Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Extrajudicial Prosecutorial displays of contraband barred - NJ Ethics Commitee

Envelopes with heroin
Extrajudicial Statements Featuring Displays of Seized Contraband Are Prohibited by Rule of Professional Conduct 3.6 and 3.8 according to the recently issued  Opinion 731 of the New Jersey Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics.

The Committee rejected a prosecution request to relax New Jersey's long-standing stricture on prosecutorial display of contraband.  The ACPE adhered to the plain language of RPC 3.6 (Trial Publicity):
(a) A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding.
The Inquiring prosecutor argued that the display of seized drugs and paraphernalia would be an educational deterrent to drug abuse - particularly in light of the opioid use crisis which is a current focus of the administration of Governor Chris Christie.  The Governor has appeared in a series of television advertisements urging users to seek treatment.

The Inquirer found support in RPC 3.6 (d) which provides:
(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a lawyer may make a statement that a reasonable lawyer would believe is required to protect a client from the substantial undue prejudicial effect of recent publicity not initiated by the lawyer or the lawyer's client. A statement made pursuant to this paragraph shall be limited to such information as is necessary to mitigate the recent adverse publicity.
The ACPE rejected the Inquirer's argument.  It relied on RPC 3.8 (Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor) which provides, in part:
(f) except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor's action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making under RPC 3.6 or this Rule.
According to an article in the New Jersey Law Journal the Inquirer's request found little support - even among prosecutors.  The Supreme Court Committee's rulings are binding on the entire bar subject to discretionary review by the Supreme Court itself.  It is expected that the Inquirer will seek such review.

The Case for Police Reform From Within // NY Times Book Review

The Case for Police Reform from Within

Review by Bill Keller (The Marshall Project)

By Franklin E. Zimring
Illustrated. 305 pp. Harvard University Press. $35.
Policing Without Permission
By Barry Friedman
434 pp. Farrar, Straus & G
It is, to hear the new president’s posse tell it, an exceptionally dangerous and thankless time to be a police officer in the United States. In the streets, we are told, there is a “war on cops,” fired up by the activists of Black Lives Matter. In the corridors of Washington, liberals want to deny law enforcement the powers they need to keep us safe. The media runs endless video loops of a few police shootings of civilians, and the Justice Department nannies swoop in to take charge of this most local of public functions. Facing harsh scrutiny, demoralized cops hesitate to do their jobs — a phenomenon called “de-policing.” No wonder some police forces are having a hard time recruiting.
Now two legal scholars challenge that bleak portrayal with timely, book-length arguments that, in fact, police have been given more power than they need, have too frequently abused it, and are the least accountable of our public servants.
In Donald J. Trump’s law-and-order world, these assertions may be dismissed as the products of progressive academic hothouses (Franklin E. Zimring teaches law at the University of California, Berkeley; Barry Friedman at New York University), but they come from reputable scholars, armed with facts and respectful of good policing.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Trump: 'Nobody Knew That Health Care Could Be So Complicated'

No one knew - the GOP reps in Congress voted 60 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  Who knew it would be so "complicated"?  Not DJT who apparently has been in a coma since Bill Clinton was elected.- gwc
Trump: 'Nobody Knew That Health Care Could Be So Complicated' //TPM
President Donald Trump told a bipartisan group of governors at a White House reception Monday morning that GOP tax reform would have to wait for lawmakers to move on repealing Obamacare, cautioning that, "Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated."
"I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject," Trump said.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

America’s shadow third party – Political Orphans

America’s shadow third party – Political Orphans

Muslims go to Philly Jewish Cemetery Three Hours After Learning of Vandalism

Oscar winner: The White Helmets - Syrian First Responders

Image result for white helmets aleppo
The Oscar winning short The White Helmets was shot on location by Khalid Khateeb -  a 21year old Syrian volunteer for the White Helmets - the Syrian Civil Defense.  The rescuers rush to the sites of bombings in Aleppo and elsewhere to extract people from collapsed buildings.  Khateeb was the videographer who  risked his life  to film the heroism of the "White Helmets"-   It is a powerful story of brave men.  Alas, Khateeb was denied entry to the United States to receive the Academy Award.
Khalid Khateeb - hero and videographee

