ITEM #1: As a growing number of voices on the left continue to cry out in favor of “court packing” should Democrats capture the White House and Senate this year, both Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris continue to flat-out refuse to say whether they’d support such a scheme.
Recently, Biden was interviewed by Ross DiMattei, a reporter with KTNV in Las Vegas, who started to ask Biden whether voters deserved to know his position on the question. Biden cut DiMattei off, saying “No, they don’t deserve,” before pivoting into an attack on President Donald Trump. It was Biden’s most brazen dismissal of the issue to date, and he is rightly coming in for serious criticism from conservatives over it.
In a sane world, the Biden-Harris ticket’s ongoing dodge on this question would be a national scandal. After all, this is no minor matter. To pack the court would be to obliterate a bedrock institution of our nation. No less a figure than Joe Biden himself said, back in 1983, that President Franklin Roosevelt’s attempt to pack the court had been a “bonehead idea” and a “terrible, terrible mistake to make.”
Yet now, the best Biden can muster is to say he’s “not a fan” of court packing, as he finally did under mounting pressure on Monday, before once again reiterating his desire not to discuss the issue.
Incredibly, with the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings now under way, Democrats are actually saying it is Republicans who are guilty of packing the courts — apparently by simply filling vacancies when they arise. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin complained that, “The American people have watched the Republicans packing the court for the past three and a half years, and they brag about it.”
And in an embarrassing answer to a question on the topic during last week’s vice presidential debate, Harris said: "Do you know that of the 50 people who President Trump nominated to the courts for lifetime appointments, not one is Black? This is what they've been doing. You want to talk about packing the courts, let's have that discussion."
Of course, none of this has anything to do with what the term “court packing” has long been recognized to mean. And Democrats know that.
There are two chief things going on here.
One, the push on the left to pack the courts comes from their frustration at seeing Republicans be able to fill the majority of court vacancies in recent years. Republicans have done this well within the bounds of our constitutionally prescribed rules, and also in a way that’s consistent with norms and traditions. Democrats have been unable to win the elections necessary to acquire the same opportunities, and rather than look inward and figure out how to get better at prevailing under our current rules, they seek to change them. And there are no lengths to which they’re unwilling to go in order to accomplish this. It’s the same motivation that’s behind their non-stop calls to do away with the electoral college.
And two, the calls for court packing put the Biden-Harris ticket in a bind. Stand up to the hard left, and risk tempering enthusiasm among the party’s base ahead of the election. Support them, and risk turning off many middle-of-the-road voters who would rightly recoil at the extremism that court packing would represent. Hence the evasiveness.
Biden’s recent non-answer — that he’s “not a fan” of court packing — is woefully insufficient. He owes the American people a clear, unequivocal yes or no answer to the question.
And until he gives one, reporters should continue to press him.
ITEM #2: “Yes, Hillary Clinton Orchestrated the Russia-Collusion Farce.”
That’s the headline on a piece for National Review by Andrew McCarthy, who goes on to back up that conclusion with an impressive amount of detail.
“In late July 2016, Hillary Clinton, in an effort to divert attention from the email scandal that was haunting her presidential bid, directed her campaign to peddle a political narrative that Russia’s suspected hacking and leaking of Democratic Party emails was in furtherance of a conspiracy between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump to swing the election to Trump.
“That is … the Clinton campaign dreamed up, paid for, and peddled the Trump–Russia collusion farce. And in promoting it, President Obama’s former secretary of state had a willing and able partner in the Obama administration — very much including its intelligence and law-enforcement apparatus.
“It was amazing to watch Democrats play Twister this week, as National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe added documentary corroboration to the disclosure he’d made the week before. In that first revelation, via letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ratcliffe explained that, because our spy agencies have very effective foreign-intelligence-gathering methods, they were able to ‘obtain insight’ into a Russian intelligence analysis that concluded Clinton orchestrated the damaging political narrative. That is, Clinton actually did what she accused Trump of doing: She colluded with Russians (through yet another foreigner she recruited to meddle in the 2016 presidential campaign: the ludicrous former British spy Christopher Steele) in order to damage Trump’s campaign and cinch the election for herself.
