I May Make You Feel

“People are defining their politics not by positive thoughtful principles, which requires thinking and can be difficult, but rather by how much they hate the other side, which is simple and requires only outrage.” – Dennis Prager

This statement is true for the Trumpsters and the anti-Trump folks. However there is a major difference – the eight years of Obama brought the greatest wealth transfer in history, a transfer of net wealth from the bottom 93% to the top 7%. Billionaires on average doubled their net wealth during the eight years of Obama and billionaires are funding the agitation against Trump. For every Leftist example of the (libertarian) Koch brothers there are ten examples of billionaires funding the Left. Billionaires fund the Left because they grow wealthier from the policies of the Left while the majority lose.

It is the same story the world over. If you really want to look at something funny, look at how Bernie Sanders has had to rotate his examples of ‘successful socialism’ around the world: the Soviet Union, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and his latest example of Denmark. Sanders changes his examples because each example of ‘successful socialism’ eventually becomes a hell hole of misery where the very wealthy have all of the wealth. I would be very worried if I was Danish.

Quick observation: I find it beyond fascinating that Sanders latest favorite example is a monarchy – has the United States come full circle from 1776?

“If socialist understood economics they would not be socialist.” – Hayek

The last thing these billionaires want their minions to do is think. The billionaires are quite adept at feeding the Lefts individual belief in themselves as the superior species – and to the insecure and socially needy this is worth more than gold. Having a bogeyman to attribute all of the difficulties in life to is quite convenient – and those billionaires who can pull strings in the media and that are willing to spend considerable sums of money to keep the massage of ego’s and reaffirmation of self-worth based on Leftist groupthink going is of considerable value to these folks. Feeling good matters more than actually doing right.

That is not to say that Trump is all that and a bag of chips – his policies range from the courageous to the absurd. Most telling, Trump has been adamantly unwilling to deal with the lethal threats to the future of the United States – entitlements and monetary policy. In other words what can really kill us he is unwilling to address. Not that Obama or W or Clinton were willing do that either – they were not.

There is a lyric from an old Jethro Tull song, “I may make you feel but I can’t make you think.” I try very hard to encourage people to think and it is always a much shallower slope to get people to feel.

In the end we get the government we deserve…

Conservatism As Fraud?

To a large degree Conservatism is a fraud. That is coming from someone who has self-identified as a Conservative since about 1978 (probably more a conservatarian at this point).

Before folks accuse me of blasphemy and start picking out the best stones – perhaps we should review the term bit? Perhaps the definition that people are most familiar with is that of William F. Buckley, Jr. who proclaimed “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.” An excellent definition in regard to the expanding apparatus of the state.

Does it fit those Republican congressman and senators in DC who claim they are ‘conservative’? Not hardly.

How about my preferred definition, to conserve the constitution?

Does it fit Republican congressman and senators in DC who claim they are ‘conservative’? Again not hardly.

We hear many reasons why the tenets these folks claim to believe in and campaign on are never the tenets by which they govern. For what ever reason, and many reasons are put forth, when they get to DC even people who governed conservatively at the state and local level turn into raving statist. We can count the exceptions on two hands.

This country has real problems – problems that most actual conservatives and most libertarians believe they have the answer to – liberty, free markets, non-interventionism on all levels.

Is it that these DC politicians arrive in Federal office and quickly realize it is too far gone to fix? Is it that the bureaucracy actually runs the country and elected politicians are by-and-large window dressing? Is it the allure of corruption?

So far in 2017 bills have been drafted to straight out repeal Obamacare, abolish the Department of Education, restore sovereignty to the Indian nations, and return Federal land to the states and Indian nations.

At the moment none of these have a prayer of seeing the light of day in this congress. This Republican congress. This alleged conservative congress.

Thomas Massie not long ago remarked, “I mean they are literally going to be here with pitchforks and torches if electing Donald Trump didn’t change anything.”


GOP Uselessness

It appears at this time that the Republican model is to steal just a tad less than the Democrats did and consequently look like heroes for having done so.

What may save us from that fate is a handful of GOP senators who will not go along with the program. The promise to actually repeal Obamacare may be the only viable option on the table due to the unwillingness of a few to go along with the faux repeal-and-replace efforts. The bulk of the GOP in DC seems to think that relabeling Obamacare as Trumpcare will be sufficient – never mind the eight years of promises to repeal and the actual votes to repeal that passed a GOP House and Senate under Obama – when there was no threat of Obama signing the repeal.

This is the worst of DC politics – fundamental promises made and then relegated to the trashcan as soon as they have your vote. This is a coalition that unanimously says one thing while 95% do and believe quite another thing.

