Conrad Black: The Trump Haters Cackle Too Soon: Conrad Black, National Post, Dec. 12, 2020
_______________________________________________________________________________________Georgia Candidates for Senate Trade Jabs on Israel, anti-Semitism
JNS, Dec. 29, 2020
The U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia to take place on Jan. 5 have expectedly generated intense national interest and already become the most expensive in history with some $340 million raised so far. Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock have hauled in more than $100 million each, significantly more than Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler at $68 million and $64 million, respectively.
With the outcome set to determine control of the Senate for the upcoming Biden administration, the stakes are about as high as they can get. American Jewish groups from both sides of the aisle have invested heavily in the race, as they see stark differences in the candidates’ policies on topics such as the U.S.-Israel relationship, the Iran nuclear deal, anti-Semitism and more.
Most of the scrutiny by the Jewish and pro-Israel community surrounding the runoffs has been on the race between Loeffler and Warnock.
Loeffler has supported Trump’s pro-Israel agenda, while Warnock has come under fire for defending anti-Semitic Rev. Jeremiah Wright, giving a May 2018 sermon in which he accused Israel of shooting non-violent Palestinian protesters, signing onto an anti-Israel statement last year that likened Israeli control of the West Bank to “previous oppressive regimes” such as “apartheid South Africa” and presenting a 2016 sermon that compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to segregationist and former Alabama Gov. George Wallace.
Last month, Warnock released an editorial by the Democrat titled “I Stand With Israel.” In that piece, he did not repudiate those past controversies.
The Jewish Democratic Council of America endorsed Warnock and Ossoff, who is Jewish, both in the general election and ahead of the runoffs, and hosted a Dec. 8 virtual event that also featured Ossoff.
Warnock, the pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where civil-rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., preached, also said, “I am a staunch ally and supporter of Israel, and I echo without reservation Dr. King’s perspective that Israel’s right to exist as a state and in security is incontestable.”
In addition to holding the event (its super PAC cannot give directly to the candidates in accordance with election law), JDCA PAC has been fundraising and spending money in campaigning for Warnock and Ossoff. It is spending close to $200,000, the council’s CEO, Halie Soifer, told JNS.
According to Soifer, JDCA has put out digital ads and sent direct mail pieces to more than 50,000 homes in Georgia. It has also been making an estimated 50,000 phone calls and sent 50,000 text messages to nearly 100,000 Jewish voters in the state. The organization isn’t doing door-to-door canvassing, as requested by the campaigns due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.
In response to the criticism Warnock has gotten for his past statements and actions on Israel, Soifer cited his position paper and remarks during the JDCA event. “He’s made it clear that he strongly supports the U.S.-Israel relationship, he strongly supports the full implementation of the MOU [from 2016 between the United States and Israel worth $38 billion over a decade in defense assistance].”
“He does not support any cutting or conditioning of aid,” she continued. “He opposes BDS. So he’s made it clear that he shares our views when it comes to Israel.” … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
What’s at Stake in Georgia
WSJ, Jan. 1, 2020
What’s the difference in policy between a Senate run by Chuck Schumer with 50 Democrats and one run by Mitch McConnell with 51 or 52 Republicans? That’s the question that matters for the next two years, so it’s worth explaining the stakes with realistic specificity in Tuesday’s Georgia Senate runoffs.
Start with control of committees, which would shift markedly leftward. Republicans would lose their ability to investigate issues like FBI abuse and Hunter Biden’s China dealings. A GOP Senate is likely to approve most of Mr. Biden’s cabinet picks, but Democrats would whisk through even controversial nominees like Neera Tanden at the White House budget office or Xavier Becerra at HHS. There would be no check on judicial nominees.
Democratic chairmen would include Bernie Sanders, who would try to gut the Pentagon at the Budget Committee. Sherrod Brown at Banking and Elizabeth Warren on the financial institutions subcommittee would try to change rules to steer lending and capital to their priorities and punish lending to fossil-fuel companies.
