Patterico's Pontifications

2/21/2024

Beware Conventional Wisdom, Bragg Indictment Edition

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:16 am



As a longtime critic of Big Media, I am always on the alert for “tells” that suggest Big Media might be getting something wrong. One “tell” that crops up again and again is herd mentality. When literally everywhere you turn, from newspapers to cable news networks to online publications, everyone mindlessly repeats the same Conventional Wisdom . . . be careful. It doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Often they’re right. But it’s a sign that you need to carefully analyze the claim that is being mindlessly repeated. Especially when there is no real analysis of the contrary viewpoint — just an impatient dismissal of it without any attempt to analyze the facts.

Take the lab leak theory, for example. We still don’t know what caused the COVID virus to emerge, but for a while there, the Conventional Wisdom was that it was ridiculous to think it came from a lab. Big Media types never gave you a real analysis of the theory. They just impatiently dismissed it.

I think the same thing is happening with the Bragg indictment. This is not going to be a long post about the Bragg indictment. I have already written my detailed thoughts about why I, seemingly almost alone amongst legal commentators, think that the case might be solid, depending on the quality of the evidence.

My point here is, with the case seemingly first on the criminal docket for Donald Trump, you are increasingly hearing the Conventional Wisdom that the case is political garbage. Literally everywhere you turn, you will hear people shrug it off as an unimportant case. And everyone they know thinks the same thing. And nobody questions it.

It is less important than the other three, I agree. But I think it’s important.

Rather than reprise my previous screeds, which you can revisit in the links above if you like, I will simply cite a line from the judge’s recent opinion denying Donald Trump’s motions to dismiss the case. The line comes within a detailed discussion of a multi-factor test analyzing the issue of pre-indictment delay, so it could be easy to overlook. But the judge who wrote the opinion has a greater familiarity with the nature of this case than most people repeating the Conventional Wisdom about the case. And here is what the judge says:

[W]hile it is true that the charges involve the lowest level felony and no one suffered physical harm, it can hardly be said that the allegations are not severe. The People claim that the Defendant paid an individual $130,000 to conceal a sexual encounter in an effort to influence the 2016 Presidential election and then falsified 34 business records to cover up the payoff. In this Court’s view, those are serious allegations.

That’s true in my view as well.

I still don’t know what evidence Bragg has. His prosecutors might come up short. That is a real possibility.

But it is also a real possibility that about a month from now, the Conventional Wisdom will start to turn. And that people will realize: hey, this actually is a serious case after all.

In case that happens . . . you heard it here first.

2/20/2024

Compare and Contrast: Trump on Navalny, Haley responds

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:34 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Days after Alexei Navalny’s death was announced, Donald Trump posted about it. Well, after a fashion… Typical of Trump, he not only neglected to mention the despicable individual responsible for killing Navalny (President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump just happens to admire), but made it all about himself instead:

“The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country,” he wrote. “It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction. Open Borders, Rigged Elections, and Grossly Unfair Courtroom Decisions are DESTROYING AMERICA. WE ARE A NATION IN DECLINE, A FAILING NATION! MAGA2024.”

Trump’s challenger, the still-trailing Nikki Haley commented on the self-serving statement made by Trump:

“This is on the heels of Trump saying that he would encourage Putin to invade any NATO countries that didn’t pull their weight – And now the only comment he’s going to make about Navalny is not hitting Putin for murdering him, not praising Navalny for fighting the corruption that was happening in Russia. But instead he’s going to compare himself to Navalny and the victim that he is in his court cases?” she said.

While this is but one moment during the campaign, it speaks volumes about Trump and Haley, and how they view Navalny, Putin, Russia, and the sacrifice the Putin critic made for the people of Russia. So knowing that, how can Republicans choose Trump over Haley if they are truly voting for the most intelligent, clear-headed, knowledgeable, and frankly, normal candidate? One candidate who only cares about himself and can make even the most momentous, world-impacting event about himself versus the candidate who sees with clarity the evil that is Putin, the heroics of Navalny, and the obsessive victimhood of a narcissistic man-child. How hard can this be?

There’s so much more that can be said about Trump’s despicable victimhood, but we already know what he’s made of. Republican voters have an opportunity to excise the Party of this insanity. Let’s see if they do. If not, then yet again, the problem continues to be the voters.

