Interesting Items 12/11

Howdy all, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –

In this issue:

  1. Cake
  2. Mueller
  3. Taxes
  4. Monuments
  5. Primary
  6. Steinle

  1. Cake. The SCOTUS took oral arguments in the case of Colorado Civil Rights Commission vs Masterpiece Cake Shop.  It did not appear to go well for Colorado.  The opinion is expected to be another 5 – 4 masterpiece, with Justice Kennedy being the swing vote.  Kennedy penned the majority in Obergefell, so a lot of us are cringing a bit in this next bite of the First Amendment apple courtesy of the gay rights crowd.  In this case, a pair of gays marched into a Colorado bake shop and asked the owner to create a wedding cake for their wedding.  The owner, a Christian, respectfully deferred, citing his deeply held faith.  Instead, he offered to sell any one of the pre-made cakes in the shop.  Not good enough for the gays, who marched down the street to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, filed a complaint based on public accommodations via the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act.  This led to the predictable lawsuit against the Christians.  The Commission ordered the proprietor to either design wedding cakes for gay marriages or drop all wedding cake business, about 40% of his business.  He and his staff also had to undergo standard “reeducation” on the error of his ways and submit quarterly compliance reports documenting every time he refused to design a cake.  The SCOTUS granted a review of the case in June.  The arguments especially on the Colorado side were really muddled, and got much worse as Justice Kennedy drilled right down to the outright hostility to religion, particularly Christianity, demonstrated by the Commission.  The owner based his argument on First Amendment Freedom of Speech grounds, and this is be the issue most often described in media reportage on the case.  I would also submit that the Commission is guilty of violating the owner’s ability to freely exercise his religion, also part of the First Amendment.  I would submit that being compelled to create wedding cakes in violation of his religion (or for any other reason) is also a violation of 13th Amendment prohibition of involuntary servitude, but I’m not a lawyer so what the Hell do I know?  This entire case was as much a setup intended to further the leftist cause as Roe v Wade and Lawrence v Texas.  The opinion will be most interesting reading.  http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/12/supreme-court-argument-provides-encouragement-for-cake-maker.php

 

  1. Mueller. Special Persecutor Robert Mueller had himself quite a week last week, firing lead investigators, releasing messages between lead investigator Peter Strzok and a girlfriend, and demonstrating that the entire investigation is little more than a $7 million information gathering exercise for a democrat majority in the House to base impeachment charges on.  This boy Strzok had himself quite a couple years.  As an FBI agent, he led the investigation into Hilly’s illegal server.  He sat in on the interview of Hilly herself.  He also sat in on interviews of her aides who serially lied to investigators (Huma Abedein and Cheryl Mills).  None of those three women were charged with anything.  He revised then FBI head James Comey’s initial description of Hilly’s lawbreaking with her server, softening the language so that it was no longer legally actionable.  More importantly, he was part of the interview team of LtGen Michael Flynn after Trump’s inauguration.  The description of that interview reads a lot like it was a setup, with acting Attorney General Sally Yates (also a Hillary supporter) sending FBI agents into Flynn’s office to do a criminal investigation without telling him they were doing that sort of investigation.  They surprised him much like Morley Safer used to do with 60 Minutes camera crews at the front doors of unsuspecting targets.  And Flynn, foolishly trying to help much like Scooter Libby did a decade ago, his recollection of events did not match either the phone transcripts or previous statements and the gotcha charge of lying to investigators was in the can.  Strzok was a Hillary supporter who despises Trump.  Late in the week, yet another (In)Justice official was demoted.  I don’t know how this is all going to work out, but at this writing, it is a rat’s nest of lies and innuendo, all on the democrat side of the house.  What I do know is that everyone who has tangled with Trump has lost, and lost badly.  These guys are going to take the FBI and all federal law enforcement down the porcelain telephone with them.  And based on the biased, politicized dog’s breakfast that federal law enforcement has become under the leadership of Comey and Mueller, perhaps that is long past due.  http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/12/fbi-stonewalls-corruption-probe.php

 

