HISTORY: Paul Fanlund In Madison Cap Times: How We Got From Nixon To Trump!


Fanlund writes in an op-ed:

“When Roger Ailes died, essays about him ranged from adoring to vilifying. As creator of Fox News, he was perhaps the nation’s most influential political messenger — or propagandist — of the past 50 years.

One aspect of any honest obituary, of course, was his misogyny. Ailes was finally forced out at Fox in 2016 after years of sexual harassing women employees. His 17-year-old son threatened his father’s accusers at the funeral, warning mourners that he wanted “all the people who betrayed my father to know that I’m coming after them, and hell is coming with me.”

But what I found most interesting in immersing myself in analyses of Ailes’ life was how little his craft had to do with liberal versus conservative ideology.

Rather, Ailes was perhaps the master of the dark art of inventing and relentlessly reinforcing hateful caricatures of political opponents — in his case, people of color, bureaucrats, university professors and, of course, the media.

His brilliant execution of that art culminated in Donald Trump.

Ailes, as is widely known, learned from Richard Nixon, for whom he worked as a young television consultant. Nixon launched his political career much earlier by championing “forgotten Americans,” lunch-pail-toting working men whose fortunes, in Nixon’s telling, were stymied by taxes and regulations imposed upon them by far-away elites.

The rest, as they say, is history. Nixon appealed to his “silent majority” to stand against anti-war and civil rights protesters. Democrats opened the floodgates to Republican demagoguery by advancing civil rights. The GOP today has broadened its pool of villains to include Latino and Muslim immigrants.

The 1980s brought jolly Ronald Reagan with his fantastical stories about welfare queens, followed by George H.W. Bush’s law and order and patriotism themes, and so on.

“Individual issues would come and go — acid, amnesty and abortion in 1972, and immigration, political correctness and transgender bathrooms in 2016 — but the attacks on liberals as elite, out of touch and protective of the ‘wrong people’ came from the same playbook,” wrote David Greenberg, a Rutgers professor of history and journalism, in a New York Times op-ed on Ailes.

OK, but why does it always work?

Why are so many — especially older, white, middle-class people — so susceptible to this toxic narrative when it is clear that the trickle-down GOP policies that follow do them so little good?

Maybe, I theorize, it has something to do with how we were all taught.

I’ve talked with many friends about the flag-waving jingoism of our pre-college education, in which our nation was portrayed as perfect, our leaders without fault.

My formal education began when Dwight Eisenhower was president, an era of unfettered national pride. We were a paragon of liberty and justice and never fought in unjust wars. It was as if someone decided that American children could not process the slightest balance or shade of gray.

In this frame, Andrew Jackson was, as Trump likes to say, a glorious “swashbuckler” like himself, not a president who drove Native Americans from their homes, killing thousands in the process. Nor were we ever taught that Jackson, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other forefathers owned slaves.

It seems the goal was always to convey “American exceptionalism,” or, more bluntly, reinforce a cultish sense of American superiority.”


Fanlund’s entire op-ed, at the above link, is well worth a read!

Lots of folks don’t like it when we put US history in perspective. For example, during the “glory days” of my childhood in the 1950’s millions of African Americans throughout the nation, and particularly in the South, were deprived of the basic rights of US citizenship. This was notwithstanding the clear dictates of the 14th Amendment, which had been added nearly a century earlier.

The US and many state governments merely decided not to enforce the law of the land. So much for all of the “rule of law” and “nation of laws” malarkey purveyed by right wingers today.

Indeed, many southern states enacted discriminatory laws that were directly contrary to the 14th Amendment. And, amazingly, for the majority of the 19th and 20th Centuries, courts of law at all levels were complicit in enforcing these unconstitutional laws and ignoring the14th Amendment!



Regardless Of The Outcome Of The “Travel Ban Case,” Is The (Current) 9th Circuit Coming To An End? — GOP Has Had This On “Wish List” For Many Years — Now They Appear Positioned To Make It Happen!


Barnini Chakraborty reports in “Fox News Politics:

“As judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals weigh the legality of President Trump’s immigration executive order, a Republican push to split up the controversial court — and shrink its clout — is gaining steam on Capitol Hill.

Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona introduced legislation last month to carve six states out of the San Francisco-based court circuit and create a brand new 12th Circuit.

They argue that the 9th is too big, too liberal and too slow resolving cases. If they succeed, only California, Oregon, Hawaii and two island districts would remain in the 9th’s judicial fiefdom.

Right now, Flake said, the circuit is far too sprawling.

“It represents 20 percent of the population — and 40 percent of the land mass is in that jurisdiction. It’s just too big,” Flake told Fox News on Wednesday. “We have a bedrock principle of swift justice and if you live in Arizona or anywhere in the 9th Circuit, you just don’t have it.”

Flake says it typically takes the court 15 months to hand down a decision.

“It’s far too long,” he added.

