Trump Has Filed His Papers To Modify The Flores Consent Decree, Overnight. They Are… Entirely Orwellian.

June 22, 2018 - Leave a Response

[First — the positives: As I’ve often written here, I relish the first rays of light, at dawn — they render all they reach. . . luminous — yet somehow, inexplicably clear(er) — to slightly modify Norman Maclean’s immortal turn of phrase. This is one of those mornings — graphics shortly.] Let’s get to it, then:

In a land not bounded by truth or justice or a half century of the American Way. . . 45’s political appointee and Acting Assistant Attorney General, Chad Readler [he, of the losing side’s fame (ignominy) in the DACA Cases, the Muslim Bans 1.0 and 2.0 — 0 for 22 or so]. . . in short, a land existing only inside the lost minds of the crisis actors who are Trump’s surrogates, do we read such preposterously-illogical memos of law, animated by an Ann-Rand-ian inversion of the truth, like the below.

Mr. Readler, for Messrs. Sessions and Trump, tells us that it would be a “manifest injustice,” (HAH!) one worked against the US government, if the able US District Court Judge Gee, sitting in Los Angeles, California does NOT modify the existing law of the case, in Flores (1998), to henceforth allow the government to hold entire families hostage, without a hearing, essentially indefinitely.

I won’t repeat the pretzel logic by which Mr. Trump claims that it is NOT a “manifest injustice” to separate families, incarcerate babies, and deny good-faith seekers of asylum here in the US a right conferred by our laws for a half-century. You may read it for yourself, some 30 pages worth — here.

I won’t dignify it, in that way. I will, however quote the accurate legal standard Judge Gee will apply:

. . . .The rule generally is “used sparingly as an equitable remedy to prevent manifest injustice.” United States v. Alpine Land & Reservoir Co., 984 F.2d 1047, 1049 (9th Cir. 1993). . . .

Let that sink in. And while you do, consider this: the US government (at Trump’s direction) wants Judge Gee to exempt it from complying with state safety and health requirements for facilities housing minors, while it locks whole families up, in converted Wal-Mart warehouses, run by donors affiliated with the Trump campaign, under no-bid federal contracts that now approach a billion dollars in payouts.

This is not the America we want (nor is it countenanced by existing constitutional law). The able Judge Gee will rule correctly, I predict, that the Flores consent decree was/is operating to swiftly release families seeking asylum (on a signature bond), pending a full hearing on asylum. That is a right conferred by due process under the 14th Amendment (after Flores), to all persons seeking asylum at our border, or inside it — in good faith. That it takes a long time to adjudicate that right, is not the fault of the asylum seeker (or his or her children).

Finally, I must note that Mr. Readler points to the spike in arrests of families at the southern border as an “exigency” requiring this modification.

That subterfuge is breath-taking: for we all know it is Mr. Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” policy — arresting people (whole families; babies) who, even in the most stretched definitions of Flores have committed at most a misdemeanor (like jay-walking, but endless imprisonment awaits, for doing so near the border?!), that has led to the spike in arrests.

There is a maxim at law and equity that holds one may not use the force of the courts, to benefit from one’s own prior bad acts (arresting jay-walkers, and complaining that the jails are so full of jay-walkers, that we can’t get hearings scheduled for them in a timely manner — so we must hold them all. . . essentially forever). The force of law will not allow such a. . . subterfuge. This is a prime example of that, in operation. Bub-bye, 45.

Everyone else? Happy Friday — the first one of the summer, officially! Middle son’s tri-, come Sunday. . . on the road!



[U] BREAKING: At Least 45 Admits Flores Is The Law Of The Land: Section 3(e) Of His EO Says So…

June 20, 2018 - Leave a Response

45, from the White House Oval Office, issues a meaningless, toothless Executive Order just now — to be clear: Sec. 3(e) “…The Attorney General shall promptly file a REQUEST with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to MODIFY the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Sessions, CV 85-4544 (“Flores settlement”). . . .”:

I think the ACLU will. . . help the able US District Court, in the Central District of California see that the consent decree in Flores, from 1998, ought not be lightly modified. I predict 45 will lose on his bid to modify it (just like the Muslim Bans) — then 45 will blame the courts for his own felonies.

This man is a. . . criminal. As are his enablers, and sycophants. Time to prosecute the whole lot of them.

UPDATED @ 5 PM EDT: The Flores litigation has been quite active of late — given Mr. Session’s (and 45’s, and Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen’s. . .) flouting of the law. There is now a scheduled hearing on June 29, 2018 — to address these violations (a 29 page PDF file). We will follow it closely from now on. [Don’t know why I didn’t look in on it, earlier — but I predict 45 is going to have his a$$ handed to him — in that hearing.] Trust that. Heh. Be excellent to one another.


