Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Timeline of Trump and Obstruction of Justice: Key Dates and Events

Timeline of Trump and Obstruction of Justice: Key Dates and Events: A timeline of key dates and events related to whether President Donald Trump or other U.S. officials engaged in an obstruction of justice with respect to the Russia investigation.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

President Clinton Looks Back at President Grant - The New York Times

OTHERWISE: President Clinton Looks Back at President Grant - The New York Times

Bill Clinton's reputation has taken a lot of hits lately.  The foundation he started - though a brilliant success - was vilified because it accepted donations from foreign state while his wife Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.  Compromises were made as President - such as on criminal justice - that look worse in hindsight than they did at the time.  And of course there is his sexual dalliance with a young intern.

But his thoughtful review of Ron Chernow's new biography of Ulysses S. Grant reminds us of how thoughtful and reflective he is at his best - which is often.

Chernow's book is the most recent to rehabilitate rant's reputation.  Long slandered as a drunk and corrupt, the truth is the opposite.  He was a masterful commander, generous in victory, an advocate of the 15th Amendment and a firm supporter of post-civil war Reconstruction.
President Clinton Looks Back at President Grant - The New York Times
by Bill Clinton

President Clinton Looks Back at President Grant - The New York Times


Bill Clinton's reputation has taken a lot of hits lately.  The foundation he started - though a brilliant success - was vilified because it accepted donations from foreign state while his wife Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.  Compromises were made as President - such as on criminal justice - that look worse in hindsight than they did at the time.  And of course there is his sexual dalliance with a young intern.

But his thoughtful review of Ron Chernow's new biography of Ulysses S. Grant reminds us of how thoughtful and reflective he is at his best - which is often.

Chernow's book is the most recent to rehabilitate rant's reputation.  Long slandered as a drunk and corrupt, the truth is the opposite.  He was a masterful commander, generous in victory, an advocate of the 15th Amendment and a firm supporter of post-civil war Reconstruction.
President Clinton Looks Back at President Grant - The New York Times
by Bill Clinton

Why schools still can’t put segregation behind them

Why schools still can’t put segregation behind them: Segregation is supposed to be forbidden, but it still thrives. And it's coming back

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017

Trump’s Speech on Iran: Warmed-Over Rejectionism « LobeLog

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Trump’s Speech on Iran: Warmed-Over Rejectionism « LobeLog>>
by Paul Pillar (Senior Fellow, Georgetown University Center for Security Studies...His senior positions included National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, Deputy Chief of the DCI Counterterrorist Center, and Executive Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence. He is a Vietnam War veteran and a retired officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.)   October 13, 2017

"...Trump referred repeatedly in his speech to the “Iranian dictatorship.” There was no hint of recognition that the Iranian regime is currently one of the more democratic ones in the Middle East (and much more so than some other regimes in the region that Trump prefers to associate with). There was no acknowledgement that the JCPOA was negotiated with the government of a popularly elected Iranian president who won re-election over hardline opposition partly because of the promise of better relations, including economic relations, with the West under the JCPOA.
The misrepresentations in the speech were too numerous to catalog entirely, but one of the biggest was Trump’s assertion that “the previous administration lifted sanctions just before what would have been the complete collapse of the regime.” There is no evidence whatsoever that the Iranian regime was on the brink of any such collapse. Piling on more and more sanctions in the absence of engagement and diplomacy had merely seen the spinning of more and more centrifuges enriching uranium. This line in the speech points to the vacuity of what Trump is offering for a policy toward Iran: endless hostility and confrontation, and with it the risk of war, sustained by a baseless hope of regime change—a hope that has brought costs and chaos that the United States knows all too well."

Tired of winning, Joe Scarborough Quits GOP

The four term GP Congressman has had enough.


Torts Today: Roy Moore Led Charge Against Removing Segregation From Alabama Constitution – Talking Points Memo

Torts Today: Roy Moore Led Charge Against Removing Segregation From Alabama Constitution – Talking Points Memo Alabama’s state constitution still contains the following language: “Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race.”

