59 thoughts on “Friday Open Forum!

  1. The elephant in the room…

    It’s now a matter of record; the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled on the eviction moratorium again and in a rebuke of the administrations willful illegal action, the court essentially stated that the ends does not justify the means.

    “It is indisputable that the public has a strong interest in combating the spread of the COVID–19 Delta variant. But our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends. Cf. Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U. S. 579, 582, 585–586 (1952)
    (concluding that even the Government’s belief that its action “was necessary to avert a national catastrophe” could not overcome a lack of congressional authorization). It is up to Congress, not the CDC, to decide whether the public interest merits further action here.”


    President Biden flipped the bird at SCOTUS and the Constitution and knowingly broke the law and did it after he was told by SCOTUS that the eviction moratorium was unlawful and he did it anyway. This unethical signature significant action by President Biden to direct the CDC to break the law is an impeachable offense.

    President Biden has no respect for the law or the United States Constitution, to President Biden the ends justifies the means. Republican members of the House of Representatives need to present a bill to impeach the President of the United States for high crimes against the United States of America immediately, not to do so would be a dereliction of their sworn Constitutional duties.

    • No, he does not have respect for the law at all and continues the corruption of uneducated Americans that his party has been facilitating for over two decades now that the ends justify the means.

      Their whole angle seems to be: In the interest of humanity, we are going to enact these rules to save lives, despite the financial strain it causes and, if the SCOTUS doesn’t like it, it’s because it is packed with old white conservative males who don’t care about anybody which is a clear indicator of, not only systemic racism, but also that system doesn’t work anymore and needs to be replaced.

    • Even though President Clinton violated the law years ago censure would have been a completely acceptable alternative for his unique case but this blatantly intentional violation of law, intentional sidestepping of Congress, and flipping the bird at SCOTUS even after being told by SCOTUS that it was not legal requires an actual impeachment – censure is simply inappropriate in this case.

      • The optics of impeaching a president for trying to keep people impacted by an international pandemic in their homes are impossible. At a minimum, it looks like tit-for-tat impeachment.

        It is unethical to advocate for impossible outcomes. It just creates noise. Congressional censure is possible, if inadequate.

        • Rich in CT WROTE, “It is unethical to advocate for impossible outcomes.”

          I disagree with this.

          That sounds a bit like prosecutors not prosecuting criminals for their actual crimes, the result is chaos.

          It’s not unethical to advocate for impossible outcomes when not doing so is a dereliction of their sworn Constitutional duties plus not doing so enables more illegal activity.

          Where do you draw the line?

          Is it legal or illegal?

          If it’s not illegal, fine ignore it.

          If it’s illegal then do what’s necessary.

          • 1) Do you believe that it is possible for a bipartisan impeachment of this conduct to occur?

            2) Do you believe the nation will be better off if a purely partisan impeachment, even properly motivated, occurs?

            3) Do you believe that political discourse is improved advocating for impeachment based on the likelihood of it being bipartisan, and given the potential consequences of it occurring on a partisan basis?

            • Rich in CT wrote…

              1) Do you believe that it is possible for a bipartisan impeachment of this conduct to occur?

              2) Do you believe the nation will be better off if a purely partisan impeachment, even properly motivated, occurs?

              3) Do you believe that political discourse is improved advocating for impeachment based on the likelihood of it being bipartisan, and given the potential consequences of it occurring on a partisan basis?

              I will not rationalize not doing this, it was an intentional illegal act by the President of the United States.

              • I’ll make some of the same points now that I have earlier, as well as some new ones:

                -I do not believe that you can cite a section of the criminal code that Biden has broken, because I do not believe that such a law exists.

                -Even if you could, impeachment is a political process with legal undertones, not a legal process with political undertones.

                -There is a 0% chance that Democrats in EITHER chamber would impeach Biden.

                -It is unethical to waste money on a process you know is going to fail. Particularly if it will cause more harm than good.

                -You are making, almost verbatim, the exact same arguments that Democrats were in either of the Trump impeachments.