“The second set of disclosures showed that the CIA had taken the Russian information seriously enough that (a) then-director John Brennan quickly briefed President Obama and his administration’s national-security team about it and (b) the agency included the Russian intel about Clinton in a memo to the FBI, which laid out information gleaned by the ‘Crossfire Hurricane fusion cell’ that Brennan had assembled to promote the Trump–Russia storyline.
McCarthy also points out how Democrats are now shamelessly changing their narrative in the wake of the new revelations:
“After Ratcliffe published these documents, we were no longer hearing much about disinformation. Now the talking point became: Well, there was nothing criminal in what Clinton did; she was simply worried about a potentially corrupt conspiracy between Trump and Putin — and who wouldn’t be?
“Right ... worried based on absolutely zero evidence. There was not a shred of proof that Donald Trump and his campaign had any foreknowledge of, much less complicity in, the suspected Russian hack of DNC emails. That, you may remember, was the sinkhole on which the collusion farce was constructed.”
And he sums up the blatant obviousness in the way this all came together:
“At this point, Democrats have no choice but to concede Clinton’s catalytic role in the collusion narrative because there is no other rational way to look at what happened — not for any sentient person, never mind Russian intelligence. …
“At the same time that Hillary Clinton had her campaign proclaim that the DNC emails had been hacked by Russia as part of a corrupt Trump-Putin conspiracy to swing the election to Trump, and Steele dutifully reported that the DNC emails had been hacked by Russia as part of a corrupt Trump-Putin conspiracy to swing the election to Trump, the FBI opened Crossfire Hurricane on — you’ll never guess! — suspicion that the DNC emails had been hacked by Russia as part of a corrupt Trump–Putin conspiracy to swing the election to Trump.
“What a coincidence.”
Read McCarthy’s excellent piece in full, here.
ITEM #3: Universal mail-in balloting … what could go wrong?
Well … this:
“The elections board serving the county that’s home to Ohio’s capital city scrambled Wednesday to address the inadvertent mailing of wrong absentee ballots to voters just weeks before election day.
“The Franklin County Elections Board in Columbus blamed the malfunction on a high-speed scanner that proofs ballots for accuracy. The board hasn’t announced how many of the county’s estimated 250,000 absentee ballots were affected.
“Some ballots had an incorrect congressional race, while others had the correct information but were sent to voters in a different precinct.”
Let’s not forget, thanks to Democrats’ “election reforms” passed during an “emergency” special session this summer, ballots are hitting mailboxes all across Nevada as we speak.
The right mailboxes? We can only guess.
ITEM #4: So this isn’t a good sign.
My News 4 in Reno reports:
“Voters in Humboldt County, that includes the town of Winnemucca, are confused by the ballots they're receiving in the mail.
“The outside envelope states: 'I affirm under penalty of perjury that: I am a resident and registered voter of White Pine County.' That wording is next to where the voter's signature is required.
“White Pine County is hundreds of miles from Humboldt County.”
Who would have ever guessed that radically altering our state’s entire election system just a few months before voters cast their votes could lead to error and confusion?
ITEM #5: The politicians who most often preen on about fixing our “inequality” problem are, it turns out, the same ones who have been pushing policies that lead to greater inequality.
That’s according to this piece for the Washington Examiner from Michael Barone, who finds:
“Lockdowns, more stringent in Democratic than Republican states, have produced higher unemployment and greater drops in state revenues.”
He also notes that “extreme risk aversion,” which is what’s driving the more severe approaches to limiting economic activity, “imposes few costs for affluent liberals who can work comfortably and at full pay on home computers.”
