Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
On October 4, 2019, the Gray Center co-hosted “The Administration of Democracy⏤The George Mason Law Review’s Second Annual Symposium on Administrative Law.” For the second annual symposium, scholars wrote papers on such fundamental questions as: Is nonpartisan campaign-finance regulation possible? Who should draw electoral maps—and how? How can we best protect voting rights? How should the census be administered? How do we preserve the regulatory process’s democratic legitimacy? And, are members of Congress entitled to see the President’s tax returns? These papers are forthcoming in the George Mason Law Review. In addition, the event featured a Keynote Conversation with two former public servants with deep expertise in both governance and campaigns: Robert Bauer, former White House Counsel to President Obama, and Donald McGahn, former White House Counsel to President Trump.
The keynote conversation featured Bauer, now at NYU Law School, and McGahn, currently a Partner at Jones Day, discussing the current state of political campaigns and elections, and whether reforms are needed. This session was moderated by the Gray Center’s Executive Director, Adam White. The video is available at http://administrativestate.gmu.edu/events/the-administration-of-democracy-the-george-mason-law-reviews-second-annual-symposium-on-administrative-law/.
We were repeatedly treated to lies about Ukraine during the first week of the Democrats’ congressional clown show “impeachment inquiry.” The central lie was that Ukraine was a key security partner against Russia for many years. It is a lie that Ukraine has ever been a key security partner and it is a further lie that Ukraine has been the focus of US policy intended to check Russian re-expansion. Everyone knows this, you know this, at least in your gut. Here are the facts, which do not care about anyone’s feelings:
1991: Ukraine votes for and declares independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist States. Ukraine has over 1,000 nuclear warheads, allegedly without the control and arming codes, but with significant technical knowledge in-house. Weeks before the independence vote, President George H.W. Bush delivers an infamous speech in Kiev, written by Russia and Eastern Europe expert Condoleezza Rice, in which he warned about “suicidal nationalism.” William Safire branded this the “Chicken Kiev speech.” Bush feared that small states declaring their independence would provoke the Russian population, destabilizing the supposedly democratizing new Russia.
The elder President Bush’s most memorable foreign-policy blunder took place in Kiev in 1991, then under Communist rule. With the Soviet Union coming apart, the U.S. president — badly advised by the stability-obsessed “realist” Brent Scowcroft — made a speech urging Ukrainians yearning for independence to beware of “suicidal nationalism.” His speech, which he now insists meant only “not so fast,” was widely taken as advice to remain loyal to Moscow’s empire.
Donald Trump’s haters have been demanding his impeachment since the day of his inauguration. To that end they have cast about wildly for any reason imaginable. And in the process they have attempted to criminalize the normal actions of the president.
They just don’t like Trump. The Democrats, of course, but also the NeverTrumpers, just want him gone. There have been so many attempts that it is almost too hard to list them all. The Mueller investigation, of course. Remember how Trump was going to be impeached because of the Mueller report? Remember that the next time you hear a news report about a poll showing how the number of Americans who support impeaching the president has supposedly increased since six months ago. All that means is that some Americans, otherwise known as Democrats, wanted to impeach Trump for Russian Collusion before and now want to impeach Trump for Ukrainian…something. They want to impeach Trump no matter the reason and no matter the facts.
Congressional Democrats held a vote on impeachment earlier this year because Trump tweeted about Alexandria Occasional-Cortex, Ilhan Whosemyhusband, Rashida Tableface, and the other one that no one cares about. (Spoiler alert: tweeting is not a high Crime and Misdemeanor).
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder apparently is certain that Republicans are going to cheat in the 2020 federal elections. “It’s going to be hard because the reality is that Republicans are going to cheat. They’re going to try to keep people away from the polls, they’re going to move polling places, they’re going to do […]
Yesterday the New York Times confirmed what many of us who don’t rely on the New York Times for news have known for a long time: The Obama Administration spied on the Trump presidential campaign.
WASHINGTON — The conversation at a London bar in September 2016 took a strange turn when the woman sitting across from George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, asked a direct question: Was the Trump campaign working with Russia?
The woman had set up the meeting to discuss foreign policy issues. But she was actually a government investigator posing as a research assistant, according to people familiar with the operation. The F.B.I. sent her to London as part of the counterintelligence inquiry opened that summer to better understand the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.
The proposed construction of the extensive Obama Presidential Center on some 19.3 acres in Jackson Park on the south side of Chicago has long been a simmering issue of deep and continuous controversy. This past February, I stated my multiple objections to the choice of the historic site for the center and argued that on every conceivable ground it would be far better for the City of Chicago to construct it in Washington Park, located just to the west of Hyde Park. Washington Park is largely under-utilized and is a stone’s throw from the Chicago expressways. The Washington Park site will not require closing the major northbound roads that now run through Jackson Park, and it will not clash with other lakefront fixtures, including the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry located on the north end of Jackson Park. My views were hardly idiosyncratic; they were shared by at least 200 members of the University of Chicago faculty.
