Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Actual Diamond In The Rough Won and Democrats Cannot Accept This Fact. Trump's Republican Detractors Are Embarrassed By Him. More Innovation.

Two blondes were filling up at a gas station and the first blonde says to the second, "I bet these awful gas prices are going to go even higher."
The second blonde replies, "Won't affect me, I always put in just $20 worth."

And sign of the times before PC'ism gripped our nation: (See 1 below.)


Worth a repeat: Here's a brilliant speech from the UK's Katie Hopkins. It deserves to go viral.
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Nothing Trump could ever do will satisfy the Trump haters.  FDR sought to make a friend of "Uncle Joe Stalin" and got screwed and died before he could right the course. Stalin was one of the greatest ogres the world has ever known. Churchill warned FDR who did not listen. Gen. Patton wanted to go to war with Russia and maybe he was right.  We will never know.  I suspect Patton's enemies arranged for his death.

Obama told Putin he would be more flexible and Putin walked all over him because Putin knew he was dealing with a golfing patsy.

Trump is a rough and tumble New York real estate business man who is blunt, not particularly diplomatic but pretty much lays it out and then carries through.  Putin is not dealing with a golf patsy when it comes to Trump. In fact, Trump owns golf courses. Above all, Trump is not a politician though he can be devious if that helps him move the ball in the direction he wants.

Putin has his own weaknesses and we know  his word is not good unless it is to his advantage to keep it and we have strengths Putin only wishes he had and never will, so Trump has some advantages over Putin and I am confident, with Pompeo and Bolton at his side, we will be well represented.

Will Trump accomplish what is best and in our interests perhaps if we are willing to deal? Depends on the entry price to engage in the game but for Trump not to try to have a better relationship with an adversary is nonsense.  Nonsense and buffoonery is what drove Obama, Clinton and Perry's foreign policy initiatives. Silly re-set buttons  made us a laughing stock.

The mass media would never lay it out as I have because they are interested in making heroes out of the team they root for and helped elect. Naturally, unlike the media, I want Trump to come out on top because I want my country, my president to win but I am cynical enough to try and be clear eyed and objective.  I do not hate Trump,. In fact I am pleased with most of what he has accomplished as I knew he would if he was able to do what he said. Trump's accomplishments are based on common sense not political theory that has failed time and again.

So let the Helsinki meeting take place and give whatever occurs time to reveal consequences.  The jury is still out vis a vis N Korea but the meetings were important so each leader could assess the other and, perhaps, lay some markers on the table as guidelines.

Trump reminds me of an ice breaker. Not always a pretty sight but the job needs doing, history needs to be reversed in many instances and he is willing to plow ahead against difficult odds.

As for the Democrats, and even some Republicans, they would rather remain trapped by their contempt and negativism. Democrats cannot live with the fact  they lost the crown jewels by running a zircon thinking it was a diamond.  The actual  diamond in the rough won!  As for a few recreant Republicans there are always a few sour apples in any barrel.  Paul and McCain are loners who muddy the water. Their several  female counterparts are feathery peacocks who need to plume.
Trump embarrasses them and mostly pays them little heed but realizes he needs them so he pays them lip service and that has to be galling. (See 2 and 2a below.)
More innovations from Avi and Israel. (See 3 below.)
I have consistently maintained the "trade war" would eventually resolve itself and in most instances  we would be favored.  Another highly respected investor has joined my camp:


Men Teaching Classes for Women at
By June 28, 2018

Class 1
Up in Winter, Down in Summer - How to Adjust a Thermostat 
Step by Step, with Slide Presentation.

Meets 4 weeks,   Monday and Wednesday for 2 hrs. beginning at 7:00 PM.
Class 2
Which Takes More Energy - Putting the Toilet Seat Down, or Bitching About It for 3 Hours? 
Round Table Discussion.

Meets 2 weeks,   Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.
Class 3
Is It Possible To Drive Past a Wal-Mart Without Stopping?--Group Debate.
Meets 4 weeks,   Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.
Class 4
Fundamental Differences Between a Purse and a Suitcase--Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.
Meets Saturdays at   2:00 PM for 3 weeks.
Class 5
Curling Irons--Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Bathroom Cabinet? 
Examples on Video.

