THERE IS A REAL THREAT TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY — AND IT’S GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH GRANDPARENTS, MEXICAN WORKERS, OR CENTRAL AMERICAN REFUGEES!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-behavior-is-the-biggest-threat-to-us-national-security/2017/07/09/a5d3a842-64a8-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-b%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.6a555fb6107b

Lawrence H. Summers writes in a WashPost op-ed:

“Confusing civility with comity is a grave mistake in human or international relations. Yes, the Group of 20 summit issued a common communique after the leaders’ meeting. Some see this as an indication that some normality is being restored in international relations between the United States and other countries. The truth is that at no previous G-20 did the possibility occur to anyone that a common statement might not be agreed to by all participants.

Rather than considering agreement on a communique as an achievement, it is more honest and accurate to see its content as a confirmation of the breakdown of international order that many have feared since Donald Trump’s election. And the president’s behavior in and around the summit was unsettling to U.S. allies and confirmed the fears of those who believe that his conduct is currently the greatest threat to American national security.

The existence of the G-20 as an annual forum arose out of a common belief of major nations in a global community with common interests in peace, mutual security, prosperity and economic integration, and the containment of global threats, even as there was competition among nations in the security and economic realms. The idea that the United States should lead in the development of international community has been a central tenet of American foreign policy since the end of World War II. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the aspiration to international community has been an aspiration to global community.

All of this is troubling enough. The elephant in the room, however, is the president’s character and likely behavior in the difficult times that come during any presidential term. Biographer Robert Caro has observed that power may or may not corrupt but it always reveals. Trump has yet to experience a period of economic difficulty or international economic crisis. He has not yet had to make a major military decision in a time of crisis. Yet his behavior has been, to put it mildly, erratic.

. . . .

A corporate chief executive whose public behavior was as erratic as Trump’s would already have been replaced. The standard for democratically elected officials is appropriately different. But one cannot look at the past months and rule out the possibility of even more aberrant behavior in the future. The president’s Cabinet and his political allies in Congress should never forget that the oaths they swore were not to the defense of the president but to the defense of the Constitution.”

******************************************************

The Administration’s fear-mongering, xenophobia, insulting rhetoric, environmental destruction, and sometimes outright racism is a smokescreen to divert attention from the real threat to American’s national security — Donald Trump, some of his right wing extremest supporters, and the “fellow travelers” in Congress otherwise known as the GOP.

PWS

07-09-17

 

 

 

IMMIGRATION HISTORY: Here’s The Chase-Burman Mini-Library Of Immigration History, Courtesy Of “The Green Card!”

75 Years of the BIA

http://www.fedbar.org/Image-Library/Sections-and-Divisions/Immigration/Green-Card-Spring-2016-updated.aspx

“Matter of L-, 1 I&N Dec. 1 (BIA 1940), was issued on August 29, 1940, the day before the Board of Immigration Appeals came into existence.2 Some background about the Board’s early history is required to explain this. From 1922 until 1940, a five-member Board of Review existed within the Department of Labor to review all immigration cases. The Board of Review had no decision- making authority of its own; it could only recommend action to the Secretary of Labor. In 1933, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was formed within the Department of Labor,3 and from 1933 until 1939 the Board of Review made its recommendations to the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization.4″

**************************************

Commentary on “Pattern or Practice” Persecution

http://www.fedbar.org/Image-Library/Sections-and-Divisions/Immigration/Green-Card-Fall-2016-.aspx

In INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, its landmark 1987 decision establishing that the burden of proving a “well-founded fear of persecution” is significantly less than fifty percent, the Supreme Court relied on the following scholarly example: “Let us…presume that it is known that in applicant’s country of origin every tenth adult male person is either put to death or sent to some remote labor camp… In such a case it would be only too apparent that anyone who managed to escape from the country would have ‘well-founded fear of being persecuted’ on his eventual return.”2 While the Court’s decision predates the “pattern or practice” regulation by more than three years, the example it relies on (which predates the regulation by 24 years) presents a classic “pattern or practice” scenario. The hypotheti- cal establishes (1) a group, i.e., all adult males in a particular country; and (2) information establishing systemic persecution of one in ten members of such group. all members of the group therefore have a well-founded without the need to explain their individual circumstances.”