Update: Trump spoke to Laura Ingram of Fox News today:

“Navalny is a very sad situation and he’s very brave, he was a very brave guy,” Trump said in response to a question from Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham. “He went back, he could have stayed away, and frankly probably would have been a lot better off staying away and talking from outside of the country as opposed to having to go back in, because people thought that could happen, and it did happen.

“And it’s a horrible thing, but it’s happening in our country, too,” Trump continued, suggesting his criminal indictments — which include two cases stemming from his efforts to overturn his 2020 defeat — are proof that the U.S. is “turning into a communist country in many ways.”

“I got indicted four times … all because of the fact that I’m in politics,” Trump said. “They indicted me on things that are so ridiculous.”

“It is a form of Navalny,” Trump said. “It is a form of communism, of fascism.”

Trump and Navalny, two persecuted peas in a pod, according to Trump. SMDH!!

—-Dana

2/16/2024

Putin Wants You to Know He Murdered Navalny

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:39 pm



For several years I was the target of people who harassed me and my family. They disguised their identity, but they did so very, very thinly. They dropped all kinds of clues that they were the ones doing the harassment. They didn’t leave anything clear enough to stand up in court. But they came close.

You see, they wanted me to know it was them.

Vladimir Putin wants you to know he is the one who had Alexei Navalny murdered.

How do we know this? Because he chose a day for the murder that was one day after Navalny appeared in court via video — apparently healthy and in good spirits, even joking around.

Watch the video. He was a bad-ass to the end.

Vladimir Putin needs to swing from the nearest lamp post.

And every Republican who does not vote to support Ukraine needs to be shown the door.

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:44 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

I believe that Putin essentially killed Navalny because he remained a serious threat (even in his weakened physical state) to the Kremlin’s iron grip over the populace. Even during his imprisonment, Navalny’s vocal opposition to Putin, criticism of the state, and his bruising humor while under the most severe circumstances could no longer be permitted. Thanks to Navalny’s courage, there can be no denying the evil that is Putin. He had to go. But Navalny’s legacy is firmly in place. There will be no erasing of his memory:

Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service said in a statement that Mr. Navalny, 47, had lost consciousness and died after taking a walk on Friday in the Arctic prison where he was moved late last year. “All necessary resuscitation measures were taken, which did not lead to positive results,” the statement said.

Navalny’s wife speaks:

Yulia Navalnaya just shocked the Munich Security Conference by taking the stage to make a statement denouncing Putin and his government. “We cannot believe Putin and his government. They are lying constantly. But if it’s true, I would like Putin and all his staff, everybody around him, his government, his friends, I want them to know that they will be punished for what they have done with our country, with my family and with my husband. They will be brought to justice and this day will come soon.”

One must also wonder how nervous the Kremlin is, given Navalny’s death right before an election…

Second news item

On Tucker Carlson’s ridiculous interview with Putin and subsequent praise of Moscow and Putin:

In a healthy democracy, if we still were one, such a double stunt—granting a sycophantic interview to a supervillain and then trashing the United States and praising Russia while onstage in Dubai—would be greeted with condemnation, shame, or both. But we don’t appear to live in that country right now.

This is to our shame. It’s still shocking to see Americans’ embrace of Putin and Russia.

This:

If you’re going to worship a dictator, you must then worship the dictatorship. MAGA adoration of autocrats like Orbán and dictators like Putin may begin with “we need a strongman in America” but it logically progresses to advocating advocating for despotism.

Tucker is a propagandist, and the comparisons to Western leftists from Duranty to Bernie to Michael Moore visiting the USSR & Cuba in gullible awe are fine. But this is a concrete campaign on behalf of Putin’s murderous dictatorship, not credulous ideology…

It’s a war. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the front line, but it extends to every aspect of the free world vs authoritarians. Trump & the GOP have picked a side. Propagandists like Tucker & Musk have picked a side. It is not the side of America or freedom, and they know it.

The depravity of an American pretending to envy life in Putin’s collapsing gulag state, & the history of such spectacles, has been covered. I will simply ask how many educated people move to Putin’s Russia vs how many leave?

Third news item

House impeachment:

The GOP-led House impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on a second attempt after the resolution failed last week. He is the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in nearly 150 years. The vote tally was 214 to 213 with three Republicans siding with Democrats.

The three Republicans voting with Democrats were Ken Buck of Colorado, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, and Tom McClintock of California.

