Musings on Sports, Politics and Life in general


I’ve Stopped Feeling the Johnson

I’ve made no secret of my support for Gary Johnson since the GOP convention. He seemed the only sane choice left, and really, the only candidate with a legitimate chance of winning who was even qualified to assume the Presidency.

Hillary Clinton is terribly corrupt, incapable of following the law and eager to toss out the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution.

Donald Trump is terribly corrupt, abuses the law and unaware of the Constitution.

Both  the major party candidates are inveterate liars and lifelong con artists. They are not presidential material.

Gary Johnson is a two-term governor, who worked with a democratic state legislature to actually reduce the burden government placed on his state’s citizens. While I don’t agree with all of his positions, he has consistently held them for two decades. Prior to elective office, he built a major construction company from scratch, a personal exemplification of the American Dream. He is that rarest of breeds, the honest politician. He seemed to be the only candidate running who is qualified to be President.

And then came this morning.

In an appearance on the Morning Joe television program, Johnson showed he’s just as unqualified as the other two. Panelist Mike Barnicle asked him what he would do about Aleppo. Johnson replied by asking, “What is Aleppo?”.

Now, if you asked, “What is Aleppo?”, I could give you a pass. But Gary Johnson is not some schmuck walking the street. He is asking the American people to give him the most powerful office in the world. It is not beyond the pale to expect him to know at least the basics of foreign affairs.

I appreciate the honesty in admitting he didn’t know about one of the world’s major hotspots. But the lack of basic knowledge is disqualifying.

And for those of us trying to find someone we can support this November, it is also disheartening.


Trump Wants Blood

On a day when the world should have been talking about Hillary Clinton’s cavorting  with Taliban sympathizers, or discussing the emails that disclose how closely her State Department employees were rushing about doing Clinton Foundation business, Donald Trump managed to deflect attention away from her yet again.

At a campaign rally in North Carolina, he said this:

“Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”
I agree with the first part of that statement – Hillary Clinton is not a fan of the Second Amendment. She will undoubtedly use every corrupt, dastardly trick in the book to get around it. She will also do the same to the First Amendment and the Ninth. Her views are in the mainstream of the Democratic party, and the debate over them is a political debate. But by calling for an out-and-out violent solution to end the debate, Trump has relegated what should be a spirited debate about the role of government and the meaning of the Constitution to nothing more than a grade school playground fight.
What’s that? You don’t think Trump is calling for a violent end to the debate? That he isn’t, at the very least, asking someone to shoot a Presidential candidate because of their political views? Or even worse, advocating an armed uprising to overthrow the government?
You’re of the same mind as other Trump apologists, who are trying to slough this off as just another geritol moment. Ready to take the Paul Ryan approach and call it a bad joke. Ready to take the Katrina Pierson route and say Trump was only saying assassination could be, but shouldn’t be, the answer.
None of that makes any more sense than Trump belated explanation, that he was urging people to band together to defend the Second Amendment at the ballot box. Why? Because his very words tell the lie to that.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do”: only way she gets to pick judges is if she’s elected.
“Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is”: You’ll have to take it upon yourselves to prevent the President from picking judges.
And the coup de grace – “That will be a horrible day”. Yes, a Presidential assassination is always a horrible day.
Make no mistake about his intentions with that statement. This is the same guy who last week was saying that “it will be a bloodbath. The government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in.”
So, to summarize, he wants his supporters to turn the nation into a bloodbath, including assassinating the President-elect, should he lose. That isn’t just frightening, it’s criminal. It is not the mindset of a man ready to defend the Constitution of the United States. It isn’t the mindset of a man ready to defend the people of the United States. But it is the mindset of a would-be dictator.

Evil is Still… Evil


Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson. The only non-evil candidate.

There are people supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy who honestly and fervently believe he is the savior the country needs. It’s seemingly a small slice of the country, somewhere between 15-20% of the country. Polling has consistently shown this for about six months now. This post is not directed at those people.

I’m speaking to the roughly 60% of the country who feel that Hillary Clinton is such a terrible, awful, horrendous candidate that she should never see the inside of the White House again. I feel the same. Her legacy of corruption, belief that the only wrong with government is that it’s not big enough and terrible judgement when given authority, should be enough to disqualify her from public office. But what really scares ordinary Americans about the potential of an HRC presidency is the blatant disregard for Constitutional principles and the way people around her keep dying. Envisioning her as the modern Nero, adding to her bank accounts while the country burns, isn’t a stretch.

