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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "capital"

Bill Weld: Trump might be guilty of treason — and the penalty for treason is death

Westlake Legal Group bw Bill Weld: Trump might be guilty of treason — and the penalty for treason is death William Weld Trump treason The Blog punishment impeachment impeach death penalty crime capital Allahpundit

Getting the president sent to death row is one way to win a longshot primary challenge, I suppose.

Weld spent most of the 1980s working for the Justice Department but I can’t imagine what he’s thinking here. He doesn’t seem to be speaking hyperbolically; that is, he really does believe that Trump committed treason somehow if in fact he leaned on Ukraine’s president to reopen an investigation into Hunter Biden. Treason is defined as levying war against the United States or adhering to its enemies by giving them aid and comfort. That is … not what Trump’s accused of in the Ukraine matter. Weld seems to be making a rhetorical point, that by inviting Ukraine to meddle indirectly in the coming election by supplying new Biden dirt, Trump is corrupting the integrity of the process and thus betraying the country. But again, that’s not how “treason” is conceptualized in American law. What the president is accused of isn’t war, and there’s no enemy to which he’s adhering.

What crime is he allegedly guilty of, though? One of the defenses circulating among righties this weekend of Trump’s interaction with Zelensky is that Congress can’t impeach him for high crimes and misdemeanors if they can’t point to an actual crime that was committed. Which is untrue — impeachment is a political act, and the Supreme Court isn’t going to “overrule” it by dismissing the charges because the House of Representatives failed to state a claim. Senate Republicans could use it as a reason to avoid convicting Trump, though: “There’s no actual crime in extorting a foreign leader by withholding military aid unless he helps you get reelected! It’s just really, really contemptible.” Is that true, though?

At Slate, Richard Hasen argues that Trump may have committed a campaign-finance crime by soliciting a “thing of value” from a foreign national when he asked for Biden to investigation. The problem, Hasen allows, is that Mueller looked at that issue too when he investigated Don Jr’s famous meeting with the Russian lawyer over dirt on Hillary and declined to indict him for it. There’s precedent now, in other words, that asking a foreign government for oppo on a political opponent isn’t necessarily a crime — although Trump critics would argue that what Trump allegedly did with Zelensky and what Don Jr did with the Russian are materially different. Junior simply inquired as to whether there was already existing dirt on Clinton in Russia’s possession. By leaning on Zelensky, Trump was allegedly requesting that Ukraine *manufacture* dirt on Biden.

At the Daily Beast, former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade claims Trump may be guilty of extortion and bribery. Certainly, those are stronger grounds politically for House Democrats in an impeachment proceeding than campaign-finance violations would be. Campaign-finance law is esoteric and most Americans assume all politicians are guilty of breaking it to greater or lesser degrees, I suspect. “Bribery and extortion” is clear and hits you in the gut.

The federal bribery statute makes it a crime for a public official to demand anything of value in exchange for performing an official act. A statute known as the Hobbs Act defines extortion as obtaining property from another, with his consent, under color of official right. “Property” is defined to mean anything of value, tangible or intangible. The essence of both crimes is a demand by a public official to obtain something for himself to which he is not entitled in exchange for performing an official act of his office…

Here, if the reporting is correct, Trump may be similarly committing bribery and extortion by using the power of his office to demand a thing of value, dirt on Biden, in exchange for an official act, the provision of $250 million in military aid. This is precisely the kind of old-fashioned corruption scheme that the bribery and extortion statutes were designed to punish.

That’s the best argument Democrats have. It speaks directly to what’s objectionable about what Trump is accused of — abuse of power, using the authority of his office (over military aid) to benefit himself personally (by creating political trouble for an opponent). Senate Republicans will respond with two defenses. One: It cannot be an abuse of power for the president to encourage a foreign government to crack down on corruption, even if the corruption in question coincidentally involves the Democratic frontrunner for president and even though Trump palpably gives not one wet fart about foreign corruption generally. I’d be keen to know how many times since January 2017 he’s raised the issue of domestic corruption with foreign leaders. Has he even once encouraged Putin to rein in Russia’s kleptocracy a little?

