Friday, March 31, 2017
"Michael T. Flynn, the retired general who served a brief month as President Trump’s national security adviser, wants to make a deal. He is seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying on the Trump campaign’s possible coordination with Russia. Instead of categorically rejecting Mr. Flynn’s offer, as the Senate Intelligence Committee appears to have done today, at least for the moment, both houses of Congress and federal prosecutors should carefully review Flynn’s proffered testimony and the details of the immunity deal and then make a decision.
This is the latest development in a scandal more frightening than Watergate because it involves a foreign adversary attacking the American political system. We need to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. The president tweeted on Friday morning that he supported Mr. Flynn’s request for immunity. Although we do not think it is proper for Mr. Trump to insert himself into the investigation, we agree on that point, at least.
It is standard for potential targets of an investigation to ask for immunity, and it often takes months or even years for prosecutors to decide whether it’s worth granting it. Prosecutors spend a lot of time developing a case before they ask a judge for an order granting immunity. They have to balance their responsibility to deliver justice and punish the guilty against the need to find out the truth so that they can bring charges against other potentially guilty people. Congress can also obtain a court order extending immunity after a majority vote of either house or a two-thirds vote of a relevant committee, but must first give prosecutors notice. Historically, Congress has been very deferential in exercising its immunity powers in order to avoid interfering with criminal investigations.
This time, the stakes are too high to wait. Immunity should be granted as soon as Congress and prosecutors are persuaded that Mr. Flynn has information that will lead to a criminal case against one or more people at least as important to the alleged wrongdoing as Mr. Flynn may be. The overriding objective must be learning who if anyone in the United States collaborated with the Russians as well as who knew about it, what they knew and when they knew it.
This case is different from ordinary criminal investigations. Finding the truth is even more important than punishing the guilty, because it is critical to our national security and the future of our democracy.
It is also vitally important that decisions about whether to grant Mr. Flynn immunity, and all other decisions about the Trump-Russia investigation, be made only by people who are completely independent of anyone who could possibly be a subject or target of that investigation. This includes President Trump, who made Mr. Flynn his top national security adviser and, during the presidential campaign, openly encouraged the Russians to to spy on his opponent and to reveal what they found..."
Trump Is Right: Give Michael Flynn Immunity - The New York Times
"Nunes’s manic flailing left a chain of confused, exhausted reporters trying to parse his daily lies, revisions, walkbacks, and pushbacks. His use of amateur intel slang was as cringeworthy as it was unconvincing. He did everything but show up in a fedora and trenchcoat. As he tried to change the subject from Russia and its influence over President Trump to the evil NSA’s boundless perfidy in “tappping” a poor, innocent, hard-working New York real-estate developer on behalf of that evil Kenyan Muslim Barack Obama, it became increasingly obvious that Nunes didn’t get this information from the intelligence community, but rather from the Trump White House."
Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s Ousted Leader, Is Arrested and Jailed to Await Trial - The New York Times. #ResistanceIsNotFutile. The ROK is showing America the way. #ImpeachTrump
"SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s recently impeached president, Park Geun-hye, was arrested on Friday, becoming the first leader since the nation’s transition to democracy to be sent to jail.
Ms. Park’s dramatic downfall capped months of turmoil and intrigue, as huge crowds took to the streets to protest a sprawling corruption scandal that shook the interlocking worlds of government and business — including the leadership of Samsung, the nation’s largest conglomerate.
A judge at the Seoul Central District Court issued the warrant early Friday morning, warning that if Ms. Park were not taken into custody quickly she might “destroy evidence.” The charges against her include bribery, extortion and abuse of power.
In December, the National Assembly voted overwhelmingly to impeach Ms. Park, and she was formally removed from office on March 10.
Continue reading the main storyRELATED COVERAGE
South Korean Prosecutors Seek to Arrest Park Geun-hye MARCH 26, 2017
Samsung’s Leader Is Indicted on Bribery Charges FEB. 28, 2017
South Korea Removes President Park Geun-hye MARCH 9, 2017Her removal rattled the delicate balance of relationships across Asia at a tense moment. Ms. Park’s conservatives, in power for four years, had joined the United States in pressing for a hard line against North Korea’s nuclear program. She had accepted Washington’s deployment of an advanced missile defense system that has angered China, which is fearful of an arms race in the region.
Moon Jae-in, the liberal opposition leader considered most likely to win the May 9 election to select a new president, has vowed to review that decision, as well as an unpopular deal she struck with Japan over the so-called comfort women, or Korean sex slaves, used by Japan’s army during World War II.
Mr. Moon is also viewed as less confrontational toward North Korea and China, and has advocated dialogue to halt the North’s nuclear and missile threats.
Ms. Park had spent the night in the prosecutor’s office waiting to learn if she would be placed under arrest. Shortly after 3 a.m., Judge Kang Bu-young issued the warrant and Ms. Park was taken to a jail outside Seoul, the South Korean capital.
Prosecutors had already said that they would indict the former president on 13 criminal charges regardless of whether the judge issued an arrest warrant. Once her trial begins in the coming weeks, Ms. Park will commute from her cell to a Seoul courthouse.
Ms. Park was accused of conspiring with a longtime confidante, Choi Soon-sil, to collect tens of millions of dollars from big businesses, including more than $38 million in bribes from Samsung. Both Ms. Choi and Samsung’s top executive, Lee Jae-yong, have previously been arrested and are standing trial on charges including bribery."
"When Donald Trump met Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany earlier this month, he put on one of his most truculent and ignorant performances. He wanted money — piles of it — for Germany’s defense, raged about the financial killing China was making from last year’s Paris climate accord and kept “frequently and brutally changing the subject when not interested, which was the case with the European Union.”
This was the summation provided to me by a senior European diplomat briefed on the meeting. Trump’s preparedness was roughly that of a fourth grader. He began the conversation by telling Merkel that Germany owes the United States hundreds of billions of dollars for defending it through NATO, and concluded by saying, “You are terrific” but still owe all that dough. Little else concerned him.
