Constitutional Ignorance and Criminal Policies towards refugees

With the general collapse of mainstream politics it is not surprising that both politicans and journalists are completely ignorant of current constitutional arrangements.

But we have now got to the point where Constitutional lawyers are also clueless.

Here is one arguing that the Government would be “mad” not to allow enactment of the “medevac” legislation approved by both Houses of Parliament.

https://theconversation.com/why-a-government-would-be-mad-to-advise-the-refusal-of-royal-assent-to-a-bill-passed-against-its-will-110501

The use of “mad” of course signals a political rather than a legal constitutional argument, which is quite normal for constitutional lawyers. The blather about a dilemma for the Governor-General as to whether to act on the advice of the two Houses or of the Government can also be dismissed as just the usual pomposous embroidery that constitutional lawyers like to dress up in rather than an expression of fundamental ignorance.

But here is the ignorance:

There is a reason why there is no precedent of a government in the UK or Australia advising the refusal of assent in such circumstances. It would not only be a constitutionally dubious thing to do, but would also be politically stupid.

Actually there is a precedent in Australia. I do not have time to look it up but a Government bill that had passed both houses of the Commonwealth Parliament was subsequently refused assent simply because the Government had changed its mind.

The whole point of the consent of the Executive Government being required for legislation has little to do with anachronistic survivals of monarchy. In a crowned republic or “constitutional monarchy”, just as in any other form of government, enacting laws opposed by the executive responsible for enforcing them only invites trouble.

The reason there are few precedents is simply that the anachronistic single member electorates produces a two party system in which the largest party usually has a guaranteed majority. With a genuinely representative legislature it would be quite normal for governments to be faced with bills passing that they have to decide whether to enact or not and face the consequences of their decisions, including the possibility of ceasing to be the government.

The actual “constitutional” situation is that the government made a political decision to enact this legislation.

Both parties agree on a policy of destroying the boats that refugees arrive in to increase the cost of transport so as to insulate an island continent from the large refugee flows faced by much poorer countries with land borders such as Pakistan and Iran. This naturally resulted in use of cheap unseaworthy boats, which resulted in deaths at sea. Both parties want to pretend that they are locking people up outside Australia to prevent deaths at sea caused by the criminal policies they actually both support.

But they both need to keep up the “debate” between them and keep that debate away from the criminal policy of destroying the boats that people flee in.

Notes on Trump 41 – the shutdown

I’m still not following it closely enough to predict an outcome. But I’m not seeing anything that suggests I was wrong to expect the media and Democrats would continue to play into Trump’s hands as usual.

Here’s CNN celebrating:

“…Trump ultimately caved, telling Pelosi he will wait until the shutdown is over to deliver the traditional address.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/24/politics/donald-trump-state-of-the-union-behind-the-scenes/index.html

That is the sort of “victory” that liberals celebrate.

The shutdown is not going to end with a two-thirds majority overiding a Presidential veto or replacing Trump with Vice President Pence.

Trump’s total focus on mobilizing his base regardless of wider unpopularity has paid off.

https://thebulwark.com/trumps-loyal-senate-republicans/

Only a handful of GOP Senators feel safe enough from being primaried to openly resist. Opponents of Trump simultaneously crowing and whining that this is costing them wider public support just don’t get it. Trump still has nearly 90% approval among GOP voters likely to turn up at primaries so few of his opponents will get to campaign for wider public support. Meanwhile he still has nearly two more years for the Democrats to demonstrate that Washington will remain completely gridlocked until there are less of them in office.

According to a WAPO oped the recent Senate votes confirming that situation means that Trump has lost a lot of leverage.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/01/24/trump-just-lost-key-leverage-shutdown/

I cannot even guess why a Democrat would believe confirmation of Trump’s grip on the GOP gives them “leverage”. Presumably if they actually got a funding bill to Trump’s desk for him to veto that would count as total victory.

The shutdown might end with Trump losing in which case they are celebrating having given him the optimum opportunity to pretend otherwise as usual.

