Contact Me By Email

Contact Me By Email

Atlanta, GA Weather from Weather Underground

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Trump’s Volk und Vaterland - The New York Times





“This, in fact, is our new American moment,” President Trump declared in his State of the Union speech. “There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.”



But which American Dream? Trump portrayed a dark and menacing world in which immigrants, who stand at the heart of the American idea, were equated with gangs, murderous criminals and “horrible people.”



In his 80-minute speech, the word “woman” did not come up once. Other words or phrases never mentioned included “peace,” “human rights,” “equality,” “Europe,” “multilateral,” “civil rights” and “alliance.” The Constitution flitted onto Trump’s radar chiefly in the context of appointing his kind of judges.



If there was a theme, it was the demonization of immigrants and of the rest of the world, combined with an exaltation of American might. He spoke of building a “Great Wall” on the Mexican border, but it may as well have been against the rest of humanity. Trump once again put the world on notice that the rules-based, post-1945 world order founded on alliances like NATO and American-backed multilateral organizations is one he would rather shred than bolster.



Of course, the world has learned that this president’s bark is worse than his bite. Still, he keeps on barking. That is not reassuring.



Continue reading the main story

In perhaps his clearest signal of contempt for the views of allies, Trump announced that he had signed an executive order revoking President Barack Obama’s January 2009 order to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. Trump’s order directs that “the United States may transport additional detainees to U.S. Naval Station Guantánamo Bay when lawful and necessary to protect the nation.”



Guantánamo, where detainees may be held indefinitely as “enemy combatants,” is widely viewed around the world as a facility incompatible with the American principles of fair trial, human rights and the rule of law.



Obama never managed to close it, even though this was his intent. Still, Trump’s decision to reinvigorate the facility will be seen by many as a signal of an American return to the excesses of the war on terror — the use of torture, extraordinary renditions and C.I.A. “black sites.”



Admiral Dennis Blair, the former Director of National Intelligence, once said that the “detention center at Guantánamo has become a damaging symbol to the world and that it must be closed. It is a rallying cry for terrorist recruitment and harmful to our national security, so closing it is important for our national security.”



Trump spoke of American grit, of “total American resolve,” of American heart and American hands, whipping his audience into chants of “USA! USA! USA!” Trump’s America is, in the end, a reflection of himself: male, militaristic, white, mean and macho.



He made a gesture here and there — backing paid family leave and saying he would let immigrants brought to the United States as children stay and become citizens over a 12-year period — but his core message was nationalistic, nativist, harsh and defiant.



This was “Volk und Vaterland” in American guise, stamped with his speechwriter’s clunky and cliché-ridden prose: “If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it.”



And if there’s a border, we build a wall. And if there’s a chance to display bigotry, we seize it.



Russia was the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Trump barely mentioned it, even as the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election gathers pace. This was consistent with Trump’s year-old policy toward President Vladimir Putin of Russia: He has none because to have one would be too risky.



The military was “great.” America’s nuclear arsenal was to be modernized, if “hopefully” not used. Federal workers deemed to be disloyal were to be summarily fired. Gun control, of course, was a non-subject. This is the America that Trump imagines he is making great again.



As for immigrants, the president had not a kind word. You would not guess from Trump’s words that a Cato Institute study of refugees admitted to the United States between 1975 and 2015 found that the chance of an American being killed in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion. Nor that of the companies that made the Fortune 500 list in 2017, 43 percent were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, according to research from the Center for American Entrepreneurship.



Trump is not interested in hope, any more than he is interested in facts. He said, “the era of economic surrender is over.” So much “surrender” that Trump, a year ago, took over a strong economy with low unemployment.



In the place of hope, Trump needs fear, a lot of it, to build the cult of his personality. His so-called American Dream is made up of the nightmares he imagines and that now hang over the world."



Trump’s Volk und Vaterland - The New York Times

Trump’s Long, Low-Energy SOTU Changed Nothing. The White House promised a speech calling for unity. Instead we got nativism, jingoism, and gibberish. | The Nation

trump-sotu-2018-rtr-img



"What the hell was that?



I’ve lived through many moments of American political fakery, but Donald Trump’s first official State of the Union address made them look like genuine world-shifting events. Hours before the speech, his administration and Pundit Nation promised us the theme would be “unity.” Instead, we got nativism and jingoism, gibberish, heavy breathing, and appeals to divisions of every imaginable sort. Near the end, Trump got the now-docile Republicans in his audience to jump to their feet chanting “USA, USA,” like sports fans after too many beers.



There was even a direct appeal to drunk white sports fans: Trump took a moment to trash the black athletes who take a knee during the national anthem, by first praising a young white boy who makes a practice of planting American flags on veterans’ graves. “Preston’s reverence for those who have served our nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the national anthem,” Trump intoned. Republicans in the audience thrilled to the message, as did his base at home.



But to the extent that there were any soaring moments (nope) or successful arguments (yes for his base, maybe for the pundits), they will be forgotten within days, more likely hours, against the backdrop of the crisis of democracy that got more dangerous just in the last 36 hours. On Monday, the Trump administration ousted FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe over his role in the bureau’s investigation into Russian election meddling as well as its 2016 Hillary Clinton e-mail probe. The same day, Representative Devin Nunes and the GOP majority on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo attempting to discredit the Russia investigation, and at the same time suppressed the Democratic response to the memo. While almost no one paid attention, the White House announced that it would not extend the sanctions against Russia for that election meddling, passed by Congress last year with overwhelmingly bipartisan support.



Thus did the Dreamers, who Trump purports to want to keep in the country, get entwined with the violent MS-13, as Trump talked about one, and then the other, and then went back to MS-13 again. Trump claims he wants a DACA deal, but he used SOTU to demand that it include an end to the “diversity visa lottery” and “chain migration.” The visa lottery, he said, “randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit or the safety of the American people.” He blamed “chain migration” for what he called two “recent” terror attacks on New York City. I believe he was talking about the driver who ran down bicyclists along the West Side Highway in October and the man who tried and failed to set off a suicide bomb in the Port Authority in early December. He never sent thoughts or prayers to the New Yorkers who endured those attacks, but on Tuesday night he used them to attack immigrants, who made this city (and country) what it is. So we see him...
Trump’s Long, Low-Energy SOTU Changed Nothing | The Nation

Sunday, January 28, 2018

I have always spoken of the inherent racism, homophobia and misogyny that has been the core of the evangelical movement. So many people of color have been duped by this bigotry and actually believe that they have been following the teachings of Jesus to join a devilish brand of Christianity. A

(

 

Via.). AM Joy on MSNBC

Doing the right thing, boycotting this blatantly racist President's "The State Of The Union". Where are the rest? #ResistanceIsNotFutile

Screen Shot 2018 01 28 at 7 25 12 PM

United We Dream (#DreamActNow: 478-488-8059) Verified account @UNITEDWEDREAM 2h2 hours ago More Manuel was dragged into a detention camp and was separated from his family. With Dream Act, he would be safe with his family today. Tell Congress: We need a #DreamActNow! Delay = Deportations.

Justice Ginsburg to skip State of the Union, signals she has no plans to retire | YES!

"Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will not be attending President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday.



Instead, she will be at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, for a talk that was announced in August, the Providence Journal reported.



Ginsburg, 84, also has sent signals recently that she intends to keep her seat on the bench for years to come.



When asked how long she intends to serve, she said she will stay as long as she can go “full steam,” drawing inspiration from her model, Justice John Paul Stevens, who stepped down in 2010 at age 90.



This year marks the 25th anniversary of Ginsburg's nomination by President Bill Clinton and her confirmation as the second woman on the court -- following former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.



“She is so spry,” said friend Ann Claire Williams, a newly retired federal appeals court judge, adding that Ginsburg’s mind is also sharp and her recall on cases “extraordinary.”



The eldest Supreme Court justice has produced two of the court’s four signed opinions so far this term. She’s even hired law clerks to take her through June 2020, just months before the next presidential election.



Ginsburg also did not attend last year’s presidential address, after attending to all eight of former President Barack Obama’s addresses, the Hill reported. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas also didn’t attend President Trump’s address last year.



Other justices have skipped out on the annual address, so the practice is not abnormal, the report said."



