KRAUTHAMMER – Bless Harry Reid; MacMath – Accuweather; FRENCH – Barrier for Authoritarians
LEADS: SIMON – Milo at Berkeley; PARRY – Gorillas killed to build cellphones.
PA: MUNRO – Comcast protests; KNEPPER – Paycheck protection; POLITICSPA 02/03/17
NOTES: MARK LEVIN – 02/02/17; HOWE – NFL It’s personal . . .
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Charles Krauthammer, NRO: “God Bless Harry Reid”
“Senate Democrats have Reid to thank for being powerless to block Gorsuch’s nomination.
“There are many people to thank for the coming accession of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Donald Trump for winning the election. Hillary Clinton for losing it. Mitch McConnell for holding open the High Court seat through 2016, resolute and immovable against furious (and hypocritical) opposition from Democrats and media. And, of course, Harry Reid.
“God bless Harry Reid. It’s because of him that Gorsuch is guaranteed elevation to the Court. In 2013, as then–Senate majority leader, Reid blew up the joint. He abolished the filibuster for federal appointments both executive (such as cabinet) and judicial, for all district- and circuit-court judgeships (excluding only the Supreme Court). Thus unencumbered, the Democratic-controlled Senate packed the lower courts with Obama nominees.
“Reid was warned that the day would come when Republicans would be in the majority and would exploit the new rules to equal and opposite effect. That day is here.
“The result is striking. Trump’s cabinet appointments are essentially unstoppable because Republicans need only 51 votes and they have 52. They have no need to reach 60, the number required to overcome a filibuster. Democrats are powerless to stop anyone on their own.
“And equally powerless to stop Gorsuch. But isn’t the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees still standing? Yes, but if the Democrats dare try it, everyone knows that Majority Leader McConnell will do exactly what Reid did and invoke the nuclear option — filibuster abolition — for the Supreme Court, too.
“Reid never fully appreciated the magnitude of his crime against the Senate. As I wrote at the time, the offense was not abolishing the filibuster — you can argue that issue either way — but that he did it by simple majority. In a serious body, a serious rule change requires a serious supermajority. (Amending the U.S. Constitution, for example, requires two-thirds of both houses plus three-quarters of all the states.) Otherwise you have rendered the place lawless. If in any given session you can summon up the day’s majority to change the institution’s fundamental rules, there are no rules.
“McConnell can at any moment finish Reid’s work by extending filibuster abolition to the Supreme Court. But he hasn’t. He has neither invoked the nuclear option nor even threatened to. And he’s been asked often enough. His simple and unwavering response is that Gorsuch will be confirmed. Translation: If necessary, he will drop the big one. . .”
Jillian MacMath, Accuweather: “Groundhog Day 2017: Meteorologists, Phil predict 6 more weeks of winter lie ahead”
“Just after sunrise on Thursday, Punxsutawney Phil declared six more weeks of winter for the United States – a prognostication AccuWeather meteorologists largely agree with.
Though many Americans are longing for warmer weather, most of the country will be faced with weeks of wintry conditions.
“‘There will be more rain than snow in the big East Coast cities,’ AccuWeather Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said. However, the interior Northeast will have a higher chance for snow as temperatures remain below normal.
“‘As far as a significant warmup goes across the Northeast, I think you have to hold off til late April or early May,’ he said. . .”
David French, NRO: “Donald Trump Just Struck a Blow against Authoritarianism”
“In Neil Gorsuch, Trump has nominated to the Supreme Court a man with deep respect for the Constitution and the freedoms it protects.
“If you ask vast numbers of both conservative and liberal Americans what word comes to mind when they hear Donald Trump’s name, the response is immediate: “Authoritarian.” In fact, if there is one theme that has remained constant in mainstream coverage of Trump ever since he surged to the top of Republican primary polls in 2015, it’s that he has authoritarian tendencies. He seeks power, and he cares not for process.
“’Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Politics of Memory’ (The Atlantic), ‘Donald Trump: Strong Leader or Dangerous Authoritarian?’ (NPR), ‘Beyond Lying: Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Reality’ (The New York Times)
“To be sure, this concern isn’t confined to the mainstream press. I myself have been deeply concerned with Trump’s authoritarian impulses — including his expressed disrespect for the First Amendment, due process, and private property.
“But if Trump is an authoritarian, he just dealt a huge blow to his own agenda: As a Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch will almost certainly be a firewall against federal overreach and a consistent defender not just of the Bill of Rights but of the republican, federalist structure of government the founders established.
