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 on: May 26, 2017, 10:10:11 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ccp
"Wouldn't it be great if deal maker President has orchestrated an overwhelming joint effort of China, Russia, US and South Korea"

China has much to gain from N Korea.   Look how Trump *caved* in one Mar a Lago meeting with Xi Jinping.  For years China is a currency manipulator and Xi Jinping plays Trump like  fiddle makes a few worthless faints like he is going to help with N Korea and viola.  We never hear a single peep from Trump about them being currency manipulators again.

So he gave up his position within a matter of minutes and runs around telling us what a great deal maker he is.

I felt duped frankly.

 on: May 26, 2017, 09:21:49 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M

Why Trump has a responsibility to ignore the Fourth Circuit

Posted May 25, 2017 05:41 PM by Daniel Horowitz
Immigration  Court  Judges  Republic  Judicial   travel ban lawsuits no wall no ban immigration protest refugees Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, Monday, May 15, 2017, outside a federal courthouse in Seattle. Ted S. Warren | AP

The Fourth Circuit Court has nullified national sovereignty, but nobody in the political chattering class has answered the most important question: Why should Trump listen and what exactly is he supposed to do (or not do) in abiding by this opinion? There is no valid case or controversy to follow.

What distinguishes a court from a legislature

If Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, or Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., were to don black robes tomorrow and issue judicial orders on flagrantly political issues, would we expect the other branches of government to treat them as the final law of the land – binding over the other two branches of government – more so than when they were sitting in their respective legislative chambers? 

Of course not. The other branches, especially if controlled by Democrats, would discard their judicial “opinions” immediately. 

Yet, that is – including lower-court judges created by Congress, and not even the Constitution – now having the final say over national sovereignty, immigration, and national security.

Consider this irrationality: Congress can pass a law along party lines, yet we won’t regard that as the law of the land until a court upholds it. Yet, a court can be split along the same party lines – and is unelected and unaccountable – but somehow that is given MORE legitimacy than a legislature.

That’s exactly Thursday in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals when 10 Democrat appointees “voted” against Trump’s temporary immigration moratorium, while the three GOP appointees voted for it.

Why not just have elected partisan officials decide political matters instead of unelected ones?

And therein lies the nub of this case. What differentiates a court from a legislature, what prevents the judiciary from becoming a de facto veto over the other two branches on broad national policy – and now even international policy – rather than serving as a separate co-equal branch, is that it can only adjudicate an individual case or controversy with legitimate standing and redressable grievances.

But the notion that their opinion in that individual case would be regarded as binding precedent on a national policy without any opposition is absurd; it philosophically undermines the premise of republican government, checks and balances, and co-equal branches.

Even those who believed in more robust judicial power always assumed that issues of national sovereignty and national security dealing with foreign nationals was beyond the reach of the court. In fact, it was considered settled law for over 100 years.

No standing on second Trump immigration order

In the case before the Fourth Circuit, there was no legitimate case or controversy. There is nothing for Pres. Trump to abide by. As Judge Steven Agee noted in his dissent, the three plaintiffs don’t have valid standing.

Even if we cede the absurd premises (see links below for more on this issue) that American relatives can sue to bring in foreign nationals, that the courts have the right to overturn sovereignty — and that the Establishment Clause applies to hypothetical immigrants — there is no redressable grievance. None of the plaintiffs were actually denied entry.; they merely feared the stigma of Trump’s declaration.

Thus, what relief did the courts grant in this case? And to whom? They can’t “strike down” an executive guidance. They don’t have such power — it has to apply to a tangible case.

Judge Agee explained the conditions for valid standing that differentiates the judicial power from legislative or executive powers as follows:

(1) “the plaintiff must have suffered an injury in fact—an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical”; (2) “there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of—the injury has to be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant, and not the result of the independent action of some third party not before the court”; and (3) “it must be likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.”

In this case, two of the plaintiffs are Iranian LPRs (lawful permanent residents, i.e. green card holders) who want to bring over their wives from Iran. Both should never have standing (over and beyond the obvious reasons ignored by the courts) because the wife of John Doe No. 1 was never denied yet and her application is still in process, and John Doe No. 3’s wife was actually approved!