Trump knew nothing of the proposed European-American deal known as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, little about Russian aggression in Ukraine or the Minsk agreements, and was so scatterbrained that German officials concluded that the president’s daughter Ivanka, who had no formal reason to be there, was the more prepared and helpful. (Invited by Merkel, Ivanka will attend a summit on women’s empowerment in Berlin next month.)"
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Swalwell: Innocent people don't ask for immunity | MSNBC. Rep. Eric Swalwell, Democratic congressman from California, comments on the news that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn will testify in front of Congress in exchange for immunity.
"Former national security adviser tells FBI, the House and Senate intelligence committees he’s willing to be interviewed in exchange for deal, officials say.
By SHANE HARRIS, CAROL E. LEE and JULIAN E. BARNES
WASHINGTON—Mike Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, has told the Federal Bureau of Investigation and congressional officials investigating the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia that he is willing to be interviewed in exchange for a grant of immunity from prosecution, according to officials with knowledge of the matter.
As an adviser to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, and later one of Mr. Trump’s top aides in the White House, Mr. Flynn was privy to some of the most sensitive..."
"WASHINGTON — Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, has offered to be interviewed by House and investigators who are examining the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in exchange for immunity from prosecution, according to his lawyer and a congressional official.
But the congressional official said investigators were unwilling to broker a deal with Mr. Flynn — who resigned last month for misleading White House officials about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States — until they are further along in their inquiries and they better understand what information Mr. Flynn might offer as part of a deal.
In a statement on Thursday evening, Mr. Flynn’s lawyer confirmed discussions with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees about possible testimony by his client. The lawyer, Robert Kelner, did not provide specifics about the terms under which Mr. Flynn would testify, but said that ‘no reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution.’
‘General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should circumstances permit,’ the statement said."
Russian deception influenced election due to Trump's support, senators hear | US news | The Guardian
"Donald Trump’s willingness to embrace Russian disinformation was one of the reasons Russia’s interference in the 2016 election worked, the Senate panel investigating the president’s alleged ties to the country heard on Thursday.
Decades of Russian covert attempts to undermine confidence in western institutions, including planting or promoting false news stories or spreading doubt about the integrity of elections, will accelerate in the future unless the US confronts so-called “active measures”, several experts testified to the Senate intelligence committee."
Russian deception influenced election due to Trump's support, senators hear | US news | The Guardian
"The revelation that White House officials assisted in the disclosure of the intelligence reports — which Mr. Nunes then discussed with President Trump — is likely to fuel criticism that the intelligence chairman has been too eager to do the bidding of the Trump administration while his committee is supposed to be conducting an independent investigation of Russia’s meddling in the last presidential election.
Mr. Nunes has also been faulted by his congressional colleagues for sharing the information with President Trump before consulting with other members of the intelligence committee."
2 White House Officials Helped Give Nunes Intelligence Reports - The New York Times
Donald Trump Revives Call To 'Change Libel Laws' #ManchurianPresident is dumb,,dumber and just plain stupid. Trump has lawyers. There is no doubt about First Amendment protection of opinions and mistakes of fact. Trump is a public figure.
..."We hold today that the Constitution delimits a State's power to award damages for libel in actions brought by public officials against critics of their official conduct. Since this is such an action, [n23] the rule requiring proof of actual malice is applicable. While Alabama law apparently requires proof of actual malice for an award of punitive damages, [n24] where general damages are concerned malice is "presumed." Such a presumption is inconsistent [p284] with the federal rule. "The power to create presumptions is not a means of escape from constitutional restrictions," Bailey v. Alabama, 219 U.S. 219, 239, "the showing of malice required for the forfeiture of the privilege is not presumed but is a matter for proof by the plaintiff. . . ." Lawrence v. Fox, 357 Mich. 134, 146, 97 N.W.2d 719, 725 (1959). [n25] Since the trial judge did not instruct the jury to differentiate between general and punitive damages, it may be that the verdict was wholly an award of one or the other. But it is impossible to know, in view of the general verdict returned. Because of this uncertainty, the judgment must be reversed and the case remanded. Stromberg v. California, 283 U.S. 359, 367-368; Williams v. North Carolina, 317 U.S. 287, 291-292; see Yates v. United States, 354 U.S. 298, 311-312; Cramer v. United States, 325 U.S. 1, 36, n. 45.
Since respondent may seek a new trial, we deem that considerations of effective judicial administration require us to review the evidence in the present record to determine [p285] whether it could constitutionally support a judgment for respondent. This Court's duty is not limited to the elaboration of constitutional principles; we must also in proper cases review the evidence to make certain that those principles have been constitutionally applied. This is such a case, particularly since the question is one of alleged trespass across "the line between speech unconditionally guaranteed and speech which may legitimately be regulated." Speiser v. Randall, 357 U.S. 513, 525. In cases where that line must be drawn, the rule is that we
examine for ourselves the statements in issue and the circumstances under which they were made to see . . . whether they are of a character which the principles of the First Amendment, as adopted by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, protect.
Pennekamp v. Florida, 328 U.S. 331, 335; see also One, Inc., v. Olesen, 355 U.S. 371; Sunshine Book Co. v. Summerfield, 355 U.S. 372. We must "make an independent examination of the whole record," Edwards v. South Carolina, 372 U.S. 229, 235, so as to assure ourselves that the judgment does not constitute a forbidden intrusion on the field of free expression. [n26]
Applying these standards, we consider that the proof presented to show actual malice lacks the convincing [p286] clarity which the constitutional standard demands, and hence that it would not constitutionally sustain the judgment for respondent under the proper rule of law. The case of the individual petitioners requires little discussion. Even assuming that they could constitutionally be found to have authorized the use of their names on the advertisement, there was no evidence whatever that they were aware of any erroneous statements or were in any way reckless in that regard. The judgment against them is thus without constitutional support.
