Thursday, December 29, 2016

Emolument Clause and Trump’s entanglements - collection of news stories

Our Founding Fathers were very concerned about foreign interests undermining the fidelity of United States government officials with a variety of financial incentives.  That is why they created the “Emolument Clause.”  Here is a collection of quotes and links to recent articles looking at various aspects of the Emolument Clause and how it relates to our soon to be president, the Russian Obligate, Donald Trump with his untold international business entanglements (Guess now we know another reason Trump continues hiding his tax returns.).  I do this in order to provide a one stop overview and reference resource regarding USA's wise Emolument Clause.  Feel free to copy and share.  

Democracy use it or lose it!  
bring this up because you know those two faced Republicans are going to try and green-light Trump's shenanigans since they only care about their agenda and payouts are part of their game anyways, so it ain't no big thing.  To them!  Heck, they don't even care about Russians undermining our election, it's all business to them.

Besides, who's going to do anything to stop them? Democratic politicians?  Forget about it.  What can they accomplish without many, many thousands of your letters and phone calls in their pockets.  Democracy is a team effort!  Everyone has their roll to fulfill.  Can you help?  At the end of this collection I include a list of Democratic Senators' addresses and office phone numbers.


Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the U.S Constitution:  
“No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”
News Article Titles:

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Congressional Research Service Report: Trump's Conflict of Interest, Ethics traps.

On November 22, the Congressional Research Service filed a report that identified nine federal conflict of interest and ethics provisions that could, if enforced, apply to the president.  

I believe this is valuable information for all who fear this rogue administration’s intentions and who understand that this 45th US Presidential Administration is something never before experienced in America.  A President who hates our government and who’s intent on waging a hostile insurgency dedicated to destroying our very way of government and remolding it into something more accommodating of his oligarch’s blind self-interested avarice.

Be afraid, be very afraid, but don’t fold, America needs defending now!  Can you help?  Only an informed and engaged citizenry will insure our Democratic politicians do the right thing as this nightmare unfolds in these next couple years.  Any ground we lose, won't be made up, America needs your participation now. 
The following is a matter of public record, the reposting and sharing of full content is permissible.  
Other than linking the law titles, nothing has been added or removed.

Congressional Research Service
Informing the legislative debate since 1914

MEMORANDUM November 22, 2016
Subject: Conflict of Interest and “Ethics” Provisions That May Apply to the President
From: Jack Maskell Legislative Attorney
American Law Division

This memorandum is intended to briefly identify those provisions of federal statute or regulation that [11] respect conflicts of interest or “ethics” and [2] may apply to the President. The memorandum begins by noting why certain provisions would appear to be inapplicable to the President. It then notes the remaining provisions that could potentially be seen to apply to the President.

The memorandum is solely concerned with the identification and, where relevant, discussion of the specific provisions. It is not intended to discuss whether and how particular provisions could potentially be enforced against the President, although it is important to note that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has previously opined that sitting Presidents are not subject to indictment for violations of federal criminal law. [1]

Frank Walton's plea for a Merrick Garland recess appointment

There was another recent article worth sharing, written by Frank Vyan Walton for the DailyKos.  It’s an excellent compliment to Dr. Wang’s ‘Constitutional Hardball.’  Walton is advocating for an Obama recess appointment, I like the idea of the Daily Kos petition for Democratic Senators to actually vote Judge Garland onto the Supreme Court Jan 3rd.  See the item following Walton’s piece.  Still either one would be better than neither.
“Enough is enough.  It’s time the Democrats stop bringing a butter-knife to the gun fight. It’s time to fight back, to finally get up when the bullies push you down and punch him right in the nose.”
Seems like a good bookend to be the last of my emergency 'window of opportunity' bootlegs.  Don't get me wrong, I’m not going to stop writing or posting, or hoping, that never works for me either and I'll continue sharing the work of others, simply that I'm returning to not making exceptions conventional restraints,... after allowing Frank Walton's article to speak for how I'm feeling.  A healthy democracy demands an informed and engaged citizenry - we need you now.

I follow Frank's article with the DailyKos petition, which is followed by recent articles related to what a gross national security threat Trump, his behavior and his business entanglements are, then finishing with a list of Democratic Senator addresses.