Heather Gerken new Dean at Yale Law School


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tom Perez elected DNC Chairman; Keith Ellison will be his Deputy

Tom Perez has been elected Chairman of the Democratic National Committee

Who is he - beyond his resume?  Listen to Josh Marshall's podcast interview

He named as Deputy Chair Bernie supporter Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).

Josh Marshall also has an excellent podcast interview with Ellison.
Image result for keith ellison

Can the Democrats mount an enduring Challenge to Trump and the GOP?

Can the Democrats mount an enduring Challenge to Trump and the GOP?
Must read John Judis interview with Marshall Ganz.  He was the director of organizing for the United Farmworkers Union, and a key architect of the Obama 2008 campaign.
To sum up his argument it is "Don't mobilize! Organize!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Former Prosecutors Call on Texas Court to Re-sentence Death Penalty Case

by The Constitution Project

Former Prosecutors Call on Texas to Resentence Death Row Prisoner to Life

Court Decries Deadly "Toxin" of Racial Prejudice in Texas Death Penalty Case

. -- The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision authored by Chief Justice Roberts, ruled in favor of Texas death row inmate Duane Buck, who had been sentenced to death after an expert, Dr. Walter Quijano, told a jury he was more dangerous because he is black. The Court held that Buck's trial lawyers' incompetence in offering the prejudiced testimony, combined with the jury's central duty to determine if Mr. Buck was a future danger, created a "perfect storm." It went on to explain that the impact of such evidence "cannot be measured simply by how much air time it received at trial or how many pages it occupies in the record. Some toxins can be deadly in small doses."

Following the ruling, an array of former prosecutors called on the State of Texas to end this litigation in the most just way possible: through resentencing Mr. Buck to life in prison. In a statement, Linda Geffin, who prosecuted Mr. Buck at trial; Mark Earley, former Attorney General of Virginia; Michael Cody, former Attorney General of Tennessee; and Scott Harshbarger, former Attorney General of Massachusetts, said, "Each day, Mr. Buck's actions confirm the fallacy of Dr. Quijano's testimony: Buck has demonstrated in his nearly two decades on death row that he is no danger to the community."  The prosecutors further explain: 
"As we have previously stated and as the Court has now held, it does not matter if the prosecution or defense counsel 'broached the subject' and injected race as a factor to be considered in sentencing a man to death. Race poisoned the outcome in this case and the most appropriate and fair course for the State to take at this juncture is to sentence Mr. Buck to life in prison."

In advance of oral argument, Geffin, Earley, Cody and Harshbarger joined a group of more than 20 former federal and state prosecutors in a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Court to grant Mr.  Buck relief.  "Prosecutors must seek justice, not just convictions, and that duty sometimes requires foregoing or overturning a conviction in order to protect a defendant's constitutional rights. Among the most important of those rights is the constitutional assurance that no defendant's sentence will be determined based upon race," the prosecutors' brief asserted. The brief was organized by The Constitution Project, a nonpartisan legal watchdog and advocacy group.
The case is Buck v. Davis, No. 15-8049, available at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/15-8049_f2ah.pdf 
# # #
Created out of the belief that we must cast aside the labels that divide us in order to keep our democracy strong, The Constitution Project brings together policy experts and legal practitioners from across the political spectrum to foster consensus-based solutions to the most difficult constitutional challenges of our time through scholarship, advocacy, policy reform and public education initiatives. Established in 1997, TCP is based in Washington, D.C.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