Fourth news item

The U.N. disgraces itself… once again:

Griffith tried to do some damage control:

Just to clarify: Hamas is not on the list of groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations Security Council.

This doesn’t make their acts of terror on 7 October any less horrific and reprehensible, as I’ve been saying all along.

Of course, this only begs the question: Why on earth hasn’t the U.N. designated Hamas a terrorist group?

Fifth news item

Democrats are likely to oppose it because it doesn’t provide aid to Palestinians, and Marjorie Taylor Greene has said she would lead the move to oust Speaker Johnson if he brings any bill to the floor providing aid to Ukraine. So much for bipartisanship:

A bipartisan group of House members on Friday rolled out a $66 billion national security package that would provide aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

The 30-page “Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act” would automatically reject migrants who legally or illegally cross the border without proper paperwork for one year —restricting asylum, but with humanitarian exceptions.

The bill also blocks the use of federal funds to transfer migrants between detention centers or other locations unless it is for adjudicating their immigration case.

It would also implement a Trump-era policy that required migrants and asylum seekers be turned back to Mexico to await their court hearings. The policy requires cooperation from the Mexican government and cannot simply be enforced from the U.S. side.

By the numbers: The bill includes $47.7 billion in aid to Ukraine, $10.4 billion for Israel and $4.9 billion for U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific to combat China.

Sixth news item

As if flying isn’t stressful enough:

Unhappiness with air travel took a new turn when maggots rained down on passengers on a Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday.

A passenger reportedly brought rotten fish on to the plane in a carry-on bag, and placed it in an overhead bin, before the maggots broke free and rained on to passengers seated below,

This individual should be banned from ever flying again!

Seventh news item

Checking in on today’s Republican Party, and I see that CPAC 2024 lists failed Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy as a featured speaker at the Ronald Reagan dinner.

Eighth news item

While awaiting Judge Engoron’s decision in Trump’s $370 million civil fraud case, the former president is opting out in another issue:

Former President Trump and his legal team have decided against appealing a court’s decision that found he is not immune from civil lawsuits that blame him for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, after they previously signaled he would file an appeal.

Trump’s decision to not take his broader immunity claim to the Supreme Court means lawsuits seeking to hold him accountable for his role on Jan. 6 can move forward.

Have a good weekend.

—Dana

Report: Navalny Dead

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:04 am



Murdered by Putin.

I am heartsick.

I bet Tucker Carlson is happy, that nasty sinister turncoat.

Evil must be defeated.

The GOP won’t help. Therefore the GOP must be defeated.

2/15/2024

Another nail in the coffin

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:00 pm



[guest post by Dana]

That was then:

When [Trump] was asked in May if he was ready to admit that he had lost the election, the first words out of his mouth centered on the film’s [2000 Mules] claims.

“If you look at True the Vote,” he said, “they found millions of votes on camera, on government cameras, where they were stuffing ballot boxes.”

This is now:

Texas-based True the Vote filed complaints with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in 2021, including one in which it said it had obtained “a detailed account of coordinated efforts to collect and deposit ballots in drop boxes across metro Atlanta” during the November 2020 election and a January 2021 runoff.

A Fulton County Superior Court judge in Atlanta signed an order last year requiring True the Vote to provide evidence it had collected, including the names of people who were sources of information, to state elections officials who were frustrated by the group’s refusal to share evidence with investigators.

In their written response, attorneys for True the Vote said the group had no names or other documentary evidence to share.

Raffensperger’s office responds:

“Once again, True the Vote has proven itself untrustworthy and unable to provide a shred of evidence for a single one of their fairy-tale allegations,” said Mike Hassinger, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office. “Like all the lies about Georgia’s 2020 election, their fabricated claims of ballot harvesting have been repeatedly debunked.”

—Dana

2/14/2024

Another look at Trump’s Republican Party

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:31 pm



[guest post by Dana]

The current leader of the Republican Party makes no bones about it: a fellow election denier should fill Ronna McDaniel’s soon-to-be vacancy:

In pushing Michael Whatley as the next leader of the Republican National Committee, Donald Trump zeroed in on the North Carolina GOP chairman’s dedication to “election integrity,” baselessly suggesting he would ensure the 2024 race “can’t be stolen.”

