Thursday, June 22, 2017

TRUMP: NO TAPES OF COMEY MEETINGS

"Trump says he has no Comey tapes
'I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,' Trump tweets, a day before a deadline to hand over any tapes."
 
Why didn't he just give us the answer nearly SIX WEEKS ago when the question was asked?  Does he not know whether or not his conversation are taped and had to ask someone.  Trump is largely incompetent as a President, but is this more incompetence or just his usual BS?  How can this rationally be defended.  I stress the word rationally

"And in the end, it wasn't just another bluff from Trump; it was another bluff that was called and that continued to chip away at Trump's honesty and credibility, for no discernible benefit."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/06/22/gingrich-just-admitted-trump-was-being-dishonest-about-white-house-tapes-because-nothing-matters/?utm_term=.9e1f4bc1dad7
 
As a former prosecutor I am always suspicious of questionable assertions, etc. from the subjects of criminal investigations.  Perhaps the delay resulted form weight various options and now the tapes have been destroyed.  This would be both obstruction of justice and a violation of federal law which says that the tapes are the property of the U.S. people, and destruction is a crime.  Is this doing to be a  Watergate deja vu'?
  
 
 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

TRUMP'S LOW APPROVAL RATINGS

According to a variety of polls, Trump's current approval rating ranges from high thirties to mid-40's percentage.   Has the obstruction of justice investigation and failure to say whether tapes of Comey conversation exist or not, been a factor.
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_trump_job_approval-6179.html?utm_source=RCP+The+Takeaway+%28previously+poll+alert%29&utm_campaign=21d740da34-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d6a76c9ec3-21d740da34-85346577

Monday, June 19, 2017

1964 Civil Rights Act--landmark legislation


"On June 19, 1964, the Senate ended a long debate, overcoming a record-setting filibuster to join the House in approving the Civil Rights Act. The landmark law was a turning point in American history, as it addressed discrimination and segregation on a national level.
Link: See the Civil Rights Act

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/on-this-day-congress-passes-the-civil-rights-act

This landmark civil rights bill would not have gone through without LBJ's pushing.  Southern white supremacists in the Senate attempted to block it by filibustering which did not work.  This was one of his proudest moments. To bad he spoiled his reputation later with adventurism in Viet Nam.

CRIMINAL LIABILITY OF COPS FOR KILLING

"It is a genuinely open question whether an American police officer can do almost anything without suffering criminal consequences. Americans have a profoundly stupid and misguided deferential attitude toward law enforcement, one which presumes that police officers—fallible, often incompetent, and frequently temperamental human beings—are worthy of some sort of extra-special benefit of the doubt about their professional behavior. American citizens have no problem suing doctors for their back molars on the flimsiest of pretexts, but we generally cannot bring ourselves to convict police officers for demonstrably inept and reckless behavior that often costs people their lives."
http://thefederalist.com/2017/06/19/acquittal-verdict-philando-castile-case-abomination/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=a996e34390-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-a996e34390-83777437
This is a conservative website.

I agree with the statement, but, don't know enough about the specific case to agree or not agree with the rest of the article.

Thanks to 44 shot for the link.

TEEN GUILTY IN ENCOURAGING SUICIDE CASE

A Massachusetts judge found 18-year-old Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her friend, Conrad Roy III. Roy committed suicide in July 14, in part, as the court ruled, because of Carter's text messages encouraging him to kill himself. The verdict stunned some legal experts and the case raised some thorny issues regarding criminal liability for suicide, free speech, and technology. - See more at: http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2017/06/teen-guilty-of-manslaughter-for-encouraging-friends-suicide-with-texts.html?DCMP=NWL-pro_top#sthash.IkzWPKhs.dpuf
or
http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2017/06/teen-guilty-of-manslaughter-for-encouraging-friends-suicide-with-texts.html?DCMP=NWL-pro_top

Given the controversial nature of this case and the numerous issues involved, an appeal is almost certain and appellate decision will help clarifythe law

TRUMP LAWYER CONTARDICTS SELF IN SAME INTERVEIW

I saw this on Fox News and could not believe my ears. However, it was as I thought.  Perhaps the tangle lies is starting to cause confusion on the Trump team.
"A member of Donald Trump’s personal legal team sent out to deny the president is under investigation, did just the opposite on “Fox News Sunday” — twice saying “he’s being investigated.”
Jay Sekulow made the remarks during a contentious back and forth with host Chris Wallace, one of a series of shows on which the attorney repeatedly insisted that Trump wasn’t under investigation by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Sekulow told Wallace that Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey last month was “based on numerous events, including recommendations from his attorney general and the deputy attorney general’s office.”
“He takes the action that they also recommended and now he’s being investigated by the Department of Justice. Because the special counsel, under the special counsel regulations, reports still to the Department of Justice, not an independent counsel,” Sekulow said.
“So, he’s being investigated for taking the action that the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended him to take, by the agency who recommended the termination. So that’s the constitutional threshold question here.”
When Wallace noted that Sekulow had just admitted Trump was under investigation, Sekulow accused the host of trying to “re-phrase” his words — prompting Wallace to say “the tape will speak for itself.”
“I do not appreciate you putting words in my mouth, when I’ve been crystal clear that the president is not and has not been under investigation,” Sekulow shot back.
On Friday, Trump tweeted, “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”
Sekulow told “Fox News Sunday” and three other shows that Trump’s tweet was based solely on a Washington Post report, and he insisted Trump wasn’t under investigation.
On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” host John Dickerson asked Sekulow how he knew that.
“Because we’ve received no notice of investigation. There has been no notification from the special counsel’s office that the president is under investigation. In fact, to the contrary. What we know is what James Comey said, the last thing we know is when he testified just a couple weeks back. That the president was not and is not a target of investigation,” Sekulow answered.
Sekulow also said he “can’t imagine a scenario where the president would not be aware of it.”
But a former federal prosecutor, Brad Simon, told The Post those assertions were “somewhat fanciful.”
The feds “never formally advise someone they’re under investigation,” Simon said, adding: “It usually becomes apparent when they start issuing subpoenas.”
In some cases, Simon said, the feds will issue a “target letter” following a grand jury subpoena, usually when a defense lawyer is trying to decide whether to let a client testify.
“The fact that [Trump] hasn’t received a letter doesn’t mean he’s not the subject of an investigation,” he said.
“Letters are only issued upon request. That’s the  long-established practice of the Justice Department.”
http://nypost.com/2017/06/18/trumps-attorney-contradicts-himself-on-investigation-denial/