John McCain Takes on Donald Trump //New York Magazine

John McCain Takes on Donald Trump
by Gabriel Sherman // New York Magazine
John McCain was hustling down the hallway in the Russell Senate Office Building with the purpose of an Aaron Sorkin character. It was not yet two weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, and McCain had already become the fiercest Republican critic of the new administration. While party leaders like Paul Ryan were contorting themselves to defend even Trump’s most ill-conceived executive orders, McCain had been, for a member of the president’s party, on fire: He had criticized Trump for banning immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, for his failed first mission in Yemen, for his suggestion that he might lift sanctions against Russia; he even took diplomacy into his own hands, reaching out to Australia to assure the country of our continued friendship after Trump had bizarrely confronted its prime minister in their introductory phone call. By many measures, there is no one better positioned to challenge Trump from within his own party. The so-called maverick was just reelected to the Senate by a 13-point margin; at 80 years old, he has both significant stature and nothing to lose. Still, for McCain, opposing Trump is not a simple matter. For one thing, it’s tricky to challenge a vengeful president who has taken to Twitter to accuse McCain of “emboldening the enemy” and “trying to start WWIII.” For another, McCain is not a Republican in Name Only; he is a true believer, an elder of the tribe. He does not exactly relish being deemed the loyal opposition.
“What? What!” McCain barked as he ran into a throng of reporters.
“Some people are saying you’re Trump’s No. 1 nemesis,” a reporter said. “Is that the role you’re trying to stake out?”
McCain shook his head. “It’s very convenient for the media to say that,” he grumbled. “If interpreters who worked for us in Iraq are not allowed into the United States, then I’m going to speak up. If that makes me a nemesis of the president of the United States, then you can label me as such.”
“They want a scenario of, quote, ‘confrontation,’ ” McCain told me as we stepped into the elevator. *** 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Losing Strategy Does Not Establish Ethics Violation -Legal Profession Blog

Losing Strategy Does Not Establish Ethics Violation
An Ad Hoc District of Columbia Hearing Committee, applying Virginia law,  proposes a 45-day suspension with automatic reinstatement for an attorney's alleged mishandling of a wrongful death case in Virginia federal court.
The  disciplinary case is In re Gregory Lattimer 
During that [summary judgment] hearing, the Court noted that “I think you should have sued the lady who was supposed to sit in the yellow chair. That is the person whose error or whose inattentiveness led to the death in this case. And if you had sued her, you would have had a slam dunk. And I think the state probably has insurance to cover that. At least they did when I was in the Attorney General’s office.” (D.C. Exh. 31 at 29). However, in its Rule 26(a) disclosures, the Commonwealth had answered “N/A” to the question whether there was any insurance agreement available for inspection and copying. (D.C. Exh. 4B at 3).
In the losing appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
In her opinion for the Court, Judge Thacker noted Respondent’s statements concerning Dr. Davis and his misstatement as to when the Complaint was filed. On May 2, 2014, Judge Thacker referred the matter to Disciplinary Counsel, saying “I forward it for your consideration inasmuch as I question Mr. Lattimer’s handling of the case as well as his candor to the court.” Respondent never sent Ms. Wilkins a copy of the Court of Appeals decision. (citations to record omitted)
***the Committee does not believe Disciplinary Counsel has shown that Respondent’s misconduct in this case raises serious questions as to his fitness to practice law. Respondent’s misconduct occurred in a single case; it was a difficult case and he was dealing with a difficult client. While his decisions have proven to have been ill-advised, Disciplinary Counsel has not shown that they were unreasoned or beyond the discretion accorded lawyers in making strategy decisions. He should have done more homework before launching on his perilous flight, but that does not mean that his theory of the case establishes that he lacks the capacity to practice law. Indeed, the record here indicates that there was substantial preliminary evidence to support his theory. His problem is that he did not conduct a sufficient fact inquiry before filing the Complaint and waited too long to file it.
Disciplinary Counsel had sought a 90-day suspension with fitness.
- Michae Frisch