It might end with the Democrats losing. They could not resist denouncing the offer of only a 3 year delay in deporting millions of “illegal” immigrants in terms that open up the possibility of agreeing to billions for border security as long as it isn’t called a wall in exchange for Trump ceasing to pretend he could deport millions of people. Even I doubt that they are that pathetically inept but they will certainly go for “strong” gestures like not inviting Trump to speak in the House rather than actually resolving their internal differences and mobilizing a fight on immigration.

Most likely it will end with some sort of compromise, with both sides claiming victory. Again, they are celebrating having helped Trump to present himself optimally as having stuck by his base to the bitter end.

Trump’s approval rating among likely voters has declined significantly (currently at around 44% to 55%). But he has the initiative and can land it in the courts any time he wants. His preposterous claim that he could divert funds appropriated to the military for disaster relief into building his wall would be immediately blocked by court orders. Whether or not the Supreme Court agrees there is no reason for them not to take their time about it.

Meanwhile Trump gets to continue fighting elections on “build the wall” while Democrats cement their enthusiasm for gestures and gridlock.

I’m still expecting the Democrats to start embracing “victories” by delivering bipartisan huge deficits, infrastructure programs and healthcare etc that will help maximize Trump’s chances of re-election. Nothing confirming that yet but gestures like not inviting him to speak are a suitable prelude for “forcing” him into such “defeats”.

 

 

Notes on Trump 40

I started this post a month ago and have not been monitoring news on Trump (or Brexit) much since so had better get it out now with just a bunch of links at the end but no explanation of them.

1. Recent developments seem to confirm my take on Brexit a month ago:

Brexit April Fool’s day joke could be nearly over

Ministers now openly confirming they will have to request a postponement until after April Fool’s Day to sort themselves out whatever happens now:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-news-theresa-may-deal-article-50-extend-parliament-commons-eu-withdrawal-a8723281.html

I’m not following the death throes, but May seems focussed on defanging the Brexiteers screams of “Treason” when Brexit fails by setting up a situation in which they take the blame for voting “No Deal” to the only deal available thus making “No Brexit” inevitable after initial postponement.

2. As predicted when focus was on campaign finance, the campaign about Trump is now back where Trump wants it – firmly focussed on Russia:

Insane version:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/here-are-18-reasons-why-trump-could-be-a-russian-asset/2019/01/13/45b1b250-174f-11e9-88fe-f9f77a3bcb6c_story.html?utm_term=.6a08d7dee4b4

Less insane version (“we already knew”):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-trump-putin-revelations-are-nothing-new-why-are-people-so-excited/2019/01/13/a3ab6434-1775-11e9-88fe-f9f77a3bcb6c_story.html?utm_term=.b815ec58de7b

The less insane one sort of prepares readers for a Mueller report expected to not provide any way to get rid of Trump while not preventing them from continuing to bloviate about him being a Russian “asset” instead of developing actual policies.

I haven’t followed the latest “shutdown”. Trump approval currently down to 45% after near 50% late last year. Seems plausible that he will end it with a “State of Emergency” to be quashed by Supreme Court so he consolidates his base by having done everything he could to deliver on promises but was stopped by Democrats.

Meanwhile Democrats have gone out of their way not to actually fight on immigration issues but support border security. So support for “the wall” (now actually a fence) has RISEN from a year ago:

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-gop-blamed-shutdown-crisis-fewer-oppose-wall/story?id=60337670

Now the minority support is 42%/54% while a year ago it was 34%/67%.

So Trump takes the blame for fighting hard for his promises while winning greater support for his policies.

Not much sign of “bipartisan” moves to help relect Trump by delivering on infrastructure spending, healthcare and massive deficits yet.

But this item on prison reform actually delivered is a straw in the wind – especially relevant to reducing the black turnout for Democrats:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/12/19/trumps-prison-reform-win-great-trump-paradox-it-reveals/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.bcf87f0d94d8

3. I don’t know what’s going on with Syria policy.

Kurds and Turks clashing in northern Syria indicates increasing irrelevance of both Daesh and Assad regime, despite Daesh still existing and regime still holding ALL the cities.

Turkey seems to be stepping forward as the protector of Sunnis with a US withdrawal and Russian military police in areas that fighters withdrew from under cease fire agreements potentially able to hand over to them.

