By James A. Kidney Texas hosted the first primary election of 2018 on March 6, kicking off the race for the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. The contested Senate seats are mostly owned now by Democrats in pink or red states. Another big state, Illinois, holds its primary March 20. There is some electoral relief until May 8, when four states, including barometer states North Carolina and Ohio, hold their primaries. Thirteen states hold primaries in May with 17 more in June. Hello, Bob Mueller? Most prognosticators of the Mueller investigation believe there is still a long way to go before final indictments and a confidential report to the acting attorney general complete the actions of the special counsel. The predictions are based on known grand jury subpoenas and named cooperating witnesses. The Mueller team itself seems pretty much inoculated against the D.C. disease known as … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Five observations on the Donald Trump Jr. emails and meeting with the Russians: Don’t let Trump Derangement lead to bad law. Some journalists and political commentators — is there still a difference? — are pushing for some very bad law when they argue/analyze/conclude that Donald Trump Jr.’s agreement to receive negative information about Hillary Clinton from the Russians is unlawful. The main theory being proffered (there are many) is that the law prohibits contributions to U.S. political campaigns from foreign governments and that information, which sometimes has a price, is equivalent to a financial or services donation. Equating delivery of accurate, non-classified information with illegal financial contributions, or contributions of meals, transportation and the like, is a very dangerous pathway. Information, unlike air travel, catering, and advertising, for example, is very fluid and its source not always identifiable. Penalizing people for receipt of useful information which … Read more of this post . . .
The day after the presidential election, The New York Review of Books published an online article by Masha Gessen, a Russian and American journalist who was an outspoken critic of the Putin regime, initially for treatment of gays and lesbians and later more broadly. She moved to the U.S. in December 2013. The article, titled “Autocracy: Rules for Survival,” laid out six rules based on her personal experience under Russian autocrats. You can read the longer article linked here, but these are the rules and part of the descriptions as written by Ms. Gessen. As Trump recruits his cabinet, condemns our intelligence agencies and appears planning to rule the world with Russian President Putin (“Hey, there are two hemispheres. One each.”), these rules are worth recalling. Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is … Read more of this post . . .