          • Perhaps not unethical per se. But the political contortions for attempting a pie-in-the-sky remedy, even if ethically defensible prima facia, can become unethical in the utilitarian sense. We saw what happened when the Left attempted it with Trump. To we really want to further polarize the nation?

            I say no. We voted this guy into office, now we need to live with the results — good and hard.

            • Glenn Logan wrote, “We saw what happened when the Left attempted it with Trump.”

              This is different!

              The left literally bastardized* the United States Constitution in both of their efforts to impeach President Trump. This is not a bastardization of the United States Constitution, President Biden literally broke the law when he knowingly ordered the CDC to violate the Constitution with their unlawful order.

              *Bastardize: change (something) in such a way as to lower its quality or value, typically by adding new elements.

                • How about a combination of Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241 “Conspiracy Against Rights” & 242 “Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law” and the Fifth Amendment “Prohibition against Takings”? (Given that takings can include not only taking for government use, but also to give the property, or its use, to another party, or to unduly burden isolated individuals.)

                  An interesting discussion of the extent of that part of the Fifth here: https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/interpretation/amendment-v/clauses/634

                  Has Biden conspired to violate federal civil rights statutes? Just spitballing here; not a lawyer!

                  • ….what? No.

                    Look, SCOTUS didn’t rule on whether or not an eviction moratorium was unconstitutional, they ruled that the CDC cannot unilaterally declare one. If congress enacted one, there’d be a 5th amendment argument, and that argument would mainly revolve around the words “special burden” with a side order of “without adequate compensation”. In the case that SCOTUs found that the government had put a “special burden” on landlords, the correct remedy would be compensation. There’s no universe where anyone would get jail time, and it’s beyond foolish to talk about impeachment in these terms. This is like when Democrats tried to cart out the 25th for Trump: Your newfound respect for Amendments you didn’t know the text of 24 hours ago is leading you to assert facially absurd things.

                    • “it’s beyond foolish to talk about impeachment in these terms…Your newfound respect for Amendments you didn’t know the text of 24 hours ago is leading you to assert facially absurd things.”

                      Ummm, did you mean to respond to me? If so, Jeez, get a grip; that’s unwarranted.
                      I haven’t advocated for Biden’s impeachment, or claimed any special knowledge of the 5th. I did ask, in response to your question and noted as “not a lawyer”, about whether the civil rights statutes could apply if one were looking for a crime. Don’t believe I “asserted” that they did.

                    • Just to recap: Steve said that Biden should be impeached on this topic, I asked what the high crime or misdemeanor could possibly be to justify that, and both you and Michael trotted out the 5th amendment.

                      At the point where someone is actively calling for impeachment, the justification for that impeachment should already be clear. We don’t impeach and then blunder about to find the justification after.

                    • Sorry, I didn’t “trot” anything out like it’s a stab in the dark. I haven’t given a crap about impeachment at all because the FIRST SCOTUS ruling should have made it apparently clear that any further attempt at an eviction moratorium was unconstitutional.

                      Biden then pushed the action AGAIN, even admitting it would be seen as illegal.

                      That’s when any sane Republic would need to take seriously the Constructional grounds upon which this principle stands and whether or not that principle is worth defending.

                      That following action falls on a spectrum anywhere from another SCOTUS ruling (which happened in a 6-3 travesty) or an impeachment.

                      And where in the Constitution is private property protected from arbitrary government confiscation?

                      The 5th Amendment.

                      You asked. We answered.

                      We didn’t “trot” anything out.

                • How is it not ultimately arguable on the 5th Amendment?

                  A lack of just compensation for landlords?

                  The current grift is that renters get free cash on the abjectly open dishonesty on the notion those renters pay the landlords, who are ultimately the *property owners* liable for payments to banks AND to the government (via property taxes).

                  There is ABSOLUTELY nothing compelling the renters to pay their rent with the free cash. Yet the President compels the property owners to surrender their property anyway.

