15 thoughts on “Media Link: A crisis of governance.

  1. Pablo, I apologise in advance for nitpicking but the President of the Philippine’s name is Duterte, not Dutarte.

  2. Hi Pablo, see Steve Bannon is finally getting his comeuppence!
    Will he be able to buy his way out of it? Maybe not, as Trump is playing his ” I hardly know him” card, haven’t seen him for years scenario.

  3. Hi Barbara.

    As someone mentioned, Wayne LaPierre and other leaders of the NRA used membership dues to furnish their lavish lifestyles while fear-mongering about gun regulations. Jerry Falwell Jr. of Liberty University/”poolboy” fame used his position as university president to fuel his substance and sexual addictions while railing about the US moral decay. Now Bannon and some other Drumpfsters used a GoFundMe border wall construction appeal to pocket a fair portion of the proceeds for more lifestyle purposes (when the Mexicans were supposedly going to pay for the wall). Bannon was arrested on a US$25 million dollar yacht owned by an exiled Chinese billionaire, for whom he apparently has been working since he walked out the White House in August 2017. Interesting, that.

    Then there are the Drumpf family members, Manafort, Stone, Cohen, various cabinet members who had to resign, etc. To that we can add people like Mitch McConnell and his wife the Transportation Secretary who is heir to a Chinese logistics fortune. In short, it seems that the GOP is just one big grift/enrichment scheme for the players, and one big con for the gullible MAGA morons who blindly follow them and their empty and hypocritical promises.

    The good news is that their day of reckoning is fast approaching.

  4. Do you think if Biden wins he will set up a special tribunal to investigate the crimes of the Trump administration or the American right more generally?

  5. I think it would be good and necessary for the next Dem president to prosecute Trump for whatever tax crimes he has inevitably committed pre-becoming President, but yeah I can’t see that actually happening. De facto immunity for life is the way it’s gonna be.

    Sorry Pablo I was going to have an interesting reply but I’m never gonna get around to it at this stage, instead you’ll get my nit-picky comment about Iceland and Finland are Nordic so you don’t have to list them separately (you were probably thinking of Scandinavian).

  6. James:

    It would be unwise as well as impossible for a future US president to prosecute Drumpf because s/he has no statutory authority to do so. If by that you mean “order the US Attorney General do so,” then you are advocating that a future administration behave like Drumpf and Bill Barr. That is not good. The US needs to return to the rule of law, not continue the misuse of Executive power. Plus, there are plenty of federal and state prosecutors lined up to go after the Drump mafia once they are out of office so a direct presidential/DOJ intervention is unnecessary. Drumpf may try to grant himself immunity before leaving office but that will certainly be subject to judicial challenge and even a conservative SCOTUS will look dimly at attempts at self-exoneration.

    The comment about Iceland and Finland is indeed nit-picky but noted. In any event, you got the drift.

    As for your comments on The 42 Group Report, I got no whiff of Red from it and would not be too concerned even if I did. Thinking that the red 4 is the logo is a sign of Soviet inclinations is, well, a bit of a stretch. Even Jim Rolfe, for all of his critique below, did not push that line and Jim is not actually a commie sympathiser.

    I agree that the report is a broad canvas, which is why I thought it worth disseminating. How many other groups in NZ actually spend the time trying to do more global analyses? In fact, one aspect of the NZ strategic community, such as it is, is that it spends a lot of time navel gazing about parochial concerns and beltway disputes. These extend at most to the relationship with Australia and the US and fears about the PRC, but beyond that there is very little in the way of broader-based perspective and thinking. And as I mentioned to Jim in my reply, the report strikes me more as a food-for-thought think piece rather than a concrete policy statement. Even its recommendations are of the “we should think about this” type.

    In any event, I am a product of a school of thought that encourages broad-based thinking, different analytic perspectives, the encouragement of younger scholars and the suppression of professional and parochial self-interest when addressing subjects of strategic import, so felt that even though I do not agree with everything written in the report (and previous ones), it was worth putting out to a wider audience.

  7. So you would be opposed to the next US president directing the next attorney general to take steps to prosecute Drumpf, but if the attorney general decides to prosecute Drumpf on their own initiative, that is all well and good?

    I understand the line you are trying to draw, but if Biden becomes President, when he is deciding who to appoint as Attorney General (a power he definitively does have), that person’s approach to prosecuting Drumpf is likely to figure heavily in his decision as to who to appoint. Surely if Biden were to choose an Attorney General because he felt they would be likely to prosecute Drumpf, and they wer eto then go off and do so, that would be all good and there would be no executive overreach, right?

  8. Gorkem,

    Besides the fact that Drump and his entourage have likely committed crimes in multiple jurisdictions that can be investigated and adjudicated in them by local judicial authorities, on a federal level the issue is simply whether or not a crime has been committed and if there is enough evidence that supports a prosecution. A presumptive AG does not have to be particularly inclined to go after Drumpf if the evidence of crime is present. DoJ and the FBI, perhaps even other federal agencies that may have had their powers or jurisdiction misused for nefarious purposes by Drumpf and his cronies (perhaps Treasury, Commerce, EPA or even DHS) can all launch independent investigation that lead to prosecutions. Even Congress can do so, especially if–as the recent Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Mueller report outlines–Drumpf, Barr and others perjured themselves when speaking to Mueller and the Committee itself. So Biden will not have to look for someone who is particularly inclined to go after Drumpf. That will happen naturally, as it were.

    As for the 42 Group report. Like I said to James at the end of my reply to his comments. I thought that the report deserved wider dissemination. It may be “basic” analysis for some who spend a lot of time studying geopolitics and other strategic issues, but for others I think it can provide good relatively brief overviews of different topics that is not “tainted” by a partisan or governmental bias. Or so I hope.

  9. I agree that somebody who did choose to pursue Drumpf would have ample opportunities to do so. But still the decision to prosecute or not is at the discretion of the public prosecutor, or at higher levels, ultimately the Attorney General – they are not legally or even morally obliged to prosecute everybody where there is evidence, even overwhelming evidence. So there will still be a decision to make, and I think there are people who would choose not to go after Drumpf even though they believe he is guilty, for a variety of reasons – issues of resources alone come in, since it would be a long, drawn out and complex trial.

    The potential involvement of Congress is interesting but as I understand Congress can investigate, and evidence unearthed in these investigations can be used in a criminal case, but Congress cannot actually directly convict anybody. Even contempt of Congress charges still need to be enforced either through a civil by the Senate’s chief legal officer or the Attorney General for the District of Colombia, both of whom can choose not to prosecute.

    I will answer your rely about the 42 Group report in that thread, if that’s OK.

  10. Gorkem,

    Congress can refer matters to DoJ and federal prosecutors do not need to ask permission to prosecute politically charged cases so long as the AG adheres to the notion of an impartial rule of law.

    As far as the 42 Group thread is concerned, unless you insist on having the last word yet again, there is not need to continue on about it. You gave your opinion about them, I gave my reasons for publishing their report more than once, and the matter should end there.

  11. Yes, Congress can refer, but the DoJ and prosecutors have the ability to decline to follow up on that referral. Hence the discretion of the prosecutors, and their boss the A-G, remains crucial.

  12. re: the 42 Group, I am saddened that you think the only reason I would want to continue the discussion is some childish desire to have the last word. Do you really think so little of me?

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