Friday, July 29, 2016

Due Process Requires Counsel for an Indigent Parent in a Private Adoption Case That Would Terminate Parental Rights- Appellate Law NJ Blog

Due Process Requires Counsel for an Indigent Parent in a Private Adoption Case That Would Terminate Parental Rights


In re Adoption of a Child by J.E.V. and D.G.V., ___ N.J. ___ (2016).  In this unanimous opinion, authored by Chief Justice Rabner, the Supreme Court ruled that an indigent parent who faces the termination of her parental rights in a private adoption proceeding has a right to appointed counsel under the due process guarantee of Article I, section 1 of the New Jersey Constitution.  The Court affirmed the ruling of the Appellate Division below, which had reversed the decision of the trial court, after a two-day trial with the indigent parent appearing pro se, to terminate her parental rights.
As the Chief Justice stated, New Jersey has long gone beyond the Supreme Court of the United States in requiring appointed counsel for indigent litigants.  In state-initiated proceedings to terminate parental rights (as opposed to the private adoption here), the Law and Appellate Division found a right to appointed counsel as far back as the 1970’s, and the Supreme Court approved those rulings in a 2007 case.  The Court has also found a right to appointed counsel, either as a matter of due process or of “simple justice,” in other contexts where there is a “consequence of magnitude.”
Those cases, the fact that the right to raise one’s own child is “far more precious … than property rights,” led the Court to find a right to appointed counsel in a private adoption proceeding.  Though the State is not directly involved as a party, the termination of parental rights in a private adoption occurs in a “state-authorized action” under the Adoption Act, N.J.S.A. 9:3-37 to -56.  Chief Justice Rabner offered a compelling analysis that led inexorably to the conclusion that due process called for appointed counsel for indigent parents in private adoption proceedings.
Though this was “a case of first impression in New Jersey,” Chief Justice Rabner observed that other states have likewise ruled that an indigent parent is entitled to counsel in a private adoption matter that will terminate parental rights.  Those jurisdictions did so either by statute or as a matter of constitutional due process.
The proposed adoptive parents argued that even if there were a right to appointed counsel, the indigent parent here waived that right.  Chief Justice Rabner did not agree.  He cited the familiar rule that waiver is the intentional relinquishment of a known right, and noted that the adoptive parents “argue that [the indigent parent] waived the right to counsel at the same time they claim no such right exists.”  No one explained that there was any right to counsel, so there was no waiver of any known right to counsel.
Finally, some amici curiae argued that the Court should require, as a matter of constitutional law, that a law guardian be appointed to represent the child in a private adoption case.  Chief Justice Rabner did not reach the issue.  The Adoption Act does not require that, and the issue was not raised directly in the appeal.  He suggested that the Legislature might “consider authorizing appointment of counsel for children in private adoption cases.”  He also reminded trial judges that they have the power to appoint a guardian ad litem for children under the Adoption Act.
Accordingly, the case was remanded.  But the Court directed that the remand be directed to a different trial judge, since the original judge had “made credibility findings in the first trial.”

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down North Carolina Voter ID Requirement - The New York Times

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down North Carolina Voter ID Requirement - The New York Times
by Michael Wines and Alan Blinder

A federal appeals court decisively struck down North Carolina’s voter identification law on Friday, saying its provisions deliberately “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision” in an effort to depress black turnout at the polls.
The sweeping 83-page decision by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upended voting procedures in a battleground state about three months before Election Day. That ruling and a second wide-ranging decision on Friday, in Wisconsin, continued a string of recent court opinions against restrictive voting laws that critics say were created solely to keep minority and other traditionally Democratic voters away from the polls.
The North Carolina ruling tossed out the state’s requirement that voters present photo identification at the polls and restored voters’ ability to register on Election Day, to register before reaching the 18-year-old voting age, and to cast early ballots, provisions the law had fully or partly eliminated.
The court also held that the ballots of people who had mistakenly voted at the wrong polling stations should be deemed valid.
In the Wisconsin decision, Judge James D. Peterson of Federal District Court ruled that parts of Wisconsin’s 2011 voter ID law are unconstitutional. He ordered the state to make photo IDs more easily available to voters and to broaden the range of student IDs that are accepted at the ballot box.
The decision also threw out other rules that lengthened the residency requirement for newly registered voters, banned distributing absentee ballots by fax or email and sharply restricted the locations and times at which municipal voters, many of them Milwaukee blacks, could cast absentee ballots in person.
Judge Peterson’s sharply worded 119-page ruling suggested that Wisconsin’s voter restrictions, as well as voter ID restrictions in Indiana that have been upheld in the Supreme Court, exist only to suppress votes.

