Constitution and Norms under Attack: Military, Judiciary, Administration, Congress, International 3

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Constitution and Norms under Attack: Military, Judiciary, Administration, Congress, International 3

syyskuu 7, 2020, 2:48 pm

Repairing the Rule of Law: An Agenda for Post-Trump Reform
Paul Rosenzweig, Vishnu Kannan | Monday, September 7, 2020

...herewith is an incomplete listing of some of the issues that seem worth addressing, along with some suggestions as to a possible way forward. In the interests of brevity, we’ve pared down the list from an earlier longer list, so this particular selection is by no means intended to be comprehensive:

Reform of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to prevent perpetual “acting” appointments.

Mandatory disclosure of presidential candidate tax returns and strengthening of presidential financial disclosure.

Redefining “emergency” authority to limit such declarations generally.

Clearer prohibitions on reprogramming funds.

Enhanced inspectors general protection.

Statutory protection for special counsels to allow challenge to removal.

Overturn Franklin v. Massachusetts...the Supreme Court held that as a matter of statute the president was not an “agency” for purposes of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Define emoluments violations and create a right of action.

Automatic Hatch Act penalties.

Minimum qualifications for White House staff.

Expediting judicial review of congressional demands for records in relation to oversight and impeachment.

Mandatory federal agent identification.

Enhanced whistleblower protection to prevent retaliation in the intelligence community.

Permit the intelligence community inspector general to report directly to Congress without going through the general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Finally, we diverge a bit from our own rules and end with two possibilities for reform that are, in our view, highly unlikely to be enacted because they would require either constitutional action or a significant political sea-change. But these are, in our judgment, worthy of consideration in light of the president’s conduct:

D.C. statehood.

Pardon reform. T

Disqualification of family for POTUS.

syyskuu 11, 2020, 5:00 am

#141 on previous thread, contd.

3-judge federal court in NY rules that Trump's recent census memo excluding undocumented immigrants from congressional apportionment count is UNLAWFUL.
A major win for a lawful 2020 Census! And yet another big loss in court for Trump.

- Joshua A. Geltzer @jgeltzer | 5:14 PM · Sep 10, 2020

syyskuu 12, 2020, 11:55 pm

Roger Stone to Donald Trump: bring in martial law if you lose election (Guardian)

Trump meanwhile promises to ‘put down’ leftwing protests and says US Marshals killing Portland suspect was ‘retribution’...

syyskuu 14, 2020, 11:47 pm

This Guardian article is primarily about Britain, but it takes in Trump as well, and many of the points it makes could be applied to the USA as well as the UK.

'You don’t expect loose cannons to take over your own country'

“I want Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Tommy Robinson, Donald Trump and the geezer from North Korea to be put on a boat that gets sent around the world for the next 25 years,” Neville Southall says as he sinks back into his chair. “That would do me”...

“We need a government for all of the people, not just the wealthy, and I’d love to see a proper debate about racism, immigration, gender and sex workers. We’re far too immature in this country to put our fingers on anything without having a massive argument. A government should be able to discuss a wide range of subjects, like we’re talking now, and it shouldn’t be about point-scoring. It should be about what’s best for everybody”...

“I’m scared for this country,” he says. “We’ve got two of the most dangerous leaders in the world causing havoc. Johnson and Trump are loose cannons. In the past we used to think the loose cannons belonged to North Korea or fellas like Saddam Hussein. You don’t expect loose cannons to take over your own country”...

“Boris Johnson is a chancer... "This fella thinks he can say whatever he wants. What does it say about our society to have the leader of the country being a liar, a racist, a sexist and homophobic? Surely people will eventually say: ‘We can’t have this fella in charge because he’s ruining our country’”...

syyskuu 15, 2020, 9:54 am

Trump’s Shredding of Civil Liberties Won’t Stop With Antifa
Michelle Goldberg | Sept. 14, 2020

(Michael Forest Reinoehl), a self-described antifa supporter, was a suspect in the shooting of Aaron J. Danielson, a backer of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, during an August street confrontation in Portland, Ore. Prosecutors charged him with murder. Reinoehl, speaking to Vice News, said he acted in self-defense. There will be no trial to sort out what happened, because the federal marshals sent to arrest him gunned him down.

...Even if Reinoehl’s killing was justified, in a country where the rule of law held, the government would have treated it as regrettable. For Donald Trump’s administration, Reinoehl’s death was cause for celebration.

Calling Reinoehl a “dangerous fugitive, admitted antifa member, and suspected murderer,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement, “The streets of our cities are safer with this violent agitator removed.” Trump, in a Fox News interview on Saturday, said of the killing, “That’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution when you have crime like this.” (Perhaps needless to say, law enforcement is not permitted to kill suspects in “retribution.”) Trump continued the theme at his Nevada rally Sunday night, saying to cheers, “We sent in the U.S. marshals, it was taken care of in 15 minutes.”...

...Trump, of course, defended Kyle Rittenhouse, a supporter of his charged with killing two people at a protest last month, and who, like Reinoehl, claimed self-defense. For the president, it’s not Reinoehl’s alleged actions that justify extrajudicial killing. It’s his politics, and those of his victim. Trump and Barr are all but declaring certain Americans beyond the law’s protections.

...You don’t have to like antifa, however, to believe its adherents deserve basic civil liberties, or to see how egregiously those civil liberties are being violated.

syyskuu 17, 2020, 4:56 am

I wasn't sure where to post this, but I think it is worth noting. I find it horrifying.

Nearly two-thirds of US young adults unaware 6m Jews killed in the Holocaust (Guardian)

Almost two-thirds of young American adults do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, and more than one in 10 believe Jews caused the Holocaust, a new survey has found, revealing shocking levels of ignorance about the greatest crime of the 20th century.

According to the study of millennial and Gen Z adults aged between 18 and 39, almost half (48%) could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto established during the second world war.

Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, or had been exaggerated, or they weren’t sure. One in eight (12%) said they had definitely not heard, or didn’t think they had heard, about the Holocaust...

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 2020, 6:51 am


An impeached president who lost the popular vote
naming a justice
who will be confirmed by senators representing 40% of the population
is both constitutionally permissible and a legitimacy nightmare.

- Seth Masket (Poli Sci U Denver) @smotus | 12:57 AM · Sep 19, 2020

syyskuu 20, 2020, 11:51 pm

Leak reveals $2tn of possibly corrupt US financial activity (Guardian)

Thousands of documents detailing $2 trillion (£1.55tn) of potentially corrupt transactions that were washed through the US financial system have been leaked to an international group of investigative journalists.

The leak focuses on more than 2,000 suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed with the US government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Banks and other financial institutions file SARs when they believe a client is using their services for potential criminal activity...

syyskuu 23, 2020, 2:55 pm

>7 margd: contd.

Andrew L. Seidel (attorney) @AndrewLSeidel | 4:16 PM · Sep 22, 2020:

Sitting justices:
Roberts - Catholic
Thomas - Catholic
Alito - Catholic
Kavanaugh - Catholic
Gorsuch - Catholic/Episcopal
Breyer - Jewish
Kagan - Jewish
Sotomayor - Catholic

Top nominees:
Barrett - Catholic
Lagoa - Catholic

Up to 78% of the high court would be Catholic.

Pie graph: US religious demographics 2019 ( )

syyskuu 26, 2020, 12:02 am

‘They cover my shrapnel wounds’: Veteran Senate candidate responds to critics using photo of her tattoos (Independent)

After a Republican super PAC in Texas posted a photo of Senate candidate MJ Hegar featuring her tattoos and calling her a “radical,” Hegar had a quick response on Twitter: the tattoos covered shrapnel wounds she received as an Air Force helicopter pilot in Afghanistan.

"A pro-Cornyn Super PAC is using a photo of my tattoos to make me seem ‘radical.’ That's pretty funny to me,” Hegar tweeted on Thursday, referring to her opponent in the race, longtime GOP Senator John Cornyn. “You think I'm ashamed of them? They cover my shrapnel wounds from when my helicopter was shot down. They're a mark of my service to our country. I'm damn proud of them”...

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 27, 2020, 2:22 pm

“Over half the country lives in 9 states, meaning that less than half of the population controls 82% of the Senate.”
- Vox

Now add on filibuster...

lokakuu 1, 2020, 6:23 pm

Is Prosecuting a Former President Worth It?
President Trump has upended the norms governing the presidency. Jack Goldsmith and Bob Bauer have a plan to restore normalcy. But when do the costs of reform outweigh the benefits?
ZACK STANTON | 10/01/2020

President Donald Trump has spent much of the past four years bulldozing through the informal norms that have long guided the presidency. He has refused to release his tax returns, declined to comply with congressional subpoenas, politicized the traditionally independent Department of Justice and used pardons to advance his personal legal interests, to name a few.

The norm-breaking won’t necessarily stop once Trump leaves office. Indeed, the long-term stability of the rule of law may depend on upending one more contested norm: that former presidents shouldn’t be prosecuted by their successors for crimes they committed in office.

“The Office of Legal Counsel opinions allow prosecution after the president leaves office for crimes committed in office, but there really isn’t a lot of guidance, and it’s going to be up for grabs,” says Jack Goldsmith, who led the OLC under President George W. Bush. “What happens after Trump is going to be hugely consequential for establishing these norms.”...

lokakuu 4, 2020, 3:39 am

How the Republican party threatens the US republic (Guardian)

When I was a child growing up in Gary, Indiana, we learned about the virtues of the US constitution – from the independent judiciary and the separation of powers to the importance of properly functioning checks and balances. Our forefathers appeared to have created a set of great institutions (though they were also guilty of hypocrisy in declaring that all people are created equal so long as they are not women or people of colour). When I served as chief economist at the World Bank in the late 1990s, we would travel the world lecturing others about good governance and good institutions, and the US was often held up as the exemplar of these concepts.

Not anymore. Trump and his fellow Republicans have cast a shadow on the American project, reminding us just how fragile – some might say flawed – our institutions and constitutional order are. We are a country of laws, but it is the political norms that make the system work. Norms are flexible, but they are also fragile...

Over the past four years, Trump and his fellow Republicans have taken norm-shattering to a new level, disgracing themselves and undermining the institutions they are supposed to defend. As a candidate in 2016, Trump refused to release his tax returns. And while in office, he has fired inspectors general for doing their jobs, repeatedly ignored conflicts of interest and profited from his office, undermined independent scientists and critical agencies, attempted outright voter suppression, and extorted foreign governments in an effort to defame his political opponents.

For good reason, we Americans are now wondering if our democracy can survive...

when one side no longer plays by the rules, stronger guardrails must be introduced. The good news is that we already have a roadmap. The For the People Act of 2019, which was adopted by the US House of Representatives early last year, set out an agenda to expand voting rights, limit partisan gerrymandering, strengthen ethics rules, and limit the influence of private donor money in politics. The bad news is that Republicans know they are increasingly in the minority on most of the critical issues in today’s politics. Americans want stronger gun control, a higher minimum wage, sensible environmental and financial regulations, affordable health insurance, expanded funding for preschool education, improved access to college, and greater limitations on money in politics.

The clearly expressed will of the majority puts the GOP in an impossible position: The party cannot simultaneously pursue its unpopular agenda and also endorse honest, transparent, democratic governance. That is why it is now openly waging war on American democracy, doubling down on efforts to disenfranchise voters, politicise the judiciary and the federal bureaucracy, and lock in minority rule permanently through tactics such as gerrymandering...

lokakuu 9, 2020, 12:00 am

Republican senator says 'democracy isn't the objective' of US system (Guardian)

A top Republican senator has said that “democracy isn’t the objective” of America’s political system, sparking widespread outrage at a time when his party has been accused by Democrats of plotting voter suppression and questioning a peaceful transition of power in November’s election...

“Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that,” he wrote, misspelling prosperity...

‘The word “democracy” appears nowhere in the Constitution, perhaps because our form of government is not a democracy. It’s a constitutional republic. To me it matters. It should matter to anyone who worries about the excessive accumulation of power in the hands of the few.’

He added: “Government is the official use of coercive force–nothing more and nothing less. The Constitution protects us by limiting the use of government force.”

His democracy tweet immediately prompted alarm...

It would alarm me, too, especially as I have lived for many years under undemocratic regimes and experienced whether or not they bring "liberty, peace, and prospefity".

lokakuu 9, 2020, 11:03 am

State Legislatures Cannot Act Alone In Assigning Electors
Grace Brosofsky, Michael C. Dorf, and Laurence H. Tribe | Friday, September 25, 2020

The Constitution’s Presidential Electors Clause of Article II, Section I empowers each state, through its legislature, to direct the “Manner” by which its representatives in the Electoral College are appointed. Since relatively early in the nineteenth century, the near-universal practice of states has been to enact legislation designating popular election as the appropriate manner. With the exception of Maine and Nebraska, which apportion their Electors to the winners of the Presidential election in each Congressional district, every state assigns its Electors to the winner of the statewide Presidential election.

Given President Trump’s unprecedented suggestions that he would not accept the result of an election that he loses, the question has arisen whether he might attempt to subvert that result by exploiting an apparent loophole. Suppose that more ballots in a state are cast for Democratic nominee Joseph Biden’s slate of electors than for President Trump’s slate but that Trump, perhaps making unsubstantiated claims of fraud, prevails upon the state’s legislature to change the rules and directly appoint his Electors to the Electoral College. Such a course of action would raise two questions: First, can a state legislature change its method for selecting Electors after it has conducted a popular Presidential election? Second, if so, can it disregard the state constitutional requirements for legislation, including presentment for and the possibility of a veto by the governor where state constitutional law so requires?...

lokakuu 13, 2020, 4:16 pm

REPORTERS--When you cover long-lines, note that the 2014 Presidential Commission on Election Administration
"concluded that, as a general rule, no voter should have to wait more than half an hour in order to have an opportunity to vote."
Image ( )

- Marc E. Elias @marceelias | 9:06 PM · Oct 12, 2020

lokakuu 13, 2020, 6:47 pm

...Race is one of the strongest predictors of how long a person waits in line to vote, research shows.
Dareh Gregorian, Matteo Moschella and Jane C. Timm | Oct. 12, 2020, 4:06 PM EDT

...Studies show that race is one of the strongest predictors of how long a person waits in line to vote.

In 2019, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Chicago used smartphone data to quantify the racial disparity in waiting times at polls across the country. Residents of entirely-black neighborhoods waited 29 percent longer to vote and were 74 percent more likely to spend more than 30 minutes voting.

Similarly, nonwhite voters are seven times more likely than white voters to wait in line for more than an hour to vote, according to a 2017 study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Stephen Pettigrew, who is a senior analyst for the NBC News Decision Desk. The reason, the study concluded, is because election officials send more resources to white polling precincts.

That can affect the electorate for years to come.

“Waiting in a line makes you less likely to turn out in subsequent elections,” Pettigrew said earlier this year, citing his research on that issue.

And mail voting, trusted less by voters of colors, has its own challenges: Black voters’ ballots are more likely to be rejected than ballots cast by white voters.

lokakuu 13, 2020, 6:54 pm

Supreme Court Allows Trump Administration To End Census Early
Hansi Lo Wang | October 13, 2020

The Trump administration can end counting for the 2020 census after the Supreme Court approved a request for now to suspend a lower court order that extended the count's schedule.

...following an emergency request the Justice Department made last week...

Last-minute changes by the Census Bureau and its skirting of an earlier court order for the count have left local communities and the bureau's workers across the U.S. unsure of how much longer they can take part in a national head count already upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

Lower courts previously ordered the administration to keep counting through Oct. 31, reverting to an extended schedule that Trump officials had first proposed in April in response to delays caused by the pandemic and then abruptly decided to abandon in July.

More time, judges have ruled, would give the bureau a better chance of getting an accurate and complete count of the country's residents, which is used to determine how political representation and federal funding are distributed among the states over the next decade.

Justice Department attorneys say the Census Bureau is under pressure to meet a legal deadline of Dec. 31 for reporting to the president the first set of census results — the latest state population counts that determine each state's share of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. The numbers, in turn, also determine how many Electoral College votes each state has to determine who becomes the U.S. president in 2024 and 2028.

Since May, however, career officials at the bureau have warned that the agency can no longer meet the Dec. 31 reporting deadline because of the pandemic. Judges in lower courts have also noted that the national counts from the years 1810 through 1840 were delivered late and Congress later stepped in to approve deadline extensions.

Still, if the commerce secretary, who oversees the bureau, were to present the new state counts to the White House by Dec. 31, that would ensure that even if President Trump did not win reelection, he could attempt to carry out the unprecedented change he wants to make to who is counted when determining the reallocation of House seats...

lokakuu 13, 2020, 11:34 pm

Mitt Romney decries US politics: ‘The world is watching with abject horror’ (Guardian)

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released an extraordinary statement on Tuesday, decrying a political scene he said “has moved away from spirited debate to a vile, vituperative, hate-filled morass, that is unbecoming of any free nation”.

“The world is watching America with abject horror,” he added...

He's right. The world is.

lokakuu 14, 2020, 3:29 am

What if Donald Trump wins again?
First-term Trump was lazy, gullible, ignorant, vain and crooked. Second-term Trump would be worse.
David Frum | October 7, 2020

What if Donald Trump claims a second term despite another rejection by the majority of American voters?
What if Donald Trump tries to force his agenda after a second popular-vote loss?
What if Trump’s scandals and crimes catch up with him in a second term?
What if Trump tries to lead U.S. alliances and partnerships around the world despite his illegitimacy at home?
What if there are more and worse crises ahead?
What if Trump remakes the Republican Party as a Trump party for years to come?