Sunday, Dec 25, 2016 

On his way out the Oval Office door there is one thing President Obama can do to give the do-less-than-nothing Congress a big stiff middle finger.  Recess appoint Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court so sayeth the New Republic .

Come January, President Barack Obama will be consigned to the sidelines as Donald Trump occupies the Oval Office and begins the work of dismantling his legacy. But there is one action that Obama could take on January 3, 2017 that could hold off some of the worst potential abuses of a Trump administration for up to a year. Obama can appoint his nominee Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court on that date, in between the two sessions of Congress.

Here’s how it would work. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states, “The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate.” This has been used for Supreme Court vacancies before—William Brennan began his Court tenure with a recess appointment in 1956. Any appointments made in this fashion expire at the end of the next Senate session. So a Garland appointment on January 3 would last until December 2017, the end of the first session of the 115th Congress.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Obama would have to do it on the January 3rd, because the last time he did a recess appointment it was during a period that the Senate was holding pro-forma sessions, where they would be gaveled in, and then immediately out again by just one Senator every three days, specifically to block the President from making recess appointments. ...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Voter Suppression USA Election 2016, collection of news stories

Our US government is literally under a hostile take over attempt.  A healthy democracy demands an informed and engaged citizenry.  I am borrowing from the DailyKos again because this Trump Administration is playing for keeps and a lot more Americans need to wake up and become familiar with what's going on and I can't help but feel compelled to do my little part.  If a lot more people don't start taking all this a lot more seriously our losses will be grave.  Following Raven's article I include quotes and links to:

By Raven  |  Tuesday Dec 27, 2016

Recently another diary — ironically subtitled Beware the False Narrative — sought to explain “why we are losing everywhere but a handful of blue states.” The real, honest-to-gosh truth, as the diarist went on to burble? —  “urban areas just turned out less for Hillary Clinton”  and “the lower income end fled the Democratic parties banner”  and “The real culprit was collapsing support for Clinton” … and commenters gleefully joined in blaming either the voters or the Clinton campaign or the Democratic Party as a whole.
Not until well down the thread (in a comment by Ashes of Roses, thanks!) did anyone mention voter suppression, and that was immediately disputed: the first reply included “… ‘voter suppression’ should have meaning other than just less participation.” Others insisted the reason was “disengagement,” “disgust,” etc., on the part of voters, but not being prevented from voting.
Gosh, nothing before this about voter suppression? disenfranchisement? The GOP’s kicked people off the voter registration lists with Crosscheck (whose architect Kris Kobach is now Trump’s “immigration advisor”), closed 868 polling places in African-American and Latino districts across the South for this election, has been working hard at Voter ID laws nationwide — and boasting about the results!

A Historic Snafu In Need Of Revisiting - Cheney/Edwards VP Debate

This was my second post here at and harks back to another monumental Democratic Party failure to appreciate the moment and capture its important opportunity.  Though I imagine most aren't even aware of it.  I reposting this for the young bloods who are sick of their DNC elders and the disconnected mistakes that they seem incapable of learning from.  The elders will oppose you, but exert yourselves, speak up, the DNC and America needs you to step up and deal with our world as it is.
A historic snafu in need of revisiting
August, 2, 2008,

Back in 2004, during the Vice Presidencial debates, the question of the moment was: America's Right to "Go It Alone." Cheney proclaimed: "America will not allow anyone veto power!" Senator Edwards (and by extension the Democratic Party) could respond no better than to mumble meaningless platitudes.

Why couldn't Senator Edwards invoke the words of our United States Declaration of Independence? The last line of the first paragraph reads: "... a decent Respect to the Opinion of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to Separation."

Our Declaration of Independence and its signers granted no one veto power, however they did recognize a higher arbiter of correctness and a requirement that they be able to justify their actions in the eyes of the world!

Why couldn't the Democrat articulate that?
Why have we so easily misplaced our respect for the rest of mankind?

Consider a historic inspiration worth recalling

Our Founding Fathers were all men of passionate, deeply held and defensible beliefs.

Yet, each one knew they needed the knowledge and experiences of their ideological opponents.

They allowed themselves the luxury of respecting their opponents and they appreciated that there was something to be learned from most everyone.

