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Member since: Mon Nov 29, 2004, 09:18 PM
Number of posts: 9,430

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Ever wonder how they plan to enforce those bathroom laws? (Toon)

Credit to keithbvadu2 who posted this in a reply on a thread last week, but it is so good I thought it deserved its own thread:

Justice Dept. appears to be deliberately sowing chaos in the courts reviewing Trumps travel ban

The Trump administration’s nonsensical claim that its executive order both does and does not exist.
By Dahlia Lithwick

When Donald Trump put his sloppy, ill-conceived, and surely unconstitutional travel ban into effect earlier this month, the impact on immigrants, travelers, and refugees was immediate and devastating. Weeks after the ban was stayed by a federal appeals court, travelers at airports continue to be searched, harassed, and detained based on their religion, country of origin, and also nothing.

But sowing mayhem among travelers is only half the fun of the immigration ban. Trump’s Justice Department also appears to be taking pains to spread confusion and chaos in the courts that have been tasked with reviewing the ban. While the drama surrounding the litigation seems to have peaked with the president’s threats toward the judges involved, the cases have moved onward. In the litigation that resulted in the nationwide stay, Washington and Minnesota v. Trump, papers filed this past weekend reflect the states’ growing frustration with the Justice Department’s absurd contention that they are both replacing the travel ban with a newer one and also that they intend to continue to defend the existing ban in the courts.

A quick recap: A federal judge, James Robart, stayed the travel ban on Feb. 3 and the 9th Circuit unanimously upheld that order a week later. When a larger panel of the 9th Circuit was poised to revisit that decision en banc, the Justice Department asked them not to, promising that a new executive order was imminent. That directive conflicted with a status report the DOJ had filed days earlier claiming that “Defendants ... believe it is appropriate for the parties to proceed with briefing on plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction despite Defendants’ pending appeal.” All that was two weeks ago, and there’s been no additional clarity in the intervening days about what’s going on here. It was unclear at the time whether the DOJ would stop defending the old order, or just that they didn’t want the 9th Circuit to wade in. Since then they have sought to delay the proceedings in the federal district court and again in the 9th Circuit.

On Friday, in response to another DOJ motion claiming the 9th Circuit should not hear this case, Washington State filed a motion calling out the Justice Department for the illogic of its two simultaneous litigation postures. The government is filing a motion asking the 9th Circuit to “hold proceedings in abeyance,” because there is ostensibly an imminent order to replace the old one, while at the same time the president is saying that the old order is being defended in the courts.

As the motion filed Friday puts it, in an epic feat of understatement: “Throughout these proceedings, there appears to have been a lack of communication between the Department of Justice and the White House.” The filing notes that on the same day the DOJ asked the 9th Circuit to stand down from reviewing the old order, “the president informed the nation that he is pursuing his appeal in the 9th Circuit.” The states quote the president at his press conference stating, “We’re issuing a new executive action next week that will comprehensively protect our country. So we’ll be going along the one path and hopefully winning that, at the same time we will be issuing a new and very comprehensive order to protect our people.” The filing also quotes White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer saying just last week that “with respect to the executive order, there are several courts that this is being fought in—10 or so—and we continue to deal with that in all of those venues. And then again, I guess, the only way to say this is, then obviously on the dual-track side we have the additional executive order that we’ve talked about earlier that will come out and further address the problems.” The filing also tartly notes that for a case that was once characterized at DOJ as raising “urgent national security issues,” the infinite delays the agency is now seeking at the 9th Circuit are hard to understand.

This is all confusing in the extreme for those attempting to litigate the immigration ban in courts across the country. They are being told that the order is and is not in effect, is and is not being replaced, and is and is not urgently needed to keep us safe. Here’s hoping that the next filing from the Justice Department will clarify things. It’s hard enough to litigate in a world of “alternative facts.” Litigation in the world of “alternative law” has rapidly become untenable.


As with so much of what this admin does, it's hard to know what is incompetence and what is deliberately creating chaos.

