Patterico's Pontifications

10/17/2017

David Harsanyi on Checks and Balances and Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:49 pm

David Harsanyi has a nice post at The Federalist about the way that Donald Trump has tended to limit executive power:

Say what you will about Donald Trump — and there’s plenty to say — he may be the first president in memory to actively limit his own branch’s power. Though far from perfect, on immigration, on funding issues, on international agreements, and on the regulatory state, the Trump administration has relinquished executive power.

So while civility, competence, and rhetoric matter, and none of those issues should be ignored, neither should the administration’s numerous actions that have helped reestablish some appropriate checks and balances.

Harsanyi cites the announced phase-out of the illegal DACA executive order, the announced intent to withdraw from the Paris Accord (a treaty-like document never ratified by the Senate), and the abolition of illegal cost-sharing reduction payments (read: subsidies) to health care insurers. In each case, Trump rolled back an illegal action by Obama.

It’s not all champagne and roses. Harsanyi does not mention the Syria missile strike — widely praised by many hawks, but in my view still an act of war without Congressional authorization. Trump’s initial executive order on immigration was a clear overreach born of sloppiness, targeting legal immigrants already in the U.S. as well as others. And I have no illusions that Trump is philosophically interested in limiting the power of the executive branch, as opposed to simply undoing whatever Barack Obama did. Harsanyi’s link to “and there’s plenty to say” slams Trump for threatening NBC in a way no President has a legitimate power to do. I’m sure there are other examples of overreach.

Still, there are positive signs cited by Harsanyi. I’m not going to get too carried away, but they are worth noting. Credit where credit is due. Hey, even a repulsive jackass can guard the sheep.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Trump’s Monstrous Insensitivity to the Families of Fallen Soldiers: Two Related Anecdotes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 pm

Susan Wright mentioned earlier that U.S. President Donald J. Trump made some phone calls today to the families of military personnel killed in Niger on October 4. Trump made the calls after facing questioning about what was taking so long. Here’s how one of those calls went:

U.S. President Donald Trump told U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow Tuesday that “he knew what he signed up for …but when it happens it hurts anyway,” when he died serving in northwestern Africa, according to Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens.

“Yes, he said it,” Wilson said. “It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it.”

In related news, Trump today invoked the death of the son of his Chief of Staff John Kelly today to make a cheap political point:

“As far as other presidents, I don’t know, you could ask Gen. Kelly, did he get a call from Obama? I don’t know what Obama’s policy was,” Trump said.

The Washington Post tonight reports on just how much Kelly doesn’t like his son’s death being used for political purposes:

For the past seven years, Gen. John F. Kelly has gone out of his way to keep the death of his son free from politics.

He did not talk about him when — just four days after his death in southern Afghanistan — Kelly found himself commemorating two other Marines killed in combat, in a moving speech in St. Louis. In fact, he specifically asked the officer introducing him not to mention his boy, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, who was killed instantly when he stepped on a land mine while on patrol in 2010, according to a Washington Post report.

. . . .

Kelly has been private about his son’s death, even though both his and his sons’ military service clearly inform his thinking on White House foreign policy and national security decisions, which to him are not merely intellectual exercises, several White House officials said.

Kelly has previously resisted White House efforts to link children’s deaths with politics and policy.

Is Kelly upset? You be the judge:

Since joining Trump’s West Wing team, Kelly is almost always at the president’s side for public appearances. But he was notably absent Tuesday from a Rose Garden news conference with Trump and the Greek prime minister.

The White House offered no explanation of why Kelly was not in attendance.

I’d like to think he told the President that if he ever uses the memory of his son to make a cheap political point again, he’ll be looking for a new Chief of Staff.

Then again, maybe Donald Trump replied by telling Kelly: “You knew what you signed up for.”

UPDATE: Trump tweets that the Democrat Congresswoman lied and that he has proof:

Trump also implied he had a tape that would prove James Comey lied about what was said in a private meeting. I have yet to hear that tape. So: we’ll see about this proof.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

Hospital Delays Toddler’s Surgery After Dad’s Arrest

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:57 am

[guest post by Dana]

Making a toddler pay for the sins of his father just isn’t right.

