The Presidential Polls Will Soon Be Tightening (Gasp!)

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Mail-In ballots. Image courtesy of flickr.com

It seems that President Trump’s attempts to stay in office are increasingly desperate. “Biden wants to hurt God,” he said Thursday, leading MSNBC host Chris Hayes to ask how he could even do that (?).

It was bad enough for Trump that he’s apparently lost control over events and the narrative–and the opportunities to get the campaigning juice so essential to his being.

Then came the news that Cy Vance, Jr., the New York County District Attorney, apparently possesses not only those elusive tax returns, but also evidence of fraudulent claims made by Trump and his company in order to obtain loans from Deutsche Bank. It’s finally looking as though the long arm of the law that he’s eluded for so long may well be hovering within reach.

So despite his obvious contempt for and boredom with the position of President, and the fact that more than 160,000 Americans have now died on his watch (“It is what it is”), Trump still wants to keep the job. And that’s understandable. If he loses, he could soon be facing trial and conviction.

But if he’s President, he can’t be indicted. That’s a dopey standard as far as I’m concerned–one that never occurred to Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, et al. But that’s what we’re stuck with for now–just as we’re stuck with the outdated Electoral College.

And if it weren’t for the latter, we’d have few concerns that Trump would be easily booted from the Oval Office.

So Trump is declaring the election a fraud ahead of time, his selection for Postmaster General is snafuing postal operations just when the pandemic has made vote-by-mail more essential than ever, crazy lawsuits are being filed to prevent state officials from sending vote-by-mail ballot applications to citizens, and now Republican operatives are pushing an unstable hip-hop star strategically onto the ballot as a third-party candidate.

I’d say “poor Kanye West” because it seems he’s being used–at a time when his wife is lamenting his untreated mental illness. But he’s also being handsomely rewarded by his relationship with Trump: his fashion company received millions of dollars in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program for small and medium-sized businesses, and he says he’s negotiating other deals as well. In addition, he wants President Trump to defeat Joe Biden, so why not act as a spoiler in states where the race may be tight, eg, Wisconsin?

Right now, the polls in the swing states are still showing Biden is strong, and a surprising number of Senate seats may be in play. The national polls have tightened a bit. They will continue to do so–and we may see this movement more after Biden announces his choice as Vice President next week. There is no way everyone will be happy with whomever he chooses.

This poll-tightening is not a cause for worry, as my wise friend has written:

“Here’s the word of caution: Trump’s popularity has dropped so significantly and quickly that a rebound is inevitable. In statistics, such a correction is known as ‘regression to mean.’ It is a nearly universal phenomenon that manifests itself in batting averages, stock prices, and the number of insects in a hectare of forest.

“When Trump recovers some of his lost ground due to regression to the mean, DON’T PANIC! We must have the intellectual discipline to understand that when Trump closes the gap because of a nearly immutable law of statistics, it does not mean that Biden is ‘losing.’ When Biden is ‘only’ five points ahead of Trump (instead of his current 14 point lead), Biden will still be winning —notwithstanding Trump’s efforts to convince you otherwise.

“And when the gap closes, don’t blame Joe for forces that are far beyond his (or Trump’s) control. But most of all, don’t panic, stay the course, and recognize that we cannot rest until the last vote is cast, counted, and defended in court…”

We all know that polls have flaws–a lesson we learned the hard way in 2016. Is there another approach to determining who’ll win?

You may have seen or heard about a video of historian Allan Lichtman explaining how he garnered the sterling record of successfully calling every Presidential winner–including Trump–since 1984. He even predicted Trump’s impeachment.

Lichtman’s prognostications are unaffected by polls. He maintains that voters vote pragmatically according to how the party in the White House has been governing. His methodology, based on years of research, focuses on “13 Keys to the White House”: answers of “true” mean the party in the White House will remain; answers of “false” mean a change. Among the keys are incumbency, primary challenges, economic indicators, and foreign successes.

If you’d like to see the video and learn all the facets of Lichtman’s decision-making, here’s a link.

On the basis of the 13 keys, Lichtman predicts Trump will lose the election. But, he says, “Don’t just take my word for it,” and he points to unknowable factors that he says keep him up at night, such as voter suppression and Russian intervention. Get out there and vote, he exhorts us.

