Good people don't listen to, acknowledge, nominate or elect people like Senator Jeff Sessions.
— Axl Rose (@axlrose) November 18, 2016
Good people don't listen to, acknowledge, nominate or elect people like Senator Jeff Sessions.
— Axl Rose (@axlrose) November 18, 2016
Nancy Brown, mother of 22-year-old John Brown, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee in May 2013 alleging Deputy Wayne Blanchard used excessive force when he shot her son a year earlier at her town of Lyons home, according to court documents.
She had called police because her bipolar son was suicidal and had locked himself in his room with a knife, according to the complaint she filed.
The settlement, signed Jan. 23, brings the case to a close with the county and Blanchard denying any misconduct, according to a copy of the settlement document obtained by The Gazette.
The payment “is being made for the sole purpose of avoiding the substantial expense of further litigation,” the settlement states.
The settlement will be paid by the county’s insurer, Wisconsin Municipal Mutual Insurance, County Administrator Dave Bretl said Monday.
The shooting is among seven fatal shootings by law enforcement in Walworth County since 2010….
Phil Koss, the district attorney at the time of the shooting, said Blanchard’s actions were justified as self-defense.
[Plaintiff’s attorney Antonio] Romanucci said he and Brown were glad the legal matter was resolved.
“We’re very pleased with the conclusion of this matter, and that we were able to avoid trial with a very substantial settlement,” he said.”
See, also Thursday shooting is eighth by Walworth County law enforcement since 2010 (“The incident [on 2.2.17 in which twenty-six year old Kris Kristl was shot to death] was the eighth shooting–seven of them fatal–by law enforcement in Walworth County since 2010 and the third in 13 months”).
Conservative Jennifer Rubin describes, in E Pluribus Unum vs. Trump, both the building coalition against Trump and the powerful nature of that coalition.
She’s right that what seemed unlikely a few weeks ago is real now:
Just a couple of weeks ago, critics of post-inaugural protesters argued the anti-President Trump movement lacked coherence. Too many small, identity-politics issues, the marcher-watching pundits sniffed. Well, as we imagined, Trump has provided the unifying theme and emotional inspiration, one that can galvanize Americans from many walks of life and political persuasions.
That coalition has more than numbers behind it. Rubin sees that those in opposition to Trump, wherever they may stand ideologically, are capable, talented, and accomplished:
Just as Trump forged his coalition with a nationalist, xenophobic message, opponents have now found their common cause — protecting America as a tolerant, dynamic place that derives real benefits from — and in some instances cannot operate without — international talent, markets and travel. Productive, innovative and modern Americans now have a common cause. Regardless of ideological differences on a host of issues, they now see defense of the international liberal (small “l”) ideal as critical to the country’s economic, political and psychological health. They do not want to be dragged back to the 1950s (as if such a thing were possible) or lose talent and capital that will go elsewhere if the United States turns inward.
Where does this leave us? Rubin concludes:
A wide and deep coalition of students, teachers, scientists, high-tech and industrial workers and CEOs, state and local leaders, religious leaders and Americans of all political stripes now has its message and calling: America is great because it is free, welcoming, dynamic, generous, exerts leadership in the world and has institutions (e.g., an independent judiciary, a free press) that promote inclusion and success (however we define it). If anti-Trump Americans aim to reinforce those qualities and the institutions that promote them, then the know-nothing populists and xenophobic characters who occupy the White House will not destroy what makes America great.
See, also, from Javier Corrales, Five Reasons the Opposition Is in Good Shape to Fight Trump (“The Opposition is Not Confused…The Opposition is Not Demoralized…The Opposition is Not Fragmented…The Opposition is Not Alone…The Opposition Won’t Be Blamed.”)
There is a long road ahead, and there will be significant setbacks, but this campaign is politically existential, and there will be no relent.
Conservative David Frum (with whom a libertarian would have many differences) yet asks and answers rightly the question, Should a Patriotic American Work for Donald Trump?
