The weird Trump-Sessions-Mueller dance

Constitutional lawyers and political historians are going to have a busy time with the Donald Trump administration because it is shattering conventional norms of behavior on an almost daily basis. This is not a trivial matter. The laws that supposedly govern the actions of elected and unelected government officials have quite wide interpretations and it is custom that often limits how they should be applied. With this administration, customs and norms are being cavalierly ignored.
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John McCain is “The perfect American lie”

The news that John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer seems to have given people another bout of selective amnesia, resurrecting once again old tropes about his courage and goldarned maverickyness. His performance yesterday on the senate floor lamenting the lack of deliberation and bipartisanship in the workings of that body was immediately followed by voting in lockstep with his party leadership to ram through a motion to debate Obamacare even though senators did not even know what bill would be brought to the floor. All we can be sure of is that whatever legislation that is brought to the floor will deprive tens of millions of poor and middle class people of affordable health insurance and benefit the rich because that is the Republican dream. In other words, he voted to start the process to deny ordinary Americans the kind of health care that is keeping him alive, courtesy of the taxpayers. How brave and mavericky!
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What did you expect? It’s the Boy Scouts and it’s Donald Trump

The big annual event for the Boy Scouts is the Jamboree and this year they invited Donald Trump. Rather than deliver the uplifting bromides that are the usual fare at events like this, Donald Trump gave the 30,000 assembled scouts what sounded like his usual political rally speech, boasting about his election victory and ridiculing his opponents, drawing whoops and boos from the assembled scouts as they responded enthusiastically.

This has naturally upset some parents. But I am not surprised. What did they expect from this narcissist? Give him a large audience and, irrespective of their age or the nature of the occasion, he immediately goes into his campaign mode. The Boy Scouts, unlike their Girl Scout counterparts, are a pretty reactionary organization, having to be dragged into the modern era when it comes to social issues like equal rights for the LGBT community. Trump probably felt that these were the kind of people who come to his rallies and behaved accordingly.

Making legalized theft great again

In the recent past, police departments across the country went of a spree, taking advantage of the 1984 ‘civil asset forfeiture’ law that allowed them to confiscate the property of people who were merely suspected of being involved with crime even if they were never actually charged with anything. These people had no means of getting their stuff back even of they were innocent unless they were prepared to hire lawyers for a protracted battle, which many were too poor to do.
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Film review: Z (1969)

I am not going to write a long review of this film by Costa-Gavras because Marcus Ranum has done an excellent job of both the film and the actual events on which the film was closely based. It was reading that review that reminded me that this highly praised film of political intrigue was one that I had missed during its cinematic release in 1969 and then forgotten even after the era of videotapes and DVDs and streaming enabled one to revisit the classics.
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How do you tell if leaked emails are genuine?

In this day and age, leaked emails have become one of the means by which information is released about the machinations of government. ProPublica was recently the recipient of emails that revealed unflattering information about Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz, The publication of these emails set in motion a sequence of events in which Kasowitz let loose a tirade against an ordinary citizen. Since then, Kasowitz has become one of the many people who has been cast out through the revolving door that characterizes the Trump administration.
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