As to the Times, we similarly conclude that the facts do not support a finding of actual malice. The statement by the Times' Secretary that, apart from the padlocking allegation, he thought the advertisement was "substantially correct," affords no constitutional warrant for the Alabama Supreme Court's conclusion that it was a
cavalier ignoring of the falsity of the advertisement [from which] the jury could not have but been impressed with the bad faith of The Times, and its maliciousness inferable therefrom.
The statement does not indicate malice at the time of the publication; even if the advertisement was not "substantially correct" -- although respondent's own proofs tend to show that it was -- that opinion was at least a reasonable one, and there was no evidence to impeach the witness' good faith in holding it. The Times' failure to retract upon respondent's demand, although it later retracted upon the demand of Governor Patterson, is likewise not adequate evidence of malice for constitutional purposes. Whether or not a failure to retract may ever constitute such evidence, there are two reasons why it does not here. First, the letter written by the Times reflected a reasonable doubt on its part as to whether the advertisement could reasonably be taken to refer to respondent at all. Second, it was not a final refusal, since it asked for an explanation on this point -- a request that respondent chose to ignore. Nor does the retraction upon the demand of the Governor supply the [p287] necessary proof. It may be doubted that a failure to retract, which is not itself evidence of malice, can retroactively become such by virtue of a retraction subsequently made to another party. But, in any event, that did not happen here, since the explanation given by the Times' Secretary for the distinction drawn between respondent and the Governor was a reasonable one, the good faith of which was not impeached...."
Donald Trump Revives Call To 'Change Libel Laws'
America's deportation squads want to expel our neighbours. We are saying no | Bill McKibben | Opinion | The Guardian
"Vermont, where I live, has the second-smallest population of any state. It’s also among the most rural parts of America, and taken together those two facts produce an iron law: if you see someone with their car stuck in a snowbank, you don’t drive by. You stop and help push. Because if you don’t, nobody else may come by for an hour.
Which is why, I think, many of us have spent part of the past couple weeks trying to win the freedom of three of our neighbors – Kike Balcazar, Zully Palacios and Alex Carrillo. They are undocumented immigrants, who came here to work on our farms, and were detained by the (aptly named) Ice, or Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, in New Hampshire, awaiting deportation.
Even as the great healthcare debate came and went, even as the Keystone pipeline won approval – even as enormous affairs of great and lasting import captivated the nation – this particular small-town tragedy united a great many Vermonters.
My undocumented friend: Carlos does the work few in Vermont want to do Read more "
Immigration crackdown enables worker exploitation, labor department staff say | US news | The Guardian Dumb, dumber and just plain stupid.
"Undocumented workers are refusing to cooperate with US Department of Labor (DoL) investigations due to deportation fears, in some cases even declining to accept back wages owed to them and running away from staff who show up at their workplace, according to agency employees and internal emails.
Multiple current and former DoL employees told the Guardian that Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric have caused panic among exploited undocumented workers across industries, preventing labor officials from conducting investigations and enforcing employment laws.
The lack of cooperation by immigrant workers threatens to disrupt a key function of the labor department, which is supposed to operate independently from immigration authorities. The federal government has long claimed that undocumented workers will not risk deportation if they speak up about violations or give the DoL personal information so they can collect stolen wages."
Fearing deportation, undocumented immigrants wary of reporting crimes Read moreImmigration crackdown enables worker exploitation, labor department staff say | US news | The Guardian: ""
"How prepared is our president for the next great foreign, economic or terrorist crisis?
After a little more than two months in office, President Trump has raised doubts about his ability to deal with what the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously described as the ‘known unknowns’ and the ‘unknown unknowns.’
‘President Trump seems to have no awareness whatsoever of what he does and does not know,’ Steven Nadler, a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote me. ‘He is ignorant of his own ignorance.’
During his first 63 days in office, Trump made 317 ‘false or misleading claims,’ according to The Washington Post."
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
"The BBC has learned that US officials 'verified' a key claim in a report about Kremlin involvement in Donald Trump's election - that a Russian diplomat in Washington was in fact a spy. "
"One of Tom Price’s go-to criticisms of the Affordable Care Act is that it does not, in fact, provide people much in the way of care. The law has helped many Americans obtain insurance, sure. But because the policies have such high deductibles, he argues, patients still can’t afford medical help. "People have coverage, but they don’t have care," the Health and Human Services secretary likes to say."
A new study just debunked one of Tom Price’s favorite Obamacare talking points.
"Fox News, whose chairman, Roger Ailes, was ousted last year after a string of sexual harassment claims, is facing new allegations of discrimination.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday night in State Supreme Court in the Bronx, two black women said they were subjected to ‘top-down racial harassment’ in the Fox News payroll department by Judith Slater, the company’s longtime comptroller.
The women — Tichaona Brown, a payroll manager, and Tabrese Wright, a payroll coordinator — accused Ms. Slater of making numerous racially charged comments, including suggestions that black men were ‘women beaters’ and that black people wanted to physically harm white people.
They also said that Ms. Slater claimed that black employees mispronounced words, such as ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘month’ and ‘ask,’ and that she urged Ms. Brown to say those words aloud in a meeting. Ms. Wright said Ms. Slater once asked if her three children were all ‘fathered by the same man.’
‘We are confident that the good men and women of the Bronx will hold Fox accountable for what we believe to be its abhorrent racist conduct, reminiscent of the Jim Crow era,’ the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Douglas H. Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen of the Wigdor law firm, said in a statement. The firm also represents two employees of The New York Times in a pending federal lawsuit against The Times, alleging age, race and gender discrimination."
Boycott Fox News! After Apology, Bill O’Reilly Continues Attacks on Maxine Waters - The New York Times
Bill O'Reilly has always been a stone cold racists only watched by bigoted fools. He should be fired after his blatantly racists comments. Boycott 'Fox News and most importantly the companies that advertise in his show."The Fox News host Bill O’Reilly issued an apology on Tuesday to Maxine Waters, the California congresswoman, after an avalanche of criticism about comments he had made that morning about her hair on ‘Fox and Friends.’
But his expression of regret on his own program, ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ was immediately followed by a lengthy broadside against Ms. Waters, during which he said that she would not come on his show because ‘she does not want to be challenged.’