Thursday, June 15, 2017

OUTRAGEOUS ATTACK ON REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN

The other headline for today (besides Trump being under investigation for obstruction of justice--see below) was about the cowardly attack of a wacko left-wing on
Republican congressmen.
http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-shooting-reported-at-gop-baseball-1497442200-htmlstory.html 
Political violence, by both sides, in this country is becoming a crisis. The echo chambers, political and religious hatreds. and toxic, polarizing politics are now bearing their bitter fruit.  This has created a feeling of solidarity among congressmen for now. Le'ts hope it lasts.  Don't bet on it.  The investigation of Trump will stoke up the fires to even new levels. Hatred of  Muslims seems to be growing.   God help America.

As expected, TRUMP BEING INVESTIGATED FOR OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

Reality laid a cold, hard slap to the face of Trumpistas a day ago.
http://www.dailywire.com/news/17552/report-trump-being-investigated-obstruction-amanda-prestigiacomo

  It reminds me of the Benjamin Franklin  saying, 'experience (reality) keep a dear school-- but fools will learn in no other.'
When the Trump's Justice department appointed a man of integrity and political independence as Special Prosecutor (no doubt with Trump's approval), many could see that this day would eventually arrive. The President (and perhaps others on his staff) is/are under investigation for obstruction of justice for his dealings with former FBI Director Comey and perhaps others officials.  Anyone who knows anything about criminal law, criminal procedure, etc. knows there is probable cause to believe that Trump violated the law.  Sessions confirmed part of Comey's account.  The mystery tapes, if the exist, could clear Trump.  Yet, no one in the White House will confirm of deny if they exist.  Does this sound like the actions of a totally innocent suspect?  If there are tapes that support Trump, why not release them?  The logical conclusion is that either there are no tapes or the tapes prove Comey is right. The special prosecutor can get them, and there is no executive privilege in criminal cases for Trump's toadies to hide behind. Some Republicans are already talking about getting rid of the Special Prosecutor. 
Will history repeat itself (e.g. Watergate)?  The truth will eventually come out about  Trump cronies and even persons even appointed by Trump being involved in negotiation with the Russians regarding the election.  Flynn and Sessions have already lied about the issue.  When politicians are involved, whether on the right or left, 'where there's smoke, there's almost always fire.'

Some Trumpistas will  respond with their dumb comebacks (e.g Hillary Clinton would be worse).  The dumbest excuses seem to admit that Trump did it but should be excused because he was a 'rookie,' or 'political novice.'  Ignorance of the law is not a valid legal excuse.  Stupidity and lack of ethical sense is not an excuse.  If a rookie cop took a bribe would we excuse him because he is a naive rookie and doesn't remember anything from the policy academy about ethics and bribery?  If Trump weren't President, a grand jury would be convening to investigate.  This is what happens to lower level political crooks. Anyone who knows anything about the law of criminal evidence knows that   Trump's behavior in trying to buddy up with Comey and his telling all others at  the meeting to leave is evidence of criminal intent or knowledge of guilt.
 Some sycophants will retreat even further into their irrational, delusional, echo chambers.  Some will finally come to their senses and be glad the investigation has finally started.  Although it is probably a long shot,  there may have been no criminal or ethical violations.  That's why all should welcome the investigation.  At this point the evidentiary cards are stacked heavily against Trump,  but I could be wrong and applaud the Special Prosecutor.
This who situation is a sad and serious crisis for America.  We need the truth to get past this.  This topic will dominate the news for months.  Look back at Watergate and Nixon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

TRUMP'S CHAOTIC FOREIGN POLICY



 American foreign policy changes every time Trump tweets of gives a speech.  How do you negotiate with a national leader who is part chameleon, part eel and part confused teenager.  Europe cannot trust him.
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/19/trump-first-foreign-trip-europe-215163

 The Western alliance against Trump's buddy Putin is in danger.  I wouldn't want to live in Eastern Europe while Trump in Prez.  People in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia better need to start preparing for guerilla warfare if the on-again off-again bromance between Trump and Putin doesn't end once and for all.

“Trump National Security Team Blindsided by NATO Speech

"They thought the president would commit to the principle of collective defense. They were wrong.”

He apparently later changed his mind.  A few months ago he called NATO "obsolete."

 

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/05/trump-nato-speech-national-security-team-215227

Trump sent his Secretary of State to the Middle East to try to patch up things between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.  The largest U.S military base in the Middle East in in Qatar and we have long had good relations with the Saudis.  Then, Trump blast the Qataris.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/09/world/middleeast/rex-tillerson-calls-for-calm-in-middle-east-standoff-with-qatar.html?_r=0

 

 

 

SESSIONS TO TESTIFY, LIES LIKELY, JUST AS WITH TRUMP

I have been following Presidential politics since LBJ. I have never seen a President and his staff that has played so fast and loose with the facts.  They are an embarrassment and disgrace.  America is the laughing stock of Western Europe--our closest and most valuable allies.
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/19/trump-first-foreign-trip-europe-215163

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be testifying before a Senate Commitee shortly.  He has lied before, and gave a B.S. explanation for the 'discrepancy'.  I guess his excuse is "I was too dumb to understand the question." Hey, Sessions is entitled to his own 'alternative facts."  In unfortunately, he is also the federal government's law enforcement officer. The consequences for the rule of law could be tragic.