Conservatives have mocked the 9th Circuit for years, often calling it the “Nutty 9th” or the “9th Circus,” in part because so many of its rulings have been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.”


Under the GOP proposal a new 12th Circuit would be formed consisting of Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Alaska. California, Oregon, Hawaii, and several island territories would remain in the new “Diet-Sized 9th.”




Fox News: Text Of President Trump’s Executive Order On Interior Enforcement!



Wow!  Incredibly broad!  Probably easier to determine what isn’t a priority (offhand, I’d say something like “undocumented migrants already in the United States who have lived lives completely free from any run-ins with the law” — and, there are definitely quite a few of those) than what is!

Unlike the Border Enforcement Executive Order, which specifically requires detention of arriving migrants with very narrow, case-by-case, exceptions, this order does not specifically direct immigration officials to detain all interior removal “priorities.”  But, it certainly is implicit in the President’s Order that all of the stated removal priorities “present a significant threat to national security and public safety.”  That’s probably going to result in at least a de facto “presumption of detention” in all priority cases.  And, regulations, precedents, or other directives from the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General could specifically establish such a presumption.

So, everyone arriving at the border without documentation is a priority and will be thrown in detention.  And, everyone in the interior who is undocumented and has ever been arrested, charged, or committed any crime, no matter how minor, and regardless of whether convicted, will also be prioritized, and most of them will be thrown in detention.

Consequently, almost everybody in Immigration Court will be a “Detained Priority” or an “Enforcement Priority” of some type.  That’s going to mean yet another massive re-shuffling of dockets.

And, since almost everyone will be detained, there will be even more excruciating pressure on already stressed and overwhelmed U.S. Immigration Judges to “move” these cases, without much regard to due process, because detention will be costing a fortune (and the Supremes well might place a limit on the duration of “pre-hearing” detention).

In that case, why would anybody interested in being a “real” judge who isn’t already in the system and not eligible to retire, want the Immigration Judge’s job?  Yes, I’m sure that there will be many lawyers out there who need jobs and will apply.  But, they are likely to be those who see being a “judge” in the Executive Branch under such circumstances as a law enforcement position, rather than a chance to be an impartial “umpire,” scholar, or dispenser of balanced and deliberative due process.

Perhaps, the initiative will be a huge enforcement success; the Article III Courts will sign on and basically dispense with any semblance of “normal” due process for migrants, thus allowing them essentially to be railroaded out of the U.S.  Obviously, that’s what the Administration is counting on.

Alternatively, however, the Article III Courts might “dig in” and insist on scrupulously fair hearings, thereby essentially grinding all enforcement to a halt and forcing massive “re-dos” of already “expedited” and “prioritized” cases.  In that event, the  initiative will turn out to be a colossal and incredibly expensive failure.

I suspect that the Supremes will have to sort this out in the fairly near future.  In the past, a Supreme Court with the late Justice Antonin Scalia sitting frequently vindicated the rights of migrants against attempted Government overreaching by Administrations of both parties.  So, it’s by no means a “given” that a Supreme Court with a disciple of Justice Scalia as the new Justice would necessarily endorse all aspects of the President’s enforcement initiatives.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

And, surprisingly, particularly to those who think that this is a “great” idea, the answer may affect the due process rights of more than just migrants.  You never know when you yourself might be in need of a little due process.  It often happens to those who least expect it.

Meanwhile, “back at the ranch,” not only is it a great time not to be a refugee, but it’s a really great time to be retired from the USG (and, the U.S. Immigration Court, in particular).




Fox News: DACA Might Not Be On Trump’s Chopping Block, According To Priebus!


Fox News Politics reports:

“President Trump has no immediate plans to use his executive powers to undo the Obama administration’s order that protects some young illegal immigrants known as “dreamers,” White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus made clear Sunday, in previewing the new administration’s first full week.

“I think we’re going to work with the House and Senate leadership, as well as to get a long-term solution on that issue,” Priebus told “Fox News Sunday.” “I’m not going to make any commitments to you, but … I’m obviously foreshadowed there a little bit.”


Never a dull moment!  This seems to be moving along the lines that congressional columnist Nolan Rappaport had predicted in The Hill and on this blog.

Perhaps the Trump Administration will advance its own version of the “Dream Act” to put this issue to rest so that it can concentrate on enforcement initiatives.  And, President Donald Trump appears to be better positioned to promote a final resolution of this issue with Congress than President Obama was during the final six years of his tenure.

A burst of pragmatism with a dash of humanitarianism thrown in would be a great, and, frankly, not widely anticipated, start for the new Administration in addressing the complex interrelated issues of migration, law enforcement, national security, and fundamental fairness. Harnessing and keeping the talents, energy, determination, courage, and intellectual/vocational firepower of these fine young people for America would be a huge step in promoting an even greater future for our country, as President Trump has promised.  Stay tuned!