Stephen Colbert Asks: Is Trump Only Violating Norms or Laws?

Stephen Colbert explains how much of the Presidential behavior, such as publishing one’s tax returns, are merely norms we have come to expect from a President, not actually required by law.

Except for Trump’s blatant conflict of interest with his hotel chain (as diplomats are already lining up to stay there, hoping to gain favor). It turns out the good old U.S. Constitution has something to say about that:

The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, explicitly states that:

“no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”

Here’s Stephen Colbert explaining “The Emoluments Clause,” which, as he puts it, is a fancy word for “bribe.”

The Law Trump’s Conflicts of Interest May Be Directly Violating? Only the U.S. Constitution.

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of The Constitution, the so-called “Emoluments Clause,” states clearly that:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

As this article in Business Insider explains:

One of dozens of proscriptions in the Constitution aimed at fighting corruption, the emoluments clause is one of the only ones that actually applies to the president. Critics of President-elect Donald Trump‘s potential financial conflicts of interest are pointing to it amid reports about his extensive business dealings with foreign entities, including the state-owned Bank of China.

Some critics point to recent troubling reports — that Trump allegedly asked British politician Nigel Farage to push against wind farm development near a Trump golf course, and that the president-elect reportedly lobbied Argentinian president Mauricio Macri to help expedite a stalled Buenos Ares development — as signs that Trump is already using his clout improperly.

In a meeting Tuesday with the New York Times, Trump seemed to confirm the reports about his talk with Farage.

But Trump’s camp is denying the reports about Macri, and the president-elect tweeted on Monday night that his “interests in properties all over the world” have been public knowledge for awhile and that it’s “only the crooked media” that is making “this a big deal” now.




Chris Hayes In TrumpLand – They Really Don’t Understand Trump’s Bait-and-Switch

One thing we have going for us, although it doesn’t seem to be helping as much as one would think, is that Trump isn’t wasting any time showing his true colors. He could have played it cool and pretended he was going to be a rational methodical republican, like George Bush did at first. But no, Trump isn’t leaving the rash actions that he will take as president to the imagination. He’s going to throw the elderly and working class Americans of the midwest (that believed his rhetoric, and voted for him) directly under the bus, right away.

He’s doing it in broad daylight, right in front of everyone, as if to say, to the American people: “Just you try and stop me.”

Chris Hayes asked these folks questions, and they appear to be completely delusional about Trump’s true motivations and intent.

Chris Hayes in TrumpLand

Do Trump voters know that Congress is organizing to turn Social Security, Medicare and the ACA into a tax cut for the wealthy? By Dave Winer, for

From the post:

The Trump voters, and there were quite a few, said some things that I think they are going to learn are wrong, and that will happen soon, especially if somehow there can be cross-pollination of news from MSNBC-land to and from Wisconsin-land, they might hear about the disasters-in-the-making before they are actually complete.

A Trump voter said, with no dissension, that the racist stuff that Trump campaigned on wasn’t real. But it is real. A Muslim woman there, born in Wisconsin, she spoke with a Wisconsin accent, wore a hijab, said she was scared for herself and her family. There’s talk in TrumpLand (the one on Fifth Ave in NYC) of requiring Muslims to register, even Muslims who are American citizens. So there it is. The racism is real. Registering comes first. Then armbands, then…

Do the Trump voters know that Congress, of the same party as the incoming president, is organizing to turn Social Security, Medicare and the ACA into a huge tax cut for the super wealthy? That’s your future. No retirement, even though you already paid for it, and you can buy health insurance with money you don’t have from an insurance industry that won’t sell it to you.

They seemed confident that there would be time to vote Trump out in four years. A big misunderstanding about how long it takes to undo social programs if you don’t care about the people who depend on them.

Developments in the Recount and Electorate Situation

The pieces are starting to come together. Luckily, the recount has begun. Hopefully, the electors will exercise their constitutional duty and choose Clinton anyway. As Lawrence Lessig explained in a Washington Post OP-Ed, they have every legal right to do so.

But at the very least, hopefully, moving forward, let’s make sure we have an audit trail for future elections.

How I Came to See That the Election Needs to be Audited and How You Can Too

By Beth Martinez

What kept coming back to me that day was a 2006 Rolling Stone article about the strong evidence that Diebold voting machines in Ohio switched votes from Kerry to Bush in 2004, thus “rigging” the outcome of the presidential election. As the votes were being tallied and the majority of the country was in shock, I started thinking, was THIS election also hacked?

It’s a theory I posited to a friend on election night, accompanied by the observation that Trump often calls out his own failings as faults of others. Did he know the election was going to be rigged, so he put Dems on the defensive early on? Or is he just the king of “whoever smelt it dealt it?”