...Over the long term, it is conservative Americans who have the most to gain if Trump loses. The discrediting of Trump offers their only path back to democratic viability. Republicans will not self-correct on their own—we have seen that over the past three-plus years. Too many have staked too much on him to turn away, unless painful defeat compels them to turn away. If Trump preserves a hold on power after November 2020, he will preserve his hold on his party—and continue his corruption of that party. Redeemed from Trump, they can renew themselves as a democratically competitive party of the centre-right. But only via defeat can they be redeemed.

The “what if” of a Trump win is a turn away from democratic competition to rule by the most ruthless, the most shameless, the most willing to prevail by any means necessary. That’s a turn to a very dark and dangerous future indeed. On Nov. 3, Americans will decide upon one direction or another—not only by how they vote, but by whether those votes are allowed to decide.

Ronald Reagan liked to call the United States a “shining city on a hill.” He was borrowing from the biblical Book of Matthew: “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” In the Bible, that verse was not a boast. It was a warning. A city that is set on a hill cannot conceal its faults. Everybody can see. So it is with the United States. Their affairs matter to everyone. If their system succeeds, all free people everywhere are freer and safer. If their system fails, all free people everywhere suffer alongside them.

So what happens if Trump wins? The democratic idea loses. The world trade system loses. Collective security against authoritarian threats from Russia and China—that loses, too. Anybody of a mind to chuckle, point or condescend—after your first few moments of feeling superior—you lose, too. The whole world thrives or falters according to whether the United States thrives or falters. If Trump wins, that experiment falters—maybe not forever, because nothing is forever, but for a dangerously long time....

lokakuu 14, 2020, 9:01 am

John W. Dean @JohnWDean | 11:23 PM · Oct 13, 2020:
Today Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse established the Republican corruption of the US Supreme Court with overwhelming evidence.
They have not only packed the Court but they corrupted it.
It only cost them $250 million, off which they have surely made billions.

Quote Tweet
Molly Jong-Fast @MollyJongFast · 5:17 PM · Oct 13, 2020:
This from @SenWhitehouse is a must watch
7:24 ( )

lokakuu 14, 2020, 1:12 pm

WATCH: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse speaks during hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett (28:40)
PBS • Oct 13, 2020

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., did not pose any questions to Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Using poster board displays, Whitehouse argued that Barrett's nomination reflects a pattern by conservative special interest groups of using "dark money" to influence who sits on the court. It's the second day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing. The Oct. 13 hearing comes three weeks before Election Day. The second of four days of scheduled testimony gave senators an opportunity to ask Barrett about her record and approach to the law.

lokakuu 17, 2020, 8:28 am

Deployed soldiers face punishment for their ‘message to liberals’ video (Army Times)

Two deployed Michigan Army National Guard soldiers who in September posted an obscenity-laced TikTok video of themselves, armed and in uniform, chiding “liberals and Democrats” for being "crybabies and snowflakes” now face disciplinary action following an investigation... “the reprehensible comments made in the video are unacceptable and inconsistent with professional military values”...

lokakuu 27, 2020, 3:57 pm

The Daily 202: Voting wars flare up as Justice Barrett joins Supreme Court
James Hohmann | Oct. 27, 2020

...Republican presidents have appointed 15 of the most recent 19 justices, including six of the current nine. That is all the more remarkable when you consider that the Republican candidate for president has only won the national popular vote once since 1988: George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection. And Republican senators have only represented a majority of the American population for one Congress in the last three decades. With Barrett joining Justices Brett Kavanaugh and John Roberts, three of the nine justices worked for Bush on Bush v. Gore. A fourth, Neil Gorsuch, volunteered as a lawyer for Bush’s reelection campaign. A fifth, Sam Alito, was appointed by Bush to the high court. A sixth, Thomas, was appointed by George H.W. Bush.

McConnell’s decision to change the rules of the Senate in 2017 to be able to confirm Gorsuch with 51 votes, instead of 60, has removed any moderating influence for presidents when their party also controls the chamber. The majority leader invoked what was known as “the nuclear option” after refusing to schedule a hearing or a vote for President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. McConnell justified changing the rules for the Supreme Court by noting that his predecessor, former senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), had lowered the threshold to confirm lower-court nominees in 2013. Reid answered that this was because McConnell was abusing the filibuster to block Obama’s nominees....

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 2, 2020, 9:09 am

I’m a Democracy Expert. I Never Thought We’d Be So Close to a Breakdown.
Our election systems were not built for the modern era. Looking abroad might help.
Larry Diamond author of Ill Winds: Saving Democracy From Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency | Nov. 1, 2020

...The good news is that two of the three pillars of American democracy — liberty and the rule of law — endure, even if they have been battered. But the third pillar — free and fair elections — is under far more direct threat than my fellow democracy experts predicted....

As a result, Mr. Trump has not (yet) become a true autocrat....

But the third pillar of our democracy — the one we have most taken for granted — is most at risk: free and fair elections...

The very age of American democracy is part of the problem.

...newer democracies, from South Africa to Taiwan, have strong national systems of election administration staffed and led by nonpartisan professionals.

The American system is a mishmash of state and local authorities. Most are staffed by dedicated professionals, but state legislatures and elected secretaries of state can introduce partisanship, casting doubt on its impartiality. No other advanced democracy falls so short of contemporary democratic standards of fairness, neutrality and rationality in its system of administering national elections.

...More recent democratic countries have adopted constitutional provisions to strengthen checks and balances...strong independent anti-corruption bureau...independent Office of the Public Protector...

The United States has no comparable standing authority to investigate national-level corruption, and Congress largely investigates and punishes itself....

Newer democracies also take measures to depoliticize the constitutional court. No other democracy gives life tenure to such a powerful position as constitutional court justice....

Many of these ideas simply didn’t occur to America’s founders, who were framing a modern democracy for the first time, for a largely rural society with more limited levels of education, communication and life expectancy. The result is that American democracy lacks national checks on executive corruption and national guarantees of electoral integrity that have become routine in other democracies around the world. And nominations to our Supreme Court have become far more politicized than in many peer democracies.

Throughout most of our history, America’s democratic norms have been strong enough and the outcomes have been clear enough to avoid catastrophic conflict over a national election. But several times...we approached the precipice — and only avoided falling off through luck and painful compromises. is long past time to renew the mechanisms of our democracy, learn from other democracies around the world and again make our republic a shining city on a hill.

marraskuu 2, 2020, 11:27 pm

America is a failing state. And establishment politics can’t solve the crisis (Guardian)

Our country is breaking down, we have no effective leadership, and we’re lagging behind other rich countries. The left needs to provide an answer...

In 2020, America has shown itself to be exceptional in the worst possible ways. No other rich country has such a poor public health infrastructure or such a tattered social safety net. America’s levels of both police violence and violent crime find their closest peers in countries like Venezuela and South Africa, not Canada and Germany. And even Cuba and Bosnia and Herzegovina beat the world’s only superpower in infant mortality and other key social indicators. In the most powerful country on Earth, 29.3 million people say that they “sometimes” or “often” do not have enough to eat. Forty million Americans are impoverished, according to the UN. Half a million are homeless. And all this was true before the full brunt of the pandemic’s economic recession hit...

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 8, 2020, 12:57 am

Trump will be a former president, whether he concedes or not (CNN)

If Donald Trump refuses to give a concession speech, it will be one of the last norms that he breaks as President...

The good thing is that it doesn't ultimately matter. A formal concession after an election is not embedded in our Constitution -- it is a norm. Historians tend to date the first public concession back to 1896, when Democrat William Jennings Bryan sent Republican William McKinley a telegram that said: "I hasten to extend my congratulations. We have submitted the issue to the American people and their will is law"...

Refusing to deliver a concession speech might just be yet another example in a long list of aberrations. It's unlikely that a President who has made baseless claims of voter fraud and refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power would finally come around and try to bring the country together in the face of defeat. It's a shame, given the deep divisions in this country.

While the concession is merely a courtesy, the Constitution does make one thing clear. On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden will officially start his presidency. Whatever Trump says, or refuses to say, simply doesn't matter. When the clock strikes noon, Trump will return to being a civilian just like the rest of us.

With his days in office numbered, here's what Trump may try to do (CNN)

President Donald Trump is on his way out of the White House, but he's not done just yet. After nearly four years of relentless law-bending and norm-smashing, Trump now enters his final two-plus months in office entirely unrestrained. He won't have to face the voters again, so he can indulge his basest instincts for payback and self-preservation. Get ready for a Constitutional stress test like we've never seen before. Here are three main areas where Trump could still wreak havoc with the law before he leaves office:

Pardons... Firings... Executive Orders...

marraskuu 8, 2020, 7:59 am

2020 Is An Election Security Success Story (So Far)
Scott R. Anderson, Susan Hennessey, Rohini Kurup, David Priess, Jacob Schulz | Saturday, November 7, 2020, 11:33 AM

...there’s a lot to be proud of here. The country pulled off a free and fair election without significant cyber disruptions, foreign influence or unchecked disinformation—all during a pandemic and in the face of active efforts by the president to undermine both the administration of and confidence in the election. But the final chapter of the story of the 2020 election has yet to be written. The president will do, as T.S. Eliot wrote of the Rum Tum Tugger, as he do, and there’s no doing anything about that. The question is whether other actors will stand firm behind the integrity of an electoral process that has performed better than many Americans believed it could perform under the extraordinarily trying circumstances the country faced this year.

marraskuu 8, 2020, 8:05 am

Tämä käyttäjä on poistettu roskaamisen vuoksi.

marraskuu 9, 2020, 7:05 am

California Sun @mmcphate · Nov 6
“The USA split into sections that have the same population as California.”
Image ( )

Steve Chiotakis @RadioChio | 2:18 AM · Nov 6, 2020
I added some numbers (# US senators):
Image ( )

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 16, 2020, 6:48 am

Gen. Milley reportedly repents his role in Trump's clearing-out-protesters-for-Bible-stunt.
New Secretary of Defense was standing beside him when he made remarks below, so I'm sure message was for him, also.

Rex Chapman @RexChapman | 10:15 AM · Nov 13, 2020:
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — speaking directly to Donald Trump.
Shots fired...

0:37 ( )
From Icculus The Brave

Barry R McCaffrey @mccaffreyr3 | 12:01 PM · Nov 15, 2020:
JCS Chairman Gen Mark Milley is a superb combat leader.
An example of the Armed Forces apolitical devotion to the Constitution.
Our military will play ZERO role in the peaceful and lawful transfer of power to the Biden Administration on 20 Jan 2021.

marraskuu 17, 2020, 8:35 am

Militias challenge gun laws in Virginia: "It's about shooting tyrants in the face"
Grace Baek CBS News | November 12, 2020

...the Campbell County Militia is part of a larger movement organized by gun rights activists pushing back against gun laws Virginia enacted in 2020. They claim the new regulations, which include a "red flag" law and universal background checks for gun purchases, infringe on their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Virginia lawmakers shelved more controversial proposals that would have banned semi-automatic guns and high capacity magazines. Still, gun rights activists are bracing for a possible future ban.

...All 50 states prohibit paramilitary organizations...

...Lori Haas, senior advocacy directory for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, says the militias' stance is "the very definition of insurrectionism: 'I don't like the law, so I'm going to ignore it, and I'm going to use my gun to intimidate you.'"

"The Second Amendment can be regulated. Regulations have been recognized as being constitutional," Haas said. She got involved in gun violence prevention efforts after her daughter, Emily, was wounded in the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007, where 32 people were killed.

McCord said, "Supporters of gun rights can express their opposition to gun safety legislation through speech and the right to petition their government. … They don't have any constitutional right or authority to organize themselves as armed private paramilitary organizations, to oppose the government by using coercive and intimidating tactics."

She cited the situation in Michigan last spring when heavily armed protesters and militia members converged on the statehouse to oppose the governor's pandemic restrictions. (Several men who took part were later charged in an alleged plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.)

"They have no authority to deploy publicly, while armed, organizing themselves together and asserting authority over the public to protect property or statues, that we saw throughout the summer during the racial justice protests."...

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump | 11:22 AM · Apr 17, 2020

Scott W. Atlas @ScottWAtlas | 6:41 PM · Nov 15, 2020
The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp

marraskuu 20, 2020, 4:53 am

Trump uses power of presidency to try to overturn the election and stay in office
Philip Rucker, Amy Gardner and Josh Dawsey
November 19, 2020

President Trump is using the power of his office to try to reverse the results of the election, orchestrating a far-reaching pressure campaign to persuade Republican officials in Michigan, Georgia and elsewhere to overturn the will of voters in what critics decried Thursday as an unprecedented subversion of democracy.

After courts rejected the Trump campaign’s baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud, the president is now trying to remain in power with a wholesale assault on the integrity of the vote by spreading misinformation and trying to persuade loyal Republicans to manipulate the electoral system on his behalf.

In an extraordinary news conference Thursday at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Trump’s attorneys claimed without evidence there was a centralized conspiracy with roots in Venezuela to rig the U.S. presidential election. They alleged voter fraud in Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and other cities whose municipal governments are controlled by Democrats and where President-elect Joe Biden won by large margins.

...These are the words and actions of an attempted coup, according to historians and other experts.

“We have never seen anything like this before,” historian and author Michael Beschloss said. “This is a president abusing his very great powers to try to stay in office, even though it is obvious to everyone that he has been defeated in the polls. That is a prospect that terrified most of the founders.”

Beschloss added, “I don’t want to be alarmist, but I do think it’s our job as citizens to keep watch on every one of these things with an eye to that ultimate dread of the founders, which is that a president rejected by the voters would use his powers to try to stay in office anyway.”...

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 20, 2020, 5:24 am

Sarah Cooper (comedian) @sarahcpr · 12h:
I don't have a good feeling about what will happen on December 14th with the electors.
Please use the comments to convince me it will be okay
5:41 PM · Nov 19, 2020

Elie Honig (legal analyst CNN) @eliehonig | 5:41 PM · Nov 19, 2020:
Alright @sarahcpr -- a lot of people definitely feel your distress here. Some things to know:

1- While the Constitution gives state legislatures power on how to choose electors, every state has had a law since the 1800s requiring that electors be appointed based on popular vote.

2- State legislatures theoretically could change those laws, but not now, not retroactively for 2020 election. If they want to change the laws now for 2024, go for it (they'd need both state houses and governor's signature), and pay the consequences in their own next elections.

3- Even if this insane idea gains momentum, GOP legislators and those close to them already have said they won't go along with it in at least MI and PA

4- They don't have nearly enough evidence, if any at all, of significant vote fraud. Tweets and screaming and viral videos do not cut it as proof in court, as we are seeing with dismissal after dismissal.

5- The "faithless electors" thing won't go anywhere. Electors are chosen by political parties and tend to be among the party faithful. Good luck getting any Dem elector to vote for Trump -- never mind 37 of them it would take to change the result.

6- Even if they do succeed in changing the outcome in one major state -- say MI or PA -- it will be a historic disgrace, and a miracle. And it still won't be nearly enough. They'd need to do this for at least 3 close swing states.

7- I totally get the concern. Insane, unhinged, disinformation pressers like Rudy's "Elite Strike Force" s**-show only make it worse. They're doing real and lasting harm. But ultimately they will not succeed.

(You keep people laughing and relaxed; I'll try to help on law stuff)


Josh Douglas (UK College of Law) @JoshuaADouglas · 6h
This is not 100% accurate. 33 states and DC have faithless elector laws, not all states.
MI and AZ do, but PA and GA do not. See here:
Faithless Elector State Laws - FairVote

Elie Honig @eliehonig · 7h
Faithless elector laws are different than laws stating that the electors themselves will be appointed by the state’s popular vote. Different sets of laws. All 50 have the latter.

Josh Douglas @JoshuaADouglas
Ah, I misread, though the two are obviously quite related.

Elie Honig @eliehonig
No worries yes there’s a fine distinction thanks for your input.


Norman Ornstein (Am Enterprise Institute, Atlantic) @NormOrnstein · 10h:
Here is a giant area of reassurance:
Michigan and Arizona have laws that cancel the votes of faithless electors and replace them with faithful ones.

marraskuu 23, 2020, 10:58 pm

Trump has tested the limits of the US constitution – but it's still holding (Guardian)

The fact that the president cannot hold on to power shows the checks and balances are working...

marraskuu 24, 2020, 11:27 am

Highly recommend the recent book on the current administration’s tactics against a shared reality:

Surviving Autocracy

joulukuu 3, 2020, 6:50 am

On not conceding election--"this is not normal":

The Lincoln Project @ProjectLincoln | 7:40 PM · Dec 2, 2020:
Donald Trump lost by 7 Million votes.

joulukuu 7, 2020, 6:18 am

Why should the US be afforded the ‘power of assassination’? (Al Jazeera)

The US government’s argument that it has every right to assassinate anyone, anywhere that it deems a national security risk – even its own citizens – heralds its descent into despotism...

joulukuu 8, 2020, 12:10 pm

This member has been suspended from the site.

joulukuu 9, 2020, 2:49 am

>39 Earthling1: Stop hijacking the thread.

joulukuu 9, 2020, 8:11 am

This member has been suspended from the site.

joulukuu 9, 2020, 8:12 am

This member has been suspended from the site.

joulukuu 14, 2020, 5:07 pm

The Constitution has an answer for seditious members of Congress
Ryan Cooper | December 12, 2020

...All members of Congress swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, which establishes a republican form of government. The whole point of a republic is that contests for power are conducted through a framework of rules and democratic elections, where all parties agree to respect the result whether they lose or win. Moreover, the premise of this (Paxton) lawsuit was completely preposterous — arguing in effect that states should not be allowed to set their own election rules if that means more Democrats can vote — and provides no evidence whatsoever for false allegations of tens of thousands of instances of voter fraud. Indeed, several of the representatives who support the lawsuit were themselves just elected by the very votes they now say are fraudulent. The proposed remedy — having Republican-dominated legislatures in only the four states that gave Biden his margin of victory select Trump electors — would be straight-up election theft.

In other words, this lawsuit, even though it didn't succeed, is a flagrant attempt to overturn the constitutional system and impose through authoritarian means the rule of a corrupt criminal whose doltish incompetence has gotten hundreds of thousands of Americans killed. It is a "seditious abuse of the judicial process," as the states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin jointly wrote in their response to Texas trying to steal their elections.

...'The Constitution, as goofy and jerry-rigged as it is, stipulates that insurrectionists who violate their oath are not allowed to serve in Congress. Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, written to exclude Confederate Civil War traitors, says that "No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress … who … having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same." How the Supreme Court ruled, or whether Republicans actually believe their lunatic claims, is irrelevant. It's still insurrection even if it doesn't work out.

Democrats would have every right, both under the Constitution and under the principle of popular sovereignty outlined in the Declaration of Independence, to convene a traitor-free Congress (also including similar acts committed by Republican senators like Lindsey Graham, David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler, and others), and pass such laws as would be necessary to preserve the American republic. That might include a national popular vote to decide the presidency, ironclad voting rights protections, a ban on gerrymandering either national or state district boundaries, full representation for the citizens of D.C. and Puerto Rico, regulations on internet platforms that are inflaming violent political extremism, a clear legal framework for the transfer of power that ends the lame duck period, and so on. States would be forced to agree to these measures before they can replace their traitorous representatives and senators. If the Supreme Court objects, more pro-democracy justices can be added.

joulukuu 15, 2020, 12:34 am

ICC prosecutor slams ‘wholly unacceptable’ US sanctions (Al Jazeera)

The US has slapped a travel ban on Fatou Bensouda, who had been investigating Americans and their allies for possible war crimes...

joulukuu 15, 2020, 10:09 am

Trump unleashes an army of sore losers
DAVID SIDERS | 12/13/2020

GOP candidates for House, legislative and gubernatorial races in more than half a dozen states are claiming voter fraud and still refusing to acknowledge defeat.

...The down-ballot parroting of Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud began right after the election. But in the weeks since, it has evolved into a self-sustaining phenomenon of its own. Republican candidates for House, legislative and gubernatorial races in more than half a dozen states are still refusing to concede.

...“Right now, it’s mostly kooks and crackpots,” said Mike Madrid, a Republican strategist and one of the founders of The Lincoln Project, a Republican group opposing Trump. “But it’s pretty rapidly becoming mainstream Republican thought.”

Likening refusals to concede with anti-mask rallies and militia marches on state capitols, Madrid said, “There’s a very wide segment of the Republican electorate that is demonstrating self- and socially-destructive behavior … Democracy requires a willing winner and a willing loser. You can’t just say this was stolen because you lost when there was no evidence of it.”...

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:29 am

‘The country is in a dangerous hour’: Lincoln Project founder warns second Trump coup is coming
Namita Singh | 12/16/2020

Steve Schmidt claims pro-democracy side of the political debate can no longer afford to lose a presidential election to a pro-autocracy side because there may not be an election after that

...president Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the election result “was a failed coup” that would result in him attempting another.
“It was a failed coup...The way you get to the second coup in most countries is by having your first unsuccessful one”

...Slamming the attorney generals of the 18 red states who joined Texas in the lawsuit before the Supreme Court, Mr Schmidt said: “What happened in the month of November premeditatedly, deliberately, faith and belief in American democracy was poisoned by President Trump, culminating with 126 members of the House of Representatives and 18 Republicans attorney generals signing an amicus brief to a garbage lawsuit that is, in essence, a declaration of repudiation of American democracy...Do not look at their signing onto that amicus brief as some type of legal action. It was not. It was a political declaration...And the political declaration was one in where they turn their backs on the tradition of American democracy. We should understand what we’re looking at.”

...the violence in Washington DC during the weekend as “fascistic, political, right-wing extremist” in which eight police officers were injured and four others stabbed. The violence erupted in several locations in DC following a “Stop the Steal” rally in support of Mr Trump's repeated and baseless allegations of electoral fraud.

“The pro-democracy side of the political debate can never again lose a presidential election to a pro-autocracy side because there may not be an election after that,” the former Republican (then an Independent, now a Democrat) cautioned.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 17, 2020, 11:08 am

The fight against Trumpism is only beginning
Reed Galen (Lincoln Project co-founder) | Dec. 16, 2020

...Those of us who voted for Biden and Harris must remember that our coalition is our best offense and defense. Though we will not agree on everything, we must march forward together against the forces of authoritarianism. We must fight for the foundations of a democratic society: A new voting rights act. A new civil rights act. Increased election security and a commitment to keep foreign actors out of our elections.

Lastly, we must identify, call out, and repudiate any and all false information, lies and fiction with which the Republican Party and its allies infect the American political bloodstream. We must remind people that open sewer pipes such as Facebook and Parler are the propagators of authoritarian belief, racism and white-nationalist terror.

If we do all this, we will win this fight, and we will enjoy the quiet pride knowing that we stood up when our country and our fellow citizens needed it most.


The Lincoln Project @ProjectLincoln | 3:29 PM · Dec 16, 2020:
Americans have always said, "It can't happen here."
But it can, and it will, unless we stand united and fight for our #democracy.

1:42 ( )

joulukuu 23, 2020, 10:44 am

Jennifer Rubin (WaPo) @JRubinBlogger | 10:50 PM · Dec 22, 2020
If I had 3 constitutional amendments:

1. Get rid of electoral college

2. No self-pardons, pardons for family members or those convicted of criminal contempt of court;
clarify obstruction and bribery statutes apply to pardon power

3. 18 yr. terms for S Ct.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 23, 2020, 1:56 pm

I'm tempted to just get rid of the pardon power altogether, unless some way could be devised to disallow it in cases where it helps the president in some way such as those who might testify against the president.

joulukuu 24, 2020, 6:15 am

He should be called back to active duty and court-martialed.

tammikuu 4, 2021, 4:12 am

Intended to recognize people who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors", Trump plans to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan. Rush Limbaugh got his Feb 4, 2020.

Trump to award Medal of Freedom to GOP Reps. Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan
Kaitlan Collins | January 3, 2021

Before he leaves office, President Donald Trump will award the nation's highest civilian honor to two of his most vocal political allies who defended him throughout his impeachment, Rep. Devin Nunes of California and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, as the White House has been inundated with requests for others, multiple sources told CNN...

tammikuu 6, 2021, 4:21 am

A Simple Way to End Questionable Stock Trading by Lawmakers
Andrew Ross Sorkin | Jan. 5, 2021

The Securities and Exchange Commission has broad powers that could be used to regulate trades by members of Congress, avoiding the need for legislation.

Here is how it would work: The next head of the S.E.C., expected to be named in the coming weeks, could seek to put in place a new rule for broker-dealers, the financial intermediaries that all trades go through and that the agency oversees. The rule would require the broker-dealers to set up a special compliance program for clients known as “politically exposed persons,” a term that financial institutions know well as part of anti-money-laundering and bribery laws.

...require the broker-dealers to ask those clients — which could be defined as members of Congress, their spouses and senior members of staff — to personally answer a questionnaire every time a trade is executed, irrespective of whether the trade is instigated by them or a financial adviser. That would eliminate the frequent excuse that Congress members give about not being involved in trades, even when they are...questions like: “Have you attended any meetings in the past 28 days that could be perceived as being related to or possibly influencing your decision to make this trade?”

The broker-dealer would be required to submit details about each trade and the questionnaires within 24 hours to the S.E.C., and, crucially, both the trade information and the questionnaire would be published on the S.E.C.’s website, where they could be viewed by investors and the public.

Of course, members of Congress could still buy and sell broad-based mutual funds. But timely disclosures of the trades, along with a questionnaire that would create liability for officials if they didn’t tell the truth, are likely to stop the trading of individual stocks.

The compliance program suggested in this column is a variation on the way the S.E.C. itself polices staff at the agency...

An effort by the S.E.C. to introduce such a plan for members of Congress would require a vote of its five commissioners; three will be Democrats, two Republicans...

And there is no expectation of privacy by Congress members about trading because the STOCK Act already requires that they publish their trades within 45 days...

If you’re asking why the S.E.C. hasn’t already tried a stricter approach, there is an answer: Congress approves the S.E.C.’s budget...

That’s why it will take a bold leader of the S.E.C. to make new rules, and follow through by creating a task force charged with enforcing them. Unlike criminal prosecutors, however, the S.E.C. can only bring lawsuits to enforce the law. But there is power in that: A criminal case requires that guilt is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but the threshold for a civil case is lower, simply requiring a “a preponderance of the evidence,” which should allow the S.E.C. to pursue cases aggressively.

Of course, if the idea works, there hopefully won’t be any cases to pursue.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 6, 2021, 4:15 pm

Neal Katyal @neal_katyal | 3:42 PM · Jan 6, 2021:
It's a crime that DC is not a State. We had to wait for this joker and evil Admin & President to call the National Guard, instead of a Governor.

Day 1: DC Statehood. Never forget.

In the end the Governor of VIRGINIA called in the National Guard!

Ralph Northam @GovernorVA | 3:29 PM · Jan 6, 2021:
My team and I are working closely with @MayorBowser, @SpeakerPelosi, and @SenSchumer to respond to the situation in Washington, D.C.

Per the Mayor's request, I am sending members of the Virginia National Guard along with 200 Virginia State Troopers.

Dan Lamothe @DanLamothe | 3:47 PM · Jan 6, 2021:

To questions about why it will take hours to get all D.C. guardsmen into the city: Remember, most have day jobs. Some live hours away in Virginia, Maryland and beyond. Am told they have four hours to respond.

Erin Banco @ErinBanco | 3:50 PM · Jan 6, 2021:
Hoffman, Chief Pentagon Spokesman:
“The D.C. Guard has been mobilized to provide support to federal law enforcement in the District. The law enforcement response will be led by the Department of Justice.”

tammikuu 16, 2021, 11:14 pm

Historians having to tape together records that Trump tore up (Guardian)

Implications for public record and legal proceedings after administration seized or destroyed papers, notes and other information...

tammikuu 18, 2021, 4:42 am

A former president Trump won’t ‘need to know.’ Cut off his intelligence.
Susan M. Gordon (principal deputy director of national intelligence from 2017 to 2019) | Jan. 15, 2021

Every former president in the modern era has benefited from a unique national security perk after leaving the White House: routine intelligence briefings and access to classified information to support his continued involvement in advancing America’s interests. These briefings have been a matter of respectful convention and were granted by the new president to the old.

But convention left the premises a long time ago with President Trump, and his demonstrated approach to national security and intelligence suggest that a more purposeful decision must be made about providing intelligence to this soon-to-be former president.

My recommendation, as a 30-plus-year veteran of the intelligence community, is not to provide him any briefings after Jan. 20. With this simple act — which is solely the new president’s prerogative — Joe Biden can mitigate one aspect of the potential national security risk posed by Donald Trump, private citizen.

...a former president Trump, even before the events of last week, might be unusually vulnerable to bad actors with ill intent. He leaves, unlike his predecessors who embraced the muted responsibilities of being a “former,” with a stated agenda to stay engaged in politics and policy. No departing president in the modern era has hinted at or planned on becoming a political actor immediately after leaving office.

In addition, Trump has significant business entanglements that involve foreign entities....

Either way, before Trump departs, the intelligence officials should have the conversation — as they do with all outgoing presidents — about the risks every president faces simply because of what he has already seen or told. He leaves office with knowledge of some of our most precious intelligence assets in his head. They need to stay there...

There is good news here. No new policy needs to be established to make this decision. Neither past position nor past clearance is the basis for access to classified information — the “need to know” is. Trump will not warrant access simply because he was the president, and he cannot assert need to know for himself. He has to be granted it.

And there is the beauty of the system. If sharing classified information with him serves the nation’s purpose at some point in the future, he will get exactly the information the new president decides. Just like everyone else...


House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff said: “There's no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now, not in the future.”
SARAH CAMMARATA | 01/17/2021

...“There's no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now, not in the future,” said Schiff (D-Calif.) on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” "I don't think he can be trusted with it now and in the future, he certainly can't be trusted...”

...Schiff added that he thinks U.S. allies withheld information from the Trump administration because “they didn’t trust the president” to protect intelligence, which, in turn, “makes us less safe.”

However, Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of staff, said that the new administration will first hear from “our intelligence professionals” and their recommendations on intelligence-sharing before making a decision on the issue...“We’ll certainly look for a recommendation from the intelligence professionals in the Biden administration”...

tammikuu 18, 2021, 6:01 am

As with smoking, social pushback, being banned from restaurants--'er Twitter--is what will finally quell this deluded unrest?
Even smoking seemed to have passed some irreversible threshold...

Pushed to the edge by the Capitol riot, people are reporting their family and friends to the FBI
Hannah Knowles and Paulina Villegas | Jan. 16, 2021

...Increasingly estranged friends and relatives told The Washington Post they were driven to law enforcement by their own politics, a sense of moral obligation and a fear of what their loved ones could do next.

...Hundreds could eventually face charges, and people around the country are volunteering information.

Reddit forums and Twitter threads urge users to turn in even those closest to them — and comfort those who say they did. Some of these online spaces have become safe havens where people share their struggles with the radicalization of a loved one.

...Some family members have stuck by those arrested, defending them to the media. And for others, contacting the FBI feels drastic...

Misinformation dropped dramatically the week after Twitter banned Trump and some allies
Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg | Jan. 16, 2021

Online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent after several social media sites suspended President Trump and key allies last week, research firm Zignal Labs has found, underscoring the power of tech companies to limit the falsehoods poisoning public debate when they act aggressively.

The new research by the San Francisco-based analytics firm reported that conversations about election fraud dropped from 2.5 million mentions to 688,000 mentions across several social media sites in the week after Trump was banned from Twitter (Jan 8, 2021).

Election disinformation had for months been a major subject of online misinformation, beginning even before the Nov. 3 election and pushed heavily by Trump and his allies...

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 21, 2021, 10:51 am

14 Reasons that Democracy Survived
As Biden takes power, let's recall the institutions and individuals who resisted Trump's violations
Soren Dayton (self-decribed "dissident Republican") | Jan 20, 2021

...Authoritarian populists tend to win re-election...American institutions did hold up under attack, but this was not guaranteed. People took action—those within institutions to ensure that these functioned as they should, and those outside institutions who demanded appropriate behavior....I offer a partial list of some whom I witnessed fighting for our democracy, and whose efforts we should acknowledge:

1. The American people.
2. Progressive groups.
3. Principled conservatives.
4. Some Republican officials.
5. Political appointees who held firm.
6. Career civil servants who held firm.
7. Political and career officials who resigned.
8. The press.
9. Inspectors general and whistleblowers.
10. The uniformed military.
11. Principled conservative and libertarian legal thinkers.
12. Civil-society litigators.
13. The Center for Tech and Civic Life and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
14. Congress (when it was forced).

...deep wounds remain after the Trump years. They must be addressed, and our institutions must be rendered sturdier still, before they are tested again...

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 21, 2021, 12:02 pm

>57 margd:

Just wondering why you specifically name "The Center for Tech and Civic Life and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative" (neither of which I have ever heard of) but you don't name any other organisations or institutions? There must have been a lot of civil society groups which played a role, not just two.

tammikuu 21, 2021, 4:13 pm

>58 John5918: "The Center for Tech and Civic Life and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The 2020 election could have been much more problematic because the federal government did not supply adequate funding. But the Center for Tech and Civic Life provided expertise and training to run elections around the country, while Chan Zuckerberg provided funding."

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 22, 2021, 12:59 am

Nonviolent Activists Laid the Groundwork to Oppose a Coup. They May Have Saved the Republic (Yes Magazine)

Activists prepared for months, expecting Trump to steal the election. They were right, and he failed...

Much attention has focused on how the institutions of government held in the face of such unprecedented threats and how a number of prominent Republicans under enormous pressure from Trump and his supporters chose to adhere to their moral and legal responsibilities. Even if things had gone differently, however, it is unlikely Trump would have been able to successfully steal the election. The reason was that millions of Americans would have engaged in massive nonviolent resistance to defend democracy. And this was likely the determining factor...

In the Philippines in 1985, Serbia in 2000, Ukraine in 2004, and Gambia in 2016, when incumbent regimes attempted to steal their elections, large-scale nonviolent action succeeded in forcing the election results to be honored. More conventional coup attempts in Germany (1920), France (1961), Bolivia (1978), Argentina (1987), the Soviet Union (1991), and Burkina Faso (2015) were similarly reversed as a result of popular civil resistance through rapid popular mobilization, massive noncooperation, building broad alliances of democratic forces, and maintaining nonviolent discipline. As a result, starting this past summer, a number of groups began organizing and training for the possibility of massive nonviolent resistance to a stolen election in the United States...

