Archive for the ‘Senate’ Category

Forgive me if I’ve missed it elsewhere but I think that there’s an important question that journalists haven’t asked Gov. Walz. Specifically, why hasn’t anyone asked him, the U of M and the Minnesota Department of Health a third alternative. In this video, Gov. Walz opens by talking about 2 scenarios: no mitigation and significant mitigation:

Apparently and based on his actions, significant mitigation meant shutting everything except grocery stores and pharmacies down. I’d argue that there’s a third option that wasn’t considered. Specifically, I’m talking about practicing proper social distancing, frequently washing your hands and limiting crowd size without shutting down stores. How many lives might’ve been saved had that option been picked? Might it have saved as many lives as option 2, aka the significant mitigation option?

State Sen. Andrew Mathews thinks it’s more than possible. Sen. Mathews thinks it should be happening:

Most people are still shopping at major stores like Walmart during this time, showing there’s no reason more businesses can’t safely re-open to help employees, families, and small business owners stay afloat. Several small business owners have already described to me the safety plans they will implement if they’re allowed to re-open. It matches point-by-point to Governor Walz’s description of what he wants to see before opening other businesses.

Sen. Mathews’ plan is filled with common sense. Perhaps, that’s why Gov. Walz didn’t think of it? It would take integrity to admit that he’d made a mistake. Is that why Gov. Walz hasn’t admitted that?

It’s time that Gov. Walz starts thinking this crisis through. This crisis won’t be solved with Gov. Walz’s cookie-cutter approach. Gov. Walz’s approach has cost too many small businesses their livelihoods. We can’t afford smooth-sounding idiots running the state. We need people who think things through and nail the solution the first time. That isn’t Gov. Walz.

Multiple times in the past year, Democrats have threatened to change the composition of the Supreme Court because Republicans confirmed Constitution-loving justices. It isn’t a secret that Democrats prefer outcome-based justices. During John Roberts’ confirmation hearing, Sen. Durbin asked a question about what assurances the American people would have that Roberts would rule in the little guy’s favor. Roberts replied, saying that he’d guarantee that he’d rule in the little guy’s favor every time the Constitution was on the little guy’s side.

The Constitution isn’t meant to give “the little guy” an advantage. That’s what legislatures are for. In this post, I wrote about a brief that the Democrat senators Whitehouse, Rosenthal, Hirono and Durbin sent to the Supreme Court. In that brief, they wrote “The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.”

This was clearly a threat from the Democrats to pack the Supreme Court with additional justices if Democrats didn’t get the outcome they wanted on a gun control lawsuit. Democrats haven’t been bashful about their desire to pack the courts. This article highlights the Democrats’ politicization of the Supreme Court:

Democratic candidates are increasingly advocating “court packing,” that is, upping the number of Supreme Court justices to balance the bench — or ensure a liberal majority. The idea is unlikely to succeed for historical and practical reasons but its resonance on the campaign trail reflects Democrats’ new emphasis on the judiciary during the Trump era.

While the Supreme Court is established by the Constitution, the number of members of the Supreme Court is dictated by the Legislative Branch. In other words, a simple majority of Democrats in the House, a simple majority of Democrats in the Senate and a signature of a Democrat president could pack the Supreme Court for a generation or more.

It’s time to take that matter out of the hands of partisans. It’s time to pass a constitutional amendment that forever establishes a 9-member Supreme Court. That’s what we have now. The Court works just fine. Let’s see how many Democrats vote against such an amendment. I triple-dog dare Democrats to admit that they favor the full politicization of the Supreme Court. This is a campaign ad from Elizabeth Warren’s senate campaign:

There’s no way she wouldn’t pack the courts to tip the Supreme Court in the Democrats’ favor.

Yesterday, like other days, Democrats insisted that a Senate impeachment trial without witnesses should be considered a sham trial. Those statements, whether they’re made by Sen. Schumer, Speaker Pelosi or Chairman Nadler, are part of the Democrats’ strategy to extend their investigation in the hopes of finding a nugget of incriminating evidence against President Trump.