                  Therefore there is no “just compensation” for the taking of property for “public use”.

                  If the President acts in violation of the 5th Amendment, an impeachable crime has been committed – as the Constitution IS the ultimate law of the land.

                  Much of this would hinge on terms “public use” and on “taken”.

            • Glen Logan wrote, “We voted this guy into office, now we need to live with the results — good and hard.”

              I agree and it will be painful.

              Still, the House of Representatives needs to have an impeachment bill presented even if it is completely rejected by the Democrats in the House and never get’s out of the House. It needs to be on public record how both sides stand on this issue.

              • Impeachment simply is not the way to go. Never mind the Trump “impeachments,” we all have to have learned something from the Clinton fiasco. If people are serious about this sort of impeachment over competence issues, we need a constitutional amendment to provide for presidential recall, a national mulligan. I’m not sure such a recall provision would be a good idea, but that’s what would be necessary.

                • Other Bill wrote, “If people are serious about this sort of impeachment over competence issues, we need a constitutional amendment to provide for presidential recall, a national mulligan.”

                  Although there are competence issues, this is not a competence issue, it’s a legal issue.

                  Someone in the position of authority ordering a subordinate to knowingly break the law is ILLEGAL!

                  There isn’t a grey line on the legality of this, it’s all a matter of record. The Supreme Court told the CDC that their order was not constitutionally legal – it was literally unconstitutional and the President knowingly ordered the CDC to violate the Constitution, go against the Supreme Court and literally break the law that the Supreme Court already had the final say on. This is literally what President Biden did and he basically told everyone that he was going to do it. This is the President of the United States blatantly saying “fuck you” to the rule of law and it must be dealt with in the strongest terms and that’s a bill for impeachment.

                  It really is ok to disagree.

                  • Why not lodge a class action suit against the CDC an Biden for violationing landlords constitutional rights? Better chance at winning and it draws attention to Biden’s acts.

                • no no no no nonononono Recall. Came close to wrecking several cities (including mine) and the entire state of California. (yes, I know most of you would happily fiddle while it burned*, but really!) Recall makes a farce out of having an election in the first place … unless blunt treason has been perpetrated and its harm clear and proven. These are precarious times for Reason.

                  *the fire that burned most of Rome happened on July 18, 64 CE; fiddles were invented in the early 16th Century. Somebody wanted to mess with Nero’s reputation. Now, what kind of politician today would go and do a nasty thing like that …..

              • Well, I know that somebody will submit a bill of impeachment to the House, for whatever good it will do. A vote will likely not even be scheduled on it, and it’s an empty gesture — I think both parties routinely submit such bills when they are out of power — but that’s fine.

          • Impeachment is a political process to remove a sitting president, so that criminal proceedings can be brought against him. With the current make up of Congress, there is no way articles of impeachment are getting anyway near the House floor. None.


        • Rich in CT wrote, “The optics of impeaching a president for trying to keep people impacted by an international pandemic in their homes are impossible.”

          I’ve stated this many times; I don’t like Presidential impeachments no matter who is President unless there is a CLEAR and INTENTIONAL violation of the law.

          When it comes to actual verifiable illegal activity committed by the President of the United States, fuck the optics. He literally told the American people that he was going to do this stating something like I know it’s not legal but it will take a few weeks or months to get through the courts to stop it and in the mean time we can stop evictions and get money out to people that need it, that is pure unadulterated ends (stop evictions and get money to people) justifies the means (breaking the law). President Biden ordered the CDC to violate the law, that’s an intentional illegal order and it is prosecutable under the law.

          Someone in the position of authority ordering a subordinate to knowingly break the law is ILLEGAL!

          • Someone in the position of authority ordering a subordinate to knowingly break the law is ILLEGAL!
            He made an order in potential conflict with an open question before the courts. If that counts as “ILLEGAL!“, then governing is entirely impossible, and any decision is potentially open to impeachment.

            I will not rationalize not doing this, it was an intentional illegal act by the President of the United States.