Of those who think this way, about half of you are prepared to vote for a candidate who is equally unfit for office. A man who openly advocates violence against his detractors, who uses bigotry and classism as cover for his own corruption. The same man who has abandoned friends for political expediency while embracing those who mean the country harm.

The excuse, and that’s all it is, to those who think this way is that you’re voting for the lesser of two evils. That is not only illogical, it’s repugnant. It’s akin to voting for Baal instead of Satan, because while Baal might destroy the world, you know Satan will.

People, evil is still evil. If you’re voting for candidate A instead of candidate B because one is a murderer while the other is only a rapist, then you are still voting for a person of low moral character who has a disregard for society. You are voting for evil and condemning the country to ruin.

There is a better way, a candidate C. Perhaps you don’t agree with all of his positions. Maybe you find some of the things he advocates to be an affront to your sensibilities. But his character is not impugned, nor his patriotism. He isn’t holding rallies to talk about using violence in furtherance of political goals, and he doesn’t have a team of lifetime sycophants trying to cover up the daily revelations of corruption.

Candidate C is Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. By voting for him, you won’t feel like you need to take a decontamination bath 24/7 for the next 4 years. Take a closer look, #NeverHillary voters. I think you’ll like what you see.

In 2018, the Yankees Will Win the World Series

So, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez have pretty much been given their walking papers and the youth movement has begun. Here are some names to remember, if you’re one of those fans who never paid much attention to the minor league system. These players will probably be in Pinstripes in 2017 (and maybe before this season is over):

Aaron Judge: an outfielder whose power has been compared to Giancarlo Stanton. Remember those moon shots Stanton hit during the Home Run Derby? Check out this Judge blast –

Clint Frazier: another outfielder, he was the lynchpin of the Andrew Miller trade. He’s been compared to Mike Trout in terms of raw ability. Except with more power.

Gary Sanchez: Not only the catcher of the future, but it looks like he’s the catcher of the present. Since his call-up on August 3, he’s hitting .333 with an .813 OPS.

Tyler Austin: The slugging outfielder/first baseman was nearly derailed by injuries in 2014 & 2015, but has recovered in a big way this year, with a .321 average, 17 homers and 76 RBI.

Greg Bird: The first baseman with a sweet left handed swing hurt his should this spring and has spent the year rehabbing. But as an emergency replacement for Teixeira towards the end of last year, the then 22 year old hit .261/11/31 in 46 games.

Bryan Mitchell: The right handed pitcher with the overpowering fastball had made the big club in Spring Training, before a freak broken big toe cost him his season. Still, look for him and Luis Severino to provide major innings in the starting rotation in 2017.

Luis Cessa/Chad Green: the young righties have made a few appearances for the Yankees as part of the “Scranton Shuttle” this season. The return for last year’s Justin Wilson trade, the former Mets and Tiger’s farmhands are both probable swingmen, joining Adam Warren in giving Joe Girardi plenty of options (and potential innings) out of the Yankee middle relief corps.

And in 2018, these kids will probably be ready to see big-league action:

Dustin Fowler: A speedster in the Brett Gardner mold, the outfielder has hit .287 with 8 homers and 20 steals at AA this year.

Billy McKinney: Yet another speedy outfielder, the left handed McKinney was part of the Aroldis Chapman trade.

Ian Clarkin: the former first round pick has recovered from a lost 2015 and become an even better pitcher. The young lefty, once compared to Ron Guidry, now has 3 off speed pitches to compliment his 97mph fastball.

Justus Sheffield: The left hander is another of the players who came back in the Andrew Miller deal.

Ben Heller: the righty reliever with a 99mph fastball was another player in the Miller trade. He has a shot to see action out of the Yankee bullpen next year, if he gets better command of the strike zone. Even so, in his first AAA action this year, he’s posted a 1.60 ERA with a 0.88 WHIP in 28 innings.

Kyle Higashioka: the catcher slugged his way from AA into a AAA promotion, and hasn’t stopped hitting yet. In 17 games at Scranton, the late-blooming Higashioka has hit .359 with 6 homers.

There’s even more talent waiting in the low minors. Kids like Jorge Mateo, Gleyber Torres, Blake Rutherford, James Kaprellian, Miguel Andujar and Kyle Holder are all considered among the 100 best minor league prospects. (Indeed, the Yankees almost have an embarrassment of riches at shortstop and catcher).

