A bi-partisan group of 58 ex-national security officials will denounce Trump’s emergency declaration

The group must be headed by Captain Obvious, since Trump himself admitted it was not an emergency. (“I didn’t have to do this.”) Trump obviously lacks the moral and logical grounds for this action.

BUT

So what? You can’t shame Trump into action. The only weapon that works against him is the law, and all common sense notwithstanding, he may well have the authority to do what he did. I’m not a legal scholar, but it seems to me that the President has just about unlimited latitude to determine just what is a national emergency. The appropriate U.S. code doesn’t define an emergency, or place any constraints on what the President may call an emergency (nice law-writing there, boys).

The law does place one form of constraint on the President. Congress may say, “Sorry, no emergency exists,” but that resolution needs to come from both houses, and it needs Republican defectors to pass the Senate. Moreover, even if it passed the Senate, it can be vetoed, and neither chamber has the votes to override.

This will put the courts in a very difficult position when the declaration is challenged, since they are supposed to interpret laws, and there is really nothing there to interpret. Unless they choose to arrogate power to themselves, their only recourse seems to be to rule, “The law is clear that overriding the President’s judgment is the job of Congress, not of the courts.”

The other remaining question revolves around the proper definition of the President’s powers to move money around. Trump will argue that this law gives him the authority to tinker with the military construction budget. Irrespective of whether the courts support him on that one, I would normally argue that it is politically suicidal to screw the troops by taking money away from military housing for a border wall of debatable necessity. But the rules of normality don’t apply to Trump. He seems to be a genius at knowing how much crazy shit he can do without losing the support of his base.

Just some light reading about Paulie Numbnuts.

The actual memo is only 25 pages long. The number rises to 800 with the attachments.

The biggest surprise: there was one day in 2016 when Manafort went the entire 24 hours without committing a felony. Although, to be fair, he did earn interest that day on the money he had made by committing previous felonies, so I guess there was never a day when he didn’t profit from criminal activity.

“On Thursday, Mark Harris, the Republican candidate who was in the lead for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District and had been fighting to have the results certified, backtracked and called for a new election. Later in the afternoon, the North Carolina State Board of Elections unanimously declared that a new election was needed.

After days of testimony investigating the unresolved midterm election, it became clear that an operative hired by Harris had fraudulently tampered with absentee ballots. Evidence showed that Harris’ campaign had also endeavored to conceal the ballot tampering from the state’s investigation.

Indeed, his initial upset victory in the primary against GOP incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger seems also to have involved tampering with absentee ballots.”

According to the Washington Post, his sudden change of heart was spurred by the interrogators having caught him … er … “misspeaking” under oath. He blamed his lyin’ weaselly ways on a recent sepsis infection that he said caused two strokes and affected his memory.

His exact words: “Yeah, sepsis. That’s the ticket.”

The vast size of the field of Democrats has left the President burning the midnight oil to come up with nicknames for them.

“Inside the West Wing and in conversations with outside allies, Trump has been workshopping other attempts to imprint his new adversaries with lasting labels, according to two people on whom the president has tested out the nicknames. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations with the president. He is also testing out lines of attack in public rallies, exploring vulnerabilities he could use against them should they advance to the general election.”

The House is opening an inquiry into the USA’s pursuit of a highly profitable nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia

To be fair, this investigation may be a wild goose chase. It appears the massive plans for Saudi/American co-operation have already been abandoned, although I’m not sure when the deal fell through. (That’s the key point that would determine whether there was corruption involved. It may have been abandoned some time ago, after both parties reconsidered, or it may not have been scuttled until investigators got wind of it.)

It had been reported in January that:

(1) the Saudis’ plan for sixteen nuclear plants had been scaled back to just two;

(2) to accomplish the scaled-back plan, they already had found partners in France and South Korea, thus obviating any need for assistance from the USA.

Everyone made fun of Trump’s sing-song recitation of his predictions for the next steps on his border emergency, but he probably called the plays exactly right. So far, he’s on point.