Hillary the Hawk: A History | Foreign Policy

Hillary the Hawk: A History | Foreign Policy

Thursday, July 28, 2016

There's something going on~Trump's conspiracy theories

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/13/the-four-cryptic-words-donald-trump-cant-stop-saying/?postshare=7081469615375132&tid=ss_fb

When a democracy offers "one choice": Obama's haunted celebration | xpostfactoid

President Obama placed Trump beyond the pale as a "homegrown demagogue" lumped in with fascists, communists, and jihadists".  - gwc
When a democracy offers "one choice": Obama's haunted celebration | xpostfactoid
by Andrew Sprung

One of the enduring themes in  Obama's rhetoric is to embrace the messiness of democracy: to remind listeners that 'the other side may sometimes have a point,' to urge the necessity of compromise, to affirm that people on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum share some core values.  

It was all the more striking, then, that in his convention speechlast night he placed Donald Trump outside the pale of this consensus allegedly underpinning all our battles over policy. In his 2008 convention speech, Obama praised John McCain's service to country and personal decency effusively while lambasting his polices; in fact the whole convention was structured to kill McCain with kindness. With Romney he wasmore caustic, suggesting in his 2012 convention speech that to vote Republican was to choose oligarchy. But oligarchy is on the democratic spectrum. The U.S. has always been an oligarchy to greater or less extent.

In this his valedictory paean to democracy, in contrast,, Obama asserted that there was only one choice. He ultimately placed the Republican nominee in the company of the destroyers of democracy, the nation's worst enemies: fascists, communists, jihadists. And the context in which he made that shocking but wholly appropriate charge is fascinating.

He began by evoking the "real America" as portrayed by Trump's precursor, Sarah Palin: the small town Bible belt heartland -- where ironically he, in a very real sense, came from. He then carried that "heartland" through space and time, to Hawaii and working class black Chicago and to the present -- and then to the entire world from which the U.S. draws its immigrants....

Full text and video of Obama's speech - WhiteHouse.gov

 There is a great deal to learn about rhetoric from resident Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention and the nation.   He attacked not Trump's particular positions but his fear mongering and absence of policies.  He diminished Trump by contrasting him to the best of our nation's values and the arc of Obama's own optimistic view of our history. - gwc
Full Text Of Obama's Dem Convention Speech

Hello, America.

Twelve years ago tonight, I addressed this convention for the very first time.

You met my two little girls, Malia and Sasha – now two amazing young women who just fill me with pride. You fell for my brilliant wife and partner Michelle, who’s made me a better father and a better man; who’s gone on to inspire our nation as First Lady; and who somehow hasn’t aged a day.

I know the same can’t be said for me. My girls remind me all the time. Wow, you’ve changed so much, daddy.

And it’s true – I was so young that first time in Boston. Maybe a little nervous addressing such a big crowd. But I was filled with faith; faith in America – the generous, bighearted, hopeful country that made my story – indeed, all of our stories – possible.

A lot’s happened over the years. And while this nation has been tested by war and recession and all manner of challenge – I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your President, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America....


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Breitbart Editor barred by Twitter for Leslie Jones attacks


A solution to the problem if "internet trolls" may be found in Chinese tort law - which is especially sensitive to defamation attacks on one's good name, etc.
The Times reports that
Leslie Jones, Star of ‘Ghostbusters,’ has Become a Target of Online Trolls.  Twitter has been used to send her pornography, pictures of apes, and other insults.  As a result Twitter has banned Milo Yiannopoulis, a right wing gay activist, Trump supporter, and Bretibart tech editor.  Jonathan Turley worries that this is an attack on free speech.  Twitter, in his view is the new Hyde Park speakers corner, where anyone is free to rant.  He acknowledges that he has a loosely enforced civility policy on his site.

Thanks to the 1996 Communications Decency Act Twitter is entirely free of liability for slander, fraud, misrepresentation on its service- unless the speech is the company's own.  Then it may be held liable as would any speaker.  The Act's Section 230 safe harbor provision encourages sites to have their own editing/filtration policies, while protecting network service providers from liability for negligence in their management of their sites.