Frum draws a distinction between personal service to Trump and government positions that are removed from the president:
A law-abiding person will want to stay as far as possible from the personal service of President Trump. As demonstrated by the sad example of Press Secretary Sean Spicer spouting glaring lies on his first day on the job, this president will demand that his aides do improper things—and the low standards of integrity in Trump’s entourage create a culture of conformity to those demands.
After considering service at different levels within the government, Frum concludes with two questions for a potential applicant. They’re both important, but it’s the second one of the two that’s truly telling (my emphasis):
So maybe the very first thing to consider, if the invitation comes, is this: How well do you know yourself? How sure are you that you indeed would say no [to injustices]?
And then humbly consider this second troubling question: If the Trump administration were as convinced as you are that you would do the right thing—would they have asked you in the first place?
It’s tragically plain: what Trump expects of others a just man or woman would never do.
Rubin quotes McMullin on Trump’s use of lies:
“Undermining truth is a typical authoritarian tactic. It is incredibly dangerous,” McMullin explains. If truth is up for debate, then leaders “cannot be held accountable.” He continues, “Accountability depends on Americans’ ability to know the truth. Undermining truth is a way to undermine other sources of information. If they’ve done that, they can provide their own narrative.” Welcome to the era of Trump, and the response it is evoking. “We never thought we’d be talking about this in America,” he says with the same incredulity many are expressing about Trump’s attachment to easily disproved lies.
Gaps on many issues between conservatives, liberals, and libertarians (as I am) probably are as Rubin notes ‘unbridgeable,’ but McMullin’s more general critique of Trump is, and will be, welcome. She writes of McMullin’s insight on this point:
While he is conservative, McMullin has confidence that his message will have resonance on both sides of the aisle. “We saw this very interesting thing. Most of our support in the campaign was from constitutional conservatives,” he tells me. “Since the election we have gotten a ton of people joining from the left. They came because we are standing up for the Constitution.” Despite real, unbridgeable differences on policy issues, he says, “We see an existing common ground to defend these [democratic] institutions. It’s organic. We don’t have to compromise anything.”
We’ve likely a long and hard path before us, with more than a few setbacks along the way. A grand coalition will serve well for all of us who share a common commitment in opposition & resistance.
We’re early in this new political era, with a long time ahead of us, and there’s a need to get a sense of one’s bearings. (The sound way to approach the new politics that has overcome America through the three-thousand-year traditional of liberty to be found in many places, the Online Library of Liberty being only one. But that’s the reading and study of a lifetime; there are essays contemporary to us that are both useful and readily distilled.)
These recent essays and posts consider, or a useful to understand, the incipient authoritarianism of America’s next administration. They are a good basis for a beginning, for a distillation of one’s thinking.
Some recent essays for consideration:
On the Diane Rehm Show of 12.19.16, former Speaker of the House Gingrich offered that a Trump Administration could simply pardon its own advisors to remove those advisors’ unlawful conflicts of interest:
I think in the case of the president, he has a broad ability to organize the White House the way he wants to. He also has, frankly, the power of the pardon. I mean, it is a totally open power, and he could simply say look, I want them to be my advisors, I pardon them if anybody finds them to have behaved against the rules, period. And technically under the Constitution he has that level of authority.
An administration like this would be – not merely technically, but in fact – a lawless one (where law was used to negate the demands of the law).
Two days later, Gingrich repeated his assertion that a president could act this way (revealing it as a trial balloon of sorts, “I’m not saying he should. I’m not saying he will’):
The Constitution gives the president of the United States an extraordinarily wide grant of authority to use the power of the pardon. I’m not saying he should. I’m not saying he will. It also allows a president in a national security moment to say to somebody, “Go do X,” even if it’s technically against the law, and, “Here’s your pardon because I am ordering you as commander-in-chief to go do this.”
Under this reading of the Constitution, what couldn’t a commander-in-chief do, in the name of national security? The answer is that there is nothing he could not do, or (affirmatively formulated) that he could do anything and thereafter pardon those responsible.