 Trump is a chronic liar.  Check out a reputable fact check website (see below), think about what is said and analyze it.  Trump won the factcheck.org
King of Whoppers award for 2015 and 2016.  He beat out Hillary Clinton by a big margin.
http://www.factcheck.org/2016/12/the-whoppers-of-2016/

A year ago, we broke with past practice and named Donald Trump our first ever “King of Whoppers.” This year, the reigning champ defended his title well – once again dominating our annual review of political whoppers.
At his campaign rallies, Trump regularly disparaged the media as “dishonest,” referring at one point to fact-checkers as “dishonest scum.” Yet, he peddled conspiracy theories from a supermarket tabloid and a website that serves as a platform for the alt-right.
The Republican president-elect used a thinly sourced story from the National Enquirer to make the baseless claim that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father “was with Lee Harvey Oswald” prior to John F. Kennedy’s assassination — a claim he doubled down on after Cruz already had dropped out of the presidential primary. Trump also cited Breitbart as evidence that he was “right” when he suggested that President Obama supported terrorists. No, Trump wasn’t right.
During the campaign, Trump also made the wild accusation that Obama “is the founder of ISIS,” the terrorist group based in Syria and Iraq, and retweeted a fake image of Fox News host Megyn Kelly that purported to show her posing with Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.
Of course, we wrote about plenty of others who distorted the facts and made false claims in 2016. After all, it was the year when the facts caught up with Hillary Clinton’s numerous false and distorted claims regarding her use of a private email server while secretary of state. Contrary to what she said, Clinton did have classified material on her server and did not have government approval to use a private server because she never requested it.
Even so, Trump is in a league of his own."  Note that they called Hillary on the carpet.
Check out he website for a complete analysis.


He will probably win again this year.
Sean Spicer said Hitler never used poison gas as a weapon.  The list of Trump and Trump administration B.S. is endless.

"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Attorney General Jeff Sessions “lied under oath” when he said he “did not have communications with the Russians” during the presidential campaign. She has called on him to resign.
Sessions says that, in context, his responses as part of the Senate confirmation process were “honest and correct as I understood it at the time.” He acknowledged that he should have told the Senate that he “did meet one Russian official a couple of times,” but he said any claims that he gave a false answer are “not correct.”

Please don't respond by saying that he's a better AG than Hillary would have appointed.  Every time I try to talk to a Trump supporter about issues that make Trump look bad, they respond, that "he's better than Hillary." Obviously, a lot of people don't want to address issues and come up with B.S. responses that do not address the issues.  Brain damage, thick skull or ideological blinders? These folks need to start addressing and facing facts.  Get out of the delusional world.  Get over the bromance, hero worship, or whatever it is and get real.
Time to abandon post truth, alternative facts. etc.

Please consider the following:

POST TRUTH AND CRITICAL THINKING

“I’m sorry, Jeannie, your answer was correct, but Kevin shouted his incorrect answer over yours, so he gets the points,” says the quiz master to a group of participants, in a cartoon with the caption “Facts don’t matter.” The cartoon gives a clear picture of the post-truth and surreal world. Oxford Dictionaries (OD) announced post-truth as its 2016 International Word of the Year. Post-truth “relates to or denotes circumstances in which objective facts [truth] are less influential in shaping public opinion than

[1]appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

[2] the intense admiration or affection  (or the opposites)for the speaker can also overrule the truth]  Post-truth also applies to  making sweeping claims about objective reality without any, or any substantial .evidence.

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-truth_politics

 In the post-truth and surreal era, we are constantly bombarded with messages that can be labeled as “half-truth” or “no-truth.” Propagandists speak in such a way that the targeted people believe and accept disinformation as information. They are successful in their mission as they are convinced that the audiences can be persuaded, manipulated and deceived. Lies that are told in a convincing way are treated as truth and result in shaping public opinion. Lies coupled with emotional appeals win the hearts of the weak who do not know how to differentiate between falsehood and truth, information and disinformation, honesty and dishonesty. We live in a world where deceit, disinformation, distortion, falsehood and fiction try to have victory over information and truth. In the post-truth era, certain lies are considered too benign to be treated as lies.” See book mentioned here (optional) Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era https://www.amazon.com/Weaponized-Lies-Think-Critically-Post-Truth/dp/1101983825

FAKE NEWS, AN ELEMENT OF POST-TRUTH  THINKING

This term has two meanings.  1.  Present something as ‘news’ that has no factual basis, and

2.  Labelling news that we don’t like as ‘fake news’ without checking it, so we don’t’have to consider it.

Below is an example of the effects of the first type of ‘fake news.

For 45 minutes, police said, Edgar Maddison Welch, cradling an AR-15 assault-style rifle, roamed the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant looking to prove an Internet conspiracy theory that the popular D.C. restaurant harbored juvenile sex slaves.

The few patrons had fled before Welch shot off the lock to an inside door, sending a bullet into a computer tower. The North Carolina man then turned the gun on an employee who emerged from the back holding pizza dough. The worker ran out, unharmed.

With D.C. police amassing outside on Sunday afternoon, Welch finally walked out with his hands up — but not before he finished his search.

He had come to rescue the children, court papers say he later told police, and now was convinced that none was being harmed there.”

“Family and friends said they are struggling to understand how Welch apparently became so fixated on a fake news story that he drove from North Carolina with a Colt long rifle, a .38-caliber revolver and a shotgun, determined to take action. The viral Internet tale, which emerged shortly before the presidential election, falsely linked Hillary Clinton, her campaign chairman and the owner of Comet to the alleged sex-slave conspiracy.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/alleged-gunman-tells-police-he-wanted-to-rescue-children-at-dc-pizza-shop-after-hearing-fictional-internet-accounts/2016/12/05/cb5ebabc-bae8-11e6-ac85-094a21c44abc_story.html?utm_term=.eab34e5cbe5d

Some insight is given by this answer to a question put to Pres. Trump:Mr. Trump wanted his inauguration crowd to be the biggest ever, so in his mind it was, no matter what was plainly obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes.”

