Category: Politics

Gillibrand Pledges Litmus Test For Judges After Saying Being Pro-Life Is Same As Being Racist

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) had struggled to distinguish herself from a large Democratic primary field by campaigning almost exclusively on women’s rights. That has not succeeded in moving Gillibrand from the bottom of the pack of candidates with less than one percent in most polls. However, Gillibrand doubled down this week with a startling interview where she not only pledged to impose a litmus test on any judicial nominees but said that being pro-life is equivalent to being racist or anti-Semitic.

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Lock Him Up: Harris Says Justice Department Would Have “No Choice” Under Her Administration But To Prosecute Trump

For years, many of us have criticized Donald Trump for his signature campaign mantra of “Lock her up” against Hillary Clinton. Now, however, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) seems to be adopting a “Lock him up” pledge to jumpstart her campaign, which remains struck around fifth in the pack. Last week, Harris pledged to prosecute Trump. This morning, she said her Justice Department would have “no choice” but to prosecute Trump after he left office.

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Macron’s Tree of Friendship To White House Dies In Quarantine

Voice of America

The visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Washington culminated in the planting of a French oak tree as a symbol of the long-standing friendship of the two nations. Unbeknownst to most watching, the tree was promptly dug back up after the ceremony and sent to quarantine. Regrettably, the tree (like relations with France) has died in quarantine.

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Trump’s “Tough” Immigration Policy Leaves Out Employers

Below is my column on the recent controversy over a threatened tariff against Mexico for its failure to stop undocumented immigrants from crossing the U.S. border. Despite the last-minute deal with Mexico purportedly avoiding the tariff, President Donald Trump was back on the weekend threatening “very profitable tariffs” on Mexico. Whatever the purpose of such tariffs, however, they are unlikely to solve our problem with unlawful immigration absent greater enforcement on this side of the border. My point is not to call for wholesale prosecutions. Indeed, the primary concern is not the hiring by families or small businesses, but rather large operations with large percentages of undocumented workers.  If there government truly wants to curtail the undocumented workforce (and that is uncertain), hammering the immigrants at the border or attempting mass deportations is unlikely to succeed. There remains a striking disconnect between the level of enforcement directed at undocumented individuals as opposed to large employers of undocumented persons.

Here is the column:

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Trump Admits Attacks Are “Not Presidential” But Pledges To Continue

I have often criticized President Donald Trump for personal attacks and insults against critics as well as the media as a whole. We have discussed how the name calling and abuse is unpresidential. Now, in his latest attack, Trump has admitted that his attacks are “not presidential” (including his most recent statements regarding MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch). However, he then pledged to continue such unpresidential statements because they work. I am not sure which is more disturbing: not recognizing unpresidential conduct or recognizing it but pledging to continue it. Principle often requires us to forego actions or comments that would be otherwise beneficial or satisfying.

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The Politics and Pathology of The House Litigation Addiction

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on rejection of the lawsuit by the House of Representatives against the order issued by President Donald Trump to build the wall on the Southern border under the National Emergencies Act. I had previously testified against this lawsuit as a reckless and unnecessary move by the house. It is part of a litigation strategy that is clearly driven more by political than legal calculations.

Here is the column:

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Australian Government Raids ABC Headquarters After War Crimes Story

We have been discussing how the free press is under attack in both the United States and Europe. Like free speech, Western nations appear to have lost patience with free press protections. The latest example is an outrageous raid on a leading media organization in Australia. On the heels of the Assange case and other attacks on media protections, the raid on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation raises a chilling prospect that the free press could soon go the way of free speech in the West.

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China: Commemorating Tiananmen Square Massacre Is A Violation Of International Law

There is something about controlling information and censoring any criticism that can blind you to irony. That seems to be the problem this week when a Chinese spokesperson objected that a statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre as a violation of international law. So massacring thousands is a purely domestic matter but criticizing it is an international law violation.

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Tiananmen Square 30 Years Later

Today is a sad anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. It is all the more sad due to the success of the Chinese regime to wipe out memories of the massacre in the country while crushing dissent. It falls to the rest of the world to keep the memory alive in the hope that truth, like water, will find its way through the most formidable walls.

