“If the judiciary doesn’t trust the sincerity of the president’s oath and doesn’t have any…”

Friday, March 17th, 2017

“If the judiciary doesn’t trust the sincerity of the president’s oath and doesn’t have any presumption that the president will take care that the laws are faithfully executed, why on earth would it assume that a facially valid purpose of the executive is its actual purpose?”

Benjamin Wittes, Quinta Jurecic in The Revolt of the Judges: What Happens When the Judiciary Doesn’t Trust the President’s Oath

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“In a rule-of-law society, government allegations of criminal activity must be followed by proof and…”

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

In a rule-of-law society, government allegations of criminal activity must be followed by proof and prosecution. If not, the government is ruling by innuendo.

Shadowy dictatorships can do that because there is no need for proof. Democracies can’t.

Thus, an accusation by a president isn’t like an accusation leveled by one private citizen against another. It’s about more than factual truth or carelessness.

The government’s special responsibility has two bases. One is that you can’t sue the government for false and defamatory speech. If I accused Obama of wiretapping my phone, he could sue me for libel. If my statement was knowingly false, I’d have to pay up. On the other hand, if the president makes the same statement, he can’t be sued in his official capacity. And a private libel suit mostly likely wouldn’t go anywhere against a sitting president — for good reason, because the president shouldn’t be encumbered by lawsuits while in office.

The second reason the government has to be careful about making unprovable allegations is that its bully pulpit is greater than any other. True, as an ex-president, Obama can defend himself publicly and has plenty of access to the news media. But even he doesn’t have the audience that [redacted] now has. And essentially any other citizen would have far less capacity to mount a defense than Obama.

For these reasons, it’s a mistake to say simply that [redacted]’s accusation against Obama is protected by the First Amendment.

False and defamatory speech isn’t protected by the First Amendment.

And an allegation of potentially criminal misconduct made without evidence is itself a form of serious misconduct by the government official who makes it.

When candidate [redacted] said Hillary Clinton was a criminal who belonged in prison, he was exposing himself to a libel suit. And the suit might not have succeeded, because [redacted] could have said he was making a political argument rather than an allegation of fact.

But when President [redacted] accuses Obama of an act that would have been impeachable and possibly criminal, that’s something much more serious than libel. If it isn’t true or provable, it’s misconduct by the highest official of the executive branch.

How is such misconduct by an official to be addressed? There’s a common-law tort of malicious prosecution, but that probably doesn’t apply when the government official has no intention to prosecute.

The answer is that the constitutional remedy for presidential misconduct is impeachment.

Noah Feldman, [redacted]’s wiretap tweets raise his risk of impeachment. Feldman is a Bloomberg View columnist. He is a professor of constitutional and international law at Harvard University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter. His books include “Cool War: The Future of Global Competition” and “Divided by God: America’s Church-State Problem — and What We Should Do About It.”

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Sunday, March 5th, 2017

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truth-has-a-liberal-bias: liberalsarecool: Intelligence…

Saturday, March 4th, 2017



Intelligence Community closing in on Trump. #DeepState #ShittingHimself

Trump is such a sad, pathetic little child.

One of the interesting things about this is that a month into his term he apparently still doesn’t understand how FISA wiretaps work (assuming that’s what this is about), or even the more basic distinction between the proper roles of the justice department and White House in an ongoing criminal investigation. And not just that he’s violating those norms, but apparently isn’t even aware they exist.

There’s obviously a rich and varied body of evidence at this point as to his inability to carry out his oath of office in any meaningful sense. But this is another piece of that picture.

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“The OMB outline for the Commerce Department for fiscal 2018 proposed sharp reductions in specific…”

Saturday, March 4th, 2017

“The OMB outline for the Commerce Department for fiscal 2018 proposed sharp reductions in specific areas within NOAA such as spending on education, grants and research. NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would lose $126 million, or 26 percent, of the funds it has under the current budget. Its satellite data division would lose $513 million, or 22 percent, of its current funding under the proposal. The National Marine Fisheries Service and National Weather Service would be fortunate by comparison, facing only 5 percent cuts…. The biggest single cut proposed by the passback document comes from NOAA’s satellite division, known as the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, which includes a key repository of climate and environmental information, the National Centers for Environmental Information. Researchers there were behind a study suggesting that there has been no recent slowdown in the rate of climate change — research that drew the ire of Republicans in Congress. Another proposed cut would eliminate a $73 million program called Sea Grant, which supports coastal research conducted through 33 university programs across the country. That includes institutions in many swing states that went for President Trump, such as the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, the University of Florida and North Carolina State University.”

