Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the baffling reluctance of Congress and the Supreme Court to allow for remote or distance technology as an alternative to physical sessions. Democracy at a distance is better than no democracy at all in times of emergency. President Donald Trump was asked about Congress allowing remote voting given the various Senators who are now in quarantine. He thought that it was a good idea but that there may be constitutional barriers. The greatest barriers, particularly for the Supreme Court, remain cultural not constitutional.
Putting aside the discussion of whether or not actions taken by various elected officials were reasonable, the hurried effects suffered by the public during the COVID-19 virus pandemic at the behest of politicians should if anything prove the potential for damage caused by unscrupulousness or incompetence in government.
Today’s events should be by now a self-evident reminder of the great importance of putting the right people in office and the folly of settling for very fallable politicians. The next coming weeks will make that point likely more for you, with less consideration to your rights or interests.
We recently discussed how an American University professor called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Not to be outdone, MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner is now declaring that Trump should be charged with negligent homicide over his conduct. While insisting that, as a former prosecutor, this is something he “actually know[s] too much about,” Kirschner proceeds to utterly misrepresent the controlling law and definitions of such a criminal case. While I come from the other perspective of a criminal defense attorney, the argument being put forward by the MSNBC legal analyst is devoid of any basis in the law. It does however play well for those who believe impeachment or prosecution are entirely fluid and relative concepts when it comes to Trump.
It appears that trolls are enjoying St. Patrick’s Day as much as Leprechauns. The Justice Department shocked many by dropping the matinee case of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller against two Russian companies accused of funding the “troll farms” in the 2016 election. Many critics have charged that the trolling operation was laughingly ineffective and clumsy. Moreover, the evidence against the companies, including Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering, was questioned. The prosecutors, while defending the original charges, moved to dismiss the case because they viewed the trial as threatening national security secrets. That claim seemed like more of a spin in a case that never seemed to materialize into hard evidence to support these charges. Update: The company has announced that it will sue the U.S. government for billions in damages — a move that will once again raise this same information for trial.
Yesterday I wrote a column in the Hill criticizing hair-triggered responses to the controversy over the sentencing recommendation in the case of Roger Stone. This included former prosecutors who did not see the need to confirm critical facts before demanding the resignation of Barr. Former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer called Barr, his former colleague in the Bush Administration, “unAmerican.” It is a disgraceful attack on someone who has served his country for decades with distinction. Just as many (including myself) have denounced President Donald Trump for calling opponents disloyal or traitorous, this personal attack should also be roundly denounced by all sides in this controversy.
Despite a public condemnation by Attorney General Bill Barr, President Donald Trump is back tweeting and atacking a wide range of Justice Department attorneys and investigations. That includes the recently resigned prosecutors in the case of Trump associate Roger Stone. These irresponsible tweets continue undermine Barr and magnify the problems for the Administration with both the courts and Congress.
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz pulled a Giuliani on television this weekend by claiming bombshell evidence in his possession but refusing to disclose it. On Fox News, Dershowitz claimed that he has conclusive proof that Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigation someone “on behalf of George Soros,” the wealthy liberal donor. However, Dershowitz mysteriously referenced future “litigation” where all of this would be disclosed.
In what Attorney General Bill Barr has called a “significant escalation,” the Justice Department is filing actions against sanctuary cities over what is alleged as interference with federal enforcement of immigration laws and removals. As discussed yesterday, both parties seems to be going “all in” on immigration from sharply opposing positions.
While I maintain that the scientific community has for hundreds of years steadfastly failed to exercise a modern sense of decency and respect for human remains of the ancients, a recent article in Ars Technica prompted me to type my concern.
The objection I have is that most societies in the world currently place special value and reverence in the preserving and protection of interred human remains, often citing the desire to allow the departed the right to rest in peace. Yet, among governments, scientific organizations, academics, and museums we allow an abandonment of these values and permit the continual insult to the deceased–who’s remains serve as equivalents to rock samples and objects to be endlessly studied and displayed to the curious.
Would we allow such a spectacle to be exacted upon our own families?
In a welcome departure from Washington State’s penchant to overbearingly tax, regulate, and control every aspect of human existence possible, a state senator recently introduced Senate Bill 6320 titled “AN ACT Relating to the ability of a minor to operate a lemonade business on an occasional basis” as a prophylaxis against the state shutting down another fledgling business and cultural icon: the childhood lemonade stand.
It is, however, a rather sad commentary that such a bill becomes necessary, but given the unholy alliance between the neighborhood busy-bodies who shake their canes at all things enjoyed by children and mindless automatons of local government who put rules above reason, it seems we now have to legislate discretion to protect young entrepreneurs from being thwarted by the ridiculousness sometimes displayed by adults having more power than sense.
Former FBI Director James Comey is back in the news this week after The New York Times reported late Thursday that he is again under investigation for leaking information to the media. The Justice Department Inspector General previously found that Comey was a leaker and violated FBI policy in his handling of FBI memos, including material containing the “code name and true identity” of a sensitive source. Now, he is again accused of leaking information. There is an element of a modus operandi in the story since the same academic Comey used in the earlier leaks is also named in this leak, Columbia Law Professor Daniel Richman.
While it is a truism that in many respects some form of taxation is needed to provide necessities to a society, in practice many government and social detriments arise as either a consequence to or are derivative of tax policy. I’ve found for myself that fostering a personal goal of avoiding specific taxation or in many cases excessive taxation generally comports with a greater advocacy of morality in several beneficial forms.
A Sudanese court sentenced former Sudan President and accused genocidist Omar al-Bashir to two years imprisonment following his recent conviction for corruption. Additionally, the Court ordered forfeiture of millions in Euros and Sudanese Pounds discovered at his residence after being deposed by a military coup. He faces the likelihood of additional charges levied against him in the near future.
From a foreign perspective, there still remains the unresolved matter of Mr. al-Bashir’s two arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague stemming from accusations of genocide and other crimes against humanity.
I previously discussed the bizarre narrative in the media that the main takeaway from the Horowitz report was the debunking of a conspiracy theory. Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on some of the actual findings of the Horowitz report. The report shows that there was not credible evidence to maintain the investigation and that the Steele Dossier was essential to securing the FISA investigation despite repeated media statements to the contrary.