Justice Ginsburg to skip State of the Union, signals she has no plans to retire | Fox News

Presidential election is another example of ‘involuntary sacrifice’ of black people   





"Compromise, inherently, begets sacrifice. I believe these sacrifices, throughout this country’s history, have caused nonwhites the most suffering. Law professor Derrick A. Bell termed this phenomenon involuntary sacrifice, meaning a sacrifice against one’s will. And when whites disproportionately voted for a candidate who frightened the overwhelming majority of nonwhites, they sacrificed us against our will. Yet again."



Presidential election is another example of ‘involuntary sacrifice’ of black people   

Schumer’s to-do list: Fix DACA, win the Senate, manage Trump - The Washington Post - What some liberal Democrats stubbornly and arrogantly refuse to acknowledge is that Schumer and the Senate Democrats decided to involuntarily sacrifice the Dreamers over their desire to protect conservative Democrats in the coming 2018 election cycle.





What some liberal Democrats stubbornly and arrogantly refuse to acknowledge is that Schumer and the Senate Democrats decided to involuntarily sacrifice the Dreamers over their desire to protect conservative Democrats in the coming 2018 election cycle.  This immoral choice must have consequences.  Democrats can't win any national legislative body without Black and Brown votes.  It is time for us to voluntarily make a sacrifice.  If there is no deal on DACA people of color must engage in "A Day of Absence" on election day November 6, 2018.  We must stop voting for people who when the chips are down bail on us.  There will be a short term loss but we will have put fear in the heart of Democrats by letting them know they cannot take our votes for granted.   "Schumer’s gamble, at the moment, is that failure to secure protections for dreamers will fall on Republicans — and that Trump-state Democrats will be able to survive by tacking away from the more liberal wing of the party on immigration and other issues.



At the center of Schumer’s challenges is his relationship with Trump, perhaps the most intriguing cross-party bond in Washington. While Schumer blames Trump for the impasse, much of the public sees it differently, squarely blaming Democrats for the shutdown. For some, the burden is now on Schumer to find a way forward.



The two New Yorkers, who both trace their roots to the outer boroughs of New York City, have quietly built a rapport over the last year, even as they clashed in public over the major policy fights. “I like him!” Trump exclaimed, in an impromptu gaggle with the reporters after the shutdown. “I like Schumer!”



The immigration fight has deepened a divide between the two men. While flying back from Switzerland Friday, Trump returned to name-calling, blaming Schumer for the dwindling chances of replacing the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump ended last year.



“DACA has been made increasingly difficult by the fact that Cryin’ Chuck Schumer took such a beating over the shutdown that he is unable to act on immigration!” Trump tweeted.



It’s true that Democrats’ short-lived resolve over the shutdown undermined a key point of leverage they had promised to use for months: To refuse any agreement on a future budget with Republicans unless protections were included for the roughly 1.8 million dreamers brought to the country illegally by their parents.



After he agreed to reopen the government last week, Schumer admitted that any prolonged shutdown would likely work against Democratic interests, lowering the odds of it being used again. “You’ve got to be strategic and if things went too long, yeah, people might have turned against the dreamers,” Schumer said of the shutdown.



House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who, like Schumer, continues to link negotiations on the budget with a deal for dreamers, voted against reopening the government following the shutdown..."



Schumer’s to-do list: Fix DACA, win the Senate, manage Trump - The Washington Post

Weekend Update on End of Government Shutdown - SNL

George W. Bush Returns Cold Open - SNL

How Wobbly Is Our Democracy? - The New York Times





"... As political scientists have shown, the roots of today’s polarization are racial and cultural. Whereas 50 years ago both parties were overwhelmingly white and equally religious, advances in civil rights, decades of immigration and the migration of religious conservatives to the Republican Party have given rise to two fundamentally different parties: one that is ethnically diverse and increasingly secular and one that is overwhelmingly white and predominantly Christian.



White Christians are not just any group: They are a once-dominant majority in decline. When a dominant group’s social status is threatened, racial and cultural differences can be perceived as existential and irreconcilable. The resulting polarization preceded (indeed, made possible) the Trump presidency, and it is likely to persist after it.



Extreme partisan polarization had already begun to eviscerate our democratic norms long before Mr. Trump’s election. By the time of Barack Obama’s presidency, many Republicans had abandoned mutual toleration. Prominent Republicans attacked Mr. Obama and the Democrats as anti-American. And of course, in 2016, the Republican Party nominated for president a man who questioned Mr. Obama’s citizenship and insisted that his rival was a criminal.



Polarization also encouraged politicians to abandon forbearance, beginning with the Gingrich-era government shutdowns and the partisan impeachment of Bill Clinton. Other examples include proliferating filibuster use, congressional refusal to raise the debt limit and President Obama’s use of executive actions to bypass Congress.



Perhaps the most consequential was the Senate’s refusal to take up Mr. Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Since 1866, every time a president had an opportunity to fill a vacancy before the election of his successor, he was allowed to do so (though not always on the first try). The Senate’s refusal to even consider an Obama nominee violated a 150-year-old norm..."



How Wobbly Is Our Democracy? - The New York Times

Neil deGrasse Tyson - Truth In The Trump Era

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The 4 Most Shocking Proposals in the White House Immigration Plan | The Nation

NewImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The White House dropped a one-page summary of its DACA deal proposal on Thursday night. In its starting bid, the White House has offered to put 1.8 million undocumented young people on a decade-long path to legalization. That’s a dramatic expansion, considering that just 700,000 young people are enrolled in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a short-term deportation deferral program for young undocumented immigrants. The proposed plan would allow all those who were eligible, even if they did not apply for the program, to achieve legal status if they clear education, work, and criminal-background requirements.

The White House has described the plan as “extremely generous,” but DACA is where the generosity ends. From there, the plan, which the White House also called “non-negotiable,” The New York Times reported, goes much further than just sorting out how to protect undocumented young people. It also calls for a massive rewrite of the US immigration system, slashing the primary avenues for legal immigration, promising a ratcheting up of deportation mechanisms against undocumented immigrants, and pledging tens of billions of dollars for more border enforcement.
In a way, there is little surprise: Over a year ago Trump backed the RAISE Act, authored by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), which outlined very similar reductions to the legal immigration system. In his televised bipartisan meeting just weeks ago, the gathered members of Congress seemed to agree that any potential plan would take up the very issues that the White House has decided to reexamine. But these policy directions attack bedrock principles of the US immigration system stretching back not just 50 years, to the last rewrite of the immigration system, but to the very start of immigration policy–making in this country.

Many high-profile Dreamers, as DACA beneficiaries are often called, have already slammed the plan. “Let’s call this proposal for what it is: a white-supremacist ransom note,” said Greisa Martinez Rosas, advocacy director with the national immigrant-youth network United We Dream. Undocumented youth who stand to benefit will not accept this deal, she said. “They have taken immigrant youth hostage, pitting us against our own parents, black immigrants, and our communities in exchange for our dignity.”
Still, the plan forms what the White House hopes will be the starting point for negotiations going forward. Here now are four of the most troubling and extreme policy proposals in the White House plan:
1) Drastically cuts family immigration, the top driver of legal immigration into the United States
When it comes to the legal immigration system, there are, with very small exceptions, two ways to immigrate to this country: You either need to be the family member of a citizen or legal permanent resident, or you need to be well-educated and highly skilled enough to qualify for an employment visa.
Current Issue
View our current issueUnder the White House plan, citizens and legal permanent residents would only be able to sponsor their children under the age of 18 or spouses. Family reunification is such a crucial part of the immigration system that some expect this move would reduce the numbers of people who enter the country by half.
Currently, a citizen may sponsor their spouse, unmarried minor kids, adult children, parents, and siblings. Legal permanent residents may sponsor their spouses, minor kids, and adult children. But within these categories there are preferences, and while the United States caps the numbers of family visas it hands out every year at roughly a quarter of a million, there are some high-preference categories that are not subject to these caps, so every year half a million green cards are handed out just on the basis of family ties alone.
This plan would slash these categories dramatically so that citizens and legal permanent residents would only be able to sponsor their spouses and minor children.

The White House dropped a one-page summary of its DACA deal proposal on Thursday night. In its starting bid, the White House has offered to put 1.8 million undocumented young people on a decade-long path to legalization. That’s a dramatic expansion, considering that just 700,000 young people are enrolled in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a short-term deportation deferral program for young undocumented immigrants. The proposed plan would allow all those who were eligible, even if they did not apply for the program, to achieve legal status if they clear education, work, and criminal-background requirements.