Al Qaeda is now the main threat to democratic revolution and has strengthened its position in Idlib embedded in close alliance with other Sunni forces, although now isolated from the opposition to regime in other areas. Interesting that Turkish tanks are being openly moved to the border of Idlib:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey/turkey-reinforces-troops-on-border-with-syrias-idlib-anadolu-idUSKCN1P51MU

Some deal was arranged between Russia, Iran, Turkey and the more democratic resistance long ago, but I only know it could not be for long term occupation of Syria by Russian and Iranian forces and the other option of an Alawi enclave in Latakia has been foreclosed by the regime’s occupation of all cities. Media claims victory for Assad (and Russia and Iran). They are clearly wrong but I don’t know what is happening or when.

For an opposite view, here’s “Voice of America”:

https://www.voanews.com/a/arab-nations-inch-toward-rehabilitating-syria-president-assad/4741186.html

Meanwhile Trump’s focus is clearly domestic and his withdrawal announcement will be popular with the overwhelming isolationist sentiment in both his base and the Democrat base while the denunciations for “playing into Russian and Iranian hands” will only reinforce isolationist sentiment among Americans who might support democratic revolution but are rightly unenthused about maintaining imperial boundaries against other powers. As long as there are few US casualties it won’t matter much domestically whether the announced withdrawal actually happens or whether covert and air operations continue. Isolationist sentiment will still be strengthened and Trump will still benefit from the announcement. As for the impact in Syria, the Turks are far more important and the Kurds would be well advised to pull back and not turn towards the regime.

4. Now here’s what I started a month ago:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/byron-york-sudden-shift-in-get-trump-talk-now-its-campaign-finance-not-russia

This summary of current Democrat theme looks about right to me. Only missing a couple of points.

1. They won’t drop Russia and are starting to convince themselves that Trump’s lawyer thinking about bribing Putin with an apartment at a hoped for Trump tower in Moscow could at last be proof the Kremlin has something on him that explains how they lost the election.

2. Trump benefits from Democrats impeaching him and splitting about such idiotic tactics.

But it does confirm they are headed straight for it, even on something as utterly pointless as trying to convince more than a third of GOP Senators to remove him from office (and later get removed themselves by GOP primaries), for using his own money to pay off people he had sex with not to talk about it during his campaign.

Sudden shift in get-Trump talk; now it’s campaign finance, not Russia

by Byron York

December 10, 2018 03:48 PM

Prosecutors investigating President Trump made big news Friday, but it wasn’t about Russia. Rather, in their sentencing recommendation for fixer Michael Cohen, lawyers with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York wrote that in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, candidate Trump directed Cohen to pay off Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who wanted money to keep quiet about sexual dalliances. While such arrangements are legal, prosecutors argued that since the payoffs occurred during the campaign, they were violations of campaign finance laws.

Cohen, who is cooperating because prosecutors nailed him for tax evasion and bank fraud in his private business, pleaded guilty to two felony campaign finance violations. So no one has to talk about an “alleged” campaign finance scheme; there’s already a guilty plea. But what was really significant about the sentencing memo was that prosecutors specifically said Trump told Cohen to do it.

“With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election,” prosecutors said. “He acted in coordination with and at the direction of [Trump].”

Those words caused a sudden shift in the debate over investigating the president. What had been a two-year-long conversation about Trump and Russia instantly became a conversation about Trump and campaign finance.
“Prosecutors are now implicating the president in at least two felonies,” said CNN.

“Federal prosecutors in New York say that President Trump directed Michael Cohen to commit two felonies,” said NBC’s Chuck Todd.

“At least two felonies,” said Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy.

“Implicated in two felonies,” said anti-Trump gadfly George Conway, husband of top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.
And so on.

“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him,” said Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who will become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee next month, “that he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”

Jerry Nadler, the Democrat who will chair the House Judiciary Committee, said the campaign finance charges “would be impeachable offenses because, even though they were committed before the president became president, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office.” Nadler said he has still not determined whether the charges, even thoughthey could be the basis for impeachment, are important enough to actually go forward, at least yet.
Nadler’s public caution is understandable; his committee will have the responsibility of starting the impeachment process, if that is what Democratic leaders decide. But the fact is, a number of Democrats clearly believe they already have enough evidence to impeach.

