– È in cielo che tu devi salire, Astolfo, […] su nei campi pallidi della Luna, dove uno sterminato deposito conserva dentro ampolle messe in fila, […] – le storie che gli uomini non vivono, i pensieri che bussano una volta alla soglia della coscienza e svaniscono per sempre, le particelle del possibile scartate nel gioco delle combinazioni, le soluzioni a cui si potrebbe arrivare e non si arriva..
Italo Calvino, Il castello dei destini incrociati - “Storia di Astolfo sulla Luna”
The new New York Times piece titled "And Jesus Said Unto Paul Ryan" is a masterpiece
Before I launch into this, I want to state up front, this is not directed at you, anonymous. Thank you for thinking of me, and the article is a funny read.
But I also read the article on the train to work this morning (before I ever got this ask) and it has been bothering me all day. I thought about it at lunch. It niggled at me during my healthcare policy class, because the Social Security Act is boring and so was the view out the window. And on the train ride home, I went huh.
I don’t give a fuck whether Paul Ryan is a good Christian.
I was surprised too! But it turns out, I don’t give a fuck whether any of my elected leaders’ policies are consistent with their professed Christianity. I don’t care whether their policies are consistent with my or anyone else’s Christianity. If the Second Coming happened tomorrow, and Jesus came down on a cloud and handed me the ACA replacement bill, I would still want to see the Congressional Budget Office report about it.
It’s fun to condemn our political leaders for hypocrisy. (God knows most of them are, and so deserve it.) But at the same time, I feel like we keep circling the same fallacy—”well, you know Ryan and his ilk aren’t real Christians; real Christians would [insert political viewpoint here].” It’s a fun fallacy! You pull it out at parties and it gets you off the hook entirely. You might be a thing, but you’re not that thing, so it’s all okay!
The problem with this is that…..well, real Christians are, and have. Real Christians have had slaves or been complicit in slavery, they’ve started wars and genocides and simony and scandal. Real Christians had a vested interest in the oppression of women and the conversion of all people on earth to Christianity. Real Christians killed Jews and Real Christians killed Muslims and Real Christians in the US today have decided to continue that 2000 year unbroken tradition of hate. Real Christians scream outside of abortion clinics. Name it, Real Christians have done it, or been complicit in it. You can’t divorce the words of Jesus from the bits of history or politics you don’t approve of—or at the very least, you can’t pretend as though “Real Christianity” is a totally separate animal, innocent in comparison with its ugly political cousin.
At the end of the day, the Christian Bible has been used to both support and condemn all sorts of political activity since….before the ink of the canon had a chance to dry. And I’m sure that in two hundred years, there will still be thinkpieces arguing that the senator isn’t a real Christian, because a real Christian would have issued a statement welcoming the sentient moss of Zebble-gor to Congress.
But I don’t like it. Because—well, because we’re not a theocracy. Whether someone is a good Christian or a hypocritical Christian is irrelevant. Our elected leaders need to be good leaders. Full stop. They should be guided by honesty and innovation and civic-mindedness and compassion and intelligence; they should be ethical and make choices with integrity, take their position and its obligations seriously, listen to their constituents. If those qualities come out of their commitment to Christianity, that’s fine! But they don’t have to, and I don’t think it’s productive—even within the Christian community—to go back and forth about someone’s religiosity.
I don’t care if Paul Ryan is a good Christian. He can settle that one up with our Lord and Savior when the time comes. But he’s the principal sponsor of a frankly shitty piece of legislation, which offers significant federal savings at the expense of poor and elderly individuals.
Occhi freschi, esageratamente leggeri. Ampolle d'un vetro prezioso e raro, tagliente e ghiacciato come lo sguardo che sono in grado di lanciare.
Occhi spregiudicatamente sinceri, oratori di una bellezza eterna, specchi di ricchezza interiore, narratori di emozioni sempre nuove.