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The History of Racism in U.S. Immigration


http://www.fedbar.org/Image-Library/Sections-and-Divisions/Immigration/the-green-card-winter-2017.aspx

“Racism was codified in this country’s original natu- ralization law. The Naturalization Act of 1790 limited the right to naturalize to “free white persons.” Following the Civil War, the Act of July 14, 1870, added “aliens of African nativity” and “aliens of African descent” to those eligible to naturalize. However, all others considered “non-white” continued to be barred from obtaining United States citizenship. In 1922, the Supreme Court denied Takao Ozawa, a Japanese immigrant who had lived in the U.S. for 20 years, the right to become a naturalized citizen because he “clearly” was “not Caucasian.” In interpreting the term “free white persons,” the Court found that “the framers did not have in mind the brown or yellow races of Asia.”1 In United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind,2 the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion regarding an “upper-caste Hindu” who claimed a lineage classi ed as “Aryan” or “Caucasian.” The Court determined that “Aryan” related to “linguistic, and not at all with physical, characteristics,” and concluded that the term “free white persons” as understood by the common man, would not include those of Hindu ancestry.3 It was not until passage of the McCarran-Walter Act in 1952 that the naturalization law was amended to read that “[t]he right of a person to become a naturalized citizen shall not be denied or abridged because of race or sex…”4

***********************************

Read all three of Judge Chase’s outstanding histories and get some “instant perspective” on how we got to where we are today as a nation of immigrants. There was no shortage of hypocracy. And, I submit that in the course of history some of today’s politicians advocating restrictive racially and religiously charged immigration policies are going to look just as distasteful, arrogant, prejudiced, and ignorant as some of the judges, lawmakers, and government officials described in these articles.

PWS

06-19-17

UPDATE

Judge Chase has reminded me that there is a fourth part to this collection:

The History of U.S. Asylum Law

http://www.fedbar.org/Image-Library/Sections-and-Divisions/Immigration/Green-Card-Summer-2016.aspx

“U.S. asylum policy is a product of the tension between the public sentiments of compassion and fear. In the words of a former Deputy UN High Commissioner: “The public will not allow governments to be generous if it believes they have lost control.” 1 Although asylum can be traced back at least to the Old Testament, for all practical purposes, U.S. asylum policy began on the eve of World War II.”

PWS

06-21-17

WashPost: Read About The Dudes That Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, Steve Miller & Other Trumpsters Hung Out With! — Behind The Smokescreen, “Leninist Revolutionaries” Out To Undermine American Democracy As We Know It!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/how-a-shadow-universe-of-charities-joined-with-political-warriors-to-fuel-trumps-rise/2017/06/03/ff5626ac-3a77-11e7-a058-ddbb23c75d82_story.html

Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg Report:

“The crowd rose to its feet and roared its approval as Sen. Jeff Sessions bounded onto the stage at the Breakers, an exclusive resort in Palm Beach, Fla. Stephen Miller, an aide to the Alabama Republican, handed him a glass trophy honoring his bravery as a lawmaker.

“Heyyyy!” Sessions yelled out to the crowd.

The ceremony that day, in November 2014, turned out to be a harbinger: It brought together an array of hard-right activists and a little-known charity whose ideas would soon move from the fringes of the conservative movement into the heart of the nation’s government.

The man behind the event was David Horowitz, a former ’60s radical who became an intellectual godfather to the far right through his writings and his work at a charity, the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Since its formation in 1988, the Freedom Center has helped cultivate a generation of political warriors seeking to upend the Washington establishment. These warriors include some of the most powerful and influential figures in the Trump administration: Attorney General Sessions, senior policy adviser Miller and White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

. . . .

As Horowitz mingled, Bannon introduced himself to Ronald Radosh, a prominent conservative intellectual and historian. Radosh had known Horowitz for a half-century and also worked his way through the ranks of the New Left before becoming a conservative.

“I’m Steve Bannon and this is my house,” Bannon said, according to an account that Radosh wrote about for the Daily Beast in August and discussed with The Post.

“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon said, according to Radosh. “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

A few days later, Horowitz traveled to Palm Beach to host another Restoration Weekend at the Breakers. Bannon was going, too — in part to raise money for a documentary film about Horowitz. Bannon said he needed $1 million and there were few venues better for finding wealthy donors. As it happened, Bannon could not raise the money, according to two attendees who heard his pitch. But he received an unexpected gift.

. . . .

In March 2014, the center made the first of $175,000 in contributions to the Party for Freedom, a group founded by Geert Wilders, one of Europe’s most ardent anti-Muslim politicians, according to documents released by the Dutch government and originally described by the New York Times and the Intercept. He was campaigning on a platform of preventing the “Islamization of the Netherlands,” proposing a ban on Muslim immigration and the shuttering of mosques.