White House proposes steep budget cut to leading climate science agency – The Washington Post
(via dendroica)

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“He will do much more damage before he departs the scene, to become a subject of horrified wonder in…”

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

“He will do much more damage before he departs the scene, to become a subject of horrified wonder in our grandchildren’s history books. To repair the damage he will have done Americans must give particular care to how they educate their children, not only in love of country but in fair-mindedness; not only in democratic processes but democratic values.”

Eliot A. Cohen Responds to Donald Trump’s First Week – The Atlantic (via the-eldest-woman-on)

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unacaritafeliz: what a great weekend on tumblr dot com where you’ll learn how all your faves are…

Sunday, February 19th, 2017


what a great weekend on tumblr dot com where you’ll learn how all your faves are problematic and not want to follow or like anything ever again.

now with bonus advertising featuring a red trucker hat with “make X great again” and a link to a report on optimizing your stock portfolio to profit during the coming time of ethnic cleansing.

really, @david? really?

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tastefullyoffensive: #TinyTrump is my new favorite meme.

Friday, February 17th, 2017


#TinyTrump is my new favorite meme.

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I deleted that earlier reblog of mine of the quote about the proposal to use the Nat Guard for…

Friday, February 17th, 2017

I deleted that earlier reblog of mine of the quote about the proposal to use the Nat Guard for undocumented worker roundups. Subsequent chatter on twitter raises the possibility that the story was an earlier, no-longer-being-pursued draft proposal intentionally planted with the AP by the White House (i.e., Bannon) to be able to then decry it as “fake news”.

Also, I’ve learned a new word today: provokatsiya.

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“The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard…”

Friday, February 17th, 2017

“The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press. The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana. Four states that border on Mexico are included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. Governors in the 11 states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general. While National Guard personnel have been used to assist with immigration-related missions on the U.S.-Mexico border before, they have never been used as broadly or as far north.”

Trump weighs mobilizing Nat Guard for immigration roundups
(via dendroica)

Nope nope nope. All the nope.

The fact that the US lacks a national police force is not a bug. It’s a feature. It’s a legacy of our history as a union of formerly independent states, where the will of a would-be autocrat is limited by the fact that without the cooperation of local law enforcement his ability to carry out peckerheaded schemes like this is limited.

We, like, literally fought a revolution over this.

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Town Hall Project 2018

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Town Hall Project 2018:


Find the nearest town hall and tell your reps they work for you! Staffers will tell you in-person meetings matter most—and that decisions get made by those who show up.

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bourbakiaxiom: Making a difference where it is most…

Sunday, February 12th, 2017


Making a difference where it is most needed

Instead of putting “America First” (or “Australia First”, or “Your-white-privileged-location First”), it is great to see people focusing on how to help other parts of the world. An example is a new program, run out from Australia, UK, and the US, that will improve living conditions in slums in Fiji and Indonesia.

Poor access to clean water and bad sanitation are common in slums. Water-borne diseases are prevalent, especially in low-lying areas. And conventional planning approaches to improve these aspects can often just result in slum clearing, displacing the people, and creating other slums elsewhere.

A 5-year project, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Asian Development Bank, will use alternative water management processes, and involve local community consultation in the design. Medical researchers will be part of the multi-disciplinary team, helping assess how health outcomes are improved.

This is my second post of a planned series, focusing on how responsible governments, communities and citizens should behave in love and support. It is a deliberate counterpoint to the chaos of fear and hate looming in many Western governments, but most notoriously of late, in the Trump maladministration.

For more details of the project:

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amuseoffyre: highwaytohell-a: every time I remember about this…

Friday, February 10th, 2017



every time I remember about this spectacular moment, it just makes me happy (and also proud) that this joke was most probably written by an openly gay man (Chris Kelly) and performed by an open lesbian woman (Kate Mckinnon) in live tv. and that is just glorious.

This is how you take an SNL skit: with humour and acknowledgement that you’ve cocked up along the way. Not by being a pissbaby about it on twitter all night long

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puppygamer:my brother in law voted for trump even tho his wife has had cancer and is in remission so…

Friday, February 10th, 2017


my brother in law voted for trump even tho his wife has had cancer and is in remission so an ACA repeal could kill her… we have a serious issue with propaganda in the US right now and I don’t know how we can fix it

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windandwater: Forth now, and fear no darkness!—J.R.R. Tolkien,…

Friday, February 10th, 2017


Forth now, and fear no darkness!