            Essentially, you’re saying, “Damn the consequences”. This is itself a rationalization.

            • Rich in CT wrote, “He made an order in potential conflict with an open question before the courts.”

              Actually I don’t think that’s not quite accurate Rich.

              It wasn’t potential conflict with an open question before the courts it was an illegal order from the President to do something that was known to be in direct conflict with a settled ruling by the Supreme Court, it was not legal and he knew it. President Biden acknowledged that it wasn’t legal when he stated a few weeks ago something like I know it’s not legal but it will take a few weeks or months to get through the courts to stop it and in the mean time we can stop evictions and get money out to people that need it.

            • Rich in CT wrote, “Essentially, you’re saying, “Damn the consequences”. This is itself a rationalization.”

              Actually no I don’t think what I’m saying is a rationalization at all, in fact I think there are some others that are engaging in a bit of negative consequentialism which I believe is actually a rationalization.

          • …and now we better understand why the House decided on two ridiculous impeachments of President Trump. Neither impeachment was valid and House Democrats knew the President would never be convicted in the Senate. But they also knew that if their guy won the election in 2020, it would be very useful to have a public that was jaded to the process.

    • Y’know… I’ve heard a couple of different impeachment plans this last week. Biden’s incompetence in Afghanistan is impeachable, giving that list of names to the Taliban was impeachable, his treatment of the border is impeachable, and now: lining himself up to get a beatdown from SCOTUS is impeachable.

      I’m on record, very strongly in these cases: None of this is good, none of this is normal, none of this is acceptable. But none of it is a high crime or misdemeanor. And you sound like a Democrat.

      • And I hear the rejoinders already, the insistence that there is a crime in there, somewhere, if you squint really hard and tilt your head to the left.

        I suppose it’s possible, I don’t know the entire American code of laws. But if you think a crime has been committed, you should be able to enunciate which crime, and what the criminal code section for it is. I have the impression that people won’t be able to, because situations like this always devolve into a series of variations on the theme of: “I don’t know the law, but I know when it’s being broken when I see it!”

        • Incompetence is not a crime, high or petty. But the result of incompetence can be.

          In the instant case, I’m having trouble finding the actual crime that would serve as a vehicle. Just because the Democrats can call anything under the sun a crime if it offends them doesn’t mean the Republicans should do so as well.

          But as I said above, impeachments are routinely submitted in congresses by the party out of power. Except for Clinton and last year, they virtually never make it to a vote, but whatever.

          The way to rebuke one party for abuse of power is not to repeat that abuse when power changes hands. That’s just plain vengeance.

          • Exactly… I won’t say the Democrats didn’t open the door for this… But politics shouldn’t be a race to the bottom. Impeachment in this context isn’t appropriate, I also can’t identify an actual crime here, regardless of how many times Steve capitalizes and bolds the word “illegal”.

    • I think we all saw this coming. What makes it noteworthy is the speed of the ruling from the normally-glacial Supreme Court, especially the shadow docket. Josh Blackman at Reason believes the author must’ve been CJ Roberts, because he thinks Gorsuch or Allito would’ve panned Biden’s suggestion that even though it was likely unconstitutional, it was worthwhile just for the delay the courts would produce reviewing it.

      That didn’t quite go according to plan, methinks.

      Also notable is the intellectual vacuity of the dissent.

  2. This is exactly what I was afraid of, and given this administration’s position on immigration, the number could be even larger:

    After 20 years of destruction, the US has a moral obligation to let in 1 million Afghan refugees

    Granted, this is just a liberal opinion piece, but I have seen idea this circulating elsewhere. Forget that the writer conveniently omits relevant facts, like the role of the Taliban in 9/11, and just focus on exactly what people are advocating. This is not just open borders, it’s worse than that. The writer couches it as temporary, but we heard the same thing about DACA and other immigration-friendly initiatives.