Why are they suing? Because they are “being torn apart by this situation and the uncertainty and delay” and the stress and anxiety of feeling like “an outsider.” Thus, there is absolutely no injury-in-fact, even if we agreed foreign nationals somehow have a right to immigrate to America!

Moreover, even if there was a valid case, there is no tangible application of this case that would make the court’s opinion tantamount to “striking down” the policy.

For example, in the first round of litigation on the original order, while the courts were still way out of line, there was a tangible outcome for the Trump administration to follow. They allowed in anyone with a valid visa who was stuck at the airport. But in this case, we are talking about hypothetical future immigrants.

The courts are saying you can’t categorically deny visas from nationals of the listed countries. OK … but what should Trump affirmatively do? Does he now have to bring in everyone? Does he have to bring in the same ratio as any other country?

During every day of every administration, the DHS and State Department deny visas for all sorts of discretionary reasons. There’s no way a court can categorically ban the action of denying visas. So, under which circumstances may the president deny any visa? There is no way to know, which is why he should continue following statute. 

Moreover, as I mentioned Thursday morning, as it relates to refugees the court opinion doesn’t make any sense at all. The refugee moratorium wasn’t applied only to “Muslim” countries; it was applied to everyone. So, the plaintiff in this case who had a relative applying for refugee status (this was the third plaintiff, Muhammed “John” Meteab) doesn’t even have a valid Establishment Clause claim, even under their crazy system.

Plus, in this case, the applications for the relatives of this plaintiff were actually approved! So what’s the beef? Meteab claims he “experienced anti-Muslim sentiment and felt very uncomfortable and insecure in their community, causing them acute mental stress.”

But even if we agree with the court that the president, who has full control to set the refugee cap, suddenly cannot categorically shut down refugee resettlement, what exactly is he supposed to do? Does he bring in 50,000 a year … 70,000 … 100,000? How much is “enough”?

Furthermore, parts of the Fourth Circuit Court’s opinion are null and void on their face. As it relates to non-immigrant visas from four of the six countries, 8 U.S. Code §1735 requires the president to cut off visas to state sponsors of terrorism, which at the time of passage in 2002, included five of the seven countries in Trump’s original order.

Thus, there is no excuse for Trump’s secretary of state or DHS secretary not to continue passively denying visas or refugee status to their heart’s content. This is not the same as advocating “not listening to the courts.” (Although that is something that needs to happen anyway, because the courts don’t listen to statutes and the Constitution.) It’s to say that there is no affirmative action to take in accordance with a court order because there is no order and a court can’t issue such an order.

The Trump administration should at least wait for the ACLU to launch another challenge and try to prove that the White House is in some way violating the order. But, in order to do so, they would have to challenge an actual denial of a visa. The problem is that 8 U.S. Code §1201(h)(i) gives customs officers the plenary authority to not only deny issuance of a visa but to revoke one already issued.

What’s more, this provision of law, which passed the Senate 96-2 in 2004, explicitly stripped the courts of any jurisdiction to adjudicate the revocation of visas for anyone seeking entry into the country (as opposed to someone living here who is being deported). The jurisdiction-stripping provision includes even a basic habeas corpus petition. How in the world can the courts be allowed to get involved in this matter?

Perforce, the “executive order” is not a tangible law because the law already gives the executive branch such authority. If the courts are merely saying that Trump can’t make a public declaration that makes American Muslims feel stigmatized (which is essentially the only way they granted standing in this case), then Trump should just rip up the order but proceed to quietly adhere to more or less the same policies.

Any complaints about such a move would, by definition, make the courts a legislature, not a judicial body. And if we can’t , we are no longer a republic worth defending.

 on: May 26, 2017, 09:20:18 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG
It's not worthless, it's a valuable, deceptive, political product.
Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis of the current version of the House health care bill that was trumpeted by Democrats because it projected that 23 million people would “lose” their health insurance if the law went into effect. However, as Guy Benson points out, this claim is false, since “the large bulk of those who are said to be ‘losing’ coverage do not currently have coverage.” Further, to the extent that some who currently are forced to buy health insurance by Obamacare decide it isn’t worth the cost to them, and choose not to purchase it, that is rightfully their decision.

