Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ The Supreme Court hands down its final ruling of the year today, including one on Trump’s travel ban.
Even more important, we’ll soon learn if Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire, as rumored.
If he does, Trump will appoint another strong conservative, much like Neil Gorsuch (but perhaps more outspoken).
Doing so will have two powerful effects.
- It will solidify the Court’s conservative majority. (Now, it’s 4-4, with Kennedy as the swing vote.)
- It will guarantee Trump’s standing with nearly all conservatives.
- Almost nothing matters more to them. They loved the Gorsuch appointment–and they dreaded Hillary’s choices.
◆ Pro-Trump group warns Republican Senators to back health care or they will be targeted (Politico)
The Senate vote is expected to be very close and could come soon. So, there’s back-room negotiating over terms and public pressure on holdouts.
One group closely aligned with the White House, “America First Policies,” is launching a $1 million attack on Nevada’s Dean Heller (R).
Their ad says, “If you’re opposed to this bill, we’re opposed to you.”
Comment: The ads might hurt a marginal senator, but it’s a painfully dumb strategy. Why? Because the threat only works against vulnerable incumbent Senators and, if it works against them, their seats will be won by Democrats, possibly flipping the Senate.
In the House, you can run primaries against incumbents in deep Red or Blue districts and still keep the seat. So those threats are credible.
This threat is either incredible or incredibly dumb.
◆ Stay classy, New York: Restaurant patrons boo and shout at US ambassador Nikki Haley and her son
Comment: Shameful. My contempt for these cretins is boundless. I would say exactly the same thing if they had booed Obama’s UN Ambassador, Samantha Power.
◆ The “sketchy firm” behind the dubious (and often false) dossier on then-candidate Trump dossier is stalling investigators (NY Post)
A secretive Washington firm that commissioned the dubious intelligence dossier on Donald Trump is stonewalling congressional investigators trying to learn more about its connections to the Democratic Party.
The Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month threatened to subpoena the firm, Fusion GPS, after it refused to answer questions and provide records to the panel identifying who financed the error-ridden dossier, which was circulated during the election and has sparked much of the Russia scandal now engulfing the White House.
Congressional sources say [Fusion GPS] is actually an opposition-research group for Democrats, and the founders, who are more political activists than journalists, have a pro-Hillary, anti-Trump agenda.
Fusion GPS was on the payroll of an unidentified Democratic ally of Clinton when it hired a long-retired British spy to dig up dirt on Trump.–NY Post
Comment: NONE of the mainstream media has carried this story. None. Contradicts the narrative.
◆ India’s Leader, Modi, begins low-key visit to Washington, including meeting with Pres. Trump (Washington Post)
The relationship has been bumpy recently, and the Trump administration has not articulated a South Asia policy.
Comment: The Post article saw potential minefields. I’m more optimistic, in part because the US needs India in dealing with China’s military expansion.
◆ Fascinating article on “Sanctimony Cities” in the Claremont Review of Books
The article by Christopher Caldwell is filled with interesting interpretations, accompanied by fascinating factoids.
The most interesting to me was about the largest city in Ohio. Cleveland? No. Cincy? No. Columbus is bigger than both combined. There are lots of jobs there collecting and dispensing Ohio’s tax money, educating its students, and running hospitals.
♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Clarice Feldman for the article on Sanctimony Cities