Barone also writes:
“As New York Times columnist Ross Douthat notes, public schools are now open for half of white pupils but only one-quarter of blacks and Hispanics. For many minority children, he writes, ‘a key legacy of 2020 may be a well-intentioned liberal betrayal of their interests, a hollowing-out of the institutions that protect and serve them, and the deepening of America’s racial inequalities.’”
The net effect of all of this is that the less wealthy among us are suffering, and will continue to suffer, the most as a result of Democrats’ draconian suppression of liberty in the face of COVID-19.
Of course, that won’t stop them from going on incessantly about how they — and they alone — are committed to standing up for the poor and creating a more “equal” society.
ITEM #6: We can count on the left to drag race into everything, can’t we?
The coronavirus outbreak, and the effort to rebound from it, is no exception. And as usual, the State of California is on the front lines of the latest assault on common sense.
Christopher F. Rufo, a contributing editor for City Journal, reports:
“Public health authorities in California have unveiled a 'Blueprint for a Safer Economy' that requires counties to meet new 'health equity metrics' in order to emerge from the current Covid-19 lockdowns. It’s a broad experiment in social justice. Under the plan, counties must reduce 'disparities in levels of transmission' in 'low-income, Black, Latino, [and] Pacific Islander' communities before they can move forward with reopening. In effect, local businesses must remain closed until local bureaucrats are satisfied that ill-defined racial quotas have been met.
“The underlying assumption of the blueprint is that race-based coronavirus disparities are the result of 'systemic racism,' despite zero evidence that the state’s coronavirus policies have been discriminatory. The plan ignores potential differences in culture, behavior, and underlying health, resting instead on the premise that racism is the driving force behind every disparate outcome. The blueprint also subverts the democratic process. Unelected public health officials are restricting essential freedoms, including mobility, worship, and economic activity, without deliberation by the state legislature or the possibility of review or appeal.”
Remember, it’s been the heavy-handed approach taken by predominantly left-wing politicians that has created so much economic hardship in the first place.
Now, these same leftists think they’re the ones we should listen to as we go about rebuilding our shattered economy … and their “solutions” just happen to comport to their long-standing, divisive agenda on race.
So much for “We’re all in this together.”
ITEM #7: There’s a very interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal this week, authored by Eliza Collins and Katherine Sayre, focusing on the role that the beating the Las Vegas economy has taken will play in the presidential race.
“Many hotel rooms on the Strip are empty, thousands of hospitality workers have been laid off, and whether President Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins Nevada’s six electoral votes could hinge on which party voters blame for the battered economy.”
As Nevadans ponder that question, it’s worth keeping in mind that if the true frustration is over the economic turmoil we’re facing, then, well … it’s Governor Steve Sisolak who has chosen to take a particularly restrictive approach to limiting economic activity here in our state.
And indeed, as Collins and Sayre report:
“Interviews here found some locals aim their frustrations over the economic turmoil at Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat whose closures of businesses and limits on public gatherings remained in place longer than in some other states. Some said that hampered tourism in a city that relies on visitors to pump money into the economy.”
You can read more here.
There’s no doubt whatsoever that Governor Sisolak’s shutdown has been far, far more severe than justified. He’s not on the ballot this year, but it may well turn out that the decisions he’s made in recent months will have an effect on what happens this November nonetheless.
“It is logically and constitutionally absurd to call the filing of a vacancy on the Court as form of ‘court packing.' It does not increase the size of the Court and is done in complete conformity with the constitutional framework." ― George Washington University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley
“Judge Amy Coney Barrett is exceptionally qualified. She will be faithful to the Constitution and not legislating from the bench. She has a prestigious academic and legal background. Grounded in faith and family, she is a role model for young women across the nation.” ― Morning in Nevada PAC President Adam Laxalt
“Amy Coney Barrett respects the Constitution and will uphold the rule of law. That’s exactly what drives the Left crazy.” ― U.S. Congressman Jim Jordan