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Posts published in “Day: October 11, 2016”

The importance of Oregon’s SOS


Since Oregon became a State three Secretaries of State have ascended to Governor when the sitting Governor resigned (1877, 1909 and 2015).

We may be looking at another ascension of the Secretary of State to Governor if Hillary Clinton is elected President.

There’s been speculation in Salem that a President Clinton could tap Governor Kate Brown for a position in her administration. Brown seems a natural fit. She was an early supporter of Hillary. While most Democratic voters were favoring Sanders she came out as a Clinton super delegate.

Like Hillary Clinton, she is wonkish and policy driven. And like Bill Clinton she is one of the most affable and likable pols you will meet. You’ll find few Republicans who actually dislike the Governor. Both Hillary and Bill Clinton will appreciate this balance.

Her trajectory and ambition are similar to Hillary’s. From a USA today profile published the week after she became Governor, former Oregonian cartoonist and grade school classmate Jack Ohman described Brown:

She made friends easily, was an athlete in high school, made good grades and ran for student council, he (Ohman) said.

They met in seventh-grade math class, back when she sported a 'Nixon Now' button ….Brown was a smart, middle-class kid from a small town outside Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

Not exactly an ambitious middle class Illinois Goldwater girl, but close. She is an ideal candidate for a high ranking Clinton administration official.

The latest iCitizen poll showed Democrat Brad Avakian with 29%, Republican Dennis Richardson with 26% and 36% undecided. Should Richardson win, Brown may have to decide between a job in Washington DC with the administration of the first woman President, or staying in Oregon to assure Democratic dominance.

The Secretary of State candidates recognize this. They are already running as if they may be governor. A quote from Avakian as reported by the Bend Bulletin: “When folks evaluate who should be their next secretary of state, you should think in terms of that in case it were to happen,” Avakian said of the prospect. “Where do the candidates stand on other positions that you would like to see or not like to see as governor?”

Her decision on whether to accept a DC position could be influenced by the fate of Measure 97, the large tax increase on the November ballot.

Should M97 pass, then Legislative Democrats are going to be calling most of the financial shots in any event regardless of who the Governor is. Brown may feel Oregon Democratic priorities are safe.

However, should M97 fail, then a Republican Governor Richardson would veto any revenue increase or tax reforms that don’t include Republican priorities on issues such as PERS reforms.

Supporters of M97 need to prepare for potential downsides and mitigation should the measure lose. As of today, Avakian has $478,000 in his campaign chest while Richardson has $602,000. A pretty even money race.

What this means is that an ambitious and talented Governor Browns and the powerful backers of M97 (Public employee unions) have an intense interest in the outcome of the Secretary of State race.

While Richardson may have a money edge in his official campaign account, should the Secretary of State race remain tight and the Governors race against Dr. Pierce to remain safely Browns (she currently leads by 12 percentage points), voters can expect to be inundated with negative “independent expenditure” negative ads aimed at Richardson.

Because is the Secretary of State race isn’t just about Richardson v. Avakian. There’s much more at stake for our Governor and the public employee unions who fund the Democratic Party.

Trump 29: The end of due process


This is not the first time I've touched on the threat/promise by Donald Trump to, should he win the presidency, throw Hillary Clinton into prison. (See Trump 37, "Lock her up.") There, I pointed out the danger of getting into the practice of prosecuting and imprisoning one's political adversaries - this being something that tyrannies, not solid democracies, do. But this topic, revisited so forcefully in Sunday's town hall presidential debate, carries with it a second concern maybe even more frightening than the first.

At the debate, Trump said, “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation. Because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it. And we’re gonna have a special prosecutor.” Later, Trump said Clinton would have good reason to fear a Trump presidency “because you’d be in jail.”

Trump's campaign manager tried on Monday to call the jail comment "a quip". Sorry - these guys have long since run through their quota of trying to excuse dangerous and apalling comments by saying, "can't you take a joke?" Its nothing more than the stupid defense of a caught-out schoolyard bully.

Not only that, but about the same time Monday Trump running mate Mike Pence called that "one of the better moments" of the debate.

Besides that , as Politico reported: "When Trump spoke Monday in Pennsylvania, he clearly reiterated the special prosecutor pledge, but did not explicitly call for Clinton to be jailed. However, he did look on approvingly, smiling and pointing as his speech was interrupted with the chants about putting the Democratic nominee behind bars."

Most specifically, Trump was calling on prosecuting and imprisoning - convicted and sentenced without so much as a review of whatever evidence there may be - his political opponent for some unspecified offense (does it matter what it is? Apparently not). In other words, to hell with due process, and the 5th and 14th amendments to the Constitution.

In other words, throw the Constitution out the window: Trump has anointed himself judge, jury and executioner.

As of now, he's mentioned only Hillary Clinton as a target. But can you imagine it would stop there? Anyone who got in Trump's way, if he was able to get away with it (i.e., hire enough subservient underlings to do whatever garbage he wanted done), would be at imminent risk of arrest and punishment, which might range to . . . oh, hell, since Trump is already on record supporting torture "and much worse," there's really no limit to what he might do to you.

If you think that's hyperbolic, listen to some people - quoted in an article of Politico - not prone to great exaggeration: federal attorneys.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder warned, "he is promising to abuse the power of the office."

Peter Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor with experince in the George W. Bush White House (now at a private law firm), said “A special prosecutor is supposed to investigate and isn’t appointed to put people in jail. You’re kind of skipping over an important step there. Can you imagine being the defendant prosecuted after being told the prosecutor was someone who was appointed to put you in jail, that had already foreordained that result? ... It’s absurd and, if it were serious, it would be absolutely terrifying because it suggests there’s no due process.”

Politico noted, "Prosecutors said it would be a violation of legal ethics for an attorney general to accept such a direction, although they said it was less clear whether it would be outright illegal.
'It would be, at the very least, unethical, and it may be a violation of law,' Paul Charlton, who spent a decade as a federal prosecutor before serving as U.S. attorney for Arizona under President George W. Bush said. He also said anyone prosecuted in such a situation would have a strong argument that his or her constitutional rights to due process had been violated."

The rule of law, as imperfect as it may be, would be replaced by the rule of Trump. God help us all. - rs