  1. Taxes. The senate passed out their version of the tax cut legislation last week with a vote of 51 – 49.  Every single democrat along with retiring (not soon enough) Bob Corker (R, TN) voted against the legislation.  It now goes to a conference committee with the House to reconcile differences between the two bills.  Final vote is expected around Christmastime.  While this can still fail, it is substantial progress for the Good Guys.  Corker demanded an offset trigger raising taxes if revenue increases weren’t as large as expected, gleefully putting Republicans on the side of higher taxes.  He didn’t get what he demanded at the last minute and ended up voting against the bill out of spite.  Like most things out of the senate these days, there is enough good and bad news to go around.  The good news, at least for us here in Alaska is that it opens ANWR, something promised since ANILCA in 1980.  It also substantially lowers corporate taxes, likely in the 20 – 22% range, a substantial improvement over today’s 35%.  Final bit of good news is that it repeals the individual mandate of O’BamaCare.  For that we have Chief Justice John Roberts to thank for rewriting O’BamaCare mandates into taxes.  And a tax can and should be repealed in a tax bill.  Not so good stuff includes multiple tax brackets and not much improvement (lowering) of them.  The House version also expands the child tax credit by which those who don’t pay income taxes get checks from the IRS.  Funny stuff (to me) includes repeal of deductions for state income and sales taxes, a cap on mortgage deductibility, and taxes on university endowments.  All of these targets the blue states and their surrogates in academia, all of whom are screaming like stuck pigs.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people.  We will see what comes out of conference and what ends up getting finally passed.  This was not a clean win nor is it pure free market conservatism.  But it is an improvement and perhaps the greatest civil rights victory in decades with the repeal of the O’BamaCare individual mandate.  And you can’t make any progress unless you do something (anything?).  http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/12/02/nolte-obamacare-mandate-repeal-important-civil-rights-victory-years/

 

  1. Monuments. President Trump fired yet another shot across the bow of the SS Big Green, this time by shrinking a pair of huge National Monuments in Utah.  The first, Grand Staircase – Escalante, was designated by Bill Clinton as a payoff to Indonesian campaign fundraisers, the Riadys.  Part of the designated monument included one of the larger coal beds containing high quality coal in the US.  The Riadys had their own coal business in Indonesia and used their influence to lock up yet more land in the western US and in turn obstruct potential competition for his product.  The second monument was Bears Ears, created at the last minute by Barack O’Bama.  The Trump order cut the size of Grand Staircase – Escalante in half and Bears Ears by 84%.  This sets up a court fight over what the 111-year old Antiquities Act actually means.  Its use by recent democrat presidents has been far outside the actual words in the legislation.  Generally, succeeding presidents have not used provisions of the Act to do much more than miniscule adjustments to the size of past monument designations, but in the legal world, it is the precedent that makes all the difference (along with the actual language of the law in question).  Here is the actual language:

“[T]he President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

The Act was originally intended to keep collectors from raiding and desecrating Indian sites in the western US such as settlements, burial grounds, and other sacred grounds.  As the years have gone by, (mostly) democrat presidents have used the power to lock up millions of acres of federal, state, and private lands as a payoff to their supporters.  President Trump is rolling that back a bit.  There are another 27 monuments under review.  The Antiquities Act, like the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Act, needs significant review, if for no other reason than we have settled the US for over a century since it was passed and there just aren’t that many more places to preserve.  While there will be lawsuits, perhaps there will also be congressional action to remove this tool from the democrat governing kit.  https://legalinsurrection.com/2017/12/eco-activists-target-trumps-national-monument-rollback-with-lawsuit/

 

  1. Primary. The Alaska Republican Central Committee a weekend ago voted to remove the three Musk Ox caucus legislators who ran as Republicans and then chose to organize with democrats in the state House last year from the 2018 Republican primary ballot.  The vote, unlike most things Republican up here, was unanimous.  The idea was that people who call themselves one thing and then turn around within days of being reelected, are not welcome on the party’s ballot.  The legal heft behind the effort is based on democrat party efforts to open their primary to “independents”, people who don’t have a snowball’s chance in a very hot place of being elected should they call themselves democrats.  There are three in office so far, two House members and our esteemed governor.  Governor Walker’s Division of Elections rejected the request on a number of grounds, most of which were that they wanted the state House to remain with a democrat let majority.  This will make it through the courts for a while and the three turncoat / lying Republicans, Gabby LeDeaux, Louise Stutes and Paul Seaton will have a fun time with their respective primaries next August.  http://mustreadalaska.com/republican-chairman-advises-division-elections-primary/

 

  1. Steinle. Jurors in the Superior Court of California found the accused murder of Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier not guilty of murder, second degree murder, or even manslaughter.  He was however found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm as an illegal.  The perp fired three shots, one of which ricocheted off the concrete pier, killing the young lady.  As of this writing, it is unclear whether the verdict was jury nullification or the perp was overcharged by the prosecution as a vehicle to force a not guilty verdict.  Either way, given the perp was an offender who had been deported multiple times and then allowed back into the country numerous times, this case will not help ease national concern about sanctuary cities or the people who live in them.  It may go a long way toward triggering congressional action aimed at these cities, nullifying federal law like the proto-Confederates were doing in the 1830s during the runup to the Civil War.  The Justice Department issued arrest orders for the perp on federal charges following the verdict.  Expect him to be arrested (assuming SF municipal employees did not already release him or return him to Mexico) on charges based on Steinle’s death and his multiple offender status.  An already ugly situation is about to get much, much uglier.  A century and a half ago, this was one of the reasons that the Vigilance Committees were stood up in California.  Perhaps they will return once again.

More later –

– AG+

 

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