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Hermit-The-Prog

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Member since: Fri Jan 26, 2018, 01:50 PM
Number of posts: 745

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How Trump Could End Up Diminishing His Own Power


When Mueller calls, Trump is going to have a choice: Accept the interview or risk curbing his own authority—and that of other presidents in the future.

By ASHA RANGAPPA February 20, 2018

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/20/how-trump-could-end-up-diminishing-his-own-power-217035

In the coming weeks, President Donald Trump is going to find himself making a decision he’s bound to hate: Does he want to comply with Robert Mueller, or risk diminishing his own power?

Here’s why this choice is inevitable. In the wake of his eight-count indictment against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for election interference, special ounsel Robert Mueller’s interest in interviewing Trump will take on a renewed importance. So far, all signs have pointed to Trump’s refusing the interview request, which would almost certainly force Mueller to issue a grand jury subpoena to compel the president to talk. If this comes to pass, and the president refuses to comply with such a subpoena, the country will be in uncharted constitutional territory, and the courts will need to intervene. But history shows that when courts intervene because a president is trying to shield his own conduct, the deck is stacked against him. If Trump isn’t careful, he will end up shrinking his own authority—and diminishing the presidency for years to come.

When it comes to the separation of powers, the Constitution makes it look pretty simple: Congress makes the laws, the president enforces them and the judiciary adjudicates them. In reality, though, the lines between the branches are a little blurrier than they seem on paper. Writing in 1952, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson noted that presidential power sometimes lies in a “zone of twilight,” where the precise boundaries of Article II, which defines the president’s role, are unclear. In general, it’s in the interest of presidents to leave some of their authority in the gray area. This is because having a court decide where presidential power begins and ends leaves it set in stone, and applies to anyone who occupies the office in the future. In practice, presidents have typically tended to think of themselves not just as stewards for their party, but also of the presidency itself—preserving the full scope of its constitutional power for their successors is part of their job.

[...]

Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Thu Feb 22, 2018, 02:14 AM (2 replies)

The 2018 Election Started Tuesday With One Jaw-Dropping Stat

Source: Mother Jones

The 2018 election officially began on Tuesday with the first day of early voting ahead of Texas’ March 6th primaries. Evidently, a lot of people got the message. In Harris County, which includes Houston and is the state’s largest population center, Republican turnout was 25-percent higher than the first day of early-voting in the 2014 primaries. That makes some sense—there’s an expensive state house of representatives race in the county and an open Republican-leaning congressional district. But what’s more surprising is the turnout jump on the Democratic side—a full 300 percent.


Read more: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/02/the-2018-election-started-tuesday-with-one-jaw-dropping-stat/
Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Wed Feb 21, 2018, 11:18 PM (15 replies)

David Brooks needs to shut up

The NY Times columnist believes gun violence will be solved by “respect” for toxic gun culture

https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/02/20/David-Brooks-needs-to-shut-up/219430

David Brooks is back on his bullshit. Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, the New York Times columnist has become an outspoken proponent of ideologically vacant centrism as the one and only solution to toxic partisanship and intractable tribalism. The fact that “the center” of Brooks’ dreams has no political appeal, no coherent philosophy, and no agenda beyond tongue-clucking rebukes of partisanship is of no concern to him; it can and will fix everything simply by scolding everyone in Washington to be polite to one another.

Brooks’ ridiculous faith in this feeble worldview animates his column this morning on gun regulation. Under the impossible-to-parody headline “Respect First, Then Gun Control,” Brooks argues that the way to prevent more gun massacres like the one that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, is for proponents of stricter gun laws to show unlimited deference to gun-rights extremists and cede them control of the legislative agenda:

If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it is that guns have become a cultural flash point in a nation that is unequal and divided. The people who defend gun rights believe that snobbish elites look down on their morals and want to destroy their culture. If we end up telling such people that they and their guns are despicable, they will just despise us back and dig in their heels.

So if you want to stop school shootings it’s not enough just to vent and march. It’s necessary to let people from Red America lead the way, and to show respect to gun owners at all points. There has to be trust and respect first. Then we can strike a compromise on guns as guns, and not some sacred cross in the culture war.

It feels almost gratuitous to critique this passage given how self-evidently devastating it is to Brooks’ ridiculous centrist fetish. Here we see Brooks attempt to confront the gravely serious and deadly problem of gun violence, and his paramount concerns are: 1) the reputations of elites such as himself, 2) the civility of public discourse, and 3) “compromise.” What would that compromise look like? Brooks has no idea and makes no attempt to work it out. That’s because he doesn’t actually care -- compromise for the sake of compromise is the goal, the details don’t matter.


