Mid-Day Digest · March 30, 2017

Posted on Thu 03/30/2017 by



•It’s almost like Democrats forget that their previous statements were on the record.

•The GOP’s odd move on Internet privacy. Who benefits?
•North Carolina is on the cusp of reversing its bathroom law under pressure.
•Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.
“The truth is, that, even with the most secure tenure of office, during good behavior, the danger is not, that the judges will be too firm in resisting public opinion, and in defence of private rights or public liberties; but, that they will be ready to yield themselves to the passions, and politics, and prejudices of the day.”Joseph Story (1833)

Democrats’ Convenient Memory Loss
Democrats seem to be currently afflicted with what may be best described as a case of politically convenient amnesia. This sad condition has been most clearly evident through the confirmation process of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and symptoms include acute displays of remarkable levels of hypocrisy. Observe these past statements by leading Democrat leaders contrasted by these same Democrats’ most recent statements. Beware, witnessing the total reversal of opinion on attempting to block a nominee’s confirmation by these Democrats might temp one to scream out a slew of frustration-induced profanities.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in 2013: “We much prefer the risk of up or downi votes and majority rule [on judicial nominees], than the risk of continued total obstruction. That’s the bottom line no matter who’s in power.”
Schumer now: “The irresistible, immutable logic is, if the nominee doesn’t get 60 [votes], you change the nominee, not the rules.”
Senator Tim Kaine in October 2016: “If [Republicans] think they’re going to stonewall the filling of [the SCOTUS] vacancy or other vacancies, then a Democratic Senate majority will say, ‘We’re not going to let you thwart the law.’ And so we will change the Senate rules to uphold the law.”
Kaine now: “The way I look at it is the Supreme Court is the only position that requires you to get to a 60-vote threshold, which means it mandates that there be some bipartisanship and that is appropriate. Life tenure. Highest court in the land. Should have to get to 60 votes.” And, “I will oppose his nomination.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren in November 2013: “If Republicans continue to filibuster these highly qualified nominees for no reason than to nullify the president’s constitutional authority, then senators not only have the right to change the filibuster, senators have a duty to change the filibuster rules.” And she also said, “We need to call out these filibusters for what they are ? naked attempts to nullify the results of the last presidential election.”
Warren now: “I believe Judge Gorsuch’s nomination should be blocked.”
To be sure, the filibuster is a Senate rule subject to the desires of any Senate majority. Both parties use those rules to political advantage. What’s striking is Democrat sanctimony.
The GOP’s Odd Move on Internet Privacy
While much attention was focused on the GOP’s health care failure, the Republican majority in Congress did something else that deserves scrutiny. ArsTechnica reports, “The US House of Representatives voted Tuesday to eliminate [Internet Service Provider] ISP privacy rules, following the Senate vote to take the same action last week.” What privacy rules? “The rules issued by the FCC last year would have required home Internet and mobile broadband providers to get consumers’ opt-in consent before selling or sharing Web browsing history, app usage history, and other private information with advertisers and other companies. But lawmakers used their authority under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to pass a joint resolution ensuring that the rules ‘shall have no force or effect’ and that the FCC cannot issue similar regulations in the future.”
Proponents argue that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), not the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is the proper regulatory vehicle. But there is no indication of any forthcoming protections from the FTC.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) pushed the bill, saying the FCC rulemaking was “just another example of big government overreach.”
But is that true? Various websites, including giants like Facebook and Google, can already see a lot about users depending on what people do on those websites. People can choose not to use those websites. Now, ISPs have free reign over all the data coming through a user’s browser. It’s much harder to avoid particular ISPs, especially when most people live in areas with only one or two providers. And ISPs can sell data to the highest bidder without users’ permission. That’s browsing history, mobile app usage, content posted in emails, financial and medical information, etc. Can a hospital sell your medical information? No, but ISPs now can. It’s also reasonable to assume this just made it easier for the government to use ISPs as data collection proxies. An ISP can’t say they don’t have data when they’re actively selling it.
We normally argue against regulation, and we don’t want to overstate this case, but the GOP’s move to deregulate here is baffling. Then again, it’s not the first time Republicans have been wrong about the Internet. Exit question: Besides Big Business, who benefits?