I got about half way through this so far…

I will be posting later today, but in the meantime, what’s on your mind?

 

Assuming he is going to run for reelection, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has to go. So who do we get to run against him who has a major chance of beating him?

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I haven’t listened to President Trump’s news conference from last Thursday yet but I have read a number of articles on the subject.

One of the most confusing contradictions has been reported on any number of news sites.

First, President Trump complains that the reports about Michael Flynn’s phone conversation with the Russian ambassador to the United States was fake news. (This despite the fact that he essentially fired Mr. Flynn and forced him to resign as a result).

And then he said his regime will investigate the criminal leaks and bring the leakers to justice. So the leaks are real.

But he went so far as to actually say the news is fake but the leaks are real! Say wha?

President Donald Trump confirmed in a news conference Thursday that leaked information about his administration is “real,” but he said much of the coverage of the leaks is “fake news.”

He really needs to make up his ever loving mind!

I think we found the perfect candidate for President Trump’s National Security Advisor: Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward! How do I know that? Because the gentleman had the sense to turn the job down!

Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down President Donald Trump’s offer to be national security adviser Thursday, depriving the administration of a top candidate for a critical foreign policy post days after Trump fired Michael Flynn.

A friend of Harward’s said he was reluctant to take the job because the White House seems so chaotic. Harward called the offer a “s*** sandwich,” the friend said.

Anyone who can see the inherent issues in the position would be the one guy who can probably get the job done and do it right.

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Michael Flynn is gone…resigned or fired depending upon which White House source you believe. But I am sure that President Trump made him fall on his sword.

Michael Flynn, the national security adviser to President Trump, resigned late Monday over revelations about his potentially illegal contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and his misleading statements about the matter to senior Trump administration officials.

Flynn stepped down amid mounting pressure on the Trump administration to account for its false statements about Flynn’s conduct after The Washington Post reported Monday that the Justice Department had warned the White House last month that Flynn had so mischaracterized his communications with the Russian diplomat that he might be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

In his resignation letter, Flynn said he had “inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president.”

I had called for his resignation a few days ago. I was happy to see him go and not at all surprised once this became public. But Mr. Flynn’s problem is only the surface of the problem.

To me there is still a big question about exactly happened in the White House. First of all, the DOJ notified the White House about the issues surrounding Mr. Flynn and his contact with the Russian ambassador. I would expect that the information would reach the president (If not the staff surrounding him is negligent in the extreme). So the president knew and was going to let it pass? He was all right with it? And it only became a problem once it became public. So how deep does President Trump’s attachment to Russia go? Is he a traitor to his oath of office? To the nation? And the vice president was left in the dark? I really hope the resignation didn’t totally hinge on Mr. Flynn lying to the vice president. But based on what we already know about the president, appearances are more important than substance.

The [Washington] Post reported Monday that then-acting U.S. attorney general Sally Q. Yates told the White House counsel last month that Flynn’s misleading statements to Pence and others made him vulnerable to blackmail by Russia, whose own government would have known that sanctions were discussed.

The White House appears to have let its repeated false statements about Flynn stand for weeks after that notification from Yates, and has yet to account for what it did with the warning she conveyed. The disclosures about Flynn have added to the swirling suspicion about the Trump administration’s relationship with Moscow…

But if you look at Mr. Flynn’s history, the question crops up. Is he so delusional that he thought he could get away with talking to the ambassador? He was a general, yes, but is he a sufficiently skilled diplomat that he would have taken this on himself? As a general would he be ready and willing to obey his next commander-in-chief?

So the GOP shouldn’t overlook this issue. Mr. Flynn is probably guilty of violating the Logan Act and other laws. But was he instructed to take these actions by other actors in the White House? By the then president-elect? There are some questions that need to be answered.

I am looking at you, Representative Jason Chaffetz.

PS: more background on the resignation.

Show him this post!

President Donald Trump tweeted “It is a disgrace that my full Cabinet is still not in place, the longest such delay in the history of our country.”

Well…he hasn’t even hit a month in office yet. Meanwhile:

First, on the subject of “no” votes, Obama’s cabinet nominees faced more than 400 “No” votes. By comparison Trump has faced only about 100 “No” votes for his nominees. He’s still got some more cabinet officers to go before the Senate, but his most controversial ones (Sessions and DeVos) have already had their votes.

But yes indeed…it’s February 13, 2017 today…compared to what?

Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush had their cabinet read by mid-March, but Barack Obama didn’t have his cabinet fully confirmed until the end of April, according to that BBC report. As of the writing of this column, it is mid-February, so Trump has a long way to go to catch up with obstruction to Obama’s Cabinet.

Oh yeah, and then there was the Judge Merrick Garland thing.