Japanese Internment Poster From WWII Serves As A Reminder

japanese internment

My dad found this Japanese Internment poster from 1942 at a garage sale a while back. I remember us looking at it together, and thinking about how far we had come as a nation, since then.

(This post is from November 17, 2016)

I was horrified to wake up this morning to the New York Times explaining that Donald Trump is seriously considering using a registration system for immigrants.

Kris Kobach, (NY Times, Huff Po), Trump supporter and, word has it, potential Attorney General (gulp), is actually suggesting that we might use something similar to the Japanese Internment program from WWII, as a model for how we should treat our Muslim immigrant brothers and sisters, today.

These posters, calling the internment an “evacuation,” were basically telling people of Japanese descent, that, if they lived in a certain area, they had one week to grab what they could carry and move to their local Internment Camp. (The notice was posted on April 24, and families were given until May 1, 1942.)

I’m not sure people realize what is actually being proposed here.

There was an official governmental study of Executive Order 9066  by a group of nine people that were appointed by the U.S. Congress in 1980, called Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). (Executive Order 9066 is a United States presidential executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942 that authorizes the Secretary of War to prescribe certain areas as military zones, clearing the way for the deportation and “evacuation” of Japanese Americans.)

The CWRIC put out a report, Personal Justice Denied, which determined (on page 18, in the Summary of Part I) “The broad historical causes which shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.”

As the poster explains, families had exactly one week to sell or give away anything valuable and move. They were only allowed to bring bedding, a little clothing, toilet articles, silverware (one set per person) and “essential personal effects.”


A “Civil Control Station” was set up to answer questions and help Japanese citizens with selling all of their personal property. All “real estate, business and professional equipment, household goods, boats, automobiles and livestock” had to be sold or leased to others (presumably to someone of other than Japanese descent). Anything not sold, such as large appliances, could be stored by the U.S. government at the “sole risk of the owner.” You basically had a week to sell all of your stuff, pack up a small suitcase, and leave anything else behind. You had to be able to carry everything you brought by yourself too.

Here is the text of this poster:


Presidio of San Francisco, California – April 24, 1942


Living in the Following Area:

All of those portions of Counties of Contra Costa and Alameda, State of California, within the boundary beginning at Carquinez Strait; thence southerly on U.S. Highway No. 40 to its intersection with California State Highway No. 4, at or near Hercules; thence easterly on said Highway No. 4 to its intersection with California State Highway No. 21; thence southerly on said Highway No. 21 to its intersection with California State Highway No 24, at Walnut Creek; thence westerly on said Highway No. 24 to the southerly limits of the City of Berkeley; thence following the said southerly city limits to San Francisco Bay; thence northerly and following the shore line of San Francisco Bay, through San Pablo Strait, and San Pablo Bay, to the point of beginning.

Pursuant to the provisions of Civilian Exclusion Order No. 19, this Headquarters, dated April 24, 1942, all persons of Japanese ancestry, both alien and non-alien, will be evacuated from the above area by 12 o’clock noon, P.W.T., Friday May 1, 1942.

No Japanese person living in the above area will be permitted to change residence after 12 o’clock noon, P.W.T., Northern California Sector, at the Civil Control Station located at: 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, California.

Such permits will only be granted for the purpose of uniting members of a family, or in cases of grave emergency.

The Civil Control Station is equipped to assist the Japanese population affected by this evacuation in the following ways:

1. Give advice and instructions on the evacuation

2. Provide services with respect to the management, leasing, sale, storage or other disposition of most kinds of property, such as real estate, business and professional equipment, household goods, boats, automobiles and livestock.

3. Provide temporary residence elsewhere for all Japanese in family groups.

4. Transport persons and a limited amount of clothing and equipment to their new residence.

The Following Instructions Must Be Observed:

1. A responsible member of each family, preferably the head of the family, or the person in whose name most of the property is held, and each individual living alone, will report to the Civil Control Station to receive further instructions. This must be done between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM on Saturday, April 25, 1942, or between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM on Sunday, April 26, 1942.

2. Evacuees must carry with them on departure for the Assembly Center, the following property:

(a) Bedding and linens (no mattress) for each member of the family;

(b) Toilet articles for each member of the family;

(c) Extra clothing for each member of the family;

(d) Sufficient knives, forks, spoons, plates, bowls and cups for each member of the family;

(e) Essential personal effects for each member of the family.

All items carried will be securely packaged, tied and plainly market with the name of the owner and numbered in accordance with instructions obtained at the Civil Control Station.

The size and number of packages is limited to that which can be carried by the individual or family group.

3. No pets of any kind will be permitted.

4. The United States Government through its agencies will provide for the storage at the sole risk of the owner of the more substantial household items, such as iceboxes, washing machines, pianos and other heavy furniture. Cooking utensils and other small items will be accepted for storage if crated, packed and plainly marked with the name and address of the owner. Only one name and address will be used by a given family.