A Towering Figure — And A “Beautiful Mind” — Dr. Adel Mahmoud Passes On, To Infinity….

June 20, 2018 - Leave a Response

Travel well; travel light, kind sir:

And, in his name — as an immigrant too — do whatever you can, to oppose 45’s disgusting child hostage taking maneuvers.


[U] If You Think “The Good Shepherd” Is A Parable Against Undocumented Families… Erm, You Missed The Point.

June 19, 2018 - Leave a Response

UPDATED @ Noonish CDT: We should be increasingly. . . alarmed. When someone — anyone — begins to refer to any cognizable group of human beings as an “infestation — that should ring. . . an ominous bell. That is the language of pre-war Germany.

That is the beginning — of the largely irreversible madness — dehumanize a group; normalize the idea that they are insects, not humans. The rest falls — naturally, in order. Lest you think this is hyperbole, consider that the New York Times said exactly the same as early as 1922, regarding the then emerging Nazis. Make no mistake, Donald Trump (the sitting president) has just rhetorically relegated an entire class of humans to insect status. In public. In writing. It is well-past time to stand and oppose, peaceably. . . .

March on June 30 at Noon, local, in your city. March to each ICE detention facility, each time one occurs in your area. All it takes for evil to triumph, is for the good to do. . . nothing. [End updated portion.]

Over the last 60 hours or so, I’ve been trading observations — in comments (at the main site) — with someone opposed to the entrance into the United States of undocumented families.

Feel free to go look — if you are curious.

Moreover, because Mr. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions claimed this was a biblical matter, I have more than occasionally answered in kind — but perhaps not always. . . kindly. For that I sincerely apologize. I am capable of better than that — to be sure. [Ed. note: image at right, and in the masthead at the moment, is derived from Kabutha Kago’s fine art. Do go see it.]

trump-22 Having said so, I do wish to reiterate that the lesson of the whole New Testament — and John’s gospel in particular — is captured in the beatitudes (technically Matthew, but whatever) — in my opinion. Even if I no longer adhere to all these covenants, there is much wisdom in them (whether divine, or not so much).

The humanitarian in me sees that the Good Shepherd compassionately tends his flock. And all people, regardless of geographical accidents of birth, are. . . his flock. I hope my anonymous commenter takes some note of this. It is just one opinion, but I think it is the accepted teaching, of almost every mainstream church that calls itself. . . Christian.

Onward, into the luminous and cooling dawn. Be excellent — to all your brothers and sisters — and all. . . are.


In Which NPR Runs A Nicely-Balanced Look At “Self-Service” DNA Sequencing Companies…

June 18, 2018 - Leave a Response

I commend this updating piece — on companies like 23andMe — from National Public Radio, to the readership, this fine (if decidedly sultry) Monday morning.

Here is at least one bit of our earlier personal experience, from just over a year ago, on the topic. I (of course) remain a believer — both in the scientific value of such information — and in the idea of democratizing genetics, at the consumer level, more generally:

. . . .Many physicians welcome the trend, saying it’s giving people valuable information. Consumers can find out early whether they are at increased risk for cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases — and take steps to protect themselves. The testing can also sometimes help identify the safest and most effective medications to use.

“Direct-to-consumer genetics companies are leading the way toward democratizing genetics and making it available to more and more people to learn about their risks and intervene in ways to keep themselves healthy,” says Robert Green, a medical geneticist at Harvard. . . .

Switching gears — back to the topic of Sunday, now: let us all recall how immensely taciturn Laura Bush was, while living at 1600 Penn. So. . . the idea that, on the same weekend, she and [UPDATED: all five living] First Ladies (two from the same party as the political numbskull running Homeland Security, at present) would openly disapprove of 45’s cruel family-breaking border policies. . . is worthy of note.

As a nation, we still have a long road to travel, but it is at least a small step — toward a better day, in some relatively soon-tomorrow. Onward, off now, to cut myself a thick hunk of wet, warm air — to breathe (and actually bathe in), as I walk toward a train. Smile.


Normally, I’d Offer A Sweet, Hopeful Father’s Day Message. Not THIS Year.

June 16, 2018 - 2 Responses

We are not red. We are not blue. Not Democrat; not Republican. Not black, white or brown. Not gay or straight. Tomorrow, we are family.

And, more precisely, on Father’s Day, we are simply. . . humans. Human parents.

And any parent who cannot see they need to march peacefully to end this, is no parent at all, in my book. No human is worthy of that appellation, for that matter — if they are not vocally and peaceably resisting this.