Rather than passively accepting that, Republicans should highlight the sham investigation that Chairman Schiff and Chairman Nadler conducted for House Democrats. The point should be to highlight the Democrats’ intellectual inconsistency. This video highlights the fact that Chairman Nadler refused to allow a hearing where Republicans could call witnesses:

The Judiciary Committee, traditionally the ‘impeachment committee, didn’t call any fact witnesses. The first hearing consisted of 3 partisan Democrat activists and liberal law professor Jonathan Turley testifying. The other Judiciary Committee hearing consisted of the majority and minority counsels answering questions about the Schiff Report. Chairman Schiff wasn’t required by Chairman Nadler to testify about his own report.

A simple question screams out for attention. Where are the witnesses? We’re now told that a Senate trial must include witnesses. If we don’t have witnesses, we’re told, it’s a sham trial, a “cover-up”:

Why didn’t Adam Schiff testify about his own report? Why weren’t Republicans allowed to call a single witness in the House impeachment hearings? What are Democrats trying to hide? What exculpatory evidence are these Democrats trying to omit?

Democrats don’t want Chairman Schiff testifying because that might force him to explain whether the faux whistle-blower worked with 2 of Schiff’s new hires when they worked at the National Security Council. If Schiff testified, he might be forced how many times he or his staff met with the faux whistle-blower. If that happens, they might be forced to tell Congress if they worked with each other to conspire against President Trump.

Democrats didn’t permit Republican witnesses because actual fact witnesses would’ve interrupted the Democrats’ carefully-edited narrative. With the weakest articles of impeachment in our nation’s history, Democrats couldn’t afford a) to let Republicans offer exculpatory evidence or b) to let Republicans call witnesses who might have provided truly bombshell testimony.

It isn’t that I want the Senate to conduct an unfair trial. Republicans don’t need to shaft Democrats because these facts are on their side:

  1. Neither article rises to the level of Treason, Bribery, high crimes and misdemeanor
  2. The exculpatory evidence that Republicans tried presenting during the impeachment hearings will come in on the Senate side.
  3. This time, the ‘jury’ won’t be composed of outcome-based partisan Democrat hacks.

This time, Democrats won’t get a pass from the jury. This time, Democrats will need to actually to prove their case. This time, America will see the difference between the partisan political hacks that make up the House impeachment managers and the professional litigators on President Trump’s legal team.

This time, America will notice the difference between a hurried sham impeachment investigation and a fair, properly conducted impeachment trial.

Until this morning, I thought that the Senate had a constitutional obligation to hold a trial if the House approved articles of impeachment. At this point, I’m not sure of that anymore. Included in David Catron’s article is this quote from “Keith E. Whittington, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University.”

Prof. Whittington is quoted as saying “The Senate could entertain a motion to dismiss the charges at the outset of a trial on the grounds that the allegations did not meet the constitutional standard of impeachable offenses, and a majority of the Senate could send the House packing without ever hearing a witness or seeing evidence. If a majority of the senators thought the House was abusing the impeachment power … there is no reason why the Senate would have to pay obeisance to the House by going through the motions of a pointless trial.”

When Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998, a trial was held in the Senate. At the time, then-Sen. Tom Harkin noted that senators were both judge and jury. Chief Justice William Rehnquist ruled that Sen. Harkin was right.

If senators have judicial authorities in an impeachment trial, why can’t they dismiss the case? If I had a $100 bill for each time I’ve heard it said that impeachment is whatever Congress says it is, I’d be semi-wealthy. If the House has the authority to say that a president’s actions are an impeachable offense, why shouldn’t the Senate have the authority to rule otherwise? I’ve seen nothing in the Constitution that states the House and Senate must agree.