Dinamici, scattanti, rapaci, dalla ferocia dirompente; puri e veri come il volto di chi ha l'onore e il coraggio di portarli.
mondo di Fantasy Grounds esistono i soliti, famigerati, quattro
elementi che permeano la natura. Li conoscete tutti, sono Aria,
Fuoco, Acqua e Terra. Oltre a questi, ne esistono due aggiuntivi
chiamati Oscurità e Luminosità, collocabili in una sezione
quattro elementi pervadono ogni singola fibra, stringa e pixel del
nostro mondo fantasy, danno forza a creature organiche, danno
stabilità a oggetti inorganici, assecondando deliberatamente gli
primo uomo a scoprire, studiare e definire gli elementi magici è
stato [BLACKSTAR PYROMANCER], un antico elfo scuro barbuto ma dalla faccia
simpatica. Un giorno, seduto sulle radici di un abete, si disse
“okay, io sono un piromante, ma che significa piromante?”
un'epoca diversa, antica, dove farsi domande su cose ovvie era più
che legittimo, perché si trattava di ovvietà d'abitudine, e non
ovvietà da “sanno già tutti la risposta”.
vecchio passò una buona fetta della sua vita quindi a studiare e a
scrivere un libro di ricerca, oggi conosciuto come “la banalità
degli elementi magici”, testo obbligatorio per ogni apprendista
mago delle varie accademie di magia e stregoneria.
è stato l'aiuto della sua giovane, attraente e ingenua assistente [BLACKSTAR GEOMANCER], bravissima nel preparargli caffè e nel
poggiare delicatamente la coperta sulle spalle del maestro mentre si
addormentava sui libri e sulle ampolle. Era un'assistente, era utile
solo nel fare la schiava, ma
le sarà sempre
grato per questo.
la prima nozione fondamentale degli elementi magici è che questi
raramente influenzano il mondo in modo fisico. Una roccia è di
elemento terra, ma anche se fosse di elemento acqua, rimarrebbe
sempre la solita roccia. Gli elementi magici non sono altro che un
profumo che si può sentire con una mente molto aperta. Ma a che
servono, quindi, se non influiscono direttamente sul mondo terreno?
seconda nozione degli elementi magici è che questi possono essere
sfruttati solo con la magia. Un criceto non potrà mai approfittare
del fuoco o dell'aria che accarezzano l'anima di un albero. Un gufo
molto probabilmente potrebbe farlo, perché tutti gli stregoni sanno
che i gufi sono magici sebbene nessuno abbia mai visto loro mentre
praticano una qualche sorta di magia.
per cui ogni oggetto ha un'aura magica elementale che può, o si può,
sfruttare per incantesimi, e che ha una sensibilità agli altri
usando sempre i miei soliti esempi, prendiamo un incantatore. Lui ha
un’aura magica elementale, e la può sfruttare per fare incantesimi
come fuoco, fulmine, ghiaccio e così via. Se questo incantatore
andasse a farsi una passeggiata assolutamente non romantica per la
foresta, sarebbe circondato da oggetti (rocce, alberi, formiche,
mutandine usate, sigarette spente) permeate di energia magica di
terra, quindi il solitario incantatore potrebbe utilizzare
incantesimi di terra molto più forti e spettacolari (ma che siano
spettacolari conta poco perché, come è stato già suggerito in
precedenza, l'incantatore è solo come un cane e non può mostrare a
nessuno i suoi incantesimi)
già chiarito maggior parte delle nozioni di base degli elementi
sapesse che vi ho riassunto in modo
tanto brusco tre quarti del suo libro, incrocerebbe le braccia
borbottando nervoso. Ma poco importa, perché
è ormai morto da tempo, pace all'anima sua.
quindi che ogni creatura capace di usare la magia (o i gufi) può sfruttare gli elementi circostanti per fare magie. Diciamo pure che questa
è la base di ogni incantesimo. Ma bisogna chiarire qualcosa: ogni
oggetto emana una specifica aura elementale.
roccia profuma di elemento terra, un uccello profuma di elemento
aria, un pesce di elemento acqua e così via. Ma non è sempre così
semplice per le creature più complesse. Prendiamo come esempio
un'anatra. Questa deliziosa creatura (deliziosa nel senso che è
buona da mangiare, per quanto riguarda come si comporta nella vita
quotidiana, non saprei giudicare), è un uccello, è capace di
volare, ma sa anche nuotare e tuffarsi nelle profondità dei laghi.
