Saturday, June 23, 2018

Vote Against the GOP in November - George F. Will - Washington Post

Amid the carnage of Republican misrule in Washington, there is this glimmer of good news: The family-shredding policy along the southern border, the most telegenic recent example of misrule, clarified something. Occurring less than 140 days before elections that can reshape Congress, the policy has given independents and temperate Republicans — these are probably expanding and contracting cohorts, respectively — fresh if redundant evidence for the principle by which they should vote.
The principle: The congressional Republican caucuses must be substantially reduced. So substantially that their remnants, reduced to minorities, will be stripped of the Constitution’s Article I powers that they have been too invertebrate to use against the current wielder of Article II powers. They will then have leisure time to wonder why they worked so hard to achieve membership in a legislature whose unexercised muscles have atrophied because of people like them.
Consider the melancholy example of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), who wagered his dignity on the patently false proposition that it is possible to have sustained transactions with today’s president, this Vesuvius of mendacities, without being degraded. In Robert Bolt’s play “A Man for All Seasons,” Thomas More, having angered Henry VIII, is on trial for his life. When Richard Rich, whom More had once mentored, commits perjury against More in exchange for the office of attorney general for Wales, More says: “Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world . . . But for Wales!” Ryan traded his political soul for . . . a tax cut. He who formerly spoke truths about the accelerating crisis of the entitlement system lost everything in the service of a president pledged to preserve the unsustainable status quo.

"your fear of exposure is palpable" - John O. Brennan to Trump

Like former National Security Director Michel Hayden former CIA Director John O. Brennan (now of Fordham) is deeply alarmed by Trump's incompetence and dishonesty.

Friday, June 22, 2018

On respect for others

People have many aspects. They are entitled to respect for their humanity. But not for their ideas. Attitudes, like conduct, are appropriately judged. Character is rightly judged. That I respect your love for your grandchildren does not mean I shouldn't condemn your racism and ignorance. Those are both forms of respect ~ judging people on the contents of their character.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

How Facebook Envy Fuels Donald Trump - Tom Nichols - The Federalist

Donald Trump is the avatar of the triumph of the politics of resentment.  He had predecessors - Paul LePage and Chris Christie prominent among them.  But a less blustery and coded version has been a powerful theme of the Republican Party since Reagan,  if not Nixon.  Until Trump there was room for a subdued version - George W. Bush's compassionate conservatism gave us Medicare Part D and a refusal to demonize Muslims - despite the Iraq war debacle. 

Tom Nichols who is an historian at the Naval War College is a self-described stay and fight Republican.  He has an interesting take on what fuels the triumph of resentment.  Though race is a major force it is more than that. Nichols traces it to envy magnified by social media which has yileded the revolt of the comfortable. -gwc
How Facebook Envy Fuels Donald Trump  - Tom Nichols - The Federalist
I blame a lot of people for Donald Trump. (Mostly, I blame Donald Trump.) “Trumpism,” insofar as we can call it a movement, is the product of many social forces. Some of the anger that propels Trump is a reaction to political correctness and elitist condescension; some an irrational, even racist, fear of changing demographics; some understandable rage at the painful and disparate impact of globalization. And some of it is just the lousy luck that 16 other Republicans, including a batch of no-hopers, all decided to run when Trump did.
But look past Trump’s public monkeyshines, and find one emotion that especially motivates his supporters: envy. Or, to use a more evocative French term, it is ressentiment, the need to blame others for one’s own frustration and circumstances......

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How the Party of Reagan Morphed into the Party of Trump - John Harwood - CNBC

White males moved right. Just watch tonight's Trump rally in Duluth, MN.  When two white guys raised signs in protest he ordered them out, saying go home to Mama.  Entirely white nearly riotous crowd chanting Build that wall!, lock her up, and other proto-fascist favorites. -gwc
How the Party of Reagan Morphed into the Party of Trump - John Harwood - CNBC

  • Since Reagan's presidency, the demographic composition of Republicans and Democrats changed substantially.
  • From 2008 to 2017, Pew found that non-college-educated white voters went from an even split between the two parties to a strong Republican tilt — 56 percent to 37 percent.
  • Trump won the Republican nomination, and then the White House, by capitalizing on those and other changing demographic trends.