SCOTUS Reprimands Anti-LGBTQ Groups for Misgendering Trans Student Gavin Grimm

In March, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, a case about transgender bathroom access. Gavin Grimm, the plaintiff—who has legally and medically transitioned from female to male—argues that under Title IX, his high school must let him use the men’s bathroom. The case has drawn a great deal of interest from both liberal and conservative advocacy groups, many of which have filed amicus briefs in support of either Grimm or his school. Three of these briefs caught my eye this week—one filed by Liberty Counsel, and two filed by the National Organization for Marriage together with the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. These briefs, which argue against Grimm’s right to use the men’s bathroom, identifies him this way in their front-page captions (emphasis mine):


But the Supreme Court, as well as all lower courts, identify him this way:


That slightly odd formulation reflects the formal way that federal courts style a juvenile litigant’s name. (Grimm is 17.) It also obviously necessitates a gendered pronoun use. Did these anti-LGBTQ groups misgender Grimm by mistake? I posed the question to Liberty Counsel on Wednesday, and the organization confirmed that it used a female pronoun because “Gavin Grimm is a biological girl who now says she subjectively ‘identifies’ as a ‘boy.’ ”

These groups may passionately believe that Grimm is a girl—but unfortunately for them, they aren’t entitled to change his gender in the caption of their amicus briefs. The court has very specific rules governing these briefs, and Rule 34 of the Rules of the Supreme Court requires that each brief “shall bear on its cover ... the caption of the case as appropriate in this Court.”


Great sign at town hall yesterday:

"Real news, fake president"

Amazing how much four words can convey.

CNN interviews NYT editor: why anonomous sources are necessary in news about Trump

Great interview with NYT editor that covers a lot of ground. Also a shorter article. Couldn't get video link to post video but you can access it in link below.

"These are not people who pull us aside because they want to screw Donald Trump," Dean Baquet, the newspaper's executive editor, told CNN's Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" on Sunday. "These are people who are worried about the direction of government."

Trump has repeatedly blasted the use of anonymous sources in critical stories about his administration.


"In an administration that has expressed so much distaste for the press and so much distaste for our role, are you surprised that some of the people who want to criticize the administration want to do it without their names attached?" Baquet asked Sunday. "I'm not."


"I always know who the sources are for these stories. That's why I'm so confident pushing back at the Trump administration when they criticize the stories," he said. "As long as the stories are accurate, as long as the stories are true, which so far has been the case, and as long as we offer the right perspective, I think that's fine."


Wyden, cheered by Oregonians to probe a Trump-Russia connection, must keep up the fight: Editorial

By The Oregonian Editorial Board
on February 25, 2017 at 3:00 PM

It was the second questioner at Sen. Ron Wyden's recent town hall meeting in Oregon City that hit the nerve. A woman stood amid at least 1,000 people packed into the city's high school gymnasium and said:

"The elephant in the room is the (Trump) administration's current relationship with the Russians. This feels like the most dangerous time we've been in for decades." Amid a roar of approval, she asked: "What can you do to get information declassified?"

( video of town hall: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/02/russia_trump_taxes_ron_wyden_town_hall.html )

Wyden, a Democrat who ended a statewide 11-town-hall-meeting tour in Portland Saturday, paced about the basketball court in sneakers as he went straight to the elephant. In addressing it, he unmasked himself as something of a zealot - no surprise to Oregonians who've watched his persistent questioning of officials on Capitol Hill about the federal collection of metadata on unwitting citizens, cybersecurity in a world of terrorism, the erosion of personal privacy from technologies that include drones. He pledged to the Oregon City crowd, as he did in other town halls: "I am a committed to making sure this is not swept under the rug." And then he characteristically went large in shouting above the cheers, "This goes right to the heart of the legitimacy of the government."


Enter Wyden. He unsuccessfully introduced legislation last year that would require presidents to release tax returns, which he characterized for the Oregon City audience as representing "the lowest ethical bar." And he has since hammered the message home that Trump has a lot of explaining to do. More than most, he is the voice associated with holding Trump to account.

Wyden is right to consider the U.S.-Russia relationship of peculiar pertinence to Oregon. It's what his bosses, the public, want him to focus upon. And, in a vital display of democracy, his bosses have shown up in great number to say so. "It's just extraordinary," Wyden said. "I have never seen anything like this before."