In fact, the Constitution’s text suggests the opposite. If the Senate was obligated to agree with the House, there wouldn’t be a need for a Senate trial. If the Constitution said that, the Senate trial in those circumstances would be a rubberstamp. I’m certain that isn’t what the men who wrote the Constitution had in mind since they steadfastly insisted on a system of checks and balances.

If the Senate slapped down the House’s articles of impeachment on the grounds that they thought didn’t fit the Constitution’s requirements of treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors, that’s a legitimate verdict. I can’t picture the Supreme Court overturning that verdict. I’m betting that they wouldn’t want to touch it.

It’s difficult to picture anyone on Capitol Hill taking impeachment seriously, especially when it starts with this clown show:

What’s frightening is that Schiff is the more competent one between he and Nadler. In either case, the Senate should vote to drop the case on the grounds that it doesn’t rise to the constitutional requirements.

After reading this article, there’s no doubt that Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford had a sinister motive in stepping forward and making her wild accusations. At the time, I thought that it was highly possible Dr. Blasey-Ford wasn’t telling the truth. When Dr. Ford’s best friend said that she’d never met Brett Kavanaugh, I thought it was almost certain that Dr. Blasey-Ford hadn’t told the truth.

It’s worth noting that Debra Katz, a “high-powered progressive lawyer” who represented Dr. Blasey-Ford, said “In the aftermath of these hearings, I believe that Christine’s testimony brought about more good than the harm misogynist Republicans caused by allowing Kavanaugh on the court. He will always have an asterisk next to his name. When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him, and that is important.”

The assault against Kavanaugh has been exposed, especially in the fantastic new book Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court, written by Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist and Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network. There will be an asterisk associated with the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings but it will be attached to the far-left activists who tried derailing Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Here’s the video proof of Katz’s statements:

What’s now known is that Dr. Ford came forward for partisan political reasons, not because she had proof that Brett Kavanaugh had done the things she’d accused him of doing. Lots of accusations were thrown at Justice Kavanaugh. The most discredited accusations were made by Julie Swetnick, then represented by Michael Avenatti, aka CPL, aka Creepy Porn Lawyer. In September, 2018, Swetnick swore out a statement under penalty of perjury, stating “I witnessed Brett Kavanaugh consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with women during the early 1980s.”

In October, 2018, then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley referred both Avenatti and Swetnick for criminal prosecution to the DOJ. The Democrats’ attempt to derail the confirmation of a judge who happened to be Catholic should frighten people who think that we shouldn’t hold a person’s religious beliefs against them if they’re applying for a position within the federal government. The Constitution forbids religious tests:

but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

That text is found in Article VI, Clause 3. This is just the start. If/when Ruth Bader Ginsburg retires and President Trump still occupies the Oval Office and Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, all hell will break loose. It doesn’t take Nostradamus to figure that out. Joe Biden could even figure that out.

Saying that open-mindedness isn’t Tina Smith’s strong suit is understatement. In this article, Tina Smith sounds more like the former executive vice president of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota than an open-minded US senator. When she arrived in the US Senate, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota issued a statement congratulating her.

It started by saying “United States Senator Tina Smith will be a powerful, moving force for justice and continue her life’s work to improve people’s lives. In every position Senator Smith has held, she has brought her strategic leadership, her finely honed negotiating skills, her business acumen and her passion for women’s health and rights, and we are all better for it. Smith has been a strong voice for women’s health and rights in Minnesota. As our United States Senator, Tina Smith will be a calm, sensible leader who understands that women can’t earn a living or support their children if they don’t have access to the reproductive health care they need.”

Here’s what Sen. Tina Smith did after Judge Kavanaugh was announced:

Standing on the Supreme Court steps at a Monday night rally, Smith accused Trump of picking the D.C. federal appeals judge from a list drawn up by “far right ideologues” who believe he’ll cast the deciding vote on overturning legalized abortion under Roe v. Wade.