One significant problem could be that the campaign finance charge against the president is a pretty iffy case. Back in 2010, the Justice Department accused 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards of a similar scheme — an alleged campaign finance violation based on a payoff to a woman with whom Edwards had had an affair (and a child).
Edwards said he arranged the payment to save his reputation and hide the affair from his wife. The Justice Department said it was to influence the outcome of a presidential election.

The New York Times called the Edwards indictment “a case that had no precedent.” Noting that campaign finance law is “ever changing,” the paper said the Edwards case came down to one question: “Were the donations for the sole purpose of influencing the campaign or merely one purpose?”

The Justice Department failed miserably at trial. Edwards was acquitted on one count, while the jury deadlocked in Edwards’ favor on the others. Prosecutors opted not to try again.

President Trump would point out that the accusation against him differs in at least one key respect from Edwards. Prosecutors accused Edwards of raising donor money to pay off the woman. Trump used his own money, which even the byzantine and restrictive campaign finance laws give candidates a lot of freedom to use in unlimited amounts.
So even more than Edwards, if the Justice Department pursued a case against Trump, it would be on unprecedented grounds.
But the political reality is, it doesn’t really matter if it is a weak case. And it doesn’t matter if Trump himself has not been indicted, or even that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Because now, Democrats can say, “The Justice Department has implicated the president in two felonies. Two felonies. TWO FELONIES!”

Politically, that’s as good as an indictment of Trump. Perhaps even better, since it does not give the president a forum to make a proper legal defense.

The last few days have seen a big pivot in the campaign against Donald Trump. For two-plus years, it was Russia, Russia, Russia. But despite various revelations in the Russia probe, the case for collusion remains as sketchy as ever. Now, though, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have given Democrats a new weapon against the president. Look for them to use it.

A subsequent item indicates there is more solid grounds for eventually convicting Trump of a campaign finance violation than the Edwards case:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/trumps-john-edwards-defense-further-dissipates

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/12/06/how-trumps-approval-rating-has-evolved-according-data-scientist-donald-trump/

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-12-06/trump-s-tariffs-could-clinch-electoral-college

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-12-06/huawei-arrest-gives-u-s-leverage-over-china-on-technology

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2018/12/07/latest-filings-show-that-nobody-can-save-trump-now/?utm_term=.2bf06befaf27

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/08/donald-trump-denies-wrongdoing-amid-accusations-prosecutors-mueller/2249001002/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/07/michael-cohen-sentencing-memo-key-takeaways/2243428002/

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/08/donald-trump-mueller-investigation-cohen-manafort

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/08/donald-trump-mueller-investigation-cohen-manafort

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/08/europe/russia-putin-trump-bromance-intl/index.html

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/07/opinions/mueller-is-putting-the-puzzle-pieces-together-on-trump-honig/index.html

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/07/opinions/mueller-is-putting-the-puzzle-pieces-together-on-trump-honig/index.html

https://www.newyorker.com/news/swamp-chronicles/the-michael-cohen-sentencing-memos-are-damning-for-trump

https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/trump-s-tweeting-veers-into-suspected-witness-tampering-territory-20181204-p50jzk.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/12/08/george-conway-blasts-trumps-claim-that-cohen-filing-totally-clears-president/?utm_term=.71abf94e1d8e

Brexit April Fool’s day joke could be nearly over

I haven’t been following closely enough but my previous comments on Brexit since June 2017 seem to have held up reasonably well:

https://c21stleft.com/category/brexit/

Latest development is that the Tory party no confidence vote to remove Prime Minister May and replace her with nobody in particular has of course imploded. I didn’t predict that because I didn’t predict there would be such a vote. The reason the minimum required 50 letters to trigger a vote were not submitted long ago, despite far more Tory MPs than that having no confidence in May was that if she won, no further attempt could be made for another 12 months. This is intended to ensure such votes are called only when there is a clear replacement available with majority support (in which case the party leader would usually resign anyway). It was intended to avoid the recent shambles in both parties in Australia. Since May was appointed as a stop gap after Cameron blundered into the Brexit referendum and there is no plausible replacement I had no reason to expect that the 50 letters would suddenly appear.