Most press accounts and much of the debate have understandably focused on the president’s false and often childishly fantastic “alternative facts.” But the greater hazard to his presidency, and the country, is the other dynamic in his hostile relationship with the truth: his refusal to take contrary facts in — to compare the ego-stroking view from the Capitol steps to the more revealing aerial photos.

Consider his response to ABC’s David Muir, who challenged him to back up his repeated, and repeatedly debunked, claim that millions of people voted illegally — which he insists is the reason he lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes. Rather than admitting he had no evidence, Mr. Trump said: “You know what’s important? Millions of people agree with me when I say that.” In other words, facts aren’t important; blind trust in a leader is.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/28/opinion/sunday/can-donald-trump-handle-the-truth.html?_r=0

ANOTHER ELEMENT OF THE POST-TRUTH SYNDROME IS THE IDEA OF ‘ALTERNATIVE FACTS.

"Alternative facts" is a phrase used by U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway during a Meet the Press interview on January 22, 2017, in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's false statement about the attendance at Donald Trump's inauguration as President of the United States. When pressed during the interview with Chuck Todd to explain why Spicer "utter[ed] a provable falsehood", Conway stated that Spicer was giving "alternative facts." Todd responded, "

Conway's use of the phrase "alternative facts" to describe what are demonstrably falsehoods was widely mocked on social media and sharply criticized by journalists and media organizations, such as Dan Rather, Jill Abramson, and the Public Relations Society of America

Alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods.  Choosing to desregard ‘facts’ (or substantial, credible evidence to the contrary, or the lack thereof instead of a rational conclusion based on evidence) are examples.  See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_facts

ONE SOLUTION

Critical think is even more crucial in the  post-fact age. What to do? Use fact check websites.  Open and print this link for 6 of the best.

http://www.technorms.com/454/get-your-facts-right-6-fact-checking-websites-that-help-you-know-the-truth

 

 




Friday, June 09, 2017

TRUMP AND CIVIL LIBERTIES


Donald Trump is a serious threat to the civil liberties of Americans.  I doubt he has ever read our constitution.  Trump is specifically a threat to due process of law and equal protection of the law.  Although he denies being anti-black and anti-Muslim, his policies, statements and the court rulings against his policies suggest otherwise (as will be discussed in this blog later).
See the links at
https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGHP_enUS737US737&q=TRUMP+AND+RACISM&gws_rd=ssl

  His over-the top rantings on the media should give.  He has called the media “the enemy of the people.”  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/24/donald-trump-cpac-media-enemy-of-the-people/98347970/

This was also Richard Nixon’s attitude toward the media whose reporting ultimately lead to his resignation.

Most of his executive orders regarding immigration have been found unconstitutional by the courts.   The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear one of these cases next year.

He seems to be a strong supporter of freedom of religion and the Second Amendment. Like many of the far-right the support for freedom of religion is for the ‘evangelical’ version only and only when that can be used as a tool to try to block gay marriage, discrimination against LGBT’s.

He has proposed or done nothing to support Second Amendment freedoms  Talk is cheap.. Where is his bill to enact federal nationwide concealed carry license reciprocity? Former Nixon Attorney General John Mitchell (who served prison time) said “Watch what we do, not what we say.  http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/14/opinion/essay-watch-what-we-do.html

 

The ACLU present an analysis of Trump’s policy positions and labels him a “One-Man Constitutional Crisis.”  https://www.aclu.org/report/trump-memos

See the ACLU website for updates

Trump from a libertarian perspective (Reason Magazine blog)



 

4 UNBELIEVABLE ITEMS FROM TEXAS


Here’s 4 items regarding how government and politics often do not work in Texas.

1.  The Dallas Police and Fire Pension system is seriously failing due to the managing board’s reckless, unprofessional and possibly bribe-induced investments in real estate, esp.  in Idaho, of all places.  The feds are investigating.  The state has approved a partial bailout, but city taxpayers will end up paying huge amounts and benefits will be cut.  The City finally wrested control from the pension board (which included fire and police personnel).  Before the city took over, the board agreed to a full-year salary as severance benefits to 3 top fund officials if they lost their jobs. They wrecked the pension fund and now the 3 will get a total of almost $900,000 from a fund that is basically bankrupt.  Are you kidding me? Let’s hope the feds get justice for the city and the police and firefighters in the end.


2.  Texas has been in a continuing legal fight with the federal courts over its disgraceful treatment of neglected and abused children taken into state custody.  Many children had to sleep-over at Department offices.  In one incident two girls ran away from an office and one was killed.  The state supposedly made emergency moves to fix the problem and the legislature appropriated money to fix the problem.  Yet, sleep-overs and going up, not down.  Go figure!  This situation and similar lack of concern for the unfortunate,(almost always humans  without money and political support, and/ or, “unpopular” minorities to white, traditional, Christian supremacists) shows that when ideology and money talks, ethics and human values walk.


3.  Here’s another unbelievable story from Dallas County regarding letting groups of juvenile sex offenders sleep together unsupervised on the floor in a large room.  I don’t have to tell you what happened.


4.  Time does not allow for full exposition of the insanity, chaos, pushing and shoving and threats that accompanied the latest TX legislative session, the failure complete their business on time, and the calling of a special session to deal with, among other things, Texas’ ludicrous bathroom bill.  This is what happens what a hard-core group of ideologues take a ‘full-speed ahead, damn the torpedoes” attitude.  What a joke and embarrassment.  With billions of dollars in the budgets, millions of residents, and pressing problems, the Texas legislature only meets every other year. At the end of regular sessions there is a mad rush to pass bills that many members have not read and are poorly worded and thought out.  The latest word is that the far-right ideologue Lt. Governor who heads the Senate deliberately sabotaged the finish of the regular session so that there would be a special session where some of his pet bills that did not pass (e.g. bathroom bill) would have to be heard and possibly pass because legislators are worn out, tired and want to get back to work and home.  Search the Dallas Morning News or google the topics. 