The White House has described the plan as “extremely generous,” but DACA is where the generosity ends. From there, the plan, which the White House also called “non-negotiable,” The New York Times reported, goes much further than just sorting out how to protect undocumented young people. It also calls for a massive rewrite of the US immigration system, slashing the primary avenues for legal immigration, promising a ratcheting up of deportation mechanisms against undocumented immigrants, and pledging tens of billions of dollars for more border enforcement.
In a way, there is little surprise: Over a year ago Trump backed the RAISE Act, authored by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), which outlined very similar reductions to the legal immigration system. In his televised bipartisan meeting just weeks ago, the gathered members of Congress seemed to agree that any potential plan would take up the very issues that the White House has decided to reexamine. But these policy directions attack bedrock principles of the US immigration system stretching back not just 50 years, to the last rewrite of the immigration system, but to the very start of immigration policy–making in this country.

Many high-profile Dreamers, as DACA beneficiaries are often called, have already slammed the plan. “Let’s call this proposal for what it is: a white-supremacist ransom note,” said Greisa Martinez Rosas, advocacy director with the national immigrant-youth network United We Dream. Undocumented youth who stand to benefit will not accept this deal, she said. “They have taken immigrant youth hostage, pitting us against our own parents, black immigrants, and our communities in exchange for our dignity.”
Still, the plan forms what the White House hopes will be the starting point for negotiations going forward. Here now are four of the most troubling and extreme policy proposals in the White House plan:

1) Drastically cuts family immigration, the top driver of legal immigration into the United States
When it comes to the legal immigration system, there are, with very small exceptions, two ways to immigrate to this country: You either need to be the family member of a citizen or legal permanent resident, or you need to be well-educated and highly skilled enough to qualify for an employment visa.

Under the White House plan, citizens and legal permanent residents would only be able to sponsor their children under the age of 18 or spouses. Family reunification is such a crucial part of the immigration system that some expect this move would reduce the numbers of people who enter the country by half.

Currently, a citizen may sponsor their spouse, unmarried minor kids, adult children, parents, and siblings. Legal permanent residents may sponsor their spouses, minor kids, and adult children. But within these categories there are preferences, and while the United States caps the numbers of family visas it hands out every year at roughly a quarter of a million, there are some high-preference categories that are not subject to these caps, so every year half a million green cards are handed out just on the basis of family ties alone.
This plan would slash these categories dramatically so that citizens and legal permanent residents would only be able to sponsor their spouses and minor children.

The laws governing the current system have been in place for the last half century, but the rights of people to sponsor their adult children stretch back far before the Hart-Celler Act of 1965, which created this immigration system to give preference to people’s close family relationships.
Family reunification is important for other reasons. By privileging people’s familial relationships, the 1965 overhaul replaced one stretching back to the 1880s that relied on racial quotas and outright racial exclusion. The new laws enabled people from Latin America and Asia, the Middle East, and, to a lesser extent, from Africa, to immigrate to this country. Pre-1965, the bulk of the immigrants to the United States were from Europe and Canada. Just 15 years after the passage of Hart Celler, 80 percent of people coming here were from non-Western regions.
Here is the secret to understanding this plan. It’s less about addressing the actual problems that exist within the immigration system than it is toward engineering a less-brown demographic future. Unfortunately for Trump, the demographic shifts underway in the country may be slowed, but not stopped. As it stands, every month some 66,000 Latinos in the United States turn 18, and Asians are the fastest growing segment of the US population.

2) Eliminate the Visa Lottery

The US immigration system is racially neutral only on its face. Every country in the world is technically subject to the same per-country cap as every other country. But because of the strict requirements for entering the country—again, you either need to have a close family member or be well-educated—and uneven demand to migrate, the current immigration system is weighted toward people from certain countries. (Visas for people from Luxembourg are subject to the same per-country caps as immigrants from Bangladesh, for example.)
Enter the visa lottery, which allocates 50,000 visas toward an actual game of pure chance. Only those from countries that do not send the most immigrants to the United States may enter. While people who win must clear exactly the same hurdles as other prospective immigrants—passing background checks and medical exams—it’s the most straightforward route to enter the country, and because of this, demand for it is high. In 2017, some 20 million people around the world entered the lottery. Because of the way the rest of the immigration system is structured, immigrants from Africa have become the primary beneficiaries of the visa lottery system.
The White House plan would eliminate the program, and the 50,000 visas would be sent to deal with the current visa backlog. The program, according to the White House, “does not serve the national interest.” The visa lottery certainly doesn’t if the goal is to create a white ethno-state.

3) $25 billion for a border wall.


This number, pulled seemingly from thin air, is a bloated increase from the $18 billion the White House called for just at the start of the year. The one-page plan provides no reasoning for the $7 billion increase, and while prototypes exist, plans for the wall are so hard to pin down, it’s hard at this time to know how exactly this giant pile of money would be used.

4) Expediting deportation for people who overstay their visas.


Sure, the plan calls for $25 billion for a wall. But this one-line provision tucked near the end of this policy wish list is shocking. “Deter visa overstays with expedited removal,” the plan says succinctly.
Among the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the United States, it’s now more common for people to be undocumented by overstaying their visas than by crossing into the country illegally. The reality is quite unlike the picture that Donald Trump paints of hordes of border crossers streaming in through the southern border. According to a 2017 report, two-thirds of the people who became undocumented in 2014 first came here through legal channels. As the administration ratchets up border enforcement, this number will likely continue to rise.
This plan would strip all those people, if caught by the federal government, of their right to a deportation hearing before a judge. Under this plan, once apprehended, a visa overstayer would be processed immediately for removal from the country, no matter their circumstances or eligibility for other forms of relief. This provision would flat-out deny most undocumented immigrants any due process.
So there you have it. The starting place for a deal billed as a “DACA fix” does fix DACA but also attempts to rewrite most of the rest of the immigration code.

The 4 Most Shocking Proposals in the White House Immigration Plan | The Nation: ""

Paul Ryan promised Dreamer she wouldn't be deported, now her... A year ago, Paul Ryan told Dreamer Angelica Villalobos that she didn't have to worry about deportation forces throwing her out of the country. She joins Lawrence O'Donnell to discuss her family's uncertain future. - The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC



The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC

Pelosi Calls Trump's Immigration Proposal a 'Campaign to Make America Wh...

Friday, January 26, 2018

Trump’s Efforts to Oust Mueller Show the ‘Cancer’ on This Presidency - The New York Times

NewImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Thursday’s report in The Times that President Trump ordered the firing of the special counsel Robert Mueller last June, only to back off after the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, threatened to resign, is explosive on many levels.

On the surface, the revelation is one more piece of damning evidence in the now-overwhelming case of obstruction of justice that Mr. Mueller has assembled. The core of the case — the Feb. 14 meeting in which Mr. Trump asked the director of the F.B.I., James Comey, to drop the investigation against the national security adviser, Michael Flynn; Mr. Trump’s subsequent sacking of Mr. Comey; and Mr. Trump’s serial lies about Mr. Comey’s firing — has long been solid. And Mr. Mueller has added significant pieces of circumstantial evidence, such as Mr. Trump’s apparent knowledge that Mr. Flynn had lied to the F.B.I. when he buttonholed Mr. Comey.

Thursday’s revelation seals the deal. The president’s attempted ouster of Mr. Mueller seems plainly to have been intended to squelch Mr. Mueller’s investigation. Moreover, Mr. Trump’s attempts to conceal the obvious with a rank, virtually comical explanation provide additional evidence of guilty intent. Mr. Mueller, the president argued, could not serve because, years before, he had resigned his membership at the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia because of a dispute over fees; or he needed to be fired because he had worked at the law firm that previously represented Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Why strain to concoct such feeble rationales unless the truth is indefensible?

Then there is the provocative point that Mr. Trump’s efforts were parried by the threat to resign of his own White House counsel, Mr. McGahn. White House counsels are not in the habit of bucking their bosses that way; it’s an extraordinarily rare event.

Mr. McGahn obviously feared at least a political firestorm. Yet if that was all he feared, one would expect him to have saluted and carried out the president’s orders. Concerns about politics aren’t a hallmark of Mr. McGahn’s tenure, to say the least. The threat to resign carries with it the possible implication that he saw more: a crime, even a continuing conspiracy, that he wanted to distance both Mr. Trump and himself from.