Meets 4 weeks,   Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM
Class 6
How to Ask Questions During Commercials and Be Quiet During the Program 
Help Line Support and Support Groups. 

Meets 4 Weeks,   Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM
Class 7
Can a Bath Be Taken Without 14 Different Kinds of Soaps and Shampoos? 
Open Forum
Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.
Class 8
Health Watch--They Make Medicine for PMS - USE IT!
Three nights;   MondayWednesdayFriday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.
Class 9  
I Was Wrong and He Was Right!--Real Life Testimonials.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined.
Class 10
How to Parallel Park In Less Than 20 Minutes Without an Insurance Claim. 
Driving Simulations.

4 weeks,   Saturday's noon, 2 hours.
Class 11
Learning to Live--How to Apply Brakes Without Throwing Passengers Through the Windshield . 
Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined.
Class 12
How to Shop by Yourself. 
Meets 4 weeks,   Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.
2) Putin’s Aggression Is the Issue in Helsinki

Trump shouldn’t make a deal on Syria or Ukraine, or keep silent on Russia’s crimes against the West.

By David Satter

President Trump arrived Sunday in Helsinki in the manner of most of his predecessors: with little awareness of recent Russian history and in apparent confusion about what a meeting with Vladimir Putin can achieve. Reacting to concerns about Mr. Putin’s career in Russian intelligence, Mr. Trump said at a recent rally: “Putin’s fine. He’s fine. We’re all fine. We’re people.” According to a news report, White House advisers describe the Trump-Putin meeting “as a chance to reset a tense relationship.”

The tension in U.S.-Russian relations, however, is the result of Mr. Putin’s aggression, not a lack of communication. If the summit leads to formal agreements or informal deals that legitimize recent Russian actions, the aggression will become worse.

Three issues are vitally important to the U.S.: Russia’s aggression in Syria, its occupation of Crimea and support for separatists in Eastern Ukraine, and its interference in the West, including election meddling and the nerve-gas attack in Britain. In each case, Mr. Putin seeks American acquiescence.
Russia has been fighting in Syria for three years, during which it has completely changed the course of battle in favor of Bashar Assad. Reports on a possible deal, quoting Israeli, European and American experts, suggest the U.S. could accede to Mr. Assad’s remaining in power in exchange for Russian promises to limit Iranian influence.

Such an outcome would not end the Sunni-Shiite split in the Middle East, and Syrian opposition leaders have warned that a U.S. “betrayal” would create the conditions for a jihadist uprising. It would also signal acceptance of Russia’s tactic of attacking civilian targets, including hospitals, to put pressure on rebel groups. If such attacks prove successful and are tacitly accepted by the West, nothing would prevent Moscow from using them in the future.

On Ukraine, Mr. Trump has hinted that he may consider recognizing Russia’s claim to Crimea, which Mr. Putin seized in 2014. This could encourage Russia to reactivate the war in Eastern Ukraine. But the most important consequence would likely be to plunge Ukraine into civil unrest.

The situation already is very tense, the result of corruption, a lack of reform, and the absence of any serious Ukrainian strategy to end the war in the Donbas. More than 10,000 people have been killed in the war zone, and although the conflict is at a stalemate, cease-fires are constantly violated and the death toll rises. Despite an official ban on trade between Ukraine and the separatist areas, long convoys of cars and trucks loaded with alcohol, cigarettes and coal carry on illicit business, angering and bewildering Ukrainian soldiers.

Against this background, far-right groups in Ukraine that have attacked art exhibitions, gay events and antifascist demonstrations seek to exploit Ukrainian veterans’ resentment. Far-right paramilitary groups played a critical role early in the war, and some fear they could turn against the government, particularly if the West endorses Russia’s seizure of Crimea.

In the case of Mr. Putin’s crimes against the West, no deal is necessary. Mr. Trump’s silence is enough. The handful of Republican senators who traveled to Moscow early this month to protest U.S. election interference undercut their message with their presence. The Russians denied interference and changed the subject. If Mr. Trump does not raise the issue with Mr. Putin, the Russians will consider the matter closed.