Friday, February 17, 2017

Township: Give Up the Fight Against Mosque Construction | New Jersey Law Journal

Bernards Township, NJ. Wikimedia
Township: Give Up the Fight Against Mosque Construction | New Jersey Law Journal
by the Editorial Board

When the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge sought approval to build a mosque, it faced unusual opposition. The Township of Bernards had an ordinance which established a 3-to-1 parking ratio for "churches, auditoriums and theaters." Applications by Jewish and Baptist congregations had been approved in a routine way. The Baptist church was approved even though the plan called for 157 parking spaces, not the 384 required by the parking ordinance. But the board declared that a mosque is not a church. It demanded many more parking spaces. The Islamic Society agreed to more than double the parking spaces, from 50 to 107, for a hall designed to accommodate 150 worshipers. After 39 meetings over three-and-a-half years, the township rejected the Islamic Society's application.

The Islamic Society, supported by numerous amici, challenged the decision under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).

In a comprehensive opinion, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp of the District of New Jersey found, inter alia, that the parking ordinance as construed and applied by the defendants—applicable to churches and synagogues, but not to mosques—violated the nondiscrimination provision of the RLUIPA. The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, et al v. Township of Bernards, et al, civil action No. 16-1369 (Dec. 31, 2016).

Thursday, February 16, 2017

New ABA Rule, Virginia Ethics Opinion Focus on Substance Abuse by Lawyers and Students

Two recent developments have focused attention on lawyers and disability.  The ABA House of Delegates has approved a rule change that " includes a requirement for lawyers to receive at least one hour of mental health or substance use disorder programming every three years. It also calls for one hour of diversity and inclusion programming every three years."  It was proposed by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education, working with its Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs.

The problem is not limited to lawyers.  As the Journal of Legal Education has reported law students are reluctant to seek help for substance abuse and mental health concerns.

The second is a new Formal Opinion by the Virginia State Bar discussing the duties of supervisory lawyers. - gwc

Virginia State Bar Legal Ethics Opinion 1886 


In this advisory opinion, the Committee analyzes the ethical duties of partners and supervisory lawyers in a law firm to take remedial measures when they reasonably believe another lawyer in the firm may be suffering from a significant impairment that poses a risk to clients or the general public.1  The applicable Rule of Conduct is Rule 5.12 which requires partners or other lawyers in the firm with managerial authority to make reasonable efforts to ensure that all lawyers in the firm conform to the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct.3  Lawyers in a firm may have an obligation under Rule 8.3 to report an impaired lawyer to the Virginia State Bar if the impaired lawyer has engaged in misconduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice law. However, this opinion addresses the obligations of partners and supervisory attorneys to take precautionary measures before a lawyer’s impairment has resulted in serious misconduct or a material risk to clients or the public. This opinion relies upon ABA Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Formal Opinion 03-429 (2003) [hereinafter ABA Formal Op. 03-429] for its approach to the issues raised by the mental impairment of a lawyer in a firm.

Scope of the Lawyer Impairment Problem

Studies report that lawyers experience depression, alcohol and other substance abuse at a rate much higher than other populations and 2 to 3 times the general population.4  The incidence of alcohol abuse is higher among lawyers aged 30 or less.5 Besides the potential lawyer impairment caused by substance abuse, the aging of the legal profession presents an increased incidence of cognitive impairment among lawyers.  As of 2016, Virginia State Bar membership records revealed that of the 23,849 active members located in the Commonwealth, 8,366 or 35% are ages 55 or older.  Fifteen percent of these attorneys or 3,584 members are 65 or over.  These numbers reflect that Virginia’s lawyers, like lawyers nationally, are moving into an older demographic profile, and they continue to practice as they age. Moreover, in the years ahead, the number of lawyers that will continue to practice law beyond the traditional retirement age will increase dramatically.6 The substantial percentage of aging lawyers presents both opportunities and challenges for the state bars, and the scope and nature of the challenges and the best way to manage the challenges have been examined by bars around the country.