l'aura che emana è al 30% d'acqua, al 70% d'aria.
coccodrilli, animali di cui abbiamo la conferma che non sono
deliziosi in alcun modo, tranne quando sono cuccioli perché devo
ammettere che sono veramente carini, hanno il 50% di terra, 50% di acqua.
ancora di più nella natura. I macachi della terra degli orchi,
simpatiche scimmie nullafacenti. Vivono sugli alberi, ma il loro
territorio è freddo con continue folate di vento e neve, spesso si
riscaldano facendo il bagno nelle terme calde. Quindi: 40% di terra,
30% acqua, 20% fuoco e 10% aria.
sembra piuttosto chiara quando si tratta di animali e mostri, perché
si può dedurre la loro energia magica in base al loro habitat e alle
succede quando si parla di creature antropomorfe? Il discorso è
molto simile, perché la percentuale si basa sul nostro carattere, su
dove siamo nati e come siamo cresciuti.
persona energica e vitale ha una percentuale molto alta di elemento
persona responsabile, affettuosa e premurosa invece è affine
persona passionale, pacifica e facilmente turbabile subisce la grande
una persona rancorosa e solitaria possiede, innata, la forza
dell'aria e del vento.
sono esempi vaghi, e tutti sappiamo che le persone sono più che
complesse. Se possiamo prendere come esempio i nostri personaggi,
posso dire che [KNIGHT] ha una grande percentuale di terra, perché è
protettivo e caparbio, una buona percentuale di fuoco perché è
passionale e sempre pieno di energie.
invece [FALL PRINCESS]. Lei ha una grande percentuale di terra,
perché è incline al comando, orgogliosa, testarda, vuole tenere
sotto controllo i suoi sottoposti, e ha una buona percentuale di
fuoco perché ribolle di rabbia, è permalosa ed è guidata
Entrambi possiedono gli stessi elementi, ma hanno un carattere molto
diverso. Persino le emozioni e il carattere possono avere diversi
lati elementali, e ogni elemento ha più di una faccia.
fuoco di [DRAGOON] è un fuoco che corrode il suo animo, è il fuoco
del rancore. Il fuoco di [HEALER] è un fuoco che riscalda, che vuole
asciugare gli animi bagnati e far stare tutti bene e al sicuro.
questo, voi avete un'idea sui vostri elementi?
scritto tanto, direi di concludere l'articolo sull'introduzione agli
aspettano i prossimi articoli: approfondimento degli elementi (e
quindi delle classi e dei mostri che li usano, e come li usano) e gli
elementi speciali (oscurità e luminosità)
can you please talk about those protections to curtail executive power I'm really, really scared and could use the reassurance thank you
THINGS A PRESIDENT CANNOT DO:
Reverse any Supreme Court decision
This includes Obergefell v. Hodges, which made same-sex marriage a constitutional right; Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which reaffirmed a woman’s right to choose first articulated in Roe v. Wade, another Supreme Court case. Grutter v. Bollinger, which instituted affirmative action, the entire body of Civil Rights case law, plus anything related to due process, including the right of minors to due process, your right to an attorney, Miranda rights, inadmissible evidence, etc.
(Even if Trump appoints the worst possible SC nominee, they still can’t reverse any of these decisions without a really significant case coming before the Court with new facts, and then they have to write an opinion stating how this case is different than that other case…it’s unlikely to happen.)
Write law or repeal any existing law
While traditionally, presidents have exerted influence on the legislative agenda (see, Obama’s role in advancing and promoting the Affordable Care Act) they cannot actually write or pass legislation. Bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions must be introduced in the House by a Representative.
Presidents cannot strike down law. Only Congress can repeal laws, and only the Supreme Court can strike them down as unconstitutional.
Presidential influence is just that—influence.
(And if—for example—you are hated by 95% of the party you joined last week, and burned all your goddamn bridges by insulting them at various points in your campaign…..they’re unlikely to partner with you in crafting legislation.)
Make any law or declaration that infringes in any way on the rights of the states
So in the US, most of the rights are reserved to the states. You name it, it’s a state-run power. Criminal procedure and law? States. Medicare and Medicaid? States. The definition of marriage? States. Insurance, health departments, housing, unemployment benefits, public education, all these are state programs. And the president cannot infringe on those powers given to the states.
