Friday, August 31, 2018

Forget About Impeachment – Talking Points Memo

Congressional oversight - that's what a Democratic majority can do...get the tax returns, dig into his current business, his past business (remember Whitewater) and all his dirtball friends and business associates.
But debate impeachment only to have the Senate vote to acquit??? Let's not bother. - gwc
Forget About Impeachment – Talking Points Memo
by Josh Marshall

This isn’t necessarily a popular position among critics of the President. But it could scarcely be more important to have a proper opinion on this question. There is a huge pent-up desire and collective push among Democrats to impeach President Trump. That’s a mistake. By any rights, the President should have been removed from office months ago, not only for discrete offenses but on the grounds of simple temperament and misrule, things the context of the constitutional debates make clear can be grounds for removal from office. It makes perfect sense that Democrats want to impeach President Trump. But having that be the big agenda if the Democrats take back the House will be a big mistake.

Some people say impeachment is a mistake because it’s too extreme or will alienate swing voters or just because they prefer a more cautious course. That’s not what I’m saying. Impeachment is a mistake because it distracts from things that are much more important to protecting the country against President Trump. Even the language of ‘impeachment’, which the constitution has given us, clouds the issue. Rather than asking if we should ‘impeach the President’ we should ask ‘should the House ask the Senate to remove the President from office.’ That is in practice what ‘impeachment’ is, what we’re talking about.

The Senate will in all likelihood be in Republican hands in 2019. If by chance Democrats do claim the Senate it will be by a narrow margin. Let’s assume a hypothetical 50-50 split. In that case, fully 17 Republican senators would have to vote to remove President Trump from office. In anything like the current political constellation, that is not remotely possible. I think it’s quite questionable whether, on the basis of the current facts known, any Republican senators would vote to convict the President. Seventeen certainly will not, not on the basis of what is currently known. There is no defined burden of proof. There are no defined statutory definitions anyone has to be bound by. It is purely a political choice. It will not happen.

The answer I always hear to this is: “Fine. Maybe it won’t work. But he deserves it. And it is a critical statement to make.” This misses the point. Of course he deserves it! He deserves to be removed from office. But time is of the essence and time – in politics and as in life – is a finite resource. Impeachment is a lengthy process and spectacle. There is a process in the House. There is a trial in the Senate. There will be a cacophonous public chorus from the outside. This will take time away and oxygen away from what can meaningfully protect the country and has the best chance of moving the ball against the President politically: that is, aggressive oversight of the executive branch and investigations using the power of Congress.

As I mentioned earlier, the first order of business is to get hold of the President’s taxes, which is to say to have Congress make sense of his finances and financial relationships as a baseline for investigating his relationship with Russia, Russian organized crime and Russian intelligence. It is also the basis for any real investigation of the use of the Presidency for private gain: the Trumpian project of kleptocracy. The House can get the President’s tax returns. I explain how here (sub req).
Then we need a real investigation of the President’s relationship with Russia and the 2016 campaign. All evidence suggests Robert Mueller is conducting a robust, professional and aggressive investigation of the Trump/Russia story. 

But his brief is to find, investigate and prosecute crimes. It is not to inform the public, though this is of course an inevitable byproduct of the effort. Much will and should always remain secret in such a probe. Congressional investigations are different. They are about informing the public. They are different things. They have different purposes. In many ways, getting to the bottom of what happened in 2016 is a bigger national priority than the punishment of individual wrongdoers, though there’s no reason we should have to choose between the two.

We also needed an investigation into the President’s use of the White House for his own personal financial gain. No one is looking into this. Journalists are doing yeoman work. But the canvas is too sprawling for any individual news organization and there are tight constraints on what can be accomplished without subpoena power and the full array of powers at Congress’s disposal.
As House Republicans are telling us more or less openly, there’s a long list of things that obviously need to be investigated. They’re all important. They all need to happen.

