Good Friday Morning! I’m back this week! I battled sickness and a massive work project that includes nearly 150 attorneys in multiple cities. There wasn’t much room left for writing in the interim. Herding lawyers is a bit like herding cats, except in the case of lawyers, they’re all chasing a laser dot.
In politics, you’ll find no two larger stories than the debate over DACA and Trump decision to cut a spending deal with Democrats. I’ll cover both stories this week. I’m also going to go through some of the issues I’ve seen batted around on social media regarding Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Links to follow.
New this week at the Conservative Institute
I cover the growing anti-Semitism movement on the left, as seen in events like the Chicago Dyke March and progressive leaders such as Linda Sarsour. It’s interesting to note that as the political extremes grow at each end, they share a common hatred of Jews. We’ve seen this in Charlottesville and with the events I document above.
DACA is Unconstitutional and No protection for any immigrant
President Trump has decided to end the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and force Congress to rule on the matter. DACA helps what are commonly called DREAMERS, children who were brought to the United States illegally as children and only know this country as their home.
I don’t care what you think about the program or the people it helps because here’s the issue with DACA: It’s not a legal protection for any immigrant. DACA isn’t law; it isn’t even an executive order, it’s a three-page memo by a previous administration’s head of the Department of Homeland Security. In other words, this great program everyone talks about is nothing more than a useless piece of paper.
The DACA memo described how the Obama administration had no plans to enforce certain law immigration laws if a person met arbitrary standards set by DHS. It’s not binding, and no other presidency is beholden to it. For all the talk Obama era officials give to it, they refused to even push it out as an executive order. Nor could they convince Democrats to support a major push for immigration overhaul (something many Republicans had interest in).
Any lawyer who pretends this is protection for their immigrant clients is either naive or lying. I’d go so far to say that DACA is unconstitutional because it grants an affirmative right and changes the legal status of certain individuals without Congressional approval. DACA protections exist only as long as the executive wills it – which means they don’t exist at all.
Trump is saying he’s ending an unconstitutional program and telling Congress to fill the gaps. That’s perfect! If we want to change the law for Dreamers (something I agree with), it should be an actual rule change – not a memo from DHS. This nation is due for comprehensive immigration overhaul, in a big way. Using DACA as a carrot is a fine way to do that to me. The hype and anger are overblown.
Trump cuts a deal with… Democrats
President Trump also cut a spending deal this week with Democrats, specifically Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. I could say a lot of things about this, but I’ll let this Politico piece do it:
Just like that, he went from “Cryin’ Chuck” to the president’s pal “Chuck,” and she went from an “incompetent” shepherd of House Democrats who has “done a terrible job” to just “Nancy.”
That’s how President Donald Trump was referring to the country’s top Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, moments after striking a not-so-grand bargain with them that funds the government and raises its borrowing limit through mid-December.
The president has made clear he has little interest in leading the Republican Party — whether that means acting to defend its majorities or serving as its ideological ballast. He’s insulted the GOP’s previous presidential nominees and railed against lawmakers on whose reelection its congressional majorities depend.
Trump tends to govern more by sentiment than by substance, and he likes Schumer and Pelosi more than House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who have stomached him but never done a good job disguising the fact that he makes them nauseous.
“For the Republican leadership to keep thinking Donald Trump is on their team is like Charlie Brown letting Lucy hold the football,” said Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon. “Have people not been watching Donald Trump for two years?”
What’s been most shocking to me wasn’t Trump, I expected him to try and deal with Democrats eventually. He has more in common with them. No, what surprises me, continually, are the number of right-wing talking heads who continue to defend everything Trump does.
These same people called for John Boehner’s head on a platter when he cut a deal on the debt ceiling, to avoid the political fallout of the government shutdown. Now they praise Trump for cutting a deal with Democrats because it “sends a message” to Republican leadership. One gets the impression that these people are more interested in begging for acceptance and approval from Democrats than they are pushing Republican victories or conservative policies.
The interesting part for Democrats is what do they tell their base if they find it easy to deal with Trump? He’s completely toxic to the Democratic base, they’ve labeled him as Hitler-incarnate. But Schumer and Pelosi could probably get everything they want from Trump, which would make Republicans an opposition party again.
I’m of the opinion that if the Democratic establishment tries working with Trump, it will set off an irreconcilable rift that splits the establishment wing with the Bernie Sanders side. Hilary Clinton’s shots at Bernie are only the beginning. The Democratic Party is far less stable than meets the eye, and Trump could be the toxic wrecking ball to split it wide open.
Harvey, Irma, and the politics of Climate Change
This hurricane season has started off big with Hurricane Harvey flooding Houston, Texas, and Hurrican Irma bearing down on the Carribean, Florida, and the Southeast in general. There are currently three hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, all of which pose a threat to land – the first time since 2010 we’ve had three storms active in the Atlantic at the same time.
