A Letter To My Party

June 12, 2017

Putin $ co_C3328mBWYAAa1oJ

Dear Democratic U.S. House “Leadership”

Though I don’t agree with it of course, I have come to accept the comparatively few instances of principled opposition from you to the unceasing kleptocratic garbage from our Problem-Child-In-Chief and the other feckless miscreants who populate this outlaw presidential administration. At least the U.S. Senate Democrats have voted basically en masse against the cabinet nominees of Generalissimo Trump, so that is progress of a sort, even though those people were almost all confirmed.

However, I am writing to you now to point out that, with the notable exception of Rep. Al Green of Texas, you have shied away from using the “I” word at every opportunity concerning the individual who managed to ascend to the White House aided by the considerable influence of a foreign hostile power. Donald J. Trump has committed what, in all likelihood, are provable violations of the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, to say nothing of dereliction of duty in that he has failed to safeguard classified information that has potentially put our own personnel at risk as well as those of other countries; and now, recently, based on the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey (fired by Trump over Comey’s investigation of Russia’s meddling in our election), it has come to light that Trump obstructed Comey over that very investigation.

Now, this story tells us that Trump’s attorney is refusing to rule out the possibility that Trump may fire Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is looking into Russia’s influence and related business dealings involving past and current members of this administration (a la former President Richard Nixon firing Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox).

If that happens, I demand that every member of the Democratic U.S. House caucus call for the immediate impeachment of Donald Trump. This country deserves a thorough investigation into exactly what role Russia played in last year’s election and what past and current members of this administration did to facilitate that country’s actions, as well as learning what they stood to gain for doing so. Any attempt by this president to thwart this activity should call for nothing less than his immediate removal from office.

Sincerely,

A Loyal Democrat

Update 1: What I said above was intended to cover anyone working for Number 45 as well as President Big Orange Cheetoh himself (here).

Update 2: More like this


Three Quick Friday Hits

September 18, 2009

  • Three interesting items appeared in the New York Times today – here is the first…

    Compared with the immense size of the stimulus program, the actual number of arrests so far has been microscopic. Earl E. Devaney, the chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the watchdog for stimulus money, said recently that federal prosecutors were looking at only nine stimulus-related cases, including accusations of Social Security fraud and of businesses improperly claiming to be owned by women and members of minorities.

    “Quite frankly, I’m a little surprised it’s that small,” Mr. Devaney testified recently before the Senate, explaining that his office passes along questionable expenses to the various federal inspector general offices following the money, as well as to the Department of Justice. “I know, from talking to them, they’re very interested in sending some very loud signals early, as often as they can, with this money.”

    The small number of cases is partly a function of how much stimulus money has been spent so far, and how it has been spent. While more than $150 billion of it has been pumped into the economy, according to a recent report by the White House, some $62.6 billion of that was in the form of tax cuts. Of the rest, $38.4 billion was sent to states for fiscal relief; $30.6 billion was spent to help those affected by the recession by expanding unemployment benefits and other safety-net programs, and $16.5 billion was spent in areas like infrastructure, technology and research.

    It should have been about $62 billion in infrastructure and $16.5 billion in tax cuts, but what’s done is done.

    And as noted here, FBI Director Robert Mueller has issued a warning about potential fraud arising in the future over the “stim.” Mueller has also issued warnings about mortgage and white collar business fraud in the past, which is probably the prudent thing to do. Basically, I wouldn’t read too much into his warning today by itself, unless further evidence of “stim” fraud arises of course.

  • Here is the second item, including the following…

    LOS ANGELES — Government auditors reported Thursday that the effort to secure the Mexican border with technology and fences has fallen years behind schedule, will cost billions of dollars extra in maintenance costs and has no clear means of gauging whether illegal crossings have been curtailed.

    Mark Borkowski, who directs the Secure Border Initiative for the Department of Homeland Security, stood by the program as “transformational,” but did not challenge the findings. “We are as frustrated as anybody is” with the setbacks, Mr. Borkowski said in an interview.

    The report, by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s watchdog, said the department had fallen about seven years behind its goal of putting in place the technology the Bush administration had heavily promoted when it announced the Secure Border Initiative in 2005.

    And by the way…

    The apprehension of illegal immigrants at the border has fallen to lows not seen in decades, but scholars and Mexican officials say the recession and the lack of jobs in the United States have contributed to the drop.

    So aside from despoiling habitat, there really is no way to gauge whether or not the “fence” is any good, is there? Pathetic.

  • And speaking of environmental disasters, here is the third story…

    WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is investigating whether a former secretary of the interior, Gale A. Norton, violated the law by granting valuable leases to Royal Dutch Shell around the time she was considering going to work for the company after she left office, officials said Thursday.

    The officials said investigators had recently turned up information suggesting that Ms. Norton had had discussions while in office with Royal Dutch Shell about future career opportunities. In early 2006, Ms. Norton’s department awarded three tracts in Colorado to a Shell subsidiary for shale exploration. In December 2006, she joined Shell as the company’s general counsel in the United States for unconventional oils, a company spokeswoman said.