Vigilantes chant lock her up as Trump smirks

White vigilantes.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Opinion | Serving Time Should Not Mean ‘Prison Slavery’ - The New York Times

Opinion | Serving Time Should Not Mean ‘Prison Slavery’ - The New York Times
by Erik Lomis

Since Aug. 21, prisoners across the United States have been on one of the largest prison strikes the nation has seen in years. They have several demands, but at the top is the end of the forced labor the state coerces out of them. Up to 800,000 prisoners a day are put out for work without their choice, usually for extremely paltry compensation that in Louisiana is as low as 4 cents per hour.
With often privatized prisons operating with maximum security and limited communication among prisoners, even discovering what is happening remains difficult, yet prisoners have organized themselves nonetheless in one of the most important labor actions in this country.
The prison strike is a multiracial action, but that African-Americans make up a disproportionate number of the nation’s prison population and its leadership of this movement is no accident. This strike is part of centuries’ worth of labor actions to protest the compelled labor out of black bodies by a white-dominated society. We should not see the prison strike as an isolated event. It is instead the latest iteration of demands for freedom from forced labor that go back to slavery.
From the beginning of black chattel slavery in what became the United States, African-American workers have sought to take control over their lives and work. Sometimes this was through slave revolts such as Nat Turner’s rebellion in 1831 Virginia. But more common was individual acts of resistance — running away, slowing down in the fields, stealing food from the master.

The witch hunt for gay priests | America Magazine

Father James Martin, S.J. gave an important speech in Dublin at the World Assembly of Families a couple of days ago.  No speech like that has ever been given at a Vatican sponsored event.  Right wing Catholics collected 15,000 signatures calling for him to be disinvited.
This is a new article in America - the Jesuit magazine. - gwc

The witch hunt for gay priests | America Magazine
by  James Martin, S.J.
It is not surprising that Catholics are furious about the latest sex abuse crisis, which began, most recently, with accusations of abuse and harassment against the former cardinal-archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick; deepened with the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing 70 years of abuse in the Commonwealth; and intensified with the former Vatican nuncio to the United States Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s 11-page “testimony” accusing many high-ranking clerics, including Pope Francis, with covering up the crimes.
Catholics have a right to be angry at abusive clergy, at bishops who covered up their crimes and at the sclerotic clerical system that allowed the crimes and cover-ups to go unpunished for decades.
But the intensity of hate and level of anger directed at gay priests are unprecedented in my memory. 

John McCain, Donald Trump, and the Legacy of the American Upper Class – Talking Points Memo

 Image result for theodore roosevelt black hills
A boy needs both physical and moral courage. Neither can take the place of the other. When boys become men they will find out that there are some soldiers very brave in the field who have proved timid and worthless as politicians, and some politicians who show an entire readiness to take chances and assume responsibilities in civil affairs, but who lack the fighting edge when opposed to physical danger. In each case, with soldiers and politicians alike, there is but half a virtue. The possession of the courage of the soldier does not excuse the lack of courage in the statesman and, even less does the possession of the courage of the statesman excuse shrinking on the field of battle.
Theodore Roosevelt - The American Boy - 1900

In this thoughtful essay John Judis locates John McCain in the American upper class.  Descended from plantation owners, the grandson and son of four star admirals, he married well and served his country.  He admired Theodore Roosevelt, a high-minded patrician soldier, imperialist, and maverick.  He detested the trashy ostentation of the dubiously acquired wealth of our current president, who, McCain made clear, was not to be welcome at his funeral.  - gwc

John McCain, Donald Trump, and the Legacy of the American Upper Class – Talking Points Memo
by John Judis

***[John] McCain became enchanted with Roosevelt’s words and example. His 2000 campaign echoed Roosevelt’s maverick campaign in 1912 as the candidate of the Progressive Party. It’s not easily remembered now, but McCain condemned George W. Bush’s proposals for favoring the rich.
But McCain was also inspired by his reading of Roosevelt, and by his acquaintance with two other TR fans, William Kristol and Robert Kagan, to move from a cautious realism in foreign policy to an expansive form of American neo-imperialism. Roosevelt the progressive was also the proponent of American expansion overseas. He was principally responsible for an invasion of the Philippines that led to a fourteen-year war. 