We need the closest thing possible to a landslide to prevent Trump from crying fraud and trying to discredit the legitimacy of the election. Every vote–in red states and blue states–is critically important in this effort.

Lichtman concludes by quoting President Lincoln:

“The best way to predict the future is to choose it.”

Annie

Continue reading “The Presidential Polls Will Soon Be Tightening (Gasp!)”

Fighting Our “What If Trump Won’t Leave?” Paranoia

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Peaceful Transition: Obama to Trump. Image courtesy of flickr.com

I had promised myself—and you—that I would stop talking about the gross elephant trampling through our Constitution (with apologies to real elephants, wonderful creatures that they are!).

My way of dealing with my strong feelings about Trump has been to make him tiny and powerless in my mind—even as I recognize his increasingly dangerous actions and expect them to continue to heighten as Election Day nears.

But then I read an article in The Boston Globe with the scary title “A bipartisan group secretly gathered to game out a contested Trump-Biden election. It wasn’t pretty.” (I’m not linking to it because on the computer it’s behind a paywall. But you can Google it on your phone.)

That article persuaded me that I need both to clarify my thinking about risks and take a steely look at the Mayhem Maker in Chief.

The Globe reports on a June meeting whose attendees included “political operatives, former government and military officials, and academics [who] quietly convened online for what became a disturbing exercise in the fragility of American democracy.”

Comprised of both Democrats and Republicans, they call themselves “The Transition Integrity Project.”

The group was considering questions that are now being asked quite openly, including by the Democratic nominee, former VP Joe Biden:

“What if President Trump refuses to concede a loss, as he publicly hinted recently he might do? How far could he go to preserve his power? And what if Democrats refuse to give in?” (all emphases mine)

Once again, as we have so many times since the beginning of Trump’s chaotic “reign,” we’ve learned that our system of government has functioned since its inception largely by norms, rather than laws.

And now we have a guy in the Oval Office who cares about neither—and repeatedly claims that vote by mail will cause vast fraud that will rig the election. That’s a cause for concern.

Never mind that there’s almost zero evidence to back up his claim, that he, himself votes by mail, and that mail-in ballots have been a staple of red states for years and have been shown to advantage neither political party. He’s simply laying the framework for contesting an election that at this point he seems likely to lose.

When asked by Fox interviewer Chris Wallace a question that should have been easy for any president, “Will you accept the election results?,” Trump answered “I’ll have to see.”

And thus crashed the biggest norm in the life of our democratic republic: casting doubt on the peaceful transition of power from one president to the next.

What would happen between November 3 and January 20, 2021, when the newly elected President is to be sworn in?

One of The Transition Project organizers, Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown and former official at the Defense Department offered this gloomy assessment:

“All of our scenarios ended in both street-level violence and political impasse. The law is…almost helpless against a president who’s willing to ignore it.”

In addition to Trump’s statements, Brooks said that his willingness to use federal forces to confront protesters “has really shaken people” so that ‘What was really a fringe idea has now become an anxiety that’s pretty widely shared.”

Several of their scenarios focused on swing states with divided government (Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina), which might send two different results to Congress. The Globe explained that if there were a dispute in a state’s election, the legislature and governor—of differing parties—could send differing slates of electors.

There have been many similar scare stories in the media, and I’ll acknowledge that I’m unable to totally ignore them. In a discussion yesterday, one of my friends spoke of Trump’s “Fifth Column”—the NRA. If he can’t get the sorry melange of camouflaged Federal agency guys now making things worse in Portland—and possibly soon in a city near you—to defend him, he’s got the militia that gun-toting haters have always dreamed about.

But something inside me said, “Whoa!” And that something was aided by my thoughtful lawyer friend whom I’ve quoted before.

This time he wrote:

“Let me remind everyone that the laws of probability teach us that when a disaster depends on a series of unlikely events, you must multiply to the low probability of those events to determine the likelihood of the outcome.

“If three independent events each have a ten percent chance of occurring, but each is necessary for disaster to happen, the likelihood of the event occurring is one-in-a-thousand. But the coverage on the news media seemed to add the likelihood of the occurrences to make the outcome seem probable.”