Mr. Putin also wants Mr. Trump to keep silent about the attempted murder of the Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and the killing of a British civilian, Dawn Sturgess, with Novichok, a Russian nerve agent. Sturgess is believed to have accidentally come into contact with Novichok—a chilling reminder that if Russia is left free to carry out killings in the West, anyone can be a victim.

Most of all, Mr. Putin will want Mr. Trump to be silent about Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down over Eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. Last year I was asked to be an expert witness in the case against Russia, brought by relatives of the 298 victims, in the European Court of Human Rights. I was prepared to testify that although MH17 might have been downed accidentally by Ukrainian separatists, the Putin regime’s action in providing the irregulars with a weapon like the BUK-M1 missile showed a wanton disregard for human life.

This May, however, the Netherlands and Australia announced that the joint task force investigating the incident had concluded that MH17 was shot down by a BUK-M1 belonging not to separatists but to the Russian 53rd Air Defense Brigade, based in Kursk. Jerry Skinner, the aviation lawyer representing 274 relatives of the victims, determined with the confidential help of a former BUK-M1 field commander that the camera in the launcher from which the missile was fired was capable of obtaining a thermal image of the target. The two engines of a large commercial airliner like the MH17 Boeing 777 could not have been mistaken for the smaller, single engine of a Ukrainian military jet. It was also determined with the help of Ukrainian air-traffic control that no Ukrainian aircraft were in the sky within 30 miles of the Malaysian plane. The evidence suggests that MH-17 or one of three other passenger airliners in the air corridor at that time was targeted deliberately.
Russia has denied involvement in the downing of MH17, producing more than 60 alternative theories, each of which has been debunked. For the sake of international air travelers everywhere, Mr. Trump needs to raise the evidence of Russian culpability with Mr. Putin.

There are no opportunities for good deals with Russian aggression. Mr. Trump has a chance to make that clear.

Mr. Satter is affiliated with the Hudson Institute and Johns Hopkins University. His most recent book is “The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin.”

2a)Netanyahu talks to Trump before Trump-Putin summit

 “I hope they got the message," Netanyahu said of the IDF strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza over the weekend. "Otherwise they will get it in the future."

Netanyahu said that Israel will not accept a ceasefire whereby Hamas will be able to continue sending incendiary kites and balloons into Israel. 

“We will not accept any attacks against us and will respond accordingly,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who returned from meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, spoke by phone with the US president Donald Trump Saturday, just two days before the  Trump Putin summit in Helsinki.

Netanyahu, at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, said he spoke with Trump about security and diplomatic issues in  light of developments in the region, first and foremost about Syria and Iran.

Netanyahu said these issues will be raised at the Helsinki meeting, and that he discussed them with Putin.

“I thanked President Trump for his aggressive policies toward Iran, because since he took this line, we are seeing a big impact on Iran and inside Iran,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu said Trump reiterated his commitment to Israel’s security and his willingness to assist Israel in different areas.

Relating to the situation in Gaza, Netanyahu said that over the weekend Israel hit Hamas with the strongest blow since Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Netanyahu says Israel will take strong action against Hamas terrorism, July 14, 2018 (PM of Israel Twitter)

How Israeli Innovation Led to a 'GPS for the Brain'