Continue reading the main story RELATED COVERAGE graphic Why Does President Trump Fear the Truth? JAN. 26, 2018 RECENT COMMENTS Taz 6 hours ago All hell will break loose the day that Mueller announces an obstruction charge against Trump. We'll be tossed headlong into overlapping...

MK 6 hours ago Roy Cohn is laughing in whatever hell there might be. The current crop of lawyers know that Trump would turn on them in a nano second, and...

M 6 hours ago He looses law suits, bankrupts businesses, but screams from the tallest building that he won, that he breathes success. Along comes reality...

That sort of intervention is consistent with more principled motives and a desire to save Mr. Trump not only from himself but also from despoiling the presidency (which the White House counsel in fact represents). It’s also consistent with the Washington tradition of self-serving conduct with an eye toward ensuring that you don’t go down with the ship. Perhaps in this case it was both.

Newsletter Sign UpContinue reading the main story Sign Up for the Opinion Today Newsletter Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world."

(Via.).  Trump’s Efforts to Oust Mueller Show the ‘Cancer’ on This Presidency - The New York Times: "

What Republicans mean when they say ‘chain migration’ - A code word for racism


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit - The New York Times





Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit - The New York Times

John Kelly, Deacon of Deportation - The New York Times - Kelly is from racist Boston, from the era of racist violence in opposition to school integration. His racist opposition to DACA and dreamers is no surprise. It is the way he was raised just like Trump.



Kelly is from racist Boston, from the era of racist violence in opposition to school integration.  His racist opposition to DACA and dreamers is no surprise.  It is the way he was raised just like Trump.


"People correctly direct their ire about Donald Trump’s hostile, racist, anti-immigrant policies at Trump himself because, after all, this starts at the top.

But there is someone else in the administration, behind the scenes and in the shadows, who deserves more scrutiny and more condemnation for this administration’s approach to immigration: Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Kelly is often referred to as the man who was brought to the West Wing to impose must-needed discipline on a chaotic White House. He was the access granter and mood regulator for Trump. He was the adult to Trump’s child. He was the former general who had honorably served his country, now brought in to save it.

In the most recent kerfuffle over Trump’s torpedoing of a bipartisan DACA deal, in which he made a racist attack against immigrants from African countries and Haiti, it became increasingly clear that Kelly was instrumental in influencing Trump to flip from a stance of openness and compromise back to a celestial alignment with immigration hard-liners.

As The Associated Press reported this week, after Trump requested a briefing on a bipartisan immigration deal sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Dick Durbin, a Democrat:

“Chief of staff John Kelly phoned Trump from Capitol Hill to advise him against accepting the proposal, and the president summoned conservative Republican negotiators to help build a united front against the plan, which would have provided some border security funding as well as protection from deportation for immigrants brought to the country as children and now here illegally.”

Graham was not happy about the ambush or the reversal and pointed out who he believed to be the source of the problem, telling reporters, “I think somebody on his staff gave him really bad advice between 10 o’clock to 12 o’clock on Thursday.” Graham went on to say that Kelly is “a fine man, but he’s part of the staff.”

Actually, Kelly is following the Kelly-Trump immigration doctrine.

This was just the latest incident in Kelly’s revealing track record on immigration since Trump has been in office.

Kelly is no angel. He’s more like the devil’s handmaiden. As The Times’s Glenn Thrush reported in October, Kelly seems to be “moving from the role of quiet backstage manager to open partisan.”

His hostility toward immigration has been evident from the beginning of his time in the administration.

When Kelly was brought on as chief of staff in July, The Nation warned, “John Kelly’s promotion is a disaster for immigrants,” pointing out that in just six months as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, he turned it into “a deportation machine.”

The Nation went on:

“Indeed, in the last six months, Kelly has turned the DHS into one of the most productive arms of the Trump administration. Kelly managed to translate much of Trump’s brazen anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric into actual policy. And if the numbers are any indication, Kelly has certainly flourished. Arrests since Trump took office in February increased by 40 percent over the prior year. But perhaps more important than the numbers is Kelly’s impact on immigrant communities, where apprehension and fear now reign.”

While at the D.H.S., Kelly even considered separating immigrant parents from their accompanying children if they enter the country illegally. As The Times reported:

“Still, the prospect of breaking a sacred bond between parent and child has not been an easy decision. Mr. Kelly said early this year that he was considering the move, but after an uproar from immigrant advocates and some members of Congress, he said that families would be separated only in extreme circumstances, such as when the child was in danger because of the parent.”

One of Kelly’s primary targets has been the Temporary Protected Status program.

As The Times has reported: “The protection for Haitians was most recently extended in May, by John F. Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary at the time. He allowed only a six-month extension, a shorter one than is typical, saying that the Haitians ‘need to start thinking about returning.’”

The Times also reported that in November, Kelly “unsuccessfully tried to pressure the Homeland Security Department to end a program that allows hundreds of thousands of people from countries affected by natural disasters or violence to live in the United States without fear of being deported, according to people familiar with the discussions.”

Many of those countries have populations that are either black or brown. Those were the countries Trump vulgarly disparaged. So why are Trump and Kelly so dogged in their opposition to these particular programs?

I, along with many others, have pointed out Trump’s obvious racism, but Kelly’s relationship to race is also troubling.

In October, Kelly said that “Robert E. Lee was an honorable man” and that “the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War,” displaying a staggering ignorance about the conflict and a racial insensitivity that marginalized the centrality of slavery to the war.

Furthermore, while at D.H.S., Kelly appointed the Rev. Jamie Johnson to lead the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. It was later disclosed that in 2008 Johnson had said on a radio show that black people were anti-Semitic because they were envious of Jewish people. Johnson also said America’s black community “had turned America’s major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity.”

I am no fan of John Kelly. As I have said before, I think he is one of the most dangerous men in America. On this issue of Trump’s racist immigration and deportation policy, he is not only complicit, he is a co-conspirator."

John Kelly, Deacon of Deportation - The New York Times

Soul of a Nation - The New York Times





"The past few days have seen a flurry of news about the Robert Mueller investigation: who has been interviewed (Attorney General Jeff Sessions), whom Mueller plans to interview shortly (Donald Trump) and the seeming focus of Mueller’s inquiry (obstruction of justice).



Concurrently, Trump and his allies have continued to attack the credibility and authority of the F.B.I. and the media, attempting to pre-emptively discredit any charges Mueller may file and any finding he may make public, as well as the media that would herald those charges and findings.



Furthermore, Trump constantly says that there was no collusion with the Russians because, as I am sure he has been told by his attorneys, collusion is not a crime and therefore would not be one of Mueller’s charges. And the Republican-led inquiries in the House and Senate would move heaven and earth to prevent an affirmation of collusion from being included in a final report.



This will encourage the Trump team to more forcefully make this argument: They looked for collusion and didn’t find it, so they fished around, on a politically motivated mission, to find anything they could.



This would be a twist of the truth, but that is par for the course in these times, with this administration.



It is clear from what we already know that there was an appetite in the Trump camp to accept whatever help they could get from the Russians. It is clear that there were a disturbing number of undisclosed meetings with Russians. It is clear that there are some incredibly curious coincidences of timing between activities by the Russians and activities by the campaign.



We know that Trump has always hated the F.B.I. investigation into Russian activities in the election. We know that people in the Trump campaign lied to the F.B.I. We know that Trump himself said that the Russia investigation was on his mind when he fired the F.B.I. director James Comey. We know that he is furious at Sessions for recusing himself from the matter, thereby paving the way for the appointment of Mueller.



We know that Trump also hated the acting F.B.I. director Andrew McCabe, and The Washington Post reported this week that shortly after Trump fired Comey, he summoned McCabe to the Oval Office. He asked McCabe for whom he had voted in the 2016 election and then dressed him down about money his wife (who ran for office in Virginia as a Democrat) received from “a political action committee controlled by a close friend of Hillary Clinton.”



The list goes on. You and I have no idea what Mueller has. Trump may have a better idea, but even he doesn’t know the totality of the cards Mueller is likely to play. All that said, it is still not clear to me how any of this will shake out.



Regardless of how it does, it is important to keep two things separate. The first is outrage: Our election was attacked by a foreign power and Trump did not defend our nation or even fully acknowledge the attack, because it benefited him and he feared that acknowledgment would besmirch his brand.