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Why don't tenured professors support adjunct faculty?

There are, of course, many reasons. Full-time professors are fighting for their share of the same pot of money.   But there's more.
The Plight of Adjuncts https://nyti.ms/2yXoRKX

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

An impeachable offense

 

Constitution of United States of America 1789 (rev. 1992)
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Fallows: Pence's Anthem Stunt

Check out @JamesFallows’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/JamesFallows/status/917120642725613568?s=09

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Jesuits appeal for Puerto Rico

http://jesuits.org/news-detail?TN=NEWS-20171003045700

Brit spy's Trump dossier groes in importance

The Trump-Russia dossier: why its findings grow more significant by the day https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/07/trump-russia-steele-dossier-moscow?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger

Mark Mooney ~ his last byline

https://medium.com/@markmooney/my-last-byline-869a64f591d6

Friday, October 6, 2017

Iran deal a model for North Korea

http://lobelog.com/trumps-choice-iran-deal-model-or-north-korean-bomb/?utm_content=buffer68456&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#

Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian is a Middle East security and nuclear policy specialist at Princeton University and a former chief of Iran’s National Security Council’s Foreign Relations Committee.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Saturday, September 30, 2017

An impeachable offense:





We are a long way from impeachment as we await the Mueller report.  Though obstruction of justice looks like a lock one never knows.
There are always subsidiary counts in a bill of impeachment. This morning's POTUS tweets slandered the people of Puerto Rico.  DJT spent the rest of the day covering his ass - praising  himself, the troops, the Governor and other Puerto Rican leaders for their efforts to recover from Hurricane Maria.

But the message above was not retracted.  The President is charged under the Constitution with the duty to "faithfully execute" the laws.  Under the 14th Amendment every person born or naturalized in the U,S is entitled to the equal protection of the law.  The President's remarks this morning breach that duty. - GWC

Friday, September 29, 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

When Dorothy Day took a knee | America Magazine

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Linking of faith and flag goes back a long way.  The seal of Fordham says IHS.  that means In hoc signo vinces - In this sign you will conquer - the sign of the Cross.  That is said to have been the vision of the Emperor Constantine before the year 314 Battle of Milvian Bridge.  He did conquer and Christianity became the  religion of the  Roman empire.  Our emblem no longer evokes the military image, but that is its origin. - gwc
When Dorothy Day took a knee | America Magazine
by Robert Ellsberg

Ammon Hennacy, a courageous activist who joined the Catholic Worker in the 1950s, said he was inspired to become a Catholic by the example of Dorothy Day. Specifically, he referred to an occasion during Mass when the organist began to play “The Star Spangled Banner.” As everyone else stood up, Dorothy dropped to her knees in prayer. Dorothy did not like that story; she did not think that was the right reason to become a Catholic. But she did not dispute Ammon’s account. In his view, Dorothy’s action represented a courageous repudiation of the blurring of cross and flag (and sword) that went all the way back to Constantine.
I thought of Dorothy when I saw images of N.F.L. players “taking a knee” in protest during pre-game renditions of the national anthem this past weekend. Of course, the context is very different. Possibly, the players, who were protesting racism and making a gesture of defiance against a president’s provocative appeals to white nationalist grievance, did not exactly think that they were “praying.” But the symbolism of dropping to a knee in the midst of a patriotic ceremony would not be lost on Dorothy. Though not really a football fan, she would surely have understood and honored their protest.***

Fordham/SEIU Agree on Union Election for Adjunct Faculty


Office of the President
Fordham University
September 27, 2017

Dear Members of the University Community:

I am very pleased to announce that the University and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 200 United reached an agreement to allow a mail ballot election to unionize most adjunct and full-time, non-tenure track faculty, following a summer of intense negotiations.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will supervise the election over a two week voting period, likely in October 2017. Any disputes which may arise regarding the election process will be decided by an arbitrator selected by the parties.
Fordham has agreed to remain neutral during the election: the University, and by extension its management (any University officer, administrator, supervisor, designee, or agent), is restricted from favoring one side or the other in the weeks leading up to the election and through the two-week election period.

