Engaging today's political economy
with truth and reason

sponsored by

Some News to Ponder: In No Particular Order

14 Feb 2017

The news keeps coming in and things keep boiling in and around Washington, DC, that bastion of all things good and decent.  Let’s just list a few:

  1.  General Flynn resigns, ostensibly for some security missteps.  Another part of this story however is the revealed extreme politicization of the Intelligence agencies and the Justice Department.  For them this seemed to be a “gotcha” moment more than a concern with security.  It’s hard to know how to “fix” this problem in the long run.  Some kind of structural changes might be good, but I have to think through this and let the full story come out first.
  2. President Trump’s executive order limiting immigration for a period.  The District judge issued a nationwide temporary restraining order against the order.  On appeal to the Ninth Circuit panel, the judge’s order was predictably upheld.  The grounds on which the Washington state’s attorney general went to court were outlandish, but the fact that the District and Circuit courts bought into them was astounding.  For example, one was that the states of Washington and Minnesota would suffer irreparable harm if immigrants were disallowed for 90 or 120 days.  Following that logic, anytime anyone is denied anything they can argue irreparable harm.  But trumping national security?  That is no argument.  But alas, our courts.  Besides that the complete ignoring of Congressional authority to the president under statute, not to mention the Constitutional authority of the president in foreign policy?  This case is not over–unless the president simply issues a new order (I support that option).  By the way you don’t have to support the merits of the Order to understand the hubris of the courts.
  3. Obamacare:  Will they or won’t they?  What will Congress do?  I favor a slow but steady policy analysis of all aspects of the existing law, followed then by a repeal of it in toto and a comprehensive replacement.  Congress seems a little hesitant, and I am not sure what exactly they are afraid of.
  4. The Oroeville Dam, California:  Trouble for a lot of people below the dam.  But whose policies led to the break?  Looks like state and federal both will share some blame and if things play out as usual, neither will ever really have to account for it.
  5. It seems we are seeing some organized protesting at Congressional town hall meetings.  Hmm.  Could they be trained and paid activists?  It looks like they are definitely trained (I watched their tactics–clever).  But the main problem is their seeming obsession with shutting down other peoples’ speech.  I am all for them getting their time to speak, but they really don’t say anything; they just shout down those who do.  Not good.
  6. Sanctuary cities:  President Trump threatens to cut off funding to them and some states are trying to ban them.  The Supreme Court has limited cutting of funds by the Feds to those directly related to immigration issues.  Distantly related funding (for example, highway monies) would possibly not be allowed.  We will see.
  7. Neil Gorsuch:  Very well qualified nominee.  Well-written opinions.  Looks to be an Originalist.  He is conservative by all accounts and believes firmly in the “rule of law.” (which desperately needs repair).  He will be confirmed, but after some political bloodshed.
  8. Basketball:  I have been a fan of West Virginia University basketball for almost 50 years and I have (or should have) learned that if there is a way to lose they will find it.  Up 14 points with 2: 45 to go against Kansas as “the Phog” we of course blew the game–and stupidly.  All utopian dreams about our sports teams (except the rifle team) must die.

That’s it .