“The Constitution of the United States is arguably the most effective and powerful single document at restraining tyranny and preserving liberty that has ever been written. Textualists and originalists at their best — and Gorsuch is among the best — respect the language of the document and the intent of its drafters. They apply Constitutional rights equally to all Americans, regardless of ideological affiliation or outcome. And in so doing, they protect our most critical bulwarks against authoritarianism: free speech for all, due process for all, and equal protection for all.
“But Gorsuch’s respect for the Constitution extends even further, into an obscure and vital doctrine that may well correct one of Justice Scalia’s greatest mistakes. If you say the word “Chevron” to most Americans, they think “gas station.” Say that word to a tiny class of basement-dwelling constitutional-law geeks, however, and they think “Supreme Court case that mandated deference to administrative agencies’ legal interpretations.”
“The case, Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, was decided in 1984, two years before Antonin Scalia took his seat on the Supreme Court bench. Its core holding is that when the court confronts an executive agency’s “construction of the statute which it administers,” then it will defer to the agency so long as Congress hasn’t “directly spoken” to the issue and the agency has engaged in a “permissible construction” of the statute.
“These benign-sounding words have led to an enormous amount of presidential and executive mischief and supercharged the stunning growth of the regulatory state. . .”
Roger Simon, PJM: “Milo at Berkeley — Looking for Mr. Good Anarchist”
“. . . Okay, I’ll come out of the closet. (No, not that way.) These demonstrators — the Berkeley crew, the ones at the airports, the Women’s Marches, violent, non-violent, whatever — are operating out of world views so old (actually the ghost of the ghost of those world views) they should only be allowed to protest at assisted living centers in slippers and bathrobes while on liquid diets.
“No wonder they want to shut up Milo. He’s something new with something original to say (relatively, anyway), whether you like it or not. The demonstrators have nothing to say. (Therefore it’s logical they don’t like free speech.)
“Also, he’s funny and they’re not. Unless you think Whoopi Goldberg is funny. (Well, she was — forty years ago.)
“So it’s all about envy — envy of the rich (except for the ones financing the demonstrations), envy of someone with something productive to do, envy of those who really think about the future and want to help make it. In other words, envy of those having fun. (Yes, the demonstrators appear to be having fun, but you don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict it’s not going to last long and will have a helluva hangover.)”
Tom Parry, UK Mirror: Gorillas massacred and driven to extinction – all for the sake of our mobile phones”
“The animals are being poached for bushmeat by militia groups and miners digging for an ore called coltan used in mobile phones
“The animals are being poached for bushmeat by militia groups and miners digging for an ore called coltan.
“It contains tantalum, used to make capacitors in modern electronic devices.
“Much of the globe’s coltan is mined here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“Wildlife observers have witnessed whole families of gorillas being massacred by thugs with machine guns. . .”
Neil Munro, Breitbart: “Corporate Backlash: Comcast Executives Push Employees To Protest Trump’s Popular Immigration Reform”
“NBC’s corporate parent, Comcast, is joining the corporate backlash against President Donald Trump’s popular immigration reform, partly prodded by the company’s Indian-born Chief Technology Officer, Sree Kotay.
“The company provided employers at its Philadelphia headquarters time off on Thursday to protest Trump’s popular policy, which is designed to reduce the inflow of costly refugees and to exclude migrants carrying “hostile attitudes.” Company protests were also expected in Washington D.C., New York and California.
“Trump’s new policy seeks to exclude people who:
do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law … those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.
“Trump underlined the pro-American nature of his reform today, saying at the National Prayer Breakfast that:
‘Our nation has the most generous immigration system in the world. But there are those who would exploit that generosity and undermine the values that we hold so dear. We need security. There are those who would seek to enter our country… to spread violence or oppressing other people based upon their faith.
‘We will not allow… intolerance to spread in our nation… So in the coming days we will develop a system to make sure those admitted into our country fully embrace our values of religious and personal liberty and that they reject any form of oppression and discrimination. We want people to come into our nation but we want people to love us and love our values. Not hate us and hate our values.’
“In Philadelphia, the 45-minute protest against the ‘hostile attitudes’ policy was held just after lunch.
“The growing campaign by corporations — including Google, Starbucks, Amazon, Lyft and Netflix — against the newly elected president and his immigration reform is shaped by their bottom-line desire to raise the inflow of immigrant consumers and cheap workers.
“But the corporate backlash is also boosted by sympathy from many top-level managers — both native-born and immigrant — towards striving migrants, regardless of the migrants’ political or ideological views. . .”