McCain became the leading Senate proponent of an invasion of Iraq. In his last two decades, McCain combined a passionate embrace of an American ideal of democracy and human rights with a willingness, when all else failed, to send in the troops. In 2008, for instance, he wanted to send NATO troops into Georgia on Russia’s border. He rejected the Obama administration’s attempts to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a member of America’s upper class, McCain inherited a commitment to honor and country and disdain for corrupt arrivistes like Trump; he also inherited a propensity to seek solutions by force of arms that led him to embrace policies that were very much not in the country’s interests. It’s hard to separate the two, but in the wake of his death, it’s worth doing so. The McCain of honor and noblesse oblige was a blessing to American politics. It is what he had in common with the Roosevelts, the Kennedys, George H.W. Bush, John Kerry and other scions of the upper class. You don’t have to be rich and famous and fancily educated and raised to be of service to American politics, but if you are, it’s better you be like them than like a Trump or Koch.

Tough, Dark Times Ahead – Talking Points Memo

Image result for THE WIDENING GYRE
The raging bull's daily outbursts - nearly irrebuttable in practice - leave us waiting for the guillotine to fall on Mueller.   - gwc
Tough, Dark Times Ahead – Talking Points Memo
by Josh Marshall
I want to return to a point I made indirectly yesterday. I want to make it more directly. We’re heading toward a genuine constitutional crisis with the President. “Constitutional crisis” is sort of a meaningless word. But let me try to give it more specific meaning: a threat to the rule of law and adherence to the constitution which the constitution itself does not provide a ready to solution to, not under present political circumstances.

The President is getting rid of staunch right-wing ideologues because they will not allow him – whatever their other faults – to prevent the rule of law to applying to him and his family. To use a analogy, they’ll help him with his misdemeanors but so far at least not with his felonies. That’s what the laying the groundwork to fire Jeff Sessions is about. That’s what the firing of Don McGahn is about. When your boss announces you are leaving and you didn’t know you were leaving, that’s called being fired. Even the inability to state this obvious fact is a symptom of a larger problem: since there’s no apparent solution to the President’s push to make himself invulnerable to the law, we prefer not to say what is happening.
We don’t know the precise order of events. But the President is apparently intent on pardoning Paul Manafort – something that even by Trumpian standards has no real justification other than obstructing justice – and either ending Robert Mueller’s investigation or putting it under the control of a loyalist who will defang it.

This is happening before our eyes. There’s as yet no apparent path by which any of this will be prevented. The one partial path, which is political in nature as it should be, is if the House of Representatives moves to Democratic control in January. The issue isn’t impeachment. For my part, I think the discussion of this misses the point and is largely a distraction. It’s not that impeachment isn’t justified or is too radical. By any reasonable measure, Trump’s erratic behavior alone would have merited his removal from office months ago. The key is oversight and investigation: of the countless threads of post-2016 corruption but particularly the Russia investigation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Fr. James Martin condemns Church discrimination against gays