The second is Trump’s complete unfitness for office based on his character and his unrelenting assault on morality, ethics, truth, norms and decorum.



The first issue is about the sovereignty of a nation, but the second is about the soul of a nation.



It is the damaged soul that worries me most. For instance, we have recently become aware of allegations that Trump had an affair with a porn star named Stormy Daniels — soon after his third wife gave birth to his fifth child, no less — and that he paid her $130,000 in hush money shortly before the election so that the dalliance would not be disclosed.



As any regular reader of this column knows, I am no prude when it comes to sexual liberty, and I am not one who relishes exploring the details of marital indiscretion. But you also know that I loathe hypocrisy. In this case, it’s not about the sex but about the cover-up and the political double standard.



If this were Barack Obama, Tiki-torch-toting Nazis would have descended on the White House and burned it to the ground. Not only that, America’s racist folks masquerading as religious folks would have used Obama’s moral failing as proof of a black pathology.



The opposite has happened: Prominent conservative evangelicals like Ralph Reed and Robert Jeffress have basically given Trump a pass.



The whole thing feels like a firecracker exploding in a nuclear war. This is simply testament to just how thoroughly Trump has outstripped our capacity for outrage. Trump’s assault on common decency is the truest test of our national commitment to truth.



Whatever Mueller finds, he finds. But that is out of our hands. What we control is our collective commitment to morality and ethics.



When that is lost, so are we."



'Soul of a Nation - The New York Times

Gerrymandering: Because America Can Hack Its Own Elections: The Daily Show

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Chances for a DACA Deal Won’t Be Better in February | The Nation



...Let’s also remember: the only reason Democrats came this close to a DACA deal with Trump is that two weeks ago the White House invited reporters in to watch a bipartisan DACA discussion, in order to refute reports, most prominently in Michael Wolff’s damning Fire and Fury, that Trump is losing his faculties. In that 55-minute performance, the president showed himself to be nominally capable of helming a meeting, if a little loopy. He got enthusiastic about California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s suggestion that they produce a “clean DACA bill”—one that didn’t include other immigration fixes or border security funding—until House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told him that is not the GOP’s position. He promised to keep working toward a “bill of love,” insisting he would sign any bipartisan DACA deal the group brought him. “I’ll take the heat,” he told the group.
In fact, he couldn’t even take the heat from immigration hardliners in his own White House, including chief of staff John Kelly and anti-immigrant advisor Steven Miller. When the leaders of a bipartisan DACA working group went to see Trump two days later with their proposal, Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin were blindsided: Kelly and Miller had invited anti-immigrant Senator Tom Cotton and Rep. Bob Goodlatte. There was no chance of compromise. That was the infamous meeting where Trump derided some African nations as “shitholes” and whined that we should have more immigrants from Norway. That’s right: he flipped from demanding a “bill of love” to promoting a bill of racism—one that would include funding for his wall, end family reunification policies, terminate the diversity visa lottery, (which offers opportunities to would be African immigrants, among others) and shift entirely to “merit-based immigration,” presumably to bring us more folks from Norway....
...The danger is that the next round of negotiations winds up pitting not merely DACA kids against the American-born, but DACA kids against African and other immigrants who currently benefit from the visa lottery Trump and other conservative nativists want to end. Republicans are looking to fracture the Democrats’ multiracial coalition, because in a changing country, that’s the only way the overwhelmingly white GOP can stay afloat (well, that plus voter suppression and gerrymandering). I worry Democrats have helped them, by demoralizing their multiracial base, after a weekend when millions in the Resistance joined women’s marches all over the country, at which a deal for Dreamers was an explicit demand."
(Via.). The Chanc"es for a DACA Deal Won’t Be Better in February | The Nation:

Monday, January 22, 2018

Compromise or cave-in? Democrats' deal to end shutdown sows division | US news | The Guardian

Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor over the weekend.



“I don’t believe he made any commitment whatsoever,” Kamala Harris, a senator from California who opposed the bill, said after the Senate advanced the measure. “And I think it would be foolhardy to believe that he made a commitment.”



Harris was among several progressive lawmakers and potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who rejected the bill, including senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.



Democrats went into the weekend confident that voters were on their side. Public polling indicated that Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress and the White House, would be held responsible."

Compromise or cave-in? Democrats' deal to end shutdown sows division | US news | The Guardian

Scoop: FBI director threatened to resign amid Trump, Sessions pressure - Axios Sessions is engaging in obstruction of justice.





Scoop: FBI director threatened to resign amid Trump, Sessions pressure - Axios

Shutdown, Showdown, Sure Thing - The New York Times





By Charles M. Blow Jan. 21, 2018,



"It’s already tiring to watch the jockeying among the partisans over who is to be blamed for the government shutdown and who will likely face political consequences because of it.



There is absolutely no reason that a deal couldn’t have been reached on the Dreamers, something that the vast majority of Americans want. But Republicans used the threat of withholding the fix as a bargaining chip, and Democrats held to the fix as imperative.



Donald Trump proved himself both woefully inept at making tough deals and also demonstrated that his yearlong strategy of trying to govern to the exclusion of Democrats and playing to a narrow base is fatally flawed.



Trump is an unrepentant, unremitting liar. That makes deal-making impossible. His word is meaningless and his policy principles are murky. He is mercurial and inconsistent. This may well have worked in business, to keep people off kilter, but it won’t work in politics.



Voters often say that they want a business leader as a political leader, but the skills and interests aren’t always transferable. Operating with a profit interest is often at odds with operating in the public interest.



Trump’s major successes — or, as I would call them, areas of injury — during his first year in office have largely been beneficial to big business, moving us ever closer to true plutocracy.



He signed the plundering tax bill that disproportionately favored businesses and the wealthy, and he and his administration continue to chip away at regulations.



The strange thing about regulations is that most people don’t track them. They quietly restrain the rapaciousness of corporate greed, keeping people and planet safe from profit-at-any-cost recklessness. We don’t truly appreciate regulations until we need them and they aren’t there.



The argument over regulation has always been one of safety versus profit. Trump has chosen to support profit over safety. He tweeted Saturday: “The Trump Administration has terminated more UNNECESSARY Regulation, in just twelve months, than any other Administration has terminated during their full term in office, no matter what the length. The good news is, THERE IS MUCH MORE TO COME!”



As with everything that comes from this White House, that is not entirely true.



As Bloomberg Businessweek wrote in December, “only a handful of regulations have actually been taken off the books.”



Bloomberg continued:



“Rather, the claim of victory in the war on regulation is instead based almost entirely on stopping proposed rules that haven’t yet made their way through the machinery of government. The White House says it has killed or stalled 860 pending regulations. It’s done this by withdrawing 469, listing another 109 as inactive and relegating 282 to ‘long term.’”



But Trump doesn’t care for the details or the truth. He only wants to be able to claim everything as the biggest, best, greatest … ever.



This showman’s sensibility, with a disdain for detail, is precisely the sort of thing that makes having him as a “deal maker” in government problematic.



He just doesn’t care much about the public good. He cares about maintaining a core of support, inflaming racist and nativist passions and about the appearance of winning. In short, it’s all about him.



So, on this government shutdown, morally, Democrats hold the higher ground. But politics is seen through different lenses depending on where you sit.



Trump’s team is now casting the shutdown as Democratic obstruction, which for some will resonate. It will be harder for Democrats to make their moral case the longer the shutdown stays in effect.



A CNN/SSRS poll released Friday on the verge of the shutdown found that: “Overall, about half of Americans say they would blame either Trump (21 percent) or his Republican counterparts in Congress (26 percent) should Congress fail to fund the government by the midnight Friday deadline. About a third, 31 percent, say they would hold the Democrats in Congress responsible, and another 10 percent say they’d blame all three groups.”



But the poll also found: “Still, 56 percent overall say approving a budget agreement to avoid a shutdown is more important than continuing the DACA program, while just 34 percent choose DACA over a shutdown. Democrats break narrowly in favor of DACA — 49 percent say it’s more important vs. 42 percent who say avoiding a shutdown is the priority — while majorities of both Republicans (75 percent) and independents (57 percent) say avoiding a shutdown is more important.”



Put another way, Americans wants to support the Dreamers, but only up to a point, that point being disruption. Republicans know this. They can feel the softness of many Americans’ moral convictions on the subject of Dreamers, and with this shutdown, they are going to poke that sore spot.



