Sunday, October 22, 2017

Killing Democracy

For John, BLUFHere it is in the last sentence (BLUF)—"Once the door to the criminalization of political and ideological disagreement is opened, it may be near impossible to close it."  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from PBS and Mr Shadi Hamid, who is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.  The Dateline is 18 October 2017.

I will let him explain it.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Virginia Gubernatorial Race

For John, BLUFThe Democrats should win, but they may throw it away.  Presently they are within the margin of error.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Reporter Salena Zito and The New York Post, 21 October 2017.

The last paragraph:

Certainly the Democrats are the ones with the most to lose.  The party has had a year to craft the perfect message offering voters an alternative to the Republicans in power.  Have they succeeded?  Maybe.  If not, the rejection could be almost as bad as the pain they were dealt nationally last year.  Once again, a race easily within their grasp could slip through their fingers because they failed to excite their base.
One of the things I like about Ms Zito's reporting is that she writes paragraphs of more than one sentence.  The other is that she is out checking what is going on beneath the hood and not just looking at the shiny wax job.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Never Give An Inch

For John, BLUFThe School Committee, counting on their side winning in November, asks higher authority to stifle the City Council, which won the right to decide in court.—Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The [Lowell] Sun, by Reporter Todd Feathers, 21 October 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

In a letter signed by Mayor Edward Kennedy and Superintendent Salah Khelfaoui, the School Committee has asked the Massachusetts School Building Authority to take no action on the Lowell High School project before the Nov. 7 city election.

The committee voted 6-1 in executive session to make the request, according to a copy of the letter.  The MSBA board of directors meets on Oct. 25, but has not yet indicated whether the Lowell project will be on the agenda or, if it is, whether it will be tabled until the next meeting in December.

The November election could shift the balance on the City Council, which voted 5-4 to relocate the high school to Cawley Stadium.  In the Sept. 26 preliminary, six candidates who favor keeping the school downtown finished in the top nine.

Well, there is the question of if making the decision to send the letter in Executive Session was a violation of the Commonwealth's Open Meeting Law.

A bigger question is what happens if the City Council goes Cawley in November?  Will the "Never Cawley" Crowd then back off?  I have my doubts, as at least one has vowed to fight on for ever.

And, if the "Downtowners" win in November, do they expect the sitting City Council to roll over and reverse themselves?  Who is their advisor?  Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig?

If we have to wait for the new School Committee and new City Council (what if the School Committee goes Cawley?) then we will have missed both the October and December meetings of the Massachusetts School Building Authority and we will be into 2018.  Option Zero is looking more and more possible.

Regards  —  Cliff

  From the headline, a reference to the motto over the fireplace in the story Sometimes a Great Notion.  Goodnight, Irene.
  Option Zero is we do minimal repairs to our existing buildings.  This just puts off the day of reckoning for a few more years.

T'aint Funny, McGee

For John, BLUFWe need to give others some space; to not expect them to hew to some narrow way.  And, we need to be watching to see if Russia is stirring our pot, generating hate and discontent.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This posting to the web site of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education—FIRE is by Mr Adam Steinbaugh, 20 October 2017.

Here are the first two paragraphs:

Last week, Drexel University placed political science professor George Ciccariello-Maher on involuntary leave and barred him from campus, citing a “growing number of threats” directed at him over his personal political views.  (As of yesterday, he was allowed to resume teaching his undergraduate courses — but only by “synchronous online instruction.”  In other words, via video.)  Ciccariello-Maher’s suspension was the culmination of months of outrage over his tweets, beginning with a tweet that first drew anger from white nationalists before the mainstream media picked it up — with, apparently, help from @TEN_GOP, the “Unofficial Twitter of Tennessee Republicans,” which, it turns out, was actually operated by the Russia-based and Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency.

In other words, Drexel University launched an investigation into a professor’s off-campus speech, then suspended him, after a Russian “troll farm” helped send his tweet viral.

I have some sympathy for Professor George Ciccariello-Maher.  I too have said things that I thought were clever or funny, only to find that the rest of the world has no sense of humor, no interest in the absurdity of much of life.

My other thought is that we should give applause to the Russians at the Internet Research Agency.  They invented @TEN_GOP and then used it to foment hate and discontent in these United States.  They are good at what they do.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Another View of the Special Prosecutor

For John, BLUFMy fear is that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller will feel he has to find something to justify his appointment and the cost of his investigation.  Anything.—Nothing to see here; just move along.

