Friday, November 24, 2017

Child in Chief: How to for Petulance

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Five stages of Brexit

Where Brexit Hurts: The Nurses and Doctors Leaving London  Like Trump's the Brexit  campaign was built on a lie about healthcare.
Brexit, voters were told, will make $450 million more available for the National Health Service.
Not true.  The system is strained, thousands of nursing positions are unfilled, and Europeans feel unwelcome.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Time out: NFL conflicts of interest with public health efforts to prevent TBI | Injury Prevention

Another NFL Sunday of gladiatorial combat.
Time out: NFL conflicts of interest with public health efforts to prevent Traumatic Brain Injury | BMJ - Injury Prevention
  • Kathleen E Bachynski (NYU)
  • Daniel S Goldberg (U. Colorado Medical School)

  • Introduction

    A long-standing ethical challenge for public health organisations is how to manage conflicts of interest (COI) in partnerships with industry. This has been a particular concern with industries such as tobacco that produce harmful products and have a documented record of distorting health research. Consequently, in several cases, public health agencies have issued guidelines limiting industry-funded projects and collaborations to guard against COI.1
    In other cases, however, public health agencies accept industry funding. For example, the CDC Foundation is an independent organisation that connects the CDC, the US’s leading national public health agency, with private sector organisations and individual funding partners.2 The CDC Foundation receives millions of dollars from industry (eg, US$12 million in 2014) as well as other groups to support CDC projects. Whether this funding has influenced CDC research and recommendations, or whether this is a case of private companies donating money ‘in a transparent manner to do unbranded research’, is a matter of ongoing debate.3 4 Multiple studies have shown, however, that industry support of research does influence outcomes.5
    The National Football League’s (NFL) sponsorship and dissemination of research on sports-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including the league’s partnership with the CDC, represents an important recent case of troubling industry involvement with public health efforts. The NFL is a multi-billion-dollar corporation and the major professional league of American-style tackle football, a sport that involves repeated full-body collisions and high risks of injury.6 The NFL’s influence on TBI research and education is particularly salient given the prevalence of sports-related TBI, and accumulating evidence of the short-term and long-term effects of such injuries.7 Consequently, public health agencies need to consider whether and how to approach potential partnerships with professional sports leagues such as the NFL to address TBI.
    In this article, we describe several …

    Saturday, November 18, 2017

    Alexander Hamilton - 1792


    Babylon Revisited: Melancholy Thoughts After a Short Trip to Washington, D.C. – Foreign Policy

    Thomas Ricks is an award winning journalist who writes on military affairs an international relations.  His work appears on his channel  at Foreign Policy The Best Defense.

    He discusses his estrangement from Washington, D.C. and his retreat to an island in Maine.  More importantly he discusses his disappointment at the course our country took in Iraq.   For me the Vietnam war did that - see Ken Burns new documentary Vietnam.
    Babylon Revisited: Melancholy Thoughts After a Short Trip to Washington, D.C. – Foreign Policy
    by Thomas E. Ricks

    ...The Iraq War broke my heart. I never thought my country would invade a country so recklessly, with so little understanding of the culture of the place or the politics of the region. Why did not we see that taking over Iraq and insisting on American-style voting inevitably would empower Iran? Plus, we went to war on false premises. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of the unknowables. But I think that we didn’t want to know what we should have known.
    On top of that, I was powerfully disappointed by the U.S. military I saw in Iraq. I had covered it for years, both in Washington and on the ground in operations in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. I covered the armed forces objectively, but I generally had been impressed by the character and competence of our soldiers.
    So, I wondered, how could our military then operate so clumsily, so counter-productively, and at times so cruelly, in Iraq? How could the army that I had seen deal so well with the tortuous problems of the Balkans operate so stupidly as to allow soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison to taunt, torture, and humiliate their captives? Didn’t American leaders see that this angered Iraqis and inflamed the insurgency? Most of all, the fact that something so wrong occurred showed how misbegotten the whole American enterprise in Iraq was.
    In response to all that, I wrote the book Fiasco, about the first few years of our war in Iraq. Then, a couple of years later, out of a sense of obligation to stick to the story, I then wrote a sequel, The Gamble, about Gen. David Petraeus and the “surge” in Iraq in 2007. Finally, to answer my own lingering questions, I next wrote The Generals, examining the lack of accountability among senior Army officers.
    But I was finished with Washington. I had seen too many people suffer in and from Iraq. I had lost friends. I saw good reporters struggle with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. I felt some of this myself. My dreams were black, and I would awake covered in sweat. My family was unhappy. I was twisted by stress.
    In short, I no longer could see the capital’s actions as a “game.” Washington’s actions had gotten hundreds of thousands of people killed and maimed. It made me sick, and worse, made me sad....

