PowerLine -> Anthem protests fail to catch on + Collusion: Loose threads

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PowerLine -> Anthem protests fail to catch on + Collusion: Loose threads

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest

  • Anthem protests fail to catch on
  • Chai Feldblum’s EEOC
  • Collusion: Loose threads
  • Churchill in five minutes
  • Democrats are surprised that more money in paychecks is popular
Anthem protests fail to catch on

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 04:13 PM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)The recently completed NFL season was marred, in the opinion of many, by players taking a knee during the National Anthem. To what extent has this gesture, or similar shows of protest, spilled over to other sporting events at which the Anthem is played?

The answer, as far as I can tell, is that it hasn’t spilled over at all. The playing of the Anthem was observed immaculately at the baseball games I attended (major and minor league) last year.

I haven’t been to an NBA game this season. However, I’ve heard nothing about kneeling or other forms of disrespect in this setting.

NBA rules require players “to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem.” To my knowledge, the rule has been followed without exception. NBA players inclined to make political statements apparently agree with Lebron James. He says, “My voice and what I do in my community is more powerful than getting on a knee.”

I’ve been to about half a dozen basketball games at the college or high school level this season. Player behavior during the playing of the Anthem hasn’t changed from previous seasons. Everyone stands.

Last night and on Sunday, I attended the playoff games of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) basketball tournament.* The WCAC is one of the nation’s premier high school basketball leagues (and don’t say “one of” in the presence of any D.C. area basketball junkie).

American University’s Bender Arena was packed for the championship game Monday night. More than 5,000 spectators crammed into the gym.

The crowd was about half white and half black. Naturally, many students were present.

I watched the crowd carefully during the playing of the Anthem. I saw no one sitting or kneeling — no players and no one in the crowd. Everyone was standing respectfully. Some students were a bit rowdy, but not while the Anthem was played.

Many in the crowd stood well in advance of the song, while the announcer was reading the league’s sportsmanship code. I may have been the only person in the gym even thinking about the issue of kneeling.

I don’t know what next NFL season will bring. However, it seems clear that National Anthem protests have not become “a thing.” The rot isn’t spreading, at least not on that front.

* DeMatha won the WCAC boys championship over defending champs Gonzaga by a score of 54-53. DeMatha dominated the WCAC for decades under its legendary coach Morgan Wooten. However, this was the Stags first championship since 2011.

To reach the finals, DeMatha defeated Archbishop O’Connell, which is coached by Wooten’s son Joe. Gonzaga upset Paul VI in the other semifinal. Paul VI was ranked #4 in the nation coming into the tournament (DeMatha was #17).

According to the Washington Post, the championship game featured “as many as 13 future Division I players.” Among them were three 10th graders who are considered among the top 60 sophomores in the country. Paul VI also has a sophomore rated in the top 60.

Here is the Post’s account of the setting on Monday night. Here is its game report.


Chai Feldblum’s EEOC

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 08:31 AM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)In December, the Senate was on the verge of confirming Chai Feldblum for another term as a commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Feldblum, a leading gay rights advocate, is the architect of the Obama administration’s aggressive LGBT policy. While strong conservative nominees, including ones for top positions at the Department of Justice, have been on hold for the better part of a year, Feldblum was all set to be confirmed virtually overnight without even having to testify at a hearing.

Outrage from conservatives, especially social conservatives, halted the rush to confirm Feldblum. However, she remains a nominee, and stands a good chance of being confirmed one day soon (along with two Republican nominees for the commission), probably when no one is looking.

Before that happens, it might be worthwhile to look at Feldblum’s record. In doing so, I’m not going to discuss the LGBT side of it. I considered that here. Instead, my focus will be on her approach to litigating in more conventional areas of civil rights.

Since it is the Republican Senate that will (or, if we’re lucky, won’t) confirm Feldblum, a good starting point is a Senate Report called “EEOC: An Agency on the Wrong Track? Litigation Failures, Misfocused Priorities, and Lack of Transparency Raise Concerns about Important Anti-Discrimination Agency.” The Report is the work of the minority staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Sen. Lamar Alexander was the committee’s ranking member at the time. The report went out under his name.

Sen. Alexander is now the committee chairman. His committee pushed for Feldblum’s nomination in December without holding a substantive hearing.

The 2014 report on the Feldblum EEOC was scathing. This is from the Executive Summary:

Today’s EEOC. . .is pursuing many questionable cases through sometimes overly aggressive means and, as result, has suffered significant court losses that are embarrassing to the agency and costly to taxpayers. Courts have found EEOC’s litigation tactics to be so egregious they have ordered EEOC to pay defendants’ attorney’s fees in ten cases since 2011.