These processes, whether involving a liberal or a conservative, usually start out with some shopping for some federal judge somewhere who is likely to produce the desired ruling. In the case of liberals challenging a conservative, that judge will be somewhere in the Northern District, within the territory of the 9th Circuit, thus almost assuring a successful suit as well as a successful appeal, whereupon the administration will attempt to get the Supremes to hear the case. Given the new composition of the Supreme Court, experts are not able to make any confident predictions about how that court will rule. While Judge Kavanaugh seems to tip the court rightward, Chief Justice Roberts seems to be leaning ever farther in the opposite direction.

“Days after a federal judge imposed a limited gag order on him, Roger Stone posted a photograph of that judge to his Instagram page that included her name, a close-up of her face and what appeared to be the crosshairs of a gun sight near her head.”

Such a reasonable, measured man, every action duly considered!

“Through legal trickery Deep State hitman Robert Mueller has guaranteed that my upcoming show trial is before Judge Amy Berman Jackson.” Jackson is “an Obama appointed judge.”

Well, if you didn’t need to do it, then it’s not an emergency, is it?

“I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this.”

An emergency, by definition, is “a serious, unexpected situation requiring immediate action.”

Trump would get away with a lot more of his nefarious schemes if he’d just keep his mouth shut. Needless to say, “keeping his mouth shut” is not one of his strong points. He’s like a super-villain who trips himself up because he reveals his secret plans to 007 or Batman, just because he wants Bond or the Caped Crusader to know how smart he is.

“Trying to use the 25th Amendment to try and circumvent the Election is a despicable act of unconstitutional power grabbing…which happens in third world countries. You have to obey the law. This is an attack on our system & Constitution.”

(The Amendments are part of the Constitution.)

Dershowitz is just fear-mongering and spouting nonsense. It is completely impossible to use the 25th Amendment to overturn an election. There is literally no such thing, because the only person who can possibly benefit from the process is the Vice-President, who was elected in the very same election!

I don’t even understand the question. I always think “Black enough for what?”

Is she trying to win the Oval Office or a hip-hop Grammy?

Is this one black enough? Is this one feminine enough? Is this one guilty of cultural appropriation? This kind of cannibalism, the people of the left eating their own, is a good reason why liberals frequently end up fielding their second team and thus losing elections to drooling idiots, stumblebums and racists.

Is Harris representative of the average African American? I suppose not, but I can’t imagine what difference that makes. Look at her policies and character. If you don’t like them, try to educate her about your concerns, then move on to another candidate if she’s unresponsive.

I really don’t know anything about her, other than that she fucked up on that tweet about the tax refunds, meaning she is just as bad at numbers as every other politician. I did like that interview where she said she smoked dope and she inhaled the shit out of it. I know she is descended from Jamaican slaves and attended Howard University, which sounds pretty fuckin’ black to me, but what do I know? Given that I’m so white I could be the mutant offspring of Edgar Winter and a female polar bear, I don’t really get a vote on black authenticity.

He didn’t use the word “lied.” He said “contradicted by other evidence.”

“The committee has identified several individuals with direct knowledge of the phone calls you denied receiving from the White House.”

The king of the Big Dick Toilets was not subpoenaed, but he did testify under oath.

Oops.

Whitaker’s 15 minutes are just about up. In fact, he may no longer be acting AG when you read this. Barr’s confirmation vote should be held on Thursday.

Lyndon LaRouche, the political extremist and conspiracy theorist who ran for president in eight consecutive national elections, died Tuesday, his political action committee confirmed. He was 96.”

One of the more fascinating tidbits: he ran one of his eight Presidential campaigns from prison! He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for running some scam or another, but he only served about six years. I presume they let him out early because they just got tired of listening to him. I think even Charles Manson found him “a little out there.”

