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More on Self-Pardoning

us-politics

Lawrence Tribe, Richard Painter and Norman Eisen argue in WaPo:  No, Trump can’t pardon himself. The Constitution tells us so. They bases their position mostly on the following: The Constitution specifically bars the president from using the pardon power to prevent his own impeachment and removal. It adds that any official removed through impeachment remains fully […]

#SoMuchWinning Update

us-politics

Via the NYT, Trump’s ‘Great National Infrastructure Program’? Stalled Infrastructure remains stuck near the rear of the legislative line, according to two dozen administration officials, legislators and labor leaders involved in coming up with a concrete proposal. It awaits the resolution of tough negotiations over the budget, the debt ceiling, a tax overhaul, a new push to toughen […]

More Norm-Busting by the President

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More evidence the president does not understand his job.

Tweeting at the Framers (Impeachment Edition)

us-politics

Political Science Professor Paul Musgrave tweets: That it’s not clear if the president can pardon himself is just another datum showing that The Founders Were Bad At Constitution-Making. — Paul Musgrave🗀 (@profmusgrave) July 22, 2017 At a minimum, it certainly is an example that despite popular conception, the document is not perfect.

Potential Pardons = Potential Constitutional Crisis

constitution-preamble-quill-pen

The pardon issue could be a serious inflection point.

Leaks: Truth is the Main Issue, not Legality

us-politics

POTUS tweets: While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017 What is striking about this (and all past rantings about leaks) is that there is rarely a claim […]

An Appropriate Assessment of the Spicer Era

Spicer

Don’t cry for Spicer.

Back When the Bush Administration Investigated Voter Fraud

us-politics

The Trump administration is not the first to investigate the question of voter fraud.  The Bush administration did so as well and a little over ten years ago it reported findings: Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to […]

A Photo for Friday: Prattville in the Distance

“Prattville in the Distance” June 24, 2017 Prattville, AL

It’s as if it isn’t a very Good Bill…

us-politics

…and that maybe the GOP leadership is showing their lack of seriousness or something. Via the NYT:  Health Care Overhaul Collapses as Two More Republican Senators Defect  Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas declared on Monday night that they would oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, killing […]

How not to be a Dean

academic-book-glasses

Via the LAT: An overdose, a young companion, drug-fueled parties: The secret life of USC med school dean During his tenure as dean, Puliafito kept company with a circle of criminals and drug users who said he used methamphetamine and other drugs with them, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. Puliafito, 66, and these much younger acquaintances […]

Speaking of the Pence-Kobach Commission…

us-politics

Rick Hasen points to a link to the agenda of this week’s first meeting of the Pence-Kobach Commission.  As someone who attends a ton of meeting these days, and who sets a fair share of agendas, this reads like a meeting set because they need to have a meeting, not because they really know what they […]

Rick Hasen on our Voting System

us-politics

A reading recommendation for anyone who missed it, Rick Hasen’s piece in the NYT:  Don’t Let Our Democracy Collapse. He concludes as follows, but I would very much encourage a read of the whole piece: The future is scary. Public confidence in the fairness of the election process is already largely driven by who wins and who loses. […]

Another Poor Attempt at Illustrating the Scourge of Voter Fraud

election-voter-people

Another failed attempt to demonstrate the problems of voter fraud in the US.

Krauthammer on Don Jr.

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I tweeted this link out yesterday, but if you missed it, it is worth a read: Charles Krauthammer,  Bungled collusion is still collusion The evidence is now shown. This is not hearsay, not fake news, not unsourced leaks. This is an email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. himself. A British go-between writes that there’s […]

Brooks on Trump Amorality

us-politics

David Brook’s NYT column on Don Jr. is worth a read:  Moral Vacuum in the House of Trump He basic conclusion is as follows: That to me is the central takeaway of this week’s revelations. It’s not that the Russia scandal may bring down the administration. It’s that over the past few generations the Trump family […]

Shep Smith’s Days at Fox Numbered?

newsman

Granted, he has been critical of the administration before (for example, having strong words about the way the administration treats CNN), but something will have to give at some point, given the overall tenor of the station’s political coverage.  Via WaPo:  ‘Lie after lie after lie’: Fox News’s Shepard Smith has a Cronkite moment on Russia. […]

Challenges and Threats to Representative Government in the United States

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Thoughts on the quality of our democracy.