If SEIU wins the election, the University and the union will begin negotiations for two separate collective bargaining agreements.
Those eligible to vote in the election include: all adjunct faculty except those who teach in the Gabelli School (undergraduate and graduate) and the Graduate School of Education; and all full-time non-tenured track (FT-NTT) faculty except visiting professors (all ranks), artists or writers in residence, and research fellows. There are some additional exclusions, including adjunct or FT-NTT who teach only online courses or non-credit bearing courses, and adjuncts who also serve as administrators for the University. Law School faculty are not participating in the election. 

Approximately 700 adjunct and 150 FT-NTT faculty will comprise the pool of 850 eligible voters. The 850 faculty include those contingent faculty who were employed in the spring of 2017 or who are currently teaching for us. SEIU must receive a simple majority of the votes cast to proceed with unionization. The University strongly encourages everyone eligible to vote in this election to do so.

We will share further information with the University community, including the affected parties, very soon, including rules governing the election, voting procedures, and contact information for SEIU representatives. Here are the so-called  TIPS Guidelines for fair labor practices.

Sincerely,

Joseph M. McShane, S.J.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Early opposition to The Vietnam War = Episode 3 = Burns & Novick

Image result for international daysof protest
My first demonstration
The 2d Internationl Days of Protest

Image result for ia drang valley 

Image result for ia drang valley
The battlefield  of the Ia Drang Valley - 1965
Episode 3 of the Burns and Novick epic documentary on the Vietnam War brings us to the commitment of two hundred thousand American ground troops in 1965.  I was a cloistered college student at the time.  But I had a sense of the criminality of our effort.  That is captured by  the memo of then Assistant Secretary of Defense John McNaughton describing our purpose as 70% avoid humiliation, 20% contain China, 10% help Vietnam.

Holy Cross College was not Berkeley.  But one day at Kimball Hall - where we checked our mail - was a group of people from the Catholic Worker movement, the communitarian pacifist group led by Dorothy Day.   They spurred vigorous debate.  What got my attention was that David Miller a Catholic Worker from Syracuse had challenged federal law by burning his draft card. He said, “I believe the napalming of villages is an immoral act. I hope this will be a significant political act, so here.” Miller was arrested, tried, and convicted.  The conviction was affirmed on appeal despite the argument of his eminent ACLU lawyer Marvin Karpatkin that burning the draft card was protected expressive speech.  

I began to regularly attend the Friday night talks at The Phoenix Club's store front on the fraying east end of Main Street in Worcester.  I remember hearing Frank Wilkinson who had been jailed for refusing to answer the notorious question "are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party".  He refused to answer citing the first amendment and went to jail for it.  He spent the rest of his days trying to shut down the House Un-American Actvitiies Committee.

Another Phoenix speaker was Jesuit Fr. Robert Drinan , the Boston College Law School Dean who would in 1970 join Congress on an anti-war platform.  But the most memorable talk was by David McReynolds of the pacifist War Resisters League.  After his talk we went back to the home of the eccentric Abbie Hoffman, a founder of the Berkeley  Vietnam Day Committee which organized the first mass protests against the war.  We watched black and white hand-held film  of protesters blocking troop trains at the Oakland Army Terminal.  We saw footage too of the thousands who in October had joined the International Days of Protest.  I was very impressed by the international aspect which to me added legitimacy.

So I joined the second International Day of Protest in March 1966.  With thirty or so others  I marched in a circle in front of the War Memorial Auditorium.  We carried signs protesting the war.  Confronted by a similarly sized group denouncing us as communists, and threatening violence, the leaders instructed us to put down the signs and disperse.  As I headed through the hostile crowd a fellow student was punched by a man with what we called brass knuckles that tore his face open.  He needed surgery and I am sure he carries the scar to this day.

