WTF Community

Day 1149

(Matt Kiser) #1

1/ Trump declared a national emergency – which he described as “two very big words” – to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Trump then shook hands with members of his team. The declaration will “open up access” to $50 billion in emergency funding, lift restrictions on doctors and hospitals to “do as they want,” and waive student loan interest. Trump also announced plans for a large-scale drive-thru protocol for testing for the virus, but said “We don’t want everybody taking this test. It’s totally unnecessary.” Trump then blamed existing rules set by prior administrations for limiting options, saying “I don’t take responsibility at all” for the lack of available testing. The administration expects 1.4 million additional tests to be available next week and five million within a month. When asked about the closure of the White House’s pandemic response team in 2018, Trump called it a “nasty question” and denied firing the team. Trump also announced that the government would buy large quantities of crude oil for the nation’s strategic reserve while oil prices are low. (Politico / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / Wall Street Journal / The Guardian)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


@Matt – Your daily summary is appreciated now more than ever. Thank you for your tireless efforts to keep us informed. :newspaper: :clap: :trophy:

(David Bythewood) #3

Former Judge Resigns From the Supreme Court Bar

In a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts, he detailed why he’s lost faith in the court.

James Dannenberg is a retired Hawaii state judge. He sat on the District Court of the 1st Circuit of the state judiciary for 27 years. Before that, he served as the deputy attorney general of Hawaii. He was also an adjunct professor at the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law, teaching federal jurisdiction for more than a decade. He has appeared on briefs and petitions as part of the most prestigious association of attorneys in the country: the Supreme Court Bar. The lawyers admitted to practice before the high court enjoy preferred seating at arguments and access to the court library, and are deemed members of the legal elite. Above all, the bar stands as a sprawling national signifier that the work of the court, the legitimacy of the institution, and the business of justice is bolstered by tens of thousands of lawyers across the nation.

On Wednesday, Dannenberg tendered a letter of resignation from the Supreme Court Bar to Chief Justice John Roberts. He has been a member of that bar since 1972. In his letter, reprinted in full below, Dannenberg compares the current Supreme Court, with its boundless solicitude for the rights of the wealthy, the privileged, and the comfortable, to the court that ushered in the Lochner era in the early 20th century, a period of profound judicial activism that put a heavy thumb on the scale for big business, banking, and insurance interests, and ruled consistently against child labor, fair wages, and labor regulations.

The Chief Justice of the United States

One First Street, N.E.

Washington, D.C. 20543

March 11, 2020

Dear Chief Justice Roberts:

I hereby resign my membership in the Supreme Court Bar.

This was not an easy decision. I have been a member of the Supreme Court Bar since 1972, far longer than you have, and appeared before the Court, both in person and on briefs, on several occasions as Deputy and First Deputy Attorney General of Hawaii before being appointed as a Hawaii District Court judge in 1986. I have a high regard for the work of the Federal Judiciary and taught the Federal Courts course at the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law for a decade in the 1980s and 1990s. This due regard spanned the tenures of Chief Justices Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist before your appointment and confirmation in 2005. I have not always agreed with the Court’s decisions, but until recently I have generally seen them as products of mainstream legal reasoning, whether liberal or conservative. The legal conservatism I have respected– that of, for example, Justice Lewis Powell, Alexander Bickel or Paul Bator– at a minimum enshrined the idea of stare decisis and eschewed the idea of radical change in legal doctrine for political ends.

I can no longer say that with any confidence. You are doing far more— and far worse– than “calling balls and strikes.” You are allowing the Court to become an “errand boy” for an administration that has little respect for the rule of law.

The Court, under your leadership and with your votes, has wantonly flouted established precedent. Your “conservative” majority has cynically undermined basic freedoms by hypocritically weaponizing others. The ideas of free speech and religious liberty have been transmogrified to allow officially sanctioned bigotry and discrimination, as well as to elevate the grossest forms of political bribery beyond the ability of the federal government or states to rationally regulate it. More than a score of decisions during your tenure have overturned established precedents—some more than forty years old– and you voted with the majority in most. There is nothing “conservative” about this trend. This is radical “legal activism” at its worst.

Without trying to write a law review article, I believe that the Court majority, under your leadership, has become little more than a result-oriented extension of the right wing of the Republican Party, as vetted by the Federalist Society. Yes, politics has always been a factor in the Court’s history, but not to today’s extent. Even routine rules of statutory construction get subverted or ignored to achieve transparently political goals. The rationales of “textualism” and “originalism” are mere fig leaves masking right wing political goals; sheer casuistry.

Your public pronouncements suggest that you seem concerned about the legitimacy of the Court in today’s polarized environment. We all should be. Yet your actions, despite a few bromides about objectivity, say otherwise.

It is clear to me that your Court is willfully hurtling back to the cruel days of Lochner and even Plessy. The only constitutional freedoms ultimately recognized may soon be limited to those useful to wealthy, Republican, White, straight, Christian, and armed males— and the corporations they control. This is wrong. Period. This is not America.