(This is why down-ticket voting is so important, because Mike Pence as governor of Indiana had 800x the power he’s going to have as VP.)
This one is the most complicated, because with the advent of our “conflicts” in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. there has been a significant shift in the articulation of the war doctrine, and it is one of the least restricted of the president’s “restricted” powers. But, despite all that, a president still has no power to declare war.
Unilaterally appoint heads of administrative departments
Unilaterally make treaties with foreign nations
Essentially, while presidents have a lot of power, it’s mostly unofficial—they can’t make sweeping laws, they can’t overturn existing rights, the most they can do is refuse to enforce them (which is absolutely a threat! and a problem!) but we aren’t electing de facto royalty here.
So I've never really understood why people complain so much about Obamacare anyway other than rising premiums for some.
1. Honestly? I think a lot of people flat-out didn’t understand what it was. President Orange is wrong about almost all things, but genuinely—healthcare really is very complicated. Health insurance is a huge and incredibly complex sector of the economy, governed by a whole slew of laws, regulations, and entities, which differ from state to state and insurance plan to insurance plan and also how CMS is feeling that day. I don’t blame people for not really knowing how this massive shift in health insurance affected them, and latching onto what the media was saying (see #3)..
2. the ACA was passed in 2010, but some of its provisions weren’t rolled out until last year. Other parts have been rewritten, after Supreme Court cases found them unconstitutional. Still others haven’t been enforced. The full PPACA is a sprawling bill, that does a lot of things all Americans like—prohibit denials for preexisting conditions, remove lifetime caps, limit deductibles, allow adult children to stay on parents’ plans, etc. But the ACA also had the individual insurance exchanges that people don’t understand and don’t like, insufficient funding for states that needed exchange development and staff training. The website crashed multiple times. People’s insurance plans shifted around such that they couldn’t necessarily see their regular doctor. Taxes were raised. And fair or not, when you create a significant health insurance shift, and afterwards medical costs rise, you get blamed for that too.
People don’t like change, especially when it’s little things like ‘I have to fill out an extra piece of paper with my taxes.’ (That stuff drives people nuts way more than actual substantive changes.) Combined with the misunderstanding of why these things were necessary, and general rising medical costs, and people hated it.
3. Not only were there structural and rollout problems, but there were messaging problems. The Democrats were much more lukewarm about a bill that was clearly a compromise with moderate Republicans. (The ACA is actually based on a similar Heritage Foundation plan.) This allowed the….not moderate Republicans, who were pissed, to take hold of the ACA news cycle early and use it to their advantage. There’s a reason that significant numbers of people didn’t realize “Obamacare” and “the Affordable Care Act” are the same law—I’ve never heard it referred to as the ACA outside of the healthcare field until recently. When I’m talking to friends or family even I refer to it as “Obamacare” just because it’s easier, everybody knows that that is.
It’s why everyone is so shocked the Republicans didn’t have an actual plan until last month—they’ve been complaining about the Democrats’ for over 7 years, it isn’t as though they haven’t had the time.
4. In combination with #3……the hatred for Obama has faded a little, swallowed up by lame duck nostalgia and the sheer horror of Trump. But it really cannot be overstated, how much a certain chunk of the Republican party hated Obama. He was so….he was Kennedy born again, Camelot part II, but even more threatening because well jesus, he was black.
This was the era of “socialist medicine” and “born in Kenya” (which was a real thing, this was something that the President of the United States had to address!) Slapping ‘Obamacare’ onto the ACA tainted it with the same politics, the same kneejerk ‘NEVER’ from those who genuinely believed Obama was a socialist radical African in disguise. Even now, if you browse through twitter, you can see various bottom feeders crowing about “undoing Obama’s work” and “striking back against Obama”
So you’ve got structural issues, messaging issues, racism, misunderstanding, and the sheer burgeoning costs of medical treatment.
Any thoughts on the Comey hearing? I think it was about as explosive as it can get while there is an open ongoing investigation, but I have 0 training in the law.
