Lazy Saturday Reads: Random ReadsPosted: December 17, 2016
I’m getting nowhere with this post today, so I’m just going to find best long distance moving companies. Now I’m completely stressed out about how I will manage to move, what I’ll take with me, and how to get rid of the rest of my stuff.
First, a quick update on my living situation. I have a possibility of an apartment in senior housing. I’m going to see it on Monday morning if I can dig myself out of the snow by then.
I’m also worried about the parking situation. I’ll find out on Monday if I can get a parking sticker or will have to pay to park in a municipal lot that is pretty far away. I’ll keep you posted.
Now for those random reads.
WBUR’s Radio Boston: Former CIA Officer On Trump’s Battle With Intelligence Community. This is an interview with Glenn Carle, “intelligence officer for 23 years in the CIA, where he served on four continents.” An excerpt:
On if Trump’s actions are unprecedented territory
“Absolutely. My personal experience goes back to President Reagan. But that means I overlapped with colleagues whose direct experiences go back to the Eisenhower administration, frankly. And there’s never been a circumstance like this.
“President [George W.] Bush did not accept many of the conclusions, or like the conclusions, or the views of the intelligence community with respect to Iraq or weapons of mass destruction, or terrorism. But an argument is one thing.
“President Clinton had hostile relations in his first administration with Director [James] Woolsey. That’s OK actually to have substantive differences. But when you deny even to consider the facts and if any statement is made on any subject at any time with which you think somehow challenges what you view as your own self-wealth or position then you’re dealing in someone who is almost clinically incapable of dealing with the world that we all live in. It’s absolutely stunning. There’s never been anything like this.”
“It’s horrifying moment. Others have said that the U.S. is facing — and I completely agree and I myself have said separately — that the U.S. is facing the greatest crisis to its institution since 1861. Not since the Vietnam War, not since World War II, since 1861 when the country broke in two. That is because our institutions, our procedures, the checks and balances, separation of powers, and the social compact as well as social reality and facts on which we all have to decide what positions we take and agree to disagree, all are placed in question for the glory of one person’s sense of self.”
Read the rest at the link. It’s good stuff.
Foreign interference in the American political system was among the gravest dangers feared by the Founders of our nation and the framers of our Constitution. The United States was a new government, and one that was vulnerable to manipulation by the great and wealthy world powers (which then, as now, included Russia). One common tactic that foreign sovereigns, and their agents, used to influence our officials was to give them gifts, money, and other things of value. In response to this practice, and the self-evident threat it represents, the framers included in the Constitution the Emoluments Clause of Article I, Section 9. It prohibits any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States]” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” Only explicit congressional consent validates such exchanges.
While much has changed since 1789, certain premises of politics and human nature have held steady. One of those truths is that private financial interests can subtly sway even the most virtuous leaders. As careful students of history, the Framers were painfully aware that entanglements between American officials and foreign powers could pose a creeping, insidious risk to the Republic. The Emoluments Clause was forged of their hard-won wisdom. It is no relic of a bygone era, but rather an expression of insight into the nature of the human condition and the preconditions of self-governance.
Now in 2016, when there is overwhelming evidence that a foreign power has indeed meddled in our political system, adherence to the strict prohibition on foreign government presents and emoluments “of any kind whatever” is even more important for our national security and independence.
Never in American history has a president-elect presented more conflict of interest questions and foreign entanglements than Donald Trump. Given the vast and global scope of Trump’s business interests, many of which remain shrouded in secrecy, we cannot predict the full gamut of legal and constitutional challenges that lie ahead. But one violation, of constitutional magnitude, will run from the instant that Mr. Trump swears he will “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” While holding office, Mr. Trump will receive—by virtue of his continued interest in the Trump Organization and his stake in hundreds of other entities—a steady stream of monetary and other benefits from foreign powers and their agents.
Read the entire report in pdf form.
Huma Abedin, the longtime aide to Hillary Clinton, asked a U.S. judge on Wednesday to allow her to review a search warrant the FBI used to gain access to emails related to Clinton’s private server shortly before the Nov. 8 presidential election.
In a letter filed in Manhattan federal court, Abedin said she was never provided a copy of the warrant, nor was her estranged husband, former Democratic U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, whose computer contained the emails in question.
The letter was filed as a federal judge considers whether to unseal the application for the search warrant, which was obtained after FBI Director James Comey informed Congress of newly discovered emails on Oct. 28….