Since she won by about a two thirds majority it is either yet another example of sheer irrationality and tactical ineptitude making the situation too unpredictable for analysis, or else some clever tactical maneuver that was intended to create the current situation. Given that the European Court of Justice had just announced that Britain does not need EU consent to end Brexit it could be certainty on that point has increased resolve among Tories who want to get it over with so they signed some of the 50 letters.

The level of understanding of these issues in “The Australian” is indicated by a report from Ticky Fullarton:

“Yesterday came news that the European Court of Justice ruled that Britain could delay Brexit beyond March 29. Were Johnson or any other alternative to take over they will need such a delay.” (p29 Tuesday 2018-12-11)

This of course is nonsense. The announcement was that Britain can unilaterally cancel its withdrawal notice under Article 50. It cannot unilaterally change the 2 year delay specified by Article 50 that was triggered by Britain’s unilateral notice. The impact is to reinforce that it is either the ridiculous deal offered, a “no-deal” crash from Brexit or “no Brexit” and it is entirely up to Britain to make its choice. This did not help Johnson or anybody else wanting to have their cake and eat it.

Ok anybody could make a mistake about the implications of news that is only a day old. But the same nonsense was repeated the next day, so nobody noticed.

Anyway, the current situation looks to me like this:

1. May cannot be replaced as Tory party leader until long after the current March 29 deadline. Johnson et al are now visibly irrelevant.

2. No deal that the EU could accept can be accepted by the current UK Parliament. There is no reason to expect the underlying reasons for that would change after a general election.

3. Nobody with any real influence wants the UK to have just crashed out with no serious preparations on April Fool’s day. This will now be admitted by everybody except those with no influence. Most support for Brexit was in fact based on the assumption that the UK could have its cake and eat it. Only a small fringe really want a well prepared Brexit with no deal. Pretence at preparations will cease and the bluff will no longer be available as a “negotiating tactic” so further pretence that the UK has anything to negotiate with will become pointless, which need not prevent such negotiations being vigorously pursued and solemnly debated, but does mean the negotiations won’t get anywhere.

4. The EU has no reason not to graciously allow a postponement of the deadline while the UK sorts itself out and both sides stop wasting resources on preparations for “no deal”. The whole point of most of the maneuvering has been to reduce the damage from hysteria whipped up by lying Brexiteers screaming “betrayal” to distract attention from the sheer absurdity of what they mendaciously promised and a majority of voters temporarily fell for. Refusing a postponement would only help the hysterics.

5. The EU also has no reason to let the farce of the past two years go on until after the next scheduled fixed term UK election 5 May 2022 or while people still governing the UK are threatening to crash out without paying their bills and with no deal. So the postponement will either have to result in:

5.1. A vote for an early election by a two thirds majority of the House. This would require a large number of Tories to support a vote for losing their seats earlier than they currently hope. There is no obvious reason why they would do this given that the outcome of such an election could not fundamentally alter the current situation.

5.2. A no confidence vote in the House that results in Corbyn forming a minority government. Possible if a much smaller number of Northern Ireland DUP and other Tories simply abstrain so that the Labour party gets stuck with the mess while the Tories sort themselves out. They would prefer a minority Corbyn government to the risk of a majority Corbyn government. Whether heading a majority government formed by election or a minority government, Corbyn could either put up a pretense of attempting to negotiate some other form of Brexit in Name Only – BRINO or “put it to the people” by holding another referendum.

5.3. Attempts by May to negotiate another form of BRINO, again ending up with “put it to the people”.

6. It would be theoretically possible for either Corbyn or May or somebody else to negotiate something similar to EFTA membership like Norway. This would do no great damage to the UK or EU or global economy but just reduce “Great Britain” to a similar importance to Norway in EU affairs, bound by the same rules, including free movement of labor, but with no vote. It would not defuse the hysterics about “betrayal” and would leave its supporters looking foolish. The EU might not object to such a BRINO since it would remove British obstructionism slowing down the ever deeper union. But Norway might not welcome it in the EFTA. So I would say, possible but less likely than the only other alternative – “put it to the people”.