Well, I actually spent all day at a health law conference, so aside from desperately refreshing CNN’s liveblog under the table I couldn’t pay much attention. Also, my area is health law! which is………the way distant cousin twice removed of criminal law or constitutional law. So I don’t have any Legal Insights™ to share.
I will say that from what I gleaned, it was pretty damn shocking. Definitive testimony that Russia was a player in the 2016 election! And for an FBI director to attest, under oath, that he didn’t trust the sitting president not to lie about the character of their meetings, is…..unprecedented.
I mean, we all knew that the current president can’t be trusted not to lie, but this is the slow process of assembling a paper trail of evidence, so it’s gonna be a lot of things the public already knows. In a weird way, the public are getting a good look into how depositions and the legal process actually works—this is what lawyers do! This is what testimony sounds like. I’m excited to see next steps
I will say that Comey is an…unreliable ally, both because no one should trust the FBI and because he is clearly motivated by a very personal grudge against Trump. It’s a fair grudge—if my boss fired me by informing the media, I would be pissed too—but. Y’know. Let’s not read this as disinterested statesmanship.
Also I want “Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” on a mug.
Do you have any thoughts about millionaires qualifying for Medicaid? Is this something you'd be interested in reforming?
I have a lot of thoughts! But most of them are “I’m not convinced that’s a problem that exists” or “even if it is a problem that exists, we’ve got many more pressing issues in health reform.”
First, If you search “millionaires qualify medicaid” the first few results include dailysignal and infowars, one of which is run by the Heritage Foundation (conservative think tank) and the other is run by Alex Jones (batshit crazy motherfucker, nazi)
If these parties are concerned about it, chances are I am not. In fact, I would question exactly how much of a problem it is in the first place, based solely on those being the sources.
Second, Yes, it’s true that if you have non-liquid assets—such as cars, houses, etc.—but your income is low, you theoretically could qualify for Medicaid. (This is easier if you are a child, elderly, pregnant, or disabled, which are the groups Medicaid was created to serve.) Still, if Bob is a millionaire, he’s got to be really fucking stupid to go with Medicaid, which is basement-level insurance that covers an extremely limited number of things, with a hell of a lot of paperwork and restrictions.
Bob should sell one of his cars and buy individual health insurance like everybody else who doesn’t get employer-sponsored coverage.
Third, at the end of the day, tightening Medicaid restrictions doesn’t hurt the theoretical millionaires who have found a way to game the system. (That’s what millionaires do; tax shelters and indemnification clauses didn’t spring up naturally.) Making it harder to apply or qualify for Medicaid hurts people who can’t afford financial planners or lawyers or the endless rounds of administrative appeals. It burdens states with over-regulating something that is already very heavily regulated, and doesn’t actual solve any of the genuine issues facing healthcare today.
Fourth and finally, in a perfect world, everybody could have equitable health insurance, regardless of income level or net worth. I’m more interested in working towards that, rather than trying to narrow the gate for access to Medicaid for a tenth of a sliver of the population.
Do you think the Republican healthcare bill will pass the Senate?
I obviously hope not—according to early reports, the Senate seems committed to either seriously restructuring the AHCA or putting forth their own plan. (which, knowing the type of libertarian religious conservative currently dominating the Senate might be WORSE!!! fun times.)
However, I’ve given up making predictions about what fresh new hell this administration will bring forth. I always assume that our elected representatives will ultimately be reasonable and try to do the right thing, and always, they go out of their way to prove me wrong.
do you think there's a legit chance over the next four years trump will be impeached?
I don’t like speculating—the last time I speculated about the trump presidency, I assumed there would be general respect for the constitution, which??? haha fun times you know what they say about assumptions they make an ass out of u and also the american people
but couldn't say pence or trump bring up that new supreme court case? or any other conservative for that matter, and then with the new supreme court get rid of lgbt+ marriage?
In order to bring a case—any case, in front of literally any court—it has to be justiciable. Meaning, the court can’t just hand out its opinion on any subject; there has to be something really at issue, where there is an actual legal injury to the plaintiff, and it is within the authority of the court to resolve.