By Avi Jorisch

Call it a different type of shock therapy. For the last 30 years, scientists have used a technique called deep brain stimulation to send electrical impulses to the brain to treat movement and psychiatric disorders. Knowing exactly where to place the electrodes, however, was always a challenge – until Alpha Omega, the largest Arab-owned high-tech company in Israel, created the industry standard for devices that act as a GPS inside the brain. Not only is Alpha Omega in the forefront of science; it is a company that embodies the rich diversity that powers Israel's culture of innovation.
Since the 1960s, researchers have used electrical stimulation to locate and distinguish specific sites in the brain. In more recent decades, scientists began using neurostimulators, often referred to as "brain pacemakers," to treat movement and psychiatric disorders using electrical impulses. But it wasn't until 1987, when French neurosurgeon Alim-Louis Benabid used deep brain stimulation to successfully target the most common movement disorder, essential tremor, that researchers realized the procedure's full power.
Scientists around the world have mapped the brain and use deep brain stimulation to reduce the effects of various diseases, from Parkinson's and obsessive-compulsive disorder to depression. Clinical trials are testing the effects of the procedure on a variety of other disorders, including Alzheimer's, Tourette's syndrome, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy and even schizophrenia.
According to Hagai Bergman, a professor at Hebrew University and one of the world's most acclaimed neurologists, more than 150,000 people have undergone deep brain stimulation. Many have been treated using medical devices produced by Alpha Omega, which Bergman says "is by far the most reliable and experienced company in the world in the area of multiple electrode data acquisition."
In the early 1990s Imad and Reem Younis, a married Arab couple from Nazareth who are graduates of Israel's premier engineering school, the Technion, began to develop proprietary tools to aid in locating the exact point in the brain to target, a problem that had been incredibly challenging. Given the obstacles the couple had to overcome – from breaking societal norms to being Arab Christians in a predominantly Jewish country – the company's rise is every bit as remarkable as its innovation.
Imad and Reem pursued neuroscience after graduating from the Technion, and in large part as a result of their interaction with Hagai Bergman and his research on the brain. In 1993, Bergman introduced the couple to Benabid, the godfather of deep brain stimulation. Eventually, the four began to collaborate. Imad got hooked because it's so rewarding. "Every time I see our devices," he says, "I am struck and say, 'Wow, this device really helps patients.'" As for Reem, helping those with Parkinson's is personal. Her father had the disease, and while he wasn't able to benefit from Alpha Omega's devices, Reem is thankful she's able to help others.
Alpha Omega devices act as a GPS inside the brain that guides doctors to the correct location for implanting a permanent electrode. Today, the devices are used in more than a hundred hospitalsand 500 labs around the world. The company's sophisticated machinery is manufactured in Nazareth but marketed by its offices in the United States, Germany and Israel, as well as by representatives in China, Japan and Latin America.
The Younises attribute their success in large part to their very diverse group of engineers: Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Muslims and Jews. "Imad and Reem Younis represent the rich diversity of the country's high-tech and start-up culture," says Israel's president, Reuven Rivlin. "They bring together all the communities in Israel with a shared vision for the future." Says Imad: "When we employ people from different cultures, we can go even farther because each one thinks differently," and this, he says, "can create innovation. We have the same father [Abraham]. We can work together to achieve common goals."
The Younises' business model is supported by research studies, which indicate that one of the biggest drivers of innovation is a diverse team of leaders and employees. But the type of diversity matters. Publicly traded companies that have both inherent diversity – based on qualities people are born with, such as gender and ethnicity – and acquired diversity, which results from life experiences, typically do better than their competition. According to McKinsey & Company, having both forms of diversity can allow companies to gain a foothold in underserved markets and encourage different types of thinking.
As the medical community discovers how to successfully treat various neurological diseases, Bergman and the Younises are now collaborating on what might be one of the biggest leaps in the history of deep brain stimulation. In 2015, they created a tool that places electrodes in the brain without human intervention. "You push the button and the system goes," says Bergman, who likens it to a driverless car. He dreams of creating devices that will replace humans for most surgery-related functions.
Being in the vanguard of their field is rewarding for Imad and Reem Younis. What's more rewarding, however, is knowing that their company has helped tens of thousands of people. As Reem puts it, "We return people back to life." There is no higher reward than that.


Having Fun, Better Debating and Why The American Ship of State Has Drifted Off Course. The Plight of Liberal Judaism. Goosing The Gander!

The above is what happens when you are having fun.

The posting below is smack on but I have several liberal friends and memo readers, including a relative, who would rather bring up FOX every time they want to win their argument.