Objections to the project were effectively overridden when the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Housing and Real Estate gave the project its unanimous blessing on October 11. By that time, however, the action had started to shift to the courts: On May 14, a long-time activist group, Protect Our Parks, joined by several Chicago residents, filed a lawsuit whose sole purpose was to block the construction of the Obama center in Jackson Park. The suit seeks to invalidate the transfer of property rights in the Jackson Park land from the Park Department to the City of Chicago for the nominal price of $1, after which the City plans to designate it for use by the center, without making a formal transfer of title.
One of the grounds on which this transfer is challenged is that the City is barred by the so-called public trust doctrine from making the transfer. In response to this complaint, seven prominent law professors prepared a brief in which they announced that the public trust doctrine under its current interpretation gives the City ample grounds on which to complete the deal. In their view, the Court must give deference to the legislative decision and allow the transfer to go through. On this question, the precedents are divided and often confused. What follows is my analysis of how the public trust should apply, and why.
For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, my guest was Rich Higgins. Higgins, an expert in unconventional warfare and combatting terrorism with over 20 years experience at senior levels of the Defense Department, and early supporter of President Trump, served as director for strategic planning in President Trump’s National Security Council (NSC). Preview Open
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America commend Attorney General Jeff Sessions for beefing up the number of immigration judges in an effort to expedite hearings for cases of illegal immigration and improve enforcement of existing immigration laws. They’re also weary of former President Barack Obama lecturing us about the need for civility in our politics when he trashed his opponents and accused them of sinister motives consistently over his eight years in office. And they understand why Ben Sasse is frustrated with certain aspects of the Republican Party but also see his public agonizing over whether to stay on the GOP as a bit of grandstanding.
Barnes and Nobles had three books of “wisdom”. Since we’ve got conservatives here, I’m assured by my friends on social media there will be sexist and racist answers. But like in the public schools, there are no wrong answers. So which of these three is not like the others? And why? Preview Open
For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, I had Sean Bigley, a national security attorney who prosecutes intelligence community whistleblower retaliation cases, on to discuss the chilling alleged effort to destroy his client, Adam Lovinger, following his discovery of shady Defense Department contracts made out to among others, Trump campaign FBI informant Stefan Halper.
Lovinger, a highly regarded Pentagon analyst, has found his career ruined, allegedly due to whistleblower retaliation for raising the Halper issue and several others — first losing a prominent position in the Trump National Security Council (NSC), then having his security clearance revoked and finally being suspended without pay altogether while trying to litigate four separate cases against the officials who targeted him.
First there was that murder mystery “written” by James Patterson and Bill Clinton, and now Obama is in the crime solving game. This came as an Editor’s Pick in BookBub: Preview Open
Richard Goodstein is a Democratic campaign strategist, involved in the Hillary Clinton campaign. Of course, in a world where Carter Page is a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, it’s difficult to know what that means. Is he just some rando volunteer padding his resume, did he actually get a paycheck from the campaign, or was he one of the inner cabal working to subvert the American electoral process? Who knows?
What we do know is that he’s a frequent talking head on the cable news networks, where he can be counted on to change the subject on a dime, and always reliably parrot the Democratic talking points of the day. I mention him because he’s been selling a particular talking point over the last week or so, a point that I have heard repeated by other Democrats, including a group of Congress critters in the wake of the report from the Office of Inspector General.
The White House should hire me immediately. The official job title is unimportant; it could be as an advisor or low-level staffer, but the inner circle will know why I’m there. I will be the Evil Czar.
What’s the Evil Czar? It’s simple. My job will be to come up with diabolically evil and devilishly imaginative ways to screw with the President’s opposition, whether that be Democrats, the media (I know, I know… I repeat myself), or even disgruntled Republicans. This could be done in service of several different goals, whether to further a policy agenda, to change the media narrative away from a negative story, or best of all, simply to drive them insane and to put that insanity on full public display.
Because of its implications, this is an uncomfortable question; let me first briefly outline the framework against which the question is asked.
The following are facts that do not appear to be in dispute by anyone who isn’t a card-carrying member of Team Obama:
- President Obama weaponized for political purposes the intelligence and law enforcement apparatus of the federal government, including the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Central Intelligence Agency.
- President Obama spied on Congress.
- President Obama spied on journalists.
The following assertions are open for debate but are backed by significant evidence and quickly moving to the indisputable fact column:
This comment is to offer a few personal observations of what appear to be century-old analogies between two progressive U.S. presidents and the congresses with which they had to deal. Reflect first on Woodrow Wilson during his eight years in office (1913-1921); look at the idealistic nature of some of his speeches, particularly after WWI […]
David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the Trump administration for evicting dozens of Russian officials from the U.S., many of whom were intelligence personnel posing as diplomats. They also dissect the March for Our Lives, as the Parkland teenagers insist one moment that they’re not after anyone’s guns and the next minute blame the NRA for the deaths of children. They also discuss how the gun control push may be the one thing that saves the GOP from a midterm election disaster. And they react to former President Obama’s saying he wants his foundation to be a way to connect activists and innovators and create a million more Barack Obamas in the process. David and Greg then discuss how de facto worship of politicians is bad for America on both sides of the aisle.