This is the way of madness. Of a. . . madman.

And it shouldn’t need to be said, but is in no way biblical. I defy you1 to find me a verse in which Jesus suggested hostage taking, of our youngest — and most vulnerable — brothers and sisters. Mr. Sessions ought to be ashamed. But Mr. Trump cannot call himself a father, nor Ivanka a mother any longer. Not for another single day — not for so long as this unfathomable cruelty persists.

If you are human — go get active.


1. On the contrary — Matthew 25:45 reads thus: “He will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant [they seemed], you failed to do for me. . . .’


Why Michael Cohen (And Thus 45) Should Be EXTRA Nervous, This Afternoon…

June 15, 2018 - Leave a Response

(1) Manafort’s bail: revoked. He’s in lock-up — Inmate No. 45343, in Northern Neck, Warsaw, VA (where Michael Vick did a stretch of time). He will inexorably. . . sing — leaving Mr. Cohen with little of value to trade, when he gets ready to. . . sing, himself.

(2) This tidbit, just disclosed by the government in Manhattan’s US District courthouse — as to more of the “yield,” from the warrants related to the Cohen raids:

. . . .Contents of Encrypted Messaging Applications:

The Government was advised that the FBI’s original electronic extraction of data from telephones did not capture content related to encrypted messaging applications, such as WhatsApp and Signal. The FBI has now obtained this material. There are approximately 731 pages of messages, including call logs, which were also produced today. . . .

That alone will have me smiling, all weekend, in the bright sunshine, with my second eldest home for a short visit. Be excellent to one another. Out.


[Q.:] Will This Be The Final, Muted Eulogy — To Opportunity’s Operating For More Than 5,100 Sols — On Mars?

June 14, 2018 - Leave a Response

UPDATED: 06.14.2018 — I am reposting this with the rather disconcerting news that about a quarter of the red planet is engulfed in a dust storm, at the moment. And it is stalled over Perseverance Basin. That means the NASA Opportunity rover has gone into hibernation — and if she cannot shake some of the fine curry colored dust from her solar arrays, she may permanently fall silent. That is, she may never ping back. . . again. So now we wait, perhaps another three Earth weeks, to see if she will awaken.

Now you know — but either way, she has served up interplanetary space science — far beyond her creators’ wildest hopes. For now, though — hope is what we will all need. Hope that the weather clears, and blows fresh icy winds across her outstretched limbs, whisking away most of the curry powder. [End, updated portion.]

February 18, 2018 — I must mark this stunningly audacious milestone, if only in brief:

Overnight, NASA/JPL’s Opportunity Mars rover logged its 5,000th “Sol”, on Mars (each “Sol” on Mars is about two-thirds of an hour longer than an Earth day, due to the distance Mars is from the sun — and the differing speeds of rotation — compared to Earth’s rate of rotation, from the moment of one sunrise, to the next sunrise).

It was expected by JPL and NASA to survive 90 Martian “days” — or sols. That would have been a success — but it is well past fifty-five times that in service duration record, now. Opportunity has driven over 28 miles away from its landing site — and is about one-third of the way down “Perseverance Valley,” a shallow channel incised from a crater’s rim. The rover has returned about 225,000 images, all promptly made public online.

That’s a well-engineered rig.

And I am beaming, ear to ear, about it.

Now, with a clip of some poetry by Mr. Atkinson (in the image). . . here’s to the future, what Sweet Will called. . . the “undiscovered country“. . . . it too, calls forever to me. Sweetly haunts me, in fact. Grin.


History May Not Echo — But It Rhymes… In A 46 Year Old Vintage — Buckley, On Nixon/Mao.

June 12, 2018 - 2 Responses

More than a generation ago, William F. Buckley (someone I almost universally disagreed with, save this) quite elegantly (and rightly) excoriated then President Richard Nixon for granting legitimacy to a brutal regime, while gaining essentially nothing. . . for the cause of western style democratic ideals.

He was right to do so. And for the record, it was not Nixon who modernized China’s thinking. It was a global economy that threatened to leave the Chinese behind — stuck in a dark underworld of 19th Century agrarian industry. [So China moderated — and modernized. . . itself. And thus became a global economic superpower.]

So too, with Trump and his Lil’ Rocket Man stunt: never mind that Fox, Rove, Hannity and Malkin were screaming — a scant four years ago — that Mr. Obama was a traitor for even considering any meeting with the same man. Never mind that Trump brought a pot-bitcoin shilling Dennis “The Worm” Rodman with him, on TV at right, as if to viscerally underline the notion that 45’s entire life is a singularly sad farce — and never mind that he has already left, without securing. . . anything, other than a self-scripted tribute to his fat ego. Trump was. . . Kim Jong Un’s lil b!tch.

