Join Jim & Greg as they discuss a right-leaning candidate looking very competitive in the Los Angeles mayor’s race. They also shudder as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says we may well be headed towards economic “stagflation”. And Jim walks through the facts and fiction as cases of Monkeypox are confirmed in the U.S. and the UK.

 

All the Wrong Moves on Energy Markets

 

In a world of sane energy policy, the following three precepts would take pride of place: (1) the forces of supply and demand would allocate scarce energy resources to their best possible use; (2) constant competitive pressures should lead energy suppliers to reduce their costs of extraction, refinement, and sales, just as it should lead purchasers to economize on the use of fuels; and (3) a set of careful taxes and restrictions should be imposed proportionate to measurable externalities, and only where the benefits from government imposition exceeded the costs of running the regulatory system. The combination of market and regulatory measures is not perfect, but it should lead to steady improvements, as the price system should prove resilient enough to absorb the full range of exogenous shocks, whether from natural events like storms and volcanoes or from political sources like the stress of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

By every measure, the energy market is fraught with vulnerabilities, virtually all of which stem from high levels of government interference in the production, distribution, and sale of goods. The source of the distress is the unannounced, but readily apparent, decision of the Biden administration to dethrone fossil fuels from their central position in energy markets. There is no single tool used to achieve this end, and certainly no explicit acknowledgment of the overall agenda. But the dire consequences of these policy changes become more evident by the day. Multiple reports point to systematic shortages in diesel fuel nationally, but particularly in the Northeast, where refining capacity is down by half from 2009. The national diesel fuel shortage will start this summer and continue indefinitely. Right now, the electricity industry also faces planned and unplanned blackouts because of a decline in energy sources from nuclear and coal, which is placing excessive dependence on unreliable wind and solar sources. Gasoline prices have already spiked to record levels, most recently at $4.43 per gallon and climbing, driving a core inflation rate over 6 percent, while the energy inflation rate remains over 30 percent per year.

In the face of this energy crisis, the one imperative is to increase the supply of energy to both meet the post-COVID jump in demand and fill the supply gap left by the much-needed strategic effort to shut down Russian natural gas sales to the West.  However, the Biden administration has not taken any steps to bring more US energy online in the short run.

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with Cicero Institute’s Jonathan Wolfson about the growing doctor shortage and the potential to alleviate the crisis by tapping the global supply of well-trained physicians eager to find safety and freedom in the US.

Guest:

Join Jim and Greg as they are encouraged that early voting numbers are up but mail-in ballots are down, meaning election results are likely to be more secure. They also discuss the horrific, racially-motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, how the shooter had once again been on the radar, and how the effort to turn the tragedy into political advantage was immediate once again. And they have fun with Vice President Kamala Harris once again getting stuck on a talking point she struggled to get out of.

 

Member Post

 

The good people over at Revolver News bring forth the argument that in addition to the Roe vs Wade example, another 7 SCOTUS  decisions of the past should be re-visited. Of course, high on the list of legal cases needing a new set of eyes is Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, which […]

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New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu joins Jim and Greg to explain why he turned down persistent GOP efforts to get him to run for U.S. Senate this year and why he strongly prefers to run for governor again. Gov. Sununu also talks about where he sees the Republican Party heading, and what it will take to win in swing states this year and in 2024. In addition, they discuss what the Republican agenda ought to be for fighting inflation and dig into Gov. Sununu’s record on school choice and abortion. Finally, Jim and Greg ask whether New Hampshire should always get to bat leadoff in the presidential primary season.

 

Member Post

 

So California Rule of Court says don’t submit any briefs on an appeal with over 14,000 words. Appellate specialists (not me) charge $50K or more in the big cases. To cut down the words and make it real simple. Unlike our pal. 16,000 words a day and no end to it. At least he doesn’t […]

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Roe’s Awkward Departure

 

Politico rocked the nation with its recent exclusive and explosive publication of a mysteriously leaked copy of Justice Samuel Alito’s February 10, 2022, draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—the apparent decision by at least five Supreme Court Justices to uphold Mississippi’s law banning elective abortions after the fifteenth week of pregnancy. That opinion makes it likely that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, which crafted a constitutional right to an abortion forty-nine years ago in 1973. The defenders of the Dobbs opinion regard it as a triumph of originalism worthy of “three very enthusiastic cheers.” In sharp contrast, the progressive critics of the decision go to exquisite lengths to express their complete and utter contempt for a decision that according to the League of Women’s Voters “not only strips women and pregnant people of their personal autonomy but opens the door to erode more fundamental rights,” leading “to collective shock and outrage” by pro-choice advocates.

Clearly, with stakes this high it is important to set aside both exultation and despair in order to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Alito opinion. On the positive side, Alito’s opinion adopts a tone of workmanlike seriousness that is quite circumspect about overruling past precedents, and explicitly disclaims any intention to overrule any other precedent on either women’s or LBGTQ rights. Instead, it treats abortion  as “a unique act” that does not impact “in any way” Lawrence v. Texas (2003), dealing with private consensual sexual behavior, or Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), constitutionally protecting same-sex marriage. Instead, it articulates a two-stage argument that dismantles the establishment in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey of a constitutional right to abortion. The first part notes that abortion is not explicitly protected in the Constitution. The second part contends that Roe cannot be defended on some implied “substantive due process” grounds, because it does not meet the standard set out in the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s decision in Washington v. Glucksberg (1997), which refused to recognize any right to assisted suicide, namely that “any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ . . . and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.’ ”