SMDH. Every time Trump uses the word “integrity,” my eyeballs threaten to get stuck at the back of my head from such aggressive eye-rolling…

Whatley has faced criticism from some of his fellow Republicans, who believe that he “manufactured” his win as state party head. Of course there is irony:

“The next chair of the Republican Party is running on election integrity. His own election was called into question…” said Anderson Clayton, chairwoman of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

Anyway, this is yet another indicator of the direction Trump is taking the party. Oh, and let’s not forget that his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is the person he would like to see as the RNC co-chair. She’s made it clear what her priority will be:

“Every single penny will go to the No. 1 and the only job of the RNC – that is electing Donald J. Trump as president of the United States and saving this country,” she added.

P.S. By the way, a real concern about Trump taking over the RNC (and Lara Trump’s possible involvement), is that the committee may end up paying Trump’s ongoing legal fees.

—Dana

2/9/2024

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:59 am



[guest post by Dana]

The disarray of the Republican Party (see: House Republicans) was on full display this week. It’s a full Weekend Open Thread by itself! But there are certainly other important things going on than a constipated political party’s elected officials in action, so let’s go!

First news item

Special Counsel pushes back on Judge Cannon in Mar a Lago case:

Special counsel Jack Smith is asking Judge Aileen Cannon to reconsider a ruling that would allow former President Trump’s legal team to publicly disclose witness identities and their testimony to the court docket.… Trump’s team has sought to attach evidence given to them during the discovery process in other court filings set to be publicly posted in connection with the Mar-a-Lago documents case… The Justice Department argued late Thursday that Cannon erred in her legal rationale for allowing them to do so.

“That discovery material, if publicly docketed in unredacted form as the Court has ordered, would disclose the identities of numerous potential witnesses, along with the substance of the statements they made to the FBI or the grand jury, exposing them to significant and immediate risks of threats, intimidation, and harassment,” prosecutors wrote in the 22-page filing.

Second news item

The most useful idiot:

For instance, he allowed Putin to claim that the 2014 Maidan protests, in which Ukrainians took to the streets to demand freedom from Russian control, were a CIA plot. There’s no evidence of this.

He also allowed Putin to claim, unchallenged, that Russia sought peace with Ukraine before launching the 2022 invasion. There’s no evidence of this, with Russia illegally seizing swaths of Ukraine in 2014 and stoking conflict in the east of the country.

Putin was also able to claim, unchallenged, that the invasion was a bid to “de-Nazify” the country and not the campaign of revanchist conquest it is in reality.

Putin was given a two-hour platform to further undermine Republican support for Ukraine and offer an alternative version of history in which the US and NATO were the true aggressors.

Third news item

The special counsel exonerated President Biden in classified documents matter, in part because President Biden is viewed as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” President Biden was not amused. And the White House was determined to do damage control, and scheduled a press conference last night. press conference last night:

Once there, he praised the special counsel for deciding not to charge him and nearly came to tears while chiding him for including the anecdote about Biden’s memory of his son’s death.

“How in the hell dare he raise that?” asked Biden through gritted teeth. “I don’t need anyone to remind me when he passed away.”

He snapped at Fox News’ Peter Doocy, offering a half-constructed crack about how “my memory is so bad I let you [Doocy] speak.”

He lashed out at another reporter who observed that “the American people have been watching and they have expressed concerns about your age.”

“That is your judgment! That is your judgment! That is not the judgment of the press!” he shouted, seemingly forgetting that he was engaging with a member of the press.

The RNC Research group described President Biden as “angry and incoherent” during the presser. I watched this several times and am still waiting for an angry and incoherent Biden:

Yea, President Biden did mix up Mexico and Egypt… and has confused other leaders in recent appearances.

Fourth news item

Conflict on how to proceed abounds:

Chants of “Now! Now! Now!” ring out at nearly every protest in Israel imploring the government to do everything possible to win the immediate release of dozens of hostages held by Hamas.

But a small group of hostages’ families is pushing a different message: Let the army first finish the job of defeating the militant group, even if that delays the return of their loved ones.

These families argue that the price to be paid in any hostage deal — the release of large numbers of Palestinian militants held by Israel — would endanger the country in the future.

Related:

During a meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday, the American diplomat was shown photos of a giant tunnel that was exposed in recent days underneath the central headquarters of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip. The meeting was attended by senior officials from both sides.

The Israeli leader showed Blinken proof of the misuse of the UNRWA headquarters’ underground premises for apparent terrorist tunneling purposes.

Two questions: Why would anyone trust a Hamas hostage deal, and why is no one in the West marching and protesting Hamas?