I will now post my thoughts about why Americas's ship of state has drifted far from the route The Founding Father's must have imagined and then I will join some radicalized group and go out and protest everything Republicans stand for so I can feel good.(See 1, 1a and 3 below.)
Is the plight of Liberal Judaism broken? (See 2 below.)
Bret Stephens offers a back handed op ed why Democrats are dumb to oppose Trump's nominee, Kavanaugh..  He is correct but then Democrats, whom his op ed was written for, are uncontrollably angry at losing their power regarding their ability to direct The Supreme Court to turn everything into a social welfare decision.

Pendulums eventually swing and goose ganders and Trump cannot make "America Great Again" if the likes of Justice Ginsberg and Sen. Warren have their way.. (See 3 below.)

To Get Along Better, We Need Better Arguments

Our polarized politics keeps us from learning anything from our opponents. Here’s how to fix that.

By  Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
Both parties complain about the polarization of American politics, but what can individual citizens do about it? We can’t singlehandedly civilize the internet or force elected officials to do their jobs. What we can do is improve the quality of our interactions with people who disagree with us about contentious issues. We have to learn how to argue better.
The first step in improving the quality of our arguments is to stop thinking of them as fights or competitions. The goal of a good argument is not to attack enemies or to make opponents look silly. You can do that using terrible arguments or simply with jokes and name-calling. The point of engaging in argument is to improve our understanding of one another and of important issues. When you present a reasoned argument for your position, you help me to understand not only what you believe but also why you believe it.
Imagine that I support inheritance taxes and you oppose “death taxes.” I might assume that you’re rich and selfish, and you might assume that I’m jealous of rich people. These assumptions make our conversation frustrating and fruitless. But things are different if you argue that death taxes hurt family farms, and I counter that we need inheritance taxes to help poor and middle-class people who inherit little or nothing.
Once we begin to understand each other’s reasons, we’re more likely to stop yelling at each other. We’re able to work together to formulate a compromise that will serve both our purposes—helping the middle and lower classes without hurting family farms. We would not have known where to look for a compromise if we hadn’t clearly articulated our arguments.
Of course, arguments are not all we need. Not every audience is willing to listen to reason, and we should not expect even good arguments to convince everyone immediately. Nevertheless, good arguments can help a lot when they’re presented in the right way to the right audience. In order to achieve the goal of mutual understanding, people who engage in argument need three qualities
Be candid. If your goal in arguing is just to stir up people who already agree with you, you might be happy to use rhetorical tricks. But if you seek to improve your own understanding of a controversial issue, it’s better to state your premises clearly, admit your assumptions and spell out each step in your argument. For example, if you argue that we need a carbon tax to slow climate change, you should admit that you’re assuming that climate change is a serious and pressing problem, that higher carbon taxes will not cause too much harm to the economy and that there’s no better way to prevent the harm caused by climate change.
On the other side, if you argue that we should not have a carbon tax, you should admit that you’re assuming that climate change will not be as bad as the most dire predictions claim and that businesses will not be able to adjust to a carbon tax by developing other sources of energy. When such claims are brought out into the open, it becomes clear that both sides depend on assumptions that are far from certain. This openness about assumptions enables opponents to pinpoint precisely where they disagree and prevents allies from getting stuck in a rut when they take too much for granted.
Be respectful. It’s easy to get likes and applause on the internet by dismissing opponents as stupid, ignorant or crazy. But abuse is not argument. To argue well, you need to recognize that there are points to be made on both sides and to anticipate the strongest objections to your own position.
Be patient. Short, simple slogans are memorable, but good arguments take time. A tweet is never long enough to explain any controversial position. Just try to specify how we ought to deal with North Korea or Brexit or the opioid crisis in 280 characters. In order to make progress on such complex issues, we need to listen carefully and charitably to our opponents. We also need to learn how to argue at length and in detail for our own views.For example, if you argue that the U.S. should accept more Middle Eastern or Central American refugees, you need to face the objection that some of these refugees might be terrorists or criminals. And if you argue that the U.S. should build a wall on its border with Mexico, you need to respond to the objection that persistent immigrants will find ways to enter despite the wall. You can reply to these objections forcefully and remain fully committed to your position, but your convictions will be sharper and stronger for being tempered in the fire of worthy opposition.