“It’s clear that President Trump, the Heritage Foundation, and the Federalist Society believe they can count on Judge Kavanaugh to cast that decisive fifth vote to overturn Roe, dismantle basic consumer protections in our health care laws, and gut regulations that protect workers and the environment,” Smith said at the rally, according to remarks provided by her office.

Later, she said, “I am here tonight because I’m a United States senator. But I’m also the only senator who has ever worked at Planned Parenthood. And I know that when women do not have the freedom to make their own choices about their reproductive health care, they have lost the freedom to direct their own lives.”

Spoken like a true far left ideologue. I’m betting that more people think of Planned Parenthood as ideological extremists than think that the Heritage Foundation is an extremist organization. Here’s Sen. Smith at the anti-Kavanaugh protest:

The Uterus Caucus, aka NOW, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights organizations were totally determined to prevent anyone on President Trump’s list that they prepared in advance:

By comparison, Karin Housley’s response sounded rational:

State Sen. Karin Housley, the Republican frontrunner to run for Smith’s Senate seat this November, called Kavanaugh an “excellent choice” on Trump’s part. “At a time when our nation’s founding principles are increasingly called into question, Judge Kavanaugh will make a tremendous addition to the high court,” Housley said in a statement, in which she said Smith “has shown she is in lockstep with the radical, left-wing brand of Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren.”

Sen. Housley should’ve also included Kamala Harris in her list of “radical, left-wing” nutjobs. Here’s why:

Tina Smith is just as nutty as Harris, Schumer or Warren.

Senate Democrats insisting on obstructing President Trump’s agenda got a shot across their bow this afternoon from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

“Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled. Senators should expect to remain in session in August to pass legislation, including appropriations bills, and to make additional progress on the president’s nominees.”

Democrats have insisted on using every trick in their book to obstruct President Trump’s nominations to cabinet positions, Supreme Court justices and appellate court judges. They haven’t stopped using those tactics because they’ve never paid a price for their obstruction.

This afternoon, that changed. This afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he’s cancelling the Senate’s August recess. That means 10 vulnerable Democrats will lose time to campaign in their home states while their opponents campaign and fundraise.

Sherrod Brown, are you feeling better today than a month ago? While Jim Renacci is campaigning throughout the state during August, you get to slog through appropriation bills and judicial confirmation votes. Trump won Ohio by 400,000+ votes in 2016. I’m pretty certain his voters will turn out, especially after you voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Good luck this November.

Bob Casey, are you feeling better today than a month ago? You, too, voted against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Now, you won’t have as much time to campaign as you’d anticipated. Good luck in November.

Jon Tester, how’s that long flight back to Montana? You thought you’d have the month of August to campaign. You really needed it after making those baseless accusations about Ronny Jackson. Instead of campaign in August, you’ll be spending your time in DC wading through appropriations bills and confirming Trump’s judicial nominees. Good luck in November.

Mitch is playing this properly. If Democrats want to play hardball, let them lose some Senate seats as a result.

This Bloomberg News article opens by saying “The House and Senate were in session Sunday with a federal government shutdown in its second day amid a spending-bill impasse in Congress.” Apparently, Democrats, including Lindsey Graham, didn’t get the memo. They think the bill that funds government operations, aka an appropriations bill, is the perfect opportunity to codify into law a DACA fix.

Once Vice President Pence returns home from his trip to Israel, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should schedule a vote to change the rules of the Senate that would require only appropriations be allowed in appropriations bills. I know that sounds like a radical concept but people not living in that sphere of insanity known as Washington, DC, would find that rule change sensible. Further, the Senate should require an up-or-down vote on appropriations bills.

One of the primary functions of congress is to fund the government. Political party shouldn’t be allowed to stop that process dead in its tracks. That’s what the Democrats are doing. The Senate rules should let them do their job. Period. It’s time that Democrats learned that elections have consequences.

Finally, Republicans should highlight the fact that Democrats care more about illegal immigrants than they care for vulnerable children or the military. BTW, it’s time to kill the sequestration caps. They’re killing the military in terms of training and readiness.

