Daily Archives: July 12, 2018

Senate Tea-Publicans abdicate their duty in favor of GOP tribalism

This is inexcusable and indefensible. Senate Tea-Publicans have abdicated their constitutional duty in favor of GOP tribalism to confirm Brian A. Benczkowski to lead the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and oversee the government’s career prosecutors, including those investigating President Trump.

Benczkowski, who has never tried a case in court and who was hired by Alfa Bank — a Russian bank under scrutiny by the Special Counsel over reports of a communications link to the Trump campaign, Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia? — to prepare a report exonerating the bank, is not qualified for this position.

Benczkowski is now in the line of succession at DOJ, should Trump decide to engage in a “Saturday night massacre” at the Justice Department. He is a Trump loyalist who will play the role of Robert Bork in the Watergate scandal.

The New York Times reports, Justice Dept. Nominee Who Drew Scrutiny for Russian Bank Work Is Confirmed:

Democrats fought the nomination of the former staff member, Brian A. Benczkowski, raising questions about his qualifications. Mr. Benczkowski has never tried a case in court and was also scrutinized over private-sector work for one of Russia’s largest banks.

The 51-to-48 vote was along party lines, with only Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, joining Republicans to confirm Mr. Benczkowski.

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Arizona AFL-CIO & PALF endorsements (So. AZ) for 2018 Primary

“Announcing Arizona AFL-CIO and Pima Area Labor Federation candidate endorsements:

SOUTHERN ARIZONA ELECTIONS:

Legislative District 2:
Senate: Andrea Dalessandro
House: Rosanna Gabaldon
House: Daniel Hernandez

Legislative District 3:
Senate: Sally Ann Gonzales
Senate: Betty Villegas
House: Andres Cano
House: Olivia Cajero-Bedford

Legislative District 4:
Senate: Lisa Otondo
House: Charlene Fernandez
House: Gerae Peten

Legislative District 8
Senate: Sharon Girard

Legislative District 9:
Senate: Victoria Steele
House: Randy Friese
House: Pamela Powers-Hannley

Legislative District 10:
Senate: David Bradley
House: Kirsten Engel

Legislative District 11:
Senate: Ralph Atchue
House: Holly Lyon

Legislative District 14:
Senate: Mendy Gomez
House: Bob Karp

STATEWIDE ELECTIONS
Governor: David Garcia
Secretary of State: Katie Hobbs
Attorney General: January Contreras
Super of Public Instruction: David Schapira

FEDERAL ELECTIONS
U.S. Senate: Kyrsten Sinema
Congressional District 1: Tom O’Halleran
Congressional District 2: Ann Kirkpatrick
Congressional District 3: Raul Grijalva”

From PALF’s July 9 posting on FB: https://www.facebook.com/PALFAZ/

Vote wisely on or before 8/28/18.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh on separation of powers (Part 2)

There has been a lot of commentary about Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s law review articles on the investigation, indictment and prosecution of a president, but I believe you should see selected excerpts from his writings for yourself.

Here is a link to his 2009 Minnesota Law Review article Separation of Powers During the Forty- Fourth Presidency and Beyond Copyright © 2009 by Brett M. Kavanaugh (selected excerpts):

Based on my experience in the White House and the Justice Department, in the independent counsel’s office, in the judicial branch as a law clerk and now a judge, and as a teacher of separation of powers law, I have developed a few specific ideas for alleviating some of the problems we have seen arise over the last sixteen years. I believe these proposals would create a more effective and efficient federal government, consistent with the purposes of our Constitution as outlined in the Preamble. Fully justifying these ideas would require writing a book—and probably more than one. My goal in this forum is far more modest: to identify problems worthy of additional attention, sketch out some possible solutions, and call for further discussion.

I. PROVIDE SITTING PRESIDENTS WITH A TEMPORARY DEFERRAL OF CIVIL SUITS AND OF CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS AND INVESTIGATIONS

First, my chief takeaway from working in the White House for five-and-a-half years—and particularly from my nearly three years of work as Staff Secretary, when I was fortunate to travel the country and the world with President Bush—is that the job of President is far more difficult than any other civilian position in government. It frankly makes being a member of Congress or the judiciary look rather easy by comparison. The decisions a President must make are hard and often life-or-death, the pressure is relentless, the problems arise from all directions, the criticism is unremitting and personal, and at the end of the day only one person is responsible. There are not eight other colleagues (as there are on the Supreme Court), or ninety-nine other colleagues (as there are in the Senate), or 434 other colleagues (as there are in the House). There is no review panel for presidential decisions and few opportunities for do-overs. The President alone makes the most important decisions. It is true that presidents carve out occasional free time to exercise or read or attend social events. But don’t be fooled. The job and the pressure never stop. We exalt and revere the presidency in this country—yet even so, I think we grossly underestimate how difficult the job is. At the end of the Clinton presidency, John Harris wrote an excellent book about President Clinton entitled The Survivor. I have come to think that the book’s title is an accurate description for all presidents in the modern era.

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Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Independent Counsels (Part 1)

There has been a lot of commentary about Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s law review articles on the investigation, indictment and prosecution of a president, but I believe you should see selected excerpts from his writings for yourself.

Here is a link to his 1998 article in the Georgetown Law Journal. THE PRESIDENT AND THE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL, 86 Geo. L.J. 2133, Copyright (c) 1998 by the Georgetown Law Journal Association; Brett M. Kavanaugh (selected excerpts):

The conflicts of interest under which the Attorney General labors in the investigation and prosecution of executive branch officials, particularly high-level executive branch officials, historically have necessitated a statutory mechanism for the appointment of some kind of outside prosecutor for certain sensitive investigations and cases. As the Watergate Special Prosecution Task Force stated in its report, “the Justice Department has difficulty investigating and prosecuting high officials,” and “an independent prosecutor is freer to act according to politically neutral principles of fairness and justice.” This article agrees that some mechanism for the appointment of an outside prosecutor is necessary in some cases.

Kavanaugh makes six proposals to amend the independent counsel statute. The independent counsel statute was allowed to expire on June 30, 1999. Kavanaugh’s recommendations were ignored and were never enacted.

Whether the Constitution allows indictment of a sitting President is debatable (thus, Congress would not have the authority to establish definitively that a sitting President is subject to indictment). Removing that uncertainty by providing that the President is not subject to indictment would expedite investigations in which the President is involved (Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Whitewater) and would ensure that the ultimate judgment on the President’s conduct (inevitably wrapped up in its political effects) is made where all great national political judgments ultimately must be made—in the Congress of the United States. [Inferring by Impeachment.]

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How to Level the Playing Field for Workers — Even with Unions Hurting

A federal jobs and income guarantee could protect workers the way unions once did.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Janus vs. AFSCME dealt organized labor, already on its heels, a crushing blow. Public employees who choose not to join unions now cannot be required to pay so-called “fair share” fees to compensate unions for the cost of representing them in wage and benefit negotiations.

With only 6.5 percent of private sector workers unionized, teachers, firefighters, and other public employee unions have been the bulwark of organized labor in recent years. Over a third of government workers are unionized, but that will likely head south in the wake of Janus.

Absent a union, an individual employee negotiating against a large employer is powerless. If the employer and worker don’t agree to terms, the employer loses one worker out of many, while the employee’s children go hungry. Guess who wins? Continue reading