    It is never temporary, and the cost is always higher. Sure, the Left often twist stats to show immigrants provide a net positive for the economy, but other studies have shown otherwise. I guess given the state of scientific peer review today (you’ll have to google that, another link will banish me to moderation) we’ll have to let our confirmation bias choose which conclusion is more likely correct.

    The vast majority of the evacuees so far have been Afghans, not Americans, and this will become more and more true every day as the administration seeks to mollify their Leftists allies appalled by the humanitarian crisis Biden created with his abrupt, reckless exit. If he were more mentally sound, I’d suspect this of being a Trojan horse operation from day one — and given that I don’t believe Biden is setting the actual policy, that argument still has force.

    Incompetence seems more likely, but alas, I am loath to give the Left the benefit of Hanlon’s Razor.

  3. I remember reading, not long after the initial conquest of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and the rollback of the Taliban, maybe three or four years into the war, about proposals to partition the country, effectively separating the Pashtun (and most Taliban support) in the south and east from the Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaris, Turkmen and a few other tribal groups in the north and west. Afghanistan has always been a nation in name only, really just a collection of tribes. I don’t remember hearing anything about partition in recent years. Would partition have been a workable alternative, creating a more modern alternative to the 6th century mindset of the Taliban, under Western protection? Just wondering out loud this morning about the ethics of imposing modernity on a country, as opposed to merely going in and shooting all the bad guys and breaking all their stuff when they pose a threat to us.

    • I don’t think so.

      My impression is that it really doesn’t matter what lines we draw on a map, the Taliban would have no reason to recognize them, and perhaps giving them lines in the sand to blow by would be even more embarrassing that not. They’re interested in seizing what land, materiel, and power they can, and they’ll push forward until they meet resistance or some other reason to stop. Aside from some well-armed drug cartels, there isn’t going to be much resistance short of a neighboring national border.

      • Yeah, the map lines were fairly arbitrary to begin with. The Pashtun people (which form the core “Afghani people”) were big enough to periodically threaten with harassment power centers in places like India and Iran. During Britain’s control of India, they wanted some level of buffer / angle of threat in that direction (which is on the line of march to Russia’s back door). So they carved out an arbitrary line between their India and the tribal lands with some level of buy-in from the then Afghan king or emir (I forget which). That line became the current southern border of Afghanistan.

        Britain explicitly made sure the line cut through Pashtun tribal lands and Balochi tribal lands to disrupt those entities ability to form large threatening blocs. This created a proto-Afghanistan that would be a type of buffer from the Russian zone of influence. Britain found this only temporarily comforting and didn’t like now Afghanistan’s position relative to India, so Britain further chopped off “Pakistan” and lumped 2 more major ethnic groups – the Sindhis and the Punjabis into the mess with the section of Balochis and section of Pashtuns.

        Ideally guaranteeing a power between them and Afghanistan that would have too many internal problems to grow into a large threat of it’s own.

        Stalin finished the arbitrary borders of Afghanistan with the settlement of 1922, creating a northern border that allowed the Tajik, Uzbek, and Turkmen peoples to become buffers on behalf of the USSR. This border chopped off sections of those people groups into “Afghanistan” while keeping the lions share of those populations within the Soviet zone of control.

        That leaves a highly schizophrenic cluster of people groups, each with eyes in different directions of the globe dominated by a Pashtun core that can never hope to fully dominate the whole.

        But that Pashtun core must try to dominate the whole lest the fragments on the fringe create open doors for surrounding powers to work their way in.

    • I’ve pointed out before; The basic fact pattern around racial disparities in law:

      Black men are more likely to be stopped, if stopped, they’re more likely to be arrested, if arrested, they’re more likely to be charged, if charged, they’re more likely to be convicted and if convicted they are more likely to be handed harsher punishment than white men doing the same thing. So obviously there is a racial disparity in racial interactions with the justice system.