Taking the children from the mother: the feint legal basis - Deepak Gupta

Deepak Gupta lays out the argument between ACLU lawyers and the DOJ.
This enables you to figure out what Sarah Sanders is saying. Sort of.
Unaccompanied children must be protected under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.  Deportation (removal) is a civil proceeding.  But prosecutors can decide instead to indict for unlawful entry.  How to "enforce the law" is a choice.

In a steep departure from practice the Trump administration announced on April 6 its policy of "zero tolerance".  Every illegal entrant will be criminally prosecuted and subjected to punishment, not simply removed (deported).  Since the accompanying parent is now charged with a crime - not the child - the mother or father is jailed and the child detained.

Today's Executive Order continues zero tolerance and treatment as criminal any entry at other than certain designated points on the 2,000 mile boarder.  Pending trial the U.S. will detain both adult migrants and their children.  This will doubtless lead to long confinements barred by an outstanding federal court order. - the 1997 Flores Agreement.   The Order directs the Department of Justice to seek modification of the Agreement to permit prolonged detention of children during  the criminal prosecution of their parent(s).
- gwc

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Chinese Law Translation Resources

by Susan Finder
Translation Resources

Chinalawtranslate’s glossary and links to other resources;

As cited by He Fan:
translations by Chinalawinfo and WoltersKluwer;
Taiwan’s Judicial Yuan’s bilingual legal glossary;
a glossary of translation of government institutions issued by the Beijing government;
Shanghai government’s glossary;
Shenzhen government’s glossary;
Analysis by foreign scholars.

How to Translate Chinese Court Terms - Supreme People's Court Monitor - Susan Finder

How to Translate Chinese Court Terms - Supreme People's Court Monitor - Susan Finder
When I write about the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), like many others writing about Chinese law in English, I face translation issues, as legal concepts are embedded in language.  The challenge is to find appropriate legal terminology in English for PRC Chinese legal concepts, an issue that “brother” blogger and creator of blog Jeremy Daum, and more broadly, anyone dealing with the Chinese legal system confronts directly.
He Fan , head of the planning department of the SPC’s judicial reform office, prolific translator of (English language) books on the US courts, particularly the US Supreme Court, has recently written about English translation of Chinese court terminology in his Wechat public account. Earlier, the Chinalaw listserv also hosted a discussion of the translation of some specific Chinese court terms.  To bridge the translation worlds, I am summarizing He Fan’s views on the translation of court terms, with my own comments in italics. He Fan’s sources are listed at the end, as are details on how to make comments or corrections.
  1. 司法机关:  literally translated as “judicial organs,” which in English generally refers to the courts only, but in Chinese sometimes means 公检法 (public security/procuratorate/courts). Foreign journalists often have difficulty understanding this term. He Fan notes that if the term is translated as the “Judicial Branch,” it appears to mean the court system [and to an English speaker implies a system with multiple branches of government];
  2. 审判机关: He Fan translates as “Adjudicative Body,” which he says is generally accepted internationally, but in my own experience “judicial organ” is used more frequently.
  3. 审判员: he considers “judge” more easily understood (my 1993 article had a discussion of this vs. 法官);
  4. The Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China”–He Fan notes that internationally, SPC is the usual abbreviation;
  5. 地方各级人民法院: local people’s courts at various levels;
  6. “基层人民法院: He Fan notes several different usages–“primary people’s court”; “grass-roots people’s court”; “basic people’s court”; “district people’s court”–he prefers primary people’s court.
He Fan’s example: 北京市海淀区人民法院:Primary People’s Court of Haidian District of Beijing Municipality of the People’s Republic of China; abbreviated as Haidian Primary People’s Court [I would personally move “Haidian District, to before “Primary/basic level people’s court]
7. 中级人民法院”–usual translation is “intermediate people’s court.”
8.  高级人民法院:,“higher people’s court;,“high people’s court,” or rarely “superior people’s court”–He Fan’s preference is “High Court;”
9. 专门法院: He Fan notes that “Special Court” is sometimes seen but “Specialized Court” is more accurate,and won’t be mistaken for special tribunal。
  • 军事法院: “Military Court”;
  • 海事法院: “Maritime Court”;
  • “知识产权法院”译为“Intellectual Property Court”;
  • “金融法院”译为“Financial Court”;
  • “互联网法院: “Internet Court,” He Fan says some translate it as “Court for Internet,” but the usual translation appears to be Internet Court.

