Book review…”RAGE”

President Donald Trump’s former top Cabinet officials are among his harshest critics in journalist Bob Woodard’s new book “Rage,” providing some of the most brutal assessments of the commander in chief to date: “Dangerous.” “Unfit.” “No moral compass.” “Doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie.”

Woodward’s book paints a devastating portrait of Trump by those who worked in his inner circle. Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, all hired at the start of Trump’s presidency, are quoted detailing their frustrations with Trump’s inability to focus, their alarm over his refusal to accept facts or listen to experts, their fears over the consequences of his impulsive decision-making…

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key White House coronavirus task force member and the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, is quoted telling others Trump’s leadership on the virus was “rudderless” and his “sole purpose is to get reelected.”

“Rudderless” is polite for “Incompetent”.

Former DOJ officials file brief against Trump’s attempt to deny voting rights policy


You got what you thought you voted against — and worse!

❝ The Justice Department’s recent about-face on a voting rights case was such a betrayal of long-standing DOJ policy that a group of former political appointees and career lawyers filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on Friday, citing more than two decades of consistent enforcement of the rule in question – until Trump.

In a possibly unprecedented move, the former Justice lawyers essentially made an argument on behalf of the Department as an institution, representing itself in opposition to its current leadership…

❝ At issue is an Ohio law that calls for purging voters from the registration rolls if they fail to vote during three election cycles then don’t respond to a mailing. The American Civil Liberties Union sued in April 2016 to prevent the state from purging potentially hundreds of thousands of registrations before the presidential election…

Historically, the Justice Department has explained to states that the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) very clearly prohibits them from removing people from the rolls simply for not voting. (There are, after all, a lot of reasons someone may choose not to vote.)

Not like we never face the situation where the only choices are between two mediocrities or worse. The Trump Republican presumption is that we should lose our right to vote if we reject “too many” opportunities.

I think they just don’t want to have folks around who recognize crap choices for what they are.

Former Canadian officials consult on tax-dodging offshore

A CBC investigation found a former Canada Revenue Agency lawyer and a former Royal Bank of Canada executive giving advice on how to hide money offshore.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported…it turned up the tax-avoidance advisers during its undercover camera investigation into offshore banking practices.

The CBC and its French-language investigative program, Enquete, hired a private investigator to test 15 offshore service providers in Canada and abroad. The CBC said its experts assessed the advice given by the firms and found more than half provided advice that wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny concerning tax evasion.

The CBC said among those who doled out advice on how to avoid paying Canadian taxes in ways that wouldn’t pass regulators’ muster was Gilles Gosselin, who practiced law in Canada and used to work for the Canadian Revenue Agency before moving to Barbados, and Lynn Garner, a vice president with DGM, a private Barbados bank, who was once the trust manager for the Royal Bank of Canada in Barbados…

Gosselin told the CBC he told the network’s undercover investigator what he was contemplating was against the law in Canada…”But if he wants to go ahead and open a BVI company and manage his assets with the BVI company, until he’s actually gone there and done that, he hasn’t done anything wrong,” he said…

Garner initially told the undercover investigator her bank would never take a client seeking to avoid taxes, then proceeded to tell him how to go about doing just that, the CBC said.

Heartwarming to see former members of our northern neighbor’s government acting just like our own “late officials”.

Has Mitt Romney set up a consultancy in Ottawa, yet?

Prominent Republicans sign on to supporting gay marriage

Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.

The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter: Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does, that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”

…The list of signers includes a string of Republican officials and influential thinkers — 75 as of Monday evening — who are not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their previous positions…But the presence of so many well-known former officials — including Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, and William Weld and Jane Swift, both former governors of Massachusetts — suggests that once Republicans are out of public life they feel freer to speak out against the party’s official platform, which calls for amending the Constitution to define marriage as “the union of one man and one woman…”

In making an expansive argument that same-sex marriage bans are discriminatory, the brief’s signatories are at odds with the House Republican leadership, which has authorized the expenditure of tax dollars to defend the 1996 marriage law. The law defines marriage in the eyes of the federal government as the union of a man and a woman.

Congressional Republicans still have no qualms about spending taxpayer dollars to support a baseless law. One, in fact, that doesn’t represent the advancing position of the whole nation. That’s criminal compared to moderates who have decided to support a libertarian position on marriage now that they don’t have to run for re-election.

Mind – it’s not that I don’t think progressive Americans should deny their support. Hey, I wouldn’t even mind a Cardinal or two disagreeing with Rome about something as sensible as contraception. It’s just worth a chuckle at the hindsight that seems to appear when the pressure of appeasing the most ignorant and backwards members of a political party is removed.