Martin condemns Church discrimination against gays

Martin condemns Church discrimination against gays

Dublin - August 29, 2018

by Sarah McDonald

They may have been mocked, insulted, excluded, condemned or singled out for critique, either privately or from the pulpit'
In a much-anticipated address, American Jesuit Fr James Martin told a packed 1,000-seater auditorium filled to overflowing at the World Meeting of Families Pastoral Congress in Dublin, that gays have often been treated like “lepers” by the church.
Fr Martin, who is an author and editor of America magazine, is trying to build a bridge between the LGBT community and the Church.
He said gay Catholics have felt excluded from the church for so long that any experience of welcome can be life-changing.
He highlighted some double standards in the attitudes of Catholics. “For example, even though Jesus condemns divorce outright, most parishes welcome divorced people. Do we treat LGBT people with the same understanding?” he challenged.
He also urged people to be willing to apologise to LGBT Catholics or their families if they have been harmed in the name of the church by homophobic comments, attitudes or decisions. An apology, he said, “doesn’t solve everything, but it’s a start.”
He stressed that LGBT people do not choose their orientation. “Sadly, many people still believe that people choose their sexual orientation, despite the testimony of almost every psychiatrist, biologist and, more important, the lived experience of LGBT people. You don’t choose your orientation or gender identity any more than you choose to be lefthanded. It’s not a choice,” he challenged.
Over the past few years, he said he had heard the most appalling stories from LGBT Catholics who had been made to feel unwelcome in parishes, including the case of a 30-year-old autistic gay man who came out to his family, and was not in any sort of relationship. He recounted to Fr Martin how a pastoral associate had told he could no longer receive Communion in church because even saying he was gay was a scandal.
Fr Martin set out a series of ways in which Catholic parishes can show welcome and respect to LGBT people and their families, many of whom have been “deeply wounded” by the church.
“They may have been mocked, insulted, excluded, condemned or singled out for critique, either privately or from the pulpit. They may never have heard the term ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ expressed in any positive way, or even a neutral way.”
He explained that his own Jesuit community in New York is next to a church called St Paul the Apostle, which has one of the most active LGBT outreach programmes in the world. The ministry is called ‘Out at St Paul’ and it sponsors retreats, Bible study groups, speaking engagements and social events for the parish’s large LGBT community.
“Help LGBT people and their families to fulfil their deepest desires: to know God,” he urged and reminded the faithful that LGBT people are loved by God.
“God loves them, so should we. And I don’t mean a stingy, grudging, judgmental, conditional, half-hearted love. I mean real love. And what does real love mean? The same thing it means for everyone: knowing them in the complexity of their lives, celebrating with them when life is sweet, suffering with them when life is bitter, as a friend would.”
Elsewhere in his address, he urged people to examine their own attitudes towards LGBT people and their families.
“Do you believe someone is sinful because she’s lesbian, or more inclined to sin than a straight woman? Do you hold the parents ‘responsible’ for a gay teen’s orientation? Do you think a person is transgender person only because it’s ‘fashionable’? Here’s another question: If none or only a few LGBT people have made themselves known to you, why might that be the case?”
He warned them not to reduce gays and lesbians to the call to chastity we all share as Christians.
“LGBT people are more than their sexual lives. But sometimes that’s all they hear about. Remember not to focus solely on sexuality but on the many other joys and sorrows in their lives. They lead rich lives.”
“Many LGBT Catholics are parents themselves or are caring for aging parents; many help the poor in their community, many are involved in civic and charitable organisations. They’re often deeply involved in the life of the parish. See them in their totality. And if you talk about chastity with LGBT people, do it as much with straight people.” He called for them to be more included in ministries.
Fr Martin received a standing ovation for his address from the auditorium.
At a press conference on Thursday, Cardinal Blaise Cupich of Chicago backed Fr Martin and warned that “to stigmatise one group over another can be very damaging” particularly to teenagers.
Ahead of the Jesuit’s talk, a petition was organised by the Irish branch of ‘Tradition, Family, Property’ which garnered over 15,000 signatures calling for Fr Martin to be disinvited from WMOF2018 over his views on LGBT people.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

John McCain Loved the Military Too Much – Foreign Policy

Giving us the proto-Trump Sarah Palin was not John McCain's only sin.  Much more consequential was his support for the debacle in Iraq.
John McCain Loved the Military Too Much – Foreign Policy
by Doug Bandow (Cato Institute)

John McCain was a brave man, from the time he spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to his final battle against cancer. May he rest in peace.

However, his public career warrants a harsher judgment, and it is worth bidding farewell to the kind of aggressive, militarized foreign policy he championed, too. McCain was an unlikely leader of the Senate’s pro-war caucus. He suffered in the Vietnam War, which was both mistakenly and incompetently waged. He presciently opposed President Ronald Reagan’s disastrous intervention in the Lebanese civil war, was sometimes skeptical of U.S. involvement in the Balkans, criticized turning Somalia into an exercise in nation building, and denounced the Clinton administration’s plans to invade Haiti. These positions suggested a focus on both America’s interests and its capabilities. 

However, in his last few decades in the Senate, he turned into one of its most ferocious advocates of military intervention, almost irrespective of circumstance. McCain favored aggressive war against Serbia, an endless crusade to bring democracy to Afghanistan, the disastrous invasion of Iraq, the equally counterproductive destruction of Libya, a combat role in Syria’s horrific civil war, and military aid for Saudi Arabia in its brutal aggression against Yemen. 
He recklessly promoted Georgia against Russia in those two countries’ short-lived war, advocated striking North Korea militarily, and sang about bombing Iran in a little ditty set to the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann.” He proposed creating a no-fly zone in Sudan and intervening in Nigeria against the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram. Last year, he urged the Trump administration to “choose the Kurds” over Iran and Iraq, since for decades the United States “has protected them from attacks, both from within and outside Iraq.” Ukraine was a disappointment, causing him to lament: “I do not see a military option, and that is tragic.”