As was with the previous cases of successfully reversed coup attempts in other countries, leftists with experience in nonviolent direct action and grassroots organizing had to be willing to work with decidedly mainstream political figures and institutions. This created a valuable opportunity to create connections between that activist base, established institutions, and journalists... “For many veteran activists, learning to align with people in the political center was a new skill.” While there had long been great disappointment among nonviolent activists at Joe Biden’s militaristic foreign policy agenda and neo-liberal economic policies, there was an understanding that the struggle was ultimately not about supporting the Democratic Party nominee, but defending democracy...

Scores of other already existing local and national groups launched their own efforts of raising awareness of the threat, mobilizing potential responses, and engaging in nonviolence training. Extensive mainstream media coverage of these efforts brought the idea of nonviolent revolution in the United States to millions of Americans for the first time...

"the struggle was ultimately not about supporting the Democratic Party nominee, but defending democracy"

I think that's a statement worth highlighting.

tammikuu 22, 2021, 5:22 am

Lawmakers who objected to election results have been cut off from 20 of their 30 biggest corporate PAC donors
Douglas MacMillan and Jena McGregor | Jan. 19, 2021

U.S. executives continue to grapple with political bloodshed and its ripple effects on the corporate landscape...(see infographic)

WAGator @gatormateo78 | 9:52 PM · Jan 21, 2021

Here are the 10 (listed in WaPo article) that are still donating:
Home Depot
American Crystal Sugar
General Dynamics
Exxon Mobil
Railway Charter Communications
Cox Enterprise

tammikuu 29, 2021, 7:45 am @MeidasTouch | 1:32 AM · Jan 29, 2021
Shouldn’t we hold our public servants to a higher standard? Shouldn’t we hold them to *A* standard??! ...

1:32 ( )
U.S. Government: We’ll Take Anyone! | PoliticsGirl...

helmikuu 22, 2021, 7:49 am

60 Minutes @60Minutes | 7:13 PM · Feb 21, 2021:
After Judge James Robart temporarily blocked President Trump’s first travel ban,
his home address was posted online and he was bombarded with 40,000 messages.
1,100 were serious enough to be investigated.
U.S. Marshals set up camp outside his house. (2:02)
Threats against judge that temporarily blocked first Trump travel ban

helmikuu 22, 2021, 1:26 pm

>63 margd: I saw that segment and it turned my stomach. (Not quite as much as the scenes from Syria, however.)

maaliskuu 8, 2021, 9:00 am

We Can’t Curb the Presidency Without Fixing Congress
David Frum | March 5, 2021

The minoritarian skew of the House and Senate presents an obstacle to democratic reform. extreme the bias is. Compare the House elections of 2010 and 2020. In 2010, the Republicans won 51.7 percent of all votes cast; in 2020, the Democrats won 51.5 percent—almost exactly the same proportion. But in 2010, the Republican 51.7 percent converted into 242 seats, a decisive majority. In 2020, the Democratic 51.5 percent converted into 222 seats, a narrow margin.

Analysis of district-level voting patterns suggests that Republicans enjoy an inbuilt 2.1 percentage-point advantage in contests for the House majority. Joe Biden won the national vote by 4.6 points in 2020. He won the median House seat, Illinois’s Fourteenth Congressional District, by 2.5 points. The Republican advantage in the Senate is, of course, even more extreme. Not since the mid-1990s have Republican senators represented a majority of American voters. The 50 Democratic senators elected in 2020 represent nearly 42 million more Americans than the 50 Republicans.

Shifting power from an overmighty presidency to a Congress that overindulges reactionary minorities will do democracy no good.

...Despite the results of 2000 and 2016, it’s still more feasible for an American majority to win a presidential election than to control the House or the Senate, more feasible for a state majority to elect a governor than to elect a majority of state legislators. The mistrust of executive power in the American tradition has sound reasons. Under present rules and conditions, however, executive power is the least anti-majoritarian power in the American political design.

...Under present rules and conditions, the executive power, state and federal, is the least antidemocratic power in the American political design. The only hope for bringing majority rule to the rest of American politics is voting-rights enforcement by the federal Department of Justice—and maybe some forward-thinking governors—against the probable resistance of the U.S. Senate, the Republican-dominated federal courts, and the minority-rule state legislatures. The presidency and the governorships have not always advanced the cause of majority rule in the past. They will not always do so in the future. But at this moment, that’s precisely what they’re poised to do. The enemies of the majority-rule principle understand that fact. The friends of majority rule should absorb it too.

kesäkuu 8, 2021, 8:53 am

Boston Globe dropped paywall for these editorials:

Future-proofing the presidency
Donald Trump brought our democracy to the brink and exposed its weak spots. How to thwart the next American tyrant.
The Editorial Board (Boston Globe) | June 2021

A treasure map for an American tyrant
Donald Trump exposed the weaknesses in our system of government that could now be exploited by a corrupt leader with control of the White House. In this series, the Globe editorial board outlines the urgent reforms needed to prevent the rise of an American tyrant — and to protect our democracy for posterity...

The last four years underscored just how corruptible the presidency is.
The 45th president was in bed financially with foreign governments, a precedent for America’s enemies to wield influence over the Oval Office. Lawmakers and voters must prevent this from becoming common practice...

A sordid family affair
Donald Trump exploited loopholes to build a White House rife with nepotism. Lawmakers must close them...

Hiding the evidence
Donald Trump got away with thwarting investigations of wrongdoing by his campaign and his White House. Without reforms, future criminals could exploit the powers of the presidency to even more dangerous ends...

Rewards for doing the president’s bidding
Donald Trump’s abuse of the pardon power to reward criminal loyalists is a precedent for a future authoritarian leader to commit crimes without consequence. Its use must be curtailed by Congress...

The case for prosecuting Donald Trump
Saving American democracy for the long run requires a clear condemnation of the Trump presidency. That means making clear that no one is above the law...

kesäkuu 23, 2021, 9:22 am

As Wars Wind Down, Congress Revisits Presidential Powers
The House voted to repeal the 2002 authorization for the invasion of Iraq, and the Senate will consider doing so as well in a rare debate over war powers.
Jennifer Steinhauer | June 17, 2021

...The (House) bipartisan action (268 to 161, with 49 Republicans joining 219 Democrats) reflected growing determination on Capitol Hill to revisit the broad authority that Congress provided to President George W. Bush following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks through measures that successive presidents have used to justify military action around the world.

The 2002 authorization was repeatedly applied well beyond its original intent, including in a campaign much later against the Islamic State in Iraq and for the killing of the Iranian general Qassim Suleimani last year...

kesäkuu 28, 2021, 6:41 am

Republicans can win the next elections through gerrymandering alone (Guardian)

In Washington, the real insiders know that the true outrages are what’s perfectly legal and that it’s simply a gaffe when someone accidentally blurts out something honest. And so it barely made a ripple last week when a Texas congressman (and Donald Trump’s former White House physician) said aloud what’s supposed to be kept to a backroom whisper: Republicans intend to retake the US House of Representatives in 2022 through gerrymandering. “We have redistricting coming up and the Republicans control most of that process in most of the states around the country,” Representative Ronny Jackson told a conference of religious conservatives. “That alone should get us the majority back.”

He’s right. Republicans won’t have to win more votes next year to claim the US House. In fact, everyone could vote the exact same way for Congress next year as they did in 2020 – when Democratic candidates nationwide won more than 4.7 million votes than Republicans and narrowly held the chamber – but under the new maps that will be in place, the Republican party would take control...

kesäkuu 29, 2021, 12:11 am

Obama: Trump broke ‘core tenet’ of democracy with ‘bunch of hooey’ over election (Guardian)

Barack Obama said on Monday that his successor in office, Donald Trump, violated a “core tenet” of democracy when he made up a “bunch of hooey” about last year’s election and refused to concede he lost. Speaking at his first virtual fundraiser since the 2020 election, the former Democratic president said former Republican president’s claims undermined the legitimacy of US elections and helped lead to other anti-democratic measures such as efforts to suppress the vote. “What we saw was my successor, the former president, violate that core tenet that you count the votes and then declare a winner – and fabricate and make up a whole bunch of hooey,” Obama said...

elokuu 7, 2021, 9:34 am

How Trump stiff-armed Congress — and gaslighted the courts — to build his wall
Congress’ power of the purse was ignored, but lawmakers remain divided over how to respond.
DAVID ROGERS | 08/06/2021

Pentagon records obtained by POLITICO paint the clearest picture yet of how far the Trump administration went to get around Congress and speed the diversion of military construction funds to build its border wall in 2019.

The diversion, totaling $3.6 billion, disrupted scores of improvements for military operations and the quality of life for troops and their families. The newly released documents provide the first-ever look at the inner workings of how that money was moved around — and it’s not a pretty sight for congressional committees, which were left in the dark and denied basic answers about the accounting maneuvers.

...more than $1 billion is not coming back. And left behind in its place is a legacy of distrust (toward DoD) and nagging questions as to how Congress can better protect its constitutional power of the purse...

...the Pentagon enjoyed immense discretion once the White House invoked its singular construction powers after declaring a “national emergency” in early 2019. The relevant statute, enacted in 1982 and known in political shorthand as 2808, allowed DoD to proceed “without regard to any other provision of law.”...

The Impoundment Control Act, adopted in response to Richard Nixon’s power grabs in the 1970s, went by the wayside early. That law requires a “special message notification” to be filed with the Government Accountability Office whenever a department defers prior appropriations... No such notice was ever given, the GAO confirmed...DoD’s “administrative” realignment of the Navy funds had all the markings of a required reprogramming...

In fairness to DoD, there are ample precedents where some military services “sub-allot” their annual construction funds to the Corps (of Engineers). But the procedure is so rarely used by the Navy that it’s a stretch in this case — and one seemingly designed to avoid telling the courts a diversion of this size had required transfers.

...Congress took the first steps to try to reassert itself last winter...The annual defense authorization bill, enacted over the president’s veto (with Trump on his way out after the 2020 election), included a House-initiated provision designed to rein in DoD’s discretion under the 2808 authority.

The department will still be empowered to go around current laws, but the path is narrowed some and will require more notice to Congress. Moreover, a $500 million cap is imposed for all military construction projects undertaken using the 2808 authority during a future emergency. In the event of a national emergency declaration in which 2808 authority would be used only to build projects only within the U.S, a tighter cap of $100 million would rule.

...One last outlier: the U.S. Supreme Court. What the justices decide this fall could add to the calls for Congress to do more.

... a petition for writ of certiorari filed on Trump’s behalf last year after his border wall suffered a defeat in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2020....ruled that DoD’s use of its 2808 authority violated 2808 itself because the wall projects failed to meet the “military” standards set in the statute.

Trump sought to reverse this ruling by getting the case before the more conservative Supreme Court. It’s now Biden’s call, and to the dismay of the wall’s challengers, the new administration has effectively lined up with Trump and is asking the justices to vacate wall-related rulings which might impede Biden’s own executive powers going forward.

...Smelling trouble, the wall’s challengers — a legal team led by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Sierra Club and other environmental interests — struck back in filings to the Court on July 19. Their core argument was that much as the Pentagon may use its transfer powers on a regular basis, there is nothing so common about the use of DoD’s 2808 authority. In the plaintiffs’ view, the greater risk to the nation is that vacating the 9th Circuit’s decision will wipe out all its legal history and make it easier for future presidents to go down the same path as Trump did...

elokuu 19, 2021, 12:17 am

Rightwing lobbies and dark money funders backing assaults on voting rights (Guardian)

Election watchdogs say rightwing groups seek to enact voting restrictions in critical states, from Arizona to Pennsylvania – states that Republicans need to win back...

syyskuu 9, 2021, 10:29 am

Proponents of Post-Trump Curbs on Executive Power Prepare New Push
Charlie Savage | Sept. 9, 2021

...House Democrats (Adam Schiff et al.) plan this month to reintroduce a broad package of limits on executive power. The bill — a refinement to legislation introduced last year during the presidential campaign for political messaging purposes — will pull together many proposals percolating in congressional committees.

The bill is expected to cover nearly a dozen issues. Among them: It would make it harder for presidents to bestow pardons in bribery-like contexts and to spend — or secretly freeze — funds contrary to congressional appropriations. It would speed up lawsuits over congressional subpoenas. And it would strengthen the Constitution’s ban on presidents taking “emoluments,” or payments, from foreigners.

The White House supports many of the ideas...keeping the statute of limitations from expiring while presidents are in office and temporarily shielded from prosecution; enhancing whistle-blower protections; banning foreign elections assistance; and tightening limits on whom presidents can appoint to temporarily fill vacant positions that normally require Senate confirmation.

...But the White House has also expressed skepticism and objected to some of the proposals as going too far and intruding on presidents’ constitutional prerogatives...

...the group Protect Democracy has hired a lobbying team led by a former Republican Senate aide to reach out to lawmakers in hope of building bipartisan support, said Soren Dayton, a policy advocate with the group who worked for several elected Republicans. “The time is now and the window is closing”...

syyskuu 10, 2021, 9:06 am

"if conservative judges don't care about how the tactic has infringed upon abortion rights, will they be worried that by blue states might pass similar laws to go after gun rights? "

The Justice Department's uphill battle against Texas' abortion ban
Tierney Sneed | September 10, 2021

DOJ's big ask: block Texas' "agents, including private parties" from enforcing the ban
Why the US government says it has grounds to sue
What is parens patriae? And why it matters
What are the next steps?
The potential for a symbolic, but not a practical, victory for the DOJ

In 1982 US Supreme Court said MA couldn't delegate government powers to private entities
( )

How the case of one bar's liquor license could bring down the new Texas abortion ban (05:00)
Rachel Maddow | 9/08/2021

syyskuu 13, 2021, 9:04 am

In the wake of Trump's attack on democracy, election officials fear for the future of American elections (CNN)

Trump's efforts to subvert the election began well before Election Day, and have only gained momentum since, with Republicans passing laws to restrict voting or make it easier for partisans to interfere in more than a dozen states, including key battlegrounds. Most recently, in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott signed an election bill into law last week over the fierce objection of the state's Democrats, who, in hopes of derailing similar restrictions proposed earlier this summer, had fled the state two times en masse.

The state legislative efforts are bolstered by a coordinated, behind-the-scenes push by conservative groups to raise millions to support restrictive voting laws, spread unproven claims about voter fraud and fund sham audits of election results. All of which, election experts say, will make it easier the next time to overturn close results, and puts the future of free and fair elections in jeopardy.

"I don't think we've ever been at a point that's been quite this tenuous for the democracy," Christine Todd Whitman, a former GOP governor of New Jersey and a founder and co-chair of States United Democracy Center, told CNN. "I think it's a huge danger because it's the first time that I've seen it being undermined -- our democracy being undermined from within"...

syyskuu 13, 2021, 9:30 am

>73 margd: Grendel's Den is a great little bar, and still going - it might not survive the yuppification of Harvard Square, but last I checked it was holding on.

And of course I love that the opinion was authored by Chief Justice Burger.

syyskuu 14, 2021, 12:17 am

US faces ‘real battle for democracy’ against far right, says Hillary Clinton (Guardian)

Hillary Clinton has said that the US was still in a “real battle for our democracy” against pro-Trump forces on the far right, seeking to entrench minority rule and turn back the clock on women’s rights. At a Guardian Live online event on Monday, Clinton fended off suggestions that the world was now witnessing the twilight of US democracy, but said: “I do believe we are in a struggle for the future of our country”...

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 15, 2021, 7:18 am

Wow. I'm glad Milley took steps after Jan 6, 2021 to prevent knee-jerk war and deployment of nukes, but military is supposed to report to civilian commander-in-chief. If, as a result, Milley must resign, he can hold his head high, IMO.

Milley took top-secret action to limit Trump's ability to order military strike, book says (10:59)
CNN | Sep 14, 2021

Two days after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, President Donald Trump's top military adviser, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, single-handedly took top-secret action to limit Trump from potentially ordering a dangerous military strike or launching nuclear weapons, according to "Peril," a new book by legendary journalist Bob Woodward and veteran Washington Post reporter Robert Costa. CNN's Jamie Gangel reports.

syyskuu 15, 2021, 2:28 pm

I can't get the picture out of my head of him walking with the orange across the street to the church. He sure looked like a puppy following his owner.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 23, 2021, 8:06 am

Opinion: Kevin McCarthy’s vile attack on Liz Cheney shows the dangers of a GOP House
Greg Sargent | 10/22/2021

For governments to function amid deep disagreements between their major players, they sometimes evolve shared understandings. Their premise is that in some conflicts, preserving the integrity of the system, and its fidelity to serving the public, must take priority over pursuing political Total War all the way down.

One such understanding might be that if one party’s leader and his co-conspirators try to overturn a legitimate election with mob violence, a broad cross-party effort at accountability must follow. Another might be that Congress has legitimate oversight powers, and that while some resistance to this is within bounds, absolute resistance to it is not.

(1)...a prominent lobbyist and longtime (Minority Leader Kevin) McCarthy confidant...told consultants to choose between working for (Rep Liz) Cheney and working for McCarthy, the Times reports. With McCarthy potentially the next House speaker, consultants must take such threats seriously, so one firm working for Cheney severed their relationship.

This threat surely had McCarthy’s assent. Importantly, McCarthy has good reason for assenting: Cheney’s high-profile participation in holding Donald Trump accountable for the insurrection and effort to subvert the election, which will implicate House Republicans, shines a harsh light on GOP radicalization, threatening the GOP’s midterm chances.

It’s typical for party leaders to exercise discipline with hardball tactics. But Daniel Ziblatt, co-author of “How Democracies Die,” notes a key nuance: What’s being enforced entails punishment for seeking accountability for the elite overseers of anti-democratic street violence and an effort to disrupt democracy at its foundation.