Fifth news item

Belgium, because they hold the “biggest chunk of Russia’s frozen assets”.

Belgium’s government is shopping around an avant-garde solution to Ukraine’s money problems, now that further direct aid to the country seems all but dead in the U.S. Congress.

In broad strokes, the plan would entail Ukraine raising new debt from private-sector lenders, using Russian central bank assets (frozen by Western sanctions) as collateral, as the FT first reported.

Sixth news item

SOP:

Former President Donald Trump and his allies are pushing to replace the chair of the Republican National Committee with North Carolina’s party leader who promoted 2020 presidential election lies and supported using the courts to overturn the results.

Michael Whatley, the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, shared false claims that Republican observers were prevented from accessing polling locations and repeatedly said Democratic cities in swing states were engaged in “massive fraud,” a CNN KFile review of Whatley’s comments following the election found.

Still no question about who’s s running the table over there…

Have a great weekend.

—Dana

2/6/2024

Trump’s Immunity Claim Rejected By Appeals Court

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:18 am



[guest post by Dana]]

Excerpts from the opinion:

“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the judges wrote in their 57-page decision, saying that “Former President Trump lacked any lawful discretionary authority to defy federal criminal law and he is answerable in court for his conduct.”

“We reject all three potential bases for immunity both as a categorical defense to federal criminal prosecutions of former Presidents and as applied to this case in particular,” the decision said.

Response from the Trump camp:

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung issued a statement that criticized the decision and said Trump would appeal to the Supreme Court, claiming the case “violates the Constitution and threatens the bedrock of our Republic.”

If immunity is not granted to a President, every future President who leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party. Without complete immunity, a President of the United States would not be able to properly function!” Cheung said.

Right. Because that’s happened Every Single Time a United States president has left office…

–Dana

2/5/2024

Noah Rothman Worries the GOP Might Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:39 pm



[guest post by JVW]

UPDATE
Also writing in NRO, Andy McCarthy urges the rejection of the border bill:

On X/Twitter, Fox News’ superb reporter Bill Melugin has a good analysis of the long-awaited Senate border legislation. It is very fair in presenting what is enticing about the proposal. The problem is that what is enticing is disingenuous and, ultimately, counterproductive.

That is to say, the good in the bipartisan Senate negotiators’ proposal — and there definitely is some — (a) can already be accomplished under current law, and (b) would require faith that the Biden administration will for some reason enforce these provisions even though it has systematically refused to enforce existing border-security provisions. More important, to get the illusory good in the proposal, Congress would have to enact provisions in the deal that would both undermine existing statutory restrictions and etch into our law magnets for illegal immigration.

I take very seriously Mr. McCarthy’s concern that a reelected Biden Administration would indeed abrogate the terms of the agreement and count on their media and academic allies to provide them intellectual coverage for doing so, and I made that point explicitly in my original post. And yes, Mr. McCarthy is absolutely correct that the Biden Administration should not need this sort of prodding to do its damn job in securing the border. Again, I made that very point with respect to Speaker Johnson’s complaints in the post. But short of impeachment — which at this point I would strongly support — of President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas, I don’t see how the GOP forces concessions from Joe Biden without at least throwing the Democrats a few bones that they are already collecting even without the agreement. I remain steadfast that this compromise bill is a slight improvement over the status quo.

But I urge readers to take a look at Mr. McCarthy’s dissenting piece as well. As usual, he makes a compelling case.

—- Original Post —-

Regarding the Senate compromise on immigration over the weekend, NRO’s Noah Rothman has some stern words for Republicans who would reject it out of hand as inadequate:

If you could speak to any sentient political observer from ten years ago, when the “Gang of Eight” immigration-reform bill failed, and tell him that Congress had since abandoned amnesty entirely, your interlocutor would probably conclude that the GOP had won the great immigration debate.

Indeed, if you went on to inform your perplexed time-traveler that not only had congressional negotiators produced an enforcement-only immigration bill, but they’d also baked into it provisions designed to contain Russian, Chinese, and Iranian aggression, he would probably conclude that the Republican Party was the dominant force in American politics.

If you then notified him that Democrats controlled both the Senate and the White House while the GOP maintained only the smallest of conceivable House majorities, you might have a medical emergency on your hands. Only when you told your companion that the GOP had somehow convinced itself that it was in its best interests to reject all this would your company recover from the shock of it all. Republicans’ getting in their own way is the perennial constant, after all.