A Photo for Friday: Warp Speed

“Warp Speed” July 4, 2017 Pike Road, AL

A Quick Russian Translation

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Via the NYT: When the Kremlin Says ‘Adoptions,’ It Means ‘Sanctions’  This is likely obvious to anyone who is even passingly familiar with the situation, but this piece is worth a read for a detailed discussion.  It also should take away any thought that a discussion about adoption policy is as innocent or low-wattage as it […]

It Just Keeps Getting Worse for Don Jr.

Two powers

Inching towards evidence of at least attempted collusion?

More on the Trump Jr. Meeting (Updated)

Trump Russia

A report states that the meeting was set up on the predicate of information on the Clinton campaign.

Putin’s Big Win

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Via an opinion column by Masha Gessen in the NYT:  Trump Gave Putin Exactly What He Wanted Mr. Putin has for years — 17 years, to be exact, for this is how long he has been in power — been clear about what he wanted from his relationship with the United States president: He wants to […]

On the Removal of CSA Symbols

us-politics

Symbols shape our views of the past.

The Disaster that is SecState Tillerson

us-politics

There is a long list of problems associated with the current administration’s utter lack of knowledge about, or interest in, governing, but one of the most obvious and concerning at the moment is the fact that we currently lack a functioning State Department.  Dan Drezner explains:  My so-called Secretary of State. My only quibble with […]

Yet Another Russia Meeting from the Campaign

Trump Russia

Add another example of an undisclosed Russia-linked meeting and Team Trump.

A Photo for Friday: Balloon Guy

“Balloon Guy 2” Bogotá, Colombia May 24, 2014

Meanwhile, in the Land of Legislation…

us-politics

Via The Hill:  House-Passed Immigration Bills Have Murky Future in Senate A pair of enforcement bills targeting “sanctuary” cities and undocumented immigrants with prior deportations easily passed the House on Thursday, but they face an uphill climb in the Senate. […] votes in the Senate as recently as last year have shown that measures dealing with […]

Trump Profile from 1997

us-politics

Commenter AndrewBW pointed me to a 1997 profile of Donald Trump from the New Yorker (Trump Solo).  It is illuminating insofar as many of the behaviors we see from the President today are quite evident in the piece. There were a number of striking passages, but this anecdote struck me: We hadn’t been airborne long when Trump […]

Today in Poor Defenses

us-politics

Writing at Mediate, Joe Bielle has a piece entitled:  President Trump Deserves Credit For Taking On Bullies Like Mika Brzezinski Make no mistake, Donald Trump’s supposedly vicious attacks are always in response to vicious attacks against him. He does not retaliate with personal attacks against people who simply question his policy proposals. First, what policy […]

Trump is not a Hypocrite

us-politics

I cannot disagree with Damon Linker’s assessment: Trump follows just one, unwavering standard: the advancement of his own good. If electoral meddling by a hostile foreign power benefits him, he has no problem with it. If the meddling harms him, he’s outraged by it. No hypocrisy. Just perfectly consistent, morally poisonous egoism. Hypocrisy is impossible […]

Speaking of the ELN…

travel-suitcase

Here is a brief Reuters report on the recent developments in the Colombian governement’s talks with the ELN that I mentioned in a previous post:  Colombia and ELN rebels move peace talks toward ceasefire. Pablo Beltran, leader of the ELN negotiating team in Quito, Ecuador, said the rebels would like to see a ceasefire in […]

Interview with Colombian President Santos

travel-suitcase

To go along with my post on the Colombian peace process, here is an interview (in English) with President Juan Manual Santos that is worth watching if one is interested in the current situation. (And from about 7 minutes on, watch Santos try to be diplomatic about the current US administration).