In my opinion it is just fine for network service providers, bloggers, and newspapers to adopt rules and exercise editorial control.  Turley argues that allowing such speech helps us to identify and combat hateful speech.  But there is another model - the notice and takedown provision in Article 36 of the Tort Code of - the People's Republic of China.  It won't surprise you that the Chinese are particularly sensitive to insult and other offenses to "face" . - GWC



Sunday, July 17, 2016

The police murders and the Trump Campaign

There could scarcely be a better series of events for a racialist candidate than the murder of eight police officers by two Black military veterans; with the truck massacre in Nice, France as the background.   The context in which this arises is one of heightened Black protest against racism.  As Columbia professor John McWhorter points out in the Washington Post "More than anything else the reason Black Americans say that racism persists is this: it's the cops".

At just this moment the Republican nominating convention is about to name a racialist as its candidate.  He has been blessed with a convergence of FBI and left criticism of his opponent Hillary Clinton.  But nothing can consolidate his white base of support like racial violence by Blacks and Muslims.  I have assumed like others that the preposterousness of Donald Trump would be fatal. Now I'm not so sure.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Obamacare’s Kindest Critic - The New York Times

Barack Obama is his name.  He proposes fixes for the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act.  One would be to add Supreme Court justices who would reject one of the great betrayals of recent years: Stephen Breyer and Elaine Kagan's votes to strike the provision that compelled states to expand the Medicaid rolls.  
Personally I cringe at every reference to state sovereignty.  In my opinion that ended with the post-Cvil War Amendments.  I think that states should be ompelled to accept the federal government's terms.  For example I would overturn the 1995 U.S. v. Lopez decision in which the Supreme Court declared the drug free school zone act unconstitutional.  It turned states into agents of the federal government they said.  Similarly In the 2000 Supreme Court case United States v. Morrison, a sharply divided Court struck down the VAWA provision allowing women the right to sue their attackers in federal court. By a 5–4 majority, the Court overturned the provision as exceeding the federal government's powers under the Commerce Clause.  - gwc
Obamacare’s Kindest Critic - The New York Times

by the Editorial Board

History will almost surely rank health care reform as one of President Obama’s greatest accomplishments. About 20 million Americans have insurance that might otherwise have been unaffordable, and the law has cost much less than anticipated. But one senior administration official thinks the Affordable Care Act has fallen short. His name: Barack Obama.
Presidents usually wait until their memoirs to review their work. Not, in this case, Mr. Obama, who recently marked the act’s sixth anniversary with an unusual article in The Journal of the American Medical Association. Health care costs are still much too high, he wrote, and 29 million people still lack coverage. He then sketched some ideas for the presumptive presidential nominees. Hillary Clinton is likely to listen, having proposed improvements of her own. Donald Trump, not so much. He has so far adopted the “repeal and replace” position of his party....

President Obama's Aspirational eulogy for Dallas Police Officers

When the protests against police shootings in Baton Rouge and Minnesota were shattered by the murder of five police officers in Dallas, Obama will return early from Europe to address the victims of yet another mass shooting.  His eulogy for the Dallas policemen is an aspirational description of what the country can be.  It is a speech that will be appreciated more in the years ahead than it is now, as Eugene Robinson observes.
The arc of history bends toward justice as Obama is wont to say.  But it is a broken line.  There has certainly been progress since 1901 when Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington for lunch at the White House - a first for an African American leader.  Perhaps the most important thing that Barack Obama has done in this and each of the eleven eulogies for the victims of mass murders  is to demonstrate that a Black man can be the voice and conscience of the nation. - gwc

Friday, July 15, 2016

Bar Exam Language Support Course: Things we learned | St. John's Legal English Blog

Excellent obervations about training non native English speaker students for the bar exam. . gwc
Bar Exam Language Support Course: Things we learned | St. John's Legal English Blog
by Stephen Horowitz (St. John's Law School)
Professor Kathryn Piper and I just finished theBar Exam Language Support (BELS) coursethis past week and we wanted to share a few takeaways and things we learned given that this is a new course and, we believe, the first ever bar prep course at a law school that incorporates language learning pedagogy and perspective....