Later that year, Wilders spoke at Restoration Weekend.

“The truth is that our own Western culture — based on Christianity, based on Judaism and humanism — is far superior, far superior, than the Islamic culture that immigrants have adopted,” Wilders said to applause.

On hand that weekend was Jeff Sessions, a regular at the annual retreat. He was honored with a glass trophy for helping to derail a bipartisan bill aimed at overhauling U.S. immigration law. He acknowledged Horowitz from the stage. “I’ve seen some great people receive this, David. And it’s a special treat and pleasure for me, David, because you know how much I admire you as we battle for right and justice and law,” Sessions said.

Later that night, Sessions and Miller went to a lounge at the resort. Joining them was Ann Coulter, another regular and a contributor to Frontpagemag.com. She was writing a book called “Adios, America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole.”

As Sessions sipped on a drink, she and Miller batted around ideas about how to crack down on immigration until long after midnight. “There was obviously a major meeting of the minds,” said one person in the lounge at the time who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of repercussions. “They thought immigration was the single most important issue in the country.”

. . . .

On Dec. 14, 2016, during a videotaped event, Horowitz expressed happiness about Trump’s victory and said Republicans had finally woken up to his approach to politics. He pulled from his suit coat a piece of paper listing Freedom Center supporters already in the administration.
“It’s quite an impressive list,” Horowitz said, rattling off the names: Sessions, Bannon, Vice President Pence, Reince Priebus, Kellyanne Conway and at least six others.

“My personal favorite is Steve Miller, because Steve, who was today appointed the senior policy adviser in the White House . . . is a kind of protege of mine,” he said. “So the center has a big stake in this administration.”

The White House and Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Two weeks later, the Freedom Center named Bannon its Man of the Year.

“Over the years people would refer to my Freedom Center as a ‘think tank’ and I would correct them, ‘No, it’s a battle tank,’ because that is what I felt was missing most in the conservative cause — troops ready and willing to fight fire with fire,” Horowitz wrote in Breitbart in February. “The Trump administration may be only a few weeks old, but it is already clear that the new White House is a battle tank.”

***********************************************

Read the entire, much longer, article at the link. Pretty scary stuff!

I don’t find Horowitz’s “jump” from the left to the right surprising.  He’s an anarchist. He simply went from being a leftist anarchist to being a rightist anarchist. Just a costume change without any fundamental difference.

Somewhere out there, dudes like Karl Marx, Frederich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and Nikolai Bakunin must be smiling. It looks like capitalism might indeed have sown the seeds of its own destruction.

And Vladimir Putin — he’s just sitting back, enjoying the show, and watching America self-destruct. He’s got to be delighted that America is voluntarily surrendering its world leadership with only a limited number of shots being fired. It’s going to create some really great opportunities for Russia, China, and even India.

Liz was right!

PWS

06-04-17

DHS Reports 740,000 Visa Overstays! — Oh, Those Canadian Businessmen & Tourists, Threatening Our National Existence By Hanging Around & Spending Their Dollars Here — Will A Wall Along The Northern Border Be Next?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/us-nearly-740000-foreigners-overstayed-visas-last-year/2017/05/22/f70bea2e-3f16-11e7-b29f-f40ffced2ddb_story.html?tid=hybrid_content_2_na&utm_term=.db2c42f1f0db

The AP reports in the Washington Post:

“SAN DIEGO — Nearly 740,000 foreigners who were supposed to leave the United States during a recent 12-month period overstayed their visas, the Homeland Security Department said Monday, detailing a crucial but often overlooked contributor to the number of people in the country illegally.

President Donald Trump has proposed spending billions of dollars to erect a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and hire more border agents, but those measures would not address people who arrive legally and stay after their visas expire. An estimated 40 percent of the roughly 11 million people in the country illegally stayed past their visas.

There were 739,478 overstays from October 2015 through September 2016 among visitors who arrive by plane or ship — more than the population of Alaska.

The total number of overstays is much larger but has not been quantified because the statistic doesn’t include how many people leave by land.

The cost and technological hurdles to develop a checkout system at congested land crossings are enormous because the sites are so busy. Last year, Homeland Security tested facial scans at a San Diego border crossing but has npt said if the technology works or will be expanded.

