Posts Tagged ‘government’

Pruitt Family Values

June 18, 2018

Pruitt Family Values

Recent discussion of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s brilliant Washington career has concentrated on his abuses of science, taxpayer dollars, and the power of his office, but he’s not so selfish that he neglected the Republican love of Family Values. Mr. Pruitt assigned EPA aides to try to get his wife a job with a conservative group and a Chick-fil-A franchise, and his daughter a White House Internship and a place in a good law school.

More:

“Why Scott Pruitt’s effort to get his wife a job could be his most consequential scandal,” Amber Phillips, Washington Post

“For Pruitt Aides, the Boss’s Personal Life Was Part of the Job,” Eric Lipton, Steve Eder, Lisa Friedman and Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times

Background:

“Scott Pruitt’s [dirty] laundry list,” Mike Allen, Axios

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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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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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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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Guilty: Kellyanne Conway Violated the Hatch Act

March 16, 2018

Guilty: Kellyanne Conway Violated the Hatch Act

The federal U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recently ruled that Presidential Counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act twice, both times while appearing on television in her official capacity.

“In the first interview, Conway advocated against one Senate candidate and gave an implied endorsement of another candidate. In the second interview, she advocated for the defeat of one Senate candidate and the election of another candidate. Both instances constituted prohibited political activity under the Hatch Act and occurred after Conway received significant training on Hatch Act prohibitions ….” — OSC

That “significant training” was mandated after an earlier televised ethical breach, when Ms. Conway shilled for Ivanka Trump products during an interview on Fox News.

Special Counsel Henry Kerner sent his office’s findings to President Donald Trump “for appropriate disciplinary action.” As a presidential appointee, it is up to the president to decide on Ms. Conway’s punishment, so naturally she received a firm executive shrug. A career federal employee would be terminated for this. “The White House cannot continue to have one standard for the federal workforce generally and a lower standard for appointees who are close to this President,” observed Walter Shaub, former Director of the Office of Government Ethics.

More:

“Kellyanne Conway found to have violated Hatch Act,” John Bowden, The Hill

“Kellyanne Conway broke the law. The White House shrugs.” Washington Post editorial

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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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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Health Care

January 15, 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Health Care

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressing the Medical Committee for Human Rights, 1966

Image source: Library of Congress.

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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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John Oliver on Gerrymandering

June 22, 2017

The Rule of Law: He who rules makes the law. Legislators often reshape voting districts to keep their parties in political power. John Oliver explains.

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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