I predict that your legacy will ultimately be as diminished as that of Chief Justice Melville Fuller, who presided over both Plessy and Lochner . It still could become that of his revered fellow Justice John Harlan the elder, an honest conservative, but I doubt that it will. Feel free to prove me wrong.

The Supreme Court of the United States is respected when it wields authority and not mere power. As has often been said, you are infallible because you are final, but not the other way around.

I no longer have respect for you or your majority, and I have little hope for change. I can’t vote you out of office because you have life tenure, but I can withdraw whatever insignificant support my Bar membership might seem to provide.

Please remove my name from the rolls.

With deepest regret,

James Dannenberg


Ok…Pelosi hammered out deal to support testing, provide funds to loss of work and it passed the House. Now to the Senate. Pelosi only talked with Mnuchin, as T was too angry with her for bringing impeachment to him.

Trump declares virus emergency; House passes aid package

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, freeing up money …

Central to the aid package from Congress, which builds on an emergency $8.3 billion measure approved last week, is the free testing, sick pay and family leave provisions.

Providing sick pay for workers is a crucial element of federal efforts to stop the rapid spread of the infection. Officials warn that the nation’s healthcare system could quickly become overwhelmed with gravely sick patients, as suddenly happened in Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the virus.

The ability to ensure paychecks will keep flowing — for people self-quarantining or caring for others — can help assure Americans they will not fall into financial hardship. There is also three months of paid family and medical leave. Small and mid-sized employers will be reimbursed through tax credits.

Pelosi negotiated the deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in days of around-the-clock negotiations with cross-town phone calls, even as Trump was speaking at the White House.

Hopes for swift passage stalled as talks dragged and Trump dismissed it during as “not doing enough.” Republicans were reluctant to come on board without his backing, according to a person unauthorized to discuss the talks and granted anonymity

(David Bythewood) #5

Hackers are making malware-infected coronavirus maps to harvest personal information

One of the most popular interactive pandemic update maps has been copied and distributed by malicious actors


Well, I suppose it takes someone with a “very big brain” to say those two “very big words.”


What’s happening with SCOTUS is incredibly sad and outrageous. It’s but one prong in an overarching strategy by the GOP that for years has been hell bent on taking power permanently and turning this nation into a “paper democracy.” It’s been fueled by dark money campaign contributions unleased by Citizens United; systematic voter supression and blatant political gerrymandering.

(David Bythewood) #8

(alsearsa) #9


“What’s happening with SCOTUS is incredibly sad and outrageous. It’s but one prong in an overarching strategy by the GOP that for years has been hell bent on taking power permanently and turning this nation into a “paper democracy.” It’s been fueled by dark money campaign contributions unleased by Citizens United; systematic voter supression and blatant political gerrymandering.”

SCOTUS right-lean isn’t just “incredibly sad and outrageous”, it is dangerous. For decades the SCOTUS has provided hope for the “lessers” among us no matter the political party in power. With the politically perfect storm of 2016 that hope was banished for years, decades, to come. And with the likely reelection of Trump and continued control of Senate by the RNC, the SCOTUS is likely to bend more to the far-right. When the “lessors” have nowhere to turn but the streets trouble looms.


I think it’s less likely now that the economy is taking a nosedive and a good portion of the populous is now in quarantine. He can’t win without expanding his base. I don’t see any evidence that is even a possibility at this point.


I want to agree that he’s definitely gonna lose but always take it with grain of salt, even with horrid economy now, and his botched handling of the pandemic. The huge caveat that his base is getting a whole different story…pandemic is being handled, and we don’t know about how the election roll-outs are going to go - ie fair, and or delayed. Would T opt to try to keep himself in during the crisis??? etc

But I do like seeing this kind of article below!!!

The U.S. stock market rout triggered by a deadly coronavirus outbreak suggests President Donald Trump is in grave danger of losing the November election, according to a forecasting model by Moody’s Analytics, a leading Wall Street research firm.

That’s a big change from what the model showed using data from February, when higher stock prices and Trump’s steady approval rating pointed to the Republican president coasting to victory with 351 votes in the U.S. Electoral College to 187 votes for a Democratic challenger.

But financial markets have since plunged with the spread of the virus disrupting economic activity around the world and sparking fears of a global recession. A drop in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index to 2,500 points - roughly Thursday’s closing level - would signal enough economic anxiety to cost Trump the election, Bernard Yaros, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, said on Friday.

The S&P 500 would need to be 2,500 or less for Trump to lose,” Yaros told Reuters in an email. He did not elaborate on the expected electoral college results in that circumstance.

U.S. companies are already reporting layoffs due to the health crisis but most economic data that will reflect that - and which experts use to make forecasts - won’t be available for weeks.

That has Moody’s Analytics, a leading forecasting firm, relying more on financial market movements which respond quickly to signs of economic trouble.

(Matt Kiser) closed #12

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