Although he did nothing that I know of on the internet, he was the true father of internet nutbaggery. He was a prominent nutburger before it was even a thing. If you took ten of his wackiest positions and intermingled them with ten headlines from the late, lamented Weekly World News, nobody but a true LaRouche expert could tell the difference.

Although LaRouche was pretty much wrong about everything he ever said, I suppose he may well turn out to be right about his overall premise:

“A central tenet of his apocalyptic platform warned of an inevitable global downward slide into crisis.”

True enough. That may not happen in the next ten or a hundred or even a million years, but I suppose it is inevitable. Maybe it will occur fairly soon in cosmic terms, or maybe not until the sun burns out. Making that prediction is sort of like predicting that Dwayne Johnson will die. No matter how fit and healthy he seems today, your prediction has to be right eventually.

Trump’s claim about Beto’s rally: “He has 200 people, 300 people.”

The facts: “Estimates from O’Rourke’s anti-border wall protest show that 7,000 to 8,000 people attended his rally. Some other reports put attendance as high as 10,000 to 15,000.”

Trump’s claim about his own rally: “The arena holds 8,000. And thank you, Fire Department. They got in about 10,000. Thank you, Fire Department. Appreciate it.”

The Fire Department: “Fire Department spokesman Enrique Aguilar told the El Paso Times on Monday that Trump did not receive permission to exceed the limit and that there were 6,500 people inside the building during the president’s rally.”

No wonder he doesn’t want us to see his tax returns! Not a big numbers guy.

In some degree to fairness to Trump, he’s probably not much worse at numbers than most other politicians. I have to say that I never once saw any of our campus activists, right or left, YAF or SDS, in a non-required math class. They were not big on classes where you couldn’t assert your superior solution by shouting down the opposition.

And it’s not just a right-wing phenomenon. Remember that Elizabeth Warren claimed that the number of Americans incarcerated for low-level marijuana offenses was greater than the number locked up for all violent crimes! That claim was even more ridiculous than Trump’s boasts about his crowd sizes. The numbers are not even vaguely comparable.

* In the federal prisons, of the approximately 180,000 prisoners, only about 250 are there for drug possession, and only about 12% of those involve marijuana. That means about 30 people in the entire vast expanse of the United States. Of course that is 30 too many, but those 30 are a drop in the bucket compared to the inmates who were convicted of violent crimes.

* In the state prisons, about 3.4% of all prisoners are in for drug possession – of any kind of drug, not just reefer. Assuming the same ratio as the Feds (marijuana possession offenders as a percentage of all of possession offenders), that means about 5000 people are incarcerated for marijuana possession in a total prison population of more than a million. It is regrettable that we have imprisoned more than five thousand people for possession of some doobie. If I were the president, I’d pardon them all. But again – that is an insignificant group beside the violent offenders (some 700,000).

The survey was done over a two-week period almost entirely BEFORE the Northam blackface scandal was first reported.

Only 37% of Republicans thought blackface was unacceptable.

66% of black people feel that blackface is not acceptable, with an additional 16% in the “not sure / don’t know” group.

And yet …

The majority of Republicans are calling for Northam to resign, and the vast majority of black people believe he should not. I reckon our ethical standards are highly fluid.

It would be interesting and useful to take the exact same poll again now, which would allow the pollsters to establish an hypocrisy index.

Interestingly, white Democrats have not been hypocritical as a group. They said that blackface was unacceptable, declaring so in almost the same percentage as black people, and they have also broadly called for Northam to step down.

Well, I doubt that will happen.

The removal of a President is a political process, not a legal one, because the Constitution does not define an impeachable offense other than “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a phrase which means whatever Congress says it means. The reality is that if you’re going to remove him from office, you need the votes of 67 senators. As I’ve noted many times, there is no reasonably imaginable Trump action that would cause that to happen.

What if Trump gave Putin a blow job while they both shit on an American flag?

Nah. The GOP spin doctors would say we are coming closer to peace by having better relations with Russia.