Two: If all else fails, Article II of the Constitution gives the president near-plenary power to conduct foreign policy. If he abuses that power by trying to shake down the Ukrainian government to investigate his most probable presidential opponent, well, them’s the breaks. It can’t be a crime if it’s a valid exercise of constitutional authority. Attorney Jack Goldsmith has already made that argument, in fact. But that would leave Senate Republicans stuck with arguing that there’s no problem with corruption in this case so long as the Constitution provides no remedy for it. And Democrats would counter that there *is* a constitutional remedy — impeachment and removal by the people’s representatives when the president abuses the power that the Constitution has given to him. What’s the response then?

The post Bill Weld: Trump might be guilty of treason — and the penalty for treason is death appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group bw-300x159 Bill Weld: Trump might be guilty of treason — and the penalty for treason is death William Weld Trump treason The Blog punishment impeachment impeach death penalty crime capital Allahpundit  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Neil O’Brien: How to rebalance Britain’s unbalanced economy – by levelling up, not levelling down

Neil O’Brien is MP for Harborough.

Even Brexit, it turns out, is about location, location, location. Ben Ansell, an Oxford professor, has found that in wealthier areas, where the price of a house averages £500,000, 70 per cent voted to remain. Poorer areas, where the average house price was £100,000, were an exact mirror image, with 70 per cent voting to leave.

Like a disclosing tablet, the EU referendum highlighted the different economic experiences of different places over recent decades: booming London and the most prosperous home counties voted to Remain, as did Scotland, the next richest part of the country. The reviving cores of our large cities did likewise. But smaller towns and cities, the countryside and coastal places voted overwhelmingly to Leave, as did Wales.

In response, Boris Johnson recently set out his ambition to “level up” poorer areas in a fantastic speech in Manchester. It’s the right thing to do – and it makes political sense too. The 2017 election saw us losing ground in wealthier-but-Remainy areas, and gaining former Labour seats in the midlands (and north) which we’d never gained before. We have huge potential to win in seats where people have felt taken for granted and left behind for many decades.

The economic case for levelling up is clear too. There are no G20 countries which have a more regionally imbalanced economy than the UK and are also richer than the UK. Conversely, all large countries that are richer per head than the UK have a more balanced economy.

In other words, a more balanced economy is a stronger one. In a highly unbalanced economy, resources like land and infrastructure end up overloaded in some parts of the country, and under-used in others, which is costly and wasteful. Given that workers (particularly lower skilled people) don’t simply move away from their families in the face of local economic problems, having greater distances between unemployed workers and job opportunities may well compound problems matching people to job opportunities. There might even be compounding mechanisms: if some areas have high unemployment that can lock in patterns of worklessness.

But to bring about a more balanced economy, there are two big lessons that the Prime Minister must draw from previous successes and failures.

First, the crucial thing is to attract private sector employment – particularly jobs that are knowledge and investment-intensive. The work of academics like Enrico Moretti and think tanks like the Centre for Cities shows how gaining “brain jobs” in the private sector has a much bigger multiplier effect than just moving public sector jobs to an area.

Tax breaks for inward investment can be very effective in attracting in new investment, which is why most other countries offer them. Within the UK, probably our most successful ever regional intervention was Margaret Thatcher luring Nissan to Sunderland with a mix of investment tax breaks, lobbying and the offer of cheap land (an old airfield). It’s now one of the most successful plants in the world.

When people think about regeneration, they often start with plans for a new tram or shiny cultural facility, which tend to be popular, and can indeed help growth in areas that are already motoring along. But such investments aren’t going to do much for areas where the economic engine has rusted up and needs restarting. Detroit famously built a fancy monorail intended to fight its economic decline: but in a city where every factory was gone it remained largely unused, drifting through a city that looked like it had been bombed flat. Without private sector investment, there’s no demand for it or anything much else.

Second, different things work in different places and a different set of policies are needed for our towns than our city centres. During the 1970s and 1980s the “inner cities” were a byword for decline. But in recent decades capital cities and the centres of other larger cities have outperformed other areas, right across the world. The shift from a manufacturing to a professional services economy (plus the growth of universities) revived the centres of our cities.

There are still many problems to solve in our cities, but the places that have struggled the most in recent decades have been rural areas, smaller towns and cities, and the outer parts of large cities (even outer London). Places on the coast and places without a university have suffered particularly badly from a brain drain. Labour have tried to capitalise on their discontent with glossy ads like their film “our town”.

What to do for towns is even trickier than helping big cities grow. Though there are trendy small towns from Hebden Bridge to Hay-on-Wye, simply copying ideas from big cities, like “culture-led regeneration”, is often a recipe for failure in small towns.