    Chairman of conservative group with major role in picking Trump judicial nominees proposes court-packing scheme – ThinkProgress

    Chairman of conservative group with major role in picking Trump judicial nominees proposes court-packing scheme – ThinkProgress

    Thursday, November 16, 2017

    Mistrial in Senator Menendez Corruption Case

    I have from the first thought the facts - or the legal conclusions to be drawn from the facts - were ambiguous in the Menendez case as they were in the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's case in New York.  That view was strengthened when the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the definition of fraud  in the case of Governor Robert McDonnell v. United States. - gwc
    by Charles Toutant
    New Jersey Law Journal
    A mistrial has been declared in the corruption trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, multiple media outlets have reported.
    U.S. District Judge William Walls declared the mistrial at around 1 p.m. Thursday after hearing the jury declare for a second time that it was deadlocked. The judge interviewed jurors individually in chambers before calling the case a mistrial.

    Jurors said in their note that they “reviewed the evidence slowly, thoroughly and in great detail,” according to “We have each tried to look at this case from different viewpoints, but still feel strongly in our positions, nor are we willing to move away from our strong convictions,” the jury’s note said, as it was read in court by a defense attorney.
    The judge rejected calls from the prosecution to instruct the jury about reaching a partial jury verdict, in which jurors reach a decision on some charges but not all, USA Today reported.
    Thursday’s jury note marked the second time this week that jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked. Walls told the jury to continue deliberating on Tuesday after its first note declaring that a unanimous verdict could not be reached.
    The mistrial comes in the 11th week of a trial on charges that Menendez used the power of his office to aid Melgen with business and personal matters in exchange for flights on the doctor’s private jet, upscale hotel lodgings and campaign contributions. Menendez was also charged with failing to mention gifts from Melgen on Senate disclosure forms.

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    The Latest Ploy GOP Considers to Avoid a Roy Moore Senate Problem Likely Violates the 17th Amendment | Election Law Blog

    The Latest Ploy GOP Considers to Avoid a Roy Moore Senate Problem Likely Violates the 17th Amendment | Election Law Blog
    by Prof. Richard L. Hasen (UCLA Law School)
    I spent a good part of my Saturday afternoon tweeting and blogging in conversations with Hugh Hewitt about ways Republicans could deal with the Roy Moore mess.
    At first Hewitt suggested cancelling the election altogether, and letting Strange just complete the term. I protested that cancelling an election already underway (military and other absentee  voter have already voted) is profoundly undemocratic and dangerous. It also appears to violate the 17th Amendment, which requires that an appointment of a temporary Senator be temporary, and that the state schedule a replacement vote.
    Eventually Hewitt relented on this point (not because he thought it was undemocratic—indeed he seemed to believe Republicans are somehow entitled to Alabama’s two Senate seats without an election), but because he thought it would violate the 17th Amendment.
    So he hit on another idea, and according to Politico it is an idea Republican leaders nationally are now weighing:  get Luther Strange, the temporary Senator appointed to replace Jeff Sessions, to resign, and then with the new vacancy, declare this election void and start over.
    I’ll talk about the political implications in a bit, but first the constitutional issue.  Here’s what the 17th Amendment says, in pertinent part:
    When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
    When Jeff Sessions resigned, that created a vacancy. Alabama law allowed the governor to fill that vacancy and to set the date for a special election. The governor (actually the predecessor) appointed Luther Strange and purported to set the date of the replacement election. (There’s some controversy about whether he had the authority to do this). The new governor reset (or properly set) the replacement election. We’ve had the primary, and now we are in the general election.
    The governor was mandated to issue a writ of election. Because the writ of election has been already issued to fill a vacancy, the election goes forward under the language of the 17th Amendment. Temporary vacancies filled by the governor don’t change that. That’s a separate part of the 17th amendment and separate from the duty to issue the writ of election when there is the vacancy of an elected Senator.

    Whitman budget has lessons for Trump plan

    Christine Todd Whitman is a never Trumper and representative of moderate Republicanism - a long New Jersey tradition.  BUT like otherwise she was slave to the anti-tax less government, hostility government demands of the GOP base voters - and others including Democrats who share those sentiments.
    The result was that she ran successfully against James Florio by promising a 30% income tax cut.  It worked electorally but was a longer term disaster.  Jim Florio talks about the experience in a letter to the editor of the Times:
     "Learning from New Jersey's tax folly," by former Gov. Jim Florio in The New York Times: "To the Editor: The people of New Jersey have particular credentials for evaluating President Trump's tax plan. In 1994, a similar regressive tax cut proposal was enacted in our state. The billions of dollars in lost revenue were not offset by program reductions or alternative revenues. The cuts and the resultant lost revenue were financed by a policy of failing to properly fund the New Jersey Pension Fund for the next 23 years, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. The New Jersey Pension Plan is now underfunded in excess of $60 billion. It is anticipated that the current G.O.P. plan will add $1.5 trillion to our national debt. Let's not duplicate New Jersey's folly." Read the report

    Thursday, November 9, 2017

    China: Revised Regulations on Religious Affairs | Global Legal Monitor

    China: Revised Regulations on Religious Affairs | Global Legal Monitor

    by the Law Library of Congress
    (Nov. 9, 2017) On September 7, 2017, China’s State Council released a revised version of the Religious Affairs Regulations (Regulations), which will take effect on February 1, 2018; the Standing Committee of the State Council adopted the Regulations on June 14, 2017. (Zhonghua Renmin Gonghe Guo Guowu Yuan Ling Di 686 Hao: Zongjiao Shiwu Tiaoli [Decree No. 686 of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China: Religious Affairs Regulations] (Aug. 26, 2017), State Council website.) The Regulations are formulated with the stated goals of ensuring citizens’ freedom of religious belief, maintaining religious and social harmony, and regulating the administration of religious affairs. (Religious Affairs Regulations 2017, CHINA LAW TRANSLATE (unofficial translation) (limited access).) Compared to the last version of the Regulations, which were released in November 2004 and took effect in March 2005, the revised version has amended, added, and abridged several provisions on  general principles, religious groups, religious schools, venues for religious activities, religious professionals, religious activities, religious assets, and legal responsibility (Regulations.)
    General Principles 
    The Regulations specify in Chapter I that citizens are entitled to the right of freedom of religious belief. ( 2 ¶ 1.) In the revised Regulations, an article is added stating that the management of religious affairs should adhere to the principles of protecting legitimate religious activities, curbing and preventing illegal and extreme practices, resisting infiltration, and fighting crime. (Id. art. 3.) Another new article prohibits individuals and organizations from creating contradictions and conflict between different religions, within a single religion, or between religious and non-religious citizens; from advocating, supporting, or funding religious extremism; and from using religion to undermine ethnic unity, divide the nation, or carry out terrorist activities. (Id. art. 4.)
    The Management of Religious Affairs 
    (1) Religious Groups and Schools
    Under the revised Regulations, a new article asserts that religious groups are authorized to perform several functions, including assisting governments at all levels in the implementation of laws, regulations, rules, and policies; preserving the lawful rights and interests of citizens with religious beliefs; guiding the group’s religious affairs; formulating a system of rules and regulations for the group and supervising their implementation; engaging in religious cultural study; and carrying out religious education and training. ( 8.)
    Article 9 of the revised Regulations states that only national religious groups and those in provinces, autonomous regions, and directly-governed municipalities may establish religious schools, select and send students of religion to study abroad, and receive students of religion from abroad. Other organizations or individuals do not have the right to set up religious schools, select students of religion to study abroad, or accept foreign students of religion. (Id. arts. 9 & 11.)
    (2) Venues for Religious Activity
    The revised Regulations specify that venues for religious activities include temples, churches, and other fixed places. Other religious gathering places should be determined by the religious affairs departments of province-level governments. (Id. art. 19.) In order to be established, a venue for religious activity must have the necessary funds from “legitimate sources.” The configuration of the venue should also meet the requirements of urban and rural planning. (Id. art. 20.)
    Another new provision prohibits the construction of large, outdoor religious statues outside of temple and church grounds. (Id. art. 30.)