5. Each family, and individual living alone, will be furnished transportation to the Assembly Center or will be authorized to travel by private automobile in a supervised group. All instructions pertaining to the movement will be obtained at the Civil Control Station.

Go to the Civil Control Station between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M., Saturday, April 25, 1942, or between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M., Sunday, April 26, to receive further instructions.


Lieutenant General, U.S. Army, Commanding

See Civilian Exclusion Order No. 19.

It is with a heavy heart that I had to resurrect my “Immigrant Roundups” category (started after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the xenophobic policies that emerged soon after). I fear that the policies of Bush’s GOP will be nothing compared to President Trump’s GOP.

Scary Xenophobic Policies Hastily Emerging From Trump Camp

 It is with a heavy heart that I must resurrect my “Immigrant Roundups” category (started after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the xenophobic policies that emerged soon after). I fear that the policies of Bush’s GOP will be nothing compared to President Trump’s GOP.

President-elect Donald Trump is calling for the reinstatement of a national registry of immigrants and visitors who enter the United States. It’s turning a few heads.

Kris Kobach, a Trump supporter rumored to be on Trumps transition team (that’s all we get is rumors folks!) who helped design President Bush’s “National Security Entry-Exit Registration System” (NSEERS) (which was implemented after the September 11, 2001 attacks) was on Fox news defending the concept to Megan Kelly.

I remember these NSEERS registrations, as people were going in to the registration offices in various cities across the country, and weren’t ever coming back out. The National Lawyers Guild started taking a list of names of everyone going in to the immigration offices every day, just to make sure people were making it back out okay.

These were scary, scary times, and I remember going to the protests at the San Francisco Immigration Building on Washington Street in San Francisco, and my immigrant friends thanking me for going, because they were too afraid to go themselves.

As this Reuters article explains: “NSEERS was abandoned in 2011 after it was deemed redundant by the Department of Homeland Security and criticized by civil rights groups for unfairly targeting immigrants from Muslim-majority nations.”

I think it’s easy to talk about Japanese Internment in the abstract, but I have a poster on my wall from 1942, so I will never forget.

I feel it’s important to clarify exactly WTF happened in 1942.

New Paul Thomas Anderson Radiohead Video of “Numbers” – Remember: One Day At a Time

Hey everybody! I’ve come out of my cave to say hello!

This song struck me when it first came out last May. I was going to over the bridge into the city, and thinking about the future –> even before they started singing about it.

Then it was like, oh what do ya know, Radiohead wrote this song for me. :-)

I almost blogged it then, but I seem to have blogging “posters block” these last few years. Everybody asks me about it. Still. “What the hell happened Lisa? I really liked your blog.”

Well today’s the day! (Fade in trumpets rising.)

I’m going to try to post at least once a day, in the morning, about whatever I’m thinking about that morning. Lucky you!

We call upon the people
Only people have this power
and the numbers don’t decide
The system is lie
A river running dry
The wings of a butterfly

and you may pour us away like soup
like we’re pretty broken flowers
but we’ll take back what is ours
we’ll take back what is ours

Oooh One day at a time

Complete Lyrics:

It holds us like a phantom
Touches like a breeze
Shines its understanding
See the moon is smiling

Open on all channels
I’m ready to receive
Cause we’re not at the mercy
Of your shimmerers or spells
Your shimmerers or spells

Mmm hmmm hmmm

We are of the earth
To her we do return
and the future is inside us
It’s not somewhere else
It’s not somewhere else
It’s not somewhere else
One day at a time

One day at a time

We call upon the people
Only people have this power
and the numbers don’t decide
The system is lie
A river running dry
The wings of a butterfly

and you may pour us away like soup
like we’re pretty broken flowers
but we’ll take back what is ours
we’ll take back what is ours

Oooh One day at a time

Timothy Leary and Aaron Swartz: Interesting Parallels Between Their Lives

Photo by Ron Raffaeui.

Dr. Timothy Leary – Photo by Ron Raffaeui.

Aaron Swartz - Photo by Sage Ross.

Aaron Swartz – Photo by Sage Ross.






Over the last four months, I have been researching Aaron’s life in ever more detail for my movie, “From DeadDrop to SecureDrop.” I keep noticing similarities between his life and that of Timothy Leary’s.

I must admit, I dismissed them at first. As Timothy Leary’s Digital Librarian, and co-author of the Timothy Leary Archives Blog (with Tim’s longtime archivist, Michael Horowitz), I told myself I could hardly be objective about it. They were novelties. Anomalies.

But as the months went on, the similarities became undeniable.

Dr. Timothy Leary and Aaron Swartz had a lot in common.