Internal court organizations

In his first Wechat article, He Fan splits internal court institutions into those designated by law and other ones, but this blogpost will disregard that distinction.
  1. 独任庭: single judge panel
  2. 合议庭: collegial panel;
  3. 国家赔偿委员会: “the State Compensation Committee.” I have also seen “State Compensation Commission.”
  4. 审判委员会: “Judicial Committee”,or “Adjudication Committee,” He Fan prefers “Adjudication Committee,” as it is less likely to be confused with committees created by the judiciary. My view is that “judicial committee” is used more widely.
  5. 庭:He Fan mentions chamber, division, tribunal, or “adjudication tribunal,” but he himself prefers “division,” as he considers it more accepted internationally, so:
    • 立案庭: Case-filing Division;
    • 民事审判庭: Civil Division;
    • 刑事审判庭: Criminal Division;
    • 行政审判庭: Administrative Division;
    • 审判监督庭: Judicial Supervision Division;
    • 速裁庭: Summary Division;
    • 人民法庭: but long-established practice is to translate it as people’s tribunal.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

A roadmap ~ the NYAG Trump foundation suit

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Why dangling a pardon could be obstruction of justice

Rudy Giuliani today played the pardon card as Paul Manafort was jailed, Michael Cohen wobbled, and donald Trump raved bout the unfairness of it all.
So this is a good time to post Alex Whiting's March 2018 piece.
Why dangling a pardon could be obstruction of justice

by Alex Whiting (Harvard Law School)
March 16,2018
While acting as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd reportedly discussed the possibility of presidential pardons for Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort in separate conversations with their lawyers. Reports by the New York Times and Washington Post on Wednesday suggest that Dowd’s intent might have been to influence Flynn and Manafort’s decisions on whether to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigations, but that legal experts are divided on whether Dowd’s offers could constitute obstruction of justice.
Some experts have argued that the pardon power is absolute and that the President’s motives in issuing a pardon thus could not be questioned, while others contend that it could be a crime to issue a pardon for corrupt purposes (such as in exchange for cash). But the debate over the absolute nature of the pardon power is actually not relevant to the alleged incidents involving Trump’s lawyer. Indeed, that entire debate can be set aside for the moment. Why? Because there’s been no pardon. Instead, a pardon has only been dangled before Flynn and Manafort, and the analysis of whether that action could become part of an obstruction case against Trump raises entirely different considerations.
If Trump actually pardoned Flynn and Manafort, he would have to do so publicly and accept the political consequences of this profound act. As Jack Goldsmith suggests in the New York Times story, for those who believe that the pardon power is absolute and cannot be scrutinized by courts, the remedy for a corrupt pardon is in the political arena: elections or impeachment. What’s more, if Trump actually pardoned Flynn and Manafort, then the two men could no longer assert their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination because their pardons would erase their federal criminal liability, and therefore Mueller could call both to testify in the Grand Jury and in any subsequent trial. If they continued to assert their Fifth Amendment privilege on the basis of state criminal exposure, Mueller could obtain an order granting them so-called “use immunity” which would ensure that their testimony could not be used against them in any way in state court either. Manafort and Flynn would then be compelled to testify, or risk jail for contempt of court.
The pardon dangle works completely differently—and in important respects has the opposite effects. First, this kind of dangle is not a public act. Therefore, as long as it remained secret, it could be done without incurring any of the political downstream consequences that come with actually pardoning someone. It hides the President from scrutiny rather than exposes him to it as a potential check on the use of the power. Second, the objective of the dangle appears to have been to foreclose the prospect of Flynn and Manfort’s cooperating or testifying. Once again, this is the opposite effect of an actual exercise of the pardon. The message of the dangle was sufficiently clear: hang in there and keep fighting (do not cut a deal with the special counsel) because you will be pardoned before you spend a day in jail. The President and his lawyer’s hope would have been that with the threat of jail eliminated, neither former aid would feel compelled to plead guilty and cooperate with Mueller to reduce his sentence. But, since they were not actually pardoned or not yet anyway, they still kept their Fifth Amendment privileges, and so Mueller could not simply demand they testify before the Grand Jury. In this way, the dangle could operate to stop any cooperation from Flynn and Manafort, who could then be pardoned later if and when they were indicted or even after their cases went through pretrial, trial and appeal. Indeed, you also have to put yourself back at the time these events all took place: before Manafort was indicted and Flynn pleaded guilty. That’s when the dangle could work its magic.
Because a pardon dangle is secret and seeks to discourage cooperation with an ongoing investigation without public scrutiny or consequences, it should be analyzed differently than a pardon when it comes to an obstruction case. Because of the way a pardon dangle operates, it should acquire none of the deference that might be afforded an actual pardon, and if the dangle is found to be orchestrated with a corrupt motive, it should qualify as a potential act of obstruction of justice.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Trump is a genius at touting nonexistent achievements - The Washington Post