...Bannon and ‘executive privilege’

Meanwhile, all but nine House Republicans voted against holding Bannon in contempt for defying the select committee’s subpoena. Democrats believe (Steve) Bannon can illuminate Trump World’s potential understanding of their scheme as a deliberate plot to overturn an election through intentional procedural corruption and/or violence.

...Bannon’ claims he is honoring Trump’s demand that communications with advisers be protected from the committee by “executive privilege,” but Bannon was a private citizen throughout the time in question.

Note that “executive privilege” is also a place where shared understandings help make governments function. When presidents invoke executive privilege to resist congressional oversight, what has traditionally happened is the two sides reach negotiated settlements.

The core idea here is that there will be push and pull, but ultimately resistance to congressional oversight shouldn’t be absolute, that at some point, presidents need to cooperate with it to make the system work for the public.

...Trump’s idea is that he can invoke executive privilege as a former president, to protect himself against accountability for trying to disrupt the system at its very roots. As the current White House counsel notes, this is dubious as it serves no conceivable public interest. Yet virtually the entire House GOP is siding with Trump.

...What else is a House majority controlled by these bad actors truly capable of?...The specter of such a GOP majority should also prompt Democrats to revise the Electoral Count Act and pursue other democracy-protecting reforms — and end the filibuster if necessary to do so.


Laurence Tribe tribelaw | 7:10 AM · Oct 23, 2021:
We’ve also learned Kevin McCarthy received money from Lev Parnas,
the Rudy Giuliani sidekick whose money came through Ukrainian oligarch Firtash and
who was convicted by a jury yesterday.
And Oleg Deripaska seems to be involved. Hence Moscow Mitch, given Okeg’s Ky aluminum plant

marraskuu 2, 2021, 7:36 am

What a mess...

Takeaways from SCOTUS arguments on Texas abortion ban

Roe wasn’t on the table, but justices see it around the bend

Two competing parades of horribles
...“The state of Texas was very candid today in saying that an S.B. 8-type law could be used to target those rights — including gun rights, same-sex marriage, birth control, religious liberties,” Planned Parenthood’s Julie Murray told reporters after the arguments. “Many of the questions that came out today were in clear recognition of the fact that whatever happens with S.B. 8, if it is permitted to stay in effect, you are going to see other states turn to the same type of model with respect to other constitutional rights that they disagree with.” issue (a similar law potentially affecting gun rights — ) that Kavanaugh made clear was troubling him.

Did the Texas case scramble the court’s usual ideological alignment?
...Barrett...kicked off the unexpected queries early by noting that the Texas statute was drafted to prevent abortion providers from making arguments to state courts about a general chilling effect on the right to obtain an abortion
...Breyer...acknowledged some resonance to the claims from conservatives about the dangers of suggesting that almost any civil suit could be pulled into federal court by going after the state judge involved. “There are 4 billion tort suits in the United States, OK? And probably in 3 billion of them, somebody thinks something is unconstitutional. All right? So can they all sue the judge?”
...Thomas repeatedly compared the Texas statute to a type of state law known as a “private attorney general” law, in which private parties can step in to enforce state laws...seemed to suggest that the clinics might have grounds to get federal courts to stop private individuals from suing under S.B. 8 because they could be considered to have been deputized as state actors, akin to a police officer or prosecutor...

Congress gets called on the carpet
...Defenders of the Texas statute said Congress could have passed a law to give the federal courts or the Justice Department the right to step in over such a law, but had not done so.
...Kagan...“Isn't the point of a right that you don't have to ask Congress?...Isn't the point of a right that it doesn't really matter what Congress thinks or what the majority of the American people think as to that right?”

Justices battle over hypotheticals vs. reality on the ground
...Alito...the possibility of a person who has had an abortion suing their own doctor for emotional damages.
...Alito and (Texas Solicitor General Judd) Stone also raised the possibility of individuals suing under the new law over abortions that aren’t protected by the provisions of Roe and Casey, such as abortions later than 24 weeks of pregnancy.
...Kagan...abortion providers are so afraid of a potential wave of lawsuits that the number of abortions has fallen by about half (U TX)...“We’ve had a little experiment here,” Kagan said. “You know, usually, in these chilling-effect cases, we're kind of guessing. Here, we're not guessing. We know exactly what has happened as a result of this law: It has chilled everybody on the ground.”

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 15, 2021, 10:23 am

A 2012 Law Review article anticipated hazard to credibility of Court in our increasingly partisan times:
"Cultural cognition” refers to the unconscious influence of individuals’ group commitments on their perceptions of legally consequential facts...the Free Speech, Equal Protection, and Due Process Clauses all mandate governmental evenhandedness. Within their respective domains, each forecloses the state from privileging particular affiliations, ways of life, or points of view and mandates that law be justified by its contribution to secular interests—physical security, public health, economic prosperity—valued by all citizens. But if decisionmakers (particularly adjudicators) unconsciously apply these provisions to favor outcomes congenial to favored ways of life, citizens who adhere to disfavored ones will suffer the same array of disadvantages for failing to conform that they would in a regime expressly dedicated to propagation of a sectarian orthodoxy. This distinctively psychological threat to constitutional ideals, which we will refer to as “cognitive illiberalism,” has received relatively little attention from commentators or jurists..."

Dan M. Kahan et al. 2012. "They Saw a Protest": Cognitive Illiberalism and the Speech-Conduct Distinction. Stanford Law Review Vol. 64:851 (April 2012).

“Cultural cognition” refers to the unconscious influence of individuals’ group commitments on their perceptions of legally consequential facts. We conducted an experiment to assess the impact of cultural cognition on perceptions of facts relevant to distinguishing constitutionally protected “speech” from unprotected “conduct.” Study subjects viewed a video of a political demonstration. Half the subjects believed that the demonstrators were protesting abortion outside of an abortion clinic, and the other half that the demonstrators were protesting the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy outside a military recruitment center. Subjects of opposing cultural outlooks who were assigned to the same experimental condition (and thus had the same belief about the nature of the protest) disagreed sharply on key “facts”—including whether the protestors obstructed and threatened pedestrians. Subjects also disagreed sharply with those who shared their cultural outlooks but who were assigned to the opposing experimental condition (and hence had a different belief about the nature of the protest). These results supported the study hypotheses about how cultural cognition would affect perceptions pertinent to the speech-conduct distinction. We discuss the significance of the results for constitutional law and liberal principles of self governance generally.

...the Free Speech, Equal Protection, and Due Process Clauses all mandate governmental evenhandedness. Within their respective domains, each forecloses the state from privileging particular affiliations, ways of life, or points of view and mandates that law be justified by its contribution to secular interests—physical security, public health, economic prosperity—valued by all citizens. But if decisionmakers (particularly adjudicators) unconsciously apply these provisions to favor outcomes congenial to favored ways of life, citizens who adhere to disfavored ones will suffer the same array of disadvantages for failing to conform that they would in a regime expressly dedicated to propagation of a sectarian orthodoxy. This distinctively psychological threat to constitutional ideals, which we will refer to as “cognitive illiberalism,” has received relatively little attention from commentators or jurists...

In the competitive jurisprudence of visual-sense impressions, Justice Scalia has a record of one and one. In Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, he was on the losing side of a 6-3 decision that upheld (most elements of) an injunction against abortion clinic protestors the majority found to have “interfered with ingress to and egress from the clinic.”184 Writing in dissent, Justice Scalia implored “(a)nyone seriously interested in what this case was about” to watch a videotape of the demonstrators’ behavior, predicting that doing so would leave any fair-minded viewer “aghast at” the Court’s complicity in stifling “run-of-the-mine” forms of persuasive speech. In Scott v. Harris, Justice Scalia wrote for the eight-Justice majority that put decisive weight on a video to support its conclusion that “no reasonable jury” could find a citizen fleeing the police “was driving in such fashion as to endanger human life.” Justice Scalia took the lone dissenter, Justice Stevens (who joined the relevant portion of the majority opinion in Madsen), to be implying that the Court’s “reaction to the videotape is somehow idiosyncratic” and that the Court was “misrepresenting its contents.” In response, Justice Scalia announced that “(w)e are happy to allow the videotape to speak for itself” and took the unprecedented step of ordering the Clerk of the Court to post a link to it on the Supreme Court’s website.

We don’t mean to suggest that Justice Scalia’s perceptions were faulty in either case, that he was misreporting his impressions, or that he was guilty of any sort of inconsistency. Rather, we draw attention to his reactions toward the Justices who purported to see things differently to help us summarize the major themes of this paper.

One is that what people see will often be a reflection of what they value. In Madsen, Justice Scalia pulled no punches in attributing the majority’s decision to partisanship. We obviously have no idea what the majority saw or why. But the results of our experiment confirm that people who have different cultural worldviews will often disagree with each other about whether political protestors are engaged in conduct—blocking, obstructing, intimidating—or speech—impassioned advocacy intended only to persuade. Indeed, whether individuals of any particular worldview see one thing or the other, we found, depends on whether they have been led to believe the demonstrators’ cause is one that defies or affirms their own values. In a previous study, we found that individuals’ cultural identities also predicted whether they would agree or disagree with the Court’s perception of the Scott video. Contrary to what Justice Scalia suggests in Madsen, however, the influence of values on perceptions in such cases is not smoking-gun evidence of bad faith. Rather it is the signature of culturally motivated cognition, a normally unconscious process.

A second point is that the ability to recognize the effect of values on fact perceptions typically involves a signature asymmetry. Like Justice Scalia, we all readily discern this dynamic in others, yet we tend to be completely oblivious to it in ourselves. In fact, much like Justice Scalia, we treat the contradiction between what we plainly see and what others say they see as confirmation that our antagonists are biased, not that we ourselves are vulnerable to distortions of perception. Known as naive realism, this dynamic is integral to cultural cognition.

Still another point illustrated by Justice Scalia’s reactions is the ubiquity of cultural cognition. The disposition to form perceptions of fact congenial to one’s values isn’t a pathological personality trait or a style of reasoning integral to a distinctive, and distinctively malign, ideology. (Indeed, the appeal of those sorts of surmises could themselves be seen as evidence of the disposition to form culturally congenial perceptions of how the world works.) Precisely because cultural cognition doesn’t discriminate on the basis of worldview, members of all groups can anticipate that as a result of it they, like Justice Scalia, will likely find themselves members of a disappointed minority in some empirical or factual debates and a member of the incredulous majority in others.

Finally, the setting for Justice Scalia’s reactions—constitutional adjudication—underscores the danger that culturally motivated cognition can pose to the realization of liberal political ideals. The quieting of struggles between rival sects to impose their contested visions of the good life by violent means (with or without the law) is the signal achievement of liberal democratic culture. Yet despite widespread consensus that the legitimate object of law is attainment of prosperity, security, health, and other secular goods, cultural polarization persists because of the contribution that values make to citizens’ perceptions of policy-relevant facts. Seemingly empirical debates thus become infused with partisan meanings, triggering symbolic status competition among groups intent on securing policy choices that affirm rather than denigrate their ideals. We expect the Constitution to repel threats to pluralism whether they arise from the conscious and willful designs of tyrannical governors or from the chaotic and spontaneous dynamics of popular self-rule. But if jurors and judges are as vulnerable to cultural cognition as are lawmakers, law enforcers, and ordinary citizens—if their worldviews, too, are perceived to exert a decisive influence on how they see the world—then constitutional decisionmaking will not dispel cognitive illiberalism. On the contrary, it will just amplify it.

Our goal in conducting this study has been to awaken constitutional theory to this dilemma. The traditional focus of constitutional theorists has been the fit between constitutional norms and the doctrines used to implement them. The fit—or lack thereof—between those doctrines and the psychological dispositions of constitutional decisionmakers has been almost entirely neglected. As a result, constitutional theory stands mute in the face of the persistent failure of constitutional adjudication to achieve its most fundamental objectives.

Demonstrating the impact of cultural cognition on the speech-conduct distinction is admittedly only a modest first step toward remedying this deficiency. But by using the compass of psychological realism to orient our inquiry, we hope we’ve at least clarified the direction constitutional theory needs to go.

marraskuu 15, 2021, 9:40 am

Good article! Glad you shared it here.

marraskuu 15, 2021, 10:35 am

>82 2wonderY: Oh, good--I was afraid it was a bit much, but a relief to know legal types recognize risk.

Latest affront to Constitution:

Trump ally Michael Flynn condemned over call for ‘one religion’ in US
Martin Pengelly | 15 Nov 2021

...Religious freedom is enshrined in the first amendment to the US constitution, which says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

Regardless, at a rally staged in San Antonio on Saturday by the Christian “nonprofit news media network” American Faith, Flynn said: “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion. One nation under God and one religion under God.”...

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 22, 2021, 9:21 am

US added to list of ‘backsliding’ democracies for first time (Guardian)

The US has been added to an annual list of “backsliding” democracies for the first time, the International IDEA thinktank has said, pointing to a “visible deterioration” it said began in 2019.

Globally, more than one in four people live in a backsliding democracy, a proportion that rises to more than two in three with the addition of authoritarian or “hybrid” regimes, according to the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. “This year we coded the United States as backsliding for the first time, but our data suggest that the backsliding episode began at least in 2019,” it said in its report. Alexander Hudson, a co-author of the report, said: “The United States is a high-performing democracy, and even improved its performance in indicators of impartial administration (corruption and predictable enforcement) in 2020. However, the declines in civil liberties and checks on government indicate that there are serious problems with the fundamentals of democracy.” The report says: “A historic turning point came in 2020-21 when former president Donald Trump questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election results in the United States.” In addition, Hudson pointed to a “decline in the quality of freedom of association and assembly during the summer of protests in 2020” after the police killing of George Floyd.

International IDEA bases its assessments on 50 years of democratic indicators in about 160 countries, assigning them to three categories: democracies (including those that are “backsliding”), “hybrid” governments and authoritarian regimes...

marraskuu 26, 2021, 11:06 pm

The Pentagon Doesn’t Care About Civilian Casualties (The Progressive)

Facing little opposition from either Republicans or Democrats, the U.S. military is almost never held accountable for killing civilians during airstrikes...

Baghuz in eastern Syria... As The New York Times reported on November 13, 2021, a U.S. attack jet unleashed its payload on the civilian encampment. “As the smoke cleared,” the article noted, “a few people stumbled away in search of cover. Then, a jet tracking them dropped one 2,000-pound bomb, then another, killing most of the survivors.” At least seventy civilians died. A Pentagon legal officer reported internally that this was a possible war crime, but, “at nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike,” according to the Times. The death toll was downplayed, and reports were delayed, sanitized, and classified. The U.S-led coalition forces bulldozed the blast site. The office of the Defense Department’s independent inspector general launched an investigation, but the report was effectively censored. An evaluator in that office lost his job when he complained about the cover-up. In response to an inquiry earlier this month from the Times, the U.S. Central Command acknowledged the strikes for the first time and admitted that eighty people were killed. Nevertheless, it insisted the airstrikes were justified and that “no formal war crime notification, criminal investigation, or disciplinary action was warranted”...

marraskuu 28, 2021, 11:06 pm

‘The goal was to silence people’: historian Joanne Freeman on congressional violence (Guardian)

As the House debated whether the Republican congressman Paul Gosar should be censured for depicting the murder of his colleague, one Democratic leader took a moment to reflect on the chamber’s long history of violence... “When those rules were written, they did not anticipate that a member would threaten violence directly against another member,” Hoyer said. “Not because it’s never happened – a congressman from South Carolina nearly beat to death a senator from Massachusetts, Senator Sumner, because he wanted to abolish slavery”...

The research that I did revealed there were at least 70 violent incidents in the House and in the Senate. Some of them were canings. Some of them were fist fights. Some of them were actual brawls with groups of congressmen. In the well of the House where we saw {Gosar’s} censure take place, that was actually a location for several fights in those decades before the civil war. And there was a lot of deployment of threats and intimidation. Most of these were offered by southerners and usually were deployed against people who had anything to say against slavery. Obviously the goal of that was to silence people or intimidate people so they wouldn’t even stand up to say anything that was not going to be to the liking of southerners... The violence in Congress reflects and affects the violence and politics throughout the nation at large...

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 3, 2021, 9:49 am

DeSantis proposes a new civilian military force in Florida that he would control
Steve Contorno | December 3, 2021

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to reestablish a World War II-era civilian military force that he, not the Pentagon, would control.
DeSantis pitched the idea Thursday as a way to further support the Florida National Guard during emergencies, like hurricanes. The Florida National Guard has also played a vital role during the pandemic in administering Covid-19 tests and distributing vaccines.

...DeSantis also said this unit, called the Florida State Guard, would be "not encumbered by the federal government." He said this force would give him "the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible." DeSantis is proposing bringing it back with a volunteer force of 200 civilians, and he is seeking $3.5 million from the state legislature in startup costs to train and equip them.

The move by DeSantis comes on the heels of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's directive warning that National Guard members who refuse to get vaccinated against the coronavirus will have their pay withheld and barred from training. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, had requested an exemption for guard members in his state, which Austin denied.

Democrats in Florida immediately expressed alarm at DeSantis' announcement. US Rep. Charlie Crist, who is running as a Democrat to challenge the governor in 2022, tweeted, "No Governor should have his own handpicked secret police."...


"And that, children, was the genesis of Florida's nuclear weapons program."