Trump and his anti-immigrant, cultural-anxiety agitators are already pitching the shutdown as a choice Democrats made to put the brown children of illegal immigrants over the interests of beleaguered soldiers.



Trump isn’t a great deal maker, but he is an extraordinary norms-breaker. When this is all settled, however that is done, Trump will find a way to make himself look like a winner, even if he has to lie."





Shutdown, Showdown, Sure Thing - The New York Times

Lobbyists Romp in Trump’s Washington - The New York Times





Lobbyists Romp in Trump’s Washington - The New York Times

Sunday, January 21, 2018

This is the shameful, racist ad Trump and the Republicans have been disseminating. I have been saying this for years. Racial progress and regress is cyclical. Racists voted for this President. Racist support the Republicans in Congress who refuse to support DACA. Where is the outrage from middle America, from evangelicals? Franklin Graham expressed his support for Trump yesterday. These people are evil. Este es el anuncio vergonzoso y racista que Trump y los republicanos han estado diseminando. He estado diciendo esto por años. El progreso racial y la regresión son cíclicos. Los racistas votaron por este presidente. Los racistas apoyan a los republicanos en el Congreso que se niegan a apoyar a DACA. ¿Dónde está la indignación de la América central, de los evangélicos? Franklin Graham expresó su apoyo a Trump ayer. Estas personas son malvadas. - Complicit

The Shutdown Is About Who Gets to Be an American | The New Yorker





"Not many people wanted the government to shut down at midnight on Friday—surpassingly few Americans, according to polls, and not many more congressmen or senators. Still, no one could avert it. As negotiations progressed, morbidity set it. “They’re going to blame me no matter what,” the President told his advisers on Friday, according to Politico. Senator Brian Schatz, the Democrat of Hawaii, tweeted just after midnight, “No one is sure if they have leverage or are over a barrel. It’s as bad as it looks.” For two weeks, it had been clear that a resolution was unlikely to pass unless it resolved the status of the eight hundred thousand undocumented Americans brought here as children (the “Dreamers”) but the Republican Party kept watching the President to see if a deal was possible, and the President, conscious of his base, kept suggesting he was open to a compromise and then backing away. As the evening spooled on, the mood turned self-loathing. “This country was founded by geniuses,” the Louisiana Republican John Neely Kennedy said. “It’s being run by idiots.”

Yet our politics have been pointing toward the events of Friday evening for a very long time—not just since last Thursday, when the President rejected a proposed deal worked out by moderate senators of both parties, grumbling that it would invite in immigrants from “shithole countries.” And not just since September, when Congress passed the first of three consecutive continuing resolutions to fund the government in lieu of a full budget. Much of the intensity and the darkness of the 2016 Presidential campaign evolved from the challenge Trump and the Republicans raised to the basic matter of identity—of who counts as an American and under what terms, the central question regarding the Dreamers. The initial recriminations on Saturday morning focussed on contingencies: What if the President had better known his own mind? What if the Republican leadership in Congress had tolerated a short extension over the weekend? What if the summit between Trump and Schumer had included a second round of cheeseburgers, and not just one? But the real obstacle was deeper than tactics, talent, or personality. Neither party could set aside the Dreamer issue because it captures the essential argument of the Trump era, and on this the Republicans and Democrats do not agree.

For a time on Friday evening, the hopes for a compromise (and the hopes of the Dreamers) had rested in the bluff, enigmatic person of the South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who scurried back and forth between the offices of Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer. Reporters caught Graham in the hallway outside Schumer’s office around dinnertime and asked him what he was doing there. “Here for the food,” he said, crisply.

A week earlier, Graham and the Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin had taken a proposal for compromise to the Oval Office (the deal was permanent protection for the Dreamers in exchange for increased funding for border security) only to find that Trump had also invited some hard-liners: his own chief of staff, John Kelly, the Georgia Republican Senator David Perdue, and the ambitious Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. On Friday evening, Graham seemed to sense Cotton’s hand everywhere. “All I can say is we’re not going to end family immigration for daca—the Tom Cotton approach has no viability here,” Graham said. “He’s become the Steve King of the Senate”—a reference to the hard-line Iowa congressman, an immigration and racial demagogue. It’s still unclear exactly what happened, but Kelly, the chief of staff, may have mattered more. Schumer said that during a meeting in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon, he offered Trump funding for the border wall in exchange for permanent status for the Dreamers, and together they sketched out an outline. Afterward, according to Bloomberg News, Kelly called Schumer to say that the framework the two New Yorkers had worked out was “too liberal,” even with the Democrats’ “acquiescence” on the border. Trump himself, of course, may have decided yet again to appeal to his base.

The climate on the right had been sharpening for a few days. On Thursday evening, on Fox News, Tucker Carlson had assumed a look of urgent concern while his guest, the hard-right radio host Mark Steyn (an “actual thinker,” Carlson had noted in his introduction), warned against the “cultural transformation” that immigration would bring. “A majority of grade-school children in Arizona are now Hispanic,” Steyn warned. “The border has moved north,” he said, but the real line he was etching was an ethnic one, between Americans—Hispanics on one side, the rest on the other.

Ideas like this have circulated on the right for a long time. On Friday, the clip of the exchange between a racist radio host and his Fox News enabler circulated on the left. For liberals, much of the escalating menace of the past two years has followed the same line—the President’s insistence that America is less an idea than a specific heritage, that a judge of “Mexican” heritage is less than equal, that Haitian-Americans and African-Americans came from “shithole nations,” and that more Norwegian-Americans would be preferable. Yesterday, Schumer had more votes than he needed, and so four Democratic senators (all of them from states that had voted for Trump by large margins and three who have elections coming this year) voted for the House’s continuing resolution, which would restore health insurance but do nothing for the Dreamers. The rest of the caucus held together. Of course it did. To stand against an ethno-nationalist idea demands more from Democrats than simply calling the President a racist.

“Our country needs a good shutdown,” Trump had tweeted in May, “to fix mess!” It wasn’t clear then exactly what mess he meant—partisan intransigence, it seemed—or what tactical advantage he imagined. But in the shutdown debate his White House has had a clearer sense of the dividing lines. Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted that “lawful citizens” were being held hostage by Democratic demands on behalf of “unlawful immigrants.” On Saturday morning, Trump echoed Sanders, tweeting “Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!” Trump also tweeted, “#america first!” The question is, which #America?"



The Shutdown Is About Who Gets to Be an American | The New Yorker

Trump is a sick, dumb, inferior, White supremacist.

Trump launches new round of partisan attacks as government shutdown enters Day 2. "Trump praised Republicans for “fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border,” while he said Democrats “just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked.”
http://wapo.st/2mXxJvr

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Trump's 2018 Approval Ratings Show He’s The Most Unpopular President in History And Failing At His Job

"Asked to grade Trump's first year in office, more voters gave him an "F" than an "A" and "B" combined, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll published on Tuesday. Thirty-five percent of respondents said the president failed his first year in office while 34 percent gave him an "A" or "B." Meanwhile, 14 percent marked him a "C" and 11 percent graded his performance a "D."



The results were similar to a Quinnipiac survey published last Wednesday. When asked the same question, only 16 percent of Quinnipiac respondents in gave Trump an "A," while 39 percent gave him an "F" and 17 percent said he deserved a "D." Another 16 percent of voters gave him a "B" and the remaining 11 percent gave Trump a "C."



The new poll shows Trump remains more popular among men the women, with 38 percent of men giving him an "A" or "B" while just 31 percent of women did. Fifty percent of women said he earned a "D" or an "F" but only 42 percent of men agreed. "



Trump's 2018 Approval Ratings Show He’s The Most Unpopular President in History And Failing At His Job

Estúpido - So Stupid It's Not Funny: Trump's Crackdown on Legal Immigration: The Da...

The Real Reasons Why the Government Shut Down - DACA, This is the biggest cause of the shutdown

DACA

This is the biggest cause of the shutdown. Ever since Trump announced in September that he would end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on March 5 unless Congress acted to extend it, Democrats in the House and Senate have been clamoring for a permanent legislative fix to protect the young immigrants known as Dreamers.

Prospects for a quick agreement brightened briefly in September after Trump appeared to sign off on a framework with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer; that plan would have traded the Dream Act for additional security at the border. But under pressure from immigration hard-liners, Trump backed away and added a whole new set of demands for a DACA deal, including funding for his border wall and significant changes to the legal immigration system.