[More lambasting at the link]
Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Tue Feb 20, 2018, 10:08 PM (5 replies)

Pro-Trump media launch attacks on student survivors of Florida school shooting


The attacks, which have received a boost from Donald Trump Jr., are now being condemned by one of the students

[by] Melissa Ryan

https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/02/20/pro-trump-media-launch-attacks-student-survivors-florida-school-shooting/219426


After any mass shooting, disinformation spreads online like wildfire. It happens immediately, created and disseminated on purpose, often in real time as the event is unfolding. This week, even as the Parkland high school shooter was still at large, posters on 4chan and 8chan immediately went to work spreading false information about the shooter being a linked to a white supremacist militia, the most widely reported of the multiple hoaxes about the massacre found online. And in the aftermath of the tragedy, lies and hoaxes about the survivors who have been speaking out against school massacres have gained traction in certain corners.

[...]

And now, Parkland survivors are targets for fake news campaigns, conspiracy theories, harassment and doxxing. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has already suggested that the entire shooting is a false flag, which implies that all of the survivors are actors in an elaborate hoax. As survivors speak up, there are already attempts to attack and discredit them individually.

Survivor David Hogg has been the target of conspiracy theories since he began speaking out. The day after the shooting, one far-right account noted in a since-deleted tweet that Hogg was suspicious for speaking so eloquently.

Both the #Qanon conspiracy theory crowd and Gateway Pundit’s Lucian Wintrich are claiming that Hogg is a plant because he is the child of an FBI agent.

[...]

[Photos and more right-wing insanity revealed in the article.]

Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Tue Feb 20, 2018, 06:17 PM (1 replies)

Fox News's appalling past 72 hours, analyzed


A data analysis shows how Fox News spun the Mueller indictment and Florida shooting into a defense of the president.

By Alvin Chang

https://www.vox.com/2018/2/19/17027456/fox-news-mueller-indictment-trump


[...]

The data paints a clear story of how damaging it is for a media outlet to prioritize its defense of the president. In the past 72 hours, Fox News:

Limited its coverage of what the indictment actually reveals: evidence of foreign organizations trying to undermine American democracy

Drastically reduced coverage of the Florida school shooting to push pundits onto TV to say this story actually vindicates President Trump, even though it does nothing of the sort

Used a detail of the school shooting to push the narrative that the FBI, and by extension the Muller investigation, is flawed — and gave cover to President Trump

It’s easy to just chalk all this up to Fox News being Fox News. But Fox News is the main source of news for 19 percent of 2016 voters, including 40 percent of Trump voters. There’s academic evidence that Fox News is more powerful than we ever imagined. It’s a network that allows conspiracy theorists to make hay out of baseless lies. And to top it all off, there is evidence that the hosts see their jobs as advising Trump — talking directly to him — and that Trump sees them as his main information source.

[...]




Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Tue Feb 20, 2018, 05:23 PM (0 replies)

Do You Believe Her Now?


It’s time to reexamine the evidence that Clarence Thomas lied to get onto the Supreme Court — and to talk seriously about impeachment.

By Jill Abramson

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/02/the-case-for-impeaching-clarence-thomas.html


On the same fall night in 2016 that the infamous Access Hollywood tape featuring Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault was made public by the Washington Post and dominated the news, an Alaska attorney, Moira Smith, wrote on Facebook about her own experiences as a victim of sexual misconduct in 1999.

“At the age of 24, I found out I’d be attending a dinner at my boss’s house with Justice Clarence Thomas,” she began her post, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court justice who was famously accused of sexually harassing Anita Hill, a woman who had worked for him at two federal agencies, including the EEOC, the federal sexual-harassment watchdog.

“I was so incredibly excited to meet him, rough confirmation hearings notwithstanding,” Smith continued. “He was charming in many ways — giant, booming laugh, charismatic, approachable. But to my complete shock, he groped me while I was setting the table, suggesting I should ‘sit right next to him.’ When I feebly explained I’d been assigned to the other table, he groped again … ‘Are you sure?’ I said I was and proceeded to keep my distance.” Smith had been silent for 17 years but, infuriated by the “Grab ’em by the pussy” utterings of a presidential candidate, could keep quiet no more.