- Rick Wilson (Lincoln Project, FL resident) @TheRickWilson | 9:00 AM · Dec 3, 2021

joulukuu 3, 2021, 11:10 pm

The Republican party is embracing violence in the name of Trump (Guardian)

Death threats, gerrymandering and voter suppression are being normalised by America’s right to keep Trumpism alive...

joulukuu 15, 2021, 8:36 am

* Check out your reps at "Conflicted Congress website":
(Insider’s "Conflicted Congress" project reveals the depths of lawmakers’ conflicts-of-interest, potential self-dealing, and disregard for a decade-old law designed to prevent corruption at the highest levels of American government.)

Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 — or STOCK Act — the law in part requires members of Congress to disclose any individual stock trade they make within 30 to 45 days of making the trade, depending on the kind of trade.

As the pandemic raged, at least 75 lawmakers bought and sold stock in companies that make COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and tests
Camila DeChalus , Kimberly Leonard , Warren Rojas , and Madison Hall | Dec 13, 2021

...Lawmakers held these investments in COVID-19-minded companies as Congress was at the center of pandemic relief efforts. In 2020 and 2021, members of Congress voted on six relief bills together worth nearly $6 trillion. Congress also authorized more than $10 billion to help drug companies develop and distribute vaccines and forced health insurers to cover the cost of getting the shot.

Policymakers especially viewed the coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna — which each spent substantial amounts of money lobbying the federal government in 2020 — as critical to helping countries around the planet overcome the grip of the pandemic.

The tally of investments is part of the exhaustive Conflicted Congress project*, in which Insider reviewed nearly 9,000 financial-disclosure reports for every sitting lawmaker and their top-ranking staffers...

joulukuu 27, 2021, 5:43 am

When did “conservative” shift its meaning
from “it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to
“break it aggressively so we can privatize it”?

- David Fisman @DFisman · 13h

joulukuu 30, 2021, 9:25 am

‘Patriots’ are undermining American democracy (Guardian)

The people who stormed the US Capitol on 6 January don’t understand that nationalism is not the same as patriotism...

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 2, 2022, 10:40 am

Cancel culture is real but it’s not the ‘woke mob’ you should worry about (Guardian)

Books deemed anti-church or containing LGBTQ issues are being banned across the US at a terrifying rate by the conservative right...

New rules are limiting how teachers can teach Black History Month (Axios)

Schools and universities are marking Black History Month starting today, but this is the first time it will be celebrated under new restrictions on diversity education imposed by some states. Why it matters: The constraints — under the guise of banning the teaching of critical race theory — limit what some state-supported institutions can discuss about the nation's racial past. Educators embracing Black history have received death threats...

helmikuu 15, 2022, 10:57 pm

Ocasio-Cortez: ‘Very real risk’ US democracy won’t exist in 10 years (Guardian)

The progressive New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believes the Republican-led pressure on political systems is so great that there is “a very real risk” democracy will cease to exist in the US within a decade. The leftist Democratic politician derided efforts by Republican legislatures around the country to restrict voting rights as the “opening salvos” in a war on democracy, which she said could result in a return to the Jim Crow-era disenfranchisement of racial minorities. In the interview with the New Yorker, she warned that the clock was ticking for Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders to do anything about it, with huge chunks of the president’s agenda, including legislation to protect voting rights, stalled in Congress by more conservative or moderate members of her own party...

maaliskuu 12, 2022, 11:15 pm

Clarence Thomas: supreme court could be ‘compromised’ by politics (Guardian)

The US supreme court could “at some point” become “compromised” by politics, said Clarence Thomas – one of six conservatives on the nine-member court after Republicans denied Barack Obama a nomination then rammed three new justices through during the hard-right presidency of Donald Trump... “By doing this,” he said, “you continue to chip away at the respect of the institutions that the next generation is going to need if they’re going to have civil society”...

maaliskuu 18, 2022, 5:27 pm

Sawyer Hackett (Advisor Julian Castro) @SawyerHackett | 9:26 AM · Mar 16, 2022:
Woah. Texas National Guardsmen deployed by Greg Abbott were ordered to patrol private ranches owned by Republican donors—80 miles from the border.
He’s using national guardsman as private security for GOP donors. Wtf.
Text ( )

National Guard troops were dispatched to famous Texas ranches with private security as part of border mission
James Barragán March 16, 2022

The dispatching of troops to the sprawling private ranches, far from the border, raises questions about the use of National Guard troops, who have widely decried the mission as aimless, political and oversized, as the cost of the effort has already ballooned to $2 billion a year...

huhtikuu 7, 2022, 11:56 am

Not sure where this belongs but surely an attack on norms that SECRET SERVICE could be duped and compromised so!

Feds Unravel Wild Scheme by Fake Agents to Dupe Secret Service, Including FLOTUS Detail
Adam Rawnsley & Rachel Olding | Apr. 07, 2022

Four Secret Service agents have been placed on leave after the FBI says the two fake agents lavished them with penthouses, iPhones, drones, and even a $2,000 rifle...

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 7, 2022, 1:44 pm

WHAT secret stuff could TFG have taken to Mar a Lago such that DOJ doesn't want Congress to even have an inventory of the 15 boxes??

Nicholas Wu (Politico) @nicholaswu12 | 10:03 AM · Apr 7, 2022:
NEWS — House Oversight Dems in a letter to DoJ are saying the dept is obstructing their investigation into Trump record-keeping and is "blocking NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) from producing the documents requested by the Committee"

P1 of letter ( )
P2 of letter ( )

Nicholas Wu @nicholaswu12 | 10:08 AM · Apr 7, 2022:

Oversight is citing this letter from NARA in response to their request for documents:

NARA counsel Gary Stern told them: "based on our consultation with the Department of Justice, we are unable to provide any comment"

NARA's letter ( )


DOJ plans to investigate boxes of records taken to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago
Matt Zapotosky and Jacqueline Alemany | 7 April 2022

...The Justice Department has begun taking steps to investigate former president Donald Trump’s removal of presidential records to Mar-a-Lago — some of which were labeled “top secret” ... the probe remained in the very early stages. It’s not yet clear if Justice Department officials have begun reviewing the materials in the boxes or seeking to interview those who might have seen them or been involved in assembling and moving them...

huhtikuu 7, 2022, 12:56 pm

>96 margd: Here’s hoping those agents receive severe penalties. No government employee is allowed to accept gifts of any significance. They knew better.

huhtikuu 7, 2022, 5:26 pm

Russia? Trump doesn't have the moolah for this.

Natasha Bertrand (CNN) @NatashaBertrand | 3:53 PM · Apr 7, 2022:
Wow: Investigators searching the apartments of the 2 men who allegedly posed as DHS agents say they found a loaded Glock 19, disassembled long guns, sniper spotting equipment, ammunition, handcuffs, radios, body armor, a surveillance drone and several servers. 1/

2/ Agents also found a binder with a list of all the names of people who lived in their apartment building, many of whom were law enforcement.

In their initial hearing before a DC federal judge today, Prosecutor Josh Rothstein said that Taherzadeh deleted a Facebook page, & that Ali had multiple Pakistani visas and claimed to be connected to the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan. via @HBRabinowitz

Lisa @rexrode1967 | 4:14 PM · Apr 7, 2022:
Mike Pence Refused to leave with the Secret Service
What does he know ??

Mike Pence Feared Trump Would Order Secret Service To Kidnap Him On 01/06, Wouldn't Get In Limo
Just when you think it can't get any loonier in Trump world, you find out how wrong you are and how loony it really was his last months in office. Nicole Wallace aired a piece

huhtikuu 12, 2022, 12:03 am

This one is not about the USA in particular but could be applicable to many of the western democracies.

Heed the events in France – populism is gaining ground and only a revolution can stop it (Guardian)

A new wave raises questions about identity, elections and how we live. Conventional politics must answer them or die... The message is that party is being supplanted by personality and identity. As relative prosperity rises, voters are taking recourse in prejudice and emotional security. They can distrust outsiders. They can hate globalists, parliamentarians, bureaucrats and liberals, however defined. They want to feel control over their own lives, as Britain’s Boris Johnson ludicrously but successfully offered them in the form of Brexit. They want to like those who purport to lead them. This populism has torn the left-right spectrum apart...

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 4, 2022, 3:05 pm

Amy Kapczynski @akapczynski | 10:19 AM · May 3, 2022:
Professor of Law, Yale Law School.

I clerked at the Supreme Court. Last night, I assumed a liberal clerk leaked the draft opinion overturning Roe. Now I think MUCH more likely it was leaked by a conservative fanatically committed to every word of Alito’s monstrous opinion.

Timing: This draft was circulated in Feb. If a liberal was mad about it, why wait until April to send it to Politico? The op will be out in June. What are the benefits of releasing it early? And a BIG downside – the focus on the leak itself instead of the opinion.

If you work inside the Court, you know that the most concrete impact of the leak is to lock in this opinion essentially as is. Any edits at this point reveal jockeying between Justices, undermine the majority, and Court itself. Embarassing to the majority.

Liberals have lived for years trying to eke out a sentence here or there in SCOTUS opinions to make these conservative decisions less terrible. Why leak something and undermine that whole strategy?

Far and away most likely impact of the leaked draft is that it locks in 5 votes for this opinion, essentially without edits. Who would want that? So: This is about as extreme an opinion as you can have overturning Roe.

It talks about fetuses being people as a matter of ancient law (teeing up idea that fetuses are constitutionally PROTECTED – no abortion anywhere as matter of conlaw.) And its arguments undermine all of SCOTUS’s gay rights and contraception decisions.

Back to timing. Draft majorities circulate first, and then concurrences and dissents. So this is about the right timing for concurrences to come out. I think best bet is that Chief Justice Roberts circulated one recently, adopting a more moderate position.

Maybe Roberts says abortions ok in some time frame, preserving exceptions for the life of the woman, etc. And Kavanaugh is tempted by it – maybe not enough to vote for it, but enough to demand some changes to the Alito opinion.

Now let’s talk psychology of SCt clerks. The kinds of liberal students who end up at the Court are not an activist bunch. They are enormously risk averse and rule-abiding. Hard to see how one of them blows their career out of the water in this way (for what benefit?).

Leaking is much more of the style of conservatives right now. Think about what Justice Thomas is doing as a model for a clerk here – making a mockery of the Court’s recusal rules re. his wife’s role in the Jan 6 coup attempts.

Conservatives have shown that they are willing to break the public trust in the Court to get their way.

If you want the liberal view, read Justice Breyer's recent book - LITERALLY CALLED The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics.

Conservatives also know that the leak will be blamed on the left, distracting from how devastating the reversal of Roe will be to the credibility of the Court. The career consequences of someone found out are far smaller on right than left, too, I’d wager.

This is in NO WAY the most important story here. Alito's opinion is horrific, and we have failed the young people of this country yet again. It's a devastating moment. Much more to say about that, soon.

But I'm with @steve_vladeck and @joeyfishkin about what likely happened here. (Though I think done by a clerk, not a Justice). Occam's razor. It just makes sense.

If you're reading this thread, please follow @LPE_Project & @LPEBlog. We're working with thinkers all over the world to rethink law & fight this sort of unaccountable power.
You can subscribe to the blog at bottom, here:

toukokuu 9, 2022, 9:06 am

Mark Esper (last confirmed Secretary of Defense under Trump): ... the "Four No's". The four things we had to prevent from happening between then and the election. And one was no strategic retreats, no unnecessary wars, no politi-- politicization of the military, and no misuse of the military. And so, as we went through the next five to six months, that became the metric by which we would measure things.

toukokuu 9, 2022, 11:46 am

Candidate for Michigan governor Ryan D. Kelley says those on the left want to “push this idea of democracy,” but that “in every instance” democracy ends up as communism. This rhetoric is how the right will justify their rule even as the minority voice in this country.

0:47 ( )

- Left of Center MI @leftofcentermi | 11:36 PM · May 7, 2022

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 11, 2022, 8:52 am

David Axelrod @davidaxelrod | 10:56 AM · May 10, 2022:
Director, @UChiPolitics. Senior Political Commentator CNN. (Frmr Obama campaign director)

Dr. Fauci (and family) faced with threats simply for trying to thwart a pandemic.
SCOTUS & their families subject to protests at their homes over court decisions.
Violence threatened on all sides as righteous.
Is this the path we're going to take? The new normal? I hope not.

(Discussion )

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 16, 2022, 1:33 pm

Joyce Alene (U Alabama law) @JoyceWhiteVance | 9:40 AM · May 13, 2022:
If judges can’t address cases that might end up in front of them during confirmation hearings, it can’t possibly be okay to weigh in during a random public speech. But apparently there are new rules when you’re on a mission to shred people’s rights.

Quote Tweet
Mark Joseph Stern (Slate) @mjs_DC · May 13
In an address last night, Alito reiterated his disgust with the Supreme Court’s “indefensible” decision applying the Civil Rights Act to LGBTQ employees.

But we should definitely trust him that overturning Roe won’t imperil other precedents.
Text ( )

Alito Calls Landmark Supreme Court Decision Expanding LGBTQ Worker Rights ‘Indefensible’
Kate Riga | May 13, 2022

...Bostock v. Clayton County.

The 2020 opinion said that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex-based discrimination, extends to gay and transgender workers. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion, in which he was joined by the liberals and Chief Justice John Roberts...

kesäkuu 9, 2022, 11:32 am

American Rasputin
Steve Bannon is still scheming. And he’s still a threat to democracy.
Jennifer Senior | June 6, 2022

...Which is to say: There is no plan. The plan is to leave a smoldering crater where our institutions once were. Others will eventually fill it.

It must be so intoxicating to be the one in the crane with the wrecking ball...

kesäkuu 10, 2022, 6:13 am

Laurence Tribe tribelaw | 11:23 PM · Jun 9, 2022:
Very revealing statement by Cheney, a stunning revelation in her magnificent presentation of the case

Quote Tweet
Jim Acosta (CNN) Acosta · 9h
Watching the footage of the attack, still struck by Cheney’s statement that PA Rep. Scott Perry and "multiple other Republican congressmen" sought pardons from Trump. That is wild.

kesäkuu 23, 2022, 2:02 pm

Julia Bacha @juliabacha | 2:16 PM · Jun 22, 2022
Breaking news: The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that boycotts are not protected by the First Amendment. @ACLU has confirmed it'll take the case to the Supreme Court, with huge implications for free speech in America.

The case centers around a law that requires public contractors to sign a pledge promising that they do not boycott Israel. If you refuse to sign the pro-Israel pledge, you are fired from your job. Versions of this law now exist in 33 states....

Over the past few years, several Americans have sued their respective states for violating their First Amendment rights. They include a speech therapist in Texas, a lawyer in Arizona, a filmmaker in Georgia....

a math teacher in Kansas, and a news publisher in Arkansas. Judges in Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Kansas have ALL found that the law was unconstitutional...

The big exception was Arkansas where Alan Leveritt, Publisher of the Arkansas Times, is the plaintiff. He’s actually not involved in a boycott of Israel but saw the bill as a template that could be used to attack the rights of Americans on any issue area...

Alan lost in District Court. The ACLU, which is representing him, appealed to a three-judge panel at the Eighth Circuit and won the case. The State of Arkansas requested a re-hearing en banc and the Eighth Circuit granted it. The ruling came out today against Alan.

The ruling, by Judge Kobes (a Trump appointee who received a “not qualified” ABA rating) claims that a boycott is simply economic activity, without expressive qualities. Kobes used to be the General Counsel for Senator Mike Rounds (SD), a co-sponsor of the federal anti-BDS law.

The @ACLU, representing Alan, confirmed they intend to take the case to the Supreme Court. From Brian Hauss, chief litigator: "The court’s conclusion that politically-motivated consumer boycotts are not protected by the First Amendment misreads Supreme Court precedent and departs

from this nation’s longstanding traditions. It ignores the fact that this country was founded on a boycott of British goods and that boycotts have been a fundamental part of American political discourse ever since. We hope and expect that the Supreme Court will set things right


kesäkuu 25, 2022, 9:37 am

Richard N. Haass @RichardHaass | 5:49 PM · Jun 24, 2022:
Pres., Council on Foreign Relations

American democracy if it is to endure needs a SCOTUS widely accepted as an impartial referee, but this Court, by how it was constituted & by rulings that appear to be more about policy than law, has for many forfeited its legitimacy. Our democracy is in deeper danger as a result.

kesäkuu 25, 2022, 12:42 pm

Maine religious schools may steer clear of tuition despite ruling
Associated Press | June 25, 2022

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Religious schools got what they wanted when the Supreme Court allowed them to participate in a state tuition program.

...The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Maine can’t exclude religious schools from a program that offers tuition for private education in towns that don’t have public schools. But religious schools didn’t have long to savor their victory before learning of a new hurdle.

Attorney General Aaron Frey said both Christian schools involved in the lawsuit have policies that discriminate against students and staff on a basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, preventing their participation in the tuition program despite the hard-fought litigation...

...all schools receiving state tuition must abide by the Maine Human Right Act, which bans discriminating against someone because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability, Frey said.

...The updated law (last session), sponsored by Democratic Sen. Craig Hickman, the first openly gay African American to serve in both chambers of the Legislature, bans discrimination in education on the basis of “sex, sexual orientation or gender identity,” among other things...

kesäkuu 25, 2022, 1:37 pm

Why Do 9 Justices Serve on the Supreme Court?
The Constitution doesn't specify how many justices should serve on the Court—in fact, that number fluctuated until 1869.
Dave Roos | Updated Sep 24, 2020

...The U.S. Constitution is silent about how many justices should sit on the Supreme Court. In fact, the office of Chief Justice only exists because it’s mentioned in the Constitution under Senate rules for impeachment proceedings (“When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside...”).