ALL those involved in these 4 events should be ashamed and taxpayers and voters should be “mad as hell.”  Where do they find these people?  Unfortunately too many voters and taxpayers cannot escape from their echo chambers or smart phones to care. 

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Follow the Trump trail of craziness yourself. Follow his tweets.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor


 

Support For Donald Trump's Impeachment Is Now Higher Than His Approval Rating Support For Trump's Impeachment Is Now Higher Than His Approval Rating

"Virtually every single poll tracking President Donald Trump's approval rating showed the figure plummeting Monday morning, well below the margin of error compared to the rising level of support for impeachment. The results follow Trump's controversial decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord; the ongoing investigation into his campaign’s possible ties to the Kremlin is also a factor.
The president's approval rating dipped from nearly 42 percent to just 36 percent over the weekend, according to a Gallup daily tracking poll published Monday. Trump's declining popularity is inching closer toward his all-time low of 35 percent as president in March, when Gallup had the president’s approval at just 35 percent. What's more, nearly 43 percent of American voters support the idea of beginning the official impeachment process for Trump, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll published Wednesday."
http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-impeachment-support-odds-removal-approval-rating-white-house-620913

To keep up with the latest from the most immature, delusional, egomaniacal President ever, see
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2017/01/27/introducing-trump-watch-a-running-tally-of-trump-administration-policies-statements-and-executive-actions-affecting-civil-liberties/?utm_term=.8b590a86ebf2

Friday, June 02, 2017

OAKLAND SETTLES POLICE SEX SCANDAL LAWSUIT

http://blogs.findlaw.com/california_case_law/2017/06/oakland-settles-police-sex-scandal.html?DCMP=NWL-pro_top

2 Bounty Hunters die in shootout

Bounty hunters are part of the criminal justice system that get very little attention.  You almost never hear or one getting killed while hunting.  Two were killed in Greenville,  TX.
https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2017/05/30/shooting-leaves-3-dead-greenville-auto-dealership

Supreme Court gives cops win in excessive force case

Sorry I've been out of touch for so long.  Went on a long vacation.

The Supreme Court rejected the Ninth Circuit’s Fourth Amendment provocation rule which made officers liable for use of excessive force if “(1) the officer “intentionally or recklessly provokes a violent confrontation” and (2) “the provocation is an independent Fourth Amendment violation.”  Page 2 of the syllabus at

 The decison was unanimous.  I'm surprised not even one of the liberals dissented. One the one hand the provocation rule adds another complex dimension to the issues, and is not supported by Supreme Court precedent. On the other hand, it seems reasonable and fair, and the Court frequently avoids its precedents.  I vote in favor of the provocation rule.  This is an area of the where we need to tighten up, not loosen up.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Fascinating series of articles on the Aryan Brotherhood, etc.

This is a fascinating series by the Dallas Morning News about Texas' Aryan Brotherhood gang, their drug trade, and a female member who turned informant.  Once you start this you will find it hard to put it down.  It is a great look at both crime, criminals, informants and law enforcement use of informants.  It is also a compelling human interest story of the young girl whose early adventures into sex and drugs led to a very troubled life and becoming an informant.  You will  not be disappointed.


https://interactives.dallasnews.com/2017/abt/

Sunday, April 09, 2017

FAKE NEWS COMES FROM BOTH THE LEFT AND RIGHT

Don't forget, fake news also comes from the left (not just the political rights (e.g. Breitbart)
This from
http://www.factcheck.org/2017/04/april-8-marijuana-scotus-fracking-fluids/

"Q: Did all eight Supreme Court justices write a letter opposing Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to fill a court vacancy?
A: No. That false claim was made on a liberal website that misrepresented a court ruling regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act."

I despair for the future of our country.  Die-hards on both the left and right are locked into their echo chambers and both live in opposing  delusional worlds.  You think political polarization is bad now? You ain't see nothin' yet.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

SESSIONS SHOULD BE ASHAMED RE COURT SUPERVISON OF PD'S

I agree with this editorial by the New York Times (which the President has called 'fake news')
"There is no need to reopen the Obama Justice Department’s painstaking investigations of nearly two dozen police departments accused of widespread abuse, or the court-enforced agreements the department reached requiring cities like Cleveland, Seattle and Ferguson, Mo., to enact reforms. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested that he might back away from those agreements, he was playing to police officers who have bristled at calls to root out racist and unconstitutional practices that have been well documented by the Justice Department."

If you look back at American history, the local and state police were the main enforcement arm of white supremacy and Jim Crow.  It is naive to think that white supremacy is dead in the U.S.  Sessions' and the adminstration's approach appeal to white supremacists and others who think that police brutality helps keep the poor and blacks in their places.  Perhaps this is the Trump version of Nixon's 'southern strategy.'

The court orders in the 'pattern and practice' lawsuits are one of the few reform mechanisms that have a chance to clean up the police.  Research shows that these settlements can be effective although there tends to be backsliding once court supervision ends and the agency returns to its prior approaches.
http://samuelwalker.net/issues/federal-pattern-or-practice-litigation/
http://samuelwalker.net/2017/04/ag-sessions-review-doj-investigations-police-walker-comments/

GORSUCH AND BS ABOUT THE CHEVRON DOCTRINE

Neil Gorsuch was confirmed as a Supreme  Court Justice.  He was very well qualified.  He will probably not be a decisive force on the Court as it is one conservative (Gorsuch) replacing another conservative, the late Anonin Scalia.  Justice Kennedy will be the swing vote in most close cases, as he has been for decades.  Kennedy can choose to join the 4 conservatives, or the 4 liberals, to get a majority.  Justices have been know to disappoint the Presidents who appointed them by switching their approach.  More conservative justices have moved left than liberal justices have moved to the political right.