Thursday, July 14, 2016

This Is Not the Natural State of Things

This Is Not the Natural State of Things
by Josh Marshall
I believe generally in what Democrats believe in rather than what Republicans believe in. It informs almost everything I've written in almost twenty years as a professional writer about American politics. But both have been able to govern the country within a broad consensus of what we consider acceptable behavior. Trump represents something quite different. The kind of menace he represents is amplified by the rise of complacent instability and reckless behavior we see today in Europe, in the conflagration in the Middle East and the still distant but rising specter of great power confrontation on the borders of Russia and in East Asia. The belief that we can roll the dice with no consequences, that we can provoke and act out with no consequences is a dangerous illusion. We are indulging that illusion along with many other peoples across the globe. But there are consequences. They can come upon us suddenly, like a mugger in the dark and then multiply and spin out of control.

An Appealing Opening Address by Britain's New Prime Minister

There used to be Republicans who could give speeches like this opening address by Britain's new Conservative Party PM.   Fiorello LaGuardia and John Lindsay are two who come to mind.  Even many Democrats today fall short.  Today GOP voters have so despaired that they have given themselves over to what eminent American historian David McCulloch has called a "monstrous clown, with a monstrous ego".  - gwc
An Appealing Opening Address by Britain's New Prime Minister
by Josh Marshall
Theresa May, Great Britain's new Tory Prime Minister:
That means fighting against the burning injustice that if you’re born poor you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white working class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately. If you’re a woman, you will earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home.


But the mission to make Britain a country that works for everyone means more than fighting these injustices. If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise.


 You have a job but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home but you worry about paying the mortgage. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school. If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly. I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle. The Government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.

David McCulloch, Ken Burns, other historians renounce Donald Trump - The New York Times


Scholars Steeped in Dead Politicians Take On a Live One: Donald Trump - The New York Times
by Jim Dwyer
No one could mistake the voice of David McCullough, either in the books that have made him one of the most influential United States historians of his era, or in the documentaries he has narrated for the “American Experience” television series.
Authoritative and measured, Mr. McCullough typically strikes a tone of determined neutrality. In public appearances, he said, he deliberately avoids commentary on contemporary politics.
“Very often, during question-and-answer sessions, people ask me some question about the president or other would-be candidates,” he said in an interview this week. “I’ve always said, ‘My specialty is dead politicians.’ In that way, I could sidestep the question without getting myself involved.
Mr. McCullough, raised in a Republican home and now aligned with no party, said the prospect of a Trump presidency so distressed him that he felt he could not remain publicly detached. “When you think of how far we have come, and at what cost, and with what faith, to just turn it all over to this monstrous clown with a monstrous ego, with no experience, never served his country in any way — it’s just crazy,” he said. “We can’t stand by and let it happen. The Republican Party shouldn’t stand by and let it happen.”

United States Health Care Reform:  Progress to Date and Next Steps | JAMA | JAMA Network

From the horse's mouth.  The Affordable Care Act - denounced as a train wreck by uncounted Republicans, and minimized by critics on the left, has been an important incremental success in the struggle to extend healthcare to all Americans.  - gwc
Obama in JAMA - progess on health care 
by Barack Obama, J.D.

Abstract
***
  The Affordable Care Act has made significant progress toward solving long-standing challenges facing the US health care system related to access, affordability, and quality of care. Since the Affordable Care Act became law, the uninsured rate has declined by 43%, from 16.0% in 2010 to 9.1% in 2015, primarily because of the law’s reforms. Research has documented accompanying improvements in access to care (for example, an estimated reduction in the share of nonelderly adults unable to afford care of 5.5 percentage points), financial security (for example, an estimated reduction in debts sent to collection of $600-$1000 per person gaining Medicaid coverage), and health (for example, an estimated reduction in the share of nonelderly adults reporting fair or poor health of 3.4 percentage points). The law has also begun the process of transforming health care payment systems, with an estimated 30% of traditional Medicare payments now flowing through alternative payment models like bundled payments or accountable care organizations. These and related reforms have contributed to a sustained period of slow growth in per-enrollee health care spending and improvements in health care quality. Despite this progress, major opportunities to improve the health care system remain.

Christie Crony And BridgeGate Player To Plead Guilty To Federal Charge

At long last David Samson, former New Jersey Attorney General and key ally of Governor Chris Christie will plead guilty to federal charges.  He was appointed by Christie to head the massive bi-state Port Authority which controls New York-New Jersey bridges, tunnels, airports, ports, and owns the World Trade Center land.