AJ Burgess is a 2-year old toddler in need of a kidney transplant. Testing revealed that not only is his father, Anthony Dickerson, a perfect match, he is, in fact, “a 110 percent match”. However, the necessary surgery is being delayed because Emory University Hospital is requiring a waiting period to see if Dickerson complies with the conditions of his parole:

Burgess, who only weighs 25 pounds at age 2, spent 10 months in a neonatal intensive care unit. Dickerson was tested and proved to be the perfect match to give his son a kidney, WGCL-TV writes.

“He made it his business to say, ‘Once I get out, I’m gonna promise to my son that he can get a kidney,” A.J.’s mother Carmella said.

As soon as Dickerson was released from prison, he was about to go through the steps to donate his kidney on Oct. 3. However, he returned to jail for violating his parole again for possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit certain felonies, according to WGCL-TV.

According to AJ’s mother, Carmella, the hospital informed her that it would be another 3 or 4 months before AJ’s father, who has a history with the criminal justice system, could donate the needed kidney:

“The lady said we need your parole information and your probation info. He said ‘why?’ We need you to be on good behavior for three to four months before you can give your son the kidney. And January 2018 we will think about re-evaluating you basically,” Carmella said.

It’s puzzling because it appears that the parole violation wasn’t an issue at first:

That didn’t initially seem to be an obstacle. A letter to the Gwinnett County jail from Emory’s Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program requested his temporary release.

“If Mr. Dickerson could be escorted to Emory for blood work and a pre-operative appointment tomorrow, September 29, we will be able to continue with the scheduled surgery,” the Sept. 28 letter says.

But then Burgess received a letter from the hospital saying the surgery would be delayed until Dickerson can provide documentation from his parole officer showing compliance for the next three months.

“We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of this completed documentation,” the letter said.

Here is the statement released by Emory Healthcare after being questioned about the situation:

“Emory Healthcare is committed to the highest quality of care for its patients. Guidelines for organ transplantation are designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize risk for living donors”, the statement read. “Because of privacy regulations and respect for patient confidentiality, we cannot share specific information about patients.”

The family fears that AJ will not be able to wait the three of four months given his declining health. According to Carmella,”A.J.’s body is failing and he needs bladder surgery”. The family has set up a petition page in hopes of urging the hospital to proceed with the surgery before January 2018:

My 2-yr-old son’s dad, Anthony, was cleared at Emory University Hospital as a 110% match for giving our son his left kidney.

But Anthony went to jail last month for violating his parole, & now he is being denied the chance of giving Anthony Jr. his kidney.

We feel that the hospital is only focused on dad’s behavior & not focusing on The More Important Part…which is our son getting his father’s kidney so he can begin to live a healthy life. Dad making a mistake shouldn’t affect his ability to help his son.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Russia Collusion Proved!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

The Hill:

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

We’ve all heard about the corrupt Uranium One deal. This story talks about a second decision that has received less attention: “approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp.” The story has too little detail for my taste about the specifics of millions being routed to the Clinton Foundation. Is this a reference to payments we already knew about, or new revelations? I’ve read the story a couple of times and it’s still not clear to me.

Still, the fact that someone connected to these payments was involved in bribery seems like a big deal. This information clearly would have jeopardized the Russian nuclear expansion deals — not to mention Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. The fact that we are just learning this now is pathetic.

The exclamation point in the headline is irony, of course. No “collusion” between Hillary and the Russian government has been proved. But it stinks. It stinks to high heaven. At a minimum, the story illustrates the corrosive effect of foreign money being routed to entities connected to a political official. (Unless that official is Donald Trump, of course. In that case it’s OK and everybody will defend it or ignore it.)

I hope the story prompts an independent investigation. More likely, however, partisans like Hannity will scream about it and oversell the story, while Big Media will yawn and fail to follow up. And it will become a partisan football, just like everything else in this overly politicized nation.

Yay!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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