Question Presented

What are the ethical obligations of a partner or supervisory lawyer who reasonably believes another lawyer in the firm may be suffering from a significant impairment that poses a risk to clients or the general public?

Trump Claims He 'Inherited A Mess' From Obama

DJT took office 27 days ago - four weeks of confusion and disorder.  He blames it on Barack Obama saying "I inherited a mess".
Suh a mess: recovery from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, sixty consecutive months of economic growth, 250,000 new jobs per month, unemployment rate a full point lower than Romney promised to deliver, twenty million more people with health care coverage, eight corruption-free years, a leader of restraint and dignity who was a voice of compassion, and a model of decorum.  Such a mess.

Trump is in a state of hysteria.  Alarming.  - gwc
Trump Claims He 'Inherited A Mess' From Obama

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Virginia federal judge says prejudice motivated Trump immigration order

Image result for leonie m brinkema
In  an opinion issued this week in Tarek Aziz v. Donald J. Trump federal District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema found that the President's Executive Order - halting immigration from seven Muslim majority countries -was motivated by intentional discrimination based on religion.  In the action - joined by the Commonwealth of Virginia - the court cited Trump's call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States".  The Court also cited former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's statement that Trump had asked him to help, saying "show me the way to do it legally".

The court also cited a statement by ten former high ranking security officers (including four whose information is recent) that there have in fact been no terrorist acts committed in the U.S. by citizens of the seven affected countries.  The result is a unique finding by a court that religious animus motivated a facially non-discriminatory order of the President.
The court found that the state's unrebutted evidence showed that they were likely to prevail on the merits - proving that the Order violated the First Amendment bar on the establishment of a state religion. The court therefore enjoined the Executive Order.

We can hope that this is a first swallow of spring: that courts will  prove themselves a bulwark against the erratic and dangerously authoritarian occupant of the White House.

Trump Calls On Only Conservative Outlets For Three Straight Press Conferences

President of all the people.
Trump Calls On Only Conservative Outlets For Three Straight Press Conferences
President Donald Trump called on exclusively conservative news outlets for his third press conference in a row on Wednesday, leading CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta to comment afterward: “The fix is in.”
Over three press conferences with world leaders – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – Trump called on two outlets in each, respectively: the New York Post and Fox Business; Sinclair Broadcasting-owned WJLA and the Daily Caller; and Christian Broadcasting News and Townhall.com

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Oscar for short documentary goes to The White Helmets - Syrian First Responders

Image result for white helmets aleppo
Image result for Watani: My Homeland – dir. Marcel MettelsiefenThe Oscar nominated documentary The White Helmets was shot on location by Khalid Khateeb -  a 21year old Syrian volunteer for the White Helmets - the Syrian Civil Defense.  The rescuers rush to the sites of bombings in Aleppo and elsewhere to extract people from collapsed buildings.  Khateeb was the videographer who  risked his life  to film the heroism of the "White Helmets"-   It is a powerful story of brave men.

The White Helmets – dir. Orlando von Einsiedel, 41 minutes
In the chaos of war-torn Syria, unarmed and neutral civilian volunteers known as “the white helmets” comb through the rubble after bombings to rescue survivors. Although they have already saved more than 60,000 lives since 2013, these brave first responders continue to place themselves in danger every day.