About the only thing that seems clear about Gorsuch's generally conservative philosophy is his opposition to the "Chevron deference."
"Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s jurisprudence is his opposition to “Chevron deference”: the doctrine (first imposed by a 1984 Supreme Court decision) that requires judges to defer to administrative agencies’ interpretations of federal law in most cases where the law may be “ambiguous” and the agency’s position seems “reasonable.” In what is probably his best-known opinion, Judge Gorsuch denounced Chevron deference as “a judge-made doctrine for the abdication of the judicial duty.”  It is also argued that the doctrine impinges on the legislative power.  "Chevron deference allows the executive (an administrative agency in the executive branch) to usurp the power of Congress as well as that of the judiciary. Only the legislature is supposed to have the power to make law under our constitutional system."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/03/25/gorsuch-is-right-about-chevron-deference/?utm_term=.467af07cc793

 It's not quite that simple.  If Congress disagrees with an agency policy it can pass legislation to supersede the agency policy.  Congress retains ultimate control. Legislation supersedes regulations.  If the President vetoes the bill, Congress can override it.  With regard to judicial power, the courts maintain the power to strike down administrative regulations which go beyond the powers of Congress or otherwise violate the Constitution.   Interpreting statutes to determine whether an agency is complying with legislative mandates if ultimately a judicial function.  However, the courts have the final say no matter what. A clever judge can always beat the doctrine by asserting that the statute is not ambiguous (by interpreting legislative history to support the judges assertion) and that the agency position appears unreasonable.  "Reasonableness" and '"ambiguous" are very slippery concepts.  Judges who like the agency policy, love the doctrine.  In general, when agency policies move to the left the conservative judges howl and hate the Chevron doctrine. Conservatives tend to hate the doctrine more than liberals when agencies create liberals policies.   Liberal policies were pushed by Obama and his agency heads. Thus conservatives are on the warpath.  When they (either liberals or conservatives) don't like the policy, they hate the doctrine.  It all depends on whose ox is being gored.  IMHO, these criticisms of the Chevron doctrine are making a mountain out of a molehill and border on the naive if not the disingenuous.


"In less than two weeks, the justices will take up a Missouri church's claim that the state is stepping on its religious freedom. It's a case about Missouri's ban on public money going to religious institutions and it carries with it potential implications for vouchers to attend private, religious schools.
Other cases the court could soon decide to hear involve gun rights, voting rights and a Colorado baker's refusal to design a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding. Some of those cases may come up April 13, which could be Gorsuch's first private conference — where justices decide whether to hear a case. It takes four votes to do so, though the court does not generally announce each justice's decision"
https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/04/07/us/politics/ap-us-supreme-court-gorsuch-immediate-effect.html.
The same-sex wedding cake case should be extremely interesting and a much needed precedent to help settle these types of very controversial cases.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

CONSTIUTIONAL CARRY IN TEXAS

The Texas legislature is considering a supposed 'constitutional carry' change to current gun laws.  Currently one must obtain a license, which includes a training component requirement.  This license permits both open and concealed carry.  The new proposal would allow anyone who is not in the prohibited classes (e.g. convicted felons) to carry without any license or any firearms training. 
How many  people who don't want to spend the time or money to get a license, or fear they may be denied a license are going to take advantage of this.  How many of them will be able to find and read the statute specifying who is not eligible?  How many people who shouldn't be carrying for a variety of reasons, will start carrying?  This may work, but I think it deserves more study, a thorough unbiased review of the research and carefully thinking out all the details.  The Texas legislature generally does not have a good reputation in this regard.  The problems and complexity for both law enforcement and carriers have not bee adequately analyzed.
http://www.star-telegram.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article141353158.html

If you have followed this blog you know I am a very strong advocate of gun owner/carrier rights.  I am a strong advocate for all constitutional rights and generally expanding freedom of choice in most areas of life.  I am a gun owner and have a carry permit.  I think the current system is working very well.  Let's think about this new proposal a little longer.   I am familiar with the research on carrying, etc. and there are still too many unanswered questions.v Remember, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. .  Pushing gun rights radically beyond constitutional requirements without a good understanding of the dynamics and a few high publicity incidents could turn the public against gun rights.

What the constitutional carry folks seem to be missing  is the fact that no constitutional right is absolute.  They need to study the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Heller and McDonald re the scope of Second Amendment rights.

This problem is analogous to the Left's push to legalize marijuana.  It is moving too fast and there is not enough good research yet on the possible negative effects of such legalization.  Further, there is no fundamental constitutional right to grow, possess or use marijuana. 

Freedom is a good thing, but we need to remember that there needs to be limits to protect the public, esp. children, and that no rights are absolute.  Anarchy is not the solution.

ATTITUDES TOWARD ANTI-POVERTY LEGISLATION


The kind of legislation we end up with regard to the problems of poverty, including lack of health care, largely depend on the attitudes of politicians and the public. Below are excerpts from an excellent essay [parentheticals by blogger].

We are a nation deeply divided on how best to address poverty  .On one side are folks, like me [usually liberals], who feel that a civil, caring society has a moral responsibility to fund anti-poverty programs. On the other side [usually hard-core conservatives and pro-business libertarians] are people who argue that it’s unfair that a share of their income — through taxation — subsidizes various federal and state entitlement programs that help people who became poor because they made irresponsible decisions.”  [Taxation is a form of theft].

The author shared some of the negative responses to her position.  Some of these are below [parentheticals by blogger].

●“Life is about choices. One does not ‘fall into poverty.’ One walks into it with open arms.” [People choose to be poor? People who make bad decisions get what they deserve?]