Tipped to the post by a Maryland legal source who knew Smith, Marcia Coyle, a highly regarded and scrupulously nonideological Supreme Court reporter for The National Law Journal, wrote a detailed story about Smith’s allegation of butt-squeezing, which included corroboration from Smith’s roommates at the time of the dinner and from her former husband. Coyle’s story, which Thomas denied, was published October 27, 2016. If you missed it, that’s because this news was immediately buried by a much bigger story — the James Comey letter reopening the Hillary Clinton email probe.

Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Mon Feb 19, 2018, 09:43 PM (14 replies)

Trumps Budget Cuts Are Forcing Teachers and Nurses to Work as Federal Prison Guards


“It’s a Molotov cocktail about to explode.”

Samantha Michaels

https://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2018/02/trumps-budget-cuts-are-forcing-teachers-and-nurses-to-work-as-federal-prison-guards/


Twice in one week, Ray Coleman, a teacher at the Tallahassee Federal Correctional Institution, reluctantly had to drop his lesson plans and go to work as a guard. “You show up in the morning and they say, ‘Hey, by the way, here’s your keys and radio—you’re going to work the compound today,” he says.

Because the low-security prison is short on staff, Coleman and his fellow teachers are regularly assigned to work as correctional officers in the units where inmates live. On those days, they either cancel their courses or leave the classroom open for inmates to fill out worksheets, unsupervised. “For the most part they’re just sitting there,” Coleman says.

Teachers aren’t the only ones assigned to guard duty—so are the prison’s nurses, case workers, and even accountants. And it’s not just happening in Florida. Federal prison employees across the country say staffing cuts made by the Trump administration have crippled their ability to provide services to inmates and keep prisons safe. “It’s very dire,” says Valerie Limon, a drug treatment specialist at the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex in California. (Limon and other prison employees spoke to Mother Jones on behalf of their union, the American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Locals.) “Morale at our institution is probably at an all-time low.”



Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Mon Feb 19, 2018, 09:22 PM (2 replies)

NRA appears to be 'dialing down' high-profile appearance at CPAC

Source: The Guardian

The National Rifle Association (NRA) appears to be trying to “dial down” a high-profile appearance by its leader Wayne LaPierre near Washington this week.

LaPierre’s name is nowhere to be found on the official agenda for CPAC, the conservative conference which begins in Maryland on Wednesday. An NRA spokesman said that the firebrand executive vice-president and CEO had not cancelled his speech, but that he did not know when he would be speaking.

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and other key conservative figures are expected to speak at the conference.

For days, grieving high school students from Parkland, Florida, have spoken out publicly following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school on 14 February, accusing politicians for having “blood on their hands” for voting with the NRA and opposing gun control.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/19/nra-appearance-cpac-wayne-lapierre-gun-control-florida
Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Mon Feb 19, 2018, 09:01 PM (14 replies)

It's Even Worse Than You Think

On Friday I received my copy of David Cay Johnston's book, "It's Even Worse Than You Think | What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America". The news and discussion has been so hot on DU that I haven't had time to even open the thing.

Here's a video of Johnston interviewed on DemocracyNow.org (published 2018-01-18, seems like a year instead of a month):


Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Sun Feb 18, 2018, 06:23 PM (2 replies)

Nigerian Women Bobsledders: The 'S***hole' Olympians Warming Hearts in South Korea


Every so often an Olympic team captures the the public imagination not because of their stellar performance, but because of the sheer audacity it takes for them to perform at all.

Barbie Latza Nadeau

https://www.thedailybeast.com/nigerian-women-bobsledders-the-shole-olympians-warming-hearts-in-south-korea?ref=home


At a send-off celebration in Lagos before heading to South Korea, the team had to give a demonstration of just what the sport was about, including a primer on how cold snow really is.

“Just because you don't know what it means to see snow or to understand temperatures that are equivalent to ice, that doesn't mean you have to shy away from it," Adigun said at the celebration, according to press reports. "That's what Africa is representing, that we can take those risks and still be able to compete with the best in the world."

All three bobsled team members grew up in America after their parents emigrated from Nigeria in the 1980s as part of the African diaspora that came over when the United States more readily welcomed people from third-world nations. They joke about being from a “shithole” country, as defined by President Donald Trump, saying they hope they can redefine the view of African immigrants.

Posted by Hermit-The-Prog | Sun Feb 18, 2018, 01:09 PM (1 replies)
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