In his farewell speech to the US Senate, Sen. Franken said that as “I leave the Senate, I have to admit that it feels like we’re losing the war for truth. Maybe it’s already lost. If that’s what happens, then we have lost the ability to have the kinds of arguments that help build consensus.”

Later in that speech, Sen. Franken said “Often, the ‘debate’ here in Washington can sometimes seem arcane and tough to understand. Other times—especially in recent years—it can be so bitter that it doesn’t even feel like we’re trying to resolve anything, just venting our spleens at each other. I get that. I get why people want us to stop arguing and start, well, doing stuff. But since I am leaving the Senate, I thought I would take a big risk and say a few words in favor of arguments.”

What BS. Literally the day after all Democrats in the House and Senate voted against the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, Sen. Franken is attempting to justify the Democrats’ refusal to cooperate with Republicans in cutting people’s taxes. This is a Democrat difficulty. It isn’t just Sen. Franken who has difficulty working with Republicans. So-called moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp and Jon Tester made initial ‘friendly noises’ before voting like Elizabeth Warren.

It used to be said that the US Senate was the “greatest deliberative body in the world.” It isn’t that anymore. The definition of argument is “an oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention; altercation.” Meanwhile, the definition of deliberation is “careful consideration before decision.”

With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Democrats immediately opposed the legislation before the first page was written. That’s the opposite of deliberation. There’s nothing deliberative about that. That fits the definition of argument more than it fits the definition of deliberation.

Here’s Sen. Franken’s final speech on the Senate floor:

There isn’t any proof that Sen. Franken tried identifying the truth. That’s why it’s one of the first casualties upon entering Washington, DC. Rather than lamenting the death of the truth, Democrats should try employing it more consistently.

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It isn’t a stretch to say that the DFL hates cutting taxes. Further, it isn’t a stretch to think that the DFL doesn’t understand economics. When Democrats, whether they’re in the US Senate or the Minnesota legislature, complain about tax cuts for “the rich”, I’m reminded of Ronald Reagan’s cliché that you can’t create jobs if you hurt employers. There’s indisputable proof that companies are leaving the US for low-tax countries. Not all companies leave but there’s no doubt that many companies do.

Yesterday, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Dayton’s veto of the legislature’s operating budget was constitutional. At the heart of that fight is Gov. Dayton’s hatred of tax relief. If Gov. Dayton understood the power of pro-growth tax policies, he wouldn’t have objected to the Republicans’ tax relief bill.

Further, after watching every DFL legislator vote against the tax relief package last spring, it isn’t a dishonest statement to say that the DFL hate pro-growth tax policies. At what point will the DFL admit that pro-growth tax policies work? Will they ever admit that?

It isn’t just DFL legislators that hate pro-growth tax policies. By now, most LFR readers have seen this fight between ‘Uncle Orrin’ Hatch, (R-UT), and Sherrod Brown, (D-OH), during Thursday night’s mark-up of the Senate Tax Cuts and Job Act:

Way to go, Uncle Orrin! That’s what I’d call a beat-down! Beyond seeing Republicans fighting Democrats over the benefits of this pro-growth tax policy, that exchange is instructive because Sen. Brown said something totally stupid. Specifically, Sen. Brown said “And I get sick and tired of the rich always getting richer.” Let me state this clearly. I can’t imagine a politician saying something more foolish than that. Why wouldn’t you want the rich to keep getting richer? If they aren’t getting richer, that means that they aren’t making a profit. People that aren’t making a profit can’t continue employing people.

I don’t know who Republicans will run against Sen. Brown but whoever they run should run that clip morning, noon and night against Sen. Brown. I’d finish the ad by asking ‘Was Sherrod Brown just gratuitously grandstanding? Or is he that economically ignorant?’

Seriously, how can a U.S. senator be that stupid? That’s painful to watch.

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