Please bear with me now while I explain why I’ve decided not to become deeply troubled by the post-election apocalypse scenarios. My positivity, however, hinges on this not being a close election. The closer to a landslide Biden gets, the better are the chances of avoiding trouble.

That means if you feel as I do, you must do everything in your power to make sure we get out the vote in huge numbers and donate what we can to combat the vast financial resources on the other side.

I’m also putting some faith in Mary Trump. The president’s niece, author of that tell-all best seller about her dysfunctional family’s creating “the most dangerous man in the world,” is a trained psychologist who knows the person in question well.

When she was asked what she felt he would do if he lost, she said if he suffered a big loss, he would flee in embarrassment.

It’s clear that Trump is unhappy; he’s lost control of the narrative, and he can’t campaign or speechify the way he’d like.

His party isn’t moving in lockstep with him at this point; there are dissenters, and they just rejected his absolute, don’t-mess-with-me insistence that a payroll tax be part of the Republicans’ next coronavirus relief package. (That legislation is definitely too late to help many Americans, and will undoubtedly be too little as well. All the more reason that we need Democrats to hold the House and take the Senate!)

Speaking of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she thinks Trump’s ambiguous talk about leaving is designed to make people think there’s no point in voting. In fact, I’ve read some reports that his fraud allegations are actually discouraging his own older white vote-by-mailers, a true irony.

But so many times this strange man has thrown wild ideas into the atmosphere and then backed away from them. He may very well try to contest the election, but since the only person he seems to care about is himself, he may actually be looking for a way to throw in the towel.

And he adores messing with our heads. He has seen, by the media reaction, that casting doubt on his willingness to vacate the Oval Office is a head-messer par excellence.

So to paraphrase the words he used when speaking about why Black Americans should vote for him, he’s probably thinking, “What have I got to lose? I can make these people crazy just by saying ‘I don’t know yet. I’ll have to see.’”

I realize none of this is solid evidence, but I think it’s better if we all focus on what we can control instead of what we can’t. We can do that by playing as big a role as we can to help this tiny man get turned out of the White House by an enormous, unquestionable mandate.

But, you may be thinking: Annie, what if you’re wrong? What if it’s as terrible as all these pundits and reporters are convinced it will be?

Well, Fred Kaplan, writing in Slate, says Trump just wouldn’t get away with it—and even if no one convinced him it was a really terrible idea and “the nightmare happens,” it wouldn’t last long. His article is worth reading, but here’s a summary.

It’s January 20, 2021. Trump says it was a fake election and he’s still president. But, Kaplan writes, “here’s what would happen next.”

*At noon, the nuclear codes expire and the officer who’s been carrying them leaves. “If Trump and whatever lackeys stay with him prevent the officer from leaving, another officer, holding a backup football [name for the code book] would join Biden at the inauguration ceremony.”

*As for fears that Trump would seize control of the military, Kaplan says forget that: they’ll immediately turn to salute now-President Biden.

“The principle of civilian control is hammered into American officers from the time they’re cadets—and the 20th Amendment of the Constitution states, “The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January’—no ifs, ands, or buts.’”

*If Trump gives the military an order, they’ll refuse it.

“If any officers obey his order—say, to circle the White House to keep him in power—they would certainly be tried and convicted on charges of mutiny and sedition, and they would know this before taking the leap.”

It’s worth emphasizing that the motley crew in cities now, unidentified and in camouflage, are not the military per se: they are a combo of Homeland Security agents, Border Patrol people, and Federal property protectors.

*The Secret Service will leave except for the small contingent who will protect him for the rest of his life.

Kaplan then states that Biden’s acting attorney general will by this time have drawn up arrest warrants for Trump and whoever remains with him for criminal trespassing, at the very least—and if he calls for armed forces or militia to defend him, he could be charged with incitement or insurrection.

And if the worst case scenario were to occur,

“a few M1 tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue should make the would-be rebels flee. It would be terrible if the standoff came to this, but Commander in Chief Biden would have this option available, if necessary.”

I don’t know about you, but I now feel so much better! Of course, we still have to be wary of voter suppression, Russian disinformation, and the Post Office (USPS).