A year later momentum had shifted against the war.  Instead of joining a modest group of picketers threatened by an angry mob, I met my girlfriend in New York for the massive April 1967 demonstration featuring Rev. Martin Luther King.  We never did get to Dag Hammerskjold Plaza to hear Dr. King's speech because a cloudburst sent us scurrying for cover.

Two decades of work in the anti-war movement, and then the nuclear arms control movement would follow.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Riding the Tiger = The Vietnam War - episode 2 : by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick

American soliders on the back of a jeep
The Vietnam War: A film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick
The Vietnam War
Episode 2 - Riding the tiger
Apropos 1961-1963 they opened with So What, from the Miles Davis classic album Kind of Blue.
Burns and Novick draw substantially on Neil Sheehan. He was a `gung ho' reporter, like David Halberstam, hopping on helicopters in the pre-embedding news control days. There was, at first, no critical distance. They were on the team.
Sheehan was one of that now almost extinct breed - the Ivy Leaguer who headed to the officer corps. (Though Yale restored Navy and Air Force ROTC in 2012).
David Halberstam and Daniel Ellsberg were of the same cohort. In 1971 Sheehan
obtained what became known as the Pentagon Papers which brought the Times a Pulitzer Prize.
Sheehan's principal book is the best take on the war, i/m/h/o: A Bright Shining Lie = John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. It views the war though the vision of Vann, a brilliant and fearless soldier who, though tragically wedded to victory in Vietnam, saw the seeds of defeat where the body counters saw victory.
Daniel Ellsberg, in a post-Tet letter to Vann wrote about the NLF losses "My own attitude about such matters now is that the VC are right to bet that the GVN and U.S. will fail to exploit ​any such `opportunities' and fanaics like you, me (before) and our friends were always wrong to imagine otherwise."
Episode 2 -
George Conk

Catholics - The Vietnam War: A film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick

An American solider showing Vietnamese soldiers how to use a mortar
The Vietnam War: A film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick
Episode 1

The Catholic angle was interesting.  As elsewhere - e.g. China - the converts were presumed to be collaborators and often were.  Diem was an exception there and his Catholicism was part of the reason Catholics rallied to the U.S. cause, though any intense anti-communist was pushing through an open door.

Kennedy's shift from rejection to engagement may have flowed from his Catholic identity.  Every week at mass there was a last prayer - for the conversion of Russia.  Among Catholics an American Navy doctor was much celebrated.  His books Deliver us From Evil and the Night They burned the Mountain were best sellers.  He declared the two greatest evils in the world to be disease and communism.  He served in the effort described to bring fleeing Catholics from the North after partition.  Dooley was forced out of the Navy when his homosexuality became known.  He then set up the jungle clinic which helped to establish his mystique. - gwc

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Chemerinsky brief argues Trump's pardon of Arpaio is void

Chemerinsky brief argues Trump's pardon of Arpaio is void
Updated: A proposed amicus brief filed Monday argues that President Donald Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is void because it violates the Constitution. The brief (PDF) was submitted to a federal judge in Phoenix who is considering whether the pardon, issued before Arpaio had a chance to appeal his contempt conviction, requires her to vacate the conviction, Law.com (sub. req.) reports.

Arpaio was found guilty of contempt for violating a federal judge’s order to stop detaining citizens based only on a suspicion they were in the country illegally. Trump pardoned Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, on Aug. 25.
On one side is the U.S. Justice Department, which is urging U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton to vacate all orders in the case and dismiss it as moot.