Improving connections between city centres and towns might help – Tom Forth has highlighted just how bad we are at this in Britain. The Prime Minister’s new fund to help regenerate town centres is a good move and will make them more attractive. We should do things like re-examine funding historic funding formulas for government spending on science, transport and housing, which are still heavily geared towards supporting London and other areas that are already growing fast. And we should offer devolved economic powers to counties, not just big cities.
The more we can use free market mechanisms to help poorer towns, the more likely we are to succeed.

Looking at Britain as a whole, chronically low investment rates are a big part of our long-term productivity problem. We should cut taxes on business investment across the whole country, and make the UK’s capital allowances among the most generous in the world (at present they’re among the least).

But to level up poorer areas we should go further, and have even more generous tax breaks for investment there, where the problem of low investment and low productivity is most severe. We should also empower the Department for International Trade to take part in the same aggressive tax competition for inward investment that countries in Asia, the US, and our neighbours in Ireland do so successfully. And we should use those tools to encourage inward investment into poorer places.

More generous capital allowances would help lagging regions anyway, even if introduced across the board. While manufacturing accounted for around a quarter of productivity growth nationally since 1997, it provided 40–50 per cent of productivity growth in poorer regions like Wales, the West Midlands and North West. Manufacturing requires roughly twice as much capital investment as the rest of the economy, so an investment-hostile tax system hits poorer places harder.

Ever since the referendum, there’s rightly been renewed focus on how to help poorer places. Helpfully there is decades of evidence about what does and doesn’t work. If we can join up an energetic new Prime Minister with the bit between his teeth, plus a new agenda for left-behind places, then we can really get things moving.

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Biden 1992: My crime bill has so many death-penalty offenses, it does everything but hang people for jaywalking

Westlake Legal Group jb-3 Biden 1992: My crime bill has so many death-penalty offenses, it does everything but hang people for jaywalking The Blog punishment jaywalking death penalty crime capital biden 1992

It wasn’t the left but the RNC that dug up this golden oldie. Yesterday the media spent the day scolding Biden for being glib about “civility” from segregationists. They’re apt to spend tomorrow scolding him for being glib about executing people under a bill that’s already earned him the scorn of the left for its racial politics.

This primary’s going to be amazing. Maybe it’s time to short Uncle Joe’s stock:

GOP strategist Ward Baker on Thursday commented on a video of Biden refusing to apologize for comments touting his past ability to work with segregationist senators to get things done in the chamber. “By October he will be #3 in polls,” he tweeted. “Just give it time.”

“Agreed,” Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio responded, tagging Warren in the tweet, “and @ewarren will be leading.”

Not implausible. Meanwhile, I wonder if this clip explains Biden’s sudden apparent reversal on capital punishment. Surely his campaign was already aware of the video, no doubt having scoured the archives for comments by Biden (especially regarding the crime bill) that would eventually be unearthed and deemed “problematic.” For decades, working-class Joe from Scranton supported capital punishment, but a few weeks ago he seemed to have had a change of heart. I wonder why.

Fielding a question from a voter aligned with the American Civil Liberties Union about how he’d reduce the federal prison population, Biden gave a long and winding answer: He defended his crime bill, advocated for reforms to the criminal justice system involving nonviolent and drug offenders, and said he was proud of his work with President Barack Obama to cut the federal prison population by 3,800.

Then, unprompted, Biden added: “By the way, congratulations to ya’ll ending the death penalty here.”…

Biden spent decades voicing strong support for the death penalty, and was a force behind expanding the number of crimes that were subject to capital punishment. Even when he called for a moratorium on executions nearly two decades ago, Biden continued to back executions in principle, and stressed the timeout should be temporary.

Will Biden’s longstanding (but now suddenly shaky) support for the death penalty be added to the long list of Things That Didn’t Bother Liberals Between 2008 And 2016 But Do Now? Stay tuned.

In lieu of an exit question, go read the excerpt from an old newspaper article that some reporter dug up today in which Sen. Joe Biden referred to Jesse Jackson as “that boy.” It was in the course of paying him a compliment (“one of the brightest guys around”) and he used the same term to describe the extremely white Gary Hart, but we shouldn’t let basic intellectual integrity stop lefties from putting the boots to Uncle Joe in bad faith.

The post Biden 1992: My crime bill has so many death-penalty offenses, it does everything but hang people for jaywalking appeared first on Hot Air.

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