‘Although many Americans disagree with her extremism at times, she deserves a hearing and she should not be marginalized by political opponents,’ Mr. O’Reilly said. ‘In fact, I made that mistake this morning on ‘Fox and Friends.’ I said in a simple jest that the congressman’s hair distracted me. Well, that was stupid. I apologize.’
The original comment came during a segment on the network’s morning show, in which Mr. O’Reilly was shown observing a speech by Ms. Waters, a frequent critic of President Trump.
When asked for his thoughts, Mr. O’Reilly said, ‘I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig.’
The comment was met with laughter off camera. Ainsley Earhardt, one of the hosts of ‘Fox and Friends,’ jumped in to back Ms. Waters, saying ‘I have to defend her on that. You can’t go after a woman’s looks. I think she’s very attractive.’
Mr. O’Reilly responded, ‘I didn’t say she wasn’t attractive. I love James Brown. But it’s the same hair James Brown, the ‘Godfather of Soul’ had.’
Mr. O’Reilly’s quips received widespread denunciations as the segment spread on social media, with some attacking them as racially charged. Calls for Mr. O’Reilly to be fired intensified as the day continued.
At first, Mr. O’Reilly issued a written statement: ‘As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs. I said that again today on ‘Fox and Friends’ calling her ‘old school.’ Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair which was dumb. I apologize.’ He repeated the apology on his show, though inadvertently calling her a ‘congressman.’
On his show, he used the apology to springboard into a scathing monologue, going after Ms. Waters during his ‘Talking Points Memo’ segment that often leads his show. Ms. Waters referred to Mr. Trump as ‘dangerous’ in the speech that Mr. O’Reilly mocked that morning on ‘Fox and Friends,’ a claim Mr. O’Reilly found objectionable."
“Before my injury, I had felt that dealing with grittiness and unreliability were the price of entry for living in New York, and even took a smug pride in dealing with obstacles. Since my accident, I have been humbled to realize the often dire effect of civic dysfunction on the vulnerable, and have had to recognize that some of what I once took for resourcefulness was in truth enabled by privilege.
I was once like many other able-bodied New Yorkers, only vaguely aware of subway elevators, merely noting that they seemed dingy and often out of service. But now that I needed them, the reality was more stark. New York’s subway is by far the least wheelchair-friendly public transit system of any major American city, with only 92 of the system’s 425 stations accessible. That means fewer than one in four stations can be used by people in wheelchairs when elevators are working — and they frequently are not.
On average, 25 elevators a day stop working, and these breakdowns are not quickly resolved; their median duration is nearly four hours. Moreover, with a single elevator serving both directions at most stops, a breakdown means that a disabled rider exiting the train will be trapped on the platform, and one hoping to board will have to find some other way to travel to where they need to go."
have been saying this since the campaign. Opposing the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement his handing East Asia to Chinese economic dominance. Opposing climate change treaties cedes leadership in this area to China the only country that releases more greenhouse gasses then the USA. This is dumb, dumber and just plain stupid.
“The big story everyone is chasing is whether President Trump is a Russian stooge. Wrong. That’s all a smoke screen. Trump is actually a Chinese agent. He is clearly out to make China great again. Just look at the facts.
Trump took office promising to fix our trade imbalance with China, and what’s the first thing he did? He threw away a U.S.-designed free-trade deal with 11 other Pacific nations — a pact whose members make up 40 percent of global G.D.P.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership was based largely on U.S. economic interests, benefiting our fastest-growing technologies and agribusinesses, and had more labor, environmental and human rights standards than any trade agreement ever. And it excluded China. It was our baby, shaping the future of trade in Asia.
Imagine if Trump were negotiating with China now as not only the U.S. president but also as head of a 12-nation trading bloc based on our values and interests. That’s called l-e-v-e-r-a-g-e, and Trump just threw it away … because he promised to in the campaign — without, I’d bet, ever reading TPP. What a chump! I can still hear the clinking of champagne glasses in Beijing."
"Only 10 weeks into his presidency, and at great risk to future generations, Donald Trump has ordered the demolition of most of President Barack Obama’s policies to combat climate change by reducing emissions from fossil fuels.
The assault began with Mr. Trump’s pledge in Detroit to roll back fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, continued with a stingy budget plan that would end funding for climate-related scientific programs and reached an unhappy apex Tuesday with an executive order that, among things, would rescind the centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s clean power strategy, a rule that would shut down hundreds of old coal-fired power plants and freeze the construction of new ones.
None of this was unexpected from a man who has described climate change as a hoax invented by the Chinese to destroy American industry and who has surrounded himself with cabinet officers and assistants who know or care little about the issue of global warming and its consequences — and who, in many cases, owe their political success to the largess of the oil, gas and coal companies.
Still, the gathering at the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday was deeply dismaying — and not only because of Mr. Trump’s tired complaints about job-killing regulations. Or his false promises of more jobs for coal workers whose industry is in irreversible decline because of cheaper natural gas and the tripling in capacity since 2008 of cleaner energy sources like wind and solar."
"On Tuesday, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives finally managed to pass a piece of legislation. No, it had nothing to do with core pieces of the party’s platform such as healthcare or immigration. Instead, it went for something much simpler; destroying our online privacy. In doing so, the GOP and our president have not only betrayed the values of their own Republican Party, but of all Americans.
The new law, passed by the US Senate last week, enables internet providers to sell your online history and data without your consent. That privacy and consumer advocates should balk at rolling back protective measures should come as no surprise. No, the real shock comes from the idea that anyone could oppose online privacy in the first place. What were GOP leaders, the original originalists, the ones who hold true to strict interpretation of the Constitution, thinking? This legislation contradicts the Fourth Amendment and even worse, redefines “We the People” as commodities of information for sale.
When your health information and browsing history become cash transactions, you have to wonder what’s really going on here. Is it about money? Big business? Lobbyists? GOP leaders have framed broadband regulations as restrictive to business as opposed to protective of individuals. In doing so, they throw a nation of states to the wind, leaving the onus of privacy to individual legislation within each state."