The Resegregation of Jefferson County - The New York Times

What we call the "but for test" demonstrates that but for slavery and the American system of apartheid known under the sanitized name "Jim Crow" white people would not be trying to escape Black schools and neighborhoods.
The complexity of resisting the resegregation movement turns on the difficult question "whose burden is it to correct the historical error of America's original sin. - GWC
The Resegregation of Jefferson County - The New York Times


Jefferson county resegregstes

The Resegregation of Jefferson County https://nyti.ms/2xNZUBJ

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

More Thoughts on the Intra-Democratic Divide – Talking Points Memo

There is a well embedded meme that the way for the Democrats to win is to go back to "Black and white unite and fight" - that is appeal to working class solidarity.  That hasn't worked out so well in the past.  And it's even harder with increased atomization of the workforce and deeply embedded clashing universes of discourse.

There are many divides in the country besides race - religion, gender, class, etc.  I think it is plain that the driving force in the election of Trump was race.  He did put it at the center of his campaign from the first moment, didn't he? Therefore I conclude that the Sanders campaign is wrong: economic appeals will not overcome the deep divides.  It's going to take more fine grained appeals than that - to recover those white Obama voters who turned to Trump in 2016,  - gwc
More Thoughts on the Intra-Democratic Divide – Talking Points Memo
by Josh Marshall

A big chunk of the left of the Democratic party – a lot of labor liberals, a lot of people who supported Bernie Sanders say you re-polarize the electorate around class and economic issues and gain back some of those Trump voters that way. In its crudest form (and there are less crude forms) this is the ‘ditch the identity politics and focus on unifying class issues’ argument. There are numerous problems with this argument, both moral and strategic.
For starters, I think it greatly overstates the appeal of social democratic economic policy to big chunks of the electorate. It also tells half the party’s voters that critical issues to them need to take a back seat to economic and class politics, with the implicit message that those are the ones that really matter. Enough of ‘identity politics’, let’s focus on the real stuff.
What it all comes down to is that once you get beyond Trump’s hardcore racist revanchist base, there are a lot of voters who supported Trump. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Only Problem in American Politics Is the Republicans


Photo published for The Only Problem in American Politics Is the Republicans

Let's get this straight.  The problem is not "partisanship". It's not economic anxiety of the white working class. It is the deeply embedded racism and ignorance of most white voters in the U.S.  They have produced a party that is hostile to government, and undemocratic.  The problem is the GOP.  there is no equivalence among Democrats. - gwc

The Only Problem in American Politics Is the Republicans

by Jonathan Chait

"whatever the very real flaws in the American political and electoral system, it is simply impossible to design any kind of a system that can withstand a stress test like a major party captured by a faction as radical as the conservative movement. Its absence of limiting principles to its ideology, indifference to empirical evidence, and inability to concede failings of its dogma lead to an endless succession of failures explained away to the base as faintheartedness.

The doom loop Drutman describes is, in reality, both sides responding to the phenomenon of Republican extremism. Republicans are sealed off in a bubble of paranoia and rage, and Democrats are sealed off from that bubble. Democrats fear Republican government because it is dangerous and extreme. Republicans fear Democratic government because they are dangerous and extreme."

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Cold Warrior Who Never Apologized - The New York Times

The Cold Warrior Who Never Apologized - The New York Times
by Jonathan Stevenson
As Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, wrote in his book “Dereliction of Duty,” the early stages of the Vietnam War caught America’s military leaders flat-footed. Having gone through World War II and Korea, they were all ready for a conventional war. But insurgencies and unconventional warfare were something else. As a result, they were inordinately acquiescent to the wishful thinking of their civilian overseers — and no one thought more wishfully about the war than Walt Whitman Rostow.
A Yale Ph.D. and a Rhodes scholar, Rostow left his academic perch at M.I.T. to join the State Department under John F. Kennedy; he was later Lyndon Johnson’s national security adviser during the center-cut of American involvement in Vietnam, from April 1966 to January 1969. More than anyone else, he epitomized the overweening confidence of the civilian strategists of the era — he was the best and the brightest of “the best and the brightest.” He could lay distant claim to operational warfighting competence, having selected bombing targets as a major in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. But like many other prominent civilian strategists of the day, he was by training and disposition an economist and a technocrat.
In his 1960 book “The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto,” Rostow posited that robust growth was a nation’s best insurance against the political emergence of Communism, and cast growth as a multistage process that depended crucially on a “takeoff” period propelled by rapid expansion in key segments of an economy. Though criticized as tendentiously Western-centric, the book attracted Kennedy’s attention. In a matter of months, Rostow moved from holding forth in the academy to planning America’s strategy in Vietnam, tightly guided by his ideas about economic development.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

