Archive for the ‘government’ Category

White House Staff Vacancies

June 14, 2018

White House Staff Vacancies

The understaffed Trump White House keeps losing employees. There’s been a steady exodus ( Steven Cheung is the latest), and now we hear talk that Sarah Huckabee SandersRaj Shah, and even John Kelly are eyeing the exit.

But it’s getting harder to find experienced people to work in the Trump Administration. That’s why the White House HR Department is going to be at a Capital Hill Job Fair on Friday. Greetings, interns!

More:

“Trump White House advertises at a Hill job fair amid staff exodus,” Annie Karni, Politico

Related:

“Nation Not Sure How Many Ex-Trump Staffers It Can Safely Reabsorb,” The Onion

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Will Donald Trump Try To Pardon Himself?

June 6, 2018

Will Donald Trump Try to Pardon Himself?

Confused senior citizen and Donald Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani had lots of contradictory things to say about his client last Sunday. He asserted that Mr. Trump couldn’t be indicted even if he shot James Comey, then talked about presidential pardon powers.

President Trump probably has the power to pardon himself, said Mr. Giuliani, but of course he would never do such an “unthinkable” thing. On the other hand, telling Donald Trump not to do something is best way of convincing him to do it. For now, Mr. Trump claims he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself, but doesn’t have to, because he has “done nothing wrong.”

So can a president pardon himself? Legal opinions differ, but  Laurence H. Tribe, Richard Painter and Norman Eisen make a good case against it, based in part on the DoJ’s Office of Legal Counsel 1974 opinion during Nixon’s Watergate crisis, citing “the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case,” a view taken by James Madison in the Federalist Papers, No. 10.

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Steve Mnuchin Inadvertently Tells the Truth

April 9, 2018
Steve Mnuchin Inadvertently Tells the Truth

Steve Mnuchin and wife  view the tax refunds of average Americans.

“… government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites,” admits U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Mr. Mnuchin was referring to the Russian government, but we fail to see any distinction from the way he and other Trump Administration billionaires operate in the USA. “Oligarchy” is not just a Russian word.

And the world’s oligarchs are globalized:

“U.S. sanctions ensnare Russians with ties to Trump world,” John Hudson and Paul Sonne, Washington Post

“Mueller’s team questioning Russian oligarchs,” Kara Scannell and Shimon Prokupecz, CNN

“NRA’s ‘Man in Moscow’ Hit by New U.S. Sanctions,” Daily Beast

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Trump White House: Exit Only

March 14, 2018

Trump White House Staff Stampedes for the Exit

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was dismissed over Twitter. Over three dozen Trump staffers that have resigned, been fired, or been reassigned since Trump took office, an attrition rate of 43%, more than five times the rate of recent administrations. One-third of the White House staff has left. Add to that the countless holdover appointees who have left and the career diplomats and civil servants who escaped the chaos, and you have a government that’s been hollowed out. And you can guess the kind of people who would want to work for such a capricious and studiously uniformed (and uninformable) Chief Executive.

And remember, Trump only fired 15 people each year on The Apprentice.

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If the Government Shuts Down

January 19, 2018

What happens if the federal government shuts down due to lack of an appropriation? The Associated Press explains.

Related:

“Looming shutdown raises fundamental question: Can GOP govern?” Damian Paletta and Erica Werner, Washington Post

“Report: Shutdown could cost U.S. economy $6.5 billion a week,” Christopher Matthews, Axios

“More Americans blame Republicans than Democrats for potential government shutdown, Post-ABC poll finds,” Scott Clement, Washington Post

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College Bowl

October 25, 2017

The Electoral College doesn’t have much of a football team, explains
John Hudak of the Brookings Institution.

Related:

“How the Electoral College Protected Slavery,” Paul Finkelman, History News Network

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Exhausted By Epic Inaction, Congress Takes a Vacation

August 8, 2017

Exhausted By Epic Inaction, Congress Takes a Vacation
The U.S. Congress is on vacation until after Labor Day, but given its lack of accomplishments, it could have been in recess for the preceding year. Of course, Congress typically spends three days a week in DC even when it’s in session, spending the other four back home collecting campaign funds for the next election, a practice euphemistically called “meeting with constituents.”

But summer recess isn’t all stump speeches and visits to examine vital NATO defenses on the Riviera. Congress will still be hard at work tweeting about the highlights of rubber chicken luncheons at the Rotary Club. We hope our legislators don’t over-exert their Twitter fingers this month. They’ll have just a few days in September to decide on the nation budget, the debt limit, and tax reform, and to keep the White House from crashing the health care system or stumbling into trade war or a military crisis.

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You Paid $41 Million So Trump Can Golf In New Jersey

July 28, 2017

You Paid $41 Million So Trump Can Golf In New Jersey

“Rep. Leonard Lance, a New Jersey Republican, announced Wednesday that the small town of Bedminster — population 9,000 — has been designated a priority for the Secret Service.

The township is home to Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, one of Trump’s favorite retreats. His daughter Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were married there, and Trump summoned advisers there for post-election transition planning.

With the official designation as a presidential residence, Congress appropriated up to $41 million to cover security costs incurred between the Jan. 20 inauguration and Oct. 1, which starts a new fiscal year. Trump’s residences in Florida and New York already get such funding.

The costs are incurred by state, county and township law enforcement officers when Trump comes to town, as he did this month for the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament.”

— “Trump’s Third Home Away From Home To Cost Taxpayers Millions,” Peter Overby, NPR News

More:

“15 Surprising Facts About Trump’s Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey,” Ashley Hoffman, TIME Magazine

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Top image. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The Head of the Office of Government Ethics Resigns

July 13, 2017

The Head of the Office of Government Ethics Resigns
Walter Shaub, head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, the federal agency charged with overseeing the executive branch ethics program and preventing conflicts of interest, resigned last week. President Trump has no ethics, so there really wasn’t much for Mr. Shaub to do.

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An Algorithm Could End Gerrymandering

June 26, 2017

We know gerrymandering is a problem. The Supreme Court has long recognized the potential for abuse in legislative redistricting. But what is an objective measure to rule of fairness? Wendy Tam Cho of the University of Illinois proposes a “Computational Method for Identifying Extreme Redistricting Plans.” You can read Professor Cho’s complete paper here.

What’s your state’s redistricting law? Find out here.

Related:

“Why the Supreme Court’s decision to review Wisconsin’s gerrymandering is such a big deal,” Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post

“Gerrymandering Case Echoes in Inkblot-Like Districts Across the U.S.,” Michael Cooper, New York Times

“Where Gerrymandering Is Containing City Power,” Brentin Mock, CityLab

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