Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Killing US citizens without due process CORRECTED

 My country has long killed people from other countries. And in fact we have drone (and otherwise) killed our own citizens without most people even giving it a second thought. But, I think we enter a new universe when our government argues in court that killing our citizens without judicial oversight is ok.. 

My friend The Talking Dog reminded me that the killing of US citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki because he was an alleged terrorist and the killing of his US citizen teenage son -- because he was the son of a terrorist -- did make its way into the US court system and was deemed to be just fine. You can read more about Mr. Al- Awlaki and his young son here and here . I have lots of posts on these two killings back in my archives from 2014. It was the grandfather of Al-Awlaki's son who brought the action here. So that was the Obama administration finding that it was just fine to kill US citizens if they are suspected of being terrorists or are related to someone suspected of being a terrorist. Outrageous in its own right. 

But now my criminal president has gone one step further and is now claiming the right to kill US citizens "when state secrets are involved"...  As I mentioned yesterday this is a caveat without meaning as the government has long claimed total bullshit as "state secrets." For example, could they kill someone who read an unredacted Mueller report? 

Shit, there are hundreds of thousands of us who have security clearances that allows us to learn "state secrets."  Are we all potential targets? Seems so....

" Drawing alarm at the D.C. Circuit, a lawyer for the United States argued Monday that the government has the power to kill its citizens without judicial oversight when state secrets are involved."

Read the rest here.

Can Biden finish the job Obama botched and finally close Guantanamo?

 Biden of course should close Guantanamo. Whether he will, and if so, how -- are important questions. I am providing a link to this suggestion (A path for renewing Guantanamo's closing... I do not agree with how the author describes the 40 men left but that is neither here nor there at this point. The place should be closed and it is time to have open discusssions about finally closing the place..

Saturday, November 14, 2020

The talking dog speaks...once again

 This time the dog looks at our election and the winter heading our way in the good ole U S of A.

Read the latest here.

While we wait this out...


Friday, November 13, 2020


 Several years ago -- actually 15 years ago -- I took on the representation of the first of my two clients at Guantanamo. Shortly after I took on that representation a man by the name of Cully Stimson decided that it would be fun (his word not mine) to go after the bottom line of the big firms who volunteered to represent men at Guantanamo. I wrote about Cully's idea of fun for Huffington Post (click here to read my article). I lamented the fact that I was not a big firm (only had two attorneys at the time!) so Cully really couldn't pick on me. 

The reason that what Cully was doing was so insidious was that we were all attorneys who were working without pay -- and in fact had to expend large sums of money for things like translators, travel, lodging etc. - in order to try to uphold our legal principles. 

So now we have some very large law firms making a ton of money to represent trump in frivolous lawsuits. These law suits are not trying to uphold our legal principles but in fact are destroying those very principles. It is wrong and they should be widely criticized for filing these frivolous cases. 

If you agree with me you can email these law firms yourself and express your dismay at their attempts to dismantle our rule of law. trump and his cronies -- which includes these two law firms -- are putting our country and our democracy at risk and they need to stop.

Email for Law Firm Calls

Jones Day: tmtabacchi@jonesday.com
King & Spaulding:

You can use the language suggested below or even better -- come up with your own language:

Hey XYZ Law Firm, we know you are representing Trump and we want you to stop! He lost the election and he’s still trying to take votes away from Black and Brown people. You representing him is in direct opposition to the oath you took as lawyers. Stop helping Trump steal the election and cause chaos!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian...


Post-election prospects

Still an enormous number of hypnotised chooks in America ... What's on the cooker till January 20 ... The prospects of plunder during the interregnum ... The presidency as a private financial asset ... Republican judicial mischief ahead ... Corporate prosecutions on easy terms before the Democrats take over ... Roger Fitch in Washington rakes over the ruins 

"Shared psychosis or folie à millions has been well-documented ... contagion of symptoms dissipates when exposure to the primary person is reduced, which is why Donald Trump holds rallies like his life depended on them ... It is also the reason why he cannot leave the presidency - in addition to the possibility of prosecution" -
Yale psychiatrist

"Never before in US history has a president done such lasting damage to the fabric of American democracy in such a short amount of time ... The Mess Created By Trump Will Be with Us for Years." -
Der Spiegel

The long-fought election campaign is over, with America's unconventional president breaking laws to the last, even flouting federal court orders to process postal ballots. 