They had the humility to understand that no one of them held absolute insight.

And they had the integrity to be able to alter perspectives when new information justified it.

Shouldn't all of us reacquaint ourselves with this principle?

Confirm Merrick Garland - Constitutional Hardball by Prof Samuel Wang

This morning I googled Merrick Garland Supreme Court nomination for some news.  It's shocking and frightening to find nearly nothing.  It’s like Democrats are oblivious to this crucial tiny moment of opportunity to preserve the cornerstone of our American government - you know, it’s checks and balances!  That the importance of getting Judge Merrick Garland onto the Supreme Court isn't on every Independent and Democrats' lips, I find that astounding and deeply demoralizing.  This is the sort of laziness that gets governments defeated and countries lost.

Losing the Supreme Court will have far reaching consequences. Consider how passionately many powerful Republicans want to turn us into their “Christian Nation” under their personal god.  With the entire government in their hands, you better bet they will do their best to make it happen and given how pliable the DNC seems to be, they may get their way.  Who's to stop them?  Seriously, think about it.  This is for keeps.  Who's to stop this run away train wreck?

About the only thing I found worth sharing was this fascinating article by Professor Samuel Wang PhD.  It’s a good sober appraisal of this very real opportunity and it’s worth your time.  (I've included the directory of US Democratic Senators at the end of this.)
(Regarding my title, Dr. Wang's article is a neutral review of facts, I injected the advocacy spin to the title.)

Constitutional Hardball: Can Senate Democrats Confirm Merrick Garland on January 3rd?

By Sam Wang. |  December 25th, 2016

On the New York Times opinion page, the editors suggest (“The Stolen Supreme Court Seat,” December 24th) that President-elect Donald Trump could nominate President Obama’s choice, Judge Merrick Garland, as a gesture of goodwill. I myself suggested this on CNN last month (that was the point, you guys, not the bug – go watch). This is unlikely, to say the least…but there’s still a long-shot way to get a vote on Garland on January 3rd. It involves playing Constitutional hardball. (also see petition)

Update: A reader quotes a former Republican Senate staffer who claims that the rules prevent this. I am skeptical of the source. But if objections are raised, they will surely take the form described.

In 2004, the legal scholar Mark Tushnet published a classic article called “Constitutional Hardball.” This article is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the battles over how our national government works.  

In it, Tushnet points out that from time to time, an organized effort is made to change fundamental principles of how the branches of the U.S. government operate. In Constitutional hardball, the parties carry out maneuvers that are within the literal rules, yet violate longstanding principles that are followed by mutual consent, a.k.a. “norms.” As examples, Tushnet cites (1) Marbury v. Madison, (2) FDR and the New Deal, and (3) a period that began in the late 1990s and continues today. This last period coincides with the advent of our modern, polarized politics.

The ninth-seat vacancy on the Supreme Court – and twenty-five other languishing judicial nominations – exemplify this year’s round of hardball. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Considering Republicans' disconnect from planet Earth

The following started as a response over at Center For Inquiry forum.  But it took on a life of its own and I'd like to share it over here, the quote that got me going:

“I agree that there are lots of justifications to have a negative outlook for our future.  But I do think that although our ability to destroy ourselves is increasing all the time, we are also, on average, getting better at treating each other better.  (I wish I could say the same for how we treat our planet, but with our population and growth rate and 'improving standard of living', we have a long loooong way to go.”)  

(for the record this was written several months before the election.)

CC:  I wonder how you feel after this election "campaign" and its result?

As for our planet, we are her guests.  Earth has only so much to offer us and after a few hundred years of sucking out and consuming everything as fast as possible, all the while getting ever more contemptuous and disconnected from our Earth’s physical realities, she's running out of what we need to survive.  Our slow learning curve doesn’t mean a thing to how Earth reacts to what we have done to her.  What we don’t know is certainly going to harm us. 

Science tells us about Earth’s simple physical reality.  No matter how much bullshit Republican delusionals have hurled at this edifice of knowledge and understanding, the overwhelming observational evidence supports what the scientists are tellings us. 

