You are browsing the archive for 2019 October 14.

Avatar of admin

by admin

There Are Way Too Many Prosecutors in the Federal Judiciary

October 14, 2019 in Economics

By Clark Neily

Clark Neily

It’s no secret that federal judges do not, by and large, look like the rest of us. They are whiter than average, more male, and more likely to have attended elite schools and worked at big law firms. But there’s another quirk of the judiciary that hasn’t gotten nearly the attention it deserves: the wild imbalance between judges who used to represent the government in court and judges who used to challenge the government in court.

,

According to conventional wisdom, the surest way to become a federal judge is to first be a prosecutor. But is that really true? Until now, no one had ever examined the professional background of every sitting federal judge to see whether former prosecutors are in fact overrepresented on the federal bench. So we at the Cato Institute did, and they are—massively. But our study didn’t just look at former prosecutors. We also broadened our scope to compare judges who served as courtroom advocates for the government in any capacity—criminal or civil—versus the judges who cut their teeth litigating against the government as public defenders, other criminal defense attorneys, and public interest lawyers.

Focusing just on former prosecutors versus former criminal defense attorneys (including but not limited to public defenders), the ratio on the federal bench is 4 to 1. Expanding the scope to include all former courtroom advocates for the government (but not other kinds of government lawyers, such as agency heads and general counsels), and comparing that to former public defenders, private criminal defense attorneys, and public interest lawyers, the ratio jumps to an astonishing 7 to 1. President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, many of whom are committed originalists and supporters of constitutionally limited government, reflect these same ratios.

What this means is that if you enter the federal legal system as an adversary of the government—including as a criminal defendant or a civil-rights plaintiff—the likelihood that the judge in your case will have previously served as an advocate for government is approximately 50-50. Meanwhile, the odds of drawing a judge who worked as a criminal defense attorney or public interest lawyer against the government (and never as a government advocate) are about 1 in 16. From the standpoint of someone whose liberty—or even life—hangs in the balance, those are suspicious and troubling odds.

Of course, the fact …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

China's Xi Jinping and North Korea's Kim Jong-Un, Frenemies at Best

October 14, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Shortly after presiding over a grand celebration of the 70th anniversary of the creation of the People’s Republic of China, President Xi Jinping is expected to receive North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. In June, Xi visited Pyongyang, the first trip to North Korea by a Chinese leader since Hu Jintao in 2005.

,

If this upcoming meeting occurs, it will be the two leaders’ sixth in two years. Many American policymakers take a cynical view of the latest North Korean-Chinese snuggle. Attitudes in Washington have been steadily hardening against the PRC. Even before President Donald Trump’s trade war, some officials and analysts viewed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as Beijing’s puppet. In their view, Chinese officials have turned North Korean provocations on and off at will.

In truth, the PRC’s influence is much less. The historical relationship between the two governments is fraught, with abundant competition, derision, and antagonism ever since the two opened diplomatic relations 70 years ago.

,

,

As Kim Il-sung’s regime teetered near defeat in late 1950, after the U.S. intervened in the Korean War, China entered to block an American victory. Beijing effectively took over the conflict, leaving Kim on the sidelines, a slight he never forgot. The DPRK never gave its larger neighbor credit for preventing an allied victory, even though hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers died, including Mao Zedong’s son, who is buried in North Korea. Today the Victorious Fatherland War Museum still largely ignores China’s role while glorifying Kim’s leadership.

Kim later consolidated power, balancing the U.S.S.R. and China. Along the way he wiped out the pro-PRC faction, much to Beijing’s annoyance. Mao Zedong also criticized Kim for turning a Communist state into a quasi-monarchy when the latter made his son, Kim Jong-il, his successor. Despite Chinese officials’ claims that the two nations’ relations are as close as lips and teeth, dissatisfaction long was evident on both sides. The Xi regime was irritated that after supporting …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Kurds and the Sticky Wicket of Foreign Entanglements

October 14, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

barrage of criticism from outraged congressional leaders and pundits greeted President Trump’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from northern Syria near the border with Turkey. The intensity and breadth of the denunciations increased when Ankara predictably responded to Washington’s move by launching a military offensive into Kurdish-controlled territory.

,

Now, not only is there heavy fighting in Northern Syria, but the Kurds have reportedly struck a deal with Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government for protection, and as of Monday, his forces have moved to the border to bolster the military resistance to Turkey’s advancement. 

Washington was in an uproar all weekend. According to the prevailing argument, Trump betrayed a noble ally that had fought alongside the United States in the successful campaign against ISIS, and now no one will ever again trust the United States if Washington seeks assistance against a dangerous adversary. The fact that the Kurds have turned to Assad (a stated foe of the U.S. backed by the Russians) only makes Trump’s seemingly impulsive move more dangerous.

,

,

The implicit message is that the American military presence in Syria should continue indefinitely, lest the Kurds suffer a bloody aftermath at the hands of the Turks and their many other enemies in the region.

Such criticisms are misplaced. In his Farewell Address, George Washington made the vital distinction between temporary alliances, which he acknowledged could sometimes benefit America’s security, and permanent alliances, which create undesirable, potentially corrosive obligations. Washington’s admonition was blunt, urging his fellow citizens “to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” Even his receptivity to temporary alliances was not unconditional. He indicated that America could safely trust temporary alliances only “for extraordinary emergencies.” 

The ongoing episode with the Syrian Kurds provides an opportunity to re-learn such crucial distinctions. Trump’s critics seem to be advocating a permanent security relationship with the Kurds over a situation that does not even remotely constitute an extraordinary emergency for the United States.

Cooperation between U.S. and …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Whistleblowing in Washington: Lessons Learned and Unlearned

October 14, 2019 in Economics

By Patrick G. Eddington

Patrick G. Eddington

In light of the attention focused on two anonymous whistleblowers who have accused President Donald Trump of shaking down the government of Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political rivals, people often ask what makes someone willing to risk their career and endure skepticism or even ridicule from co-workers to expose government wrongdoing? Such tortuous odysseys often take years and may, or may not, solve the problem the whistleblower seeks to expose. The fact is, there are several steps Congress could take to ease this fraught path to accountability.

,

In describing some of the common characteristics of famous whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg, journalist Tom Mueller writes in his new book, Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud, “The ability of all these men to act was enhanced by a certain independence of character, a lack of awe of authority often accompanied by a sarcastic sense of humor, a sense of options in their lives beyond their specific career, a relatively modest need for approval from their peers, and a confidence that they could act independently and effect real change with their acts.”  (p. 131, Penguin Publishing Group, Kindle Edition). In my case, you can add a few more: rage and relentless determination.

The 1991 Persian Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm, was my war, fought from a distance. Even though I was an Army Reservist at the time, my day job as a CIA military imagery analyst guaranteed that, instead of being shipped to the battlefront, I would be reporting on Iraqi military moves from the safety of a fence-secured compound in the satellite imagery equivalent of CNN Headline News.

I knew what I and my colleagues were doing was important, but even so I felt guilty about my good fortune at not being called up. My grandfather had fought in France under Pershing in World War I. My father had served in the Pacific Theater in World War II. My brother served aboard an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War. My veteran cohort deployed to Saudi Arabia as I and my colleagues were writing reports indicating that Saddam had likely moved chemical weapons into the Kuwait Theater of Operations.

Once the war started, a stream of reports from the theater seemed to indicate that chemical weapons had been detected, …read more

Source: OP-EDS