And don’t forget, the Yankees are reducing their payroll by almost $70 million by Opening Day in 2018- and that’s before current veterans (see: Brett Gardner, Brian McCann, Chase Headley) find themselves on the trade block. You know who hits free agency in 2018?  Manny Machado. Bryce Harper. Josh Donaldson. Matt Harvey. Clayton Kershaw. Jose Fernandez. AJ Pollock. Andrew Miller.

To think the Yankees won’t open the checkbook and grab a few of those perennial all-stars and fill in the blanks before Opening Day 2018 is ludicrous. Combine, say, Machado, Harper and Harvey with the upcoming crop of Baby Bombers and that’s why I’m predicting it now:

The New York Yankees will win the World Series in 2018.


Not only that, it’s going to be the start of another dynasty.


The Conventions Are Over. Let the Race Begin.


Both major parties have now concluded their national conventions. Traditionally, this is when most Americans actually begin paying attention to politics. This marks the point when what may have been a cursory delving into the upcoming election gels into a closer examination of the candidates, their positions and their histories among the general population. Everything up to this point has been debated, argued and bandied about by only the most politically active people in the country.

As a data point, consider this. In the primary elections, approximately 57.6 million people voted. That was less than 29% of eligible voters. If turnout rates simply match those of 2012, when 58% of eligible voters cast a ballot, that would mean another 57.6 million people voting. If turnout is closer to the 63% from 2008, it would mean an additional 67.5 million voters. And if turnout is the same as the last time primary participation reached as high as this year, in 1960? In 1960, 31% of eligible voters cast a primary ballot* and 67% one in the general election. An equivalent turnout this year would mean an additional 75.4 million votes cast in November.

What all of those numbers mean is this: at best, only half of the people who are going to vote this November have actually paid enough attention to this point to have participated in the electoral process. Each candidate has been able to play their base, solidify their standing  and not worry too much about attracting the votes of the rest of the country. But with the close of the conventions, that changes.

What we do have is a clearer idea of what each party intends as it’s core message for the fall campaign. For the Republicans, the message is the country is hopelessly fouled up, and only Donald Trump can save us from ourselves. The Democrats message is that things aren’t really that bad and we need the experienced hand of Hillary Clinton at the nation’s tiller.

But this year also features an electoral monkey wrench unheard of in prior contests. Both nominees are almost universally disliked, distrusted and flat-out repulsive to most of the electorate. How that plays out, in terms of messaging and voter turnout this fall, remains to be seen. It also presents third party candidates an opening unseen since Teddy Roosevelt ran as a Bull Moose over a century ago. Indeed, it is completely possible that a third party candidate could garner Electoral College votes for the first time since 1912.

The only thing certain about this year’s election is that these factors will create a race unique to our time. Prior models will almost certainly prove worthless to pundits and political scientists alike. The only relatively sure thing about this year is, it will be fascinating to watch and take part in the process.


*Note: The primary system was much different in 1960, as there were only 14 Democratic and 13 Republican primary contests held.

Enough is Enough

As Americans, it is not in our nature to demonize a segment of the population based on the actions of a few of their members. That is, of course, unless the actions of the community in general, in response to the reprehensible actions of the few, are equally reprehensible.

We have reached that point as regards the American Muslim community.

Whether by design or ignorance, it has failed to accept responsibility for the fact that it’s members are willingly  conducting acts of violence against the American public writ large. Rather than work with the authorities to identify those members who’ve espoused radical ideologies, they’ve given them sanctuary. Rather than remove leaders whose mosques preach hatred, they’ve continued to fund them, often lavishly. Rather than work to drown out the voices within the Muslim community who’ve preached jihad against the rest of us, those voices are elevated and given prominence.

As a nation, we’ve asked the Muslim community to effectively police itself. After Ft. Hood, after Boston, after San Bernadino, Americans said we want you to work with us. We said we understand there are differences in worship, but so long as you agree on the principles of life and liberty, we’ll work to overcome any prejudices.

Now, we can add Orlando to the list of American tragedies created by a member of the Muslim community. Another young man who had espoused antagonism towards his homeland for years, not hiding his views. Another young man who studied at mosques that reinforced his hatred of the United States. In his case, his imam has been caught on video telling his minions that “homosexuals should be killed to save them from themselves.”

This willful, conscious and intentional separation of the Muslim community from American society by Muslims can no longer be tolerated by the rest of us. We must remove them from our midst. Expel them, imprison them – by whatever means necessary; Muslims have demonstrated they are a cancer on the rest of the American public. They have proven to have loyalties not to the United States, but to Mecca.