●“It is hard to determine exactly what type of economic obligation you believe people should be subject to with regards to the poor. Do you believe we are obligated to be ‘financial slaves’ of the poor? Success from hard work is the reward God gives us for our hard work and our personal responsibility. It is not a privilege. Poverty caused by irresponsibility is the reward from God for a life foolishly lived. There is nothing wrong with having mercy and being charitable to irresponsible persons. But we have no obligation to reward another person’s negligence by turning our assets over to that person.”  [Paying taxes to support anti-poverty programs is a form of financial slavery? Poverty is God’s punishment, affluence is God’s reward for being responsible? Hard-working, responsible people are God’s favorites, he rewards them?]

●“Unfortunately, what we have today is no longer charity. It is a government that forcefully takes money from one (productive) person and gives it to another (unproductive) person.”

There is just so much to unpack in these comments. But there’s one assumption running through them all that is incorrect: Empathy does not equal endorsement.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/get-there/what-do-we-as-a-society-owe-the-poor/2017/04/04/90556f0e-196d-11e7-9887-1a5314b56a08_story.html?utm_term=.8edb2f6df57b

First, poverty sometimes is the result of bad choices and irresponsibility.  Sometimes it is not.  Poor teens having an illegitimate child at an early age is one of the strongest predictors of poverty for her and her children.  Here’s a hypothetical. A 14-year old girl who has not been taught the facts of life gets pregnant.  She has no support from her family or lover and drops out of school to care for her child.  At 16 she is seduced by an older, handsome man who promises to marry her, and becomes pregnant again.  He abandons her.  She and her children live a life of poverty.  She has religious objections to abortion.  Did God intend to punish her and the children?  The mother cannot afford medical care, and the legislature has cut back on medical assistance.  The children are chronically sick and regularly miss school.  The most successful role models in the neighborhood are drug dealers, pimps, and sharp-dressed, attractive prostitutes.  Her children grow up in a high-crime ghetto and attend abysmal public schools.  Refusal to join a gang will result in serious injury and death  They are psychologically abused by their mother.  Some kids in this situation will make it, most will not.  Did God intent to punish these children?

Although there are many generous private citizens and private foundations, they cannot really make a big dent in the problem of poverty.  Government programs are the only solution, if one has empathy or sympathy for the poor.  However, empathy and sympathy sometimes encourage us to make personal sacrifices for others.  We have many selfish, narcissistic and or racist people who look for excuses not to sacrifice for others less fortunate than they are.  You’ve seen some of these excuses above.  What we are really seeing is a form of ‘class supremacy,’ which is analogous to ‘racial supremacy’.  The poor are inferior, they are being punished by God, etc.  When you add class supremacy to white (Western European origin) supremacy, it is a powerful force.

How many politicians and poverty program opponents send their kids to failing inner-city schools.?  How many politicians and poverty program opponents live in gang-dominated neighborhoods where gun shots are common?  Do you get the picture?  Greed, selfishness, bias and prejudice and worship of Mammon rule too many people’s lives, but the put up smoke screens to hide this.  Supporters of slavery came up with many ‘justifications.’  The dark side to human nature marches on.

 

 

HUXLEY, ORWELL, AND TRUMP

Huxley "began “Brave New World” as a parody of H.G. Wells, whose writing he detested, and it remained a book that means to be as playful as it is prophetic. And yet his novel much more accurately evokes the country we live in now, especially in its depiction of a culture preoccupied with sex and mindless pop entertainment, than does Orwell’s more ominous book, which seems to be imagining someplace like North Korea.                 

Or it did until Donald Trump was inaugurated. All of a sudden, as many commentators have pointed out, there were almost daily echoes of Orwell in the news, and “1984” began shooting up the Amazon best-seller list. The most obvious connection to Orwell was the new president’s repeated insistence that even his most pointless and transparent lies were in fact true, and then his adviser Kellyanne Conway’s explanation that these statements were not really falsehoods but, rather, “alternative facts.” As any reader of “1984” knows, this is exactly Big Brother’s standard of truth: The facts are whatever the leader says they are. If you’re a rereader, thumbing through your old Penguin paperback, those endless wars in “1984,” during which the enemy keeps changing — now Eurasia, now Eastasia — no longer seem as far-fetched as they once did, and neither do the book’s organized hate rallies, in which the citizenry works itself into a frenzy against nameless foreigners. Even President Trump’s weirdly impoverished, 12-year-old’s vocabulary has an analogue in “1984,” in which Newspeak isn’t just the medium of double talk; it’s a language busily trying to shed itself of as many words (and as much complexity) as possible." (emphasis supplied)
 
See both essays at
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/books/review/which-dystopian-novel-got-it-right-orwells-1984-or-huxleys-brave-new-world.html?_r=0

THERE'S A NEW SHERIFF IN PHOENIX

Maricopa County's colorful and controversial Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, lost the last election and has  been replaced.  His 'tent city' for inmates is coming down.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/arizona-tent-city-closing-sheriff-paul-penzone-joe-arpaio/

Friday, March 24, 2017

TRUMP'S TOADY NUNES, PRESIDENTIAL POWERS, SEPARATION OF POWERS.

 http://blogs.findlaw.com/decided/2017/03/supreme-court-limits-presidents-power-to-make-temporary-appointments.html?DCMP=NWL-pro_top

No matter who is in the White House, we need to be vigilant to curb presidential powers and strengthen separation of powers.  Trump's toady Nunes is an example of the weakening of separation of powers.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/24/rep-nunes-had-duty-and-obligation-to-tell-trump-surveillance-intel.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/23/opinion/rep-nunes-is-a-lapdog-in-a-watchdog-role.html?_r=0

Nunes has now changed his tune, and apologize to his committee.
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/nunes-backs-down-assertion-trump-was-monitored-n738151

Will someone please tutor this guy on separation of powers, conflicts of interest, etc.

Nunes is an embarrassment to Congress.  Where do they find these people?

Related item on S.Ct. cutting back on Pres. power re temporary appointments.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/23/opinion/rep-nunes-is-a-lapdog-in-a-watchdog-role.html?_r=0

 Over the last century-and-half we have seen a dangerous strengthening of the President's powers.  It doesn't matter who is in the White House.