Trump is a genius at touting nonexistent achievements - The Washington Post
by Max Boot ( Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a global affairs analyst for CNN. A best-selling historian, he is the author most recently of “The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam.”)

***The constellation of talk radio, Fox, Infowars, Breitbart (It’s English for “Der Sturmer”), devote every moment of bandwidth not spent fellating Trump to punishing and pursuing his critics. Sean Haw Haw of Fox News spends his nightly 43 minutes of airtime between commercials for catheters, reverse mortgages, stairlift, and survival food screaming into the camera like a turgid ham with a series of denunciations that would make Beria lean back and say, “Oh, easy there, tovarish.” Judge Jeanine Pirro needs only a pink hanbok to rival North Korea’s Ri Chun-hee for paint-peeling agitprop in service to Kim Jong Don.

Authoritarian states also require the sick infrastructure of informers, and enforcers, petty zampolits, petty commissars and chekists do what they do; punish deviations from the constant worship, adulation, and praise of the Dear Leader. The White House is Hobbesian snakepit, and Republican politics has become filled with denunciations of any deviation from the True Faith. When Republican National Committee Ronna Romney McDaniel tweeted, “Complacency is our enemy. Anyone that does not embrace the @realDonaldTrump agenda of making America great again will be making a mistake" it wasn't just the new normal; it was a set of marching orders to monitor, report, purge and punish any variation from Trump juche.

The entire l'etat c'est Trump mindset of today's Washington, D.C. is making Trump feel frisky, as the GOP continues to lay in the road like a dead animal, even as the buzzards of reality, conscience, and truth peck at them. Paul Ryan's utter, final moral collapse was on full display this week; now he’s pretending he doesn’t even read the news about Trump’s behavior or that of his cabinet members. Trump is unbounded, unbridled, and unhinged. Yes, some of Trump’s distractions are to cover the pendant doom of Paul Manafort, now rotting in jail for the foreseeable future, the Cohen trainwreck, and the failure of this weeks IG report to categorically demonstrate him is as pure as the driven snow and that his Russia ties were all Hillary’s fault.

But much of this authoritarian statist flirtation is because Trump wills it so. We are told to take Trump seriously, but not literally. I’m not sure we can afford to do that any longer. The President of the United States of America is an office which imposes a vast, consequential responsibility on the person who holds it to represent America's values to the world. If those values are liberty, equality, freedom, the rule of law, and the Constitution, Trump is failing on every front. If they are the values of the thug, the tyrant, the bully, the circus freak third-world tinpot? Then he’ll get his pledge pin any day now.

Remembering Richard Goodwin

Today is a deeply disturbing day when Donald Trump rants about the FBI, lauds Kim Jong Un, denounces the jailing of former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Rudy Giuliani demands Mueller be suspended - and suggests that pardons could "clean up" the Russia investigation.

David Axelrod attended a memorial service for the great Presidential speech

Thursday, June 14, 2018

et tu Comey?