And a little more history on cabinet appointment confirmations for you wonks out there:

I’m sure you are thinking this is nothing like the good old days of the Founding Fathers, when cabinet nominations just sailed through Congress. Think again. Writing in the Harvard Law Review, Henry Paul Monaghan describes how President George Washington’s second Chief Justice nominee was not only a member of the original Constitution Convention, but an Associate Supreme Court Justice and acting Chief Justice, seeking a full-time appointment. But he was defeated because he didn’t like the Jay Treaty.

“Indeed, in the first 105 years of American constitutional history, almost one-fourth of the nominees (20 out of 81) failed to win confirmation; others were confirmed only after intense controversy,” Monaghan wrote.

I love history!

At last night’s Grammys, A Tribe Called Quest delivered a powerful performance directed right at president Donald Trump and his anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies.

Here it is:

The UW Board of Regents, in order to protect and preserve its role as the governing body of the University of Wisconsin System, must reject Scott Walker’s budget proposal in full. The sometime-governor is once again attempting illegitimately to exert control over the UW System, contrary to the organizing statutes. The power grab exercised through the budget process reduces regents to mere functionaries, infringing on their statutory independence.

Mr. Walker does this several ways.

  • Dangling a $42.5 million budget increase (to “replace” hundreds of millions of dollars cut from the budget), subject to severe constraints on how those dollars can be allocated among the system institutions, and subject to an insulting “Performance Funding Report Card” for each campus
  • Offering $35 million if they provide a tuition cut to all state students, irrespective of need
  • Adding an internship/work experience graduation requirement for every UW student receiving a bachelor degree, regardless of the relevance of that requirement to the degree
  • Directing the board to make the payment of allocable student segregated fees “optional”
  • Directing the board and the technical college system board to double the number of transferable credits (to 60, a full two years’ worth of credit)
  • Requiring the UW System to monitor faculty teaching workload and to reward those who teach more

These requirements contravene existing state law, contravene the best functioning of the university, and insult the regents as the leaders of the organization.

Contrary to the heavy-handed demands of Mr. Walker’s proposed budget, the regents, not the governor, by statute bear the “primary responsibility for governance of the system.” By statute, the Board of Regents “shall enact policies and promulgate rules for governing the system, plan for the future needs of the state for university education, ensure the diversity of quality undergraduate programs while preserving the strength of the state’s graduate training and research centers and promote the widest degree of institutional autonomy within the controlling limits of system-wide policies and priorities established by the board.” Wis. Stats. 36.09 (1)(a).

The governor is not mentioned here.

Also by statute, “The board shall allocate funds and adopt budgets for the respective institutions giving consideration to the principles of comparable budgetary support for similar programs and equitable compensation for faculty and academic staff with comparable training, experience and responsibilities and recognizing competitive ability to recruit and retain qualified faculty and academic staff.” Wis. Stats. 36.09(1)(h). Thus it is the board’s responsibility to set criteria for allocation of GPR, not the governor’s. Allowing the governor to put criteria for allocation of GPR into statute in one biennium sets a precedent for the future, binding the hands of future boards.

Also by statute, “The board shall develop policies for the purpose of specifically identifying the general purpose revenue and nongeneral purpose revenue funding sources used for noninstructional student activities and for the purpose of governing the allocation of funds to those noninstructional student activities supported by both general purpose and nongeneral purpose revenue.” Wis. Stats. 36.09(1)(hm). This section clearly places the authority for deciding about the payment of segregated fees in the hands of the board, not the governor.

Neither is it the role of the governor to set graduation requirements, as Mr. Walker proposes in the Budget Bill, or to require monitoring of faculty teaching load. (The proposal to add an internship/work requirement for graduation, by the way, contradicts two more of Mr. Walker’s claimed interests: to reduce the time to degree and to require professors to teach more. Setting up internships takes away from teaching time; fulfilling the requirement takes away from class time. Students take longer to get their degrees, and professors have less time to teach in the classroom.)

That is the role of chancellors and the faculty and academic staff at their campuses. “3) The chancellors.

(a) … Subject to board policy the chancellors of the institutions in consultation with their faculties shall be responsible for designing curricula and setting degree requirements; determining academic standards and establishing grading systems; defining and administering institutional standards for faculty peer evaluation … Wis. Stats. 36.09(3)(a).

Finally, the board should resist the proposal to identify 60 transferable credits from Wisconsin’s technical colleges, at least until there is more study of the current transfer agreement. An agreement for transfer of 30 credits went into effect only in the 2014-15 school year. Students who transferred under that policy will only reach the point of graduation (if they do) in June 2018. Prudence dictates at least some follow-up on the experience and success of the first group of transfer students before expanding the program. While Wisconsin does indeed have a great technical college system, no one in that system would claim it to be equivalent to the first two years of the University of Wisconsin, and decreeing it thus doesn’t make it so.

The governor already has a great deal of influence on the Board of Regents, in that he or she appoints most of its members. The proposals of this budget restrict the Board’s judgment and restrict its statutory authority, and lay the groundwork for further erosion of the UW System’s independence from political control.

 

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