Homeland Security last year published the number of overstays for the first time in at least two decades, saying 527,127 people who came by air or ship stayed past their visas from October 2014 to September 2015.

This year’s report added student and foreign exchange visitors and many visa categories for temporary workers, while last year’s only counted business travelers and tourists. Homeland Security said it will make additional improvements in future reports, including more data on people who cross by land.

Overstays accounted for 1.5 percent of the 50.4 million visitors who arrived by plane or ship in the latest period, Homeland Security said. Canada occupied the top slot for overstays among business travelers and tourists, followed by Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and the United Kingdom. Germany, Colombia, China, India and Italy rounded out the top 10.”

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Read the complete,article at the link.

Immigration is a much more complex and nuanced subject than this Administration will acknowledge. But, I’m not sure that these raw numbers, without more analysis, are anything we should be losing sleep over.

PWS

05-24-17

GRIFTER REPORT: Kushner Family Hawks EB-5 Visas In PRC — “Hurry, hurry, hurry, folks, step right up and buy your visa before Jared’s Daddy-In-Law ends immigration forever! Not to worry, we’ve got “connections!”

https://flipboard.com/@flipboard/flip.it%2F1jpx-y-kushner-family-in-beijing-invest-500000/f-b48e7285ec%2Fcnn.com

From CNN:

“THE KUSHNER FAMILY HOPES TO LURE INVESTMENTS FROM WEALTHY BUSINESS OWNERS IN CHINA WITH THE PROMISE OF AMERICAN VISAS.

Nicole Kushner Meyer, the sister of White House adviser and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, spoke at an event in Beijing on Saturday. She was marketing a Kushner-owned property in New Jersey — invest in the development and get into the United States on a so-called EB-5 visa.

The EB-5 visa allows immigrants a path to a green card if they invest more than $500,000 in a project that creates jobs in the United States.

An ad for the event, held at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, said “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”

An advertisement for the Beijing event touts a Kushner Company investment opportunity.

The EB-5 visa has been used by the Trump and Kushner family businesses. Foreigners, particularly wealthy Chinese nationals, have used the EB-5 program as a ticket into the states. And that promise has helped attract foreign investments for U.S. real estate projects.

President Trump has taken an anti-immigration stance and vowed to severely tighten the use of work visas. The EB-5 program has come under fire by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

Lawmakers say the program essentially sells citizenship to high-income foreigners.

On Saturday, potential investors in the Kushner project were told they should act quickly because possible policy changes to the EB-5 program might raise the required minimum investment.

Nicole Kushner Meyer also told the crowd how her grandfather immigrated to the United States and built a business from the ground up.

And she mentioned Jared’s new position in the White House. Though she did not reference President Trump by name, his photo appeared on a slide that listed the “key decision makers” on the EB-5 program.

“In 2008, my brother Jared Kushner joined the family company as CEO, and recently moved to Washington to join the administration,” she said.

Jared Kushner serves as an influential senior adviser to the president. Trump has at various times said he would lead or play a key role in many policy areas from foreign affairs to business innovation.

The event was meant to draw investors for 1 Journal Square, a $976.4 million residential and commercial project underway in New Jersey. The company says about 15% of it will be funded through the EB-5 program.

Jared Kushner has stepped away from the business since taking a key role in Trump’s White House.

His attorney, Blake Roberts, said Kushner is not involved in the operation of Kushner Companies and divested his interests in the Journal Square project by selling them to a family trust that he, his wife and his children are not beneficiaries of, which was suggested by the Office of Government Ethics.

“As previously stated, he will recuse from particular matters concerning the EB-5 visa program,” Roberts said in a statement.

The Beijing event, which was organized by Chinese immigration agency Qiaowai, was open to the public. Reporters from the Washington Post and the New York Times attended but said they were later asked to leave.

Kushner Companies declined to comment. Qiaowai could not be immediately reached for comment.”

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These folks are shameless. But, try as they might, they will never be able to achieve the level of the “Grifter-In-Chief!” Thanks to Nolan Rappaport for alerting me to this!

PWS

05-07-17

 

TRUMP’S “DISSING” OF MEXICO MIGHT BACKFIRE — BIG TIME! — If Mexico Plays The “China Card” The U.S. Might Regret Electing A Bully As President!