I recently commented on another blog that now that Trump’s guy is heading the Post Office, we have to worry about vote-by-mail ballots being tossed into the incinerator. And I stated that I hate the fact that I’m entertaining conspiracy theories—except that Trump’s people probably thought about them first.

Then, unfortunately, I received some unwanted validation. A major slowdown of mail delivery is now under way, with postal workers being told to leave mail that hasn’t been delivered for the next day and to go home—something that was once anathema to their responsibilities.

That may explain why I was advised when returning a package this week that I use an alternate to the USPS because returns have been delayed and lost. This is a bad self-fulfilling prophecy, but I needed to ensure I got a timely refund, so I complied.

This Washington Post  article about the planned reconfiguration of the post office to make it a profitable business observes:

“The changes also worry vote-by-mail advocates, who insist that any policy that slows delivery could imperil access to mailed and absentee ballots. It reinforces the need, they say, for Congress to provide the agency emergency coronavirus funding.

“Attacks on USPS not only threaten our economy and the jobs of 600,000 workers. With our states now reliant on mail voting to continue elections during the pandemic, the destabilizing of the post office is a direct attack on American democracy itself,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.). “It has been 59 days since the House passed $25 billion to keep USPS alive. The Senate must pass it now. Democracy hangs in the balance.”

So please consider contacting your elected officials to insist that the Post Office must function appropriately—and Congress must pass the emergency assistance that the House has demanded to keep the Post Office open at this critical time.

Eventually, Trump will no longer be in power. I expect his next gig will be on right-wing media—possibly One America News Network (OANN), which has been the source of many of the conspiracies he’s echoed and is more reliably pro-Trump than Fox these days. At one point there were stories that Don Jr. had invested in the company. The owners denied that, but a Trump-OANN relationship would be beneficial for all involved.

Except for the rest of us, who would be continually showered by off-the-wall racist and white supremacist conspiracies.

But it would be far better to have him there, speaking not all that differently from the way he does now, than anywhere near the White House.

Annie

Continue reading “Fighting Our “What If Trump Won’t Leave?” Paranoia”

Barr’s Army: The Slender Legal Reed for Overtaking American Cities

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Wall of Moms, Portland. Photo credit: Reuters/Caitlin Ochs

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and other elected officials in Oregon have been telling Washington in no uncertain terms: “Take your troops out of Portland.”

Wheeler has referred to the unidentified federal individuals dressed in camouflage and driving unmarked vans as President Trump’s “personal army.” You’ve no doubt heard that there have already been casualties in this foray.

But it would be more appropriate to call them “Barr’s army.” Our quite-recent history includes Attorney General Barr’s giving the orders for the attack on nonviolent protesters outside of the White House to facilitate Trump’s photo op holding a Bible.

That episode, which generated anger and ridicule for the President, led General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to apologize and say he should not have been there.

Using federal forces against an unwilling state or municipality has apparently been a work-in-progress for Barr for decades, according to an article in justsecurity.org, an organization based at the Reiss Center on Law and Security,  New York University School of Law.

The article is titled “Portland’s Pretext: Barr’s Long History Manipulating Law to Put Federal Forces on US Streets.” (all emphases mine)

Since the President has already announced his plans to have counterparts to the forces now in Portland readied for “deployment” wherever and wherever the Attorney General and or the President chooses—specifically, Chicago, New York, and any other city run by Democrats that they deem “out of control,” it seems useful to look closely at Barr’s well-formed plan.

It can be traced back to the Virgin Islands, where there were civil disturbances following a large hurricane (Hugo) in 1989. Barr was then an assistant attorney general, leading the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

According to the authors of the justsecurity piece, in a 2001 interview Barr “boasted that during this time he found a way to deploy federal forces based on a legal justification that appears to now being played out in Portland:

“Barr: We started quickly looking at the legal books. What authority do we have to go in there and start enforcing the law in St. Croix? We looked at some statutes, and we finally decided that without Presidential authority we could send down law enforcement people to defend the federal function.