In other words, he tended to treat war as just another policy option, an answer to any number of problems, from the mundane to the monstrous, even when U.S. security was not seriously threatened. In most of the conflicts in which he favored involvement, U.S. intervention worsened the resulting humanitarian tragedy.

55 years ago today - the great march for Jobs & Justice

Why Did We Care About John McCain? – Talking Points Memo

Why Did We Care About John McCain? – Talking Points Memo
by Josh Marshall

***it’s hardly surprising that so many Republicans hated McCain. He was a Democrat's idea of what a Republican should be. For Democrats, being a Republican who consistently voted as Republicans do amounted to a betrayal of who they thought he was supposed to be. But that’s who he was, a fairly conservative Republican. All these contradictions are really to me the root of public fascination with the man, the endless drama of the mismatch between his professed ideals and the actual man. He never really lived up to them but he had enough moments to keep up the tension. He had a deep devotion to country and to service to country. He was an arch-hawk; he was a consistent opponent of torture. He was different and his difference made him interesting and worth listening to.***

Monday, August 27, 2018

Jack Goldsmith on Trump's Nuclear Options

Alliance for Justice Rallies Law Profs Against Brett Kavanaugh

The Alliance for Justice is circulating a law professors letter opposing the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.  I have signed it.  The AFJ has issued a statement and gathered materials:
SCOTUS Nominee: Brett Kavanaugh - Alliance for Justice

My concerns are particularly focused on the basis for his opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  He mainly focuses his 2011 dissent in Seven Sky v. Holder.  His attack on the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.  It marks him  as an ideological opponent of the huge body law upholding New Deal and civil rights precedent such as the 1964 decision United States v. Heart of Atlanta Motel.

Below is an excerpt from Kavanaugh's dissent which I think is self evidently alarming.
To uphold the Affordable Care Act's mandatory-purchase requirement under the Commerce Clause, we would have to uphold a law that is unprecedented on the federal level in American history. That fact alone counsels the Judiciary to exercise great caution. See United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549, 580, 583, 115 S.Ct. 1624, 131 L.Ed.2d 626 (1995) (Kennedy, J., concurring) ("The statute before us upsets the federal balance to a degree that renders it an unconstitutional assertion of the commerce power, and our intervention is required.... If Congress attempts that extension, then at the least we must inquire whether the exercise of national power seeks to intrude upon an area of traditional state concern.... The statute now before us forecloses the States from experimenting and exercising their own judgment in an area to which States lay claim by right of history and expertise, and it does so by regulating an activity beyond the realm of commerce in the ordinary and usual sense of that term."); see also Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898, 905, 117 S.Ct. 2365, 138 L.Ed.2d 914 (1997) ("[I]f, as petitioners contend, earlier Congresses avoided use of this highly attractive power, we would have reason to believe that the power was thought not to exist.").In addition, the Government's position on the Commerce Clause carries broad implications—far broader than its position on the Taxing Clause. Under the Government's Commerce Clause theory, as it freely acknowledged at oral argument, the Government could impose imprisonment or other criminal punishment on citizens who do not have health insurance. That is a rather jarring prospect. The Affordable Care Act does not impose such criminal penalties. But if we approve the Affordable Care Act's mandate under the Commerce Clause, we would necessarily be approving criminal punishment—including imprisonment—for failure to comply not only with this Act but also with future mandatory-purchase requirements.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

What is party democracy?

90% of Europeans, 20% of Americans Study a Second Language

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Shut Down ADA non-compliant voting places is Trump Administration Tactic

This is the kind of thing the SCOTUS would uphold 5-4.
Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh - YES it is facially neutral, intent to discriminate not shown
Sotomayor, Ginsburg, NO - intent can be inferred from the obvious differential impact
Kagan, Breyer - NO - government is obligated to find reasonable alternatives and such efforts have not been shown. - gwc

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Roberto (Beto) O'Rourke explains his defense of NFL players taking a knee.

