Archive

November 20th, 2016

Giuliani explains why Trump can't do a real blind trust: It 'would basically put his children out of work'

    Good-government types were already crying foul over Donald Trump's intention to put his children in charge of his business during his presidency. And now that those same children are on Trump's transition team, these groups are even more concerned about conflicts of interest.

    Trump loyalist Rudolph Giuliani seemed to acknowledge in a CNN interview Sunday that it wasn't an ideal set-up. But then he offered a remarkable defense. "He would basically put his children out of work if - and they'd have to go start a whole new business, and that would set up the whole - set up new problems," Giuliani said on "State of the Union."

    Giuliani added: "It's kind of unrealistic to say you're going to take the business away from the three people who are running it and give it to some independent person. And remember, they can't work in the government because of the government rule against nepotism. So you would be putting them out of work."

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Clinton may have lost, but women still won

    There will be the temptation to see Hillary Clinton's defeat as evidence that a woman can't rise to the top. If we're not careful, the dominant gender will whisper in the backroom, let's not nominate one of them again.

    But it will happen, nonetheless -- and thanks to Clinton. Just seeing her win her party's nomination and triumph in three debates has ingrained the idea that a female president is inevitable. Multiple female candidates will stand upon Clinton's shoulders as she stood on others'. In her memoir "Hard Choices," she wrote that the venerable Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith's challenge to Barry Goldwater for her party's nomination in 1964 inspired her to run for class president. They both lost and they both soldiered on.

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As a sheriff, I know that jail is not always the answer

    When a Charleston, South Carolina, patrol officer stopped a young mother outside Walmart after store officials reported that she was shoplifting groceries, her first thought was of her children. Who would watch them if she were arrested? She could not afford the food she had taken for her family - let alone a babysitter, an attorney or bail.

    As the sheriff for Charleston County, I know that if the encounter had taken place a few years ago, she would likely have gone to jail, sending her and her children's lives into an economic and emotional tailspin. In the past, law-enforcement officers had no alternatives to taking someone to jail for nonviolent offenses such as shoplifting. Fortunately, that was not true in her case.

    Instead, the officer employed a new approach called "cite and release." Rather than jailing the woman for a low-level, nonviolent offense, the officer gave her a citation for shoplifting, instructed her to appear in court at a later date and let her go. She returned home to her children that day instead of spending weeks in jail awaiting trial at no benefit to public safety and to the detriment of her family.

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Actually, Democrats, you don't need those white men

    The Republican Party kept telling Donald Trump that he needed to win over demographic groups outside the conservative base, like Hispanics. He didn't. He won anyway.

    Well, Democrats, take heart. You, too, can ignore well-meaning advice from your allies. Disregard anyone who tells you to reach beyond your base. You don't need working-class white men. You already have the constituencies that you need.

    As analysts continue to crunch the numbers on how Trump won, the key demographic that represented his path to victory was rural counties in the Midwest. Hillary Clinton mostly held on to the large urban counties that voted for President Barack Obama, but she got routed in midsize cities and rural areas. Essentially, Trump got the rural Midwest to vote like the rural South, a trend in motion for the past few elections as states like West Virginia, Indiana and Missouri trended red. Despite this, the election was close, coming down to 100,000 voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Everything broke right for Trump -- at least in the Electoral College. He lost the popular vote.

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I wish President Trump failure

    The people chose Hillary Clinton. But it's the electoral vote that counts, not the popular vote, so Donald Trump will be president. And no, I'm not over it.

    No one should be over it. No one should pretend that Trump will be a normal president. No one should forget the bigotry and racism of his campaign, the naked appeals to white grievance, the stigmatizing of Mexicans and Muslims. No one should forget the jaw-dropping ignorance he showed about government policy both foreign and domestic. No one should forget the vile misogyny. No one should forget the mendacity, the vulgarity, the ugliness, the insanity. None of this must ever be normalized in our politics.

    The big protests that have followed Trump's election should be no surprise. You can't spend all those months trashing our nation's values and then expect everyone to join you in a group hug. Trump made the bed in which he now must lie.