For example, Obergefell wasn’t a gay couple walking up to the Supreme Court and saying “please let us get married.” It was six individual lawsuits, where gay couples sued their respective states—because the state denied them adoption rights, listing on death certificates, marriage licenses, and recognition of out-of-state marriages. Because the state had denied them a civil right.
All these couples had specific reasons, specific injuries they had suffered, and that was the only reason they could actually bring a lawsuit in the first place. Then, when the lower courts refused all the cases, they appealed to the Supreme Court, which lumped the cases together because they all had “let us get married” at the heart of them.
But they needed those inciting causes, or they couldn’t have been brought in the first place.
No one, not even Pence or Trump can bring a case to the Supreme Court just because they feel like it. “I disagree with this civil right” is not a cause of action. Somewhere, someone had to have gotten hurt by someone else because of same-sex marriage, and sued them in a lower court (the federal circuit courts in every state) and appealed it to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court then has to accept it (the Supreme Court only takes a limited number of cases a year) and hear the case, and rule differently.
Again, I’m not saying it’s impossible. God knows that pro-lifers have been trying to roll back Roe v. Wade since it hit the books. But it’s really hardto completely undo a Supreme Court decision, so I don’t think focusing there is where our energy is best spent.
I really appreciate that you're trying to stay objective and non-hysterical after this election.
I am very very sad and horrified—I went to a lecture today about the future of the ACA and at one point I had to shut my eyes and focus on breathing because I felt genuinely nauseous.
But for me it comes down to this:
if I genuinely believe in the right of people to vote according to their conscience (I do) that the rule of law should carry the day (it should) that we must have a system of lawmaking which strikes a balance between flexibility and continuity (yes) and that peaceful transfer of power must occur for the American experiment to go on (absolutely) then I cannot think of another way for me to respond to this situation.
I am so angry. I am breathlessly angry—not at the system, which functioned exactly as it was set out to, but at everyone who didn’t show up or decided to vote third party and now gets to act shocked; at all the legislators who gutted the Voter’s Rights Act, in everyone who voted for Trump and the Republicans—out of racism or misogyny, out of a misplaced sense of injustice, or anger, or out of sheer selfishness and the desire to protect the white middle class at a cost to their fellow American. I think about all the people they’re going to hurt with those choices and I am angry, I am so angry, I could fuel those nukes Trump’s been so eager to get his hands on, I am that angry.
But anger is not a place to live. You cannot make a home in anger.
So I’m going to start with knowledge, and work my way up from there.
So I had a look at the basics of impeachment and I'm wondering: given Trump's record, his... everything and how a solid 50% of real repubs hate him, what do you think the chances are?
I honestly could not guess. The body of law is very fuzzy and ill-defined, both because impeachment has been so rarely done, and because it’s hardly ever been done successfully. As a consequence, it’s hard to determine what a successful argument for impeachment would look like, outside of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
So if it’s “our president is leaking state secrets to the Russians” that’s treason, and absolutely an impeachable offense. But if it’s “our president spouts racism in his twitter feed” or “our president has repeatedly demonstrated execrable conduct towards women”? Then we’re in “other high crimes and misdemeanors” territory, and those are a little murkier.
a presidency is not a president, a presidency is a staff and assorted personnel, which is great if you can vote for someone who in themselves is not ideal or impressive, but has great & intelligent people around them to imbue them with what’s necessary to get the job done and tease out the complexities of statecraft. I mean, speechwriters, legal counsel, administrative agencies, diplomats, advocates, military representatives, lobbyists, etc. these all play a role in making a presidency.
I honestly don’t know what that looks like when the presidential candidate notoriously doesn’t fucking listen to anyone else.
Hey kiddo, I saw your post on what Trump cannot do. Can you explain in more detail to me how Martial Law works? I heard the term thrown around by republicans during Obama's two terms and I don't really know how it works. Can he institute martial law by himself?
So there is a reason that when you google “martial law” and “usa” most of the results that pop up are political fringe or survivalist websites. The last time martial law was declared on a national level was by Lincoln in 1862—ostensibly to aid in punishing “prisoners of war, spies, or aiders and abettors of the enemy.” (He actually got slapped for it by the courts, in a case called ex parte Milligan. But more on that later.) The last time something similar was declared on a state level was in 2005, when Louisiana governor declared a Public Health Emergency in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It lasted only a month.
