Saturday, March 26, 2016

Last Call For Flipping The Script On SCOTUS

The number of Republican senators up for re-election and who do not want to go down with the burning wreck of the USS Donald J Trump is starting to become a nice little crowd now.

Senate Republicans and the White House are signaling a tentative point of agreement on a key part of President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination process: the nominee questionnaire.

The statements regarding the questionnaire are part of the careful maneuvering on the issue by all sides in this tense and unusual Supreme Court nomination process for D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland.

Traditionally, the Senate Judiciary Committee sends a personalized questionnaire for Supreme Court nominees to the White House. This time, the White House has not received one from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democratic member of the committee.

Nonetheless, on Friday evening, Grassley’s spokesperson, Beth Levine, told BuzzFeed News that the Republicans “assume the administration will fill out the standard questionnaire submitted for judicial nominations.”

Levine reiterated, however, the Republican leadership’s position that “a majority of the Senate has made clear that the American people should have an opportunity to weigh in on this vacancy.”

The White House reacted to the statement with cautious optimism.

“It appears that Chairman Grassley is prepared to accept a questionnaire from Judge Garland,” White House spokesperson Brandi Hoffine told BuzzFeed News on Saturday. “We are heartened by this development and look forward to the Committee making this request directly to the nominee as well as to the White House, as is standard practice.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire is a critical part of the process for those nominated for a federal judgeship. The questions focus on the basics, like education and employment history, but also seek detailed information on speeches and writings of the nominee, as well as information about the nominee’s experience as a practicing lawyer and a complete recounting of the decisions of nominees who already are lower-court judges.

Hoffine said Garland “is prepared to provide all relevant information, consistent with standard practice, in short order.”

In front of the cameras, Republicans are screaming about "no hearings" and "let the people decide in November."  Here in reality, the nomination process is going forward.  Slowly, but it's going forward.  Republican senators figure they'll start getting credit for basic courtesy to President Obama, and frankly that bar has been set deep into the floor for years now.  Perhaps the notion that the GOP is expected to lose control of the Senate with a Trump nomination has something to do with it.

But that's how this game works these days, and nobody plays it better than Obama.

Talking Taibbi

So, I've been challenged to "learn something" from this Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone piece on why Hillary is awful and why you are stupid for voting for her and the Millenials get it, man!

But I think they do understand. Young people have repudiated the campaign of Hillary Clinton in overwhelming and historic fashion, with Bernie Sanders winning under-30 voters by consistently absurd margins, as high as 80 to 85 percent in many states. He has done less well with young African-American voters, but even there he's seen some gains as time has gone on. And the energy coming from the pre-middle-aged has little to do with an inability to appreciate political reality.

Instead, the millions of young voters that are rejecting Hillary's campaign this year are making a carefully reasoned, even reluctant calculation about the limits of the insider politics both she and her husband have represented.

For young voters, the foundational issues of our age have been the Iraq invasion, the financial crisis, free trade, mass incarceration, domestic surveillance, police brutality, debt and income inequality, among others.

And to one degree or another, the modern Democratic Party, often including Hillary Clinton personally, has been on the wrong side of virtually all of these issues.

Hillary not only voted for the Iraq War, but offered a succession of ridiculous excuses for her vote. Remember, this was one of the easiest calls ever. A child could see that the Bush administration's fairy tales about WMDs and Iraqi drones spraying poison over the capital (where were they going to launch from, Martha's Vineyard?) were just that, fairy tales.

Yet Hillary voted for the invasion for the same reason many other mainstream Democrats did: They didn't want to be tagged as McGovernite peaceniks
. The new Democratic Party refused to be seen as being too antiwar, even at the cost of supporting a wrong one.

Taibbi's argument is literally "You can't be this stupid to vote for Hillary Clinton, a child could see through her."  That's not convincing me to vote for Clinton, but believing everyone who does vote for her is stupid is not making me want to vote for Sanders, either.  But here's where Taibbi loses me for good:

Is Hillary really doing the most good that she can do, fighting for the best deal that's there to get for ordinary people?

Or is she just doing something that satisfies her own definition of that, while taking tens of millions of dollars from some of the world's biggest jerks? 
I doubt even Hillary Clinton could answer that question. She has been playing the inside game for so long, she seems to have become lost in it. She behaves like a person who often doesn't know what the truth is, but instead merely reaches for what is the best answer in that moment, not realizing the difference.