“That is, we said, ‘People are interfering with the operation of our courts’ and so on. I said, ‘We can send people down to defend the federal function, keep our courts open, and if they see any crime being committed in front of them, then, as law enforcement officers, they can make the arrest.’ Our object was just to get federal law enforcement down there and play it by ear. Technically, we couldn’t send them down to—

“Question: Did you consider interference with the mail as a basis?

“Barr: Yes, we had a whole list of things like that, interference with the mail, interference with the courts. But basically we were claiming that there was breakdown, civil unrest that was interfering with the federal function. We found these old cases that said the federal government could go in there. This was without declaring martial law.”

So he claimed they used the purported—and false—need to defend the federal function of the courts to put down the looting and unrest in the Virgin Islands.

“Barr bragged in his 2001 interview that he had found a way to get the federal forces ‘down there and then play it by ear’ without having to declare martial law.”

The authors note that he said in the same interview that he could, similarly, deploy military forces abroad—without Congressional approval—by, in the authors’ words, “changing the facts on the ground.”

The implications of that view are rather harrowing, don’t you think?

But it gets worse.

In fact, as the authors describe in a subsequent article, Barr’s use of the Virgin Islands situation was based on historical revisionism: in 1989, the governor of the Virgin Islands had requested military help—entirely the opposite of the Portland situation.

That episode and California governor Pete Wilson’s request for federal assistance to control the rioting following the beating of Rodney King in 1992 are the only recent instances when the Insurrection Act was invoked—and both times were at the request of the governors involved.

And, the authors note, “the only modern precedents in which governors’ consent were overridden was under a section of the Insurrection Act purposefully established to implement the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee to equal protection.”  [Used during the Reconstruction and Civil Rights eras.]

So Barr’s slender legal reed—based on a false revision of the historical record—snaps in two. You can understand that invoking the Insurrection Act would not be deemed a wise political move so close to the election. Better to weasel around it.

In the Portland mess, the President signed an executive order that directed federal agencies to send personnel to protect monuments, statues, and federal property.

The Department of Homeland Security,  now headed by an Acting Security, a former lobbyist with no relevant credentials,  then formed “rapid deployment teams” that consist of officers from Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to support the Federal Protective Service, which is responsible for protecting public property.

Portland state and local officials, the US attorney, and the ACLU are filing lawsuits, and other mayors, such as Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot, have said they will fight these unwanted incursions with whatever means they have.

But Washington also claims that the Homeland Security Act of 2002 permits the Department’s Acting Secretary, Chad Wolf, to deputize others to help the Federal Protective Service.

Such newly minted, untrained agents of the law can be armed, make warrantless arrests, and conduct investigations “on and off the property in question,” notes The New York Times.

Garrett Graff, a historian who’s been studying the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), told the Times:

“An interpretation of that authority so broadly seems to undermine all the other careful checks and balances on DHS’s power because the officers’ power is effectively limitless and all encompassing.”

And does that give you chills?

We talk a lot about this administration’s breaking norms. Here’s another. Prior DHS officials, the Times reports, said the agency would “normally only dispatch agents to assist with local incidents if the state or municipal governments asked for help and deputized that responsibility.

“In Portland, local leaders have done the opposite.”

What happens now? As is often the case with the Trump administration’s moves—usually with Barr at the helm—the damage proceeds while the parties wrangle in court. Meanwhile, this lawless President, tanking in the polls, bored and helpless to seek remedies for the pandemic that is destroying lives, livelihoods, and our economy—is playing his “Law and Order” card to the hilt.

Show enough graffiti on government buildings, he seems to think, and people will be so disgusted or frightened that they’ll forget the enormous threats they’re facing every day due to his ineptitude. Sure, that should get the suburban women into the President’s camp.

Or will it? What about the Wall of Moms in Portland (pictured above) who are bravely covering their faces with shields and their heads with helmets and placing themselves, arms locked together, between the peaceful protesters and the armed federal officers?

Yes, there will be more violence; all the local and state officials are in agreement that things were de-escalating until these deputized makers of mayhem arrived on the scene.

Watch the video of a former Navy officer, his shirt emblazoned with the word “Navy,” mistakenly thinking he could engage them in conversation to find out what their goals were. They beat him and sprayed him and broke his arm.