    Wednesday, November 8, 2017

    Happy Anniversary to America’s Most Corrupted Election – Foreign Policy

    Voters cast their ballots at voting booths at PS198M The Straus School on Nov. 8, 2016 in New York City, New York. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
    Happy Anniversary to America’s Most Corrupted Election –Lawfare / Foreign Policy
    by Susan Hennessy and Benjamin Wittes //Lawfare//Brookings

    It’s the one-year anniversary of the day the American public elected Donald Trump president of the United States of America. It’s also the anniversary of the culmination of an unprecedented foreign adversary operation to interfere with and delegitimize the U.S. elections. The public has spent much of the last year debating whether such an operation really occurred, the extent of possible involvement of people in the United States, and what impact it might have had on the outcome.Far less attention has focused on how we’re going to stop it from happening again.
    We previously noted the startling lack of concern demonstrated by the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, on the matter. Sessions testified before the Senate recently that notwithstanding the threat of future foreign interference, he’s not sure what the Justice Department is doing about it. It seems he hasn’t bothered to ask.
    Unfortunately, Sessions isn’t alone. Despite enduring interest in the issue of election security among the public and on Capitol Hill, the Trump administration has taken remarkably few concrete steps to counter the threat of foreign interference in 2018, 2020, and beyond.
    Below are some ideas on where the executive branch — with help from Congress — should start.
    First, it needs to disentangle pure election security issues from broader information operations or covert influence campaigns. Information operations certainly impact the broader context in which elections occur and can interact with election security issues to further undermine confidence. But they should be understood as a separate issue, with a distinct set of available solutions.
    Election security involves the more specific threat to election infrastructure and voting systems used in the management and administration of elections. Voting systems include things like voting kiosks, voter registration systems, election night reporting, and poll books (where voters check in). Depending on how broadly one construes election security, it also may involve protecting systems used by campaigns, parties, and candidates.
    The information security community has busied itself over the past year proving the alarming vulnerabilities in these systems. At the annual DefCon cybersecurity conference, it took hackers about 90 minutes to thoroughly compromise U.S. voting machines in ways that would allow them to remotely change vote tallies.
    To be clear, even if actually changing vote tallies isn’t a technical impossibility, it’s still extremely difficult to do so on the scale necessary to predictably change the outcome of a statewide or national election. The most probable actors with both the incentives and technical capacity to carry out sophisticated attacks are foreign governments. In order to successfully fix an election, they wouldn’t only have to beat forensic detection but also evade the U.S. and allied intelligence communities. The aftermath of the 2016 election demonstrated that is no easy task.

    Tuesday, November 7, 2017

    Backstabber: Trump disses Gillespie

    Friday, November 3, 2017

    “Clerking” for the Supreme People’s Court | Supreme People's Court Monitor

    “Clerking” for the Supreme People’s Court | Supreme People's Court Monitor
    by Susan Finder
    One of the unexpected influences of the United States system on the Chinese courts is the Supreme People’s Court’s (SPC) elite internship program, instituted in 2015.  (The German system of requiring law students to intern in courts, too, is an apparent influence). The word of mouth is that the SPC leadership noted that the US Supreme Court clerkships attracted top law students and wanted to do something similar in China.
    The program is a small example of “foreign beneficial experience,” about which I wrote about earlier this year. The official position on borrowing/referring to foreign legal models is set out in the 4th Plenum Decision (as I wrote earlier):
    Draw from the quintessence of Chinese legal culture, learn from beneficial experiences in rule of law abroad, but we can absolutely not indiscriminately copy foreign rule of law concepts and models.
    President Xi Jinping’s further gloss on this is:
    China shall actively absorb and refer to successful legal practices worldwide, but they must be filtered, they must be selectively absorbed and transformed, they may not be swallowed whole and copied (对世界上的优秀法治文明成果,要积极吸收借鉴,也要加以甄别,有选择地吸收和转化,不能囫囵吞枣、照搬照抄).
    Unlike Supreme Court clerkships, which are done by recent law graduates, SPC interns are generally required to be students, generally at the master’s or PhD level.  The SPC selects several dozen outstanding students (the number seems to vary) to participate in the sixth month program.  They must be recommended by their law schools (each runs its own selection process)–see this notice by China University of Political Science and Law.  Applications are made to the Political Department of the SPC (it handles personnel matters) rather than to individual judges.  The program is part of the SPC’s outreach to educational institutions and efforts to create a more elite judiciary.

    Postwar America's greatest environmentalist

    Environment, Law, and History: Postwar America's greatest environmentalist
    Tony Mazzocchi - Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers AFL-CIO!