Samson steered millions of dollars of business to clients of his law firm known as Woff & Samson.  His imminent disgrace was signaled last year when he first quit the Port Authority Chairmanship, then his law firm - which promptly changed its name.  He will plead guilty to lining his own pockets, and leaning on United Airlines to create a new route from Newark to his vacation home.

This scandal may cost Governor Christie his chance to be Donald Trump's running mate.
- GWC
Christie Crony And BridgeGate Player To Plead Guilty To Federal Charge
 
Citing a person "familiar with the investigation," The New York Times reported that Samson would plead guilty to using his position of power to benefit himself and his law firm, Wolff & Samson.
At the time of the so-called "BridgeGate" scandal, Samson was chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees Newark Liberty International Airport. United Airlines had begun offering flights from Newark to a small airport in Columbia, South Carolina that was near a home that Samson owned.
Samson had proposed the idea of the flight route at a dinner with United executives, according to Bloomberg News. The flight, which Port Authority officials referred to as "the chairman's flight," was dropped by United shortly after Samson resigned his post in March 2014 in the midst of the BridgeGate investigation.
Samson was appointed by Christie to head the Port Authority in 2010 and has a long history in New Jersey politics. He previously served as the state's attorney general and has worked with both Democratic and Republican governors.

Chinese Supreme Court televises all proceedings

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 2.13.22 PM
In a step our Supreme Court refuses to take, China's Supreme People's Court has announced that it will televise and stream all its hearings and oral arguments.  There are a few exceptions - capital case reviews and international arbitration reviews.  And, it is worth noting that the SPC is not just nine in robes.  The 340 judges of the SPC are a a combination of our Supreme Court and the United States Courts of Appeals.  The development is reported in Susan Finder's Supreme People's Court Monitor:
From 1 July 2016, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) is (in principle) broadcasting live all its public trials (public hearings) (better understood those from a common law jurisdiction as an appellate court hearings) on its ownCourt TV website.
SPC broadcasts also include hearings by the #2 Circuit Court (in Shenyang) and #1 Circuit Court in Shenzhen.   The technical platform is provided through Sina.com and a private company.  The SPC describes its online broadcasts as its fourth transparency platform.
Some of the cases that the SPC considers do not have public hearing procedures, such as its capital punishment review and judicial review of decisions concerning foreign and foreign-related arbitral awards.
As of 14 July, there almost 30 cases for which the videos are available, many of which involve lending, either bank or private lending and real estate-related disputes, and are primarily civil cases.  Some of the cases include:
It provides a window into the world of Chinese commercial disputes.

Rationale

SPC Vice President Jing Hanchao, who was apparently tasked with implementing this development, is quoted by the official press as saying:
the live webcasts will be significant progress for judicial openness. With full transparency of trials online, the public can better play their supervisory role.
Live broadcasts will also drive judges to strengthen their capabilities, thus improving the judicial system...
..live webcasts will create a large amount of data that will help jurists study China's legal system.
Having their advocacy broadcast on line may also drive lawyers to strengthen their advocacy skills as well.
For persons interested in the Chinese judiciary, it provides easy access to SPC court hearings, without the hassle of special permission, letters of introduction, and trips to Beijing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Justice Ginsburg crosses a line in attack on Trump

Justice Ginsburg and Donald Trump

Most of my colleagues on the New Jersey Law Journal Editorial Board has long concurred with the Supreme Court’s decision that the Code of Conduct for United States Judges does not bind the nine justices.  Chief Justice John Roberts and others have said it informs but does not control their decisions.  There is therefore no rule violation when Ruth Ginsburg, contrary to Canon 5 of the Code, declares that Donald J.Trump is a “faker” and makes other deprecatory remarks about the GOP nominee for President.

As Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said Trump is a “different kind of candidate”.  Each of us can fill in the blanks with her own view of what makes Trump different - but that he is “different” is not denied anywhere on the spectrum.  But Associate Justice Ginsburg would do better not to embrace the need to respond differently to the Trump candidacy.  She would do better to adhere to the Canon which provides “(A) General Prohibitions. A judge should not:  (2) make speeches for a political organization or candidate, or publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office”.