Republicans Just Passed a Resolution That Will Destroy Your Online Privacy | The Nation
This is the most interesting book on policing I have encountered since Michelle Alexander's groundbreaking "The New Jim Crow". This article gives you a taste. Chris Hayes puts policing history in America into a historical context. My former Criminal Justice students will find the historical analysis very familiar.
" EDITOR’S NOTE: This essay is adapted from A Colony in a Nation (W.W. Norton & Company, 2017).
When a cop tells you to do something, do it. You hear this folk wisdom a lot, and it basically comes in two varieties. The first version is the central lesson of “the Talk” that so many African-American parents give their children about how to survive a police encounter: Keep your hands on the wheel. Don’t make sudden movements. Say “Yes, officer. No, officer.”
The other version isn’t merely practical advice but reflects a deeper belief about the sanctity of police authority. It’s what lies behind the question you so often hear: Why didn’t she just do what the cop said? That inquiry comes unbidden every time an incident of police violence is captured on video. Even when the citizen in question is, say, a 16-year-old foster child sitting at her desk in her classroom in Columbia, South Carolina, refusing to leave, only to be body-slammed and dragged across the room. Why didn’t she just comply? None of this would have happened if she’d just listened..."
Policing the Colony: From the American Revolution to Ferguson | The Nation
"The House of Representatives has gone along with the Senate and voted 215-205 to overturn a yet-to-take-effect regulation that would have required Internet service providers — like Comcast, Verizon and Charter — to get consumers' permission before selling their data.
President Trump is expected to sign the rollback, according to a White House statement.
The measure is a victory for the ISPs, which have argued that the regulation would put them at a disadvantage compared with so-called edge providers, like Google and Facebook. Those companies are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and face less stringent requirements. Congress' approval is a loss for privacy advocates, who fought for the regulation, passed in October of last year by the then-Democratic majority on the Federal Communications Commission."
Congress Overturns Internet Privacy Regulation : NPR
"Donald Trump launched an all-out assault on Barack Obama’s climate change legacy on Tuesday with a sweeping executive order that undermines America’s commitment to the Paris agreement.
Watched by coalminers at a ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, the president signed an order to trigger a review of the clean power plan, Obama’s flagship policy to curb carbon emissions, and rescind a moratorium on the sale of coalmining leases on federal lands."
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Trump administration sought to block Sally Yates from testifying to Congress on Russia - The Washington Post
"The Trump administration sought to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying in the House investigation of possible links between Russian officials and Donald Trump’s campaign, according to letters provided to The Washington Post. The effort to keep Yates from testifying has further angered Democrats, who have accused Republicans of trying to damage the inquiry.
According to the letters, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers her possible testimony — including on the ouster of former national security adviser Michael Flynn for his contacts with the Russian ambassador — to be off-limits in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by attorney-client privilege or the presidential communication privilege."
Donald Trump Claims U.S. Constitution Bars 'Apprentice' Star's Defamation Suit While in Office | Hollywood Reporter
"In 1997, the high court came back with its answer that a president can't escape private litigation.
'Indeed, if the Framers of the Constitution had thought it necessary to protect the President from the burdens of private litigation, we think it far more likely that they would have adopted a categorical rule than a rule that required the President to litigate the question whether a specific case belonged in the 'exceptional case' subcategory,' wrote Justice John Paul Stevens at the time. 'In all events, the question whether a specific case should receive exceptional treatment is more appropriately the subject of the exercise of judicial discretion than an interpretation of the Constitution.'"
“Trump’s son-in-law and top aide didn’t just meet with the head of a sanctioned Russian bank. He was meeting with a former spy and Putin crony.
03.28.17 2:51 PM ET Not every bank lists a convicted spy serving 30 months in an Ohio prison as its active deputy representative in New York. But then, not every bank is headed by a former spy, much less one found to have spent time with Jared Kushner during a ‘roadshow’ last year, when Donald Trump’s son-in-law was then just a top campaign advisor and not a likely witness about to testify before a Senate committee on Russia’s meddling in U.S. democracy. In those charmed days before the director of the FBI raised in an open session of Congress the very real possibility that some of the president’s men might be working on behalf of a hostile foreign power, there was the curious case of a Wall Street analyst who was handcuffed in his Bronx neighborhood in late Jan. 2015 after going out for groceries. His crime wasn’t peddling junk sub-primes to trusting pensioners but working for Moscow Center. Evgeny Buryakov, a former tax inspector turned officer of the Sluzhba vneshney razvedki, or SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service, had arrived in the U.S. just weeks after the feds executed Operation Ghost Stories and brought down ten out of an 11-person spy ring of Russian ‘illegals,’ without whom Anna Chapman’s clothing line and The Americans would now be impossible. A member of the SVR’s Directorate ER, the division tasked with gathering economic intelligence, Buryakov was paid $200,000 to pump his fellow Wall Streeters on information ultimately beneficial to Russia’s GDP, or at least harmful to the nation’s marketplace competitors. His biggest coup, evidently, was helping Rostek, the state-owned defense manufacturer, nearly come away with a handsome contract with Bombardier, the Canadian aerospace firm. Buryakov’s day job was as the second most senior executive in New York for Vnesheconobank, or VEB, the Russian state-owned development bank, and therefore a convenient cover for calling in sick to cultivate agents in Manhattan. Not that the bank was terribly concerned about its quarterly P&L. VEB has was sanctioned by both the U.S. Treasury Department and the European Union in 2014 for its role in underwriting the ongoing war in Ukraine, a penalty the bank has said would have ‘no effect’ on its operations. This was months after the debut of its biggest ‘investment,’ lending the majority of the $50 billion that went into hosting the Sochi Olympics, an event described by Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov as a winter sporting event in the sub-tropics..."
Immigrant protected under 'Dreamer' program to remain detained - CNNPolitics.com
“Look, I’m a policy guy.”
That was Paul Ryan’s line before last Friday, when the health care bill he designed in secret went down without a vote, his own party showing what they thought of his policy.