Some of the Republicans in Congress need to decide whether their loyalty is to Trump or the Constitution and ethical standards.









Saturday, March 18, 2017

THE NEW JUSTICE DEPT AND A.G. SESSIONS


"If he is confirmed, Mr. Sessions, who is considered one of the most conservative members of the Senate, will most likely push for wholesale changes and hard-line stances on immigration, terrorism, crime, drugs and guns. Democrats fear he could wipe away progress in civil rights, changes in sentencing and police accountability."
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/19/us/politics/jeff-sessions-donald-trump-attorney-general.html

This is the same man who lied to Congress about any meetings with Russians. http://www.factcheck.org/2017/03/did-sessions-lie/

If you are female, black, LGBT, and pro-choice on abortion, watch out.
Reforms that help reduce police use of force, corruption, etc. imposed by federal judges under "Pattern and Practice"  lawsuits may disappear.   The primary beneficiaries of these decrees were  blacks.

Sessions later announced that he would cut back on litigation designed to lessen excessive force and other forms of abuse.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/sessions-doj-pull-back-civil-rights-suits-cops-article-1.2985012
I
t's sad the conservatives would rather defend corruption than endure change, esp. when the beneficiaries of change didn't vote for you. Another example of 'reward your supporters and punish you enemies.

TRUMP'S CLAIMS OF WIRETAPPING, THE BRITISH, ETC.



Here's the first of the tweets that started the current controversy.
‘‘How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”-President Trump, tweet, March 4, 2017

There were later tweets dealing with the same claims.

There are a number of disturbing things about this tweet.
1.  I doubt any prior President has gone public with such a negative message about his predecessor.  He could have made his point without the bad or sick references.  This show a lack of respect and a lack of class and commitment to civil discourse in a democracy.  Trump has refused to apologize.  Does this sound a little paranoid?

2.  The information apparently came from Breitbart news and/or some conservative talk-show.  No one of reasonable caution would rely on those kinds of source to make these accusations.  Trump and his spokespeople have refused to make public the source of their information.  It does not appear to have come from the NSA, CIA or FBI.  This is immature, class and irresponsible.  He easily could have checked with those agencies.
Thus far no source  or confirming evidence have been found by the Senate Judiciary committee. Some Republicans in Congress have been critical of the President.


3.  Now Trump is claiming, without any supporting evidence, that British Intelligence carried out the wiretapping.
"WASHINGTON — President Trump provoked a rare public dispute with America’s closest ally on Friday after his White House aired an explosive and unsubstantiated claim that Britain’s spy agency had secretly eavesdropped on him at the behest of President Barack Obama during last year’s campaign.
Livid British officials adamantly denied the allegation and secured promises from senior White House officials never to repeat it. But a defiant Mr. Trump refused to back down, making clear that the White House had nothing to retract or apologize for because his spokesman had simply repeated an assertion made by a Fox News commentator. Fox itself later disavowed the report."
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/17/world/europe/trump-britain-obama-wiretap-gchq.html?_r=0

4.  The source for the claim against the British came for a Trump supporter at Fox and was later disavowed by Fox
"The saga began on Tuesday on “Fox & Friends,” the chummy morning show, where Mr. Napolitano made a bizarre and unsupported accusation: Citing three unnamed sources, he said that Britain’s top spy agency had wiretapped Mr. Trump on behalf of President Barack Obama during last year’s campaign.
Cable news blather, especially at that hour, usually vanishes at the commercial break. But on Thursday, Mr. Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, repeated the claim from the White House podium, infuriating British officials.
On Friday, Fox News was forced to disavow Mr. Napolitano’s remarks. “Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary,” the anchor Shepard Smith said on-air. “Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way. Full stop.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/17/business/media/fox-andrew-napolitano-trump.html

Friday, March 17, 2017

TRUMP AND THE TWO STATE SOLUTION


THE settlement of Beit El . . . sits on a lonely hilltop deep inside the West Bank, between the river Jordan and the Green Line that divided Israel from its Arab foes after a ceasefire in 1949. Built on private land seized by the Israeli army in the name of security in 1970 but soon made available for settlement by Israeli civilians, it has grown into a community of 6,500 people, including 350 students at its yeshiva (Jewish religious academy). What is left of an old perimeter fence stands rusting; a new one, drawn much wider, surrounds a larger and still growing Beit El. . . .
Donald Trump has called peace between Israel and Palestine the “ultimate deal”. He has asked his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to work on it. But as Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, prepares to fly to Washington to meet the president on February 15th, peace seems farther off than ever. Since Mr Trump’s inauguration, Mr Netanyahu’s government has approved 6,000 new homes in existing settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. On February 6th, the Knesset passed a law legalising in some cases settlers’ homes illegally built on private Palestinian property.  . .
Mr Trump, so the builders reckon, looks unlikely to put much pressure on Israel to hold back. Indeed, he gave $10,000 to Beit El in 2003. His proposed new ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is president of the American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva association. Israel’s settlers could not wish for a more sympathetic envoy, or a more sympathetic president. The occupation of the West Bank is 50 years old in June, and shows no sign of ending.  . .
 
That suits the cautious Mr Netanyahu well. His strategy for the past eight years has been to do nothing: to go on paying a degree of lip-service to the idea of the “two-state solution” agreed in outline by Israelis and Palestinians at Oslo in 1993 (with the difficult details left for later), but not to make any actual progress towards it."

Many are beginning to see the two state solution as a fantasy which ignores Israels grabbing Palestinian land, and the refusal of  Netanyahu to get seious about it.  Israeli settlers/builders will slowly continue to gobble of Palestinian land.  When Israeli's are a majority in the occupied territory they may permit a 2nd state to be created.  However, it will not be a true two state solution.  They may also decide to annex the occupied territory.

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21716650-chances-peace-were-thin-even-donald-trumps-election-they-now-look