But isn’t that the goal? Get people so angry that they begin to side with the disrupters? The crowds have grown substantially since this federal “action” began.

I have written before about Attorney General Barr and the damage he’s wrought. In the past, I’ve used rhyme and hyphenated his name, my little tricks to myself to cut him down to size.

But this time the horror defies rhyme. He can bend the law any way he chooses. He has unleashed fascistic forces onto American streets. I no longer think that word is excessive.

It is time to impeach, disbar, or otherwise end his reign of continual harm to our nation—employing his despicable misuse of the law for nefarious ends that move us further and further away from our democratic ideals.

Annie

Continue reading “Barr’s Army: The Slender Legal Reed for Overtaking American Cities”

The Supreme Court Rulings Against The President: “Judicial Malpractice”?

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The US Supreme Court, image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

I was one of many Americans who breathed a huge sigh of relief on Thursday when the Supreme Court emphatically said, in two 7-2 decisions, that the President of the United States is not above the law.

The small-minded part of me found it particularly delicious that President Trump’s two appointees—Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh—voted with Chief Justice Roberts and the liberal minority in both instances.

After all, Trump had referred to his appointees as “his” justices; how dare they cross him like that! Justices who uphold settled law going back 250 years—it’s all a plot against him!

There’s a strong likelihood that we, the public, won’t get the information that the New York prosecutor and Congress have been seeking, which includes Trump’s tax returns, before the elections. But it’s still possible.

Neal Katyal, a law professor at Georgetown and former Acting US Solicitor General, has said it’s conceivable that Cyrus Vance Jr, the District Attorney of New York County, can move quickly enough to bring the case to a conclusion earlier than November. That would be wonderful.

But amid all the plaudits to the Court for showing that our system of checks and balances really works, and our democracy is secured, I was struck by the forceful clarity of an opposing view expressed by a lawyer friend in his private newsletter. (Emphases mine throughout.)

He called the very fact that the Supreme Court had accepted the cases at all “judicial malpractice.”

Here’s what he wrote:

“With glacial majesty, the Supreme Court issued two opinions on Thursday that broadly reaffirmed the fundamental tenets of separation of powers—tenets that were so obvious that any 6th-grade student of civics could have recited them by heart.

“But in taking its sweet time to affirm the obvious—that the president is not above the law—the Supreme Court failed the American people miserably. By moving with glacial speed, the Court granted Trump what he wanted most: avoiding accountability.”

After all, he noted, Trump and Attorney General Barr were declaring that the president had absolute immunity from subpoenas issued by both Congress and the District Attorney.

Therefore, my friend wrote:

“That risible assertion deserved a one-sentence summary disposition that said, ‘Review denied, produce your tax returns.’”

And if the Court had for its own reasons felt the need to restate settled precedent, he stressed that it could have expedited its review.

“To Court defenders who say that we must not rush justice, I say that I agree with you—except when the nation is in a moment of crisis. And we are.

“Trump is essentially an unindicted co-conspirator in the indictment that sent Michael Cohen to prison. That case implicates the integrity of the 2016 election. Cohen testified before Congress that Trump used tax fraud as the business strategy for the Trump Organization. The New York Times published an article that detailed a decades-long tax conspiracy by the Trump Organization.

“In short, there is ample evidence that our president has violated the civil and criminal laws of the United States. The proof is in his tax returns. Now, thanks to the Supreme Court, we will see those returns five years hence, when they will not help America determine whether its president is, in fact, a felon who has cheated the country he seeks to lead for another four years.”

My friend observed that the Court that moved so deliberately had previously granted 17 emergency stays that benefited Trump.

“Having shaken their listlessness on 17 occasions to protect Trump, the conservative majority is unwilling to rouse itself on this single occasion to protect the American people.”

He also terms Congress “the loser,” and takes Roberts to task for discussing an “interbranch conflict.” He doesn’t buy that argument at all:

“Oh, please! Trump is accused of committing tax fraud before he was elected to the presidency. His pre-presidential conduct does not implicate an ‘interbranch’ conflict. That theory is an artifice invented by Justice Roberts…”

Roberts’ opinion stated that:
         
“There is not always a clear line between the president’s personal and official affairs.”