As Alito exhaustively documents, that standard cannot be met given the impressive array of common law and statutory criminal prohibitions of abortion in effect before the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, at the time of its adoption in 1868, or at any time thereafter. Yet at no point does Alito find any constitutional prohibition against the decriminalization of abortion. Instead, his chief complaint is that Roe “short-circuited the democratic process” that would otherwise lead to some political resolution in the same state legislatures that controlled the law on abortion before Roe. Recall that at the time of Roe, states had dramatically different abortion laws, from Texas’ very restrictive law (at issue in Roe) to New York’s 1970 law, which legalized abortion up through twenty-four weeks of pregnancy and whenever the mother’s life was in danger. Alito then shows that Roe’s legal reasoning “was exceedingly weak,” especially in light of its internal confusions, including its inability to justify different constitutional rules for each of the three trimesters of a pregnancy. Alito leveled the same criticism at Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey (1992), which affirmed Roe’s establishment of a right to abortion whenever state regulations impose an “undue burden on that right.” Hence, he struck down an opinion that could not be justified by the mere passage of time, and that had never gained political legitimacy during the past forty-nine years.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin making sure there is enough police present to protect Supreme Court justices and the Senate funding more security for the family members. They also walk through the multiple factors leading to severe shortage of baby formula in the U.S. And they react to tweets showing the incoming White House Press Secretary publicly called the 2016 presidential race and the 2018 Georgia governor’s race to be stolen elections.

 

Join Jim and Greg as they breathe a tad easier after Vladimir Putin does not announce any escalation of the Ukraine war in his Victory Day speech. They also fume as the Biden administration still can’t find the courage to tell protesters to stay away from the homes of Supreme Court justices. And recently uncovered voting records add to their unease about the idea of Sen. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania.

 

Jim Geraghty is back! Today, he and Greg get a kick out of the sleazy Lincoln Project vowing to help Democrat Tim Ryan win the Ohio Senate race and Ryan’s team makes it clear they don’t want the group anywhere near the campaign. Jim sounds off as the Biden administration publicly confirms even more intelligence work directly connected to Ukrainian military operations, including the sinking of the Moskva. And outgoing Press Secretary Jen Psaki refuses to tell abortion protesters to stay away from the private residences of Supreme Court justices.

Is SCOTUS Serious About Finding the Leaker?

 

When I first learned that Chief Justice Roberts was going to order an investigation to find the leaker of Justice Alito’s draft opinion on Roe v. Wade, I was pleased to hear his decision, but not overly optimistic about the potential results. The federal government has a poor record of finding leakers and of prosecuting them.

I was even less optimistic when I learned that the person who would conduct the investigation, who may be more than competent in many ways, has never conducted this type of inquiry. Col. Gail Curley will be in charge:

Join Greg and Ricochet.com Editor-in-Chief Jon Gabriel as they welcome fundraising and polling news that significantly contradicts the idea that overturning Roe v. Wade will move midterm momentum to the Democrats. They also shudder at reports the CDC as tracking our movements through our cell phones to make sure we were complying with lockdown orders. And they take aim at the Lincoln Project and others who pretended to be conservatives for many years but are now supposedly appalled at the idea of Roe being struck down. Of course it’s all just part of their ongoing efforts to fleece liberal donors in the name of opposing the political right.

If Musk Takes Over Twitter, What Next?

 

The universe of social media is now seeking to understand Elon Musk’s audacious bid to acquire all the shares of Twitter at a price of $54.20—$44 billion in total—that was initially accepted by the Twitter board of directors on April 25. Many regulatory and business hurdles still lurk between this initial agreement and the completed purchase. And the low break-up fee of $1 billion is seen as a sign that the transaction may yet founder.

The uncertainty over the deal’s future has not stopped, however, the nonstop speculation of what it will mean for the future of social media. By and large, these assessments are divided along sharp political lines. Right-wing stalwarts like Ben Shapiro chortle that the new deal promises to usher in a new age of Internet freedom by reforming how Twitter conducts itself, which in turn will lead to greater transparency. Musk has called himself a free speech “absolutist” who believes that free speech “is the bedrock of a functional democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.” That optimism has not—to put it mildly—been shared by the political left, which has already outdone itself by denouncing him in an NBC news report—ironically relying on overheated tweets—as “a white nationalist-sympathizingtax-dodginganti-unionanti-free speech, ‘dystopian neocolonialist’ plutocrat tainted by his family’s background in apartheid South Africa, where Musk was born in 1971.”

There is little doubt that part of this fear is based on the simple view that Musk not only contributes to a greener environment, but—gasp­—“is a libertarian edgelord billionaire” who does not toe the progressive line, a climate activist told NBC. This pending takeover has prompted prominent progressive thinkers to forsake their Twitter accounts to protest what looks, at least to them, more like a political coup than a corporate takeover.

Join Greg and Ricochet Editor-in-Chief Jon Gabriel as they dissect the leaking of a draft majority opinion that shows a majority of Supreme Court justices prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade. First, they discuss the significant damage the leak may do to the functioning and credibility of the Supreme Court. They also highlight why they hope the draft will be the majority opinion in terms of shifting abortion back to the states and why the pro-life movement clearly has a legal high ground. And they react to some of the most unhinged statements from Democrats in response to the breaking news.

Member Post

 

Wisely anticipating disbelief, I provide a link to Şili’ye özgürlük, which is Turkish for Freedom For Chile. I’ve never seen a Turkish phrasebook but if you do, I’m pretty sure you won’t see this phrase in it. It’s the title of a song. Which someone – in Turkey – actually wrote, and performed. Guess he […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they cautiously welcome reports that Democrats not only worry about losing control of the U.S. Senate this year but fear even bigger losses in 2024. They also hammer DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas for failing to secure our borders and his new idea of diverting medical personnel and money from the VA to deal with the human tide of illegal immigrants. And they’re even more unnerved by the idea of a Disinformation Governance Board and the the person chosen to run it.