The courts have criticized EEOC for misuse of its authority, poor expert analysis, and pursuit of novel cases unsupported by law. Several courts have openly criticized EEOC for its failure to satisfy pre-litigation requirements, such as attempting to resolve discrimination disputes out of court; yet, the general counsel is leading an effort to prevent court review of such requirements.

The EEOC’s general counsel decides which cases to recommend for litigation. However, he can’t bring cases without approval from the commissioners on whose behalf he litigates. Thus, unless Feldblum voted against the “questionable cases” and baseless litigation positions referred to in the report — and she did not — she is responsible for the “litigation failure” and “misplaced priorities” cited.

The report continues:

These court losses also have come at a significant cost to victims of workplace discrimination. . . EEOC’s litigation has recovered almost $200 million less for victims than under the previous administration over the same time frame. In March 2014, EEOC reported almost 71,000 unresolved complaints of discrimination from individuals who filed charges with EEOC.

To add insult to injury:

EEOC also has suffered from a troubling lack of transparency. In the past two and a half years, EEOC has ignored calls from current commissioners [note: not Feldblum] and Congress to allow public review of significant and controversial guidance prior to its adoption. Also, the Office of General Counsel has, since 2010, failed to issue its standard annual report, and the agency is being sued for violating the Freedom of Information Act.

In sum, the Feldblum EEOC has taken egregious legal positions (invariably favoring the left); used overly aggressive tactics (at times in violation of statutorily required procedures) to pursue them; and tried to cover its tracks by preventing public review.

Considerations of space prevent me from discussing in this post specific egregious cases brought by the Feldblum EEOC. For now, I’ll incorporate by reference my discussion of how the EEOC went to bat for drunken steelworkers (a swing and a miss) and for dreadlocks (another swing and a miss). More detail can be found in the 2014 report and in a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called “A Review of Enforcement
and Litigation Strategy during the Obama Administration — A Misuse of Authority.”

I commend Sen. Alexander and his staff for their excellent 2014 report. It would be a pity if, now that Republicans are in the majority, they rewarded Chai Feldblum, co-author of so much misuse of authority, by confirming her for another term.

NOTE: I have modified slightly the paragraph in this post regarding the general counsel’s suit-bringing responsibility and the role of the commissioners.


Collusion: Loose threads

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 06:24 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)I want to note a few columns that supplement previously assigned reading on the Schiff memo.

Andrew McCarthy returns with one more thing — one more thing that is wrong with the Schiff memo — in the NR column “A Foreign Power’s Recruitment Effort Is Not a Basis for a FISA Court Warrant.” The shady Schiff and his Democratic colleagues would prefer that you not know that. They seek to exploit your ignorance.

Over this past weekend, McCarthy took up the new indictments handed up against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates in the NR column “Is ‘Collusion with Russia’ Over?” Among other things, “This brings us to this week’s least well-understood development in Mueller’s investigation, the guilty plea of Alex van der Zwaan….It’s worth a closer look.”

Following up on van der Zwaan, the New York Times’s Ken Vogel and Matthew Goldstein explore “How Skadden, the Giant Law Firm, Got Entangled in the Mueller Investigation.” This is an interesting article. I hoped Vogel and Goldstein might explain why van der Zwaan lied about his work when he chose to talk with the FBI. They acknowledge this is a big question and wonder if anyone else at the law firm knew van der Zwaan was lying. They state: “The answers to those questions are not entirely clear.” Well, thanks.

One point I have made repeatedly in connection with the synthetic collusion scandal is the necessity of reading the relevant documents yourselves. Among the relevant documents are the transcripts of the testimony of Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson to the congressional committees before which he has appeared. I posted the redacted transcripts of Simpson’s testimony upon their release together with my comments on them. Eric Felten draws on these transcripts in the Weekly Standard column “How to dig up dirt from the Russians.” Felten demonstrates that Simpson is not only a sinister player, he is also an extraordinarily disingenuous witness (as I too found him to be).

At the Daily Caller, Chuck Ross reports “DNC Refused To Comply With Dossier-Related Subpoena, So BuzzFeed Sued.” We know the friends of Vladimir Putin (a/k/a “Russia” and “the Russians”) colluded with the Democrats through a series of cutouts that ran from the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party to the Perkins Coie law firm to Fusion GPS to Christopher Steele and his alphabetized sources (assuming Steele and his sources are what they purport to be). The Democratic Party, which claims to be a victim of the Russians in the hacking of the DNC’s email during the campaign, holds fast to its hacked server. So far as we know, not even the FBI has had a look. What is going on here? Ross’s story notes an interesting sequel to the hacking story.