...By the start of the Civil War, the number of Supreme Court justices had increased to nine in order to cover additional circuit courts in the expanding American West...

Today there are 13 circuit courts

kesäkuu 25, 2022, 4:17 pm

Clarence, Clarence, Clarence!

Proving that the right loves to protect themselves from other people not having the children they look forwrsd to mowing down when exercising their untrammelled 2nd Amendment rights in a few years, now they reveal their wider agenda of expunging all other Americans' freedom and equality in the near future.

Justice Thomas says now that they've killed freedom of choice for women, let's stamp out their access to contraception (but, presumably NOT men's access to condemns -- guess women won't be allowed to purchase them), and then let's snuff out same sex marriage. Go for the hattrick, Clarence!

Nothing delights a right winger more than telling other people how to live by depriving them of personal rights while they get to do what they want. You know, like colluding and conspiring to commit sedition. Republican business as usual.

But don't you find it odd that after thoroughly mucking around liberals' sex lives, ol' Clarence uttered not a peep in favor of outlawing miscegenation? Odd.

kesäkuu 27, 2022, 9:22 am

How to Discipline a Rogue Supreme Court
Jamelle Bouie | June 25, 2022

...It can impeach and remove justices. It can increase or decrease the size of the court itself (at its inception, the Supreme Court had only six members). It can strip the court of its jurisdiction over certain issues or it can weaken its power of judicial review by requiring a supermajority of justices to sign off on any decision that overturns a law. Congress can also rebuke the court with legislation that simply cancels the decision in question...

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 1, 2022, 8:05 am

Church-state separation...

SCOTUSblog @SCOTUSblog | 10:02 AM · Jun 27, 2022:
SCOTUS sides with a high school football coach in a First Amendment case about prayer at the 50-yard-line. In a 6-3 ruling, SCOTUS says the public school district violated the coach's free speech and free exercise rights when it barred him from praying on the field after games.

Here is the opinion from Neil Gorsuch in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District:
Sonia Sotomayor dissents, joined by Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.

heinäkuu 1, 2022, 8:08 am

Election Law Experts Sound the Alarm About ‘Extremely Dangerous’ Voting Rights Case the Supreme Court Just Agreed to Hear
Adam Klasfeld | Jun 30th, 2022

...The case, Moore v. Harper, challenges a decision by the North Carolina Supreme Court invalidating the maps of the state’s GOP-dominated General Assembly for partisan gerrymandering. Legislators, led by Rep. Tim Moore (R), argued that their branch of government has the power of conducting “Times, Places and Manner of holding elections” under the U.S. Constitution, a notion commonly known as the independent state legislature theory. The challengers’ case posits that this power trumps that of the courts to decide that their actions violate state constitutions or results in unfair maps.

That was a theory openly pushed by pro-Trump attorneys like John Eastman in seeking to overturn President Joe Biden’s victories in key states like Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. Indeed, Eastman’s six-page plan to overturn Donald Trump’s defeat, sometimes described as the “coup memo,” started with that proposition.

“Article II, § 1, cl. 2 of the U.S. Constitution assigns to the legislatures of the states the plenary power to determine the manner for choosing presidential electors,” the memo began...

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 8, 2022, 12:59 pm

Do Google "seven mountains dominionism / mandate"...from Revelations.

Christian Nationalists are Excited about What Comes Next
Katherine Stewart | 5 July 2022

Seven Mountains Dominionism
Legal arsenal, US Supreme Court

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 8, 2022, 7:59 am

‘They are preparing for war’: An expert on civil wars discusses where political extremists are taking this country
KK Ottesen | March 8, 2022

(Interview with) Barbara F. Walter, 57, a political science professor at the University of California at San Diego and the author of How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them

...full democracies almost never have civil wars. Full autocracies rarely have civil wars. All of the instability and violence is happening in this middle zone...transitioning...

...the second factor was whether populations in these partial democracies began to organize politically, not around ideology — so, not based on whether you’re a communist or not a communist, or you’re a liberal or a conservative — but where the parties themselves were based almost exclusively around identity: ethnic, religious or racial identity.

...CIA also has a manual on insurgency...three stages. And the first stage is pre-insurgency. And that’s when you start to have groups beginning to mobilize around a particular grievance...second stage is called the incipient conflict stage. And that’s when these groups begin to build a military arm. Usually a militia...he danger in this stage is that governments and citizens aren’t aware that this is happening. And so when an attack occurs, it’s usually just dismissed as an isolated incident, and people are not connecting the dots yet. And because they’re not connecting the dots, the movement is allowed to grow until you have open insurgency, when you start to have a series of consistent attacks, and it becomes impossible to ignore...

heinäkuu 8, 2022, 9:47 am

SCOTUS Justices ‘Prayed With’ Her — Then Cited Her Bosses to End Roe
Kara Voght & Tim Dickinson | 6 July 2022

At an evangelical victory party in front of the Supreme Court to celebrate the downfall of Roe v. Wade last week, a prominent Capitol Hill religious leader was caught on a hot mic making a bombshell claim: that she prays with sitting justices inside the high court. “We’re the only people who do that,” Peggy Nienaber said.

This disclosure was a serious matter on its own terms, but it also suggested a major conflict of interest. Nienaber’s ministry’s umbrella organization, Liberty Counsel, frequently brings lawsuits before the Supreme Court. In fact, the conservative majority in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which ended nearly 50 years of federal abortion rights, cited an amicus brief authored by Liberty Counsel in its ruling...

heinäkuu 8, 2022, 9:52 am

>118 margd: Do you think those justices that pray together might have a religious motivation for their decisions instead of judicial?

heinäkuu 8, 2022, 10:34 am

>119 2wonderY: Yes, but doesn't matter what I think.

Article says she was the only religious leader inside the Court leading prayers--no other faith traditions represented as with the Senate where the position is elected and non-Christians have been invited to lead public prayers.* Her associates' amicus brief being cited in Dobbs v Jackson made it all the worse.

Other believers, not to mention the gay community, cannot be reassuredby privileged access of right wing Christians to inner chambers of the Court.

* "The chaplain is an elected officer of the U.S. Senate. In addition to opening daily sessions with a prayer, the chaplain is available to provide spiritual counseling and guidance to members and staff. The chaplain meets with senators, assists Senate staff with research on theological and biblical questions, and holds a weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast. The Office of the Chaplain is nonpartisan, nonpolitical, and nonsectarian. To date, all Senate chaplains have been of Christian denomination, while guest chaplains have represented many of the world's major religious faiths."

elokuu 29, 2022, 7:06 am

Tom Fitton (Judicial Watch) @TomFitton | 6:17 PM · Aug 28, 2022:
The Biden raid on Trump's home is election interference.

Preet Bharara (frmr US attorney) @PreetBharara | 10:24 PM · Aug 28, 2022:
1. It wasn’t a raid
2. It wasn’t Biden
3. Trump isn’t on the ballot
4. It was more than 90 days before midterms
5. Judge found probable cause
6. Classified documents were found
7. Trump had no right to docs as ex-POTUS
8. Trump increased the penalties for such crimes
9. I could go on

10. The archives asked for the docs back, nicely. Docs were not returned
12. A subpoena was issued. Docs were not returned
13. FBI visited the premises. Docs were not returned
14. A Trump lawyer signed a declaration that all the docs were returned. That was a lie. Not returned

15. People have gone to prison for less
16. General Petraeus pled guilty to less
17. Rudy Giuliani claimed he had prosecuted people for less
18. Trump wanted to lock up Hillary Clinton for less
19. This guy thinks the search was “election interference” but not the insurrection

syyskuu 7, 2022, 11:28 am

The Solution to the Trump Judge Problem Nobody Wants to Talk About
Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern | Sept 06, 2022

...Until and unless those of us who are shocked and horrified at lawless rulings by lawless Trump judges are prepared to propose structural solutions, the aggregated effect of criticizing their rulings won’t be to restore the rule of law or even to restore public confidence in the rule of law. The aggregated effect will be just to confirm that we will all be living under the thumb of Donald Trump’s lifetime-appointed hacks for many decades.

There are solutions out there for the problem of Trump’s runaway judges. Expanding the courts—even just the lower courts—is the most bulletproof. Congress has periodically added seats to the federal judiciary from its inception to help judges keep up with ever-ballooning caseloads. Today’s litigants (who are not named Donald Trump) often face yearslong court delays. The Judicial Conference, a nonpartisan government institution that develops administrative policies, has begged Congress to add seats to the lower courts. Some Republicans have supported the idea in recognition of the crisis facing our understaffed judiciary. Letting Joe Biden balance out far-right courts like the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals—which will weigh Cannon’s ruling if the government appeals—would go a long way to tame the jurisprudence of Trumpism. When district court judges know their radical decisions will be overturned on appeal, they may be less likely to swing for the fences in the first place.

There are other worthy ideas too. Term limits for justices and lower court judges. Limits on courts’ jurisdiction to strike down democratically enacted laws. Modest reforms that restrict the Supreme Court’s ability to suppress voting rights before an election. Let’s hear them all. (God knows Biden’s court reform commission studied them extensively, to little end.)

But the chorus from the left, the middle, and the sane right that the lawlessness is lawless only affirms that we cannot ever escape this closed loop of Trump’s judges. Being really mad but doing nothing to change things is a terrible strategy for democracy and for public confidence in the courts. It creates the illusion that if we work really hard to debunk corrupt rulings, we can force Trump judges to see the light, or feel shame, or do something different. Meanwhile, the targets of our meticulous takedowns laugh at the pains we take to prove them wrong. They. Do. Not. Care.

...if you are lawyering within a system you believe to be broken, or immoral, or lawless, and you aren’t standing up with meaningful fixes for that system, you are, fundamentally, acceding to that lawlessness... maybe it’s time to stop litigating them and start fixing them.

syyskuu 17, 2022, 2:05 am

Despite their influence and extensive access to information, members of Congress can buy and sell stocks with few restrictions.

From 2019 to 2021, 183 current senators or representatives reported a trade of a stock or another financial asset by themselves or an immediate family member.

More than half of them sat on congressional committees that potentially gave them insight into the companies whose shares they reported buying or selling, an analysis by The New York Times has found.

Stock Trades Reported by Nearly a Fifth of Congress Show Possible Conflicts
A Troubling Recent History
Widespread Conflicts

lokakuu 17, 2022, 10:48 am

Election Administrators Are Under Attack. Here’s What That Means for the Upcoming Midterms.
Jeremy Schwartz | 17 Oct 2022

Harassment and threats have driven election officials to resign at unprecedented rates since the 2020 presidential election. David Becker, the founder of The Center for Election Innovation & Research, talked with ProPublica and The Texas Tribune about what that means for the future of our democracy.

...(David Becker) Where I find optimism is in institutions that have withheld so far, like the judiciary. I also find the most inspiration from election officials and others who have stood for a sense of duty to the Constitution.

But make no mistake: We are in a precarious moment. And that precarious moment is not going to wait for November 2024. We are in the middle of it right now. What happens in November and December of 2022 could show what path we’re on.

lokakuu 30, 2022, 3:21 am

Duty To Warn 🔉 @duty2warn | 1:43 PM · Oct 29, 2022:
An association of mental health professionals warning NOW about TrumpISM. #UNTRUTH documentary, the follow-up doc to 2020's #UNFIT, to be widely released soon.

ANNOUNCEMENT: WATCH THIS AND SHARE It's an 11-minute video containing excerpts from our upcoming film #UNTRUTH, with commentary, geared for moderates, conservatives, undecideds, and anyone you know in the middle. Please copy, paste and share link. (more)

#UNTRUTH- Mini-Film
This is "#UNTRUTH- Mini-Film" by DSI Vid on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

joulukuu 9, 2022, 7:19 am

Advocates say secrecy re occupations of Justices' spouses keeps them safe. Detractors say we will be kept unawares of conflicts of interest as with Ginni & Clarence Thomas.

Laurence Tribe (Harvard Law) tribelaw | 12:36 PM · Dec 8, 2022:

Unconst’l? No! The {amendment national defense authorization} bill dsn’t keep that information “secret” in the sense of sealing it but just prevents its “public posting” by govt (p. 2549) or sale by “businesses” (2556), and even then subject to EXCEPTIONS for display “as part of …speech on a matter of public concern.”

Quote Tweet
Fix the Court @FixTheCourt · Dec 7
You can find the clearly unconstitutional provision Jane’s referring to, which would keep the identity of #SCOTUS spo
uses’ employers secret, on p. 2544 of the 4,408-page bill

joulukuu 21, 2022, 7:34 am

We will finally see Trump's tax returns.
Transparency should be required from future presidents, Congress and courts.
IRS needs more resources. Investigation needed.

Manu Raju (CNN) @mkraju | 8:49 PM · Dec 20, 2022:
A key takeaway from Democrats is that the IRS mandatory presidential audit of Trump taxes was not followed. They said the IRS began the audit once Chairman Neal inquired in April 2019 about Trump’s returns. The audits of the requested returns were never completed

I asked Neal if the IRS explained why, and he indicated they didn’t. I also asked him about Trump’s claim that he could never release returns bc he was constantly under audit.

"I can't comment on that specifically because we're still under the speech and debate clause.”

Neal added: “But I can say this that it is argued in the reports that one of the problems is that the IRS has the limited, if any, ability to hire the sort of specialists that they need to undertake an audit of a very sophisticated tax offering."

The Ways and Means Committee says IRS presidential audit was “dormant” until 2019 even as the Trump WH indicated in 2018 he was automatically under audit.
Joint Commitee on Taxation analysis of Trump’s taxes.
Both documents here:

Chairman Richard E. Neal | December 20, 2022

Prepared by staff of the JOINT COMMITTEE ON TAXATION | December 15, 2022

Mueller, She Wrote @MuellerSheWrote | 9:26 PM · Dec 20, 2022:

BREAKING: the IRS failed to audit any of trump’s tax returns under the mandatory audit program except one year, and that was AFTER the House asked for his tax returns. An IRS memo said there were too many problems to look into. Here are a few, INCLUDING the 7 springs easement:

Text ( )

tammikuu 3, 11:26 am

Interesting. ~2000 I read US and Cdn court decisions pertaining to Native American fishing rights rooted in US treaty and Cdn Constitution. To my non-legal mind, US decisions were so precise they could hardly be applied to related cases. Cdn decisions were "philosophical"--and much easier to read as well as to apply broadly--but they left details to Govt and bureaucrats. More recently Cdn Supreme Court has become much more activist?

Why Canada has the most activist Supreme Court in the world — and how it's changed the country
From catch-and-release justice to MAID overreach, Canadian judicial activism is yielding some massive unintended consequences
Tristin Hopper | Published Jan 03, 2023

Greenlighting the world’s least regulated assisted suicide regime
Accidentally helping to exacerbate the “stranger attacks” problem
Slashing gun sentencing laws due to an imaginary scenario
Declaring that safe injection sites have no “negative impact on public safety”
Deciding that it’s “cruel and unusual” to jail mass killers for life
Discovering a Charter-guaranteed right to strike (only a few years after finding the exact opposite)
Taking beer across provincial borders, although authorized by the constitution, is still unconstitutional somehow

tammikuu 4, 10:20 am

Bill Kristol @BillKristol | 7:49 AM · Jan 3, 2023:
Director, Editor at large, Host,

The Speaker of the House is speaker of the whole House, elected by the whole House. It's a Constitutional office. An election denier shouldn't be Speaker. After a few rounds today, Dems and some Reps should join to elect a non-election-denying Republican.

Should an Election Denier Be Speaker of the House?
The Constitution matters more than Kevin McCarthy.
William Kristol and Jeffrey K. Tulis | William Kristol and Jeffrey K. Tulis
December 12, 2022

In Cdn and UK parliaments, the speakers are apolitical, e.g., leaders of both parties drag the newly elected speaker, feigning reluctance, to speaker's chair: . "The newly elected speaker, by tradition, feigns reluctance as they are "dragged" to the chair in a practice dating from the days when British speakers risked execution if the news they reported to the king was displeasing." (Wikipedia)

(Years ago I asked Cdn MP, then-speaker, for (benign) something in a bill. He couldn't advocate for it, but somehow his fellow MPs delivered--so they aren't entirely without influence!)

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 4, 10:30 am

Justin Amash @justinamash | 11:50 PM · Jan 3, 2023:
libertarian • member of Congress, 2011-2021

Ever find it strange that the *second* highest ranking party official in the majority is called the majority *leader*? It’s because that person is actually *highest* ranking. Speaker is supposed to be a nonpartisan role—someone who serves the whole House, not a political party.

Justin Amash @justinamash | 6:00 AM · Jan 3, 2023:

I’m not a current member of Congress, but I do know what’s at stake. I’d gladly serve as speaker of the House for one term to show people the kind of legislative body we can have if someone at the top actually cares about involving every representative in the work of legislating.

...That’s why I’m offering myself as an alternative, independent choice for speaker. I’m not a member of either party in the House, and I’ve championed legislative process reforms under both Republican and Democratic leadership. Most important, I can be trusted to stick to my word.

Democrats know that, regardless of our policy differences, they can count on me to maintain a system that is fair and representative. Every member will be empowered to legislate, and ideas will win based on votes, not dictates or pressure from the speaker.

Moreover, my record proves I’m willing to take on Republicans—even some of my closest friends—to stand up for what I believe is right. I’m not beholden to either party, and my primary interest will be reinvigorating the institution to serve the people as a deliberative body.