Then, too, there is the fact that the CBO’s predictions about Obamacare have been ridiculously bad, as illustrated by this graphic:

Why should we believe an agency on a topic where its past projections have been wildly off the mark?

There is another, more subtle reason why the CBO’s analysis is worthless. As far as I know, it has been pointed out only by my colleague at Center of the American Experiment Peter Nelson, one of the country’s top health care experts. Peter points out that the CBO has uncritically relied on articles by a former Obama administration official who apparently failed to read the GOP bill and existing regulations carefully. Peter writes:

[T]he CBO appears to have relied on a couple of articles posted on the Brookings Institution website to analyze the impact of allowing states to waive certain Obamacare regulations. The articles were written by Matt Fiedler, former Chief Economist of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama Whitehouse. One article focused on how waiving the essential health benefit (EHB) requirement could impact protections against catastrophic losses for people enrolled in large employer plans. The other article assessed how waiving community rating regulations—the regs that restrict insurers from pricing premiums based on health status—for people who failed to maintain continuous coverage would impact individual insurance markets.

The Brookings analysis of the EHB waiver is flat out wrong and Fiedler’s analysis on waiving community rating, to say the least, exaggerates the possibilities. Nonetheless, the CBO touts the same two positions without any qualification.

Here’s what the CBO says about how a state waiving EHBs could lower protections against catastrophic losses:

For the large-group market, which generally consists of employers with more than 50 employees, current regulations allow employers to choose the EHB benchmark plan of any state in which they operate. Because of those regulations, a large employer operating in multiple states, including one that elected an EHB waiver, could base all of the plans it offers on the EHB requirements in a state with the waiver. That decision could allow annual and lifetime limits on benefits not included in the state’s EHBs.

Wrong. If a state chose to specify its own EHBs under a waiver, that choice would not be available to a large employer under current regulations. Presently, a state may choose an EHB from among a set of benchmark plans. While this gives states a choice, it also sets a minimum standard for the federal EHB across the country. Also under current regulations, for the purposes of the annual and lifetime dollar limit restrictions, a large employer may choose from among “one of the base-benchmark plans selected by a State.” Nothing in the regulations suggests an employer could choose from anything but a benchmark plan. Thus, an employer could not choose from an EHB specified by a state under a waiver. It would not be a benchmark plan.

The second issue, relating to state waivers of community rating, is more complicated and is hard to excerpt. You should read it all, but here is the key conclusion:

This scenario the CBO imagines for one-sixth of the population is, well, preposterous. At its core, the CBO believes that a state waiving community rating will allow healthy people to choose from one of two insurance pools, the community rated pool and the underwritten pool. Given the freedom, a healthy person will always choose to base his premium on his health underwriting and, thus, leave less healthy people behind in the community-rated pool.

Why is this scenario preposterous? If a state went the direction the CBO imagines, it would be the state’s choice. The waiver gives states the freedom to choose several different directions. Why would the CBO assume a state would choose this direction when no state ever chose this type of regulatory structure before Obamacare? Why choose this direction when, as the CBO points out, there are such obvious pitfalls?

Moreover, while the language of the bill could be much more clear, it’s also reasonable to read the House bill to limit the application of underwriting to only high-risk people, which would stop healthy people from choosing the underwritten pool…. This reading makes much more sense in the context of allowing states to establish different ways to cover people with pre-existing conditions that don’t burden the rest of the nongroup market with their high costs. That certainly appeared to be the intent of the waiver.