      The problem is obviously a racial disparity, but the solution isn’t so clear. What is the correction? Is the correction to try to adjust biases so that fewer black people have negative interactions with the justice system, or is the correction to adjust biases so that more white people have negative interactions with the justice system? Because if we believe that the laws we have are necessary, and the punishments are inappropriate, maybe black people are being treated properly and the problem is actually lenience towards white people.

      I make this argument, regardless of the merits or where exactly you stand on the issue, because I think sometimes that things get framed incorrectly, and Republicans are taking Democrat bait regarding 1/6. Is the problem that the 1/6 rioter was shot, or is the problem that other rioters weren’t? Because I get it, the way Byrd was sheltered was very different from the way Chauvin was treated, and the way these rioters were treated was very different from the way that Antifa or BLM rioters were treated.

      But what’s the correction?

      The January 6th rioters were rioters. They were clashing with police, they were breaking property, they were threatening lives. Can you even attempt to imagine what was going through capital security’s heads at the time? Babbitt was climbing through a window that she or the people with her had broken, so they could get further into the capitol building. I don’t know if the rioters knew this, but they were closing in on the house chamber, and there were members of congress in there. Imagine for a second, that if instead of 1/6, this was an Antifa riot, and Byrd was a police officer between rioters climbing over a barricade and a room full of elderly Trump voters.

      Was Byrd supposed to let them in? Use his X-Ray vision to tell who did and did not have weapons? Are we going to pretend that women cannot be a threat by the virtue of their tits? How much risk was he supposed to take on before acting, and when the actual hell did that become the standard?

      No…. I can’t find fault with what Byrd did.

          • I don’t mean to be obtuse but we can take your post to mean that systemic racism allows us to judge actions by Blacks less harshly than those of other races or ethnicities.

            Byrd is a black guy; therefore, judge his use of force by a lesser standard, which means that his actions were justified and beyond reproach. That, then, means that had Chauvin been a black cop the death of St. George of the Floyd was justified and Floyd should lose his sainthood, being reduced to a lesser prophet. Turley blows that out of the water.

            Maybe I am obtuse. It has been a strange week.


            • I think we’re crossing wires somewhere… But we probably agree more than we don’t.

              No, my point in bringing up racial disparities ultimately was that there are two ways of addressing it: From bringing the top down, or by bringing the bottom up. Is the problem that black people are being treated too harshly, or that white people are being treated too leniently.

              The issue with the January 6th rioters is similar, but doesn’t have a racial component: Should the Jan 6 rioters be treated like the Antifa/BLM rioters, or should the Antifa/BLM rioters be treated like the Jan 6 rioters?

              I think that there are justifiable positions on either side. I have an opinion, obviously, but what I’m seeing here and in other places is a fundamental lack of consistency, and so in the short term, I don’t really care which way you approach this, so long as you’re being consistent while you do it.

              If we believe that rioters should be treated the same way we treated BLM/Antifa riots, then yes, this is a tragedy, because the police basically let Antifa and BLM have their way with massive swathes of government property.

              If we believe that rioters should be treated like the Jan 6th rioters, then we shouldn’t be particularly upset over the death of Ashli Babbitt, we would hope that the next time a BLM/Antifa riot flared up, police would be a little more hands on in protecting people and property.

              My position is closer to the latter than the former.

    • Some quotes from the “hero” Byrd:
      “I know that day I saved countless lives.”

      “I believe I showed the utmost courage on January 6…”

      Byrd’s attorney, Mark Schamel:“I can confirm that my client is a hero”,

      Byrd touted his ‘training”. His only other recorded use of a firearm was to leave it unattended in a public bathroom.

      Funny, none of the other officers seen behind Byrd, or on the other side of the door, behind Babbitt, thought she needed to be shot. The heroes seem to be the officers who engaged and interacted with the trespassers, and calmed them down. They were punished for that.

      There’s a rallye set Sept. 16 for the “political prisoners” https://www.theday.com/article/20210812/NWS21/210819782
      They seem to be taking pains to ensure peaceful behavior by attendees, but who knows how this will shake out. Hopefully Byrd won’t be around to panic and kill anyone.

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