Leo Knepper, CAP: “Good News on Paycheck Protection”
“Two important pieces of legislation were moved out of the Senate State Government Committee on January 31st on a party line vote.
Senate Bill 166 and Senate Bill 167 address the use of taxpayer resources to collect money for unions that will be utilized for political purposes. Currently, government unions can deduct contributions for their political action committees (PACs) and dues money that will be used for political purposes directly from government employees’ paychecks. In other words, the unions are using taxpayer funded systems to collect money for politics.
“Over the course of the last ten years, various elected officials in Pennsylvania have gone to jail for using public systems for political gain. However, government unions have been using the public employees’ payroll system to collect funds that are spent directly on candidates and influencing elections (PACs) and funds used to engage in lobbying, voter registrations, get out the vote, and a host of other political activities.
“Why should it be legal for unions to use the public payroll system for political purposes, but illegal for former-Speaker John Perzel to use the constituent data system to help sway elections? There is no difference between these two activities; both are political, both are on the public dime, and both should be illegal.”
PoliticsPA: 2/3 Ups & Downs
“Larry Farnese. The federal jury came back with a not guilty verdict for State Senator Larry Farnese. He was acquitted of all charges in the case stemming from bid to run the Eighth Ward in Center City Philadelphia.
“WIlliam Caye & Irene Clark. Both received the dreaded “Not recommended” from the PA Bar Association in its rankings of 2017 judicial candidates. It will be important to see if the ranking hurts their chances of earning their party’s endorsement next weekend.
“Thomas Hardiman. Thomas Hardiman may not have gotten the final nod for the Supreme Court, but becoming a nationally known jurist may help his chances if another vacancy should open on the Court. Plus, he will avoid what may be a historically tough nomination process.
“Hal English. State Representative Hal English was a surprise late entry into the Superior Court race, but after barely making a splash in the last two caucus straw polls, he decided to end his bid.
“Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has to issue a boil water advisory to thousands of its residents after it was found the water going to those neighborhoods might have been contaminated. The discovery forced many schools in the city to close for the day.
“Seth Williams. The Philadelphia District Attorney has found himself trailing three of his four challengers in fundraising for the DA’s race. This stacked against the legal and ethics issues he is dealing with do not help his reelection chances.”
Mark Levin (02-02-17)
“On Thursday’s Mark Levin show, Conservatives have something going for them, consistency. We have certain principles, live by them and believe in them. No politician or employer can take them away or give them to us. Even if you voted for Donald Trump, you want him to do conservative things. Even populists nationalists are applauding Trump for his conservative moves.
“Also, Sen Ted Cruz calls in to discuss Neil Gorsuch, Betsy DeVos, and the confirmation hearings. Cruz said although the Democrats may delay the confirmation of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees and his pick for the Supreme Court, ultimately they are going to lose. The Senate is going to be the battleground for fighting these confirmation fights. The Democrats right now are in a state of denial, and a state of rage. They cannot believe this election result and they’re angry at the American people.
“After that, if the Trump Administration is going to compare itself to Reagan then two things it will not do are pursue massive tariffs or infrastructure spending. Trump met with Harley Davidson executives on Thursday and gave a very thin explanation of what Reagan did for Harley in the 1980’s. Reagan said yes we need temporary tariffs and free trade but rejected the Steve Bannon and Wilbur Ross view of protectionism and trade. Reagan did not believe in tariffs and that is why he brought up Smoot Hawley during a speech on free trade. Trump and his senior advisor should at least get their facts straight.
“Finally, China and communism are on the move and Trump is duking it out with Australia. Australia has always been a close ally of ours. Our allies were looking forward to a new president – this is ridiculous.”
Jeff Howe, Boston Herald: “This time it’s personal: Patriots want to help Tom Brady cap Revenge Tour”
“HOUSTON — Deep down, Tom Brady would probably love to tell Roger Goodell what to do with the Lombardi Trophy.
“He has never admitted that publicly, preferring to take the classy route when pressed for his personal feelings on Deflategate, but Brady and the Patriots are a victory shy of completing the most vindictive redemption tour in recent history.
“His teammates badly want it for him. They celebrated with far more passion than normal after beating the Browns in Week 5 — Brady’s first game following his four-game suspension.
“And why was that?
“‘I think it’s pretty obvious,’ Danny Amendola said.
“Even before the season began, the Patriots rallied around Brady more than ever, and that’s saying something because the 39-year-old has never been anything but an admired leader. Brady’s teammates were thrilled for him after a victory against the Bengals in his first home game, following his 200th career victory against the Jets and after the record-setting 201st win against the Rams the next week.”