Misrepresenting what scientists say likewise doesn’t change the facts.  Choosing to ignore it doesn’t mean the changes aren’t continuing underfoot.  Here I’m reminded of an excellent song worth sharing at this point.  I’ve wanted to share it since first hearing it downtown Denver during the 2008 Democratic Convention.  Their poetry does a pretty job of conveying a certain ugly reality about how things work in Washington DC and how oblivious most people are to it.

 Oakhurst - Moonshine Still


Bringing it back down to Earth and appreciating her realities.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Republicans - reality - manmade global warming

Republicans believe it's okay to deny observable facts - They believe it's their personal "Free Speech Right" to fabricate lies and malicious nonsense, then insist their cynical misdirections are reputable facts. Which they most certainly are not - as any good-faith full spectrum examination makes clear.   They refuse to listen to any corrections and thoughtful explanations, they slander honest, accomplished and respected scientists with hysterical claims, sans all serious evidence.  Since arguing the facts of the matter is a loser for them, they derail discussions with character assassination attempts on all who dare defend climate scientists against the outlandish paranoid machinations of fiction reporters - all this rather than rationally listening to what scientists have to teach.  

Of course, taking our changing global environment seriously does demand changing the way we think and do things.  It demands growing up and recognizing we have a huge population on a warming planet with shrinking resources and we no longer have the luxury of behaving as though Earth was still a limitless cornucopia.  Since I'm still not getting the time I need to write, I want to share an article from last year where I try to describe our failure of vision and curiosity when it comes to addressing humanity's most fateful "geophysical experiment."

Reposted from

Twenty years ago I came across a cartoon by Mike Keefe in the Denver Post that captured an attitude I had found all too pervasive among my fellow Americans: the attitude of entitlement and detached disregard for understanding how our global climate system operates.

It inspired me to write an essay describing my understanding of our planet’s climate system, and it was published in the November/December 1995 issue of the Humanist magazine. Rereading it recently, I noticed some minor errors but the basic story remains as accurate today as it was back then. Since anniversaries are a good time to reflect on history and how far we’ve come (or not), I wrote a twenty year reflection which the Humanist printed in their Nov/Dec 2015 issue.  This is a slightly altered version and I've included many links to further information.

I thank Mike Keefe for the permission to use his cartoon.

I think it’s worth recalling where our understanding of global warming induced climate change was twenty years ago.  Though there were fewer media outlets back then, they were more objective and for the most part offered straightforward climate science information. After all, it’s not that tough a story to summarize, even if the details get devilishly difficult.

By ’95 we had learned that weather is the product of climate conditions and that Earth’s climate conditions fluctuated. We knew that CO2 and other greenhouse gases were a major regulator of those fluctuations because they regulated how much of the sun's incoming heat was retained within Earth's climate system.

At the same time we were also being forced to confront the reality that it was our own burning of fossil fuels and the machines behind our modern marvels and lavish lifestyles that were increasingly belching “gaseous insulation” into our atmosphere.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Time for a silly music break

This morning I stumbled onto a cute video I feel like sharing, just for the heck of it.  Thank you Matthew Halstead and whoever the kids (well back in 2011) were who created the art work and made this project.  Oh, and of course, thanks to Simon and Garfunkel for making the song.   ; - )

Uploaded on Aug 2, 2011
Song illustrated by EFL class
  • Category

  • License

    • Standard YouTube License
  • Music


      Center For Inquire Online Forum

    This is the central forum for discussions that don’t fit comfortably into one of the other forums on this site. If you can’t quite figure out where something goes, it probably goes here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Diary 12/20/16 - Trump’s Theme Song (and God)

Sometimes a song represents one’s feelings much better than anything else.  This one is about relentless blind greed, sad topic, beautiful song - and outrageously appropriate in light of yesterday’s Electoral College performance.  “The Last Resort” was written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley and sung by the Eagles and I hereby rename it TRUMP’S SONG in honor of the coming pillage.

It seems that the people have spoken with Trump winning yet more electoral votes (I imagine politicians desperate to save their skins.).  Yes sir re, the meek will be falling in line.  

If only a truly massive amount of voters would start exerting pressure on their representatives, bet we’d be seeing some hardening of resolve.  But, where are those concerned American rational fact-over-faith citizens?
What about the next huge last-chance opportunity?