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Girding to defend freedom of the press

    What really makes America great?

    It's the meaning of 45 words found in the Bill of Rights. Here they are, the entire First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

    Everything we have - everything that makes us unlike any other nation - flows from those words and the protections they offer for free expression.

    Donald Trump's presidency is very likely to threaten those First Amendment rights.

    If they are damaged or removed, we'll be like a lot of unenviable places.

    "Freedom of speech is a rare thing, after all. It's one of the big differences between the United States and a place like Cuba," wrote John Daniel Davidson last March in the Federalist. "Cuba has no freedom of the press - or rule of law. Libel is whatever the regime says it is."

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November 19th

Now the Democrats must rebuild from the ashes

    Hillary and Bill Clinton have been at the center of U.S. politics for the last-quarter century; for more than 100 years only Richard Nixon showed such durability.

    Now, as Democrats face their worst crisis since the 1920s, it's time for the Clintons to ride into the political sunset. New ideas and new faces need to emerge. Despite Hillary's graceful concession speech and some of the virtues of her campaign, many Democrats believe her shocking loss to the unpopular Donald Trump was in no small part self-inflicted.

    The Democrats, who see themselves as the governing party, are in deep despair. Republicans will control the White House, both chambers of Congress, with the prospect of making the Supreme Court more conservative. Republicans also control two-thirds of the state houses.

    The losing party faces an internecine ideological battle, as the Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders left-wing insist they need a sharper, better-defined populist agenda and more moderate Democrats argue for a more centrist message.

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Protect Democracy First

    The most fragile part of the country right now is our democratic values. Yes, we face other serious problems — the physical condition of our planet, above all. But the fate of those other problems will be decided in the months and years to come. The condition of our democracy is acute.

    We’ve just finished an election that included unprecedented violations of America’s long-held democratic values, like calls to overturn civil liberties and the interference of a hostile foreign government. And, of course, the candidate who violated those values won the election.

    So the question becomes: Will the country start adjusting to a new, less democratic reality, or will Donald Trump adjust his own approach as president-elect?

    It would be a grave error to believe wishfully that Trump must change. The best working assumption about any candidate is that he will try to do what he campaigned on. Studies show that presidents usually do.

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In defense of the great Washington swamp

    It's not a great moment for permanent Washington. You know who I mean: the policy analysts, the journalists, the deputy assistant secretaries, the consultants, the legislative directors, the former Congressmen, the lobbyists, the think tank executives.

    Americans just elected Donald Trump, who has promised to drain this cozy swamp. And even though Trump did not win the popular vote last Tuesday, many voters on the left and right agree with him on the swamp issue. Remember, Bernie Sanders nearly won the Democratic nomination with the same message.

    Speaking as a resident of the swamp, I can tell you this isn't the first time we've seen this. Before Trump, there was Barack Obama. In 2008 he ran on "hope and change." He tried (and quickly failed) to ban lobbyists from his administration. Before Obama, there was George W. Bush. During the New Hampshire primaries, the soon-to-be 43rd president ran an ad that said: "You mark my words: You leave money sitting around the table in Washington -- Washington politicians will spend it."

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Conceding one day only to morning-after despair

    One day. One 24-hour period. One sunrise, one sunset.

    I felt as bad as one could feel without needing hospitalization. My head hurt. I was in a fog of exhaustion. I hadn’t eaten well. All day I emoted clenched anger in a thousand sighs. My shoulders hurt from a thousand shrugs.

    Then, that night, after a blessedly good meal, I said to myself: That’s it. One day. That’s all that these events, the new national reality enunciated on Nov. 8, will take from me.

    I’ll surrender no more days to the shock and injustice of losing the presidency to a loser. As a citizen, I will commit the days henceforth to righting things, principally our democracy.

    I’ve lost two other days this way. The first was in 2001 after the Supreme Court awarded the presidency to the candidate who had gotten fewer votes. The other was after U.S. rolled tanks into Iraq on criminally bogus pretenses. (And they say Hillary Clinton should go to jail for emails.)

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