    The existence of a federal criminal investigation was first reported Thursday by The Los Angeles Times.

    Ms. Norton, 55, was President George W. Bush’s first interior secretary. In that job, she was an ally of Vice President Dick Cheney in the administration’s general approach of opening up more federal lands for energy exploration.

    Gaylie, Gaylie, how does your garden grow (I mean, before the ground beneath it is ripped apart for natural gas exploration, leaving it utterly useless).

    By the way, this post celebrating Norton’s resignation from Interior three years ago contains a link to an Inquirer Op-Ed from Norton claiming that it’s “time for the denial to end” on drilling in the Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge.

    If Norton is eventually found guilty, I have an idea for her sentencing (speaking of “the mountains she loves so much”). As someone who should have acted as a steward of the environment, I believe she should be forced to parachute into the Rockies with food and water rations for about a week, along with a Swiss army knife. From that point, she’s on her own.


  • Of Mice And Men (And Soda Bottles)

    December 12, 2008

    ladyjustice1This New York Times story from yesterday tells us about Javaid Iqbal, a Muslim man from Pakistan who used to be a cable television installer on Long Island, who…

    …was among thousands of Muslim men rounded up after the Sept. 11 attacks. Some of them were considered to be “of high interest,” and they were held in a special housing unit of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

    While there, Mr. Iqbal said, he was subjected to daily body-cavity searches, beatings and extreme temperatures. He said he was kept in solitary confinement with the lights in his cell constantly on, that he was called a terrorist and a “Muslim killer,” and that he lost 40 pounds during six months in the special unit.

    He eventually pleaded guilty to identity fraud and was deported to Pakistan.

    As a result, he sued former Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller on the grounds that they “implemented the policies that led to the abuse and condoned it,” and the case is now being argued in front of The Supremes (with the predictable denials from Ashcroft and Mueller)…

    The two officials say that they are immune from suit, a contention rejected by the federal appeals court in Manhattan last year, at least at the most preliminary stage of the case. In the Supreme Court, the officials argued that Mr. Iqbal’s assertions that they were responsible for any abuses he suffered were speculative and lacked supporting factual allegations.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested that a 2003 report from the Justice Department’s inspector general may “lend some plausibility” to Mr. Iqbal’s claims. The report found serious abuses by the (detention center’s) personnel.

    (Solicitor General Gregory G. Garre, representing Ashcroft and Mueller) urged the justices to ignore the report, saying it was outside the scope of the litigation. But he said the report had made findings helpful to his clients’ contention that their own actions, at least, were lawful.

    So…ignore the bad stuff in the report, but remember the good stuff that helps my clients, huh? Typical Bushco…

    But not to worry – this is the high court of Hangin’ Judge J.R., let’s not forget (we hear from Justice Breyer first, though)…

    Justice Stephen G. Breyer asked a hypothetical question: would a plaintiff be allowed to pursue a lawsuit against the president of Coca-Cola on the bare accusation that the president had personally put mice in soda bottles?

    Uhh….come again?

    Other justices engaged the question, considering whether such a lawsuit would be subject to sanctions on the grounds that it was frivolous and whether the company’s president would have to submit to questioning under oath at a deposition.

    “How are we supposed to judge whether we think it’s more unlikely that the president of Coca-Cola would take certain actions,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked Mr. Iqbal’s lawyer, Alexander A. Reinert, “as opposed to the attorney general of the United States?”

    WHAAA???????

    I don’t recall that the president of Coca-Cola has ever authorized “extraordinary rendition” or full body cavity searches of his competitors and then depositing them in a holding cell before they were eventually flown halfway around the world for God knows what kind of treatment.

    And apparently, the fog spread elsewhere in the court…

    Justice John Paul Stevens suggested that he was uneasy about lightly letting claims against high officials proceed, mentioning his majority opinion in Clinton v. Jones, the 1997 decision that allowed Paula Jones’s sexual harassment case against President Bill Clinton to go forward. A prediction in that decision about the burden the suit would place on the president — “it appears to us highly unlikely to occupy any substantial amount of petitioner’s time” — turned out to be incorrect.

    Ugh…so Stevens thinks that siding with the appeals court would entail “occupy(ing) (a) substantial amount of (Ashcroft and Mueller’s) time,” and that is the issue at hand, as opposed what could possibly represent a violation of Javaid Iqbal’s rights?

    Excuse me, but I hardly see the equivalency, particularly when you have stories such as this where the FBI has settled with a Muslim man accused in an attack in Spain to the tune of $2 million, and a German national sued the CIA for rendition and torture here (unpleasantly surprised that I have to point this out to someone like Stevens).

    Actually, I think Ashcroft and Mueller could help move this case to some kind of settlement (as opposed to the cost of arguing before the high court) and thus save valuable tax dollars if they made a simple gesture (particularly given the fact that the defendant’s name is apparently a common one, hence this mixup).

    How about an apology for starters?


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