Ron Wyden, who would run the tax-writing Finance Committee, wants to tax gains in capital assets each year even if they aren’t sold. The Judiciary Committee would go to Dick Durbin, who after having deposed Dianne Feinstein would target conservative nonprofits and think tanks for political attack.
Congress needs only a simple majority to repeal Trump Administration regulations under the Congressional Review Act. Say goodbye to the new rule speeding environmental reviews on public works. A 50-vote Senate (with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties) also guarantees a huge tax increase since current rules allow a simple majority to pass a budget.
That probably means an increase in the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%, plus higher rates on individuals, capital gains and dividends. Democrats will need the money to finance the trillions of dollars in additional spending they want. Buoyant financial markets don’t seem to have discounted this possibility, and the tax increases are sure to be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021. Forget about extending the temporary provisions of the 2017 tax reform.
Some of our friends think Democrats couldn’t blow up the 60-vote legislative filibuster rule with a mere 50 votes. Their confidence hangs on West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who says he supports the filibuster. But imagine the political and media pressure on Mr. Manchin if Republicans use the filibuster to block Joe Biden’s agenda. He’s always been a loyal party man when it really matters.
If the filibuster stays, Mr. Biden will need to compromise to get GOP votes for an infrastructure bill, new ObamaCare subsidies or repealing Section 230 on tech liability. A public option on health care is probably out of reach, as would be much of his climate agenda.
But if the filibuster goes, so do bipartisan restraints. Statehood for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico become possible, with four new Senate seats to cement a Democratic majority. Mr. Biden’s aggressive union agenda has a chance, including overtime pay mandates and easier organizing of franchise chains. So do nationwide mandates for ballot harvesting and mail-in voting, a ban on arbitration in business contracts, price controls on drugs, huge subsidies for green energy and perhaps a carbon tax. We could go on. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Our Eroding Political Norms
Andrew C. McCarthy
National Review, Dec. 3, 2020
The Left actually wanted to pack the Supreme Court! The very notion is destructive of an essential institution. It was historically condemned. Yet Democrats, from standard-bearer Joe Biden on down, lacked the fortitude to condemn the iconoclasts in their midst. Suddenly, the shambling Trump campaign saw a path to victory: branding their opposition as heedless radicals.
It nearly worked.
When President Trump named Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court just weeks before the November 3 election, Democrats were irate — and in 2020 “irate” means poised for the next quantum leap toward the abyss. Counting on winning the presidency and the Senate, they resolved to kill two birds with one recklessly hurled stone: They would end the filibuster, thereby vitiating the Senate as the republic’s bulwark against mob rule, and then install progressive radicals in an expanded Court, thereby eradicating the tribunal as a judicial institution that resolves cases by law rather than political preference. It was a ruinous idea. Ruin, however, is an aspiration of the furies that drive what passes for American culture today. Biden is well past a prime during which he was, even then, too shallow to resist.
I said it nearly worked. There are several reasons why Donald Trump came up short, but the chief one is that a president should be a staunch guardian of our norms. Despite considerable policy successes, he would never be mistaken for that. Indeed, the coarseness of his attacks on foes, the way he reveled in his shock-jock persona at rallies that were more like rock concerts, the way he, as no less than the nation’s chief executive, personalized policy disputes — all these shortcomings explain why he lost a close race, and particularly why he ran behind down-ticket Republicans in the suburbs.
So, what happened next? Turning on a dime, the same Trump devotees who had just been apoplectic about Court-packing rejected the American norms of grace in defeat, of elevating preservation of the system’s legitimacy over personal grievance. Even as court challenges fizzled for lack of hard proof of alleged election “rigging,” the rhetoric sizzled: an election “stolen” by systematic cyber-fraud and deep-state dirty tricks. The point of the heated narrative? To stoke Trump’s loyal base into pressuring legislatures — controlled by GOP majorities in such contested states as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, and Arizona — to refuse to appoint Biden slates of electors. That is, even though Biden won the popular vote in those states, Trump electors would cast the states’ votes, giving an Electoral College victory to the incumbent.
