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BrothersJudd Blog

Blog of the Brothers Judd

Last Build Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:49:06 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2017


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:49:06 -0500

With just two days left to stop a partial shutdown of the federal government, the Trump administration on Wednesday removed another major sticking point in the spending bill negotiations.

The White House told lawmakers it will not cut off federal subsidies that help low-income Americans pay for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, at least for now, an administration official and congressional sources confirm to NPR.


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:45:25 -0500

Several senators told The Washington Post that during the briefing, they did not learn much about how the U.S. will deal with North Korea and its provocations. "There was very little, if anything, new," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said. "I remain mystified about why the entire Senate had to be taken over to the White House rather than conducting it here."


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:12:57 -0500

ESPN Firing Over A Hundred Employees Today (Clay Travis, Apr 26, 2017, Outkick the Coverage)

The people being fired at ESPN today aren't being fired because they are bad at their jobs, they're being fired because ESPN's business is collapsing. That collapse has been aided by ESPN's absurd decision to turn into MSESPN, a left wing sports network, but that's more a symptom of the collapse than it is a cause of the collapse. ESPN's business is collapsing and the network is desperately trying to find a way to stay above water. You know how a drowning person flails in the water before slipping under? ESPN's left wing shift is that flailing. They think going left wing will save them. The reality is the opposite, ESPN going left wing was like giving a drowning person a big rock to hold and thinking it would keep them from drowning. Instead, it just made them sink even faster.

That's why ratings are down 16% this year compared to last year and viewers are abandoning the network in droves.

Middle America wants to pop a beer and listen to sports talk, they don't want to be lectured about why Caitlyn Jenner is a hero, Michael Sam is the new Jackie Robinson of sports, and Colin Kaepernick is the Rosa Parks of football. 

Trying to force feed political correctness on straight white males just doesn't seem like a winning proposition.


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:40:12 -0500

Why Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities is unconstitutional (Ilya Somin, January 26 , 2017, Washington Post)

The order indicates that sanctuary cities "that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law." More specifically, it mandates that "the Attorney General and the [Homeland Security] Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary."

Section 1373 mandates that "a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual."

There are two serious constitutional problems with conditioning federal grants to sanctuary cities on compliance with Section 1373. First, longstanding Supreme Court precedent mandates that the federal government may not impose conditions on grants to states and localities unless the conditions are "unambiguously" stated in the text of the law "so that the States can knowingly decide whether or not to accept those funds." Few if any federal grants to sanctuary cities are explicitly conditioned on compliance with Section 1373. Any such condition must be passed by Congress, and may only apply to new grants, not ones that have already been appropriated. The executive cannot simply make up new conditions on its own and impose them on state and local governments. Doing so undermines both the separation of powers and federalism.

Even aside from Trump's dubious effort to tie it to federal grants, Section 1373 is itself unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the federal government may not "commandeer" state and local officials by compelling them to enforce federal law. Such policies violate the Tenth Amendment.

Section 1373 attempts to circumvent this prohibition by forbidding higher-level state and local officials from mandating that lower-level ones refuse to help in enforcing federal policy. But the same principle that forbids direct commandeering also counts against Section 1373. As the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia explained in Printz v. United States, the purpose of the anti-commandeering doctrine is the "[p]reservation of the States as independent and autonomous political entities." That independence and autonomy is massively undermined if the federal government can take away the states' power to decide what state and local officials may do while on the job. As Scalia put it in the same opinion, federal law violates the Tenth Amendment if it "requires [state employees] to provide information that belongs to the State and is available to them only in their official capacity." The same is true if, as in the case of Section 1373, the federal government tries to prevent states from controlling their employees' use of information that "is available to them only in their official capacity."

Might have wanted to hire a competent Attorney General, since he has no understanding of the Constitution, the Court or the laws.


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:33:17 -0500

[O]ne thing is certain: Members of Congress are working behind the scenes to protect their own interests and those of their families and many of their staffers in the event Obamacare replacement legislation ultimately emerges from the House.

House Republicans quietly inserted a provision in the latest version of their health care overhaul plan that exempts members and their staffs from the GOP effort to repeal or shred most of the Obamacare regulations and protections, including those guaranteeing Americans a broad array of medical services and restrictions on premium hikes for older and sicker people.

As first reported by Sarah Kliff of Vox, the provision added by McArthur at the behest of the leadership specifically would guarantee that members of Congress and personal staff members could keep all coverage benefits and protections under Obamacare, even if the states in which they live choose to seek waivers to eliminate many of them.

Taking benefits is something you do to the rubes, not for the elites.


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:08:04 -0500

"Should we have policies that penalize people for having extra kids in the developed world?" Nye asked.

"I do think we should at least consider it," Rieder said.

Nye pushed him even further.

"Well, 'at least consider it' is like, 'do it,'" he opined.

The other two guests pushed back, however, pointing out that what Nye and Rieder were proposing came dangerously close to the eugenics policies of America's past, which ending up disproportionately targeting poor women and minorities.

Sciencism is always and everywhere anti-human.


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 09:04:29 -0500

Despite well known differences between Moscow and Riyadh over the role of Assad -- Moscow has rejected calls for him to quit and says his future should be decided in elections -- Lavrov said there were no insurmountable differences between the two when it came to finding a solution to the Syria crisis.


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 09:01:42 -0500

The telephone poll of 1,004 adults conducted April 21-25 put May's party up 6 percentage points on 49 percent, Labour down 4 percentage points on 26, the Liberal Democrats unchanged on 13 percent and the United Kingdom Independence Party down 2 percentage points on 4 percent.

