OPTIMISTS’ CORNER: Thinking Ahead To A Post-Trump World! — WashPost Book Review: “One Nation after Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported” by E.J. Dionne, Jr., Norman J. Ornstein, and Thomas E. Mann!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/imaginative-optimism-about-life-in-america-after-trump/2017/09/15/b8b3cc00-94c6-11e7-8754-d478688d23b4_story.html?utm_term=.b261a1306421

Reviewer Beverly Gage writes:

President Trump is not forever. At some point in the not-too-distant future, he will no longer be president, and it will be time to asdamage and begin the recovery process. We don’t know when this will happen: this year or next, in 2021 or 2025. And we don’t know how it will occur: impeachment, resignation, being voted out of office or simply finishing out two terms. But it will happen, and the people in the best position to take advantage of that moment will be those who are already thinking about where we ought to go next. [Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.] That is the imaginative task behind “One Nation After Trump,” a dense but good-spirited and thoroughly readable exercise in envisioning a better America. The book is a team effort by three well-respected Beltway thinkers: the liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr., the American Enterprise Institute’s more conservative Norman J. Ornstein and Ornstein’s longtime co-author Thomas E. Mann, of the Brookings Institution. Their bipartisan — or, perhaps, tripartisan — work seems intended to send the rest of us a message: It’s time to find some common ground before obstructionism, demagoguery, fake news and racial resentment become the dominant features of our national politics. They call upon the old but good Latin phrase “E pluribus unum” to express those aspirations. “Out of many,” they hope, Americans can still find a way to act as “one.” The book begins with an assessment of the 2016 election, asking how on earth we ended up with our reality-star “Normless President.” Its emphasis is less on Trump, however, than on the long-term structural and cultural changes that made his election possible. The authors have no patience for a “both sides” argument about the degradation of our political culture. They lay the blame firmly within the Republican Party, where a process of “radicalization” that began in the 1980s has now resulted in a “Jurassic Park”-style disaster, with the creators of that change unable to control their own monster. “One Nation After Trump,” by E.J. Dionne Jr. and Norman Ornstein (St. Martin’s Press) While Republicans in general — and conservatives in particular — come in for censure, the authors also stress how seemingly neutral aspects of our political system have conspired in recent years to produce an ominous trend toward undemocratic “minority rule.” The electoral college is perhaps the most obvious example; in two out of the past five presidential elections, the popular-vote winner lost the electoral count. Add to this partisan gerrymandering and the two-senators-per-state rule, and we begin to see a national government that does not fully reflect the will of the national majority. In 2012, the authors note, Democrats won 50.5 percent of the major-party votes in House elections but only 46.2 percent of the seats. And such statistics only begin to capture the scope of the challenge. The same structures that weight votes heavily toward rural and Republican areas also discourage voting in the first place, forever reminding individual voters that they don’t matter unless they live in a few key swing states or congressional districts. So what is to be done? If the book’s first half focuses on the sorry state of things today, the second half focuses on how to not make the same mistakes in the future. The authors claim to be genuinely — if tentatively — hopeful about what Trump’s election may ultimately yield for American civic life. “We believe that the popular mobilization and national soul-searching he has aroused could be the occasion for an era of democratic renewal,” they write. But that will happen only if Trump’s opponents across the political spectrum come up with “a hopeful and unifying alternative.” The authors present an impressive list of policy ideas designed to do just that and perhaps even to dispel some of Trump’s allure within the MAGA base. They make a distinction between the “legitimate” (read: economic) grievances of Trump voters and the illegitimate expression of those grievances in the politics of racial and nativist resentment. They chastise Democrats for paying insufficient attention to the real pain of working-class voters, sidelined for decades by deindustrialization and now by an incomplete recovery from the financial crisis. But they insist — rightly — that any attempt to address those problems cannot come at the expense of other social justice movements. Many of their proposals are at once ambitious and reasonable, attempts to make the government work better for its citizens and to deliver a measure of economic justice to those left behind. They group these ideas into a Charter for American Working Families, including a GI Bill for American Workers, designed to revive the all-but-dying dream of economic mobility, and a Contract for American Social Responsibility, aimed at getting corporations to take their public obligations seriously. “Warm feelings are not the same as coherent policies,” they warn. At the same time, they can’t help but dream that the two need not be mutually exclusive. It is hard to object to much about these plans, with their emphasis on fairness and comity and partisan goodwill. And yet there is something incongruous about the authors’ belief that good policy, judiciously presented, will yield the desired political transformation. As the authors note, one of the more depressing lessons of the 2016 election was that policy simply didn’t matter much. Nobody, including his own voters, thought Trump had much policy expertise. On the campaign trail, however, his abuse of wonks and elites and bureaucrats seemed to work in his favor.”

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

Read Gage’s complete review, with original and much better formatting, at the link.

I’ve made the point before that those of us who believe in the goodness of America and the strength of a nation based on diversity of backgrounds, cultures, and talents, that is, the majority of Americans, have somehow found ourselves in the unhappy position of being governed by a President and a Party that largely represent the disonent views of a (often unjustifiably) “disgruntled minority” that does not share that vision. There is actually plenty of room for that minority to peacefully coexist and prosper in the majority worldview; but little room for the more humane and tolerant views of the majority in this minority’s crabbed and too often largely self-centered worldview.