Despite predictions, the expected buyers' remorse among 2016 Donald Trump voters didn't happen, and more Americans than previously suspected were outed as Trump-supporters, arguably a case of mass psychosis or, as an Australian might say, hypnotised chooks. 

Even so, after four years of daylight robbery accompanied by oafish belligerence and bad manners, the president has been expelled, not by congress, but by voters, after his party spent $20 million on 300 lawsuits to deter them from voting. 

The initial election results favouring Joe Biden were predictably contested, using the game plan from the Republicans' notorious 2000 election-theft. As in the 2000 "Brooks Brothers Riot", a Republican rabble besieged vote-counting centres, now in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona rather than Florida.  

The strategy was the same: harass election authorities into pausing the count (preferably while you're ahead), and then invent a pretext to go to federal court. 

It's not likely to succeed, and the New Republic found the attempt farcical, but one law prof took it seriously.

After four long days of counting, the media (of all people) declared Joe Biden Jr the winner, but the incumbent persisted in election litigation, attacking (as expected) the ballots in states with Democrat governors but Republican legislatures, e.g. Pennsylvania, where Trump's lawyers were encouraged by helpful hints from conservative justices, especially Brett Kavanaugh

Even so, absent supreme court intervention, come January 20th, America's comprehensively-crooked president will be removed (perhaps forcefully) from the principal crime scene, and could even face jail, more here. Some think he's a flight risk, like other autocrats who lose elections.

Sadly, Mr Trump will not be taking the Republican senate with him, as Democrats netted only one of the three senators they need to take control, although January runoffs in Georgia could result in two more. Without the senate, the Democratic house's election-law reforms, designed to avoid future chaos such as that in 2020, are doomed. 

Real judicial reform, more here and here will also be off the table, and with a newly-minted two-thirds supreme court majority, Republicans can move on from executive power to judicial mischief. 

Americans must now endure, instead of a corrupt Republican administration, a Republican-subservient supreme court, bolstered by the alarming addition of the party loyalist Amy Coney Barrett, the first justice in 151 years to be confirmed without bipartisan support. 


Saturday, November 7, 2020

This chapter is over.

 But it will still be an ugly couple of months....

Friday, November 6, 2020


 He will probably not go quietly in the night but he will go. And it is so poetic that Georgia is the state that sealed our hope. Thank you John Lewis (RIP) and Stacey Abrams.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

and now we wait...


h/o to mother jones...

Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Final Days...

 yes, things are a bit stressful here in the U S of A.  so, with that I leave you this...

Thursday, October 8, 2020

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian...


According to Le Monde, "Donald Trump torpille son premier débat". Torpedoing his debate was one way to describe a comprehensive disaster in which the president displayed his usual unbearable rudeness, continuously interrupting and insulting Biden, and lying ceaselessly

One writer wondered if it was Donald Trump's Senator McCarthy moment, another found it was a good debate for revealing the president's character.  

Trump was probably Covid-19 positive as his family and other hangers-on attended the debate, without face-masks, contrary to agreed rules. Within days, Trump's Covid hospitalisation engulfed the news and opinion. As the president's polls plunged and re-election prospects dimmed, the Lawfare blog posted helpful "Rules for Displacing an Ailing Presidential Candidate."

Most other news is very bad: as America's most vulnerable election approaches, the Reichstag is burning, and it's a six-alarm fire. Will the election finish the US? The Atlantic and the New Yorker are sounding the alarm. A constitutional coup is not impossible.

The Republican party seems afflicted by madness, not unlike the malignant normality of its candidate, a man who refuses to say he will accept the results of the election and whose personality traits portend disaster. He's a man who, if he loses, may not leave office, and could go to jail if he does. He has his own Praetorian guard, and his die-hard supporters, some violent, are already disrupting early voting.

As a minority party, Republicans must be ruthless in order to maintain office. Historically, they have had to cheat to win elections, and this year, it's all hands on deck to impede an honest election November 3rd.