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/05/mexicos-revenge/521451/

Franklin Foer writes in The Atlantic:

“The Mexico–U.S. border is long, but the history of close cooperation across it is short. As recently as the 1980s, the countries barely contained their feelings of mutual contempt. Mexico didn’t care for the United States’ anticommunist policy in Central America, especially its support of Nicaraguan rebels. In 1983, President Miguel de la Madrid obliquely warned the Reagan administration against “shows of force which threaten to touch off a conflagration.” Relations further unraveled following the murder of the DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985. Former Mexican police officers aided drug traffickers who kidnapped and mercilessly tortured Camarena, drilling a hole in his skull and leaving his corpse in the Michoacán countryside. The Reagan administration reacted with fury at what it perceived as Mexican indifference to Camarena’s disappearance, all but shutting down the border for about a week. The episode seemed a return to the fraught days of the 1920s, when Calvin Coolidge’s administration derided “Soviet Mexico” and Hearst newspapers ginned up pretexts for a U.S. invasion.

. . . .

Once the threat of Soviet expansion into the Western Hemisphere vanished, the United States paid less-careful attention to Latin America. It passively ceded vast markets to the Chinese, who were hunting for natural resources to feed their sprouting factories and build their metropolises. The Chinese invested heavily in places like Peru, Brazil, and Venezuela, discreetly flexing soft power as they funded new roads, refineries, and railways. From 2000 to 2013, China’s bilateral trade with Latin America increased by 2,300 percent, according to one calculation. A raft of recently inked deals forms the architecture for China to double its annual trade with the region, to $500 billion, by the middle of the next decade. Mexico, however, has remained a grand exception to this grand strategy. China has had many reasons for its restrained approach in Mexico, including the fact that Mexico lacks most of the export commodities that have attracted China to other Latin American countries. But Mexico also happens to be the one spot in Latin America where the United States would respond with alarm to a heavy Chinese presence.

That sort of alarm is just the thing some Mexicans would now like to provoke. What Mexican analysts have called the “China card”—a threat to align with America’s greatest competitor—is an extreme retaliatory option. Former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda told me he considers it an implausible expression of “machismo.” Unfortunately, Trump has elevated machismo to foreign-policy doctrine, making it far more likely that other countries will embrace the same ethos in response. And while a tighter Chinese–Mexican relationship would fly in the face of recent economic history, Trump may have already set it in motion.

The painful early days of the Trump administration have reminded Mexico of a core economic weakness: The country depends far too heavily on the American market. “Mexico is realizing that it has been overexposed to the U.S., and it’s now trying to hedge its bets,” says Kevin Gallagher, an economist at Boston University who specializes in Latin America. “Any country where 80 percent of exports go to the U.S., it’s a danger.” Even with a friendly American president, Mexico would be looking to loosen its economic tether to its neighbor. The presence of Trump, with his brusque talk of tariffs and promises of economic nationalism, makes that an urgent task.Until recently, a Mexican–Chinese rapprochement would have been unthinkable. Mexico has long steered clear of China, greeting even limited Chinese interest in the country with wariness. It rightly considered China its primary competition for American consumers. Immediately after nafta went into effect in 1994, the Mexican economy enjoyed a boom in trade and investment. (A flourishing U.S. economy and an inevitable turn in Mexico’s business cycle helped account for these years of growth too.) Then, in 2001, the World Trade Organization admitted China, propelling the country further into the global economy. Many Mexican factories could no longer compete; jobs disappeared practically overnight.Mexico’s hesitance to do business with the Chinese was also a tribute to the country’s relationship with the “Yanquis.” A former Mexican government official told me that Barack Obama’s administration urged his country to steer clear of Chinese investment in energy and infrastructure projects. These conversations were a prologue to the government’s decision to scuttle a $3.7 billion contract with a Chinese-led consortium to build a bullet train linking Mexico City with Querétaro, a booming industrial center. The cancellation was a fairly selfless gesture, considering the sorry state of Mexican infrastructure, and it certainly displeased the Chinese.

But China has played the long game, and its patience has proved farsighted. The reason so many Chinese are ascending to the middle class is that wages have tripled over the past decade. The average hourly wage in Chinese manufacturing is now $3.60. Over that same period of time, hourly manufacturing wages in Mexico have fallen to $2.10. Even taking into account the extraordinary productivity of Chinese factories—not to mention the expense that comes with Mexico’s far greater fidelity to the rules of international trade—Mexico increasingly looks like a sensible place for Chinese firms to set up shop, particularly given its proximity to China’s biggest export market.Mexico began quietly welcoming a greater Chinese presence even before the American presidential election. In October, China’s state-run media promised that the two countries “would elevate military ties to [a] new high” and described the possibility of joint operations, training, and logistical support. A month and a half later, Mexico sold a Chinese oil company access to two massive patches of deepwater oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico. And in February, the billionaire Carlos Slim, a near-perfect barometer of the Mexican business elite’s mood, partnered with Anhui Jianghuai Automobile to produce SUVs in Hidalgo, a deal that will ultimately result in the production of 40,000 vehicles a year. These were not desultory developments. As Beijing’s ambassador to Mexico City put it in December, with the American election clearly on the brain: “We are sure that cooperation is going to be much strengthened.”. . . .