U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel had invited affected parties to weigh in on the potential release of the search warrant application, which is being sought by Los Angeles-based lawyer Randol Schoenberg.
In their letter, Abedin’s lawyers said she was unable to evaluate the issue as neither she nor Weiner was provided the warrant itself, despite federal rules requiring authorities to provide a warrant to a person whose property was taken.
Read the rest at Newsweek.
Important piece at Slate by Jamelle Bouie: North Carolina’s GOP Is Closing Ranks.
After the Supreme Court struck down key portions of the Voting Rights Act, an almost uncontested North Carolina GOP—with firm control of the governor’s office and legislature following the 2010 and 2012 elections—clamped down on voting rights in the state. It targeted black Americans with strict ID requirements, it used county election boards to shutter polling places in precincts where blacks and students voted, it purged eligible Democratic-leaning voters from the rolls, it ended same-day registration and slashed early voting, it gutted public financing for judicial elections and worked to protect incumbent GOP judges from voter accountability, and it gerrymandered Democratic-leaning counties to create almost impregnable majorities.
Except that North Carolina Republicans may not agree. On Wednesday, using an emergency session for disaster relief, the GOP-led state legislature pushed measures that would severely curtail and limit the power of the office of the governor, just a few years after voting to expand its authority. One bill would eliminate some executive appointments, subject Cabinet appointments to state Senate approval, and remove the governor’s power to appoint trustees to the university system and state board of education, both vectors for Republican influence under McCrory. Another bill would add another seat to state election boards and require partisan balance, a “neutral” measure that uses gridlock to keep Democrats from reversing GOP actions on voting and ballot access.To call this a coup evokes violence and disorder, but in a certain sense, that is what voters in the state face: an attempt to overturn the election through legislative means. A new nullification crisis.
The New York Times: Now, America, You Know How Chileans Felt, by Ariel Dorfman.
It is familiar, the outrage and alarm that many Americans are feeling at reports that Russia, according to a secret intelligence assessment, interfered in the United States election to help Donald J. Trump become president.
I have been through this before, overwhelmed by a similar outrage and alarm.
To be specific: On the morning of Oct. 22, 1970, in what was then my home in Santiago de Chile, my wife, Angélica, and I listened to a news flash on the radio. Gen. René Schneider, the head of Chile’s armed forces, had been shot by a commando on a street of the capital. He was not expected to survive.
Angélica and I had the same automatic reaction: It’s the C.I.A., we said, almost in unison. We had no proof at the time — though evidence that we were right would eventually, and abundantly, surface — but we did not doubt that this was one more American attempt to subvert the will of the Chilean people.
Six weeks earlier, Salvador Allende, a democratic Socialist, had won the presidency in a free and fair election, in spite of the United States’ spending millions of dollars on psychological warfare and misinformation to prevent his victory (we’d call it “fake news” today). Allende had campaigned on a program of social and economic justice, and we knew that the government of President Richard M. Nixon, allied with Chile’s oligarchs, would do everything it could to stop Allende’s nonviolent revolution from gaining power.
Read the rest at the NYT.
Jeremy Diamond at CNN on tRump’s even-more-insane-than usual speech last night: Trump says his supporters were ‘violent.’
President-elect Donald Trump said Friday his supporters were “violent” during the 2016 campaign.
Trump made the admission Friday night during a rally here on the Florida leg of his “Thank You” tour. During the campaign, he repeatedly downplayed violent outbursts his supporters displayed at times toward protesters and insisted that paid activists were instead responsible for inciting violence at his rallies.“You people were vicious, violent, screaming, ‘Where’s the wall? We want the wall!’ Screaming, ‘Prison! Prison! Lock her up!’ I mean you are going crazy. I mean, you were nasty and mean and vicious and you wanted to win, right?” Trump said Friday. “But now, you’re mellow and you’re cool and you’re not nearly as vicious or violent, right? Because we won, right?” ….
….while Trump suggested that his supporters had mellowed out in their rhetoric as well — “now you’re laid back, you’re cool, you’re mellow, you’re basking in the glory of victory,” he said Friday — the crowd broke out in “Lock her up!” chants twice.One Trump supporter who obtained a media pass from the Trump transition office shouted from the press pen that Trump’s former opponent Hillary Clinton should be waterboarded.And a Trump supporter threw an empty water bottle at a reporter following the rally, calling the reporter “trash.”