Pelosi promised immigration activists that Democrats would not leave for the year without addressing DACA, but Senate Democrats agreed just before Christmas to punt the fight to January. With Friday’s funding deadline approaching and no immigration agreement in sight, Democrats in both the House and Senate this week decided to make a stand."


https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/01/the-real-reasons-why-the-government-shut-down/551027/

Thursday, January 18, 2018

John Kelly, Deacon of Deportation - The New York Times





"People correctly direct their ire about Donald Trump’s hostile, racist, anti-immigrant policies at Trump himself because, after all, this starts at the top.



But there is someone else in the administration, behind the scenes and in the shadows, who deserves more scrutiny and more condemnation for this administration’s approach to immigration: Chief of Staff John Kelly.



Kelly is often referred to as the man who was brought to the West Wing to impose must-needed discipline on a chaotic White House. He was the access granter and mood regulator for Trump. He was the adult to Trump’s child. He was the former general who had honorably served his country, now brought in to save it.



In the most recent kerfuffle over Trump’s torpedoing of a bipartisan DACA deal, in which he made a racist attack against immigrants from African countries and Haiti, it became increasingly clear that Kelly was instrumental in influencing Trump to flip from a stance of openness and compromise back to a celestial alignment with immigration hard-liners.



As The Associated Press reported this week, after Trump requested a briefing on a bipartisan immigration deal sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Dick Durbin, a Democrat:



“Chief of staff John Kelly phoned Trump from Capitol Hill to advise him against accepting the proposal, and the president summoned conservative Republican negotiators to help build a united front against the plan, which would have provided some border security funding as well as protection from deportation for immigrants brought to the country as children and now here illegally.”



Graham was not happy about the ambush or the reversal and pointed out who he believed to be the source of the problem, telling reporters, “I think somebody on his staff gave him really bad advice between 10 o’clock to 12 o’clock on Thursday.” Graham went on to say that Kelly is “a fine man, but he’s part of the staff.”



Actually, Kelly is following the Kelly-Trump immigration doctrine.



This was just the latest incident in Kelly’s revealing track record on immigration since Trump has been in office.



Kelly is no angel. He’s more like the devil’s handmaiden. As The Times’s Glenn Thrush reported in October, Kelly seems to be “moving from the role of quiet backstage manager to open partisan.”



His hostility toward immigration has been evident from the beginning of his time in the administration.



When Kelly was brought on as chief of staff in July, The Nation warned, “John Kelly’s promotion is a disaster for immigrants,” pointing out that in just six months as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, he turned it into “a deportation machine.”



The Nation went on:



“Indeed, in the last six months, Kelly has turned the DHS into one of the most productive arms of the Trump administration. Kelly managed to translate much of Trump’s brazen anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric into actual policy. And if the numbers are any indication, Kelly has certainly flourished. Arrests since Trump took office in February increased by 40 percent over the prior year. But perhaps more important than the numbers is Kelly’s impact on immigrant communities, where apprehension and fear now reign.”



While at the D.H.S., Kelly even considered separating immigrant parents from their accompanying children if they enter the country illegally. As The Times reported:



“Still, the prospect of breaking a sacred bond between parent and child has not been an easy decision. Mr. Kelly said early this year that he was considering the move, but after an uproar from immigrant advocates and some members of Congress, he said that families would be separated only in extreme circumstances, such as when the child was in danger because of the parent.”



One of Kelly’s primary targets has been the Temporary Protected Status program.



As The Times has reported: “The protection for Haitians was most recently extended in May, by John F. Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary at the time. He allowed only a six-month extension, a shorter one than is typical, saying that the Haitians ‘need to start thinking about returning.’”



The Times also reported that in November, Kelly “unsuccessfully tried to pressure the Homeland Security Department to end a program that allows hundreds of thousands of people from countries affected by natural disasters or violence to live in the United States without fear of being deported, according to people familiar with the discussions.”



Many of those countries have populations that are either black or brown. Those were the countries Trump vulgarly disparaged. So why are Trump and Kelly so dogged in their opposition to these particular programs?



I, along with many others, have pointed out Trump’s obvious racism, but Kelly’s relationship to race is also troubling.



In October, Kelly said that “Robert E. Lee was an honorable man” and that “the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War,” displaying a staggering ignorance about the conflict and a racial insensitivity that marginalized the centrality of slavery to the war.



Furthermore, while at D.H.S., Kelly appointed the Rev. Jamie Johnson to lead the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. It was later disclosed that in 2008 Johnson had said on a radio show that black people were anti-Semitic because they were envious of Jewish people. Johnson also said America’s black community “had turned America’s major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity.”



I am no fan of John Kelly. As I have said before, I think he is one of the most dangerous men in America. On this issue of Trump’s racist immigration and deportation policy, he is not only complicit, he is a co-conspirator."



John Kelly, Deacon of Deportation - The New York Times

World's confidence in US leadership under Trump at new low, poll finds | US news | The Guardian

In just under half of the world’s countries – 65 out of 134 – US standing collapsed, by 10 percentage points or more.



"The survey of opinion in 134 countries showed a record collapse in approval for the US role in the world, from 48% under Obama to 30% after one year of Donald Trump – the lowest level Gallup has recorded since beginning its global leadership poll over a decade ago.



The result comes after a separate Gallup survey found that Trump reaches the first anniversary of his inauguration with the lowest average approval rating of any elected president in his first year."



World's confidence in US leadership under Trump at new low, poll finds | US news | The Guardian

Prosecutors Had the Wrong Man. They Prosecuted Him Anyway. - The New York Times





"In the robbery, kidnapping and rape that began in the French Quarter of New Orleans on April 6, 1992, much of the evidence pointed to a man named Lester Jones.



He fit the description of the attacker down to his round-rimmed glasses. His car looked like the perpetrator’s. The rape took place near the housing project where he lived. And after the police arrested him on suspicion of other crimes in the French Quarter that same month, they found jewelry from the robbery in his possession.



Yet the Orleans Parish district attorney’s office chose to arrest a different man, 19-year-old Robert Jones — no relation — for the crime. Mr. Jones not only was convicted, but spent more than 23 years in jail before being cleared of those crimes and a murder he did not commit.



On Tuesday, Mr. Jones sued, charging that prosecutors had deliberately and repeatedly covered up evidence that would have undermined the case against him. More than that, he charged that he was neither the first nor the last victim of such treatment — that prosecutors had an unwritten policy of hobbling the legal defenses of accused citizens without their knowledge.



The New Orleans district attorney’s office has chalked up legal black marks for years, including a string of Supreme Court cases involving prosecutorial misconduct. But the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, is perhaps the most damning compilation of misconduct accusations to date.



In at least 45 prosecutions dating to the 1970s, the lawsuit says, the district attorney’s office possessed evidence that could have helped the accused, but failed to disclose it. In nine of those cases, appeals courts overturned convictions after the evidence was uncovered.



The cases include that of John Thompson, who was awaiting execution when investigators found that prosecutors had withheld the results of a blood test. John Floyd spent 36 years in prison for the murder of a newspaper proofreader before it came to light that someone else’s fingerprints and DNA had been found at the scene. Reginald Adams spent 34 years in prison for the murder of a police officer’s wife, only to be freed after a police report implicating a different man was found buried in unrelated case files.



The Jones lawsuit contends — and legal experts agree — that those 45 cases are likely a fraction of the actual number of instances in which favorable evidence was wrongly concealed. Most, they say, are simply never discovered.



Prosecutors are supposed to disclose any information they uncover that might help the defense. But enforcing that obligation — and punishing those who ignore it — has been no easy task. After Mr. Thompson was freed, he won a $14 million judgment, only to have the Supreme Court reverse the award in 2011, ruling that prosecutors can be held financially liable only if they are shown to have a pattern of unethical behavior. He received nothing.



Earl Truvia and Gregory Bright, freed after 27 years in jail for a murder they did not commit, also took a lawsuit over the prosecutors’ so-called Brady violations to the Supreme Court, which declined in 2015 to hear it.



This time, lawyers for Mr. Jones and experts at the Innocence Project have pored over court records to compile evidence of a pattern.



“This was a galling disregard for the constitutional rights of defendants,” said Michael L. Banks, a lawyer with the Philadelphia firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. “From the top of this office, there was a culture of winning. And winning meant getting convictions. And that’s why there’s such a striking pattern of wrongful convictions.”



