water at Tomi Lahren in a restaurant in New York. The audience disruptions at Julius C[ae]sar and Robert De Niro’s A Bronx Tale.

Some no doubt would argue that the president himself threw gasoline on this fire. At a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in February 2016, Trump said, “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, okay. Just knock the hell — I promise you I will pay for the legal fees, I promise.” And then in Saint Louis a month later, Trump lamented that no one sufficiently hurts protesters at his speeches: “Nobody wants to hurt each other anymore, right? And they’re being politically correct the way they take them out, so it takes a little bit longer. And honestly, protesters, they realize it. They realize that there are no consequences to protesting anymore.”

I’ll quibble with Geraghty’s citation of Joe Wilson, who did nothing but yell out the truth when he yelled out that Obama lied. But notice how (if you take Wilson’s nonviolent breach of decorum out of it), in that litany of threats and violence, virtually everything comes from the left. You could also talk about Charles Murray and the violent assault on his companion Allison Stanger (Geraghty does), or the protests and arrests at Berkeley surrounding a talk by Ben Shapiro, and outright violence surrounding a talk by Milo LongGreekName. All this anti-speech screaming and threats comes from the left and only the left…

…except for Trump, and his superfans (the folks at the DeNiro movie and Julius Caesar performance). Which makes his superfans cheer, and the rest of us shake our heads in disgust, that we have the equivalent of a Maxine Waters on “our side.”

If Maxine Waters cited Trump’s attempts to incite violence as justification for her own outrageous comments, saying something like “he wrote the New Rules, we’re just making him play by them” — she would still be wrong. If a bunch of conservatives yelled at Maxine Waters in a restaurant, I could see how they might feel justified — but they would still just be a bunch of loudmouth punks hassling someone in a restaurant.

The way to deal with the Maxine Waters crowd is to shine a light on them. Call them out at every opportunity. Ask every Democrat official you can whether they agree with her that cabinet members should be harassed in public.

If you are determined to “punch back twice as hard” (as our beloved former President once said), you’re using the actions of a few crazies on the other side to justify bad behavior that you want to engage in anyway. The people who carry out Maxine Waters’s exhortations are scum. The people who use those exhortations as an excuse aren’t much better.

Let me put it another way, and I’ll be blunt. If Maxine Waters dictates how you behave, you weren’t raised right.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Amazon Associates Program

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:57 pm

Your periodic reminder that the search box is on the sidebar.

Thanks for remembering.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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