Say it isn't so.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

David Simon | Tony [Bourdain]

Lost in the Twitterverse and the cluttered maze of justice, suffering from TDS, all I knew of Anthony Bourdain was his ubiquity and my brother in law's regular quips and observations about him.  A chef and travel writer...not my track.
And then he died and the flood of tributes followed.
This long, brilliant piece by David Simon (The Wire, Treme, Homicide) reports the loss of a dear friend.  Simon's compelling writing reminds me that my lawyerly mastery of the declaratory sentence is, well, not memorable.  So READ THIS.
David Simon | Tony

I was still on the sofa at four in the afternoon, still half-dressed, when I decided that my life could not be complete if I did not somehow become friends with Anthony Bourdain. My son, then a young teenager, also in his underwear, was as inert and transfixed as I was. We were both locked into the ninth or tenth consecutive hour of a Labor Day weekend marathon of Bourdain’s cultural-journey-through-food breakthrough show, “No Reservations.”
I remember the exact moment, the exact image:
The long, lanky, exquisitely sad-faced visage of a road-worn Bourdain sitting on broken pavement in a South American alley – Buenos Aires or maybe Montevideo, there is no way to be sure when twenty episodes are consumed at once — his back to a stone wall, arms crossed above his knees, watching children play at rag-tag soccer with a deflated ball. And with the older men, he is sharing Siete y Tres, the backstreet concoction of cheap red wine and Coca-Cola. And all this imagery with his narration — his exquisite writing so weighted with love for other worlds and their peoples – just washing over another delicate moment.
“This guy is so fucking real,” I remember telling my son.
“This guy,” Ethan replied, correcting me, “might be the absolute coolest person on the entire planet.”
Still prostrate before the Travel Channel two hours later, I was located by my more culturally literate wife who informed me not only that my discovery of Tony Bourdain’s greatness was belated – the man was already a phenomenon in the world of cuisine — but also that we had met and enjoyed part of an evening with him at a crime-writing convention in England some years before. Freshly boosted by the success of Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain had been trying his hand at crime fiction – a master storyteller still sampling forms before simply inventing the documentarian oeuvre for which he was perfection itself.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Three months ago Tom Nichols summed up the Trump-Kim Photo-Op

by Tom Nichols, Professor - Naval War College

The Terrible Arguments Against the Constitutionality of the Mueller Investigation - George Conway - Lawfare

The Terrible Arguments Against the Constitutionality of the Mueller Investigation - Lawfare
by George Conway (the similarity to the last name of KellyAnne Conway is not a coincidence)

In an early-morning tweet last week, President Trump took aim once again at Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but with a brand new argument: “The appointment of the Special Councel,” the president typed, “is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”
The president swiftly fixed the spelling of Mueller’s title, but he stuck with his constitutional claim, in a reissued tweet:
He didn’t explain what his argument was, or where he got it, but a good guess is that it came from some recent writings by a well-respected conservative legal scholar and co-founder of the Federalist Society, professor Steven Calabresi. Unfortunately for the president, these writings are no more correct than the spelling in his original tweet. And in light of the president’s apparent embrace of Calabresi’s conclusions, it is well worth taking a close look at Calabresi’s argument in support of those conclusions.
Calabresi has made his argument in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, on a Federalist Society teleconference and in a more detailed paper he styles as a “Legal Opinion.” He contends that all of Special Counsel Mueller’s work is unconstitutionally “null and void” because, in Calabresi’s view, Mueller’s appointment violates the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2.
The Appointments Clause distinguishes between two classes of executive-branch “officers”—principal officers and inferior officers—and specifies how each may be appointed. As a general rule, the clause says that “Officers of the United States”—principal officers—must be nominated by the president and appointed “with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.” At the same time, however, the Appointments Clause allows for a more convenient selection method for “inferior officers”: It goes on to add, “but the Congress may by law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of law, or in the Heads of Departments.”
Calabresi argues that Special Counsel Mueller is acting as a principal officer and that, accordingly, Mueller’s appointment violates the Constitution because Mueller was appointed by the acting attorney general, and not by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. In support of this broad point, Calabresi makes first a specific claim and then a more general one.
His specific claim, made at the outset of his “Legal Opinion,” is that “Robert Mueller has behaved like the 96 [sic] U.S. Attorneys who are principal officers of the United States and who must be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.” His more general, and overarching, claim is that under Supreme Court case law applying the Appointments Clause, Special Counsel Mueller is a principal officer because “because Mueller does not have a boss who is supervising and directing what he is doing.”
Calabresi’s first point—the illustrative comparison between Mueller and the U.S. attorneys—begins with a badly mistaken premise. Without citing anything at all, he repeatedly assumes, in both his op-ed and his “Legal Opinion” paper, that “Congress has specified that the 96 [sic] U.S. Attorneys are all principal officers who must be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.”  (Emphasis mine.)
This assumption is just wrong—uncomplicatedly, flatly wrong. It is true that, typically, the 93 (not 96) U.S. attorneys are presidentially nominated and Senate-confirmed. But Congress has established an alternative method of appointment. Title 28 U.S.C. § 546 provides that, until the Senate confirms a presidential nominee, U.S. attorney vacancies can be filled for up to 120 days by an appointment made by the attorney general and then indefinitely by local district courts. Such non-presidential, non-Senate-confirmed appointees are, as one court of appeals has put it, “fully-empowered United States Attorneys, … not subordinates assuming the role of ‘Acting’ United States Attorney.” And such fully-empowered, non-presidentially-appointed U.S. attorneys are not all that uncommon. Today, the sitting United States attorneys in two of the most important judicial districts in the country—the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York—were appointed by the judges of those districts under Section 546(d).