Note also the change in circumstances on which Gingrich grounds his remarks: on 12.19 he’s talking about conflicts of interest within an administration, but by 12.21 he’s discussing use of state power under a claim of national security. Perhaps Gingrich thinks the change in circumstances limits the scope of how a president might use the pardon power, but it fact his later example actually expands dramatically the power of the chief executive.
The 12.19 example’s use of pardons might involve wrongful but non-violent business conflicts; the 12.21 example’s use of pardons would exonerate the use of violent force (whether used abroad or domestically) of any possible magnitude against supposed national enemies.
Gingrich’s new second formulation is worse than his first: any location, any amount of force, thereafter subject to pardon by the president of the United States.
When I was a child, we would – as students and politicians do today – recite the Pledge of Allegiance. It sticks in my memory, and so it’s easy to type its words without looking them up: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Among those thirty-one words, there’s mention of liberty, but not so much, so vividly, as the first thirty-six words that declared to all the world America’s deepest, founding principles:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
Someday, a time that will be a better day, I believe that we will wisely begin our affairs with a declaration over a pledge.
Charles Blow writes of the work ahead for those many citizens who now find themselves compelled to defend their rights:
I fully understand that elevated outrage is hard to maintain. It’s exhausting.
But the alternative is surrender to national nihilism and the welcoming of woe.
The next four years could be epochal years in the history of this country. They could test the limits of presidential power and the public’s passivity.
I happen to believe that history will judge kindly those who continued to shout, from the rooftops, through their own weariness and against the corrosive drift of conformity: This is not normal!
One cannot say that this will be the work only of the next few years, knowing that often a few years stretch into several. There will be some moments of weariness; they will prove nothing as against the vigor that comes from being in the right.
Writing at Commentary, Noah Rothman has a short, but powerfully insightful, post entitled Republicanism without Principle. The essay is, immediately, about Trump and the Republican party, but it applies as nicely to republicanism as a form of government under the pressure of radical populism. (It’s worth noting that Commentary is a conservative publication; one finds some of the strongest critiques of Trump from steadfast, free-market conservatives.)
Rothman observes the absence of ideology in Trump:
The fatal conceit of any populist movement is that it is non-ideological. It is entirely practical, its advocates insist. It has no use for theoreticians and philosophers. After all, what have they ever produced? The urgency of the present crisis demands of us the resolve to use every tool in the toolbox. What crisis, you ask? And what tools? The questions alone betray a suspicious lack of revolutionary consciousness. They mark the incredulous inquisitor as unfit to share the fruits of the new enlightenment….
Rothman rightly sees the danger – to liberty, to safety, to well-being – in such movements:
A nihilistic detachment from ideology is also the abandonment of principle, and that is a dangerous condition in leaders vested with the kind of awesome power that American presidents enjoy. The ideology that informs principle serves as a check on that power. Pragmatism is its own philosophy, one which justifies every manner of behavior with little regard for its morality or long-term consequences….
If principle grounded in an intellectual framework comes to be seen as an impediment to progress, any manner of remedy to that condition is soon justified in the populist mind. And pragmatism necessitates the kind of ugly remedies that principle often proscribes….
Here we now are, in America. There’s more to Rothman’s essay that I’d easily recommend, about the views of the clique surrounding Trump. (They are, to be sure, men who would set aside concern for any particular meal or view for the sake of a place at the table and a window seat.)
Rothman’s success, here, however, is more universal: a concise description of government without ideologically principled limitations.
In August, Timothy Fader, the former wrestling coach at UW-Whitewater, filed a federal lawsuit against former chancellor Richard Telfer and then-Athletic Director Amy Edmonds (she has since been demoted), alleging defamation & constructive termination stemming from a dismissal because Fader reported an alleged sexual assault committed by a recruit directly to Whitewater police rather than a campus supervisor. See, Former Coach Fader Files Federal Lawsuit Against UW-Whitewater Officials.
Although the complaint names Telfer and Edmonds in an individual capacity, both are receiving a defense in this civil matter with state resources (and so at taxpayers’ expense).