A spokesman for Leon A. Cannizzaro Jr., the current Orleans Parish district attorney, declined to comment on pending litigation.



Prosecutors have been obligated to turn over favorable evidence to the defense since a 1963 Supreme Court decision, Brady v. Maryland, which said that failure to do so violated the right to due process. But the ruling left prosecutors to decide which evidence should be disclosed.



Lawyers and judges have complained that too often, prosecutors err in their own favor. In 2013, the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit at the time, Alex Kosinski, famously warned of an “epidemic” of Brady violations, adding: “A robust and rigorously enforced Brady rule is imperative because all the incentives prosecutors confront encourage them not to discover or disclose exculpatory evidence.”



Jennifer Laurin, an expert on civil rights and criminal law at the University of Texas School of Law, said she could not say there was evidence of an epidemic. “But what I do see is a system that is not well designed to ensure compliance with Brady,” she added. A handful of unscrupulous prosecutors may conceal information that undermines their cases, she said, but many more well-meaning prosecutors may simply misjudge the importance of evidence to a defendant’s case, or even be unaware that it is important at all.



When evidence is not properly disclosed, experts say, the omission is rarely discovered. The vast bulk of criminal cases never go to trial — 97 percent of federal criminal convictions are the result of guilty pleas. The accused often must decide whether to go to trial and risk the maximum sentence or plead guilty in exchange for a lesser punishment, all without knowing how strong the case against them is.



After conviction, the odds that favorable evidence will be discovered in prosecutors’ files is vanishingly small, because it can take hundreds or thousands of hours of legal work. Mr. Banks’s firm worked without pay to overturn Mr. Thompson’s conviction. “We literally put a couple of million dollars” in time into the Thompson case, Mr. Banks said, “because it was a capital murder case.” But “most of the time that prosecutors hide evidence, nobody ever knows.”



Robert Jones’s ordeal began with a telephone tip to the police. He was convicted in 1996 of the robbery, kidnapping and rape in a trial that lasted but two days. Although most of the evidence indicated that Lester Jones, not Robert, was responsible, two of the victims had identified Robert in a lineup. Prosecutors argued that Lester and Robert knew each other — Lester Jones had said so in a statement to the police — and that Robert had used his friend’s car and given him stolen jewelry as compensation.



Only years later, after the Innocence Project New Orleans took up Robert Jones’s case, did the truth emerge: A lineup from which Mr. Jones was selected had been tainted because it included people that the rape victim knew, thus narrowing the range of suspects. Days before trial, Lester Jones had recanted the assertion that he knew Robert. And Lester had been convicted of two similar French Quarter crimes that happened the same month.



None of that evidence was given to Robert Jones’s lawyer before the 1996 trial. Nor was a trove of other evidence favorable to Mr. Jones, including evidence that the rapist had told his victim he was taking her to his “neck of the woods;” the victims’ initial descriptions of the attacker, which pointed to Lester; and the fact that none of those descriptions included Robert’s most prominent feature: a mouth filled with gold-capped teeth.



The prosecution also failed to disclose the conclusion that New Orleans police detectives had reached long before the 1996 trial: The robbery and rape for which Robert Jones went to jail was part of a five-crime spree in the French Quarter that month, all of which appeared to have been committed by the same assailant.



When the fifth crime took place, Robert Jones was already in jail."



Prosecutors Had the Wrong Man. They Prosecuted Him Anyway. - The New York Times

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lawrence: DHS Secretary 'trying to protect Trump' with falsehoods | MSNBC





Lawrence: DHS Secretary 'trying to protect Trump' with falsehoods | MSNBC

Is Trump’s doctor okay? - The Washington Post

"Lee said the screening test Jackson gave Trump ‘gives the public a false sense of reassurance.’ Indeed, Donald Trump Jr. used the results of the test in a tweet: ‘More #winning. 30 out of 30.’

She said the test, though useful for detecting Alzheimer’s and the like, indicates little about ‘his high functioning, his frontal-lobe functioning, that we’re questioning.’ To figure out what causes the worrisome traits President Trump exhibits — disordered decision-making, an insatiable need for affirmation, little impulse control, confusion about facts, difficulty foreseeing consequences — you’d need more extensive tests, a psychological exam and an MRI.

But, in a sense, you don’t need a doctor’s diagnosis to see that there’s a lot of chaos and volatility in the presidential brain."

(Via.).  Is Trump’s doctor okay? - The Washington Post:

Kelly calls some of Trump’s campaign pledges on immigration, wall ‘uninformed,’ meeting attendees say - The Washington Post

"

(Via.). Kelly calls some of Trump’s campaign pledges on immigration, wall ‘uninformed,’ meeting attendees say - The Washington Post

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., delivered a speech from the Senate floor Wednesday denouncing President Donald Trump's attacks on the media and comparing his inflammatory rhetoric to phrases used by Josef Stalin, the Soviet dictator. Read Senator Jeff Flake's full speech on Trump's media attacks - NBC News

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Explains Why Trump Isn't Racist

The Backlash Continues on Trump's "S**thole" Comments: The Daily Show

Fearing DACA’s Return May Be Brief, Immigrants Rush to Renew - The New York Times





"The Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal on Tuesday afternoon in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, saying it intended to ask the Supreme Court later in the week to review the Federal District Court’s ruling, which had enjoined the federal government from ending the DACA program, as it had planned. .



With their fates split in the courts, in the halls of Congress, and, seemingly, the White House, DACA recipients across the country scrambled to do what was in their power.



Lawyers were urging their clients to apply as soon as they could, given the short window of opportunity that only seemed to get shorter on Tuesday. “We’re trying to schedule events as fast as we can,” said Camille Mackler, the director of legal initiatives at the New York Immigration Coalition, an advocacy group.



In New York, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs was partnering with CUNY Citizenship Now! to offer two free clinics on Thursday and next Tuesday, while Make the Road New York, another immigrant advocacy group in the city, had filled all its slots for three Saturday events."



Fearing DACA’s Return May Be Brief, Immigrants Rush to Renew - The New York Times

Monday, January 15, 2018

Republicans, do you want a race-based immigration system, too? - The Washington Post





"President Trump’s intent could not be more explicit: He wants immigration policies that admit white people and shut the door to black and brown people. That is pure racism — and the Republican Party, which traces its heritage to the Abraham Lincoln era, must decide whether to go along.



Silly me. The GOP seems to have made its choice, judging by the weaselly response from most of the Republicans who were in the Oval Office on Thursday when Trump made vile and nakedly racist remarks.



Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) heard the president clearly: Trump referred to African nations as “shithole countries,” the shocked senator reported. At another point, while discussing potential relief for groups of immigrants — including Haitians — who are losing their temporary permission to remain here, Trump reportedly said, “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”





Republicans, do you want a race-based immigration system, too? - The Washington Post

Inside the tense, profane White House meeting on immigration - The Washington Post



"When President Trump spoke by phone with Sen. Richard J. Durbin around 10:15 a.m. last Thursday, he expressed pleasure with Durbin’s outline of a bipartisan immigration pact and praised the high-ranking Illinois Democrat’s efforts, according to White House officials and congressional aides.



The president then asked if Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), his onetime foe turned ally, was on board, which Durbin affirmed. Trump invited the lawmakers to visit with him at noon, the people familiar with the call said.



But when they arrived at the Oval Office, the two senators were surprised to find that Trump was far from ready to finalize the agreement. He was “fired up” and surrounded by hard-line conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who seemed confident that the president was now aligned with them, according to one person with knowledge of the meeting.



Trump told the group he wasn’t interested in the terms of the bipartisan deal that Durbin and Graham had been putting together. And as he shrugged off suggestions from Durbin and others, the president called nations from Africa “shithole countries,” denigrated Haiti and grew angry. The meeting was short, tense and often dominated by loud cross-talk and swearing, according to Republicans and Democrats familiar with the meeting.



Trump’s ping-ponging from dealmaking to feuding, from elation to fury, has come to define the contentious immigration talks between the White House and Congress, perplexing members of both parties as they navigate the president’s vulgarities, his combativeness and his willingness to suddenly change his position. The blowup has derailed those negotiations yet again and increased the possibility of a government shutdown over the fate of hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants known as “dreamers.”



Inside the tense, profane White House meeting on immigration - The Washington Post