Even an idiot may readily see that Buckley was right about Nixon, just as we are right about. . . Trump. He has debased American ideals — by praising a monster. Let’s slip back, to 1972, then:

. . . .“That should dispel the last suspicion that there is a trace of ideological conviction left in Richard Nixon.” He wasn’t suggesting that Nixon is not committed, within the United States, to the usual ideals — self-government, a private sector, a bill of rights. Merely that he is utterly indifferent to whether these ideals are practiced elsewhere in the world: indeed, that he apparently cares not at all if these ideals are persecuted in other parts of the world. . . .

As long as human beings are free to use the language, they will find elegant excuses for depriving other human beings of their freedom. And [by implication, Nixon], as I have said, makes no bones about freedom’s end. “Turning back towards the hotel, I pass a Protestant church — its closed gates bearing the banner, ‘Carry through the Cultural Revolution to the end. . . .’”

It is in a season that receives cordially the theoretical works of B. F. Skinner and the journalism of Ross Terrill, that Richard Nixon is operating, toasting Chairman Mao, who by material standards has yet to do for his country as much as Adolf Hitler did for his. Somehow the generic incantation, which used instantly to collapse such analyses — Mussolini made the trains run on time — doesn’t have its ancient power to restore instantly the focus. . . .

The reason is that the West, so far gone these days in a rare combination of satiety and self-abuse, is indifferent in part to freedom, in whole to the cause of freedom. By contrast the Chinese Communists are not indifferent. They are proof against Western derision because they know what they want, are utterly outspoken in their consecration to human debasement as a means of achieving Communism, lucid and unswerving in their designs, insouciant to the resentment we used to feel, at the corruption of the terms that used to designate our ideals: justice, liberty, individual rights, government as the servant of the people. Richard Nixon — his glass raised high to Mao Tse-tung, toasting to a long march together, he and we, likening our two revolutions to each other, landing at Andrews to impart the information that the Chinese people greatly esteem their government — may yet emerge as the most flexible man of the century, perhaps even as the most deracinated American who ever lived and exercised great power. . . .

I think overnight Trump has eclipsed him. And that is. . . horrifying. Trump has become a comical dancing bear — for the most brutal still-living dictator of this century. All without any net gain — for anyone. Save of course, Trump himself, and his (imagined potential, but not likely) Nobel. Disgusting.

And all of this may overshadow the fact that Jared and Ivanka made about $82 million in their first full year in the West Wing, by trading favors and emoluments that their odious brand of lawless White House operations afford — to their outside business contacts. Was North Korea all a distraction — to create cover for this? I dunno. But perhaps that credits this crew of crooks with too much savvy — too much foresight — by half.

Onward, just the same, on a warm, wet, cloudy Tuesday.


JPL/NASA Mission At Jupiter Funding Extended Into 2022: Good News For Fans Of Shepherded Moonlettes…

June 11, 2018 - Leave a Response

With Juno set to make its thirteenth twisting plunge, very near the cloud tops of mysterious occluded Jupiter on July 16-17, 2018 — NASA has announced that Juno’s mission funding will be stretched out, to coincide with Juno’s persistent 53 day orbits.

Had there not been a retro-rocket valve glitch in mid 2016, after arrival, Juno would have tightened its orbital lasso around Jove to 14 days, taking a less elongated path. But to be safe, the NASA JPL team kept Juno in a wider orbit, and so it will take into 2021 to map all of the surface, on close flybys. Then it will be into FY 2022 before all the data is fully digested.

. . . .NASA has approved an update to Juno’s science operations until July 2021. This provides for an additional 41 months in orbit around Jupiter and will enable Juno to achieve its primary science objectives. Juno is in 53-day orbits rather than 14-day orbits as initially planned because of a concern about valves on the spacecraft’s fuel system. This longer orbit means that it will take more time to collect the needed science data.

An independent panel of experts confirmed in April that Juno is on track to achieve its science objectives and is already returning spectacular results. The Juno spacecraft and all instruments are healthy and operating nominally.

NASA has now funded Juno through FY 2022. The end of prime operations is now expected in July 2021, with data analysis and mission close-out activities continuing into 2022. . . .

Now you know — and a fond wave, here, on a foggy June Monday. . . to a goddess of a copper hue, floating above a black pavement, seemingly powdered with stars. . . as she floats across the parking lot, in a subtly graceful, twisting (if elongated) gait. . . smile.