"You will never find a more wretched hive of skum and villiany. We must be cautious."

Republicans Accuse Voters of Using Town Halls to Express Themselves (Borowitz)

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Saying “Enough is enough,” Republican senators on Friday angrily accused their constituents of “intentionally and opportunistically” using recent town-hall meetings as vehicles to express themselves.

One of the angriest Republicans, Senator Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, said he was “disgusted and offended” by the “flagrant exercise of freedom of speech” he witnessed at his town hall.

“The spectacle of people standing up, asking their elected representatives questions, and expecting them to answer is the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever experienced,” Cotton said. “This will not stand.”

Cotton accused “outside agitators” of sending voters to the town halls “to cynically exploit an obscure provision in the Constitution called the First Amendment.”


US Press Corps letter to Trump: We're very good at getting info w/o access & we'll work together!

This was written right after the election. I posted it in January but I think it is even more relevant now.

An open letter to Trump from the US Press Corps
By Kyle Pope, CJR, Editor in Chief and Publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review
January 17, 2017

… we thought it might be helpful to clarify how we see the relationship between your administration and the American press corps.

It will come as no surprise to you that we see the relationship as strained. Reports over the last few days that your press secretary is considering pulling news media offices out of the White House are the latest in a pattern of behavior that has persisted throughout the campaign: You’ve banned news organizations from covering you. You’ve taken to Twitter to taunt and threaten individual reporters and encouraged your supporters to do the same. You’ve advocated for looser libel laws and threatened numerous lawsuits of your own, none of which has materialized. You’ve avoided the press when you could and flouted the norms of pool reporting and regular press conferences. You’ve ridiculed a reporter who wrote something you didn’t like because he has a disability.

All of this, of course, is your choice and, in a way, your right. While the Constitution protects the freedom of the press, it doesn’t dictate how the president must honor that; regular press conferences aren’t enshrined in the document.
But while you have every right to decide your ground rules for engaging with the press, we have some, too. It is, after all, our airtime and column inches that you are seeking to influence. We, not you, decide how best to serve our readers, listeners, and viewers. So think of what follows as a backgrounder on what to expect from us over the next four years.

Access is preferable, but not critical. You may decide that giving reporters access to your administration has no upside. We think that would be a mistake on your part, but again, it’s your choice. We are very good at finding alternative ways to get information; indeed, some of the best reporting during the campaign came from news organizations that were banned from your rallies. Telling reporters that they won’t get access to something isn’t what we’d prefer, but it’s a challenge we relish.

(snip- all good stuff snipped! Go read the article)

We’re going to work together. You have tried to divide us and use reporters’ deep competitive streaks to cause family fights. Those days are ending. We now recognize that the challenge of covering you requires that we cooperate and help one another whenever possible. So, when you shout down or ignore a reporter at a press conference who has said something you don’t like, you’re going to face a unified front. We’ll work together on stories when it makes sense, and make sure the world hears when our colleagues write stories of importance. We will, of course, still have disagreements, and even important debates, about ethics or taste or fair comment. But those debates will be ours to begin and end.


More, and all worth reading:

Based on this HuffPo article from today, it appears many outlets are following through on working together:

O'Donnell just had mental health experts saying T unfit to be pres; paranoid psychopathic narcissist

The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell 2/21/17
Mental health experts say Trump is unfit to serve

"Some psychologists and psychiatrists are speaking out about Trump because of a duty to warn. Lawrence talks to two experts with this view: Dr. Lance Dodes and Dr. John Gartner, whose online petition of mental health professionals has more than 26,000 signatures." Duration: 6:26

This was extraordinary. A must listen. There have been a number of articles by mental health professionals, but I was listening with amazement that this was actually being broadcast on national TV.

One quote:
"If we could construct a psychological Frankenstein monster we could not create a leader more dangerously mentally ill than DT. He is a paranoid psychopathic narcissist who's divorced from reality and lashes out impulsively at imagined enemies and this is someone who is handling the nuclear codes."
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