7. My guess is that there is nobody stupid enough to call another referendum until the result is quite certain. So there will be lots of carrying on until a convincing majority are committed to ending Brexit.

8. No way to tell how long that will take but I think it could soon become reasonably obvious that this is the direction and the “negotiations” will most likely end with the end of Brexit rather than any BRINO.

9. It certainly doesn’t seem to be obvious to most of the media now. Strongest confirmation for my expectation that “no deal” is no longer a significant danger and “no Brexit” is now far more likely than any BRINO comes from Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor of “The Australian” with the diretly opposite view:

“Although I would trust no one’s forecasts on this – least of all my own – it would seem that the no-deal Brexit or the no Brexit at all are about equally likely.” (p12 Thursday 2018-12-13).

Greg Sheridan has excellent reasons not to trust his own forecasts as he never has a clue. But this level of self awareness is something quite new. He used to be confident as a reliable echo of whatever the US State Department wanted Australians to think. Since there are no coherent briefings coming from the US these days, “analysts” like him have been left completely floundering in “a deep miasma or newilderment and uncertainty” as he said of the stock market last Saturday (p20):

“No one in British politics — no one — knows what’s going to happen.”

“May’s crisis is just one part of a broader crisis across the Western alliance that makes the global strategic environment more fluid, more uncertain, potentially more dangerous, that at any time since at least the end of the Cold War.”

In the absence of State Department briefings all he can do is echo British media that is divided between expecting a “no-deal Brexit” and “no Brexit at all” just as the “Stubborn May Crippled by Bexit Monster” (p12) said before winning a two thirds majority confidence vote.

Notes on Trump 39 – Democrats on about obstruction of justice and Russia again

I was wondering whether Trump getting Session’s resignation refuted my previous claim that Trump was deliberately playing up conflict with his Attorney General so liberal media would rally behind the Attorney-General that ends up prosecuting somebody. It was certainly strong evidence that I was wrong as the Democrats didn’t seem to make much of a fuss after having claimed any move to replace Sessions would be obstruction of the Mueller inquiry and a constitutional crisis.

Despite Trump’s best efforts the Democrats did not carry on much about Russia during the mid-terms and seemed resigned to the fact that the Mueller inquiry doesn’t look like delivering them from Trump.

But now it looks like they are falling for it AGAIN:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-22/donald-trump-jeff-sessions-mathew-whitaker/10517430

Scheduling acting appointments during vacations to avoid obstruction in the Senate is a long established practice. Obama needed it a lot because of a hostile Senate. If there was to be any replacement of the Attorney-General it was certain to be during the vacation after the midterms as even some GOP Senators had indicated they would hold up confirmation of any replacement. But I didn’t think there would actually be a replacement.

Now it turns out that Democrats have found a way to help Trump’s effortless maneuvers to get them to keep digging that hole.

There are over a 160 instances where a vacation appointment has promoted a replacement who has never been confirmed by the Senate for any office at all. So three Senators are asking the Supreme Court (which no longer has a liberal majority) to declare the latest such appointment unconstitutional.

If they succeed, they will have driven home the message that Jeff Sessions should be treated as trustworthy. That could be embarassing if he gets reappointed to fill the vacancy.

But there is little danger of them succeeding. The point is simply to make a fuss and carry on about the vital need to protect the Mueller inquiry thus further embarassing themselves when it winds up without saving them from Trump. Looks like they are committed to keeping the Trump obstructing justice “Russia thing” in the news just as Trump keeps begging them to. What I didn’t guess was that the way to ensure they kept digging that hole would be to follow up months of threatening to sack Jeff Sessions with actually doing it after merely repeating the threat had worn thin.

Brexit danger fading

Looks like danger of serious disruption of globalism from Brexit is fading.

1. Current “deal” would be BRINO (Brexit In Name Only) and has no chance of passing.

2. All but a tiny minority of rabid Brexiters agree that crashing out with no deal would be a disasterous accident and was just a negotiting bluff that did not work. This report indicates there will be sufficient votes to block legislation needed now for dealing with that possibility.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/nov/18/labour-keir-starmer-force-amendments-block-no-deal-brexit

3. If such legislation is indeed blocked that leaves only the options of holding a referendum to drop Brexit now or forming a new government that can attempt further negotiations.