To paraphrase Timothy, both he and Aaron “thought for themselves, and questioned authority.”

They were both philosophers who were persecuted under highly questionable circumstances for their political beliefs, and acts, by the U.S. Government that wanted to make examples of them. Though the government never came out and admitted it with Tim, the judge that first sent him to prison as much as said so. In Aaron’s case, the prosecutor actually told Aaron’s father that he wanted to make an example out of Aaron. (We learn this in “The Internet’s Own Boy.”)

Aaron wrote extensively about everything on his blog, where he asked thoughtful questions about meaningful issues, and worked hard every day to make the world a better place.

Tim believed that encouraging more people to properly experiment with mind-altering plants and drugs would bring them more in touch with themselves, and empower them to create a better world.

Tim was sent to prison for possession of two half-smoked marijuana joints, and denied bail on the basis of opinions expressed in two published articles where Tim had spoken out publicly and written about the controversial issue of taking mind-expanding drugs.

As Michael Horowitz explains:

“Bail was denied by a Reagan-appointed judge in Orange County, one of the most rightwing in California. The judge held up the publications in the courtroom and during his ruling called Leary “a pleasure-seeking, irresponsible Madison-Avenue advocate of the free use of LSD and marijuana.”

Aaron was being prosecuted for writing a script to download academic journal articles at a faster pace and then plugging his laptop into an open computer closet on the MIT campus.

Aaron had a ruthless prosecutor, who refused to drop the charges against him, largely because of his philosophy regarding the moral imperative of sharing knowledge, as stated in the “Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto.”

In fact, the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto is not all that radical of document, to those of us who feel that access to information is a basic human right.

To quote Jacob Applebaum, from this year’s Aaron Swartz Day (video, transcript, all videos/transcripts):

When we learned more details about the US prosecutors, we learned that they considered Aaron a dangerous radical for unspecified reasons. One of the primary reasons is probably the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto. This is a good document, and as many others I respect it and I admire it. The Guerilla Open Access Manifesto is not as radical as the US prosecutors might consider it. But their fear is telling, so let us say it out loud: we should honor it and we should extend it.

As I write this post, I realize there are probably many more similarities between them. Certainly more than I first realized. As I keep putting the pieces together, I will continue to share them with you.

At this time in my life, all posts have a link to my Kickstarter campaign – only 11 days left! Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving – Let’s try to live up to our country’s ideology

The Pilgrims themselves were immigrants. They did not “belong” here. They were running from religious persecution.

Without naming names, it seems to me that many of the “immigrant groups” that now enjoy full acceptance in this country had a hard time of it themselves when they first got here, and are forgetting their roots a bit. (We are talking about these peoples’ grandparents, but it really wasn’t that long ago.)

20 years from now, I hope we will look back on these last two weeks of shameful refugee-blaming as a hiccup in American History, before we got a hold of ourselves. This country was built on immigrants. From time to time, we pride ourselves in them (when we’re not putting them in an actual internment camp (like the Japanse) or internment camp-like facilities (like that “First People’s reservations” of today).

Chelsea Manning, whose statement I had the honor of reading (transcript) at this year’s Aaron Swartz Day event, wrote an insightful piece that was published yesterday. She encapsulated much of the sentiment that has been brewing in my mind these past few weeks, as I’ve been watching CNN at the gym and resenting the station’s fear mongering and misinformation (unchecked information is almost as irresponsible as information one knows may be untrue, in my book).

I feel that news organizations still have a responsibility to the public to give them the news that they need. Needless to say, this is constantly demonstrated to not be the case.

Let’s think about how much it meant to a certain group of pilgrims to be welcomed by a certain group of First People’s, one day, a long time ago. It meant so much that we’ve founded an entire historical tradition on it.

Let’s try to help our politicians, who represent us in our relations to the rest of the world, take actions that truly represent the spirit of Thanksgiving and of welcoming others who are far from home. Remind them that the Syrian refugees are victims, the same way that holocaust survivors were in the 40s, or Vietnam/Cambodian refugees were in the 70s.

From Chelsea’s piece:

Like many other attacks, the attacks in Paris were tragic, horrific and coldly calculated. They may or may not have been preventable – it’s simply far too soon to know, assuming that we ever will. However, stoking the fears about a shadowy wave of terrorists coming from everywhere that there is warfare and strife is a disturbing, alienating and disproportionate response.

The people of France were the ones who delivered the Statue of Liberty to the US nearly a century and a half ago. Beside the statue for many years was a massive immigration station on Ellis Island. Describing the site of the statue as it was erected, the American poet Emma Lazarus wrote that the statue silently demands:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

It is a poem that defines America – and we and the EU would do well to remember it, especially in such turbulent times.

At this time in my life, all posts have a link to my Kickstarter campaign.