Maybe if he dropped an atomic bomb on Wall Street …

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) pledged this week in her campaign kickoff that she would never stop fighting everyday Americans. “I will stand up to the common man—with my fists,” said Klobuchar, asserting that she would take on all Americans—rich, poor, black, white, straight, or gay—in an all-out brawl until every last one was bleeding and unconscious. “As president, I promise the American people an open exchange of blows. I will not hold back in beating every citizen to a pulp. Just like I’ve fought tooth and nail against the people of Minnesota.”

(The Onion)

Well … duh!

Is there anyone who didn’t already realize that?

“He said it wasn’t his idea. The president had ordered him to write the memo justifying the firing.”

If you have forgotten, the President then used the memo to justify the firing of Comey on Rosenstein’s recommendation.

(Hey, why wait for somebody to produce a case that Comey should be fired when you can do it yourself? That’s just good business. In the corporate world we call it vertical integration! You don’t need a supplier if you ARE the supplier. And it’s often wise to give your supplier a different name, creating a house brand, even if they are really your own company. In this case, Rosenstein was his house brand.)

The background: they published some of Bezos’s intimate text messages, whereupon Bezos hired investigators to find out how the Enquirer could have gotten their hands on his personal texts. The Enquirer does not like being investigated …

And then Bezos picks up the story

“A few days after hearing about Mr. Pecker’s apoplexy, we were approached, verbally at first, with an offer. They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn’t stop our investigation.”

After Bezos ignored their verbal threats, they sent him a written description of the pics they have of him, and said “It would give no editor pleasure to send this email. I hope common sense can prevail — and quickly.”

Needless to say (since we know about it), Bezos simply chose to make the letter public, and continued his investigation. He told his investigators that they have an unlimited budget – and Bezos is VERY VERY rich, so “unlimited” means truly as much as a hundred investigators could spend in several lifetimes.

The big question – why is the Enquirer so paranoid about being investigated? The answer lies in their settlement in the Trump case. In return for not being prosecuted for the obvious crimes they committed there, they had to sign an agreement not to commit any crimes of any kind for three years, and if they did, then “A.M.I. shall thereafter be subject to prosecution for any federal criminal violation of which this office has knowledge.” In other words, if they commit any further crimes, they would no longer get away scott-free on the Trump crimes. That probably would mean prison time for ol’ Mr. Pecker himself.

Obviously, they can’t afford to have a swarm of investigators up in their business.

They only part I don’t understand is why they thought Bezos would cave to the blackmail. He’s not running for office, and he has more money than he can ever spend, even if he has to fork over half to his wife, so he has nothing to lose, nothing to be afraid of, and there is really no way to control him unless he has committed a crime. Publish his dick pics? Who cares when you have 60 billion dollars earned legally? If you give me 60 billion dollars, you can publish all the dick pics you want. I’ll even pose for some new ones. Just make sure the check is good.

It’s interesting to see how the oddsmakers view it.

If you really think your faves have a chance at the Oval Office, you might be able to clean up on this. For example, you can get 25-1 on Elizabeth Warren, so a bet of ten grand lands you a check for a quarter of a million if she makes it to the White House. Righteous bucks.

Or as she would say, righteous wampum.

Trump is, as you might expect, approximately an even money bet (21-10), since he’s more or less certain of the GOP nomination, and about a coin flip in the general election.

A bet for Kamala Harris only pays off 6-1 at this moment. That doesn’t seem like a good bet to me. A lot can happen between now and then, and that’s not much reward for your risk. Kamala has really been established as a betting favorite, which surprised me. I like her well enough, but I didn’t know she had that much swagger. She only pays off 10-3 on a bet to win the Democratic nomination.

Beto is the next favorite for the nomination, even though he hasn’t even declared. The best payoff on him is 13-2 to win the nomination. Biden is next, with the best odds being 7-1. There is a sizeable gap after those three. Bernie pays off at 12-1, Warren at 14-1. At this point Cory Booker is a 20-1 shot for the nomination. You can get 33-1 on Hillary if you like the long shots.