Not so long ago—for most of the postwar era, in fact—the United States and Mexico were an old couple who lived barely intersecting lives, hardly talking, despite inhabiting the same abode. Then the strangest thing happened: The couple started chatting. They found they actually liked each other; they became codependent. Now, with Trump’s angry talk and the Mexican resentment it stirs, the best hope for the persistence of this improved relationship is inertia—the interlocking supply chain that crosses the border and won’t easily pull apart, the agricultural exports that flow in both directions, all the bureaucratic cooperation. Unwinding this relationship would be ugly and painful, a strategic blunder of the highest order, a gift to America’s enemies, a gaping vulnerability for the homeland that Donald Trump professes to protect, a very messy divorce.”

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Remember, folks, you read about the potential “Chinexico” disaster first on Courtside! http://wp.me/p8eeJm-AF

Pretty scary when we elect a President who might understand even less about the global politico-economic situation than a retired U.S. Immigration Judge!

PWS

04-234-17

 

 

 

THE PRESIDENCY: Draining The Swamp? — Hardly! — Now “it looks like we’ve got the Creature from the Black Lagoon in the White House.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-no-populist-hes-a-swamp-monster/2017/04/17/7029a4e0-23a2-11e7-b503-9d616bd5a305_story.html

Dana Milbank writes in an op-ed in today’s WashPost:

“Last year, Mark Meckler, one of the founders of the tea party movement, had concerns about Donald Trump but gave the Republican nominee the benefit of the doubt, because Trump “at least says he’s going to attack” the crony-capitalist system.

Now the conservative activist has revised his opinion. Trump “said he was going to D.C. to drain the swamp,” Meckler said in a recent Fox Business interview, but “now it looks like we’ve got the Creature from the Black Lagoon in the White House.”

For everybody else who believed Trump’s populist talk about tackling a rigged system, it’s time to recognize you’ve been had. The president of the United States is a swamp monster.

The billionaire has embraced a level of corporate control of the government that makes previous controversies involving corporate influence — Vice President Dick Cheney’s attempt in 2001 to keep secret the names of industry officials who participated in his energy task force, for example — seem quaint by comparison.

. . . .

Steven Aftergood, who runs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, said Trump’s actions are testing “the character of the U.S. government” and raise the possibility of the government “devolving into some kind of corporate mutation where the wealthy and well-connected rule.”

Trump has made a series of policy reversals in recent days from his populist campaign positions — on Chinese currency, trade, the Export-Import Bank and more — as the nationalist influence of Steve Bannon fades. This isn’t solely because Trump has stocked his administration at the highest levels with fellow billionaires, corporate types such as son-in-law Jared Kushner and veterans of Goldman Sachs.

ProPublica and the New York Times reported over the weekend that the Trump administration is being populated with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who are making policy for the industries that had been paying them. The arrangement has violated Trump’s (already weakened) ethics rules, and the administration is secretly issuing waivers exempting the former lobbyists from rules blocking them from working on issues that would benefit their former clients. Trump White House officials had more than 300 recent corporate clients and employers, the Times reported, and more than 40 former lobbyists are now in the White House and federal government. The director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics says even he has “no idea how many waivers have been issued.”

And these corporations are set to get what they paid for.

My Post colleague Juliet Eilperin reported Sunday on some of the 168 requests corporate interests have made, and are likely to be given, for regulatory relief, many of them seeking reduced environmental protections and worker rights. BP wants to make it easier to drill in the Gulf of Mexico. The pavement industry wants a halt to research on the environmental impact of coal tar. And my favorite: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s request that employers no longer be required to report their injury and illness records electronically to the Labor Department.

This should give the lie to Trump’s claims that deregulation is about creating jobs. The Chamber is upset that the government “intends to post the injury and illness records on the internet for anyone to see,” because this “will provide unions and trial attorneys with information that can be taken out of context.” As The Post’s James Hohmann noted, Trump already signed legislation removing a rule requiring businesses seeking large federal contracts to disclose serious safety and labor-law violations.