This is why her shifting explanations and flippant attitude about the email scandal are almost more unnerving than the ostensible offense. She seems confident that just because her detractors are politically motivated, as they always have been, that they must be wrong, as they often were.

But that's faulty thinking. My worry is that Democrats like Hillary have been saying, "The Republicans are worse!" for so long that they've begun to believe it excuses everything. It makes me nervous to see Hillary supporters like law professor Stephen Vladeck arguing in the New York Times that the real problem wasn't anything Hillary did, but that the Espionage Act isn't "practical."

If you're willing to extend the "purity" argument to the Espionage Act, it's only a matter of time before you get in real trouble. And even if it doesn't happen this summer, Democrats may soon wish they'd picked the frumpy senator from Vermont who probably checks his restaurant bills to make sure he hasn't been undercharged.

But in the age of Trump, winning is the only thing that matters, right? In that case, there's plenty of evidence suggesting Sanders would perform better against a reality TV free-coverage machine like Trump than would Hillary Clinton. This would largely be due to the passion and energy of young voters.

Young people don't see the Sanders-Clinton race as a choice between idealism and incremental progress. The choice they see is between an honest politician, and one who is so profoundly a part of the problem that she can't even see it anymore.
Matt Taibbi, who will defend Edward Snowden regardless of the actions he took, thinks Clinton violated the Espionage Act with her email server because maybe, you know, the Republicans are right and beating Trump shouldn't be what matters, if it was you'd pick Bernie. And again, Taibbi is not the kind of person who would suffer one iota in a Trump presidency, unlike the rest of us.

I'm tired of being treated like I'm stupid, hateful, racist, "low-information", not liberal, uncaring, evil, or a combination of the above for thinking that Bernie Sanders wouldn't represent my interests better than Hillary Clinton would, and that even considering Clinton makes me insufficiently moral.  This is not how you convince people to come around to your side, this is how you convince people to ignore you as a jackass.


The Paranoid Style, 48 Years Later

Support has more than quadrupled overnight for a petition to allow firearms at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

The petition, filed by “Americans for Responsible Open Carry,” was filed Monday on, an online forum. By Wednesday, 630 supporters had signed the request to carry firearms in and around Quicken Loans Arena, which will host the 2016 Republican National Convention from July 18-21.

With a goal of 5,000 signatures, the petition topped 5,300 by 6 p.m. Thursday.

The Ohio Republican Party, which is sending one of 50 state delegations to Cleveland this summer to nominate the party’s next presidential candidate, said it was not aware of the petition.

Nor was the host committee overseeing the convention, although it noted that the Secret Service, in conjunction with Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, state and federal authorities, is handling security for the event.

“They are coordinating and will be continuously refining security plans leading up to the national convention,” said Alee Lockman, a spokesperson for the Republican National Convention.

The Secret Service banned guns at the GOP convention in Florida four years ago.

And this will definitely pick up steam as people realize that Cleveland is decently-sized American city where not everybody is a Republican.

The petitioners, who claim a “God-given” right to carry, suggest that armed, law-abiding citizens will make the event more secure in a city full of crime.

“Cleveland, Ohio is consistently ranked as one of the top ten most dangerous cities in America,” the petition stated, referencing a Forbes story. “By forcing attendees to leave their firearms at home, the RNC and Quicken Loans Arena are putting tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside of the convention site.”

Criticism of the effort is split between those fundamentally opposing open carry and a more nuanced attack on the Republican Party for not standing behind its traditional support for an uninhibited right to have and hold firearms.

“Hypocrisy is the death of political parties. Stand by your frothy principles, or shut up about them,” wrote a commentator from California, whose argument that Republicans tend to support unabridged gun rights but do not always hold events at open-carry friendly venues has been made before by progressive organizations.

Note the argument here: these folks are saying that they do not believe the Cleveland PD or Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, or even the Ohio State Police or US Secret Service can protect the convention, only an armed mob of convention delegates can.  Which is exactly what you want when tensions are high and the party, already marred by acts of violence where dissent is concerned, is facing an unprecedented crackup over Trump's nomination.  This is a great idea, and I'm sure law enforcement is going to love every second of it.

Chicago 1968 might look like a church carnival compared to what's coming to Cleveland this summer.
Related Posts with Thumbnails