To adapt a phrase from the song made famous by Jerry Lee Lewis, whole lotta lyin’ goin’ on.


Churchill in five minutes

Posted: 27 Feb 2018 05:13 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)PragerU enlisted the services of the prominent historian Andrew Roberts to give its short course on “Winston Churchill: The man who saved the free world”(video below). It’s a good title and Roberts knows what he is talking about. He is the author of The Storm of War: A New History of World War II and the forthcoming biography Churchill: Walking with Destiny (also a good title, drawn from the concluding paragraph of The Gathering Storm).

The linked PragerU page includes a set of additional points, citations, and sources. The comments posted at YouTube include nitpicking about the video’s maps. The comments miss the point. This is the point: “The point about Churchill in 1940 is not that he stopped the German invasion, but that he stopped the British government making peace.” Sometimes you have to give war a chance.

I learned of the video via Roberts’s Twitter feed. It seems to be a box office hit in its own right.

My short video for @DennisPrager on Winston Churchill has received nearly 300,000 views in 4 days: https://t.co/5qNb914cAq Fun to make too #Churchill

— Andrew Roberts (@aroberts_andrew) February 27, 2018

Here is the concluding paragraph of The Gathering Storm, giving us Churchill’s thoughts on the evening of May 10, 1940: “During the last crowded days of the political crisis, my pulse had not quickened at any moment. I took it all as it came. But I cannot conceal from the reader of this truthful account that as I went to bed at about 3 A. M., I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene. I felt as if I were walking with Destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial. Eleven years in the political wilderness had freed me from ordinary party antagonisms. My warnings over the last six years had been so numerous, so detailed, and were now so terribly vindicated, that no one could gainsay me. I could not be reproached either for making the war or with want of preparation for it. I thought I knew a good deal about it all, and I was sure I should not fail. Therefore, although impatient for the morning, I slept soundly and had no need for cheering dreams. Facts are better than dreams.”


Democrats are surprised that more money in pay checks is popular

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 08:49 PM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)How out of touch is the Democratic Party? This out of touch: The Washington Post reports that Democrats expected the Trump tax cut to be unpopular and are surprised to find that voters like seeing more money in their pay checks.

Post reporter Erica Warner writes:

Democrats predicted a political backlash for ­Republicans in December when the GOP pushed through a deeply unpopular tax cut that added more than $1 trillion to the federal deficit and disproportionately helped the wealthy.

But at the outset of the 2018 campaign season, Democrats’ early optimism appears less well founded here [in Indiana], where Democrat Joe Donnelly is facing a tough Senate reelection fight.

The new law is rising in popularity as businesses in Indiana and elsewhere trumpet bonuses and bigger paychecks. And while Donnelly and fellow Democrats struggle to craft a consistent attack on the law, Republicans — boosted by outside spending from groups backed by the billionaire Koch brothers and others — are united in touting the tax cuts and slamming moderate Democrats who voted against them.

You know the Dems are hurting when their organ, the Washington Post, concedes there’s a problem and feels compelled to invoke “the billionaire Koch brothers” to help account for it.

According to the Post, Democrats like Sen. Donnelly intend to argue that the tax cut, though it increasing people’s paychecks now, will be bad for the country later on. Donnelly is referring, of course, to the debt. Yet, Donnelly just voted for a budget deal that will add hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending.

Donnelly makes an unconvincing deficit hawk. He’s far more convincing as a hack who votes the way his party demands.

At least Donnelly isn’t using the word “crumbs” to describe the extra money taxpayers are seeing in their paychecks due to the tax cut. However, that’s still how party leaders view the windfall.

Steny Hoyer, the number two House Democrat, toured the “Rust Belt” last week to pitch the Democrats’ economic message. The Post reports:

As for Pelosi’s comment criticizing the tax law’s benefit for the middle class as “crumbs,” Hoyer contended that Pelosi’s point was accurate even though it has become central to GOP attacks against Democrats. Still, “I don’t say it,” Hoyer said.

Not to voters, only to reporters. But just the fact that he thinks it shows how out of touch the Democrats are with ordinary Americans.

So does this, also from the Post’s report:

Since the [tax cut] passed, congressional Democrats have been largely focused on the issue of immigration, forcing the government into a three-day partial shutdown last month in an unsuccessful attempt to gain protections for the young undocumented immigrants known as “dreamers,” who were brought to the country as children.

Meanwhile, Republicans have relentlessly promoted the benefits of the tax law.

In short, one party is working to allow American citizens to keep more of the money they earn. The other is ridiculing this effort, while forcing a government showdown to help illegal immigrants. And it’s surprised to learn that this approach isn’t going over well in the heartland.

That’s how out of touch the Democratic Party is.


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