Republicans can proceed with the assurance that their majority will mean something under an Amash speakership. Priority legislation that complies with the Constitution will get a vote; I won’t put my thumb on the scale with respect to policies. If they have the numbers, they win.

Ironically, the person who most obviously benefits from my election as speaker is McCarthy. If he can’t secure the speakership himself, then the last thing he wants is another Republican to be chosen. If I’m speaker, he can maintain his position as the highest ranking GOP leader.

Finally, I’m the House @freedomcaucus’s best viable option. I co-founded the group, authored its current mission statement, and remain friends with many of them. I want to see them succeed in their struggle for an open, accountable process. They will get their ideas to the floor.

We’ll restore the rule that allows any one member—not just a group from the majority party—to move to vacate the chair. The speakership belongs to the institution, not one party. The motion protects the people, and every member should be empowered to hold the speaker accountable.

We have the opportunity to revolutionize Congress and revitalize our constitutional republic. As speaker, I would push for single-issue bills. I’d let committees work through bills without interference. I’d ensure rules are followed, not regularly suspended, waived, or ignored.

I’d allow amendments from the floor. I’d give members adequate time to review bills. I’d ask for recorded votes and end proxy voting. We can make the House work as it was meant to work—not as an oligarchy, but as a deliberative body that respects the diversity of its membership...

tammikuu 7, 10:45 pm

After Brexit and Trump, rightwing populists cling to power – but the truth is they can’t govern (Guardian)

The farcical scenes among US Republicans have echoes in our Tory party. Both promise disruption, then deliver exactly that...

tammikuu 11, 10:34 am

>133 John5918: After populist leave 33 eggs cost over 8 bucks, gas stoves to be eliminated, no planes fly in America today because of the boobs running the FAA. Oh, what else a closet full of classified documents left in a " locked closet" thank goodness it was locked, St Joey forgot about them. One bright moment for our Un populist Gov today is that Joey and Pierre are in Mexico talking about Climate Change while the drug cartel just murdered multiple Mex Feds trying to prevent Chinese made Fentanyl from being smuggled into the US by some of the 8,000 illegal entries into the US every day, other than these minor problems everthing is nonpopulist....JMJ....

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 11, 6:08 pm

>134 brone: 33 eggs cost over 8 bucks

? I'm looking at local prices of $5 for 12. tells me they went up 29% in 2022, matched by a raise of 29% in 2007 under GW Bush, approached by a raise of 27% in 1989 under GHW Bush, and massively beaten by a raise of 49% in 1973 under Nixon. There's questions of how much presidents affect these things, but certainly it takes time for presidents to have an effect, and all of three of the Republicans had more time with Republicans as president than Biden has had since Trump.

gas stoves to be eliminated Yeah, such a shame that a government entity set up to help household health and safety is looking to take actions to do so.

no planes fly in America today because of the boobs running the FAA

I'm sure I'll find some way to shift the blame from the programmers to management at the end of day, but we don't know what happened yet, and direct blame certainly doesn't fall on the top.

a closet full of classified documents left in a " locked closet" thank goodness it was locked

Would you prefer it was not locked? Biden screwed up, but there's certainly a difference in what Biden did and what Trump did.

Chinese made Fentanyl from being smuggled into the US by some of the 8,000 illegal entries into the US every day,

From what I hear, drugs smuggling into the US predominately comes via legal entries, hidden away in ostensibly legit shipments. I've thought we should permit entry by any citizen of North America without a felony and save ourselves a lot of trouble, including cutting those 8,000 way down.

I feel that was a bit of a Gish gallop; you threw everything at the wall and blamed the current administration, despite the fact that life is complex and very little of that was deliberately due to administration choice.

Joey and Pierre

I'm tired of the lack of respect. I'm not telling you that the left has been terribly respectful, but especially in a mixed environment like this, it helps. And when you're banging the conservative drum of a better, more dignified past, it seems required. Or more over, the Catholic drum; to quote Pope Francis on the Fiftieth World Day of Peace:

1. At the beginning of this New Year, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace to the world’s peoples and nations, to heads of state and government, and to religious, civic and community leaders. I wish peace to every man, woman and child, and I pray that the image and likeness of God in each person will enable us to acknowledge one another as sacred gifts endowed with immense dignity. Especially in situations of conflict, let us respect this, our “deepest dignity”, and make active nonviolence our way of life.

I would say that would require calling them Biden and Jean-Pierre, at least. Yes, I will watch out for similar things on our side on this board; if this is to be a discussion board across the sides, that's something everyone should commit to.

tammikuu 12, 2:20 am

>134 brone: Don't be such a damned sucker that you believe everything you're told to believe. The idea that illegal drugs are carried across the border by immigrants is too idiotic to even contemplate. Consider: the DEA reported seizing 50 million pills and 10,000 pounds of fentanyl - just fentanyl! - in 2022. Just think for a minute about how many people you'd need to get across the border to haul that kind of volume. Do the math.

Drug cartels are just another business operation. They move their product in trucks planes and shipping containers like any other business. The people who tell you that migrants are hauling drugs are assholes who are lying to you because they think you're stupid enough to be useful to them. Don't be stupid, and don't be used.

tammikuu 13, 8:12 am

>134 brone: FWIW there has been an avian flu this past year which is why eggs are in short supply and the prices are higher. Nothing particularly sinister. All that said there are other breakfast options.

helmikuu 5, 11:40 pm

Schools and universities are ground zero for America’s culture war (Guardian)

It’s easy to get people riled up and panicked about kids, about a changing culture and about lost innocence. That’s exactly what the right is doing... You could be forgiven for losing track of all the lurid and inventive ways that Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor with presidential ambitions, has attacked education in his state... Last April, DeSantis signed the exhaustingly titled “Stop Woke Act,” which restricts lessons on racial inequality in public schools. The bill prohibits the teaching of material that could cause a student to “feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress,” due to US racial history – the implication being that these are not appropriate responses to an encounter with this history, or that protection from such emotions is more important than a confrontation with the facts... As for the activities that are still permitted in schools, DeSantis seems determined to make them as invasive, dangerous, and unpleasant as possible. His administration is weighing whether to require all girls on school athletic teams to answer detailed questions about their menstrual periods in order to participate in sports... Last week, the governor announced a sweeping agenda to overhaul the state’s public universities, aiming to make their curricula more conservative by eliminating tenure protections for progressive faculty and requiring courses on “Western Civilization”... But there is a more foundational reason why DeSantis and the far right are attacking education: it is the means by which our young people are made into citizens. Schools and universities are laboratories of aspiration, places where young people cultivate their own capacities, expose themselves to the experiences and worldviews of others, and learn what will be required of them to live responsible, tolerant lives in a pluralist society...

helmikuu 27, 7:35 am

Meanwhile in Mexico:

Jorge Guajardo @jorge_guajardo | 2:39 PM · Feb 26, 2023
China, Mexico, tech, books.

Mexicans demand free and fair elections. Not a single window was broken, just citizens defending the electoral institute against the president’s wishes of undoing it. This is how real democrats make their voices heard.

0:17 ( )

helmikuu 27, 7:41 am

>139 margd: Not a single window was broken

Likewise the 2019 nonviolent intifada (popular uprising) in Khartoum which toppled the brutal 30-year Islamist military dictatorship of Omar al Bashir. Demonstrators were killed, raped, beaten and arrested by security forces, but they offered no violence in return, and did not resort to damaging property.

helmikuu 27, 9:08 am

>140 John5918: No less than to Ukraine fighters, we owe so much to all of these protesters wherever they show their brave faces.

José Díaz Briseño @diazbriseno | 8:38 AM · Feb 27, 2023:
Mexico's @Reforma front page
Image ( )

Mark MacKinnon markmackinnon | 8:45 AM · Feb 27, 2023:
Senior International Correspondent for The Globe and Mail. Now based in London, after Moscow/Middle East/Beijing. Author of The New Cold War

Eight years since Boris Nemtsov was shot dead outside the Kremlin walls in Moscow. Another grim anniversary in what has been a very violent decade...

Quote Tweet
NEXTA @nexta_tv | 6:52 AM · Feb 27, 2023:
The largest Eastern European media. To let the world know.

In #Moscow, people bring flowers to the scene of the murder of Boris #Nemtsov.
0:42 ( )

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 27, 12:11 pm

>139 margd: funny how the mexicans somehow can behave when they're in Mexico but destroy everything (and human lives) when they're abroad

Donald Trump is right about them as about so many other things

helmikuu 27, 12:27 pm

>142 Kuiperdolin:

That's a racist and xenophobic slur.

helmikuu 27, 1:12 pm

>143 John5918: Agreed. Disgraceful.

helmikuu 27, 7:05 pm

>143 John5918: can dish it but not take it, as usual. Talk about disgusting.

helmikuu 27, 10:43 pm

>145 Kuiperdolin: Talk about disgusting

Actually I was talking about "disgusting", in the form of your racist and xenophobic comments.

helmikuu 27, 11:58 pm

Useat käyttäjät ovat merkinneet tämän viestin asiattomaksi eikä sitä enää näytetä. (näytä)
What's disgusting is the exactions your friends commit and the half-literate spam you vomit on the site to abet it. You're a perfect specimen of the users Tim Spalding seek.

maaliskuu 26, 4:03 pm

The Wall Street Journal WSJ | 4:16 PM · Mar 25, 2023:

Mexico’s Supreme Court halted President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s overhaul of the electoral system after the independent electoral agency filed an appeal on grounds that the measures were unconstitutional

Mexico’s Supreme Court Halts Electoral Overhaul
The high court has agreed to hear the election agency’s challenge against President López Obrador’s laws.
Juan Montes | March 25, 2023

Mexico’s Supreme Court halted President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s overhaul of the electoral system after the nation’s independent electoral agency filed an appeal on grounds that the measures were unconstitutional.

The high court said late Friday that it agreed to hear a legal challenge by the National Electoral Institute, or INE, against more than 200 provisions recently passed by legislators of Mr. López Obrador’s ruling party. The INE has said that the overhaul imposed deep staff and budget cuts that risk crippling its ability to organize reliable elections.

Justice Javier Laynez halted the overhaul until the court resolves the challenge. Justice Laynez, who will be in charge of drafting the court’s ruling, said that the laws could potentially violate the political rights of Mexican citizens.

The suspension protects the agency from the budget cuts, which spurred mass demonstrations across the country in recent months. Protesters said that the measures weakened the country’s democracy. A ruling is expected before June...

maaliskuu 26, 4:05 pm

Netanyahu fires defense minister who called for halt to judicial overhaul
Shira Rubin | March 26, 2023


Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 27, 6:16 am

>149 margd: contd. So good to see Mexico, Israel, (US?) systems holding out against wouldbe autocrats.

Noga Tarnopolsky נגה טרנופולסקי نوغا ترنوبولسكي @NTarnopolsky | 3:15 AM · Mar 27, 2023:
🇮🇱Israel🇵🇸 Palestine reporter♥️🇦🇷🇨🇭🥩🍷PostNews: IG @noga_ga

🗣Netanyahu's Address to the Nation, meant to take place this morning, has been delayed till further notice as he is hammered by coalition partners threatening to resign. Least surprising development of the past 12 weeks.

Amichai Stein @AmichaiStein1 | 4:47 PM · Mar 26, 2023:
Correspondent at the kann Diplomatic desk | Israeli public broadcasting corporation

Protests in Central Tel Aviv
0:15 ( )

Louis Fishman لوي فيشمان לואי פישמן @Istanbultelaviv | 4:47 PM · Mar 26, 2023
Associate Prof Brooklyn College; Author of Jews and Palestinians in late Ottoman era: Turkish, Israeli/Palestinian affairs; working on a book on today's Turkey.

The moment protesters break through barricades in front of Prime Minister's residence. One newscaster calls this by its name, a popular uprising. Tomorrow a nationwide strike is on horizon, joined by universities. The military is more fragile than ever.

From Suleiman Maswadeh
0:22 ( )


maaliskuu 28, 10:08 am

Prosecutor oversight bill headed to Kemp; local control concerns dismissed
Stanley Dunlap | March 27, 2023

The Georgia General Assembly sent a controversial bill to the governor’s desk Monday to create a new disciplinary board for the state’s local district attorneys.

On the 39th day of the 40-day legislative session, the GOP-controlled House approved the creation of a prosecuting attorneys oversight commission by a 92-77 vote, largely along party lines. The commission would have a five-member investigative panel and a three-member hearing panel to review complaints lodged against prosecutors and dish out punishment that could include removal from their elected office.

Senate Bill 92 also specifies the prosecutor’s and solicitor’s responsibilities, including reviewing each case individually to determine probable cause and making a charging decision based on the details of the case.

Democratic lawmakers and other critics argue that the Republicans’ plan removes prosecutorial discretion to deciding how cases should be prioritized in each community. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, investigating former President Donald Trump for election interference after he lost to President Joe Biden in 2020. Republicans also criticized Athens-Clarke District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez after she said she would not prioritize low-level marijuana possession charges...

...The Georgia bill parallels efforts to remove prosecutors in Florida, Missouri, Indiana and Pennsylvania, as well as broader disputes nationwide over how certain criminal offenses should be charged. All continue anti-crime campaigns that Republicans ran nationwide last year, accusing Democrats of coddling criminals and acting improperly by refusing to prosecute whole categories of crimes including marijuana possession. All the efforts raise the question of prosecutorial discretion — a prosecutor’s decision of what cases to try or reject and what charges to bring...

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 7, 1:28 am

Democracy under threat and why we should give the Devil the benefit of the law (Tablet)

Themis or Justicia, the Greek or Roman goddess of justice, is sometimes depicted blindfolded, holding a pair of scales in one hand and a sword in the other. This idea of the impartiality of justice, older than Christianity itself, is reflected in the judicial oath administered to English justices on taking office: “I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.” Yet this idea is under siege in many parts of the modern world. It is under siege at the Manhattan courthouse where Donald Trump appeared this week; it is the cause of the massive disorder in Israel that threatens to spread into civil war; it is at the heart of a political battle between Poland and Hungary and the European Union that could tear the continent apart; and it is not absent from the politics of the United Kingdom, whose government is putting pressure on the European Court of Human Rights not to challenge political decisions concerning refugees.

This is not just a political or legal debate, but a moral one. No part of civil society, including the Churches and other faith bodies, should stand aside from it. All are entitled to the law’s protection, and its absence or its corruption opens the door to discrimination, oppression and persecution... Thomas More, former Lord Chancellor and Speaker of the House of Commons, and Catholic martyr, was, famously, a victim of it. William Roper, his son-in-law and first biographer, records how More once declared that even the Devil was entitled to justice if his cause was right, and even if, in a court over which More presided, his adversary was More’s own father. This was the judicial oath in action. Robert Bolt, in A Man for All Seasons, continues the conversation with Roper saying, “So now you give the Devil the benefit of law!” More replies: “Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the devil?” Roper: “Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!” More: “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ‘round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat …? Yes, I’d give the Devil the benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake”... Thomas More upheld the principle of the separation of powers that the judicial oath implies – that the government, as the executive power, should not interfere with due process in the law courts, which operate “without fear or favour”.

In the United States the most dangerous interference in the independent exercise of justice comes not from the present occupant of the White House, but from his predecessor and his supporters... criminal investigations currently taking place into Trump’s affairs, including his attempt to sabotage the result of the presidential election in 2020. The political ramifications of these investigations are obvious. The pro-Trump narrative is that they are nothing other than a witch-hunt designed to undermine the former president’s popular, and populist, appeal... his allies have attacked the judicial process, calling the judge biased and the prosecutor politically partisan... Obviously who leads America is of crucial importance globally, but there is more at stake even than that. The very possibility of civilisation depends on the rule of law, which in turn depends on the law being administered impartially. Pressure on judges and prosecutors to bend to the wishes of politicians are all the more corrupting when such demands are enforced by legal changes, so that not just the executive but the legislature too is engaged in subverting the judiciary...

But if the United States abandons the rule of law, what chance does it have elsewhere? Every part of any judicial system, including the police and prosecutors, bears a heavy responsibility to defend the law’s fairness and impartiality. The defence of democracy and the rule of law is at the heart of the battle of ideas between the West and the growing alliance of Russia and China, for whom law is merely the instrument of executive power. They do not like a particular journalist – lock them up. They do not like a judge – order them removed. A prosecution displeases them – bully the prosecutor until they desist. A political opponent says things they do not like – have them jailed or killed. A particular minority refuses to comply with state ideology – round them up and forcibly indoctrinate them. A smaller neighbouring country seeks its own destiny – invade it, and murder its leaders... those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Once “the laws are flat”, as Thomas More predicted, eventually the Devil comes for them too. And for everyone.

huhtikuu 7, 6:39 am

Difficult to trust a justice system that treats the rich and powerful (and white) differently:

The Problem With Jon Stewart @TheProblem | 6:00 AM · Apr 7, 2023:

In America, there are two tiers of justice... and Donald Trump is in the "good" tier. @misterjayjordan
and @ProfMMurray describe how your average person is treated when they’re arrested vs. Trump’s treatment. Stream our season finale now on @AppleTVPlus

2:58 ( )

huhtikuu 7, 7:01 am

>153 margd:

Certainly all should be treated equally, but there's nothing wrong in principle with a civilised arrest where someone comes to the police station with their lawyers at an agreed time. It doesn't always have to be screaming sirens, drawn guns, smashed front doors, handcuffs and a police doctrine of "dominating the situation". If only they would treat more young black men or mentally disturbed homeless people in the same way.