The return of routine hurricane activity has spun up much political talk that it’s all climate change and we wouldn’t have these powerful storms without it.
As an amateur weather geek, this is frustrating because it’s all wrong. This hurricane season is no more proof of climate change than the last 12 years hurricane drought was evidence of no warming trend.
On climate change: there is evidence of a broad based warming trend with temperatures. And since the year 2000, there’s been a small but steady climb in overall averages. But those trends don’t explain our current weather patterns, nor do they account for this hurricane season.
Climate change can’t explain hurricanes, Harvey and Irma. These particular storms were augmented by weather patterns around them that made them more than they otherwise would have been.
For instance, Hurricane Harvey, while strong, wasn’t a noteworthy storm. What made Harvey dangerous was that it stalled between two high-pressure systems along with a stationary front. In short, those weather patterns, along with weak steering winds, prevented Harvey from moving further inland and spreading out the rainfall. If a hurricane, or even a tropical storm, can’t move, it will unload massive amounts of rain. And Harvey did just that in Houston.
Second, we aren’t suddenly experiencing an explosion of hurricane activity. People are only noticing hurricanes more because this is the first time we’ve had an active hurricane season in the social media age. After Hurricane Katrina, the United States entered a hurricane drought, with only four major landfalls in a seven year period.
The Climate Prediction Center’s forecast, which was updated in August, predicted 14 to 19 named storms and five to nine hurricanes, including two to five major ones.
Dr. Bell said that in the late summer and early fall, conditions in the tropical Atlantic off Africa become just right for cyclonic storms to form. Among those conditions, he said, are warming waters, which fuel the growth of storms, and a relative lack of abrupt wind shifts, called wind shear, that tend to disrupt storm formation.
“There’s a whole combination of conditions that come together,” he said.
Storms that form in the Gulf of Mexico, as Katia did this week, are also not uncommon, Dr. Bell said.
Dr. Bell said his group does not consider climate change in developing its forecasts.
Instead, he said, they consider longer-term cycles of hurricane activity based on a naturally occurring climate pattern called the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation, which affects ocean surface temperatures over 25 to 40 years.
In other words, we’re having a busy season because the right confluence of factors is coming together to form an active hurricane season. The same factors we’ve been using to predict these storms and seasons for 40 years.
Irma, in particular, benefited from the lack of wind shear. Irma formed as a tropical wave off the coast of Africa almost as soon as it hit open water. That quick organization with nothing stopping it allowed for faster strengthening over the Atlantic. Jose has a similar story.
To put a fine point on it: there’s no demonstrable link (and that link is from a very pro-climate change website) between climate change and hurricane development. So every single thinkpiece you read blaming hurricanes on climate change is just flat ignorant on the entire subject.
What everyone should do is build a disaster preparedness kit for your family and home. Ready.gov has some great resources and checklists on where to start.
Best links on the web
A Beating in Berkeley: Antifa mayhem and malice in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park – Matt LaBash, The Weekly Standard
Kim Jong-un and the Art of Tyranny – Bret Stephens, The New York Times
Wednesday Was Trump’s First Day As A Democratic President. Here Are 7 Things You Need To Know. – Ben Shapiro, The Daily Wire
The Silent Strike: How Israel bombed a Syrian nuclear installation and kept it secret. – David Makovsky, The New York Magazine
Mayor de Bolshevik: Bill de Blasio comes out in favor of the abolition of private property. – Seth Barron, The City Journal
Dianne Feinstein Attacks Judicial Nominee’s Catholic Faith – Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review
Holocaust Museum Pulls Study Absolving Obama Administration for Inaction in Face of Syrian Genocide: Abrupt decision comes in wake of sharp rebukes, bafflement, and concern about politicization of Shoah memory – Armin Rosen, Table Magazine
How to Read a News Story About an Investigation: Eight Tips on Who Is Saying What – Benjamin Wittes, LawFare Blog
Centennial of Slaughter: Two exhibitions reflect on America’s entry into the First World War. – Matthew Stewart, The City Journal
State Department reports new instance of American diplomats harmed in Cuba – Anne Gearan, The Washington Post
Satire piece of the week
College Football Now Nation’s Largest Religion – The Babylon Bee
U.S.—Replacing Christianity, which had held the title since the nation was founded, college football has officially become the largest organized religion in the United States, reports confirmed. The polytheistic religion claims many millions of adherents, each of whom passionately worships a local team deity.
“It was just a matter of time, given followers’ extreme devotion, zeal, and willingness to proselytize—and an uptick in conversions since last season sent NCAA football straight to the top spot,” a Pew Research spokesman told reporters Tuesday. “College football fans readily fill entire large stadiums for worship—sometimes exceeding 100,000 people for a single service.”
Thanks for reading!