But, said my friend,

“There is a clear line in this case between Trump’s personal and official affairs. Whether the real estate mogul Donald Trump committed bank fraud years before he was elected as president does not implicate his ‘official affairs’—and John Roberts cannot credibly contend otherwise.”

Still, my friend’s message isn’t without hope.

“To those who share my outrage that Trump has again seemed to evade justice, we should take a modicum of solace from these opinions. The State of New York will continue to investigate Trump and his family for tax fraud. Trump ultimately will be held to account. He cannot be pardoned for violations of state law.”

And though what follows wasn’t the conclusion to his newsletter, it seems an appropriate conclusion to this post:

“The Supreme Court is broken, and we must fix it by fortifying the Court with a new majority of jurists who do not see their job as protecting the president of the party that appointed them. It cannot happen soon enough. We must flip the Senate if we want to rehabilitate the Court. Tell your friends.”

What do you think? Are you pleased/relieved/disappointed/angered by the Court’s rulings? If so, why? And what do you think of my friend’s suggestion that we must “rehabilitate” the Court? Others have made that case, including Pete Buttigieg. I am open to discussion but unsure at this point.

If you’d like to subscribe to my friend’s free newsletter, go to https://tinyurl.com.TodaysEdition.

Annie

Continue reading “The Supreme Court Rulings Against The President: “Judicial Malpractice”?”

The Attorney General for the Person of the US Receives Scrutiny

The Attorney General for the People Person of the US Receives Scrutiny

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Bill Barr Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Once again I must turn to Bill-Barr
To examine behavior bizarre;
This is not the first time
That things seem to skirt crime
And his antics sink less than subpar.

Barr’s descent has made some feel quite sad
For the straight-shooter rep that he’d had;
But the gloss is long gone
And the battles he’s won
Have been awfully, terribly bad.

You recall when the Mueller Report
Raised questions of quite grave import?
Barr’s goal was persuasion
Of exoneration;
No Russians? Of course nyet, he’d retort.

He’s the President’s guy, that’s quite clear
In every last case that we hear;
According to his lights,
The Executive’s rights
Are absolute (I quiver in fear!).

He’s helped various convicted men
Such as Roger Stone and Mike Flynn
Although Flynn confessed twice,
His lies didn’t suffice–
Barr found “hinky stuff” made the case thin.

It was Bill-Barr who served as the source
Of that outside White House show of force–
When those marching in peace
Were peppered by police
While generals in haste reversed course.

And then came a Friday night surprise:
The US attorney’s job demise;
Though Barr said Berman quit,
Berman had none of it–
So was pushed out the door by sunrise.

Berman said that ongoing cases
Will move along on the same basis;
That appears an alert
He was nearing pay dirt,
Leading to some powerful places.

Expect Barr to go on the offense
With “findings” purportedly immense
The purpose: to confuse
It will all be a ruse
And may well be at Biden’s expense.

So what should happen now to Bill-Barr,
Who’s done damage that’s been wide and far?
Will the Dems try impeach
For his gross overreach?
Or at least, let us hope he’s disbarred!

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Note: It is unclear at this point whether Barr will appear before the House Judiciary Committee, which he has agreed to do on July 28, to explain his sudden firing of Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and his handling of other cases.

Two existing Department of Justice employees appeared before the Committee this week to express their dismay at the politicization of the department under Barr, including pressure to get a lighter sentence for the President’s convicted friend Roger Stone and interference in antitrust decisions based on his personal preferences–not the legalities.

But the most damning comment came from Donald B. Ayer, deputy attorney general under President George Bush, seen here on video explaining why Barr’s actions are setting the US “on the way to something far worse than Watergate.”

Previously, in an article in The Atlantic,  Ayer had gone into considerable and specific detail about the damage that Barr is doing to our Justice Department and the rule of law.

His conclusion:

“Bill Barr’s America is not a place that anyone, including Trump voters, should want to go. It is a banana republic where all are subject to the whims of a dictatorial president and his henchmen. To prevent that, we need a public uprising demanding that Bill Barr resign immediately, or failing that, be impeached.”

Annie

Continue reading “The Attorney General for the Person of the US Receives Scrutiny”