I understand the alarm with which Ginsburg views the candidate.  And I recognize that  by his embrace of the late Justice Antonin Scalia the candidate has incorporated the composition of the Supreme Court into the race.  The Senate Majority leader’s refusal to consider the nomination of Circuit Judge Merrick Garland until after the election has imported the issue of the Court’s composition into every race for federal office this year.  We know that the law is not a catalog of commands.  That policy and values infuse views of the meaning of the grand generalities such as equal protection, privacy, and religious freedom.  The courts are key players in defining such terms.  But we also recognize that a certain remove from the fray is a judicial virtue. Though words spoken cannot be retrieved, Justice Ginsburg would be well advised to step back and avoid any further intervention in the electoral contest.

- George Conk  
July 13, 2016

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) talks about his experience with the police //Guardian


Senator Tim Scott gives moving speech about racism he faces as a black man | US news | The Guardian
by Sabrina Siddiqui

Black Republican senator Tim Scott talked openly on Wednesday about “the humiliation” of being pulled over by police officers seven times in one year, as well as his experiences being subject to extra scrutiny in Washington as an African American lawmaker.
Scott, from South Carolina, who is one of just two US senators who are black, gave an impassioned floor speech in the wake of last week’s fatal police shootings of two black men, in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, and the killing of five police officers in Dallas.
“While I thank God I have not endured bodily harm, I have however felt the pressure applied by the scales of justice when they are slanted,” Scott said. “I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you’re being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself.”
“Was I speeding sometimes? Sure,” he added of the times he was stopped by police.
“But the vast majority of the time, I was pulled over for nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or some other reason just as trivial.”....

Guns replicate the names on the Vietnam War Memorial Every Eighteen Months

We are the most heavily armed society in history. Many embrace that as a guarantee of freedom. The death toll tells us otherwise. Guns replicate the names on the Vietnam War Memorial every eighteen months. Yet citizens vote for and courts affirm a personal right to bear arms. Today almost anyone has the right to possess what we used to call sub-machine guns. It is therefore inevitable that the slaughter will continue. Some will die at the hands of spouses and lovers. Shoppers, students, moviegoers, and policemen will randomly be slaughtered by madmen or extremists. Reduction of gun deaths to the rarity with which they occur elsewhere will not come easily or soon. Restricting rights to buy guns to those who have a demonstrated need for them is a necessary beginning that courts and voters must recognize. - gwc

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Josh Marshall: A Requiem for Bernie Sanders' Presidential Campaign - Talking Points Memo

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Why did a marginal member of Congress, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign take hold? And what does it bode for the future of the Democratic Party?  What good did it do?  And what harm?

We live in an age of anxiety.  People want jobs, not gigs; educational opportunity, not heavy debt; health care not deductibles and co-pays.

The good - and the why.  Sanders was the anti-Reagan.  For thirty five years the GOP has worked from Reagan’s premise: government is the problem, not the solution.  The Sanders campaign is its antithesis: government is good - and we need more of it: universal free health care, free college tuition and the universalization of post high school education.  Bill Clinton called for this twenty years ago; so has Barack Obama.  But they, of course, faced the wall of anti-tax sentiment.  Sanders acted like it didn’t exist or would somehow be knocked down by a “political revolution”

Let’s look at the harm next: the character attack on Hillary Clinton did damage - to her campaign and to the chances of defeating any Republican candidate.  The “corruption” issue synchronized with twenty five years of Republican slanders.  Sanders broadsides were much repeated by GOP propagandists who used Sanders as liberal corroboration for there own attacks.  The ad hominem attacks on Clinton undercut the necessity of getting out the youth vote in November. Hillary Clinton is not personally corrupt.  But she has worked within the existing system which meant compromising with certain forces: major financial players (like Goldman Sachs); catering to the Zionist vote.  And her paranoia led her to ignore norms - like sending her email from her own domain.  Her support of the right to choose, expansion of health care, and gay rights gained little traction among Sanders supporters because they take such positions for granted.