How Trump Won: Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

Check out @AdamParkhomenko’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/AdamParkhomenko/status/905569823777796096?s=09

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Collateral Damage: The Arpaio Pardon and Separation of Powers - Lawfare

Metaphoric mastery.
Collateral Damage: The Arpaio Pardon and Separation of Powers - Lawfare
by Josh Blackman (South Texas College of Law)
***As a constitutional matter, the pardon power belongs to the President, and the President alone. If Trump wants to reverse the processes established by his predecessors, that is entirely within his prerogative. But the Executive Branch had imposed long-standing institutional constraints on that awesome power with very good reason. Here, Trump has untied himself from the mast, retweeted the Sirens' call, and crashed into the shoals.***

Fordham Backs Ignatian Call to Maintain DACA


Image result for fordham university
Dear Members of the Fordham Community,

This week I signed the Ignatian Network’s letter: Maintain Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), thus recommitting the University to the principles that have guided Fordham throughout its history. I urge you all to do likewise.

I know that Father McCarthy has already shared the letter with you: I follow up on his message to stress the importance that the University attaches to this issue. Fordham sees and embraces undocumented students as valued and loved members of our community. The University stands with these students, and we will do all we can to be effective advocates for them.


I do not have to remind you that we live in deeply unsettled times. The rise of hate speech and undisguised hostility toward immigrants and anyone considered other, the horrific drowning of Houston and parts of Louisiana with its attendant loss of life and human suffering (including some families in the University community), and political and cultural divisions that seem to grow deeper by the day, call us urgently to live out the lessons of the Gospel and our Jesuit principles.

We must do what is in our power to aid and protect the most vulnerable among us, at the University, and around the globe. Here, at Fordham, in one of the world’s capital cities, some of us live lives of relative ease and privilege. I call on you to join me in whatever way you can help heal our society and our world.

You and your loved ones are in my prayers, today and always.

Sincerely,

Joseph M. McShane, S.J.
President, Fordham University



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Trump Ignores Mexico's Offer to Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey | Foreign Policy

Trump Cares More About Ideology Than the Victims of Hurricane Harvey | Foreign Policy
by Jeffrey Lewis

At this dark time, Mexico offered to help, as good neighbors do.
It did so despite the seemingly endless barrage of insults that Trump has directed toward the country, including this past week’s repetition of the claim that Mexico will pay for his delusional border wall (something it has made clear it will not do).
Mexico’s offer of aid is not empty or symbolic.
Bedeviled by seismic activity and in the path of many a hurricane, Mexico has developed some of the most effective search and rescue capabilities of any country in the world, and its military excels at domestic disaster recovery missions.
Having that kind of experience and expertise in Texas and Louisiana right now to supplement the work of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and local governments, and volunteer first responders could radically improve the states’ abilities to aid their people.
Mexico has also been generous toward its northern neighbor in the past during times of crisis.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2012, the Mexican government offered, and the George W. Bush administration wisely accepted, assistance that saw Mexican troops on U.S. soil for the first time since the Mexican-American War. Mexican soldiers distributed more than 170,000 meals, delivered more than 184,000 tons of supplies, and provided more than 500 medical consultations to people across Louisiana and Mississippi.
Bush, a Texan who understood the importance of what he characterized as perhaps America’s most important relationship, personally thanked the Mexican soldiers providing assistance in Biloxi, Mississippi.
But the Trump administration has failed to take Mexico up on its offer to help with recovery efforts. This refusal increases the danger that the people of Texas and Louisiana face with each passing moment.