In today’s political climate, we too often reward quick and catchy but bad arguments. Or else we avoid argument altogether, by interrupting each other or refusing to answer questions. Because these patterns are so common, we do not expect to be called out when we offer bad arguments, or no arguments. In order to improve our culture and to better understand our opponents as well as ourselves, we need to start demanding better arguments—from everyone.
When two of the Jewish community’s most celebrated writers, Michael Chabon and his wife Ayelet Waldman, write an open letter stating that: “Any Jew, anywhere, who does not act to oppose President Donald Trump and his administration acts in favor of anti-Semitism; any Jew who does not condemn the president, directly and by name, for his racism, white supremacism, intolerance and Jew hatred, condones all of those things,” you don’t have to look far to see why.
American Judaism is broken because the Jewish left broke it.
A tiresome fixation on “tikkun olam,” which literally means “repair of the world,” has allowed Judaism to fall into disrepair.
The phrase “tikkun olam” was quietly lifted out of context from a Jewish prayer before the Second World War to mean social justice. It was popularized in the 1970s and 1980s by radicals like Michael Lerner, who founded the extreme left-wing magazine, Tikkun.
Since then, we have been led to believe that the purpose of the Jews in the world is to campaign for higher taxes, sexual permissiveness, reduced military spending, illegal immigration, opposition to fracking, the banishment of religion from the public square and every other liberal cause under the sun — all in the name of God.
But the truth is that tikkun olam and its leftist politics have no basis in Judaism. Tikkun olam is not Judaism at all but a distinct religion, whose adherents, it might be said, have culturally appropriated this ancient faith. This religion of tikkun olam commands the allegiance of most non-Orthodox Jews (and some Orthodox ones), who make up the overwhelming majority of the American Jewish community. The dogma of this religion is appealingly simple: Judaism is tikkun olam, which is social justice, which is liberalism. The Jews are called upon to do no less — and no more — than cultivate a liberal paradise in America.
In this, liberal Jews have often had the hypocritical backing of the celebrity corps — literati, Hollywood executives, academics, politicians and financiers — who say one thing in public while, in several cases, doing unspeakable things in private.
But above all, this liberalism — this tikkun olam — teaches that the Jewish People is an outdated and chauvinistic relic, with no need for a nation-state of its own in its ancient homeland. Consequently, Jewish social justice activists help to defame Israel and weaken America’s bond with the Jewish State.
“tikkun olam president” and (synonymously) as the “first Jewish president.” He repeatedly referenced the significance of tikkun olam to his own life, nurtured by his liberal Jewish mentors in Chicago, and it was because of this commitment to tikkun olam, not in spite of it, that he was the most hostile president toward Israel in history.
But now the tikkun olam movement is in disarray. Its activists have been evicted from the White House, together with their messiah, replaced by a coalition of religious Christians and traditionalist Jews. And natural as it comes to the political exiles to oppose the new administration, these activists are discovering that left-wing social justice marches have no place for Jewish warriors.
And so the Jews have to choose between social justice and being Jewish. Chabon and Waldman have made their choice.
But there is an alternative.
A new generation of traditionalist Jews, proud of their heritage and jealous to preserve it, is unimpressed with America’s broken Judaism. These Jews know that their ancestors did not live to worship a political party nor die for faddish causes.
They recognize that the American Jewish future depends on overcoming the superficial and ignorant equation of Judaism with leftist politics. What is needed is a real Jewish renewal — a community that stands for religious liberty, not against it; affirms the alliance between America and Israel, rather than undermines it; and above all believes it is a community that has a compelling reason to persist.
It’s time American Jewry repaired itself instead of the world.
Jonathan Neumann is the author of “To Heal the World? How the Jewish Left Corrupts Judaism and Endangers Israel” (All Points Books) out Tuesday.
3) Just Confirm Kavanaugh
By Bret Stephens

With apologies to “Animal House’s” Otter, Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is not the time “a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.”
Then again, Otter’s frat brother Bluto did go on to become a United States senator, so maybe it makes sense. I refer to the decision of Senate Democrats to wage a tooth-and-nail battle to oppose Kavanaugh, an effort that is likely doomed to fail and equally likely to hurt Democratic chances in the fall. Who knew Chuck Schumer was so content with his job as Senate minority leader?
Let’s count the ways in which the Democrats aren’t helping themselves.