Whitewater is a city with a median household income of $30,218, where 36.7% of all residents, 15.2% of all families, and 18.6% of all children live below the poverty level. Telfer’s last publicly-paid salary before retirement was a reported $212,600.
I’ve promised to follow the case, and immediately below is a copy Telfer and Edmonds’s answer and Fader’s complaint.
Carl Higbie, a Trump surrogate, while speaking to Megyn Kelly on Fox News suggested the internment of the Japanese during the Second World War as a precedent for a registry of Muslim immigrants to America. Kelly rightly rejected the precedent, as the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War and the Korematsu decision upholding that internment have been considered – at least until recently, it seems – among the worst civil liberties violations of that era.
What was unmentioned only weeks ago is now part of our political discussion; what is part of our political discussion now may yet become policy in the new administration.
Columnist Paula Dvorak, writing at the Washington Post, contends that saying “saying #notmypresident is the same as saying #notmyconstitution or #notmycountry or #notmyAmerica.” See, Stop protesting democracy. Saying #notmypresident is the same as saying #notmyconstitution.
Dvorak is only right about the first two hashtag phrases – she overreaches on the others. It’s true that #notmypresident is like saying #notmyconstitution, as the first depends on the constitutional order of the second. That’s the reason that I have not, and will not, use #notmypresident: Trump was elected lawfully the 45th president of the United States on November 8, 2016. Defending the constitutional order is a worthy defense (and a needful defense as Trump is likely to threaten constitutional norms many times while in office). That defense begins with a fair acknowledgment of who has been elected.
Dvorak’s wrong, however, to think that #notmycountry or #notmyAmerica are somehow impermissible: those terms describe what someone thinks of the society more broadly, apart from a legal or political understanding.
She’s also wrong to think protests against Trump are undemocratic. In fact, they’re democratic both broadly and narrowly. Broadly, one should be able to protest lawfully as one wishes. Narrowly, Trump wasn’t elected by a majority of voters, or even a plurality of them. A plurality went to Clinton, and a majority went to all the alternatives to Trump. If one thinks that democracy – rule of the demos – is what should matter, then one would be protesting for democracy by protesting against Trump.
One may accurately say that Trump’s election was constitutionally permissible at the expense of both the majority’s wishes and those of a plurality. Lawful, to be sure, but by design with a limitation on majoritarian wishes.
This might all be a mere exercise in terms, were the consequences not so large: hundreds of millions, across a vast continent. Define legitimate protest as narrowly as Dvorak does (so that it’s somehow out of bounds to say #notmycountry or #notmyAmerica) and one denies those millions something more meaningful than a single, lawful election’s result.
Blogging at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum – like many of us, of whatever politics – seems uncertain about the consequences of a Trump Administration. (In fairness, much has happened in a short time, and it’s hard to make sense of it all.)
Still, Drum’s thinking has shifted significantly over the last few days, in ways he no doubt sees. His 11.9 day-after post, Things We Can Count on In the Next Two Years belies his 11.10 post, The United States Is Not About to Spiral Into Fascism and Tryanny.
Two days after the election, Drum writes to reassure, contending that Trump will be no different, no worse, than
say, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio would be. Beyond that, though, he’s less conservative on the policy front. The reason Trump is uniquely bad is mostly symbolic: he’s willfully ignorant; he’s vindictive; he’s a demagogue willing to appeal loudly and proudly to racial animus; and he has the attention span of a small child. He’d be an embarrassment to any country, let alone the most powerful country in the world.
Isn’t that bad enough? There’s no need to pretend we’re about to spiral into a fascist nightmare or a financial collapse. We have not embraced tyranny. The United States is a very big battleship, even for Donald Trump.
One day earlier (that is, one day after the election), Drum sees a different prospect for America under Trump:
Since I have the Reconstruction era on my mind right now, it’s hard to avoid the obvious comparison. Reconstruction lasted about eight years, and then was dismantled almost completely. Barack Obama’s presidency lasted eight years and will now be dismantled almost completely. I will withhold my opinion for now on the obvious reason for this similarity.
