Friday, May 26, 2017

Muslim Ban Body Slam

To use a contemporaneous metaphor, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals grabbed Trump’s travel ban against six Muslim-majority countries by the neck and threw it to the ground.

The question for this Court, distilled to its essential form, is whether the Constitution, as the Supreme Court declared in Ex parte Milligan…remains “a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace.” And if so, whether it protects Plaintiffs’ right to challenge an Executive Order that in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination. Surely the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment yet stands as an untiring sentinel for the protection of one of our most cherished founding principles—that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy, or favor or disfavor one religion over another. Congress granted the President broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the President wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation. [Emphasis added.]

The context the Court refers to is the endless honking from Trump and his minions about banning all Muslims, starting in December 2015 and all the way through the election, so it’s a bit of a stretch for him and the DOJ to say it has nothing whatsoever to do with banning all Muslims and hiding behind that ever-popular boogedy-boogedy about “national security.”

Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III says the next stop will be the Supreme Court.  They may be politicized in favor of the right-wing, but even they know religious bigotry when they see it.  One can only hope.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Short Takes

U.K. terror threat raised to “critical” following Manchester bombing.

Ex-C.I.A Director John Brennan said there is good reason to inquire into Trump/Russia connection.

Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas more documents from Flynn.

Fox News retracts nut-job Clinton conspiracy story.

Trump budget breaks 7 campaign promises.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017

Moscow On The Potomac

Time magazine’s current cover.

Reuters:

Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told Reuters.

The previously undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, three current and former officials said.

Conversations between Flynn and Kislyak accelerated after the Nov. 8 vote as the two discussed establishing a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the U.S. national security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved relations, four current U.S. officials said.

Here’s what I don’t understand, and I’m hoping someone can explain it to me: what’s the attraction for Trump and his minions with Russia?  It’s a huge country with a lot of natural resources like oil and gas and raw materials, but it is still functioning like it’s the 1930’s and still under Stalin.  It makes nothing we want to import: would you buy a Russian car or cell phone or TV?  Do they even make them beyond what they cranked out under Communism?  Unlike China, Russia has not embraced the benefits of capitalism — a booming middle class — without abandoning the strict controls of dictatorship — who needs freedom of the press when you can drive a Maserati into Tienanmen Square?

The only thing Russia has going for it is that it’s ruled by a man who doesn’t take shit from anybody and can pretty much do what he wants and still be considered “duly elected.”  Vladimir Putin is everything Trump is not but would like to be: strong, confident, ruthless with his opponents, able to keep a story straight, and doesn’t care what anyone outside his country thinks of him.  He’s disciplined — when was the last time Putin tweeted his innermost thoughts at 4 a.m.? — and even when he bullshits he at least makes it sound plausible.  He’s even unashamed to show his bald head in public.

But other than the fact that Trump clearly has a teenage-boy style crush on the big badass jock, I don’t get it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Short Takes

DOJ appoints former FBI director Robert Mueller as independent counsel to run the Trump/Russia inquiry.

Wall Street tumbles over worries about Trump.

Despite calling it “worst deal ever,” Trump extends Iran deal waivers.

Tornadoes kill two in Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

Arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal record up 150%.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Short Takes

U.S. to arm Kurds fighting ISIS despite Turkey’s objections.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wants to investigate Trump’s business dealings.

China vows to defend climate change pact.

Workers at Hanford nuclear plant take cover after tunnel collapse.

Seattle mayor drops out of reelection bid due to sex abuse accusations.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Short Takes

Former Acting A.G. Sally Yates warned Trump White House about Flynn.

So did President Obama.

GOP enlists 13 men, no women, to draft Senate healthcare bill.

South Korea votes for a new president today.

Eighteen frat brothers charged in hazing death.

Four feared dead in flooding in Canada.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Short Takes

Now comes the hard part for French President-elect Emmanuel Macron.

North Korea says is has detained a fourth American.

ISIS Afghanistan leader reported killed.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) booed over “nobody dies” ACHA comment.

Family sues Texas cop over teen killing.

The Tigers got back to .500 last week.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Macron Wins French Presidency

Via the Guardian:

The pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron has won the French presidency with a decisive victory over the far-right Marine Le Pen that his supporters hailed as holding back the tide of populism.

Macron, 39, a former economy minister who ran as a “neither left nor right” independent promising to shake up the French political system, took 65.1% to Le Pen’s 34.9%, according to initial projections from early counts.

But Le Pen’s score nonetheless marked a historic high for the French far right. Despite a lacklustre campaign that ended with a calamitous performance in the final TV debate, she was projected to have taken more than 10 million votes, roughly double that of her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, when he reached the presidential run-off in 2002. The anti-immigration, anti-EU Front National’s supporters asserted that the party has a central place as an opposition force in France.

It looks like the French saw what electing a narcissistic nativist with a nasty racist streak does to a country and said, “Non, merci.”

Friday, May 5, 2017

Short Takes

House passes healthcare bill; future uncertain in the Senate.

Civil rights groups vow to fight Trump’s “religious liberty” order.

Cop ordered into anger management after shooting teenager.

Iraqi troops open front in Mosul to squeeze ISIS.

Russia, Turkey and Iran agree to safe zone in Syria.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017