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said May's lead matched the biggest lead ever recorded for the Conservatives in an election campaign back in 1983. In that election, Thatcher won a majority of 144 seats.


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 08:51:21 -0500

Bluster Followed By Surrender: Is This Another Trump Pattern? (Nancy LeTourneau, April 26, 2017, Washington Monthly)

It looks like the White House has conceded on their demand that the must-pass spending bill include a down-payment on Trump's border wall, leading Josh Marshall to call it "abject surrender." He goes on to point out that this has happened before.

This does fit the pattern with the earlier Obamacare repeal debacle - aggressive stance, bluster, confidence followed by abject surrender.

We've seen this in other situations as well. After railing against Mexico on the campaign trail, Trump's visit with the president of that country was described as "subdued." We saw the same thing with China. No country other than Mexico was the subject of such harsh rhetoric up until Trump met with President Xi at Mar-a-Lago. All of the sudden they developed a "warm rapport."

The only president whose surrenders have better served America was Jefferson Davis.

Trump, Act 1: All Drama, No Action (Mark Salter, 4/26/17, RCP)

Obamacare is still with us. The North American Free Trade Agreement still governs our trade relations with Mexico and Canada. No ground has been broken on a Trump-branded infrastructure project. Trump's steep budget cuts are mostly non-starters in Congress. Not a dollar has been appropriated for his border wall, which is going to be a fence if it's ever built at all, will still cost tens of billions, won't cover the entire border, will be tied up in lawsuits from landowners, and won't be paid for by Mexico now or ever.

Overseas, China is no longer a currency manipulator, and President Xi Jinping--America's archenemy according to Candidate Trump--is now President Trump's best friend forever. NATO is no longer obsolete. The European Union muddles along. The Kremlin is still suffering economic sanctions imposed by the West. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is, thankfully, de facto leader of the free world.

Ethno-nationalism, Trumpism, Breitbartism, whatever you want to call it, may have crested with Trump's election. It was defeated at the polls in the Netherlands and now probably in France, where centrist Emmanuel Macron should handily defeat the national socialist, Putin vassal and Trump enthusiast, Marine Le Pen.


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 07:28:23 -0500


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 07:24:25 -0500

Three militants loyal to the Islamic State group (ISIS) have been killed by wild boars as they planned to ambush Iraqi tribesmen opposed to the group, according to a local anti-ISIS leader.


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 07:22:00 -0500

Physics of throwing analysed by scientists (Helen Briggs, 4/26/17, BBC News)

Accurate throwing is uniquely human - a skill relied upon by our ancient ancestors for hunting with spears or stone tools.

The researchers say monkeys also throw things, but they are really bad at it.

Like Europeans.


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:53:30 -0500

A group called the Imam Shamil Battalion has claimed responsibility for a deadly subway bombing in the Russian city of St. Petersburg and said the attacker was acting on orders from Al-Qaeda, a U.S.-based organization that monitors extremists says.


Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:35:16 -0500

Think Public Pensions Can't Be Cut? Think Again. : It's happened several times in just the last few years. With so many systems severely underfunded, it's likely that more government employees will to be blindsided. (CHUCK REED, APRIL 26, 2017, Governing)
As John M. Richardson, a pioneer in the study of system dynamics, once put it, "When it comes to the future, there are three types of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened."

That's as good a way as any to describe what has befallen so many of our state and local government pensions systems, now facing a collective funding shortfall of $5 trillion: legislative bodies that let it happen by creating unsustainable pensions, policymakers who perpetuated the problem by not fully funding their plans, and retirees who have been blindsided, wondering what happened, when their pensions have been slashed.

Consider, for example, the nearly 200 retirees of California's now-defunct East San Gabriel Valley Human Services Consortium, an employment and job-training agency known as LA Works, who just had their pensions cut by as much as 63 percent. Who's to blame? Policy leaders who set up the risky pension structure; city governments that didn't keep up with pension payments; and the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), which oversees the plan and never alerted workers that their employers had fallen behind on payments. It's hardly surprising that the affected employees are questioning how, after paying into the pension fund for 25-plus years, this could have come to pass.

What's happening with LA Works' retirees isn't a unique situation. CalPERS, whose pension debt stands at $170 billion, just last year drastically cut pension benefits for retirees who worked for the city of Loyalton. Many other cities, and several states, are struggling to keep their heads above water in the face of runaway pension costs.

Think it can't happen to your city? Think again. Detroit, Mich., and Cedar Falls, R.I., are polar opposites in many ways, but they have one thing in common: Both slashed their retirees' pensions when the cities filed for bankruptcy.

Governments aren't going anywhere; the benefits are.


Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:30:43 -0500

US District Judge William Orrick issued the preliminary injunction in two lawsuits on Tuesday - one brought by the city of San Francisco, the other by Santa Clara County - against an executive order targeting communities that protect immigrants from deportation.

The injunction will stay in place while the lawsuits work their way through court.

The judge said that President Donald Trump cannot set new conditions for the federal grants at stake. And even if he could, the conditions would have to be clearly related to the funds at issue and not coercive, Orrick said.

"Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves," the judge said. [...]

In his ruling, Orrick sided with San Francisco and Santa Clara, saying the order "by its plain language, attempts to reach all federal grants, not merely the three mentioned at the hearing".

"And if there was doubt about the scope of the order, the president and attorney general have erased it with their public comments," the judge said.