    Thursday, November 2, 2017

    Trump: Our legal system is a "joke" and laughingstock - DOJ defends incommunicado imprisonment

    President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    Donald Trump, speaking after the truck attack in New York denounced "these animals", a term he did not use when a white supremacist carried out a similar vehicular attack in Charlottesville nor when another white madman with a rifle killed 59 and wounded 528.    Trump called the American legal system a "joke" and a "laughingstock".  At the same time the Justice Department filed a reply brief justifying holding incommunicado without charges an American citizen and asserted enemy combatant.  The case is John Doe and ACLU v. Mattis.  
    ‘Next Friend’ Standing and the Unnamed Enemy Combatant - Lawfare
    by Scott Harman
    If the court ultimately rules against the ACLU on scenario three, the executive branch will be able to detain Doe until the end of the conflict of which he was a part. Of course, such a policy would generate pushback both in Congress and abroad. The court has the capacity to mitigate the implications of, or to simply avoid, a dismissal of the ACLU’s petition for want of standing. But there is also a real chance that the case’s unique facts could lead it to become the most important detainee habeas case yet.

    Tuesday, October 31, 2017

    Compromise and the Civil War – Talking Points Memo

    White House Image result for john kelly
    Chief of Staff John Kelly continues to reveal himself not as an "adult in the room" but as a Trumpian and racist representative of the worst of Boston Irish culture.  The ilk that rioted over integration in south Boston in 1971.
    Kelly's latest is to paint Gen. Robert E. Lee as a man of principle who loved his state more than his country - something Kelly says was ordinary back then.  He also pinned responsibility on the "inability to compromise".  Josh Marshall works on that theme. - gwc

    Compromise and the Civil War – Talking Points Memo
    by Josh Marshall
    "...An even more critical driver of the South’s secession is tied to the structure of the electoral college. As I noted, for the first half of the 19th century, sectional peace was underwritten by allowing the South to dictate on the issue of slavery. More specifically, no party could hope to win the presidency without a solid political base in the South. Since the political class in the South was overwhelmingly (and eventually unanimously) in support of slavery, that meant no President who opposed slavery in any sense could ever be elected. But Lincoln won the presidency with only free states. This meant that the South’s ability to dictate national policy on slavery, at least at the presidential level, was at an end.
    It would have taken a lot longer for things to change in the Senate. But that was enough to drive all but a handful of slave states into rebellion. The more embattled slavery became, the more the South demanded a right to dictate national policy on the issue. It was an issue on which the political class in the South could accept no compromise. That’s what triggered the Civil War...."

    Monday, October 30, 2017

    China's core socialist values - Flora Sapio and Larry Cata at Forgotten Archipelagoes

    Flora Sapio and commentator Larry Cata theorize what China's leaders - the CP is undertakng- the development of a coherent theory of justice.  It is, of course, within the framework set by the nation's self-declared vanguard.  But that does not mean the undertaking should be dismissed.  It is coherent but not western liberal.  Notably absent is the liberty in liberty, fraternity, and equality.  Freedom is a much more constrained notion. - gwc

    Sunday, October 29, 2017

    James Madison’s Lessons in Racism - The New York Times

    The historian Noah Feldman - author of the forthcoming Three Lives of James Madison - Genius, Partisan, President - has a very interesting take on Madison. Apt for our age he espoused freedom for slaves, but compromised due to economic pressures, including his own. - gwc
     James Madison’s Lessons in Racism - The New York Times 
    by Noah Feldman
    When we think about the framers of the Constitution and how they handled the issue of race, we conjure up the extremes: the hypocrites and the heroes. At one end is Thomas Jefferson, who wrote that “all men are created equal” but believed Africans were inferior and fathered children with an enslaved woman. At the other end is Alexander Hamilton, who, at least as depicted by admirers like the biographer Ron Chernow and the playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, was an ardent abolitionist.

     This framing, however, is simplistic and misleading. It is simplistic because it overlooks harder-to-categorize positions like that of James Madison, the lead drafter of the Constitution, who genuinely rejected the idea of racial inferiority yet still failed to put his beliefs in equality and liberty into practice. And it is misleading because it implies that as long as we avoid having racist attitudes, we can succeed in avoiding racist policies.

    We think that if we’re not Jefferson, we must be Hamilton. But this is not the case. In this respect, Madison is the founding father who can teach Americans the most about our present contradictions on race. Madison insisted that enslaved Africans were entitled to a right to liberty and proposed that Congress purchase all the slaves in the United States and set them free.
    Yet not only did he hold slaves on his plantation in Virginia and fail to free them upon his death, but he also originated the notorious three-fifths compromise in the Constitution, which counted a slave as three-fifths of a person for purposes of legislative representation.