I started out as a skeptic of the compromise, because like most conservatives I begin with the assumption that the Democrats have left themselves enough escape hatches that we will yet again have a Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown moment once Joe Biden is safely reelected and his administration goes back to the pre-compromise status quo ante with a porous border and zero will to do anything about it. But Mr. Rothman begs to differ with my jaundiced take, and sees some significant victories in the compromise:

The compromise legislation released last night appears to fit that bill. The package deal provides funding to increase U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention capacity from 34,000 to 50,000 migrants. It tightens the requirements for those seeking asylum status by limiting the “credible-fear standard” for applicants to specific conditions that might reasonably constitute a “credible fear” of having to return home. It increases the number of judges (and, critically, Immigration Judge Teams) available to process the obscene backlog of immigration claims, and allows some claims to be handled by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It puts curbs on the president’s ability to give migrants parole — what Republicans deride as a system of “catch and release” — which presidents of both parties have abused.

Perhaps most consequentially, the bill compels the Department of Homeland Security to turn away all border crossers at any point of entry, legal or otherwise, once officials encounter either a seven-day rolling average of 5,000 border crossers per day or 8,500 migrants on a single day. The provision ensures that Joe Biden would be legally compelled to take the migrant crisis over which he has presided — one that featured 302,043 encounters along the border just last month — seriously.

Mr. Rothman takes the measure of House Republicans’ criticism of the compromise and finds it wanting. While acknowledging that it is legitimate for Speaker Mike Johnson to resent the fact that Congress is being called upon to force the Administration to enforce existing law, but he cites my new favorite reporter, Bill Melugin, to show that Republicans are fundamentally misunderstanding a key provision. Rather than triggering the temporary suspension of border crossings only when DHS observes a daily average of 5,000 people crossing the border illegally over seven consecutive days, the suspension is triggered if DHS averages 5,000 or more encounters over that period. Not all of those whom DHS encounters will be allowed to remain on this side of the border; a huge chunk of those illegal crossers will be sent back, yet their numbers will still trigger the enactment of the automatic border shut down.

If Mr. Melguin is correct in his assessment, this sounds like a pretty good bill for Republicans, but with a few caveats. I join House Republicans in worrying that the President still reserves the right to claim a “national emergency” and keep the border open for up to 45 days even if the encounter threshold is met. I am also interested in some claims by Senate Republicans that the Secretary of Homeland Security can usurp the President’s authority and keep the border open on his or her own volation. I would hope the House negotiators could whittle that down to 15 days, and only upon the order of the President, thereafter requiring the assent of Congress. Sen. Tom Cotton’s concerns that the Secretary of DHS now has authority to grant work visas without having to first process the asylum-seeker through immigration court may indeed be granting too much authority to a political appointee. And yes, we do issue up to 50,000 additional visas over the next five years. But as Mr. Rothman’s piece has pointed out, the GOP continues to hold firm on the issue of amnesty and pathway to citizenship, so Democrats are going to have to negotiate — and, one would hope, agree to serious compromises — if they really want to make this a priority of theirs.

So I guess I’ve come around to believe that this compromise represents a decent improvement over the present situation and should be ratified, as long as the House can force a few cosmetic changes. Some of the more politically inclined might worry that this would be handing an election-year “win” over to Biden Administration, but if the GOP can’t market this to voters as a matter where Republicans forced the Biden Administration to drop its obstinance and bow to reality, then the party really doesn’t deserve any sort of success this November anyway. And as much as House firebrands and the utter nimrod who appears poised to lead them in November find this to be a complete capitulation to the Deep State or whomever the enemy of the day is, it should be noted that the left-wing Third Worldists and open-borders crowd is also up in arms about this legislation, suggesting that it cuts into their ideal of waves and waves of poor, unskilled, and uneducated immigrants providing them with children who will form the core of the voters for the future social welfare big government anti-capitalist state.

The GOP has an opportunity to vote yes on this compromise, then run ads in swing states pointing out that Democrats refused to take border security seriously until busloads of immigrants began arriving straight to their communities without having been first processed and taken care of in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. One of the few Republican victories in the Biden Era has been to make a broad swath of America of all parties and ideologies see that the broken system is a problem for all Americans, not just those in border states. It would be a shame if Republicans walked away from a meaningful improvement they could take credit for, just because they prefer bitching about our problems to solving them.

– JVW

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