Category Archives: Politics

“we care about having a president who takes seriously his oath to preserve and protect our Constitution”

The New York Times – Opinion: Impeach Trump. Save America. “It is the only thing to do if our country’s democracy is to survive.” By Thomas L. Friedman.

“If we say, as Republicans do, that what Trump did is not an impeachable offense, we are telling ourselves and every future president that — in direct contradiction of what the founders wrote in the Constitution — it is O.K. to enlist a foreign power to tilt the election your way. Can you imagine how much money candidates could raise from Saudi Arabia or China to tilt a future election their way, or how many cyberwarriors they could enlist from Russia or Iran to create fake news, suppress voting or spur outrage?
[…]
If Congress were to do what Republicans demand — forgo impeaching this president for enlisting a foreign power to get him elected, after he refused to hand over any of the documents that Congress had requested and blocked all of his key aides who knew what happened from testifying — we would be saying that a president is henceforth above the law.

We would be saying that we no longer have three coequal branches of government. We would be saying that we no longer have a separation of powers.

We would be saying that our president is now a king.

If we do that, the America you studied in history class, the America you grew up knowing and loving, and the America that the rest of the world has so long admired as a beacon of democracy and justice will be no more. Oh, how we will miss it when it’s gone.”

Link via MetaFilter.

“Donald Trump claims executive power, but he also claims an arbitrary power to act without any system of law or procedure to constrain him.”

The New Yorker: Stop Saying That Impeachment Is Political. Daily comment by Adam Gopnik.

“Recall that both modern-day impeachments in this country were launched against Presidents who had won overwhelming reëlection victories. Impeachment in this sense is anti-politics; it presumes that there exists a constitutional principle that overrules the politics of popularity. The point of an impeachment is not to do the popular or the poll-tested thing but to have the courage to do an unpopular thing, because what is at stake is a larger, even existential matter. […]

It is the unprecedented gravity of our moment, still perhaps insufficiently felt, that makes this confrontation essential, whatever the political consequences. Pelosi, too, now acknowledges this fact. As she told The New Yorker in September, about Trump, “He has given us no choice. Politics has nothing to do with impeachment, in my view.” The political consequences of impeachment are no longer the primary or even the secondary issue at stake; more important is the survival of the principle of the rule of law against the unashamed assertion of arbitrary power.

Postponing a reckoning until the next election implies that what is at issue in Trump’s attempted extorting of the Ukrainian government are a series of policy choices, which voters may or may not endorse. According to this reasoning, if Watergate had happened during Nixon’s first term, and he had been reëlected anyway, attempted political burglary and obstruction of justice would have become acceptable practice. By invoking law against arbitrary power, the Democrats may not “win,” and who knows what the political outcome will be, but, as Pelosi says, there is no longer a choice. Law and arbitrary power remain in eternal enmity. You pick your side.”

Link via MetaFilter.

Massacres, myths, and the making of the great November holiday.

The New Yorker: The Invention of Thanksgiving. “Massacres, myths, and the making of the great November holiday.” By Philip Deloria, a professor of history at Harvard.

“The settlers pressed hard to acquire Indian land through “sales” driven by debt, threat, alliance politics, and violence. They denied the coequal civil and criminal jurisdiction of the alliance, charging Indians under English law and sentencing them to unpayable fines, imprisonment, even executions. They played a constant game of divide and conquer, and they invariably considered Indians their inferiors. Ousamequin’s sons Pumetacom—called King Philip by the English—and Wamsutta began forming a resistance, despite the poor odds. By 1670, the immigrant population had ballooned to sixty or seventy thousand in southern New England—twice the number of Native people.

We falsely remember a Thanksgiving of intercultural harmony. Perhaps we should recall instead how English settlers cheated, abused, killed, and eventually drove Wampanoags into a conflict, known as King Philip’s War, that exploded across the region in 1675 and 1676 and that was one of the most devastating wars in the history of North American settlement. Native soldiers attacked fifty-two towns in New England, destroyed seventeen of them, and killed a substantial portion of the settler population. The region also lost as much as forty per cent of its Native population, who fought on both sides. Confronted by Mohawks to the west, a mixed set of Indian and Colonial foes to the south, and the English to the east, Pumetacom was surrounded on three sides. […]

The Thanksgiving story buries the major cause of King Philip’s War—the relentless seizure of Indian land. It also covers up the consequence. The war split Wampanoags, as well as every other Native group, and ended with indigenous resistance broken, and the colonists giving thanks.

[…]

“American Indian” is a political identity, not a racial one, constituted by formal, still living treaties with the United States government and a long series of legal decisions. Today, the Trump Administration would like to deny this history, wrongly categorize Indians as a racial group, and disavow ongoing treaty relationships. Native American tribal governments are actively resisting this latest effort to dismember the past, demanding better and truer Indian histories and an accounting of the obligations that issue from them.”

Link via MetaFilter, from which I shamelessly stole the title.

Gesetzgeber sollte eingreifen

Deutsche Welle: Amnesty: Google und Facebook verletzen Menschenrechte. “Amnesty International schlägt Alarm: Das Geschäftsmodell der zwei US-Internetriesen basiere auf “allgegenwärtiger Überwachung”. Sie hätten eine nie dagewesene Macht über die persönlichsten Daten von Millionen Menschen.”

“Die Bundesregierung und die EU müssten “rechtsstaatliche Rahmenbedingungen schaffen, um die Grund- und Menschenrechte kommender Generationen in einer digitalen Welt zu wahren”, fordert die Organisation. “In einem ersten Schritt sollten die Gesetzgeber es Unternehmen untersagen, den Zugang zu ihren Diensten davon abhängig zu machen, ob die Nutzer der Sammlung und Verwendung ihrer persönlichen Informationen zu Werbezwecken ‘zustimmen'”, verlangt Beeko.

Google und Facebook setzten die erhaltenen Nutzer-Daten ein, um mit Hilfe von Algorithmen Ergebnisse im Interesse der Unternehmen zu erzielen. Das könne die Personalisierung von Werbung sein oder Verhaltensanreize, die Menschen bei den Diensten hielten. Diese Algorithmen könnten als Nebeneffekt die Meinungsfreiheit beeinträchtigen und zu Diskriminierung führen, warnt die Menschenrechtsorganisation.”