It is really only meant to be evoked in situations of direst emergency, when things can’t be decided by committee, and our strong centralized executive branch must take charge.
So what do we mean, when we say martial law? We’re actually talking about suspending the writ of habeas corpus. The writ of habeas corpus is an old legal term, these days we think of it more generally as “due process”—you cannot be held in prison without cause, you have a right to a fair trial with legal representation, etc. When you suspend habeas corpus, you essential remove the right to criminal procedure and all that entails.
Article I, section 9 of the Constitution states that “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” (emphasis mine)
This is where Lincoln got his authority to suspend habeas corpus. However as I mentioned before, this generated an enormous backlash, because of course who likes to have their rights suspended? As a result of that, as well as occupation of Southern states after the war, Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act, which severely curtailed the federal executive’s power to carry out military activities on domestic soil. It’s a dense and complex act, but essentially, the president has no military power on American soil—he has to wait until the state can’t or won’t do anything before he can send in the army.
And these cases are truly exceptions, not the rule. For example, Eisenhower used the “civil rights” exception of Posse Comitatus in order to send federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas, for the protection of the black students attending the first de-segregated school. (s/o to ruby bridges!) This was because the governor of AK would not grant that protection, essentially refusing to enforce those students’ civil rights as determined by the Supreme Court. Therefore, Eisenhower was legally permitted to send in troops.
During his presidency, Bush had Congress add in “natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident” where state forces can’t keep order. To my knowledge, this provision hasn’t been used yet.
So yes, a president can establish martial law, but it’s happened much more often and frequently at the state level; mostly because the president can’t get involved until the states refuse to protect their citizens’ rights or find themselves overwhelmed in doing so.
I'm not trying to downplay how much of a bunch of shitstains Bannon, Ebell and Pence are but... what can they realistically do? Also like yeah the republicans have majority but there's still some democrats in the House/Senate/Congress right? Surely they'll block/filibuster what BS reforms they try to pass.
A lot, my friend.
To be quite honest, we have no idea what the hell Bannon was going to do. “Chief Strategist” isn’t a position that existed before Trump put Bannon there, so there’s no precedent to refer to. However, we can be fairly certain that Bannon will wield a great deal of influence within the Trump White House, if not direct power—the fact that he and Priebus are the only named cabinet members, that Bannon shares a long history with Trump and a relationship that managed to survive the whole campaign…
If Trump keeps Bannon around, I think we can assume that some of the rhetoric and direction of the administration is going to bear his stamp.
Pence is VP and this is another role which lacks direct routes of power. However, my initial hope—that Trump would stonewall Pence due to their fractious campaign—clearly was in vain. Pence is chief of the transition team, which makes him the gatekeeper for literally everything that happens in the next 60-something days. It also signals some of the things noted on the campaign trail: that Trump is planning to largely outsource the presidency and Pence might be on that managerial shortlist.
Ebell, climate change denier extraordinaire, is currently hinted at being head of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The EPA is one of the many federal administrative agencies, and it in particular is tasked with enforcing the US’s myriad of clean water, hazardous waste, endangered species, clean air, and insecticide/pesticide legislation. Like all administrative agencies, the EPA does this by issuing regulations,
You know what Ebell can do, if he feels like it? Not enforce them.
…….okay, that’s not true, there are existing regulations surrounding the practices of the EPA. However, there is nothing stopping Ebell from issuing new regulations either repealing or altering the regulations on the books. There are only really four rules:
Any rule will be subject to a comment period of 60 days,
The Government has to demonstrate that it took the comments into consideration,
The regulations cannot contradict the legislation (so, for example, Ebell couldn’t overrule the Clean Water Act, he could just change the way it’s enacted in certain ways to make it ineffectual)
All regulations are always susceptible to judicial review, if the new regulations are unconstitutional or the process was followed improperly.
But if tomorrow Ebell wanted to throw out all of Title 40 and start new, he could do that. It would take a while, but yeah. He could.
Looks like that one post of mine really took off, and has triggered a flood of new followers, messages in my inbox, and responses to my post.
