Saturday, April 27, 2019

Sumpn Sumpn the Rule of Law

It is too complicated for me to figure out everybody's motives in Trump's government. People are trying to keep their jobs, keep Trump from doing nutty stuff, they are responding to the atmosphere around them, to bribery and financial opportunities. So for instance, it is impossible to understand what Rod Rosenstein is doing. He gave a talk to an Armenian group recently where he spoke in Armenian and said how much he loves Armenians, and all the Armenian friends he has... okay, maybe that's what you do.

But he tossed in a comment (in English) that stood out. He said: As President Trump pointed out, “we govern ourselves in accordance with the rule of law rather [than] … the whims of an elite few or the dictates of collective will.”

So, look, what is the chance that President Trump would ever have said such a thing? It might have appeared in a press release or some mission statement on a web site, but can you imagine for a minute that Donald Trump opened his mouth and uttered those words? (I see, it was from a "proclamation" on Law Day, a year ago. I doubt the President even read it.)

It is not complicated to figure out Trump's motives, which are to make money and aggrandize himself relative to others. The "rule of law" is really no part of it. Not a concept he is familiar with.

Now he is refusing to cooperate with any subpoenas. A court or legislative body may request the appearance of a witness, in which case the witness has a choice and may decline the invitation. Or they can subpoena the witness, which gives them the choice of complying or paying a penalty, often jail time -- commonly IRL noncompliant individuals are imprisoned until their time to testify.

Trump has declared that he will "fight all the subpoenas." And as investigations pile up, there could be a bunch of them.

I'm losing track. Trump is suing House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) to block a subpoena requesting financial records from his accountant. John Gore, the principal deputy attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, refused a subpoena to appear for a deposition before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee that was scheduled for Thursday, and the administration had convinced Carl Kline, the former director of White House personnel security, not to testify about granting security clearances, but they announced late Friday that they will allow Kline to record an interview for the House Oversight Committee. Meanwhile some Democrats are threatening fines or jail time if Trump officials refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas.

By the time I post this there will be more.

Congress is assigned the responsibility under the Constitution to provide oversight of the executive branch, and the executive branch is required to cooperate. That's how the separation of powers work, that is one way the Founders arranged to prevent tyranny. It is hard to take over the government when two other branches of it can checkmate you at any move.

According to news reports, the Trump administration will lose these challenges in court, but they hope to drag it out until after the 2020 elections, so Americans will not know for sure if they are voting for a bunch of criminals. Well, they'll know, they just won't have the documentation in front of them.

And of course, if the House decides to initiate impeachment proceedings, the foot-dragging becomes irrelevant. It is distinctly possible that Trump & Co. are going to bring that on themselves, if that's what it takes to get witnesses to testify.

And Rosenstein quotes Trump saying we need to govern ourselves in accordance with the rule of law. Hoo boy.

Here's a reminder of what "scandal" used to mean.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Conservatives Wonder Why Democrats Are Upset

Here is a conservative site with a classic (not classy) question -- Red State: Why Are Democrats Upset At Illegal Aliens Being Sent To Their Sanctuary Cities?

The story, as you have probably heard, is that President Trump had the bright idea of taking migrants from the border, shipping them to sanctuary cities in Democratic states, and dropping them off there. Some liberals think this is a terrible idea.

Red State thinks Democrats are being hypocrites.
Why would any Democrat oppose this? Why would any member of the left-wing media be outraged over this? Why wouldn’t they be fully supportive of sending illegals in need of sanctuary to their own self-described sanctuary cities?

We’ve been told for years by these people that illegal immigrants are a net positive. They supposedly commit less crime (they don’t), do the jobs Americans won’t do, and provide valued diversity. The Democratic party believes that so much that they refuse to do anything to stem the tide...
...and so on.

The author of this piece, "Bonchie," thinks Democrats should be happy to implement this plan. This reminds me of when Trump fired James Comey and then was surprised that Democrats did not approve. Both are cases of inappropriately-used binary logic. Because we all see the world in black and white, and because Comey did something that hurt the Democratic Presidential candidate, we -- Democrats -- should automatically rejoice when something bad happens to him. Reports were that Trump was genuinely surprised that we saw the firing as a cheap political stunt and obstruction of justice.

In this case, we lefties love immigrants this much!, and so if you load up a few cattle-trucks with them and dump them in our downtown we should just be happy as could be. Yay, we will have more people speaking Spanish! We love them so much! Welcome, comrades!

Huh, well maybe some Democrats see it from the migrants' point of view. Maybe some of the 50,000 people currently in federal custody have relatives here that they plan to reunite with, that is, maybe they already know where they're going. People entering the country can currently decide where they want to go, and probably have a destination in mind. So maybe this plan does not work for them. In other words, maybe white American citizens -- Republicans or Democrats -- do not have the only possible point of view in this matter. Maybe it's not really about us.

Or, weird I know, but maybe some lefties think the idea of dumping truckloads of people with no money, no food, no home, who don't speak the language, in the middle of a big city in a new country sounds a little inhumane, unkind, and, actually, mean.

Even from the host city's point of view, dropping thousands of homeless people in the middle of a town without warning will put a burden on resources. A sudden influx of migrants is something a city would want to prepare for -- stock up on supplies, identify shelters and homes, translators, set up medical services, counseling, facilities for processing the paperwork. Democrats seem to have this crazy belief that before you undertake a big project it is good to have a plan. Sorry if I'm talking dirty.

But of course overwhelming the host cities is all part of the joke. Ha-ha, those Democrat-voting urban elites won't know what hit 'em. Poverty, starvation, homelessness, sickness -- it'll be hilarious!

It is possible that a couple of Democrats think that only the lowest kind of scum would use desperate and poor refugees as pawns in a petty partisan political prank. The idea that these are bad or dangerous people and that nobody would actually want them, and so Republicans are going to ship them to states that voted blue as punishment, is some of the most depraved and emotionally numb thinking we have ever seen in the leadership of the United States.

It is bad enough to keep thousands of asylum seekers and immigrants in concentration camps. It is bad enough to split up families intentionally, "losing" children and then saying it might take years to find them again. It is bad enough for officials and volunteers to sexually molest children and young adults at will with no accountability. It is bad enough to send the military to the border instead of immigration officials who can sort out the paperwork and get incoming migrants started on the correct process for entering the country or being sent back. It's already bad enough.

I think the dichotomy here is between those who see the refugees as human beings and those who see them as enemies or worse, vermin. If you recognize them as people with a need for safety then there are a number of ways to deal with them. Seeing them as vermin leads to more concentration camps, more torture, and the unthinkable.