Racism and the White Soul: A Review of Reconstructing the Gospel – Chris Ladd - Political Orphans

Racism and the White Soul: A Review of Reconstructing the Gospel – Political Orphans
by Chris Ladd
Rabbi, I want to see
Mark 10:51
I was 48 years old the first time I heard a white Southern minister mention the Battle of the Colfax Courthouse. It’s as crucial to a Southern identity as The Alamo is to the story of Texas, but no one talks about Colfax.
In 1873, a white paramilitary force attacked freed slaves defending the elected government of Louisiana at the Colfax County Courthouse. Outnumbered and outgunned, the freedmen surrendered and were slaughtered on Easter Sunday. It was the first major victory in the counter-Reconstruction that spread across South, allowing whites to reestablish much of the Antebellum racial order. Good white church folk with a Bible in one hand and their “2nd Amendment remedies” in the other did their bloody work without conscience or mercy.
That story forms the backbone of Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion. A memoir of spiritual reckoning, the book is an unflinching exploration of the mental and spiritual impact of racism on white souls, written from the perspective of a passionate evangelical believer.
Under isolation from the wider Christian community and bent by violent pressure from plantation owners, a unique slaveholder religion evolved to dominate the South. Biblical emphasis on social justice was rendered miraculously invisible. In the forge of slavery and Jim Crow, a Christian message of courage, love, compassion, and service to others was stunted. For generations, messages which might have questioned the inherent superiority of the white race or challenged the power of property owners could not be taught from a pulpit at risk of life and limb. That theological legacy has yet to be confronted or reconstructed.
Former Soviet dissident, Natan Sharansky, writes of the painful “doublethink” necessary to survive under totalitarian oppression. He describes it as a psychological cleaving between the world as observed by our senses and the reality imposed by a violent, oppressive regime. Relentless pressure to maintain enthusiastic public belief in patent falsehoods creates dissonance that strains sanity. Wilson-Hartgrove describes this dissonance, played out among well-meaning white Americans for centuries, as “shriveled heart syndrome.”
Slavery is an act of war. You can’t maintain it without violence. If black people were to be kept in slavery, they had to become the enemy. That meant cutting off any empathy that arose from witnessing the suffering of a fellow human being. But you can’t shut up compassion in a human heart one minute and then go back to normal the next….Generations of committing an act of war against a group of people would have to have equally long consequences. But we’ve hardly known how to name them. Just as laws and custom are passed down, one generation to the next, shriveled heart syndrome has become part of white people’s shared inheritance.
This is the toll of “whiteness” and its essential moral compromises. Generation after generation, it degrades compassion. As time passes, the reasons and origins of this moral degradation are forgotten, but habit, culture, religion and economics perpetuate an atrophy of the soul. Though many white Americans recoil in horror at any honest confrontation of our racial history, Wilson-Hartgrove explains what they have to gain from a reckoning.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