The Judiciary’s Coup Attempt Against American Voters Continues

Millions of Americans hoped the 2016 election would bring major changes to the federal government. Hundreds of judges have a different idea. Earlier this month, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued a lawless ruling attempting to deny Donald Trump the powers of the office America elected him to. Specifically, the court ruled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may not issue a 90-day pause to evaluate a controversial and costly new environmental regulation adopted in the waning days of the Obama Administration. Pruitt had announced EPA would pause to reconsider a new rule that greatly restricts methane gas emissions from well sites.
The decision involves complex regulatory issues that are not easy to summarize for public discussion. But, the position the court staked out, the power to intervene it claimed, and the executive authority it denied, are audacious and abusive. They send troubling signals about courts’ willingness to block other efforts of the Trump administration to reconsider policies adopted by the Obama administration.
It happened like this. In August of 2016, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy adopted a sweeping new rule sharply reducing allowable methane gas emissions from well sites and imposing enormous upfront compliance costs on energy producers. The final rule was different from the preliminary version that had been released for public comment, containing new, unvetted terms and restrictions. A coalition of industry groups challenged the final rule, arguing among other things that the Clean Air Act requires the Administrator to reconsider issuing a rule if challengers raise objections and show that it would have been impractical to raise those objections during the allowed comment period.
Because the challengers focused on the new provisions that weren’t submitted for comment, their argument was, to use a legal term, a slam dunk. Pruitt agreed the Clean Air Act required him to take a second look. Last June, Pruitt announced EPA would reconsider the new methane rule and stay enforcement for 90 days so well operators would not have to sink compliance costs pending a final decision.
Promptly, a coalition of environmental groups sued the EPA, arguing the Clean Air Act did not require reconsideration, and therefore, Pruitt lacked flexibility to pause enforcement for 90 days.
The government and the challenging energy producers responded to the lawsuit with a range of decisive arguments that should have, but did not, persuade a 2-1 majority of the DC panel. Judges David Tatel and Robert Wilkins–Clinton and Obama appointees, respectively, with Wilkins seated by virtue of Harry Reid’s nuclear maneuver–found against the EPA, ruling it lacked power to delay enforcement. The EPA made the following arguments, which were lost on the DC Circuit:
First, courts have no jurisdiction to hear or act on preliminary actions. They can review only final agency actions. This is a firmly established principle for the common sense reason that litigants and courts can’t intervene speculatively into what an agency might do, what it could do, what it is thinking of doing, but only what it actually decides to do. Proposals, deliberations, suggested drafts, none of these things decide or bind anyone’s rights or duties. Only final adopted policy can be challenged. The court has no jurisdiction here. It’s essentially the same obvious principle citizens can’t sue Congress for a law that it hasn’t yet passed. Only after the final vote is the matter teed up for action.
Second, EPA doesn’t need a statutory mandate to set internal enforcement priorities. This kind of review and pause is inherent in executive authority to choose to pursue some policies ahead of others. Pruitt didn’t have to wait to be challenged, and act only by virtue of a statute that compelled him to reconsider the rule. He could, simply as a matter of exercising agency power, announce he was going to eyeball this new regulation and hold off imposing a new mandate until he finished the review.
Third, if Pruitt did in fact need a statutory basis for his action, the Clean Air Act plainly provides it. The energy producers sought reconsideration and pause because they had been denied the chance to comment on the newly inserted provisions. If citizens weren’t allowed to weigh in on material terms, the law requires reconsideration.
Or, it is supposed to. In 22 pages of judicial cartwheels and somersaults that have to be slogged through to be appreciated, the majority threw law and reason out the window. First the panel admitted that a decision to reconsider was tentative rather than final, because it might not produce any changes to the rule. So, the panel then narrowed its focus to the related 90-day pause in enforcement. Perhaps just talking about the rule might not cause any changes, but, the pause was, in its own small way a final action. This is so, the court said, because it amounted to a change of the rule’s effective date and when compliance obligations were triggered. And that was final.
Dissenting Bush appointee Janice Rogers Brown demolished this sophistry in one line: “Hitting the pause button,” she noted “is the antithesis of ending the matter.”
Having pulled a “final action” out of their robes which they claimed granted them jurisdiction, the panel pressed on to review the pause. Surely, the government argued, the delay was part of its inherent authority, or even stronger than that, it was mandated by the Clean Air Act because it was to consider the impact of late-added provisions to the rule.
No, the panel concluded, reconsideration was not actually mandatory under the statute. The final provisions weren’t so different from the preliminary terms that were released for public comment. In fact, the first draft kind of hinted at some of the surprises. The parties could and should have anticipated what changes EPA would make, and address them in their initial comments.
So, the unhappy energy companies dropped the ball by not raising the new issues and EPA was therefore not required to reconsider. The panel further unreasoned that, even if reconsideration is an inherent power of an agency, the brief delay in enforcement is not. Presto, Pruitt was powerless not to press full speed with enforcement.
This lawless ruling is a rotten result for consumers, the affected energy producers, and an ominous omen for Constitutional peace in the nation. As far as the affected parties, energy companies are now in the limbo of knowing the EPA can “reconsider” the new rule, but they face deadlines to purchase and install costly monitoring and capture equipment. The upfront costs substantially moot reconsideration by EPA.
For the nation, it signals further willingness by Democrat-appointed judges to join The Resistance and fight to tie Trump’s hands by any means possible. The new administration is studying several disputed actions by the Obama administration including an FCC power grab over the internet, new education regulations, labor regulations and more. There will be legal challenges to any such reconsideration. But, what Obama can impose by a pen and a phone, logically, Trump has authority to reverse by a pen and a phone.
The last time this happened, two Circuit Courts blocked Trump’s immigration order, saying even though it was facially valid, statements by candidate Trump cast a pall on its real intent. The Supreme Court summarily smacked their obstruction down. This latest power grab raises different legal issues but signals the same thing: Unless slapped by the High Court, lower federal courts will contort any way possible to protect Obama’s initiatives and to block Trump’s.
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