—J.R.R. Tolkien, Return of the King, Book 5, Chapter 5

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congressarchives: Today marks the 50th anniversary of the…

Friday, February 10th, 2017


Today marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 25th Amendment!

Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution did not clarify,
in the event of a vacancy in the Presidency, whether it was only the
“powers and duties” of the President that devolved onto the Vice
President or if the office itself did, too.

Before passage of the 25th Amendment,
succession was determined by legislation. Congress passed laws at
various times establishing the President pro tempore of the Senate, the
Speaker of the House, or the Secretary of State as third in line for the

Read more about the Succession of the Presidency on Prologue: Pieces of History

relevant to my interests

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A note from the Indivisible Team

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

A note from the Indivisible Team:


A note for all of us who feel defeated after Sessions from the Indivisible Team: This is the long game. We are going to lose a lot. We are going to get good at losing. We are going to lose cabinet votes for terrible nominees. We are going to lose bills that are offensive and appalling. But while we are losing, something else is going to happen. We are going to keep raising our voices and slowly our representatives are going to start listening to us. We’ve seen it happen. 

It won’t happen because of next week’s call to action. It’ll happen over months, where you keep showing up, regularly. Then, we are going to start winning. It’ll sneak up on us. We won’t understand why we are winning. But it starts with losing in a particular way- where we raise our voices and call it out when we aren’t listened to, where we get close but not quite there.

The first 100 days of a President’s term are the honeymoon period, the moment when he’s most likely to get his agenda enacted. Trump is spending his first 100 days mired in controversy, scandal, and backbiting – and that’s because you haven’t for a moment let anyone in Washington forget just how unpopular he is.

Every time we change the narrative, every time we delay, every time there’s a newspaper story about a member of Congress avoiding his or her constituents, that’s a win. And it matters.

You have already made history. You’ve delayed the confirmation of Trump’s cabinet picks longer than any time in recent history. You stopped the gutting on the congressional ethics office. You’ve made Republicans so nervous about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act that it’s been pushed further and further down the road. You caused an uproar of historic proportions over Trump’s Muslim ban and saved lives and reunited families in the process. You’ve inspired people who have never before taken action to make their voices heard and learn how to do things like check how their members of Congress voted and call them out for it.

We’ll never even know about some of the victories – because those will be the fights that this Administration considered starting and then realized it couldn’t win.

We’re in this together. Every visit. Every call. Every loss. Every win. That’s just what friends do. #StandIndivisible

In solidarity,

The Indivisible Team

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imaginarycircus replied to your quote: This is just the clearest statement of…

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

I’m glad you’re calling! I haven’t called Elizabeth Warren’s office because we all know where she stands in this mess. But I feel like calling and pushing for impeachment is good. Although people with Rep need to push hard because it won’t happen w/o Rep rebelling.

Good luck with your storm. And good luck to us all with the nor’easter bearing down on the republic.

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“This is just the clearest statement of what has been obvious for months. President Trump sees the…”

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

“This is just the clearest statement of what has been obvious for months. President Trump sees the United States and his family businesses as a fully integrated entity because he is President. Remember, just a few days ago the President’s wife argued in court that a disputed and subsequently retracted article damaged her ability to take advantage of the business opportunity of being First Lady. That literally means that her public office is a thing of specifically quantifiable monetary value to which she has been wrongly deprived and for which is seeking compensation. He is the state. He is the business. That may sound dramatic and even hyperbolic. But look at Spicer’s own words. They’re not. As I’ve been saying, stop talking about ‘conflicts of interest’. Those are guide rails meant to help ethical people to stay ethical or unethical people put on a show of it. There’s no show here. Trump is openly using the Presidency as the world’s greatest marketing opportunity. Happily, there are some signs his efforts to punish companies that don’t enrich him and his family may be backfiring. But that’s irrelevant to the question of intent. He’s openly doing this. The only question is who helps him and who refuses to accept this as a normal state of affairs.”

Three Dimensional Integration
(via dendroica)

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micdotcom:People are turning Mitch McConnell’s dig against…

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017


People are turning Mitch McConnell’s dig against Elizabeth Warren into a feminist rallying cry

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