4. New Government could be formed in 3 ways. Different Conservative Prime Minister, minority Labour Prime Minister Corbyn or general election after 2 weeks with no government. EU would happily delay current March deadline to allow that to be sorted out.

5. None of those three possible outcomes could plausibly lead to either crashing out with no deal or a deal that seriously weakens EU or globalism. More likely some arrangement like Norway or Switzerlnd, or simply remaining in EU after a referendum.

6. The liars in both UK media and Australia who supported this bullshit are now focused on blaming Theresa May for not achieving the impossible so as not to admit, even to themselves, that they were advocating and promoting an absurdity. This may work. But it undermines rather than strengthens them for future attempts at disruption.

7. May has successfully put the anti-globalists in a weaker position for stirring up hostility and resentment towards other nations when this effort fails.

Notes on Trump 38 – midterm results

Final results not yet in but looks pretty much as expected.

Wikipedia on Republican factions is hopelessly out of date but it seems clear Trump now has a large party in Congress, including many GOP incumbents who will do as they are told because they will lose primaries if they don’t. That is all he needs to get bipartisan legislation through that will help Trump win in 2020.

Democrat side far more seriously divided into factions that will not be able to unite on tactics or strategy.

https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/progressive-caucus-new-dems-blue-dogs-prepare-growth

Here are two reasonably perceptive articles from party apparatchiks, Matthew Yglesias warning against helping Trump on infrastructure and Ezra Klein warning against opposing Trump blindly on popular issues. First Matthew:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/9/18075086/house-democrats-trump-infrastructure-deal-trap

Matthew makes the brilliant tactical suggestion that Democrats derail infrastructure programs by insisting on a “visionary” program of “clean energy generation” and “carbon-cutting transportation”. I said it was reasonably perceptive and tactically brilliant as it conceivably might appeal to enough Democrat senators not facing re-election to block the 60% majority needed for an infrastructure program that would help Trump get elected. I am not aware of any other proposed maneuver that could prevent something bipartisan from emerging. But it won’t be very helpful for 2020 as most Americans are not likely to be impressed by posturing about “clean energy” and “carbon cutting”.

Now here’s Ezra, also from “American Prospect” and so in roughly the same liberal/progressive faction:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/12/18065602/trump-pelosi-house-democrats-investigations-impeachment

His report of various competing views also shows some real insight and a more realistic expectation that Democrats are not going to be capableof any sort of disciplined approach and will in fact go for endless investigations of Trump (which is one thing all factions and their entire base coud agree on, against the sound advice of their apparatchiks).

But despite this insight his solution is directly opposite to Matthew’s. He wants Democrats to come up with realistic “progressive” policies and actually believes that Trump will be stuck because he is intimidated by traditional GOP opposition to those policies. Perhaps more of a journalist than an apparatchik. Didn’t notice that Trump defeated the GOP before he defeated the Democrats.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/12/18065602/trump-pelosi-house-democrats-investigations-impeachment

As well as the identity politicians and the impeachers, there was the expected increase in “moderates” from “purple seats” who won primaries because they were more likely to defeat incumbent GOP candidates, especially in better off suburbs. This has a double effect in tightening Trump’s grip on GOP by removing old guard incumbents while also weakening Democrats ability to resist deals that help Trump get elected again in 2020.

With the old GOP crushed there will be clear majorities for improved healthcare and infrastructure spending.

There was also the expected increase in “progressives” who will have a double effect in being noisy enough to help consolidate Republican voters while also helping push through the massive deficits Trump needs, even if other Democrat factions try to “resist”.

As shown by the midterm campaign, Democrats are not going to fight Trump on isolationism or protectionism and they won’t be effective opponents on immigration either.

Wikipedia on Democrat factions not updated yet but worth checking after final results in:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factions_in_the_Democratic_Party_(United_States)

Perhaps its still too early to tell whether they can agree on a plausible strategy after getting hit by reality, but I see no sign of such agreement even within a single faction let alone among several with far less in common than those two.