Monday, August 28, 2017

It’s Time: Congress Needs to Open a Formal Impeachment Inquiry - Lawfare





by Jane Chong and Benjamin Wittes
Last Tuesday, the New York Times published a foggy story noting that Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell "has mused about whether Mr. Trump will be in a position to lead the Republican Party into next year’s elections and beyond."
The time for musing has passed. It’s now time to begin a serious conversation about the impeachment and removal of President Trump by opening a formal impeachment inquiry.
The evidence of criminality on Trump’s part is little clearer today than it was a day, a week, or a month ago. But no conscientious member of the House of Representatives can at this stage fail to share McConnell’s doubts about Trump’s fundamental fitness for office. As the Trump presidency enters its eighth month, those members of Congress who are serious about their oaths to "support and defend the Constitution" must confront a question. It’s not, in the first instance, whether the President should be removed from office, or even whether he should be impeached. It is merely this: whether given everything Trump has done, said, tweeted and indeed been since his inauguration, the House has a duty, as a body, to think about its obligations under the impeachment clauses of the Constitution—that is, whether the House needs to authorize the Judiciary Committee to open a formal inquiry into possible impeachment.
It’s not a hard question. Indeed, merely to ask it plainly is also to answer it.>>>

Arpaio Pardon Would Show Contempt for Constitution

President Trump Pardons Sheriff Joseph Arpaio

The President...shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
Article II, Section 2, Clause 1

Ex parte Garland 71 U.S. 333 (1866)

Arpaio Pardon Would Show Contempt for Constitution - Bloomberg
by Noah Feldman // Bloomberg View

Is Accepting a Pardon an Admission of Guilt?
by Eugene Volokh //WaPo

Trump's Law and Order is Weak on the Law
by Maggie Haberman // NY Times

Trump's Pardon Follows the Law Yet Challenges It
by Adam Liptak // NY Times


WASHINGTON — President Trump’s decision to pardon Joe Arpaio was characteristically unconventional. It came late on a Friday night as a hurricane bore down on Texas. It concerned a crime some said was particularly ill-suited to clemency, and it was not the product of the care and deliberation that have informed pardons by other presidents.
But it was almost certainly lawful. The Constitution gives presidents extremely broad power to grant pardons.
Last month, a federal judge found Mr. Arpaio, a former Arizona sheriff, guilty of criminal contempt for defying a court order to stop detaining immigrants based solely on the suspicion that they were in the country illegally. The order had been issued in a lawsuit that accused the sheriff’s office of violating the Constitution by using racial profiling to jail Latinos. Mr. Arpaio had faced a sentence of up to six months in jail.
Mr. Trump thus used his constitutional power to block a federal judge’s effort to enforce the Constitution. Legal experts said they found this to be the most troubling aspect of the pardon, given that it excused the lawlessness of an official who had sworn to defend the constitutional structure.
Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard, argued before the pardon was issued that such a move “would express presidential contempt for the Constitution.”
Continue reading the main story
“Arpaio didn’t just violate a law passed by Congress,” Professor Feldman wrote on Bloomberg View. “His actions defied the Constitution itself, the bedrock of the entire system of government.” By saying Mr. Arpaio’s offense was forgivable, Professor Feldman added, Mr. Trump threatens “the very structure on which his right to pardon is based.”
It was the first act of outright defiance against the judiciary by a president who has not been shy about criticizing federal judges who ruled against his businesses and policies. But while the move may have been unusual, there is nothing in the text of the Constitution’s pardons clause to suggest that he exceeded his authority.
The president, the clause says, “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”
The pardon power extends only to federal crimes. Otherwise, presidents are free to use it as they see fit. As the Supreme Court put it in an 1866 decision involving a former Confederate senator, Ex Parte Garland, the power “is unlimited.”
“It extends,” the court said, “to every offense known to the law.”
In a tweet last month, Mr. Trump indicated that he had studied the matter in the context of the investigation of ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. “All agree the U.S. president has the complete power to pardon,” he wrote.