There lies Drum’s – and our – problem. If a Trump era is anything like the end of Reconstruction was for millions of black Americans at that time, then there is every reason to be extremely concerned. Generations – indeed, during roughly a century of history – went by before millions received the rights the Constitution granted them.
There’s no need to belabor a point that Drum knows, and about which he is sympathetic. The problem for this country is that a politics like the end of Reconstruction was for blacks would be devastating for millions our fellow citizens. When one reaches the need for an analogy between our time and the decades after 1877, one has already arrived at a moment of crisis for huge numbers.
So, is Drum’s initial concern (by way analogy) on 11.9 justified, or is a Trump Administration likely to be little different from how a Cruz or Rubio Administration might have been (as Drum wrote on 11.10)?
Few during these last months thought that Trump, Cruz, and Rubio were much alike; there’s no reason to think they were. A populist politics of Trump’s kind will push as far as it can, making Drum’s initial concerns more probable than his subsequent reassurances.
UW-Whitewater’s current Athletic Director, Amy Edmonds, is reportedly out as head of UW-Whitewater’s athletic programs. The report notes that she’s being demoted to associate athletic director (at a significant cut in salary).
There’s no certainty that she would, in fact, remain in a subordinate role following the apppointment of an interim director, let alone a permanent one.
Edmonds was appointed interim director, and later permanent athletic director, during then-Chancellor Richard Telfer’s tenure. Edmonds and Telfer are now co-defendants in a federal defamation lawsuit from former wrestling Coach Timothy Fader. See, Former Coach Fader Files Federal Lawsuit Against UW-Whitewater Officials.
For more about Edmonds from FREE WHITEWATER, see, Coach Timothy Fader, Vindicated, Former Coach Fader Vindicated Five Times Over, Chancellor Telfer & UW-Whitewater Officials: Why Wait 147 Days?, and Questions on Assault Reporting, Formality, and Former UW-Whitewater Wrestling Coach Fader.
One often hears that a given election is important, and that each person’s vote matters. That’s been true so many times in our history, and it seems particularly so this year.
Absentee voting – by mail or in person – is a part of our law, and the window for in-person voting will open soon. Immediately below readers will find information on absentee voting in the City of Whitewater and for nearby communities.
On Friday, former UW-Whitewater Coach Timothy Fader appeared on ESPN’s nationally-broadcast Outside the Lines, to describe the treatment that led him to file a federal lawsuit against former Chancellor Telfer and current Athletic Director Amy Edmonds. See, Coach fired for reporting sexual assault.
UW-Whitewater officials declined to appear on the program, but issued a statement that anchor Bob Ley read on the air. (The UW-Whitewater statement professes concern for assault survivors but declines to mention that two assault survivors have filed federal Title IX complaints against UW-Whitewater for failing to address their grievances properly as the law requires.)
Channel 3000 first reported on the lawsuit last Monday. This website posted on the lawsuit and story that same day, and included a copy of the federal lawsuit for readers (pdf).
For more on the story, see from Channel 3000 (WISC-TV), Former UW-Whitewater coach tells story to national audience. For prior posts from FREE WHITEWATER, see posts about Coach Fader and UW-Whitewater officials’ conduct.
I posted yesterday on the federal lawsuit filed against former Chancellor Richard Telfer and current Athletic Director Amy Edmonds. See, Former Coach Fader Files Federal Lawsuit Against UW-Whitewater Officials.
One should not expect a quick resolution to the many issues the lawsuit raises, of mistreatment of honest employees & disregard for assault survivors. On the contrary, in a matter like this there are likely to be tactics of (1) silence, (2) changing the subject, (3) lying, (4) blaming terminated employees and assault survivors, and (5) self-serving but unethical insistence that injury to a few served a higher institutional purpose.
We’re nowhere near the end of all this. A federal lawsuit, and a federal investigation into Title IX handling of sexual assault complaints, is a consequence of, but not a certain cure for, the grievances asserted.
There is much yet ahead.