Those of us who reacted against Sanders naivete and embraced the necessity of an incremental approach punched against a rising tide of youth sentiment which rejected the Reagan model, and knew so little of the Cold War that red baiting the pinko meant little. The youth versus age divide is powerful, as the Brexit vote shows.  Young people voted Remain, the elderly leave. Now for Josh Marshall's take.  - gwc

A Requiem for Bernie Sanders' Presidential Campaign
by Josh Marshall Talking Points Memo
By endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, Bernie Sanders will finally and officially end his campaign for the presidency – and fittingly so. Was it all worth it? Political history is littered with dissident campaigns that made a splash but didn’t have much impact after they were over – Brown in ’92, McCain in 2000, and Huckabee and Edwards in 2008 – as well as those that did – Reagan in 1976, Hart in 1984, and Dean in 2004. It’s too early to tell about Sanders’ campaign, but here are several aspects in which Sanders either reinforced a trend or, perhaps, began one....

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hillary’s email scandal was overhyped.

Hillary’s email scandal was overhyped.
by Fred Kaplan
The fuss over Hillary Clinton’s email has now proved to be one of the most overhyped news stories of this overhyped news season. Look at Tuesday’s statement by FBI Director James Comey. Ignore his self-righteous, scolding tone. Read the facts he’s uncovered, place them in context, and the conclusion is inescapable: As Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland, California, there’s no there there.
Fred KaplanFRED KAPLAN
Fred Kaplan is the author of Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War.
Let’s review the numbers.
Examining the 30,000 emails that Clinton turned over, the FBI agents found 110—the back and forth of 52 email chains—that contained classified information. Of these, just eight had material that she should have known was “top secret”; 36 of them had “secret” information; and eight more had stuff that she should have known was “confidential.”
The agents also scrounged through the bits and pieces of 30,000 more emails that she didn’t turn over and found three—three!—that contained classified information: one secret and two confidential.
About those first 30,000 emails, the ones Clinton turned over, the FBI handed them out to auditors at other agencies that might have an interest in the matter, and after months of review they “up-classified” 2,000 emails to confidential. In other words, when Clinton wrote or received those 2,000 emails, she and her correspondents would have had no reason to suspect they were jotting down classified facts. But the reviewers have declared them classified retroactively. Your taxpayer dollars at work.
As anyone who’s ever had a security clearance will tell you, the labels secret and confidential mean next to nothing. When I worked on Capitol Hill in the late 1970s, the government gave me a secret clearance on my first day of work, pending the investigation into my worthiness to hold a top secret badge. As far as anyone knew, I might have been a Soviet spy, carting out confidential and secret documents every night and making copies for my handler. But they also knew the risk was low because there was nothing in those documents that the Soviets would have paid a dime for. The same is true of our various adversaries and stuff marked secret today....

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Ex-Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Sues Roger Ailes For Sexual Harassment


Irony abounds.  The Fox & Friends hostess and critic of political correctness sues Fox News honcho Roger Ailes.  A prime offender- the show's  Steve Doocy.
Ex-Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Sues Roger Ailes For Sexual Harassment
The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Bergen County, where Ailes lives. The Fox News chairman is the only person named in the suit.
According to the civil complaint, Ailes began "ostracizing, marginalizing, and shunning" Carlson when she refused to have a sexual relationship with him. When Carlson met with Ailes to discuss her treatment in September 2015, he told her, "I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago," and said "sometimes problems are easier to solve" that way, the complaint alleged.
As a "Fox & Friends" co-host in 2009, Carlson reported co-host Steve Doocy to her supervisor for fostering a hostile work environment by engaging in a pattern of "severe and pervasive sexual harassment" of Carlson, the complaint said.
When he learned of Carlson's complaints about Doocy, Ailes slammed her as a "man hater" and advised her to learn how to "get along with the boys."
Nine months later, Carlson confirmed online that she is was no longer employed by Fox.

Tony Blair's Iraq War Role Renounced~Chilcot Report

Chilcot delivers crushing verdict on Blair and the Iraq war http://gu.com/p/4nphe?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

What Republicans' Obstruction Costs Them - Jonathan Bernstein - Bloomberg View


Contrary to GOP conventional wisdom refusal to compromise - especially in a winner take all system like ours - hurts the obstructionists.  Their abolutism robs their party of victories.  Similarly voters on the far left shoot themselves in the foot.  Support for Ralph Nader yields George W. Bush.  Sanders diehards - who detest Hillary Clinton more viscerally than they despise Donald Trump - may accomplish the same sad result.  In a winner take all system power flows to the middle, not the edges.  That forces compromise.  Refusal to recognize that necessity yields isolation, anger, and defeat. - gwc
What Republicans' Obstruction Costs Them - Bloomberg View
by Jonathan Bernstein

...It isn't just that extreme obstruction is bad for the nation. It's bad for Republican-aligned groups, too. By shunning compromise, Republicans fail to use the leverage they have to win policy victories for those groups. They also, by demanding total victory and then having to accept total defeat, encourage unrealistic expectations among their constituents.