Time and again when he was asked about President Trump’s attacks on immigrants or the courts, his ties to Russia or his claims of massive election fraud, the speaker of the House would say he was too busy working on his agenda, “A Better Way,” to think about all that nasty stuff.
That Mr. Ryan failed on the policy promise that Republicans have been running on for eight years makes it clear that if he is the policy wonk of the Republican Party, then the Republican Party has no policy. And with a health care plan that would have stripped 24 million Americans of basic care and drastically hiked premiums for people over 60, it seems that they don’t much care what Americans need or want.
The discrepancy between promise and reality should be no surprise to anyone who has looked at Mr. Ryan’s proposals over the years. Mr. Ryan has been rolling out grand pronouncements in bound volumes with fancy covers and snappy names, but the main message never changed: America‘s “path to prosperity” (remember that one? 2011) lies in tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and slashing social programs and regulations.
Three years ago, a House Republican leader said his report on antipoverty programs showed that “Paul Ryan remains our big-ideas guy.” We called it “a high-minded excuse” to “eviscerate programs like Medicaid, Head Start and food stamps.”
After Mitt Romney, with Mr. Ryan as his running mate, lost the presidential election in 2012, Republicans commissioned an “autopsy” that called for a realignment of the party.
“We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people,” the report’s authors warned.
Mr. Ryan responded by repackaging the same agenda for the 2016 election, even though working-class Americans were demonstrating fury at his establishment orthodoxy. They didn’t want Social Security cut and they wanted the “health care for everybody” that Mr. Trump promised.
Mr. Ryan swallowed Mr. Trump’s insults and offenses, in the name of passing his agenda. After seven years and 60 failed Republican efforts to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, Mr. Ryan finally got his moment, and blew it."
Paul Ryan, Brought Down to Size - The New York Times
"After Republicans pulled their legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last Friday, President Trump told The Washington Post, “The best thing politically is to let Obamacare explode.”
Or he could light a match. Republicans may have conceded defeat in their legislative effort to get rid of Obamacare, but their guerrilla war to achieve its demise remains underway.
The stealth battle began on Inauguration Day, when Mr. Trump signed an executive order giving his agencies wide latitude to weaken the law.
Almost immediately, the Department of Health and Human Services scaled back advertising aimed at encouraging people to enroll in a health insurance plan by the Jan. 31 deadline for 2017.
No surprise, then, that sign-ups for this year came in a bit short of expectations.
Next, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it would continue to allow taxpayers to file their returns without indicating whether they had complied with the mandate to have insurance. Assertions to the contrary notwithstanding, this was quickly interpreted to mean that those failing to comply with the health care act’s insurance requirement would not be assessed penalties.
President Trump with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, arriving on Capitol Hill last week for a meeting on healthcare with Republicans. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
Photo by: Doug Mills/The New York Times
These may sound like small potatoes, but the requirement that all Americans have insurance is at the heart of Obamacare. Without maximum participation of healthy, young Americans in the insurance exchanges, insurers cannot afford the cost of covering older, less healthy individuals.
That’s the essence of why companies have been dropping out of the marketplace, creating the risk that counties in states like Tennessee and Arizona may have no insurers participating.
Much more seems on the horizon. This month, Tom Price, the secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, tweeted: “There are 1,442 citations in the #ACA where it says. ‘The secretary shall …’ or ‘The secretary may …’ @HHSGov, we’ll look at every single one.”
Through that pathway, the Trump administration can chip away at other parts of Obamacare, notably the expansion of Medicaid.
While Medicaid expansion can’t collapse the way that the exchanges could, Mr. Price could diminish it by taking steps like allowing states to impose a work requirement on enrollees or to limit lifetime benefits. He could also water down the 10 essential benefits required for all policies by the law, like maternity care and mental health coverage.
Even if my worries are misplaced, remember that Obamacare worked, in part, because it had the active support of the entire executive branch.
It’s no surprise that, like every huge new social program, the A.C.A. needs some tuneups.
For example, the well-intentioned decision to limit the size of the premiums that can be charged to older people to three times what can be charged to younger people has resulted in higher premiums for younger Americans, which has in turn discouraged sign-ups.
Raising that limit (as Republicans have proposed) would be a plus if coupled with higher subsidies for deserving older people, as would be increasing the penalties on those who opt out. At present, those fees are far less than the cost of insurance..."
Pushing Obamacare Over the Cliff - The New York Times
"In the movie ‘Iron Man 2’ (yes, superhero films are my guilty pleasure, so just bear with me) the villain, a rogue Russian scientist, informs the hero, Iron Man, of his theory on how easily he could be brought down:
‘If you could make God bleed, people will cease to believe in Him. There will be blood in the water, and the sharks will come. All I have to do is sit here and watch, as the world will consume you.’
The point is clear: Invincibility is an illusion constructed by false assurances. Puncture the fantasy, expose the mortal, and the dispirited faithful will destroy the false deity.
Last week, the House Freedom Caucus made the fabricated God of Chaos bleed.
Trump was a weak president further weakened. He was already unpopular on a historic scale. He was already being proven to be a complete liar and hypocrite. He was already being exposed as a blustery failure.
But the one thing that he could hold on to was the long-maintained mirage of personal success and deal-making. He was the master of tough with the Midas touch.
Trump, as is his wont, did what Trump does: Let someone else do the work — in this case Paul Ryan — and then swoop in at the end to endorse, brand and promote the project, and of course claim it as another of his own successes.
But legislation isn’t the same as luxury rental. Legislators are not the same as an obedient board.
You don’t simply have to sell yourself to brand-thirsty aspirants; you must also sell a plan to everyday people for whom the belt you notch could become their noose. For these people, the choices aren’t about a life of luxury, but about life and death.
You have to sell the plan to the members of Congress who represent these people, members whose inclination toward philosophical dogma and impulse for self-preservation sours them to sweet talk.
The loss is likely also the downside of Republican gerrymandering.