That is, getting Merrick Garland his Supreme Court nomination vote on January 3, 2016

Senators will never do it, unless they start receiving tens of thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands of voters contacting them and explicitly demanding it.  I don’t understand why every ‘liberal’ political organization in American isn't pulling out all stops to get their constituents involved in this one all important campaign.  The necessary Checks and Balances of our Democratic government demand it !  Merrick Garland MUST BE SEATED ON THE SUPREME COURT ! ! !

CO2 Science - Why We Can Be Sure.

This post is an interesting sort of one way collaborative effort and I've posted it before, but its worth repeating. You see, over the years I've communicated with a number of scientists and grads.  Asking straight forward questions and often receiving informative replies.  I try not to over do my welcome, after all these are very busy people with more important things to do. Still, for this post I sent a grand shout out to a number of my correspondence pals and received more responses than I expected including some informative surprises for me. I have taken great liberty slicing and dicing their responses. Rewriting some, leaving other quotes untouched and giving all of it some order.

I mention this because I want to be clear the following List of "CO2 science dependent" modern marvels is not my own cleverness and I want to send out a big Thank You! to my informed anonymous heroes!  
Also see
Archive, Hanscom AFB Atmospheric Studies, 
Cambridge Research Lab

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The increase in atmospheric concentration of CO2 since preindustrial times is a given. Understand that the radiative physics of greenhouse gases are very well-understood.

Consider heat seeking missiles flying through different altitudes searching for a heat source who's signature is changing with altitude.  In order to program the computer, the programmer must know how to accurately compensate for the changing signature.  It requires a complete knowledge of the radiative properties of all the gases in the atmosphere, or all that hardware is for naught.

{Incidentally, there is not one contrarian "theory" or challenge to the physics that hasn't been looked at by informed individuals.  You'll find that contrarian errors, omissions, and falsifications have been clearly explained.  Don't believe me, check it out for yourself:
Continue for the list of CO2 dependent modern marvels:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
* Weather satellites that can image heat and moisture and wind's effects into comprehensible images.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
* Precipitable water. Contrast brightness temperatures measured via oxygen emissions and via H2O emissions to back calculate how much water is present.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
* Heat seeking air to air missiles, they would not function if those guidence computers didn't have a complete description of how heat moves through the atmosphere.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
*  Lasers wouldn't work if we had radiative physics wrong.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
* Early-Warning satellites.  How are they going to distinguish between a missile launch from lightning, over Siberia?  Better look at IR in DETAIL!   (There's much more)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Diary 12/18/16 - mighty depressed

While Trevor made me laugh, it wasn't enough to lift me from the dark depression here on the 18th of December living this monstrosity of being an aware yet impotent witness to all this collective madness going down around me.  Last time I felt this much dread was the run up to the Republican Shock'n Awe War of Profit, when my fears were realized.  Here we go again.

We are about to have a man become President of the US by dint of a campaign based on hate-mongering plus fabricating malicious lies and feeding them to a frustrated scared “faith-based” audience that was thirsty for a little hate mongering and demonizing of their imagined enemies.  Was it any surprise after them listening to eight years of relentless, if contrived, but oh so malicious, right-wing media rage.  As a 60+ I wonder, whatever happened to America’s innate sense of Fair Play?  Greed must have swallowed it.

US Representatives who are supposedly servants of The People and our Constitution are shrugging their shoulders, “What me do something?  Forget about it!”  That scares me to my core.  Worst of all is that despite the large citizen outrage that I read about in selected media circles, I wonder if it’s close enough to reach that critical mass need to successful confront the coming Oligarch Blitzkrieg.  I do hope so.

If tomorrow’s protests turn out to be little more than the usual suspects, oh boy are we in for a reaming these next couple years.  If on the other hand citizens from all stripes do show up in massive numbers, that would be a thing of democratic beauty to behold, and a healthy warning shot across Trump's thoughtless bow.

Then, the second most important question of the moment would become: Are they demanding that Democratic Senators vote on Merrick Garland Supreme Court nomination January 3rd?  I do hope my pessimism turns out ill placed.  (Why not protest Washington DC New Year's day?  It's a thought.)