The Congressional Budget Office is generally touted as “non-partisan,” which is technically true. But non-partisan does not equal reliable. With respect to both Obamacare and the House bill that would repeal and replace it, the CBO’s work product has been shoddy and unreliable.

 on: May 26, 2017, 09:10:19 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by rickn
As to Seth Rich, he can be a leaker to Wikileaks without his murder being part of a conspiracy to shut him up.  That could be a coincidence like when Chandra Levy's murder led to her relationship with Condit, her boss, being publicized.  However, the only leaked evidence from the anonymous DC police source to the private detective said there was evidence on Rich's computer that he had been in contact with Wikileaks.  That could mean a lot of things.  Before anyone begins speculating about the nexus of his murder to these contacts, they first better be able to ascertain what constituted these contacts.  Did he just go to the Wikileaks website?  Were there email exchanges between him and Wikileaks?  And what were the dates of these contacts?  Quite frankly, I don't believe much of what Assange says because he has his own agendas.  I don't think it is a disgrace to purse this hypothesis.  However, I don't think it is wise to fixate on it until you have definitive proof that Rich actually leaked something to Wikileaks.  If his contacts were something else, then the whole thing is a false flag planted by Assange to hide how he really obtained the emails.

I do recall public accounts stating that Podesta's personal Gmail account was phished.  Unknown third parties obtained his Google username and password by convincing him to give it to them.  I recall reading some articles that blamed an IT guy in the DNC for telling Podesta that it was OK to answer that phishing email.  That data was then sold or given to others who sold or gave it to "the Russians" who then used it access and download all of his emails.  But who are those Russians?  They could be government agents.  Or they could be just crooks.  The fact that agents ofthe Russian government may have been doing other things to try and disrupt the election; e.g., using bots to flood comments sections of various articles published online, does not prove that agents of the Russian government also were the ones behind the successful phish of Podesta's Gmail account and the ones who gave those emails to Wikileaks.  Just like in the matter of Seth Rich, there's a whole lot of hypothesizin' goin' on.

We are beginning to learn facts that point to the Obama administration's decision to investigate the Russian leaks as a justification for conducting intelligence operations against Trump for political reasons.  Disclosing confidential information has been the MO of every Obama campaign.  Someone leaked his challenger's sealed divorce records to the press when he ran for Senate.  Someone leaked Joe the Plumber's sealed records to the press in 2008.  The IRS prevented many Tea Party groups from organizing for the 2012 election by not acting upon their requests for designations under the IRC; e.g., the Lois Lerner matter.  They falsely blamed an obscure video for the Benghazi compound assault that killed our ambassador and 3 other Americans on 9/11/2012.  (I happened to look at that video on 9/12/12 and there were about only 80 views.)  We know that his NSA routinely violated an order of the FISA court.  And we can begin to isolate the persons who unmasked Flynn and others.  And we know that in early January 2017, the administration increased the permitted zone of distribution for these unmasked conversations of Trump aides.  All of this constitutes strong initial evidence of a circumstantial nature that the Obama Adminsitration used the Russian investigation as a pretext to spy on their political opponents.

 on: May 26, 2017, 09:06:46 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M
If we are not planning to militarily end this regime, moving carriers around the globe is an expensive way to play mind games with this lunatic.

Wouldn't it be great if deal maker President has orchestrated an overwhelming joint effort of China, Russia, US and South Korea to free this prison camp and rescue the inmates.

It would be nice, but I expect the best case is that China sits on the sidelines and let's it happen.

 on: May 26, 2017, 09:02:32 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG
If we are not planning to militarily end this regime, moving carriers around the globe is an expensive way to play mind games with this lunatic.

Wouldn't it be great if deal maker President has orchestrated an overwhelming joint effort of China, Russia, US and South Korea to free this prison camp and rescue the inmates.

 on: May 26, 2017, 08:49:59 AM 
Started by DougMacG - Last post by G M
"I'm hoping that punching the MSM was what put him over the top."

Right, but it is the left that wants to keep opening the vote process and this had the potential of being a reason not to do that.

The left opening the vote process is about enabling fraud, not actually getting actual Americans to vote.

 on: May 26, 2017, 08:47:38 AM 
Started by DougMacG - Last post by DougMacG
"I'm hoping that punching the MSM was what put him over the top."

Right, but it is the left that wants to keep opening the vote process and this had the potential of being a reason not to do that.

 on: May 26, 2017, 08:46:48 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M

Actual criminals use box cutters and utility knives purchased at a dollar store, not 100+ dollar "tactical" knives.

 on: May 26, 2017, 08:40:53 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by DougMacG

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