Needless to say, this gambit would make Court-packing seem positively tame.
For our purposes, the salient thing about such seemingly beyond-the-pale strategies as packing the Supreme Court and upending a national election by way of state legislatures is that they are perfectly legal. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Conrad Black: The Trump Haters Cackle Too Soon
National Post, Dec. 12, 2020
Contrary to the purring and preening in the American and Canadian media that a buffoonish Donald Trump despotism has been “repudiated” in a triumph of reform democracy, we are moving slowly toward the climax of another crisis of American democracy. Trump was elected in 2016 because he tapped into a profound discontent whose existence and extent were not remotely suspected by the American political establishment and media. Undetected, half the country thought that the United States was being incompetently managed by a bipartisan claque of permanent federal officeholders and financial and celebrity and academic elites, for their own benefit, indifferent to the welfare or opinions of middle America, and oblivious to the damage done by the 2008 economic calamity, disadvantageous trade agreements and immersion in fruitless Middle Eastern wars.
A political death struggle has ensued between that formerly complacent elite and a populist mass of people presciently rallied by Trump, which agrees with his bluntly expressed views and policy prescriptions. The contest between these closely matched forces is straining the American political system. From the outset, Trump has been running against the entire political establishment and promising to “drain the swamp”: radical changes of policy and personnel. The battle of his opponents to preserve their incumbency and repel the barbarian (Trump) has been fanatical, ingenious and absolutely ruthless. Trump is the first American president never to have sought or held any public office or a high military command. He pioneered a technique of promoting his own name recognition in all echelons of American society, changed parties seven times in 13 years looking for his moment and exploited an unsuspected depth of public discontent.
From the start, Trump singled out the national political media elite as almost uniformly biased and a corrupt resident of “the swamp,” and they have fully returned his contempt. The White House changes hands every eight years and the separate houses of Congress approximately every four or six years, but with practically all of them holding indistinguishable opinions and the senior government people almost all liberal Democrats. The Bushes, John McCain and Mitt Romney didn’t vary far from the Clintons and Al Gore, though Barack Obama was a significant nudge to the left. Trump enacted drastic deregulation, reduced the taxes of almost all personal and corporate taxpayers, maintained anti-pollution standards but suspended efforts to reduce fossil fuel use and denounced climate change as unproved and an insufficient excuse for radical economic dislocation. He renegotiated America’s principal trade arrangements, sharply raised awareness of the Chinese challenge, imposed tariffs in response to unfair Chinese trading practices and currency manipulation, directly threatened Iran and North Korea with military intervention if they persisted in the deployment of nuclear missiles, made more progress toward Middle East peace than there has been in over 40 years and required America’s NATO allies to raise their defence budgets closer to the previously promised levels that were being almost universally ignored. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
For Further Reference:
What’s at Stake in the Senate Runoffs: Patricia Murphy and Tia Mitchell, AJC, Dec. 11, 2020 — Why are Democrats and Republicans flooding Georgia with more than $400 million in television ads? Why has Vice President Mike Pence visited five Georgia cities in two weeks? And why is President-elect Joe Biden taking a day away from building his administration to travel to Atlanta, as he will on Tuesday?
Jovan Pulitzer Bombshell Testimony at Georgia Election Hearing: The News Junkie’s Cartoons, YouTube, Dec. 30, 2020
Here are the Five House Democrats Who Did Not Vote for Pelosi to Be Speaker: Emily Brooks, Washington Examiner, Jan. 3, 2021 — Nancy Pelosi will get another term as House speaker, but Democrats were not unanimous in reelecting her
Rex Murphy: Media Treatment of Potentially Watergate-Sized Hunter Biden Saga Reeks of Hypocrisy: Rex Murphy, National Post, Dec. 11, 2020 — North American journalism is going to have to engage in a massive repair job, a complete and radical overhaul, if both practice and profession are to retain any — any — credibility or respect.