Cohen Implicates President Trump. What Do Prosecutors Do Now? - The New York Times

Cohen Implicates President Trump. What Do Prosecutors Do Now? - The New York Times

President Trump at Yeager Airport in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday. The Justice Department has long taken the position that sitting presidents are not subject to criminal prosecution.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — When a lawyer tells prosecutors that his client directed him to commit a crime and pleads guilty to related crimes himself, an indictment of the client is very likely to follow.
The nation is about to find out whether there is an exception to that general rule when the client is the president of the United States.
Although there is no explicit prohibition in the Constitution against indicting a president, the Justice Department has long taken the position that sitting presidents are not subject to criminal prosecution.
That would suggest that the extraordinary admissions and accusations from Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, will not result in criminal charges against Mr. Trump while he is in office. Mr. Cohen admitted to arranging payments to women to buy their silence about what they said were affairs with Mr. Trump, and he said Mr. Trump instructed him to pay the money to influence the election.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Myth-Busting Papadopoulos Sentencing Memo - Lawfare

The Myth-Busting Papadopoulos Sentencing Memo - Lawfare
by Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes
The government’s sentencing memo in George Papadopoulos’s prosecution, filed on Friday, is an illuminating document—illuminating about both Papadopoulos’s underlying conduct and the state of Robert Mueller’s investigation.
As to Papadopoulos’s conduct, the document should—though it undoubtedly won’t—puncture some of the conspiracy theories that treat Papadopoulos as some kind of victim of an overzealous prosecutor out to get President Trump or as an extraneous “coffee boy.” It is also a good reminder that the investigation of L’Affaire Russe began not with the so-called Steele Dossier but with an approach to a Trump campaign figure with the offer of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails—and that that campaign figure then lied, repeatedly, about the approach to the FBI.

The Dangers in the Trump-Brennan Confrontation - Lawfare

The confrontation between Trump and former CIA Director John Brennan and those who have rallied behind him is problematic. Having been relentlessly and fraudulently denounced as partisan hack by Trump former high government officials fall into his web. Their principled criticism gets painted as part of the Deep State conspiracy against the illegitimate President. - gwc

The Dangers in the Trump-Brennan Confrontation - Lawfare

by Jack Goldsmith (Harvard Law School, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel from 2003-2004)

***In this light, it is hard to know precisely what the former senior intelligence officials who wish to defend the intelligence community should be doing. I think that the decision is personal and contextual and that silence (like that of William McRaven and Robert Gates, until recently, and President Obama’s) is an appropriate option. But for those who feel that speaking out is best, my modest advice would be as follows. 

First, avoid appearing on television in a panel of other senior former intelligence professionals for group criticism of the president. 
Second, be scrupulous in maintaining a temperate, sober tone. 
Third, if you worked on Russian election meddling during the Obama administration, avoid stating any conclusions about the president and that meddling, and always be unambiguously clear that whatever judgments you make are not based on information you saw in government. 
Fourth, avoid attacking the president on substantive matters outside your expertise.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Chinese Shrimp Farmers Protest Environmental Enforcement - Seafood Source

Chinese Shrimp Farmers Protest Environmental Enforcement - Seafood Source

A stand-off between shrimp farmers and authorities in eastern China has highlighted the pressure on China’s aquaculture sector from the enforcement of stricter environmental laws. 
Tighter enforcement of environmental regulations has seen wholesale closures of aquaculture facilities in sensitive shoreline, wetland and reservoir areas around China this year, with a resultant inflationary impact on prices.  
After authorities moved to close shrimp farms in Nantong, Jiangsu Province, the operators of the ponds took to the streets in dissatisfaction at what they believe is inadequate compensation for the razing.
A note from local authorities offering compensation of CNY 5.00 (USD 0.73, EUR 0.64) per square meter also notified shrimp farmers that the electricity to their facilities would be cut off later this month. But the shrimp farmers claim that government encouraged investment in shrimp facilities in 2014 and are seeking higher compensation, as well as guarantees on new land.  
In response to the protest, a combined force of police, military police and ‘chen guan’ – an urban uniformed inspectorate tasked with public order and civic tidiness – forced the removal of the roadblocks and the removal of the shrimp facilities.
Even as environmental enforcement picks up, local governments in China’s coastal provinces have been keen to increase aquaculture production offshore. Higher prices may have something to do with that push. The increase in value of seafood sold in June was almost double the increase in volume at the central seafood wholesale market in the coastal city of Weihai, normally a bellwether for prices along China’s east coast. Value of sales rose 2.3 percent to CNY 49.8 million (USD 7.2 million, EUR 6.4 million), while volume grew 1.7 percent to 48,130 metric tons. A statement from the market announcing the prices pointed to the wholesale seizure and destruction of aquaculture facilities in Hunan Province – a major center of the freshwater aquaculture production  – as a price-driver.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Oprah Talks to Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Oprah Talks to Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
Oprah: Welcome, Mr. Mayor. 

