Remote Engineer. Odd-ball.
235 stories
·
11 followers

Impeachment and its misconceptions explained

1 Comment and 5 Shares

At the recent Aspen Ideas Festival, legal scholar and former Obama advisor Cass Sunstein shared some views on his understanding of and some misconceptions about impeachment, namely that it doesn’t need to involve an actual crime and “is primarily about gross neglect or abuse of power”. Or as he put it more formally in a 1998 essay in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review:

The simplest is that, with respect to the President, the principal goal of the Impeachment Clause is to allow impeachment for a narrow category of egregious or large-scale abuses of authority that comes from the exercise of distinctly presidential powers. On this view, a criminal violation is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for impeaching the President. What is generally necessary is an egregious abuse of power that the President has by virtue of being President. Outside of this category of cases, impeachment is generally foreign to our traditions and is prohibited by the Constitution.

The “distinctly presidential powers” bit is a high bar to clear. Examining the case for Nixon on that basis, and only some of the reasons for wanting to impeach him hold up.

Richard Nixon nearly faced four counts. One failed count, for tax evasion, was completely inappropriate, Sunstein argued: Though an obvious violation of law, it had no bearing on Nixon’s conduct of the presidency. A second charge, for resisting subpoena, is possibly but not necessarily valid, since a president could have good reasons to resisting a subpoena. A third is more debatable: Nixon was charged with covering up the Watergate break-in. Nixon might have been more fairly prosecuted for overseeing the burglary, Sunstein argued, but nabbing him for trying to use the federal government to commit the cover-up was “probably good enough.” Only the fourth charge, of using the federal government’s muscle to prosecute political enemies, is a clear slam-dunk under the Founders’ principles.

Clinton’s impeachment, argued Sunstein in that same Penn Law Review essay, was less well-supported:

I suggest that the impeachment of President Clinton was unconstitutional, because the two articles of impeachment identified no legitimate ground for impeaching the President.

Sunstein explained the intent of the members of the Constitutional Convention in a Bloomberg article back in February. It’s interesting in the light of the Russian collusion investigation that the debate about impeachment at the convention centered around treason.

James Madison concurred, pointing to cases in which a president “might betray his trust to foreign powers.” Gouverneur Morris added that the president “may be bribed by a greater interest to betray his trust; and no one would say that we ought to expose ourselves to the danger of seeing the first Magistrate in foreign pay without being able to guard against it by displacing him.”

So what about Trump? Sunstein doesn’t offer much (no apparent mention of collusion with Russia):

Sunstein, having scolded legal colleagues for playing pundit, was reluctant to address the question directly. Setting aside the impossibility of impeaching Trump under the present circumstances of GOP control of Congress, Sunstein said he was wary of trying to remove the president simply for being bad at his job. Nonetheless, he said Trump’s prolific dishonesty might form a basis for trying to remove him.

“If a president lies on some occasions or is fairly accused of lying, it’s not impeachable — but if you have a systematic liar who is lying all the time, then we’re in the ballpark of misdemeanor, meaning bad action,” he said.

If I were a betting person, I would wager that Donald Trump has a better chance of getting reelected in 2020 than he does of being impeached (and a much better chance than actually being removed from office through impeachment) if the Republicans retain their majority in Congress. Although their healthcare bill has hit a hiccup due to public outcry (and it’s only a hiccup…it will almost surely pass), Congressional Republicans have shown absolutely no willingness to do anything not in the interest of their agenda…so why would they impeach a Republican President who is ticking all of the far right’s action items thus far?

Tags: Bill Clinton   Cass Sunstein   Donald Trump   legal   politics   Richard Nixon
Read the whole story
deezil
20 days ago
reply
While a bleak picture, the last paragraph, and last sentence specifically mean that the national nightmare is not over. And Kottke, as is most often, is right about it.
Louisville, Kentucky
Share this story
Delete

oak23:the level of pettiness, stubbornness and thriftiness

1 Comment


oak23:

the level of pettiness, stubbornness and thriftiness

Read the whole story
deezil
35 days ago
reply
This is like watching power washing. So satisfying.
Louisville, Kentucky
Share this story
Delete

Putin’s playbook for discrediting America and destabilizing the West

1 Comment and 5 Shares

Last week, journalist Jules Suzdaltsev wrote:

Just wanna make sure you all know there is a Russian handbook from 1997 on “taking over the world” and Putin is literally crossing shit off.

The book in question is The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia by neo-fascist political scientist Aleksandr Dugin, whose nickname is “Putin’s Brain”. The book has been influential within Russian military & foreign policy circles and it appears to be the playbook for recent Russian foreign policy. In the absence of an English language translation, some relevant snippets from the book’s Wikipedia page:

The book declares that “the battle for the world rule of [ethnic] Russians” has not ended and Russia remains “the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution.” The Eurasian Empire will be constructed “on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us.”

The United Kingdom should be cut off from Europe.

Ukraine should be annexed by Russia because “Ukraine as a state has no geopolitical meaning, no particular cultural import or universal significance, no geographic uniqueness, no ethnic exclusiveness, its certain territorial ambitions represents an enormous danger for all of Eurasia and, without resolving the Ukrainian problem, it is in general senseless to speak about continental politics”.

The book stresses the “continental Russian-Islamic alliance” which lies “at the foundation of anti-Atlanticist strategy”. The alliance is based on the “traditional character of Russian and Islamic civilization”.

Russia should use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke “Afro-American racists”. Russia should “introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements — extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics.”

Ukraine, Brexit, Syria, Trump, promotion of fascist candidates in European elections (Le Pen in France), support for fascism in the US…it’s all right there in the book. And they’ve done it all while barely firing a shot.

Tags: Aleksandr Dugin   books   Brexit   Donald Trump   politics   Russia   The Foundations of Geopolitics   USA   Vladimir Putin
Read the whole story
deezil
49 days ago
reply
Louisville, Kentucky
angelchrys
50 days ago
reply
Overland Park, KS
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
DMack
50 days ago
reply
haha, nice
Victoria, BC

What did Donald Trump do today?He called on the Senate to change its rules to pa...

1 Comment

What did Donald Trump do today?

He called on the Senate to change its rules to pass his healthcare and tax reform plan.

Trump tweeted this morning that "The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy." Setting aside the fact that the Senate does not take orders from the president--or that this GOP-controlled Senate is openly hostile to Trump's legislative ideas--the tax reform and health care plans he has proposed would be adopted by the Senate under budget reconciliation rules. 

Budget reconciliation rules already require only a simple majority.

Who cares?

  • The president should probably know something about how the Senate works.
Read the whole story
deezil
55 days ago
reply
This site is quickly becoming one of my favorite things on the internet. Thanks @angelchrys for sharing it first where I saw it.
Louisville, Kentucky
angelchrys
55 days ago
You're welcome!
Share this story
Delete

Breaker Adds Support for JSON Feed

1 Comment

Erik Michaels-Ober:

The decentralized structure of podcasts creates a chicken-and-egg problem for JSON Feed to gain adoption. There’s no incentive for podcasters to publish in JSON Feed as long as podcast players don’t support it. And there’s no incentive for podcast players to support JSON Feed as long as podcasters don’t publish in that format.

Breaker is hoping to break that stalemate by adding support for JSON Feed in our latest release. As far as we know, Breaker is the first podcast player to do so. Unlike other features that differentiate Breaker, we encourage our competitors to follow our lead in this area. The sooner all podcast players support JSON Feed, the better positioned the entire podcast ecosystem will be for the decades to come.

Three years ago I wrote that podcast players had replaced Twitter clients as the leading UI playground — the space where there’s a lot of competition and new ideas being tried out. I still think that’s true. Overcast and Castro keep getting better, and Breaker is a new and interesting take. The big difference with Breaker is that they have a social networking model, where you can follow your fellow Breaker-using friends and get podcast recommendations based on what they’re listening to.

Read the whole story
deezil
56 days ago
reply
PocketCasts, PocketCasts, PocketCasts. If you love podcasts, give it a try.
Louisville, Kentucky
Share this story
Delete

Opening Crawl

4 Comments and 12 Shares
Using a classic Timothy Zahn EU/Legends novel is bad enough, but at least the style and setting aren't too far off. If you really want to mess with people, try using Splinter of the Mind's Eye.
Read the whole story
deezil
57 days ago
reply
My eyes keep tricking me into seeing a crawl that's not happening...
Louisville, Kentucky
Share this story
Delete
3 public comments
CaffieneKitty
57 days ago
reply
I frigging LOVED Splinter of the Mind's Eye as a kid.
JayM
57 days ago
reply
Ha!
Atlanta, GA
alt_text_bot
57 days ago
reply
Using a classic Timothy Zahn EU/Legends novel is bad enough, but at least the style and setting aren't too far off. If you really want to mess with people, try using Splinter of the Mind's Eye.
glenn
57 days ago
I remember liking Splinter of the Minds Eye as a kid. What's different about it?
lukeburrage
56 days ago
It was written before Empire and so the love story between Leia and Luke is strong in this one.
glenn
56 days ago
haha... ok now I feel like I have to read it again :)
lukeburrage
56 days ago
It's really not good. It only exists as source material for a the low budget sequel to Star Wars that was contracted if the first movie was a flop. Only the actors who were signed up for a second movie had characters in the book (so no Han Solo) and the locations were kept as cheap as possible (mostly caves) and no expensive space battles. It's only worth reading as a historical artefact.
davebelt
55 days ago
Worse than Phantom Menace though?
Next Page of Stories