Kavanaugh will almost certainly be confirmed. Democrats who had pinned their hopes on flipping Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski probably aren’t going to get their wish, since both Republican moderates voted to confirm Kavanaugh to his current judgeship in 2006 and have since spoken approvingly of his nomination. Rand Paul can also be counted on to feign political independence, but he usually falls into line.

Of course it’s possible Kavanaugh will make a bad public impression, like Robert Bork. Or maybe there will be a #MeToo revelation, like with Clarence Thomas. Or maybe Democrats will figure out a way to kick a vote past the midterms. In which case, Democrats can seize their chances. For now, however, the first question Democrats ought to ask themselves is whether they really have political capital to waste on a losing battle.

Fierce opposition to Kavanaugh hurts Democrats. This was already going to be a difficult year for Senate Democrats, who are defending 10 seats in states won by Trump. Everyone knows that North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Indiana’s Joe Donnelly are vulnerable, which is why they voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch last year. Florida’s Bill Nelson is struggling, too, as is Missouri’s Claire McCaskill.

So please explain the logic of convincing Democratic voters in these states that the Kavanaugh nomination is the moral battle of our time — and then putting their senators to the choice of looking like political sellouts if they vote for Kavanaugh, or moral cowards if they don’t (and vice versa)?
Liberals always cry wolf. In 1987, the National Organization for Women declared that Anthony Kennedy would be a “disaster” for the rights of women and minorities. Yet the libertarian-minded Kennedy went on to defend abortion rights in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and cast the decisive vote for marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). In 1990, Judith Lichtman of the Women’s Legal Defense Fund warned in a Times op-ed that “Judge Souter’s confirmation must be denied” based on his evasiveness during his confirmation hearings. Over time, Souter emerged as a reliably liberal vote on the court. Similar fury greeted John Roberts’s 2005 nomination — until his vote to preserve Obamacare remade him into a consensus-oriented pragmatist.

A plurality of Americans already want Kavanaugh confirmed, according to a Rasmussen poll. The numbers will likely improve once Americans get a closer look at this temperate, intelligent, decidedly non-scary nominee. And Democrats will again play to type as mindless obstructionists and one-note alarmists — the same overheated opposition that, as the Times’s Jeremy Peters reported last month, only hardens support for Trump.

What about rallying the base? Democrats should have learned in 2016 that what counts in American politics is location, not turnout. Virtue signaling in Park Slope isn’t going to win a Senate election in Nevada. Nor will it convince Alabama Democrat Doug Jones to vote against Kavanaugh.
As it is, how much more rallying does the base need? The Trump administration provides its opponents, and even its friends, with daily extravaganzas of legitimate outrage, moral and political: breaking up migrant families; escalating needless trade wars; alienating historic allies while kowtowing to pathological dictators — and that’s just the last few weeks. Instead of knee-jerk opposition to Kavanaugh, Democrats might focus on fighting battles that must be fought and which they can win.

Kavanaugh deserves confirmation. There was a time when Supreme Court nominees were confirmed on the basis of merit, not ideology. For Democrats, that ended in 1987 with the Borking of Bork. For Republicans, it ended with the mistreatment of Merrick Garland.

Yet there’s still such a thing as doing the right thing, even in politics. Justices such as Roberts and Gorsuch deserved their seats on the court for the same reason Ginsburg and Breyer did — they are competent, conscientious judges, irrespective of how they vote. They give the court its democratic legitimacy, and its leeway for meaningful independence, by representing a spectrum of views. Democrats would help themselves, and the country, by returning to the old standard and refusing to let Kavanaugh’s confirmation become the political event of the season.

Alternatively, Democrats can proffer another futile and stupid gesture as Trump champions his manifestly qualified nominee. If someone would like to explain the political wisdom in that, I’m all ears.