Watani: My Homeland is the story of the wife and four children of a Free Syrian Army fighter who was betrayed and captured by ISIS in Aleppo. Preseumed dea, his wife and kids are able to emigrate to Germany.
Watani: My Homeland – dir. Marcel Mettelsiefen, 39 minutes
Four young children live with their mother and father, a Free Syrian Commander, in a warzone in Aleppo, Syria. During filming their father is captured by ISIS.  The children flee with their mother to Goslar, Germany, in a years-long journey that will test them all as they try to find a safe home in a foreign country.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Lawyer disciplined for failure to investigate client //Legal Profession Blog

A powerful dissent by one member of an Illinois disciplinary board argues the decision imposes a heavy burden on lawyers to investigate their clients' purposes when drafting wills, powers of attorney, etc. The lawyer, at the request of a  client, drafted papers transferring an ailing  friend's house to the non-client. The lawyer charged $200.  There was overreaching and the house was transferred under duress.   In such suspicious circumstances the lawyer was found to have breached his duty to protect a non-client third party.The law decision could drive clients to Legal Zoom observed the dissenter!
Legal Profession Blog
by Michael Frisch

A recommendation for sanction by an Illinois Review Board is summarized in the headnote below.
The bar matter is unusual in that it raises a novel question of real consequence, namely whether the concept of third party beneficiary liability extends into an enforceable disciplinary obligation.
Respondent was charged in a one-count amended complaint with violating multiple Rules of Professional Conduct. The charged misconduct arose out of Respondent's drafting of a power of attorney and quitclaim deed at the request of a client. The client told Respondent that his friend, who was in the hospital, wanted to give the client his house and property, and asked Respondent to draft a power of attorney to enable the client to handle his friend's affairs. Without speaking to the client's friend or conducting any investigation of the friend's wishes or competency, Respondent drafted the documents requested by the client, who, using the documents, then withdrew all the money from his friend's bank account and took possession of his house.
Based on these events, the Administrator charged Respondent with failing to provide competent representation; failing to consult with a client concerning the objectives of the representation and means by which they are to be accomplished; failing to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation; engaging in a conflict of interest; and permitting a person who employed and paid the lawyer to render legal services for another to direct or regulate the lawyer's professional judgment in rendering the legal services, in violation of Rules 1.1, 1.2(a), 1.4(a)(2), 1.4(b), 1.7(a), and 5.4(c), respectively, of the 2010 Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.
After a hearing, a majority of the hearing panel determined that Respondent owed no duties to the friend, and therefore could not be found to have committed the charged misconduct. It recommended that the amended complaint be dismissed. One hearing panel member dissented, finding that the friend was the intended third-party beneficiary of the attorney-client relationship and therefore that Respondent owed a duty to him, and had engaged in misconduct by failing to meet that duty.
The Administrator filed exceptions, challenging the majority's finding of no misconduct and arguing that Respondent should be suspended for 90 days for his misconduct.
A majority of the Review Board panel reversed the Hearing Board's finding of no misconduct. The majority found that the friend was an intended beneficiary of the attorney-client relationship between Respondent and his client, and therefore that Respondent owed a duty to the friend but failed to meet it. For his misconduct, the majority recommended that Respondent be reprimanded and required to complete the ARDC Professionalism seminar.
One member of the review panel dissented...

Idaho Supreme Court abandons actual innocence requirement for legal malpractice actions against former criminal defense attorneys

Professional Responsibility Blog: Idaho Supreme Court abandons actual innocence requirement for legal malpractice actions against former criminal defense attorneys
by Professor Alberto Bernabe
Just about a year ago I reported (here) that the two most recent decisions on whether a convicted criminal defendant had to prove actual innocence in order to recover for malpractice against his or her former lawyer had broken away from the majority view on the issue.  A few months later, however, the Washington State Supreme Court reversed the trend by adhering to the majority view and holding that a criminal defendant must establish actual innocence to sue the defense attorney for malpractice.