Trump has a simple answer to those who question his attempts to conceal the corporate influence in his administration. As he tweeted Sunday in response to protests about his failure to release his tax returns: “The election is over!”

Can Trump marginalize those who question his plutocracy? Eric Liu, an expert on mobilization and author of the new book “You’re More Powerful Than You Think,” sees Trump’s abandonment of the little guy as an opening for a “nascent progressive populism.”

But be careful: You don’t have to have seen “Creature from the Black Lagoon” to know that, in the swamp-monster genre, the beast seldom goes quietly.”

****************************************

When the most “popular” things our President has done since taking office are to shoot missiles, drop a big bomb, and threaten a “rogue nation” with an unstable leader and lots of weapons, without the semblance of an achievable “end game,” you know our country is in big trouble. Big time!

PWS

04-18-17

“Don’t know much about history, Don’t know much biology, Don’t know much about science book, Don’t know much about the French I took . . . .” — Decades Of Anti-Science, Education Bashing, Dissing The Arts, And Anti-Intellectualism By The GOP Have Left Us With The Wasteland Of Donald Trump!

Quote from “Don’t Know Much About History,” Music & Lyrics By Sam Cooke http://www.songlyrics.com/sam-cooke/don-t-know-much-about-history-lyrics/

**************************************

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/04/14/daily-202-trump-doesn-t-know-much-about-history-it-s-making-his-on-the-job-training-harder/58f06ba2e9b69b3a72331e84/?utm_term=.19018fb0f4f4

James Hohmann writes in the Washington Post:

“THE BIG IDEA: Donald Trump believed he could convince China to pressure North Korea to stop its nuclear activities. Then President Xi Jinping tutored him on the history of the region.

“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized that it’s not so easy,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, recounting the session at Mar-a-Lago. “You know, I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power over North Korea. But it’s not what you would think.”

This comment is funny because, in 2011, Trump claimed that he has read “hundreds of books about China over the decades,” including works by Henry Kissinger, American journalists and Chinese novelists. Looking to do more business with Beijing, he provided a list of 20 books about China to Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, that he said had helped him understand the country, its politics and its people. “I know the Chinese. I’ve made a lot of money with the Chinese. I understand the Chinese mind,” Trump said six years ago. His list had some surprising titles on it, including “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.”

Color me skeptical that Trump has read anything by Amy Chua.

— Even if he has, the fact our president needed an introductory tutorial on Sino-Korean relations to understand how hard it is to contain Pyongyang is just the latest illustration of one of his blind spots: He and his inner-circle have very little sense of history.

— It is a cliché, but there is truth to it: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

— Trump has committed several small but memorable faux pas since the inauguration:

He mentioned Abraham Lincoln during a fundraising dinner for the National Republican Congressional Committee last month. “Most people don’t even know he was a Republican,” Trump said. “Does anyone know? Lot of people don’t know that!” (Most likely, every person in the ballroom knew and has attended at least one Lincoln Day dinner.)

On Lincoln’s birthday in February, Trump tweeted out an obviously fake quote from the 16th president: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” He later deleted it.

Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice,” he said at a Black History Month event. (Douglass died in 1895.)

“Have you heard of Susan B. Anthony?” he asked at a Women’s History Month reception in March.

In January, Trump said Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) – who is best known for almost getting beaten to death as he marched on Bloody Sunday in Selma – is “all talk, talk, talk – no action or results.” There are things Lewis could be fairly criticized for, but no one who knows anything about the civil rights movement would agree that being “all talk” is one of them.

— Those four gaffes were tailormade to go viral on social media, but the president has made other comments that perhaps better underscore his lack of depth on U.S. history. Only someone who doesn’t understand the ugly history of the 1930s, for example, could have so wholeheartedly embraced “America First” as a mantra, let alone made it a rallying cry in his inaugural address. The slogan was first popularized by Nazi sympathizers.

— Trump has embraced Andrew Jackson as his political idol, hanging his portrait in the Oval Office and even flying to Nashville on his 250th birthday to lay a wreath on his tomb. In a speech there, he identified with the seventh president because he took on the “arrogant elite.” “Does that sound familiar?” Trump said with a sly smile.