Progress towards Peace in Colombia

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The FARC have disarmed. Now to the hard part.

Line of the Day: Tweets and Mika Edition

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“He should be a lot more worried about NATO and building a relationship with Angela Merkel than he is with cable news hosts.”–Joe Scarborough. This, in a nutshell, captures one of the major problems (although not the only one) revealed by this current (but not singular) brouhaha over presidential tweets.  Donald J. Trumps is president […]

It’s Part of the Job…

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Being a public servant, especially serving as President or in the White House in general, means you are going to be criticized, lampooned, ridiculed, and even “attacked.”

A Photo for Friday: Magic Chapel

“Magic Chapel”June 14, 2017Hot Springs, AR

Some Anemic Defenses of Trump’s Tweets

us-politics

In regards to the recent Trump Tweets about Mika Brzenski, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao offers the following pathetic defense: “The president is a citizen as well, and he says what he wants to say,” Chao said at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. “I think one of […]

Conservatives Sign Agreement with the DUP

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Via the BBC:  Conservatives agree pact with DUP to support May government Under the so-called “confidence and supply” arrangement, the DUP will line up behind the government in key votes, such as on the Queen’s Speech and Budgets, which would threaten the government’s survival if they were lost. They will also back Theresa May on […]

The 140 Character POTUS

Trump Twitter

Twitter is, in some way, the most vacuous and simplistic of all social media, and it also appears to be the President’s main intellectual outlet.

Line of the Day (Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 Edition)

health-costs-money-stethoscope

No wonder they wrote it in secret and want to move quickly to a vote…

A Photo for Friday: “Into Blue”

“Into Blue” April 30, 2014 Pike Road, AL

Democrats Take Stock

Karen Handel Victory Speech

Some thoughts on the current state of the Democrats.

The Continued Action Hero Fantasy

us-politics

Representative Roger Williams (R-TX25) as quoted in the DMN (Ballfield ambush ‘might’ve been a little different’ had congressmen been armed, Texan says): “He had rifles, he had guns, pistols. All we had were bats and balls,” Williams said. “Frankly, if we would have been able to carry arms, it might’ve been a little different.” First, is […]

About that Trump as Caesar Thing…

us-politics

If you haven’t noticed it, here’s the story via the NYT:  Two Protesters Disrupt ‘Julius Caesar’ in Central Park and another version via BoGlo: Knives are out for theaters that bear the name ‘Shakespeare’.  The result has been a lot of sturm und drang on TV and online, and the pulling of sponsorships. In reviewing the various responses online […]

A Photo for Friday: Rain and Urban Light

“Rain and Urban Light” Bogotá, Colombia May 21, 2014

The Classy Mr. Cosby

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Via the AV Club:  Bill Cosby yells Fat Albert catchphrase as he’s escorted out of court. Nothing says “I am taking these rape allegations seriously” than shouted cartoon catchphrases.

So, no More Golf for POTUS?

donald-trump-hat

Forget the imperial presidency. Welcome to the indolent presidency.

Web Censorship in Turkey

travel-suitcase

More examples of growing authoritarianism in Turkey via the NYT:  Turks Click Away, but Wikipedia Is Gone Wikipedia is just one of 127,000 websites blocked in Turkey, estimated Professor Akdeniz, who has led legal challenges against the Wikipedia ban and other web restrictions. An additional 95,000 pages, like social media accounts, blog posts and articles, are […]

Japanese Parliament Passes Law for Abdication

travel-suitcase

Via CNN:  Japan passes historic law to allow beloved Emperor to abdicate Imperial law decrees that sitting emperors cannot resign from their posts, but the one-off bill permits the 83-year-old to pass the Chrysanthemum Throne to Crown Prince Naruhito, the eldest of his three children. The piece also has an interesting discussion of the role […]

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