Stop to consider if any other group acted towards the rest of us as Muslims have. If Catholics were an insular religion that demanded the extermination of Jews, they would be ostracized and imprisoned. If Baptists preached that anyone who wasn’t Baptist should be killed to save them from themselves, the rest of us would demand the expulsion of Baptists.

Undoubtedly, our political leaders will respond to this latest Muslim atrocity with appeals for calm and requests of Muslims to police themselves. And undoubtedly, those appeals and requests will be ignored and mocked by Muslims. Yet again, as they were after Boston. Our feckless and cowardly “leaders” will be ridiculed in mosques from Newark to Appleton, as they were after San Bernadino.

No more. Enough is enough. It is time to admit what we have been loathe to admit and accept reality. Muslims do not want to be part of the fabric of our nation. Rather, they want to be a nation within the nation and at war with the rest of us. That is unacceptable and intolerable. And for that reason, they must go.

Donald Trump is a Racist. If You Support Him, You Might Be, Too.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal. – Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

The Party of Lincoln has abandoned Lincoln in its embrace of Donald Trump. I daresay, the The Party of Lincoln has abandoned the United States of America in it’s embrace of Donald Trump.

517e261c0a7b49473b1a6fa1e954b1acThere is no other explanation. Honest Abe understood that what makes us “American” is the simple proposition that “all men are created equal.” Have we always lived up to that expectation? No. Our history is one of struggling with that ideal and overcoming the innate prejudices that animate us. From Harper’s Ferry through the Civil War, Reconstruction to Rosa Parks, The March on Washington to today, we have moved forward towards recognizing the inherent worth of all our citizens. Until now.

By selecting Trump as their standard-bearer, with his campaign rhetoric harkening back to the Know-Nothing Party of the 19th Century and a record of racist taunts and statements stretching back nearly 45 years, the Republican Party has taken a giant step back in time. If you aren’t sickened by Trump’s statements over the past ten days denigrating Hispanics, Muslims, Blacks and all Americans, then I don’t know what else to say to you. You are the same people who would have gladly posted signs in your shops announcing “Irish Need Not Apply” in the 1850’s or “No Wops Allowed” a century ago. You are the same people who would have loosed the dogs upon the marchers in Selma. You are the same people who threw bricks through the buses in Boston.

If you cannot denounce Trump and all he stands for, you must ask yourself what it is, that separates you from any other nationality in the world? You want a return to “American Exceptionalism”? Fine. But your embrace of Trump demonstrates that you haven’t the foggiest what that even is. You haven’t any idea what it is that allowed the United States to become the world’s preeminent power, what led to our economic successes and made us the envy of every other nation on the planet.

That exceptionalism lies in the fact that we’re willing to accept anyone who pledges loyalty to the Constitution of the United States of America as an American. We are the only nation on Earth that can say that. The core strength of our nation is that our nationality is not defined by where your parents or grandparents were born. We are united by loyalty to a common ideal rather than a bloodline. Our forefathers left those nations behind, as Mr. Lincoln said, to create a new type of nation – one where belief in liberty and justice for all is both our founding and guiding principle.

So if you want Trump’s overt racism as the standard for the United States of the future, understand what you’re buying into. Understand that by supporting Donald Trump, you are supporting the dissolution of the United States of America and the torching of our Constitution. Understand that you are setting in motion the end of the concept of free men.

So, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Christie, Mr. Sessions and all of the other Republican “leaders” who have jumped aboard the Trump Train: the choice laid before you can’t be more stark. You may continue to support Mr. Trump as your party’s nominee, and accept the permanent branding as racists. Or you can realize that he isn’t actually the nominee yet and totally not worthy of the Party of Lincoln, and as unceremoniously as possible dump him. The choice is yours.


How Do You Defeat Donald? Get Hillary Out

KillarDonThe other day, Hillary Clinton launched a blistering attack on Donald Trump’s foreign policy suggestions, his character and his temperament. Among some of the choice words she had were:

  • “This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes because it’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.”
  • “He says he doesn’t have to listen to our generals or ambassadors because he has — quote — ‘a very good brain.’ He also said, ‘I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.'”
  • “He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia.”
  • “He believes America is weak. An embarrassment. He called our military a disaster. He said we are — quote — a ‘third-world country.’ And he’s been saying things like that for decades. These are the words of someone who doesn’t understand America or the world.”
  • “He has the gall to say that prisoners of war like John McCain aren’t heroes.”
  • “He has said that he would order our military to carry out torture and the murder of civilians who are related to suspected terrorists — even though those are war crimes.”
  • “Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different — they are dangerously incoherent. They’re not even really ideas, just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies.”
  • “This is a man who said that more countries should have nuclear weapons, including Saudi Arabia.”