Yet the very next week, in Louisville, the president claimed the mantle of Henry Clay. “Henry Clay believed in what he called the ‘American system,’ and proposed tariffs to protect American industry and finance American infrastructure,” the president said in a long riff. “Like Henry Clay, we want to put our own people to work. … Clay was a fierce advocate for American manufacturing. … He knew all the way back, (in the) early 1800s, Clay said that trade must be fair, equal, and reciprocal. Boom!”

Anyone who has a passing familiarity with 19th century history knows how goofy it is to embrace both Jackson and Clay. “They were absolutely feral enemies,” Fergus Bordewich, a Clay biographer, told Time after Trump’s speech. “They absolutely hated each other. They shared almost no views in common.”

— Sean Spicer’s cringe-worthy comments this week that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s actions were worse than Adolf Hitler’s suggested a more endemic problem of historical illiteracy in the White House. The press secretary has since apologized for saying that Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people in the same way that Assad is doing.” He also referred to concentration camps as “the Holocaust centers.”

Because Spicer made his comment on the first day of Passover, the observant staff members at the Anti-Defamation League had their phones and televisions off. So they didn’t find out until Wednesday night what had happened. Leaders of the group reached out to the White House yesterday to offer a training session on the Holocaust. “The organization has taught classes on Hitler’s murderous campaign — which exterminated 6 million Jews and millions more LGBT people, Poles, socialists and others — to more than 130,000 law enforcement professionals and 35,000 teachers,” Julie Zauzmer reports. ADL is willing to offer a free session to Spicer or “anyone at the White House who may need to learn more about the Holocaust.” Spicer didn’t respond to an email about whether he’d do it.

— Trump has admitted that he is not intellectually curious. In a moment of candor, he told The Post’s Marc Fisher last summer that he has not read any biographies of presidents. He said he would like to someday but never has time. Then he explained that he does not need to read extensively because he reaches the right decisions “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense,’ because I have a lot of common sense.” Trump told Marc he is skeptical of experts because they can’t see the forest through the trees and lack his good instincts.

— This is a break with many of his predecessors. Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton all invited elite historians for private dinners at the White House. Each thought deeply about his place in history as he mulled weighty decisions. Bush, who majored in history at Yale, heavily employed historical analogies in his speeches. John F. Kennedy even hired Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to be his in-house historian.

— Trump’s very dark world view is one of the ways his lack of historical perspective manifests itself. David Nakamura contrasts how Obama and Trump see the world in a piece for today’s paper:

“Addressing the United Nations last fall, Obama took a moment to highlight for fellow world leaders what he called ‘the most important fact’ about the state of global affairs: Human existence on planet Earth is good — and getting better. War is down, he said, while life expectancy is up. Democracy is on the march, and science has beaten back infectious diseases. A girl in a remote village can download the ‘entirety of human knowledge’ on a smartphone. A person born today, Obama concluded, is more likely to be safer, healthier, wealthier and better-educated — and to see a path to prosperity — than at ‘any time in human history.’”

President Trump does not inhabit this world: “To Trump, the world is ‘a mess,’ as he said during a White House news conference this week. ‘It’s crazy what’s going on,’ Trump said. ‘Whether it’s the Middle East or you look at — no matter where — Ukraine — whatever you look at, it’s got problems, so many problems. Right now, it’s nasty.’”

“President Obama constantly reminded us that our own times are not uniquely oppressive,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian and author at Rice University. “There’s a feeling due to the 24-7 news cycle that everything is a crisis mode, when the fact of the matter is, Americans have it better now than ever before.”

During a town hall-style event with young people in Malaysia in September, Obama blamed the flow of information bombarding news consumers on televisions, computers and smartphones for making it appear “as if the world is falling apart.”“Everybody is shouting and everybody hates each other,” Obama said. “And you get kind of depressed. You think, ‘Goodness, what’s happening?’”

Trump, of course, consumes most of his news from cable television and Twitter.

What’s behind Trump’s growing flip-flops

 

President Trump is changing his tune on NATO, China’s currency, Syria and many other policies he campaigned on. The Post’s Jenna Johnson looks at why his stances have shifted now that he’s in the White House. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

— Bigger picture: One important reason the new president has flip-flopped so much in recent daysis because he has never grappled deeply or seriously with most issues. Trump has typically staked out whatever position was most politically expedient at that moment and then confidently argued for it, untethered by core convictions beyond a desire to make money, build his brand and win elections.”

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Read Hohmann’s entire piece at the above link. Trump is the logical culmination of years of “know-nothingism” by the GOP.

PWS

04-16-17