Now comes news that last week the Idaho Supreme Court has abandoned the actual innocence rule in a case called Molen v. Christian.  In part, the court concluded:
We hold that actual innocence is not an element of a criminal malpractice cause of action. Requiring a criminal malpractice plaintiff to prove actual innocence is contrary to the fundamental principle that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, a criminal defendant can be harmed separately from the harm he or she incurs as a result of being guilty of a crime. . . .  Additionally, as a practical matter, requiring actual innocence would essentially eliminate a defense attorney’s duty to provide competent counsel to a client he or she knows to be guilty. For the foregoing reasons, we hold that actual innocence is not an element of a criminal malpractice cause of action.
This means that three of the last four jurisdictions to consider the issue have rejected the majority approach, which makes me wonder if what is the majority has now shifted.  I have not done a state by state survey recently, so I don't know for sure.  However, I have not read anyone make that claim yet, so I assume the majority approach is still to require a showing of actual innocence.  If someone has information about the actual count of how many states follow each approach, please let me know. 

After Silence From Xi, Trump Endorses One China Policy - The New York Times

We have pursued the contradictory one China policy in which we recognize the PRC and maintain no official ties with Taiwan - the Republic of China.  We have however sold billions of dollars of arms to the island which China claims but cannot control.
After initial bluster about abandoning that policy Trump has now eaten some crow.  We will continue to endorse the longtanding commitment. - gwc
After Silence From Xi, Trump Endorses One China Policy - The New York Times
by Mark Landler and Michael Forsythe
WASHINGTON — When the White House announced this week that President Trump had sent President Xi Jinping of China a letter wishing him a happy Chinese New Year, it did not disclose a major reason for the friendly gesture: Mr. Xi had not, at that point, gotten on the phone with Mr. Trump.
That changed on Thursday night, when the two leaders had what the White House described as a “lengthy conversation” during which Mr. Trump agreed to honor the “One China” policy the president had previously refused to commit to uphold.
Stung by an earlier, and unorthodox, telephone call between Mr. Trump and the president of Taiwan, Mr. Xi had not spoken to the American leader since Nov. 14, the week after he was elected. Administration officials had predicted a conversation would come only after Mr. Trump publicly committed to recognizing a single Chinese government in Beijing.
And so Mr. Trump, during what the White House called “a lengthy telephone conversation,” formally and officially bent to Beijing.
Continue reading the main story
“The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our One China policy,” the White House said in a statement released late Thursday night. It said the discussion was “extremely cordial” and that the presidents “extended invitations to meet in their respective countries.”

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Page views

I don't know what these numbers represent. Why do I get so many page views when there are only five followers?  Maybe email subs don't count? Or they're just keyword searches?  Whatever .... the total is over a million now since 2010.

Pageviews today
Pageviews yesterday
Pageviews last month
Pageviews all time history

What The GOP's Obamacare Debate Is Really About

Masquerading as a policy debate about health care is the fight about money.  Lower taxes resonates with everyone.  But `I don't want to pay for them' is behind each  rationale for cutting Medicaid (code: Block Grant), reforming Medicare (code: corruption, bankruptcy), and Obamacare individual policies (code: unaffordable, choice).  David Kurtz discusses the politics of it. - gwc
What The GOP's Obamacare Debate Is Really About //TPM
by David Kurtz

The key thing to understanding the debate over health care policy in the United States is that it's not really about health care policy, it's about money.

This may sound weird on first read, but there's actually not a lot of disagreement about the basic contours of health care policy. It seems like there is. But most of the policy debates are proxies for the underlying disagreements over whether and how much government should spend on health care.

The political challenge for Republicans has always been how to mask their ideological preference not to spend much (or any) on health care. To do that, they've mounted a sustained decades-long attack on any reform efforts as too costly, inefficient, unworkable, and a threat to liberty. At the same time, they've had to come up with a proposals of their own to make it sound like they actually have a workable health care policy: tax credits, health savings accounts, high risk pools, etc.

Those conservative policy proposals are not in and of themselves entirely bad ideas. In theory, they are trying to achieve the same ends as progressive health care policies. Again, to bang the drum: There's not that much disagreement over what health care policy needs to accomplish. But conservatives tend to want to underfund their own policies, too, and that means in general that they can't possibly accomplish what their progressive policy counterparts would in terms of coverage or care.