‘The Chronicles of Nambia,’ or Why Trump Knows Nothing of Africa - The New York Times

Opinion | ‘The Chronicles of Nambia,’ or Why Trump Knows Nothing of Africa - The New York Times
by Roger Cohen

CAPE TOWN — A half-century from Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, let’s begin with his words in this South African city of mystical mountains:
“But the help and the leadership of South Africa and the United States cannot be accepted if we — within our own countries or in our relations with others — deny individual integrity, human dignity, and the common humanity of man. If we would lead outside our borders, if we would help those who need our assistance, if we would meet our responsibilities to mankind, we must first, all of us, demolish the borders which history has erected between men without our own nations — barriers of race and religion, social class and ignorance.”
That was 1966, in apartheid South Africa. How we in the United States have fallen, electing a president who incarnates ignorance, would erect walls on borders, knows not what dignity is, nor integrity, nor common humanity, nor the meaning of America’s alliances; nor even that a president’s Memorial Day message should honor the fallen, not trumpet low unemployment numbers.

Maple Syrup protectionism! Trump trade advisor Navarro rants on Fox News Sunday

Trump Trade Advisor Peter "special place in hell" Navarro carried on his denunciation of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, saying to Chris Wallace on  Fox News Sunday:
“President trump did the courtesy to Justin Trudeau to travel up to Quebec for that summit. If he had other things, bigger things on his plate in Singapore where you are now. He did him a favor and he was even willing to sign that socialist communique and what did Trudeau do? As soon as the plane took off from Canadian airspace who stuck our president in the back. That will not stand and as far as this retaliation goes, the American press makes to do a much better job of what the Canadians are getting ready to do because it’s nothing short of an attack on our political system and it’s nothing short of Canada trying to raise its protection barriers even higher on things like maple syrup and other goods.”
June 10, 2018
Peter Navarro 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

I'll know within a minute

Trump Talks Tough at G-7

Trump enters talks without expert science advisor

In the Trump Administration, Science Is Unwelcome. So Is Advice.
As the president prepares for nuclear talks, he lacks a close adviser with nuclear expertise. It’s one example of a marginalization of science in shaping federal policy.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Now he admits the lie - I did write Don, Jr.'s false statement.

The Evasion in Trump’s Response on the June 9 Meeting Statement: Did Putin Dictate the Statement? – emptywheel

The Evasion in Trump’s Response on the June 9 Meeting Statement: Did Putin Dictate the Statement? – emptywheel

I am the law - Trump's ultimate defense

Mayor Frank Hague of  Jersey City, leader of the legendary Hudson County Democratic party machine famously said "I am the law".  So too does Trump.
Herewith his lawyer's soon to be legendary January 29, 2018  letter to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