One result is that some Republicans even believe there has been too much cooperation with the Obama administration. If only the government had been shut down longer in 2013; if only Republicans had refused to accept the budget deals they have agreed to; if only they had blocked every single judicial and executive branch appointment. Then, these Republicans reason, they would have won more individual battles, and Obama’s popularity would have really tanked.

That Republican faction may well use this as an excuse if Hillary Clinton is elected. In that event, everyone expects more of the same: House and Senate Republicans will do whatever they can to oppose whatever she proposes, on big and small issues, even if a compromise might be available and in both parties' interests.

But what if that strategy is based on a wrong assumption about how U.S. politics works? Then Republicans are accepting all the costs of obstruction for mostly (or even entirely) fictional benefits.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Equal Justice USA » State courts wrestle with U.S. Supreme Court death penalty rulings. Now up: Delaware!

Equal Justice USA » State courts wrestle with U.S. Supreme Court death penalty rulings. Now up: Delaware!
by Mona Cadena
On June 16, 2016, the Delaware Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Rauf v State, a case that will decide the future of Delaware’s death penalty. This case is the latest ripple effect from the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hurst v Florida ruling earlier this year, which struck down Florida’s death penalty and impacts other states, including Delaware.

The Delaware Repeal Project, Murder Victims Family Members for Reconciliation, and Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty worked together to organize a silent vigil outside the court, and packed the courtroom in Dover as lawyers argued the constitutionality of Delaware’s capital sentencing statute. Repeal supporters from across the state bore witness to the proceedings, showing the strong support for ending Delaware’s broken and possibly unconstitutional death penalty.
Why Delaware? Why now?

In January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hurst v Florida that Florida’s death penalty was unconstitutional because it minimized the role of juries in deciding death sentences. The Constitution’s Sixth Amendment guarantees a trial by jury, but under Florida’s stricken death penalty law, the jury’s decision between the death penalty and life without parole is only a non-binding recommendation to the judge. Hurst is the latest in a series of decisions by the Supreme Court making clear that a jury, not a judge, must determine whether a crime warrants death.

Hurst matters to Delaware. Delaware’s statute isn’t a mirror of Florida’s old one, but both states, as well as Alabama’s, share qualities that make them outliers compared to the rest of the country. Delaware and Alabama (and previously Florida) are the only states where juries’ sentencing recommendations are not binding and are not required to be unanimous. That’s why the Delaware Supreme Court halted executions and active death penalty cases immediately following the Hurst decision, so they could explore the impact of Hurst on their state’s law.

During the June 16 hearing, lawyers sparred with the justices on how Hurst impacts Delaware’s death penalty, at times wading into the legal weeds of what the Sixth Amendment guarantees really mean. Predictably, the State argued that the impact of Hurst is narrow and Delaware should get back to the business of executing. Lawyers for the defendant argued that Hurst, in conjunction with previous U.S. Supreme Court decisions, renders Delaware’s capital sentencing scheme unconstitutional.
It’s a nail biter until the court rules!

It’s difficult to predict how the court will decide. Courts rule on their own time, so we have no way of knowing when the decision will come down. But we do know that these arguments were fast tracked, suggesting the court will rule in 30 – 90 days. Until then, cases stay on hold and all eyes remain on the Delaware Supreme Court.

FBI Director Comey's Unauthorized Exoneration Statement - a Two Edged Sword




FBI Director James Comey, a former  federal prosecutor, violated DOJ policy via his unprecedented announcement  that "no reasonable prosecutor" would indict Hillary Clinton for using a private email system.  But he provided the GOP with a decent video clip by calling the Democratic nominee "extremely careless"    Though he spared Clinton the worst news - indictment, of which the likelihood was always zero, he did intervene in an extraordinary way in a presidential election.

Little noticed is the unprecedented and unauthorized character of his statement - issued he says without consulting or informing his boss  the Attorney General of  the United States.  To my knowledge no such extensive statement has ever been issued by an FBI Director or a federal prosecutor.  It obviously violates Justice Department policy as described below. - gwc