In the redrawing of districts following the 2010 census, Republicans created incredibly safe, ideologically pure districts with fewer dissenters. This protected more seats, but it also meant that the people who hold those seats have little to no incentive to ever compromise.
Republicans created hard-line districts that produced hard-line congressmen: obstructionist absolutists are gerrymandering’s political offspring.
These people weren’t elected to govern, but to impede governance. Their mandate isn’t to generate ideas and solve problems by the effective exercise of government. Their singular crusade is that government is ineffective and the solution is to forever see government itself as the problem. Ideas for them are anathema.
"For years they railed against the A.C.A. and the president who pushed it through, promising America that they would repeal and replace it with something better. Trump jumped on that train during his run for the White House, promising even more than anyone could ever deliver.
But when you are the controlling party, single-minded obstruction is insufficient. You move from the hissing audience to the withering, sweltering spotlight. You have to create and perform.
When the Republicans actually had their opening to present and pass their own idea, America found it severely deficient, because it was severely deficient. Not only that, but they tried to ram it through without doing the work to promote it. It was all a comedy of errors.
The Republicans were not ready for prime time. They are not cohesive and coherent.
Trump’s incompetence ran headlong into this impossibility.
He couldn’t dictate or strong-arm. He couldn’t charm or cajole. He was embarrassingly rebuffed. The self-proclaimed winner took a monumental loss.
It was the latest loss in a string of losses. Indeed, this president in his first two months in office is proving to be the king of crash and burn.
Now, the finger-pointing has commenced. People in the White House are trying desperately to hang this loss on Ryan (and the Democrats) and keep it away from Trump.
Trump even took the oddly-timed step of using his Twitter account to direct Americans to tune in to Jeanine Pirro’s show on Fox News, his administration’s propaganda arm, where Pirro pilloried Ryan, scolding that he ‘needs to step down as speaker of the House. The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill.’
Maybe it was mere coincidence — yet another one — or maybe it was maleficent stratagem. If the bill had passed, he would have basked in the glory. But when it failed, he wanted to deflect the damage.
However, in the end, this may well be a disastrous move. You don’t throw under the bus one of the only people who would stand between you and members of your own party who may one day be asked to impeach you.
A wounded Ryan might well sit back and watch, as the world consumes Trump."
Rep. Ted Lieu explains why he called Trump an 'evil man'. #ResistanceIsNotFutile. #LiarInChief #ManchurianPresident California Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu tells Lawrence O'Donnell that President Trump is violating his oath of office when he says he will let Obamacare "explode." Rep. Lieu also shares what he thinks about White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon. The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC
Trump scandals are 'soul-sucking, attention-eating black hole' The editor of 'Foreign Policy' argues that constant chaos and scandal inside the Trump White House are diverting attention from some of the administration's new policies on war and peace. Foreign Policy Magazine editor David Rothkopf joins Lawrence O'Donnell.
"The Trump administration is planning to radically expand the program and facilities for the detention of immigrant families seeking asylum in the United States, according to documents obtained exclusively by All In.
In a town hall with Department of Homeland Security staffers last month, Asylum Division Chief John Lafferty said DHS had already located 20,000 beds for the indefinite detention of those seeking asylum, according to notes from the meeting obtained by All In. This would represent a nearly 500% increase from current capacity.
The plan is part of a new set of policies for those apprehended at the border that would make good on President Trump’s campaign promise to end the practice critics call ‘catch and release.’
‘If implemented, this expansion in immigration detention would be the fastest and largest in our country’s history,’ says Andrew Free, an immigration lawyer in Nashville who represents clients applying for asylum. ‘And my worry is it’ll be permanent. Once those beds are in place they’ll never go away.’
Reached by phone, Lafferty said he was not authorized to speak on the matter. The Department of Homeland Security has not responded to a request for comment. "
Monday, March 27, 2017
Sunday, March 26, 2017
"To the extent that Gorsuch said anything of substance at his hearing, he put himself across as a mainstream figure. He said that he had participated in some twenty-seven hundred cases on the appeals court, and had voted with the majority in ninety-nine per cent of them. This proves only that most cases are routine. (Even the Supreme Court issues unanimous rulings more than half the time.) The hard cases are the ones that matter, and it’s reasonable to project how Gorsuch would vote in them. He would oppose abortion rights. (Trump promised to appoint a ‘pro-life’ Justice.) His predilection for employers over employees is such that it yielded a circuit-court opinion of almost Gothic cruelty. When subzero temperatures caused a truck driver’s trailer brakes to freeze, he pulled over to the side of the road. After waiting three hours for help to arrive, he began to lose feeling in his extremities, so he unhitched the cab from the trailer and drove to safety. His employer fired him for abandoning company property. The majority in the case called the dismissal unjustified, but Gorsuch said that the driver was in the wrong.
As a Justice, Gorsuch would embrace the deregulation of campaign finance symbolized by the Citizens United decision. (He argued in an opinion that judges should evaluate limits on political contributions using the same tough standards that they apply to racial discrimination.) His most famous Tenth Circuit decision had him taking a side in the culture wars. In Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius, he ruled that a multibillion-dollar corporation could withhold federally guaranteed rights to birth control from thousands of female employees because of the religious beliefs of the corporation’s owners. (His position was upheld, 5–4, by the Supreme Court.) In an embarrassing coincidence, on the second day of Gorsuch’s testimony, the Court unanimously rejected one of his holdings in the Tenth Circuit, ruling that it denied adequate educational opportunities to students with disabilities. Every sign suggests that Gorsuch would be at least as conservative a judicial activist as Samuel Alito."
"Such behaviour reportedly includes an unexplained disappearance from an Uber ride with a staffer on Tuesday night, described by his Democratic counterpart as a ‘peculiar midnight run’.
The investigation subsequently appeared to stall, with Nunes calling off a critical hearing scheduled for Tuesday 28 March, at a time when his Democratic counterpart on the committee, Adam Schiff, said he had seen more than circumstantial evidence of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia.
At an extraordinary committee hearing last Monday, the FBI director, James Comey, confirmed for the first time that the bureau was investigating Trump associates for possible collusion with Moscow.