So let me lay down some basic stuff:
1.) Yes, I am aware that the Republicans won the House and Senate. I know. I’m aware. The fact that I did not talk about the House and Senate on an ask specifically about the powers of the president does not mean I am ignorant of that fact. You do not have to tell me.
2.) I also know about the vacancies on the Supreme Court, and how it is likely we’ll see a flip to a more conservative bench. Please see my #election 2016 tag for my discussion of that.
3.) I am happy to answer all questions I know the answer to! However:
a.) If you could type your question into google and get a reasonable answer from the first three search results, I am not answering it. Be inquisitive and aggressive about acquiring knowledge, it’s the first step to advocating for yourself.
b.) If it involves rampant speculation on what the Trump presidency will look like, I am not answering it, it’s outside my knowledge and authority. I’m not a journalist, a statistician, or a politician, and I’m not interested in generating groundless what-if scenarios.
c.) I am very weak on foreign policy and immigration, I will answer them to the best of my ability, but you really should go to an outside authority for confirmation..
d.) I cannot give legal advice. It’s fine for me to talk about the generalities of government, but I am not a lawyer yet, and I cannot advise on particular cases. If you need legal help, please consult your local Legal Aid organization.
4.) Nothing will get answered until tonight. Even in this hellish nightmare from which there is no waking, life goes on, and I’m a busy law student with an oral argument to give in ten hours.
5.) I’m going to give everybody about 24 hours before I’m burnt out on this stuff, and go back to star wars and complaining about my schedule. I can only deal with all of this for so long, so that’s my line in the sand.
After that, come into my inbox and/or message me and we can have a conversation privately, but it won’t be published on this blog.
I will see you guys tonight, for “sarah rehashes her constitutional law class plus some admin law” or “election 2016″ for blacklisting purposes.
So what CAN a president do? What do they actually do?
That’s the truth of it. The President can do a whole fucking lot.
The most direct presidential power is over the MILITARY. While technically the President cannot declare war—like I said, under the Constitution, only Congress can declare war—99% of military engagements these days do not technically constitute “war” and as such do not need congressional approval. Drone strikes, for example, do not count as “war”. Any time the National Guard is called in in response to a state of emergency or told to stand down (like with the Dakota Access Pipeline) does not count as war. Therefore, the President can unilaterally make those decisions.
The President defines the country’s war doctrine. This determines how invasive the US is going to be with regard to other nations—how aggressive and what kind of response there is to ISIL, for example.
Furthermore, the presidential history is littered with examples of the president going ahead and initiating conflicts/military actions/etc. The president does have established authority to commit our forces to defend against a sudden attack. Which sounds great, but it also ends up leaving Congress or the judiciary to hurry up and try and curtail things later—for example, the Supreme Court’s 2006 Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld ruling made the Bush administration’s special military commissions unconstitutional, but that was two years after they were established, and we still see their echoes in the Military Commissions Act of 2009, and other proposed legislation about how we treat foreign detainees.
Which leads me to another significant chunk of presidential power, FOREIGN AFFAIRS. The President is not just a representative of the country, but can in fact enter into treaties with foreign nations, though they must be subsequently ratified by Congress. (Executives Agreements, however, do not—for example, the US’s participation in NAFTA is through executive agreement. Any president could withdraw us from NAFTA after giving the other parties adequate notice.)
The President also—just by nature of his office—also wields an incredible amount of INFLUENCE on the other branches of government, particularly at the federal level. The President makes appointments for the other department heads and for the judiciary (though they must in turn be approved by Congress) so he’s in many ways the de facto CEO of the government, surrounded by other C-suite executives. And, like a CEO, he gets to set the tone and mission of the company.
(”The company” here being “this country we all live in”)
This becomes all the more significant when the President and Congress are of the same party; generally they share the same legislative agenda, and therefore it’s much easier to get that tone and mission unified—and therefore, pass more legislation, get it approved by the President, and move your agenda along.
(Again, not to hammer home on this, but down-ticket voting is always, always important.)
This is a really brief list and a very general overview, but hopefully this makes it a little clearer, that while a president’s power is limited, they’re still one of the highest offices in the United States, and have the authority that goes with it.