Salient points, all. Nothing about them can be disputed: the policies she attacked are all direct quotes of the Donald. There was just one problem with the entire speech.

It was delivered by Hillary Clinton.

This is the same Hillary Clinton responsible for the “Russian reset,” which has resulted in Vladimir Putin annexing parts of Georgia and Ukraine, harassing US & NATO ships and aircraft and settling into Syria.

The same Hillary Clinton responsible for starting the negotiations with Iran. The net result is that Iran will have US sanctioned nuclear weapons within a decade; weapons that we actually paid them to build.

The same Hillary Clinton who demonstrated (at the very least) horrible judgement in how she handled the nation’s top secrets. As a result of her insistence on breaking the rules and relying on a private, unsecured email system, it’s likely rogue nations like North Korea, China, Russia and others were reading classified intel in real-time. Heck, a Bulgarian hacker broke into that server in under 30 minutes, working by himself.

The same Hillary Clinton who bungled a Libya-to-Syria gun running operation, after bungling the “Arab Spring” related removal of Muammar Gaddafi, and then bungled the security arrangements of the US Consulate in Benghazi. The result? One dead American ambassador, along with three other Americans. And let’s not forget, there are still unanswered questions about why a rescue mission to save those men was never launched. The military has put that onus squarely on Hillary’s State Department.

In short, the Democrats aren’t incorrect in attacking Donald Trump as man wholly unfit for the office he is seeking. The problem is, their candidate is equally unfit for that same office. For every misstep Donald makes, Hillary has already made two. Her 44 year Washington DC record is as flawed as it is complete. And every attack she launches is easily parried with a counter-attack on her equally horrible record.

In fact, both candidates are so terrible that electing either could result in an immediate Constitutional crisis. It is a situation unprecedented in our history.

It’s also skewed the election in ways that pollsters and pundits can’t begin to sort out. But there is definitely one effect that doesn’t need to be polled to be understood: there are a lot of people who aren’t so much as supporting one candidate, as they are voting against the other. The same holds true for many of the political arena’s actors. They’ve endorsed their party’s candidate, not of party loyalty as much as pure disgust with the other party’s choice. Among Republicans, the one constant I hear regarding Trump is, “He’s not Hillary.”

I personally have my doubts about that. I look at both and see mirror images of one another. For me, Donald is Hillary. Hillary is Donald.

That being said, in the latest polling, Trump is only getting the support of roughly 1/3 of the electorate. I believe if Hillary were not the Democratic nominee, that support would crumble. Better than half of his support is of the #NeverHillary variety – those people do not support Donald and they will do anything to keep Hillary out of the Oval Office. That includes voting for someone they think is a horrible candidate.

So, it’s up to you, Democrats. If you truly want to keep Donald Trump from getting his tiny hands on the nuclear football, you’ll select someone other than Hillary Clinton as your nominee in Philadelphia. Oh, and for God’s sake:

Don’t let it be Bernie Sanders, either.

The SCOTUS Argument Debunked


Perhaps the most convincing argument coming from those who’ve decided to back up the truck to Donald Trump’s candidacy is the one regarding appointments to the Supreme Court. Even the most politically clueless individual realizes that Hillary Clinton will never nominate anyone with a conservative viewpoint. Hillary probably doesn’t even know any lawyers or professors who aren’t decidedly liberal. With one court vacancy already and the majority of the sitting Justices eligible for Social Security benefits, odds are the next President will have a once in a century opportunity to shape the Court. Certainly, nobody who cares about the Constitution can reasonably argue that a Clinton Presidency wouldn’t greatly imperil our system of government.

So the argument becomes we know what Hillary will do as regards SCOTUS, and that’s pack it with as many anti-gun, pro-abort, big government types as she can get past the Senate. Trump has at least made noises about nominating conservative justices. Who knows? He might actually keep his word on at least this subject and select people from the list he published a couple of weeks ago.

I’ll admit, that’s almost a compelling argument. Nobody of sound mind wants to see the Supreme Court packed with people who make Lenin look like James Madison. Of course, it relies on assuming that Trump will hold true to his word on this topic. And we know the old saying about assumptions… The question becomes, can we trust Trump to nominate, as he claims, a justice worthy of Antonin Scalia’s seat?

Well, no. In fact, I’m here to show that not only won’t he nominate a Scalia type to the court, but that his nominees would be every but as dangerous to the long-term health of the republic as Hillary’s. And I have two reasons I can say this with absolute, complete and total certainty.