At the hearing, Comey refused to name any of the campaign aides under FBI scrutiny. Schiff, the ranking Democrat, said he and Nunes had been given a classified briefing that involved evidence of collusion that ‘isn’t purely circumstantial’."
"By Charles M. Blow March 23, 2017, www.nytimes.com
lMarch 23rd, 2017
A few things are clear after the congressional testimony of James Comey, the F.B.I. director, this week:
First, Donald Trump owes Barack Obama and the American people an apology for his vituperative lie that Obama committed a felony by wiretapping Trump Tower. It was specious, libelous and reckless, regardless of the weak revelations of “incidental collection” that the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and Trump transition team member Devin Nunes outrageously made public, briefing the president without first briefing his fellow committee members. Nunes’s announcement was a bombshell with no bomb, just enough mud in the water to obscure the blood in the water for those too willfully blind to discern the difference.
Second, Donald Trump will never apologize. Trump’s strategy for dealing with being caught in a lie is often to tell a bigger lie. He seems constitutionally incapable of registering what others would: shame, embarrassment, contrition. Something is broken in the man — definitely morally and possibly psychologically.
Third, and to me this is the biggest, Comey confirmed that the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to the Russians who tampered with our election is not “fake news” manufactured by Democrats stewing over a bitter loss but a legitimate investigation that has been underway for months and has no end in sight.
Individuals who were associated with the president of the United States’ winning campaign are under criminal investigation. That is an extraordinary sentence and one that no American can allow to be swallowed up by other news or dismissed by ideologues.
Depending on the outcome of this investigation, we could be facing a constitutional crisis. Oddly, it is likely that the reason Trump is even in the Oval Office is Comey’s original, extraordinarily inappropriate and unprecedented action. The Trump machinery then used that action to scare Americans about Clinton, in one of the most astonishing acts of deflection and hypocrisy in American history.
The timeline of how the lie of Clinton’s constitutional crisis was born and grew is full of Machiavellian-level misdirections.
On Friday, Oct. 28, a little over a week before Election Day, Comey sent his now infamous letter to Congress saying that “the F.B.I. has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent” to the Clinton email server investigation and that “the F.B.I. should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.”
Soon after the media reported the letter, Trump said at a crowded rally in New Hampshire:
“Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office. I have great respect for the fact that the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made.”
James Comey testifying on Capitol Hill on Monday. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times Photo by: Eric Thayer for The New York TimesThat day, Fox News tweeted a quote from the Trump campaign manager Kellyanne “Alternative Facts” Conway, with an image of her appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor” and text that read: “@KellyannePolls on HRC: “If you’re under your 2nd FBI investigation in the same year then you do have a … corruption & an ethics problem.”
About an hour later, Conway retweeted the Fox News tweet, adding, “Most honest people I know are not under FBI investigation, let alone two.”
That night, as reported by The Des Moines Register, Trump said at a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, rally:
“The investigation is the biggest political scandal since Watergate, and it’s everybody’s hope that justice at last can be delivered.” He went on, “The F.B.I. would never have reopened this case at this time unless it were a most egregious criminal offense.”
Two days later, on Oct. 30, Doug Schoen, a pollster for former President Bill Clinton, said on Fox News that having a president under criminal investigation would pose a constitutional crisis, and the next day he wrote about that it in The Hill, saying:
“I am now convinced that we will be facing the very real possibility of a constitutional crisis with many dimensions and deleterious consequences should Secretary Clinton win the election.”
“In the best case scenario, there will be at the very least a criminal investigation of President-elect Clinton. And there will be a criminal investigation of Huma Abedin, which is apparently ongoing. Furthermore, there will be potential investigations into the actions of the Justice Department and most of all the F.B.I. and its director, James Comey.
“After the past eight years wherein America has become progressively more and more divided and a campaign season that has magnified these divisions, I fear for that we will not be able to withstand this kind of continued scandal.”
The Monday that Schoen’s “constitutional crisis” column appeared in The Hill, Trump quoted it at a rally in Michigan. Trump added:
“She would be under protracted criminal investigation and probably a criminal trial, I would say. So we’d have a criminal trial of a sitting president.”
Then that night the Fox News host and Trump flunky Sean Hannityrepeated the warning on his own show:
“Think about the magnitude of all of this for a second. Hillary Clinton could be sworn into office while still being under investigation from the F.B.I., which would then put this country into a major constitutional crisis.”
“Now Clinton says Donald Trump, oh, he’s not fit to serve in the Oval Office. But she, and she alone, has created a situation that could do severe damage to this country and the office of the presidency and prevent this country from solving problems.”
Three days later, on Nov. 3, the Trump campaign released a television ad called “Unfit” that said in part: “Hillary cannot lead a nation while crippled by a criminal investigation.”
On Sunday, Nov. 6, just two days before the election, Comey sent another letter to Congress saying that based on the bureau’s review, “we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.” In other words, oops, false alarm, nothing there.
But the damage was done. The Trump campaign had already honed its “constitutional crisis, unfit for office” message, and it had sunk in with many Americans. What those Americans didn’t know — what we learned from Comey’s testimony this week — was that although there was no reason to continue investigating Clinton about her emails, the Trump campaign had been under investigation since July about possible contacts and collusion with Russia in its efforts to influence our election.
Now the very thing that Team Trump and its Fox News media arm warned about, Trump himself has delivered: A compromised presidency and a possible constitutional crisis.
As The New York Times reported after Comey’s testimony:
“Mr. Comey placed a criminal investigation at the doorstep of the White House and said officers would pursue it ‘no matter how long that takes.’ ”
The lie these people promoted about Clinton and shielded about Trump are two of the biggest lies ever told in this country in service of electoral advantage.
No act of this presidency — good or bad, beneficial or detrimental — can ever be considered without first contextualizing that this presidency itself was conceived in deception and is being incubated under an extraordinary lie.
The Trump presidency is a corruption that flows from corruption. It is damned by its own damned lies.