An Opinion Piece from The Hill, by Ms Sidney Powell, 19 October 2017.

Much has been written about the prosecutorial prowess of Robert Mueller’s team assembled to investigate allegations of Russia’s involvement in the Trump campaign.  Little has been said of the danger of prosecutorial overreach and the true history of Mueller’s lead prosecutor.

What was supposed to have been a search for Russia’s cyberspace intrusions into our electoral politics has morphed into a malevolent mission targeting friends, family and colleagues of the president.  The Mueller investigation has become an all-out assault to find crimes to pin on them — and it won’t matter if there are no crimes to be found.  This team can make some.

Many Americans despise President Trump and anyone associated with him.  Yet turning our system of justice into a political weapon is a danger we must guard against.

Think back to April 1, 1940, and a world awash in turmoil, hate and fear.  Revered Attorney General Robert H. Jackson assembled the United States attorneys.  In remarks enshrined in the hearts of all good prosecutors, he said, “the citizen's safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches his task with humility.”

Yet Mueller tapped a different sort of prosecutor to lead his investigation — his long-time friend and former counsel, Andrew Weissmann. He is not just a “tough” prosecutor.  Time after time, courts have reversed Weissmann’s most touted “victories” for his tactics.  This is hardly the stuff of a hero in the law.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Ms Powell has been both a Federal Prosecutor and a Defense Attorney.  She is the author of Licensed to Lie:  Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.

Attorney v Attorney

For John, BLUFSpecial Council Robert Mueller (Russia Gate) is not a choirboy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This essay is from Attorney Harvey Silverglate, on 17 October 2017, at Boston Public Radio station WGBH (89.7 FM).

The first three paragraphs don't leave me with a good feeling about Special Council Robert Mueller:

Is special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, appointed in mid-May to lead the investigation into suspected ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and various shady (aren’t they all?) Russian officials, the choirboy that he’s being touted to be, or is he more akin to a modern-day Tomas de Torquemada, the Castilian Dominican friar who was the first Grand Inquisitor in the 15th Century Spanish Inquisition?

Given the rampant media partisanship since the election, one would think that Mueller’s appointment would lend credibility to the hunt for violations of law by candidate, now President Trump and his minions.

But I have known Mueller during key moments of his career as a federal prosecutor.  My experience has taught me to approach whatever he does in the Trump investigation with a requisite degree of skepticism or, at the very least, extreme caution.

Especially the Friar Tomas de Torquemada part.

Further down in the essay Mr Silverglate points out to us that Federal laws are so loose and so plenteous that just about anyone can be found to have violated one or another of them.

My impression, after reading the item, is that Mr Mueller will come up with someone to indict, no matter how long it takes to do it.  It may have nothing to do with the allegations of the Trump Campaign colluding with the Russians, but it will be something.

My question is, will there be any examination of the other side to see if they colluded with the Russians?

How silly of me.

My supplemental question is the one asked by former Labor Secretary Raymond J Donovan:  "Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?"

I would like to see Attorney General Jeff Sessions answer that question by publicly acknowledging the innocence of those who are smeared by the accusations of wrong-doing and are found to not be guilty of the crime or crimes of which they were accused, by indictment, innuendo or leak.

ADDED THOUGHT:  When Public Radio is turning against you it should be a sign that you are losing the PR Battle.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The President at Work

For John, BLUFPresident Trump, perhaps with 2020 in mind, is trying to fulfill his campaign promises.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

From Iran to Obamacare to DACA, the president is acting on what Republicans have long promised, in a way that rightly devolves power to the legislative branch.

From Reason Magazine and Mr Matt Welch, 18 October 2017.

What we are seeing down in DC is that President Trump is moving to implement policies that reflect the issues he ran on, and which Congressional Republicans claimed were their issues.  However, those Republicans in Congress can't seem to act.  Then the President throws the issue into Congress' lap.  Now Republicans and Democrats have to act, sometimes with a deadline.  An example is the DACA Policy of the last Administration.  President Trump said fix it or I will end it in six months.  Another is the unconstitutional payments to insurance companies under the PP&ACA.

Good job Mr President.  Fulfilling campaign promises AND prodding Congress to do its job.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff