Trump frustrated he can’t order the Justice Department around

President Trump he is frustrated but sort of acknowledges that he shouldn’t get involved in what the US Justice Department and FBI do, but he still seems unable to resist. He has been particularly prominent in commenting about the investigation of his own campaign.

It’s sad that the President even thinks of being able to demand and dictate to justice organisations.

@BengaminWittes:

I’ve been thinking about these comments Trump made. What a fabulous tribute they are to the men and women of the DOJ and the FBI!

The tribute is, of course, inadvertent: Trump doesn’t understand the statement he is making about independent law enforcement. But let’s unpack it for a moment.

The President is saying that he would like to interfere in ongoing investigations. He is saying that he would like to order up investigations of his political opponents. He is announcing that he is a corrupt actor who does not believe in the rule of law.

He is a man who is capable of firing his FBI Director because he will not aid him in these endeavours and to threaten his Attorney General and his Deputy Attorney General and the special counsel over the inconveniences they pose him.

Even as I type this, he is tweeting about how DOJ should be investigating Clinton. (For example: )

In these comments, he is announcing frankly how badly he wants to corrupt the Department of Justice.

And yet, he is “frustrated.” Why? It’s not because of Jim Comey. He got rid of Jim Comey. It’s not because of Sessions or Rosenstein. Lordy knows they have not shrouded themselves in glory.

It’s because the norm of independent law enforcement—which he is menacing—is actually strong enough to constrain him—at least right now.

It’s strong enough that he can fulminate all he wants about investigating Clinton and still Mueller does his job, and the FBI does its job, and the men and women of the DOJ do their jobs, and none of their jobs, as our democratic polity has determined them, is to fulfill his undemocratic ambitions to loose investigators on people he doesn’t like and to have the Justice Department protect him.

It’s a stunning statement of presidential constraint: A president actually saying that he aspires to corrupt interference with law enforcement and can’t pull it off. Let it warm your heart. It sure warms mine.

But the attempts at interference continue.

 

Just now:

More than eight years after Bergdahl walked off his base in Afghanistan — and unwittingly into the clutches of the Taliban — Bergdahl walked out of a North Carolina courtroom a free man Friday. Bergdahl, who pleaded guilty to endangering his comrades, was fined, reduced in rank to E1 and dishonorably discharged — but he received no prison time.

Prosecutors had requested a 14-year prison term following a week of emotional testimony from the survivors who were wounded during missions to find Bergdahl after he left the base in June 2009. Bergdahl’s defense team has asked for no prison time.

In closing arguments, defense attorneys argued that Bergdahl already had suffered enough confinement during five years of brutal captivity by Taliban allies. They asked the judge for a dishonorable discharge and no prison time.

Their argument for leniency also cited harsh campaign-trail criticism by Donald Trump and Bergdahl’s mental disorders.

The 31-year-old soldier from Hailey, Idaho, was brought home by President Barack Obama in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Obama said at the time that the U.S. does not leave its service members on the battlefield.

Republicans roundly criticized Obama, and Trump went further while campaigning for president, repeatedly calling Bergdahl a traitor who deserved death.

So Trump has been trying to interfere in this case since before he was president. He is still doing it as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.

Because US justice officials appear to refuse to be influenced by Trump it is just futile posturing, but it’s a piss poor look for a President.

Bernie Sanders gets it. First he gets a swipe from Trump.

But he responded:

Bernie gets it. I don’t know whether it is deliberate attempts at distraction by trump, or that he is easily distracted from his job, but one could legitimately question who the crazy one is.

Fox promotes the violent left

Fox news has been pushing quite a bit on ‘left bad, right good’ following the shooting of Republican House Whip Steve Scalise by a Bernie Sanders supporter.

This is all on their current twitter feed:

That’s toned down?

They do have the occasional attempt on balance and conciliation:

But the division goes on. just tweeted:

Levels of rhetoric, division and violence look likely to continue unabated, despite what should have been a wake up call for politicians on both sides of the chasm.

Sanders versus Trump on Medicare

Polls suggested that Donald trump would have had most trouble competing for the US presidency against Bernie Sanders. It didn’t come to that.

However Sanders has called Trump to account for tweeted promises in the US Senate – from Joe Bloggs:


The Cheezel has weaponised Twitter and has just been shot in the foot with one of his tweets. Looking forward to seeing more of this and there’ll be plenty of opportunity, given the Cheezel’s predilection for lying:

The Senate is currently debating the repeal of Obamacare. And since Senators love their visual aids, it makes sense that Bernie Sanders brought one along with him to work today. But Bernie’s sign marks the dawn of a new era in a lot of ways. He literally just printed out a tweet from President-elect Donald Trump.

To help demonstrate his point that Donald Trump promised not to cut Medicare and Medicaid benefits, Bernie decided that perhaps his argument could best be made with Trump’s own words. Or own characters, as it were.

The tweet dates from May of 2015 and proclaimed, “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.”

Bernie said that if Trump plans to cut Medicare or Medicaid that he should just admit now that he was lying.
“Millions of people voted for him on the belief that he would keep his word,” Sanders said on the Senate floor, referring to Trump’s promises during the election campaign.

http://gizmodo.com/bernie-just-printed-a-gigantic-trump-tweet-and-brought-1790767297


Trump is vulnerable from his many tweets. Time will tell whether he can keep getting away with flip flopping from past claims.

Sanders/Trump/Brexit syndrome in NZ?

In the US and UK where there’s a lot of disillusionment with politics and parties, as illustrated by strong levels of support for alternatives like Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn.

Volatile polls suggest there could be a large lump of disgruntlement in New Zealand too, but there is one significant difference here – no political alternative has appealed as much.

NZ First has picked up some of the protest support, but Winston Peters is hardly a breath of fresh air on the political scene here.

waiting

Waiting for the top job…

None of the other alternatives have popular appeal – Andrew Little, Metiria Turei and James Shaw don’t have the maverick attraction of Sanders, Trump, Corbyn.

However Brexit may have a parallel in our flag referendum,

There may be a groundswell of disgruntlement but here there is no one to attach it to.

The weeping wound of inequality

A perceptive quote from a post about Donald Trump:

There is a deep underbelly of American society who feel as deeply resentful of the political and cultural elites as  those voters in Brexit did.

That weeping wound will require healing not mocking and is a reminder that if the fruits of democracy are not shared equitably, rot will set in.

I’ll attribute and link later, but for now I want it to be viewed without prejudice.

The Uk and the UK are certainly showing signs of deep and widespread resentment of the ruling elite, as shown by support of Trump and Sanders, and of Corbyn, Farage and Brexit.

The problems are less pronounced in New Zealand but there are growing signs of concerns about inequality, and the apparent lack of addressing problems suffered by those at the bottom of the financial, education and health ladders.

Parties that fail to recognise this may do so at their peril.

If the weeping wound of inequality remains inadequately addressed then political support is likely to bleed.

 

The young vote in the US

A lot of young people in the US are not happy with the current political system and what it delivers. Many of them are also not happy with the two major party choices in the presidential  election.

Bernie Sanders got a lot of his support from the younger age group. This demographic now has the dilemma of whether to punish Hillary in the polling booths, or doing what they can to keep Donald Trump out.

There could be a rise in support for other candidates – there are others standing for president but it’s hard to tell what impact this will have on the end result.

Alternet: Are Young Voters Sick of the Two-Party System?

As the reality of a “binary choice” between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump becomes all too clear, a large portion of young voters are rejecting the two-party system that has long dominated the U.S. political scene.

According to a poll by GenForward, only 28 percent of people in the crucial 18-30 demographic agree that the “two major parties do a good job of representing the American people.”

The future looks even bleaker for the Republicans: more than two-thirds of young voters—and especially young minority voters—say the Grand Old Party does not care about them. (First step to fix this, I humbly submit: choose a more subtle, less ageist nickname.)

Comparatively, support among millennials is much stronger for the Democratic Party. Fifty-three percent of young Americans say Democrats care about the issues important to them. According to a USA Today poll, about half of young people surveyed identify as Democrats or Democratic-leaning.

Bernie gave many of them hope for something radically different, but Clinton, the establishment candidate, got the nomination.

“It’s hard to overemphasize how completely and utterly Sen. Bernie Sanders dominated the youth vote to this point in the 2016 presidential campaign,” the Washington Post reported in June. “In the 2016 campaign, Sanders won more votes among those under age 30 than the two presumptive major-party presidential nominees combined. And it wasn’t close.”

A 2014 Pew study found that people born after 1980, “are more racially diverse and socially liberal than any other age group,” the New York Times reports. And while millennials tend to agree the Democratic Party is generally more in line with their liberal values, “40 percent of those in this age group say they are politically independent.”

That’s a lot of potential swing voters. Their problem this year is the poor choices they have for major party candidates.

Among those early supporters of a Sanders presidency and progressive platform, a July poll by the Hill found almost half were considering supporting a third-party candidate in lieu of Clinton.

That could easily make the difference – between votes for Clinton and Trump.

The Economic Times: Majority of US young adults reject Donald Trump: Poll

Despite US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s strategy of patching together a bipartisan coalition by appealing to the millions of young supporters of former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, a new poll found that his populist play had so far failed among millennials.

The latest USA Today/Rock the Vote poll released on Sunday found that while 56 per cent of voters under 35 say they would vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, one in five in this age .

The number of the Millennial generation, now 18-34, was estimated to be 75.4 million.

About half of all those polled (54% of Trump supporters and 51% of Clinton supporters) say they will vote to keep one candidate out rather then for the other candidate. The least worst voting option.

Yesterday I spoke with a twenty year old from Idaho, currently studying at Otago.

She said she feels embarrassed about the state of politics and the candidates on offer. She has been politically active – she didn’t say but I suspect she was one of the Sanders supporters. She will probably vote to keep Trump out, so she is similar to many who were polled.

They may have missed out getting their preferred candidate nominated this time but the young voters may be a deciding demographic if someone can tap into their determination to do things markedly different. That looks like having to wait until 2020, but by then it may take someone closer to their age group than Sanders, who I suspect won’t try again then. He turns 75 next month.

Wasserman Schultz’s resignation

Just before the Democrat convention that presumably would have tried to show they were less of a circus than the Republicans the Democrat National Committee ringmaster has resigned, in part due to embarrassing emails leaked by Wikileaks, but some feel this was just the last straw.

Jim Manley at The Wall Street Journal: Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s DNC Resignation and Headlines the Clinton Campaign Doesn’t Want During Convention

A few days ago I thought the Democratic convention in Philadelphia would be a boring and news-less event–a prediction blown apart by the fight over Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the announcement Sunday that she would resign as chair of the Democratic National Committee at the end of the convention.

With Democrats desperate to show a more united front than the circus on display at last week’s Republican convention, this could not be happening at a worse time. The congresswoman’s departure was forced by the WikiLeaks site’s release of more than 19,000 emails, some of which disclosed discussion and behavior of party staffers that appeared aimed at undermining the presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as he competed for months against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s decision to step down and try to avoid fanning the flames was the right one–but a day late and a dollar short.

Sanders has said he still fully supports Clinton, who says she knew nothing about the one sided campaigning by Wasserman Schultz, but this all suggests the Democrats have their share of internal problems.

To many Democrats, some of Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s actions seemed to reflect her personal objectives rather than party goals. The leaked emails were not themselves decisive–politics is a blood sport–but for many they were the last straw.

After months of tensions, Ms. Wasserman Schultz has come to embody what some see as establishment efforts to undermine the Sanders campaign and ensure that Mrs. Clinton clinched the Democratic nomination.

With Sanders supporters sensitive to slights of their candidate and his agenda, allowing her to stay on through the convention and to address the hall is likely to be a bad decision. The Sanders folks smell blood in the water–they are all but certain to make her time at the podium a living hell.

While Sanders will presumably put party interests first many of his supporters have been very negative about Clinton already, and may now make their displeasure known at the convention.

What’s the chances of Gary Johnson being given a serious shot at the presidency by media? Probably bugger all.

But there must be an opportunity begging for an ‘A Pox on Both Parties’ campaign.

A United States parliament?

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US Parliamentary Pie:

USParliamentPie

Democrats softening on TPPA?

Some predicted that US presidential campaign rhetoric in opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership may not match post election realities.

There’s a sign that the Democrats may be not as staunchly against it as Hillary Clinton has previously appeared as they get closer to having to put together a policy package.

As usual money often speaks the loudest in the US.

New York Times:  Bernie Sanders Allies Lose a Fight Over Democrats’ Stance on Trade

Allies of Hillary Clinton and President Obama on Saturday beat back an effort by the Bernie Sanders campaign to have the Democratic Party officially oppose a congressional vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

At a sometimes-raucous meeting in Orlando, Fla., of the party’s platform committee, which is drawing up policy goals for the Democratic National Convention this month, lieutenants of Mr. Sanders argued that the trade deal would lead to a loss of jobs and competitive wages and that it would ultimately harm American workers and labor unions.

Given that Mrs. Clinton, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, has said she opposes the trade deal, the Sanders allies argued that her supporters on the committee should agree to try to block any congressional vote to ratify the agreement.

But opposing a vote on the partnership would line up the party against Mr. Obama, who is championing the deal and who endorsed Mrs. Clinton last month. Her allies on the platform committee regarded the Sanders effort as a rebuke to the president and merely a symbolic move because the committee cannot dictate to Congress.

Politics can be complicated in the US.

And from The New Yorker in BERNIE SANDERS’S PHILOSOPHICAL VICTORY:

It bears repeating that Sanders didn’t win all of the platform battles. Indeed, a cynical way to interpret the Clinton campaign’s stance is that it has given Sanders the language he demanded on some issues while maintaining the flexibility that it wants, and that its big donors want, in other key areas, such as trade and energy.

Over the weekend, the platform committee rejected language that would have condemned the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership and opposed its being put to a vote in Congress.

The committee approved milder language that doesn’t single out the T.P.P. but, rather, simply says that all free-trade deals should include standards that protect U.S. workers.

“Maintaining the flexibility that it wants, and that its big donors want, in other key areas, such as trade and energy.”

The overwhelming influence of money in the US may rule on the TPPA outcome.

Sanders and the Streisand effect

Bernie Sanders and his followers believe they has earned the right to make substantial changes within the Democrat Party, but a different sort of (to the usual) Streisand effect suggests differently.

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Clinton probably should engage with Sanders and work with him to try and appeal as widely as possible amongst Democrat and centre voters, but Bernie is hardly in a position to be trying to call the shots.