The Republican-controlled states are doing their bit. The vote-suppressing Texas governor ordered each county to limit its drop-off  box for ballots to one location. Democratic-leaning Harris County (Houston), with 4.7 million residents and one sixth of Texas' population, will have a single drop-off point. 

In the swing states that Trump unexpectedly won four years ago, postal ballot sabotage is underway, and planning for polling-day intimidation, reminiscent of Mr Trump's 2016 black voter deterrence


Saturday, September 19, 2020



Saturday, September 12, 2020

Lest we forget...

 His story becomes even more important as my country resorts to the old tactics-- like polling taxes.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Oh yeah.... it is 9/11

 The pandemic has eclipsed 9/11 not only in the number of dead on that particular day (65 X more than 9-11 as of this moment in time...-- of course if we look at all of the people killed in response to 9-11 the war on "terror" wins as of this moment in time) but if the talking dog is correct (and I have no doubt he is) the economic cost of 19 years of "the war on terror" is already eclipsed by the pandemic.

But I digress... I always turn to my friend the talking dog on 9-11 because he was actually in NY - a block away from the towers.

Once again... where was I? I guess I was trying to point out that our various handlings of September 11th, a catastrophic global war on everyone, everywhere whose "war prize" seems to be holding 40 Muslim men (some were captured as boys) in a Cuban gulag with the occasional "flawed" ersatz judicial proceeding (both military commissions and what passes for habeas corpus), to the financial crisis of 2007-9 (something like zero bankers and those responsible facing actual jail), or of course, the current pandemic (disastrous handling of everything leading to nearly 200,000 American deaths and counting) show that we are damaged goods as a society (I attribute it to American Exceptionalism in my book of that title), and to the point, seem to know the monetary cost of everything, but the value (or in the reverse case, the actual risks) of nothing.

Hence, the pathological focus on a far-off vaccine for no other reason than it will be expensive and money will be made, rather than on developing a population with its own improved immune systems to lower risk at a lower cost (you might try vitamins B complex, C and D, especially D, zinc, selenium and quercetin, with N-A-C and elderberry optional-- at least those are my go-to supplements now). Or of course, "mixed messaging" on mask wearing, even now.

But I digress. This here blog started a week after 9-11. On that day, I was, of course, working a block north of the WTC and got a ringside 16th floor window view of events, which, I confess, have probably traumatized me less than many people who watched it on television. I lost a couple of people I knew, and I lost my job (proximity!) But maybe because it was such a useful event to justify a military action that was already baked into the cake, there seemed to be a consensus that this was "a national moment," as good-wishes poured into NYC from everywhere, all over the country and all over the world.

Read the whole thing here.

From our Friends down under at Justinian...


Reelecting the thief-in-chief

US elections ... Republican plots to steal the outcome ... Supreme Court in the wings ... Declaration of an election "emergency" ... Prospects of state and federal criminal indictments ... Fictions at the Republican National Convention ... Long-term Washington hand Roger Fitch reports 

With eight weeks to go, America is lurching towards electoral disaster. In 15 years covering Washington, Fitch has seen a lot, but the extraordinary crimes of Donald Trump, the institutional damage he has inflicted, go far beyond George Bush's criminal mischief. They threaten the republic itself, at least the part that survived Bush v Gore, the supreme court's notorious intervention in the 2000 election: partisan meddling that could happen again

In the light of Bush v Gore, maybe the eighteenth century republic never made it into the twenty-first: in either one, Trump qualifies as the worst, most dishonest president in American history. Even petty grifts are assiduously pursued. What else can one expect? He assumes everyone is as venal as himself, including political appointees and government hires. As New York Magazine observed in 2018:

"It is hardly a coincidence that so many greedy people have filled the administration's ranks. Trump's ostentatious crudeness and misogyny are a kind of human-resources strategy. Radiating personal and professional sleaze lets him quickly and easily identify individuals who have any kind of public ethics and to sort them out ... Trump is legitimately excellent at cultivating an inner circle unburdened by legal or moral scruples. These are the only kind of people who want to work for Trump, and the only kind Trump wants to work for him."