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Justice Department Only Prosecuted 11 Employers and No Businesses For Hiring Undocumented Workers In The Last Year

According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, the much discussed crackdown on illegal immigration policies of the Trump Administration does not extend to one notable group: employers. With increases in arrests and deportations, the Justice Department has notably not prosecuted the employers who hire illegal immigrants. Only 11 employers in the entire nation were prosecuted last year. Eleven.

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The Mark of [Mc]Cain: Mulvaney Declares That Ordering The Removal Of The USS McCain Was “Not Unreasonable”

I wrote recently about the demand from the White House that the military move the USS McCain from Yokosuka Naval base during Donald Trump’s visit to Japan. It was a disgraceful insult to McCain, our military, and the country. My hope was that the White House would do that right thing and fire the staffers responsible for treating an active U.S. warship as a petty prop. Instead, Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that it wasn’t “unreasonable” for the demand to be made. In doing so, Mulvaney confirmed that the White House cares little for the principles of separating our military from politics or pettiness. Thus what might have been denounced as a terrible mistake is now embraced by the Trump White House as a reasonable use of our military to protect the President’s sensibilities. It not only makes Trump look like a unhinged egotist but also his Administration as cringing sycophants. It also contradicts the position of the Acting Secretary of Defense. That is quite an accomplishment even for a White House known for self-inflicted wounds.

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Mueller’s Mount Sinai Moment Leaves Media With A Crisis of Faith

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the press conference held by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his refusal to answer questions from the media (or any questions from Congress beyond what is written in his Report). Mueller not only demanded silence but faith from the media, which surprisingly obeyed. Few reporters noted the direct contradictions in Mueller’s brief statement or the many unanswered questions that he left in his imperious wake. Since Attorney General Bill Barr has already testified on the process and his decisions related to the Report, there was nothing preventing Mueller from answering questions about his own decisions. Instead, Mueller simply said that the media would listen and remain silent . . . and the media dutifully complied.

Here is the column:

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Trump Denies “Nasty” Statement Made On Tape Just Days Earlier

Many of us have criticized President Donald Trump when he contradicts himself or calls facts “fake news.” On Sunday, Trump left many scratching their heads when he categorically denied referring to the the American-born Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, as nasty. What is strange is that (unlike many) I was not particularly aggrieved when Trump made the comment. He was responding to a personal attack attributed to Markle. I would prefer the President not to respond to such comments (particularly before a State visit). I also do not consider it appropriate to attack the London mayor as “a stone cold loser” and comment on internal policies on a State visit. However, the Markle comment was actually restrained for this President. What really bothered me was the denial of the comment just days later.

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Mueller’s Lack Of Explanations Raises New Questions of His Motivations On Three Key Decisions

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on three unanswered and troubling questions for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The concerns over Mueller’s motivations was heightened by the justifications that he has offered for some of his decisions like not reaching a conclusion on the weight of the evidence on obstruction. Many of us view Mueller’s rationale (based on the DOJ policy not to indict a sitting president) to be not just unprecedented but illogical. Putting aside my long disagreement with the argument that a president is immune from indictment, that policy (and the underlying memos) say nothing about a Special Counsel reaching conclusions on the evidence of possible criminal acts. Indeed, that is the core purpose of a Special Counsel. If one rejects the rationales of Mueller, you are left with a question of motivation in maintaining these positions.

Here is the column:

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WA Supreme Court Upholds Fine Against Presidential Electors Who Failed To Cast Vote In Accordance With Popular Vote

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

The Washington Supreme Court upheld the imposition of a thousand dollar fine against three Presidential Electors who violated their oath by voting in the Electoral College for candidates other than those winners of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election. In this latest episode of electioneering in American politics, individuals took it upon themselves to decide who they believed deserved election and not support that of the common voter.

In this case, three electors reportedly perceived that then Candidate Donald Trump would win the election and to at least in a hail Mary type of stunt forestall this by casting their vote for Colin Powell instead of Hillary Clinton who won the state’s popular vote. Pursuant to the Constitution, if a candidate fails to receive an absolute majority of the Electoral College Vote the election is then decided by the House of Representatives, which the electors reportedly perceived would be more conducive to a win by Clinton.

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