Mitch Landrieu: Thank you. I’m thrilled to be with you. 

OW: And I with you, during these last few weeks of your second and final term. 

ML: Twenty-one days left. I’ve been in public office for 30 years. 

OW: And what’s changed over those years? 

ML: Well, when you look back on your life, as I did when writing my book, you make connections. I was born in 1960, the year my father was elected to the Louisiana legislature. This kid gets elected, and he’s one of the only people to vote against segregation laws. Afterward, he’s confronted by Leander Perez, one of the prominent segregationists in the South at the time, and another segregationist congressman. They tell him, “You’re a marked man.” And here we are, all these years later, and race still permeates our lives. 

OW: Your parents taught you well. I believe you’re one of the people leading the way in this country. And part of the reason is your willingness to say uncomfortable things. 

ML: I wrote the book and the speech because I felt it was important for a white person to say unequivocally something that should be really, really simple: The Confederacy fought to destroy the United States as we knew it and preserve slavery, and it was on the wrong side of humanity. Can’t we admit this is historical fact? We continue to debate that issue. It isn’t debatable. 

OW: When you said that in the book, I had to read it again. It’s so rare that a white person admits that it was just wrong. 

ML: When I formally said, “I am sorry for slavery,” people said, “Who are you to say that?” Well, I’m the duly elected mayor of New Orleans, a continuous body of government that’s existed in this country since 1718, thank you very much. More people were sold as slaves in New Orleans than anywhere else in America. 

Read more:

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Next year will be a hard tme - David Rothkopf - Editor - Foreign Policy

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez - Pod Save America

Monday, August 6, 2018

53 years ago the Voting Rights Act was signed - John Lewis, M.C.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Imperial Twilight by Stephen R Platt review – lessons for today from the opium war | Books | The Guardian

British ships destroying an enemy fleet in Canton, 1841.
Imperial Twilight by Stephen R Platt  – lessons for today from the opium war | Books | The Guardian
review by Julia Lovell
While campaigning for the US presidency, Donald Trump talked tough on China. He accused the country of “raping” the US economically: its trade policies and currency manipulation were allegedly perpetrating “one of the greatest thefts in the history of the world”. In March, Trump put his money where his mouth was, announcing up to $60bn of tariffs on Chinese imports. The US, the White House proclaimed, was “strategically defending itself” from “economic aggression”. Within hours, the People’s Republic responded by announcing its own tariffs on key US exports: pork, apples, soybeans. The rhetoric of public opinion in China was revealing of the deeper history of this trade row. Chinese editorialists promptly linked Trump’s action back to 19th-century western aggressions, and specifically to the collisions that dragged China violently into a western-dominated international world. In punishing China economically, they declared, the US was plotting to “repeat the plundering of the opium war” – a conflict Britain fought between 1839 and 1842 to protect its revenues from the opium trade and open China to British goods and influence. Parts of the Chinese cybersphere quickly resorted to militant language: “The superpower game is joined … we will block soldiers with generals and floods with dams …bring it on!”
Memories of traumatic clashes with the west and Japan during what is known as China’s “century of humiliation” (1839-1945) remain highly relevant to an ambitious, resurgent state. On the one hand it confidently sees itself as a superpower, but on the other it is suspicious that the west is trying to contain it. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Trump Crossing the Swamp - the latest from Jon McNaughton

The right wing megastar painter Jon McNaughton has posted what may be his most preposterous rendering of Trump yet.  Sure to be ridiculed on The Daily Show and The Late Show.  But why wait?  Yuk it up at your own dinner table. - gwc