First, one only need look at that list a little more closely. It’s a list of potential jurists that any high school junior could have put together in about 15 minutes by doing a Google search (and that’s assuming they were slow at copying and pasting). Of the eleven potential nominees, nine are politicians first, jurists second. None are considered an actual legal scholar, much less in the intellectual vein of Justice Scalia. Only three have taught law (one in an adjunct capacity only) and none taught the Constitution. Besides being intellectual lightweights, they all share two other things. The first is a trail of opinions justifying judicial activism. Their other common trait (one that frankly I applaud) is that all have struck down restrictions on the 2nd Amendment. Unfortunately, reading through their legal reasoning in doing so is at best, bewildering. Judge Sykes, for instance, is most famous for striking down Chicago’s attempt to outlaw gun ranges. (Well, in legal circles, anyway. She’s also famous for another reason). But in her opinion, she gave credence to the idea that prior restrictions on gun possession and ownership could and should be considered when adjudicating 2nd Amendment cases. In  other words, had a prior legislature outlawed firing ranges and another court upheld that ban, she would have gone along with it. Or to put it more bluntly: she would place legal precedent ahead of the Constitution. That is about as far from Justice Scalia as one can get and not end up with someone named Ginsburg.

Perusing through the other nominees’ legal opinions reveals the same sort of bent. These are not legal conservatives. They may be social conservatives, but are willing to tear the Constitution to shreds in the name of their “conservatism.” Of course, that isn’t conservative at all. That’s the flip side of the same judicial coin that social liberals have been flipping for 70 years. It’s also the sort of person Trump has consistently been throughout his life. Which is to say, one with little regard for the law – and if the law gets in your way, either ignore it or change it. A politician willing to change the law willy-nilly is dangerous enough. A Supreme  Court justice willing to ignore the Constitution in furtherance of a goal is inherently dangerous. In fact, we have one such “conservative” justice now occupying the Chief Justice’s seat, and it was his pursuit of maintaining the court’s “integrity” over the Consitutional principles it is supposed to be upholding that gave us Obamacare.

In this light, it isn’t surprising that actual Scalia-type legal scholars, who also happen to be social conservatives, are nowhere to be found in Trump’s thinking. Not one of Janice Rogers-Brown, Brett Kavanaugh or Paul Clement seems to even have been considered. I’m not even going to mention Mike Lee or Ted Cruz. We all know how Trump feels about Cruz, and putting Thomas Lee on the list seems like a sop towards Mike (they’re brothers). The point is, those are people who firmly believe in the Constitution’s delineation of powers, including restrictions on executive authority. If there’s one thing the Donald hates, it’s anyone telling him what he cannot do, especially a legal authority.

Which brings me to the second proof that Trump will not nominate a Scalia-type conservative. As you are probably aware, he is facing several lawsuits for his involvement with Trump University, about as scammy an operation as has ever operated in these United States. The one that is closest to being heard is in California, being presided over  by US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Late last week, Trump launched into one of the most hateful diatribes against a sitting federal judge in US history. It was certainly a first for a presidential candidate. In terms of political assassination of a court, the only comparable thing that comes to mind was President Obama’s singling out the Supreme Court for not bending to his will during his 2010 State of the Union.

Stop to let that sink in for a moment: Donald Trump and Barack Obama have the same regard for courts that don’t do as they want.

Of course, Trump did his best to poison the well further. He decried Judge Curiel as Mexican (he’s actually from Indiana) in his inimitable “I’m-not-a-racist-but-I-am” wink & nod cattle call. Indeed, he pushed right up to the edge of facing contempt of court charges. That he hasn’t is an example of judicial restraint, a concept foreign to Judge Trump (as is restraint in anything). But more instructively, Trump’s willingness to harangue a sitting federal judge tells us what he expects from the judicial branch of the federal government: total compliance with Trump. Comply, or face my Brownshirts. In Curiel, however, Trump’s threats probably don’t have much currency. After all, he’s faced down Mexican drug cartels in his courtroom.

Besides sending a shudder up the spine of anyone who happens to think the separation of powers provided by the Constitution is a good idea that’s worked really well, this type of behavior also lays low one of the other arguments I’ve heard. Namely, that Trump would be constrained by the both the Constitution and the grinding bureaucracy of the federal system. Trump has already subverted the second half of that argument; watching the likes of Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio licking his boots proves that. Seeing what Trump expects of a justice, and the lengths he will go to exact compliance, makes the first invalid, as well.