January 29, 2018
By Hand
John M. Dowd
Attorney at Law
Washington, D.C. 20015
Robert S. Mueller
Special Counsel
United States Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20024
Re: Request for Testimony on Alleged Obstruction of Justice
This letter will address the recent request by your office for an interview with the President and our discussions with you concerning the same on November 21, 2017, and January 8, 2018.
In our conversation of January 8, your office identified the following topics as areas you desired to address with the President in order to complete your investigation on the subjects of alleged collusion and obstruction of justice:
  1. Former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn — information regarding his contacts with Ambassador Kislyak about sanctions during the transition process;
  2. Lt. Gen. Flynn’s communications with Vice President Michael Pence regarding those contacts;
  3. Lt. Gen. Flynn’s interview with the FBI regarding the same;
  4. Then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates coming to the White House to discuss same;
  5. The President’s meeting on February 14, 2017, with then-Director James Comey;
  6. Any other relevant information regarding former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn;
  7. The President’s awareness of and reaction to investigations by the FBI, the House and the Senate into possible collusion;
  8. The President’s reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation;
  9. The President’s reaction to Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony on March 20, 2017, before the House Intelligence Committee;
  10. Information related to conversations with intelligence officials generally regarding ongoing investigations;
  11. Information regarding who the President had had conversations with concerning Mr. Comey’s performance;
  12. Whether or not Mr. Comey’s May 3, 2017, testimony lead to his termination;
  13. Information regarding communications with Ambassador Kislyak, Minister Lavrov, and Lester Holt;
  14. The President’s reaction to the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel;
  15. The President’s interaction with Attorney General Sessions as it relates to the appointment of Special Counsel; and,
  16. The statement of July 8, 2017, concerning Donald Trump, Jr.’s meeting in Trump Tower.
It is our understanding that the reason behind the request for the interview is to allow the Special Counsel’s office to complete its report. After reviewing the list of topics you presented, it is abundantly clear to the undersigned that all of the answers to your inquiries are contained in the exhibits and testimony that have already been voluntarily provided to you by the White House and witnesses, all of which clearly show that there was no collusion with Russia, and that no FBI investigation was or even could have been obstructed.
It remains our position that the President’s actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and thathe could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.1Nevertheless, the President’s strong desire for transparency indicated the need to obtain an honest and complete factual report from the Special Counsel, which would sustain and even benefit the Office of the President and the national interest throughout his time in office. Thus, full cooperation was in order, and was in fact provided by all relevant parties.
We express again, as we have expressed before, that the Special Counsel’s inquiry has been and remains a considerable burden for the President and his Office, has endangered the safety and security of our country, and has interfered with the President’s ability to both govern domestically and conduct foreign affairs. This encumbrance has been only compounded by the astounding public revelations about the corruption within the FBI and Department of Justice which appears to have led to the alleged Russia collusion investigationand the establishment of the Office of Special Counsel in the first place.2The Special Counsel acknowledged that he was aware of and understands this burden and, accordingly, has committed to expedite his effort.
Counsel for both sides developed an informal, confidential, and cooperative relationship to expedite the conclusion of the inquiry. It was agreed that all conversations were confidential and “off the record” so as to encourage candor and engagement as opposed to adversarial hostility. It was agreed that each side could call or meet at any time to facilitate the exchange of information. We agreed on the parameters of the inquiry and that if anything changed, the Special Counsel would notify us before proceeding.
We all remain in agreement that your office has received unprecedented access and voluntary cooperation in the collection of all documents requested from the White House3, the Donald J. Trump For President, Inc. (the “Campaign”)4, and individual witnesses5, and that our offices have developed a collegial and professional working relationship which encourages honesty and candor. Further, we all agree that your office and the Congressional Committees have received the full cooperation and testimony of both present and former White House staff members, including White House Counsel, as well as the President’s most senior advisers and his most senior Campaign employees. The majority of that information could have been rightfully withheld on multiple privilege grounds, including but not limited to the presidential communications privilege6.
We cannot emphasize enough that regardless of the fact that the executive privilege clearly applies to his senior staff, in the interest of complete transparency, the President has allowed — in fact, has directed — the voluntary production of clearly protected documents. This is because the President’s desire for transparency exceeded the policy purposes for the privilege under the circumstances. Without question, the privilege “attaches not only to direct communications with the President, but also to discussions between his senior advisors, who must be able to hold confidential meetings to discuss advice they secretly will render to the President.”7 The privilege applies and is available for the President to claim here because “restricting the presidential communications privilege to communications that directly involve the President will impede the President’s ability to perform his constitutional duty.”8
[C]ommunications made by presidential advisers in the course of preparing advice for the President come under the presidential communications privilege, even when these communications are not made directly to the President. Given the need to provide sufficient elbow room for advisers to obtain information from all knowledgeable sources, the privilege must apply both to communications which these advisers solicited and received from others as well as those they authored themselves. The privilege must also extend to communications authored or received in response to a solicitation by members of a presidential adviser’s staff, since in many instances advisers must rely on their staff to investigate an issue and formulate the advice to be given to the President.9
The privilege applies to communications authored or solicited and received by members of an immediate White House adviser’s staff who are responsible for advising the President.10