Somehow, over time, that has to change for our country to continue to move forward and accomplish great things for ourselves and, perhaps even more important, for others throughout the world. And, there will always be plenty of room for that “disonent minority” regardless of how long it take them to, or if they ever do, “see the light.”

PWS

09-16-17

 

DEMS ARE “PIPE DREAMING” IF THEY BELIEVE THAT TRUMP’S SUPPOSEDLY HISTORICALLY LOW POLL NUMBERS WILL ADD UP TO DEM VICTORY AT POLLS — Without Any Charismatic Leader Or Hugely Popular Program, Dems Appear Slated To Wander In The Wilderness Until Trump Destroys The Entire Country!

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/13/teflon-trump-democrats-messaging-242607

Edward-Isaac Devore writes in Politico:

“Democrats tried attacking Donald Trump as unfit for the presidency. They’ve made the case that he’s ineffective, pointing to his failure to sign a single major piece of legislation into law after eight months in the job. They’ve argued that Trump is using the presidency to enrich himself and that his campaign was in cahoots with Russia.

None of it is working.

 

Data from a range of focus groups and internal polls in swing states paint a difficult picture for the Democratic Party heading into the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election. It suggests that Democrats are naive if they believe Trump’s historically low approval numbers mean a landslide is coming. The party is defending 10 Senate seats in states that Trump won and needs to flip 24 House seats to take control of that chamber.

The research, conducted by private firms and for Democratic campaign arms, is rarely made public but was described to POLITICO in interviews with a dozen top operatives who’ve been analyzing the results coming in.

“If that’s the attitude that’s driving the Democratic Party, we’re going to drive right into the ocean,” said Anson Kaye, a strategist at media firm GMMB who worked on the Obama and Clinton campaigns and is in conversations with potential clients for next year.

Worse news, they worry: Many of the ideas party leaders have latched onto in an attempt to appeal to their lost voters — free college tuition, raising the minimum wage to $15, even Medicare for all — test poorly among voters outside the base. The people in these polls and focus groups tend to see those proposals as empty promises, at best.

Pollsters are shocked by how many voters describe themselves as “exhausted” by the constant chaos surrounding Trump, and they find that there’s strong support for a Congress that provides a check on him rather than voting for his agenda most of the time. But he is still viewed as an outsider shaking up the system, which people in the various surveys say they like, and which Democrats don’t stack up well against.”

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

Read the complete article at the link.

Don’t forget that Trump has seldom “polled well” except among his base. He never really crossed the 50% mark in any credible polls (assuming that any polls were in fact credible, something cast into doubt by the 2016 Election) even on Election Day. But, that hasn’t stopped him from becoming President and won’t necessarily stop him from being a 2-term President.

If nothing else, Trump has proved that a fanatic base, properly distributed across the U.S., can allow him to exploit the peculiarities of the US system to win elections without ever being “the people’s choice.” According to this article, there is little reason to believe that voters will hold either Trump or the GOP accountable for their lackluster performance at governing. Indeed, it’s entirely possible that the GOP will wake up the morning after the November 2018 Elections with even bigger majorities in the House and Senate.

PWS

09-13-17

CNN’S TAL KOPAN: The Good Guys Take The Field — File Suit To Protect Dreamers!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/06/politics/daca-trump-states-lawsuits/index.html

Tal reports:

“Washington (CNN)Conservative states may have boxed President Donald Trump into announcing an end for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — but Democratic state attorneys general are already fighting back.

A coalition of 16 Democratic and nonpartisan state attorneys general filed suit in New York federal court on Wednesday to stop Trump’s sunset of DACA — the Obama-era program that protected young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from being deported — and they say Trump’s comments about Mexicans should be used against him.
The groups laid out five different constitutional arguments against Trump’s move, saying it was motivated by discriminatory reasons, that it violated due process by being “fundamentally unfair,” and that it violated laws that dictate procedures for federal regulations.
The lawyers note that most DACA recipients are of Mexican origin and devote a whole section to inflammatory statements Trump has made about Mexicans, including his attacks on a federal judge of Mexican descent.
“As President Trump’s statements about Mexico and those with Mexican roots show, the President has demonstrated a willingness to disparage Mexicans in a misguided attempt to secure support from his constituency, even when such impulses are impermissible motives for directing governmental policy,” the attorneys general wrote.
Trump’s statements as a candidate and President have been used against him in previous lawsuits, most notably challenges against his travel ban earlier this year.
The lawsuit also devotes a section to Texas, the state that pushed Trump to end the program, using a section to describe Texas as “a state found to have discriminated against Latinos/Hispanics nine times since 2012.”

Trump on Tuesday moved to sunset the DACA program, acting in response to a threat from 10 states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent in late June, threatening Trump that they’d sue in an unfriendly court if the President didn’t end the program by September 5.
The President said his administration would not accept any new DACA applications from Tuesday onward and that any two-year DACA permits expiring after March 5, 2018, would not be renewed.
Now, those state officials’ Democratic counterparts are hoping they can have the opposite effect on the administration, succeeding in the courts to reinstate the program that has protected nearly 800,000 young people in its time and currently has nearly 700,000 people enrolled.
“Immigration is the lifeblood of New York State,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “The Trump administration’s decision to end DACA is cruel, inhumane, and devastating to the 42,000 New Yorkers who have been able to come out of the shadows and live a full life as a result of the program.”
“I filed suit against President Trump and his administration to protect DACA because Dreamers are just as American as first lady Melania Trump,” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement.

Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley said the department is ready to defend itself.
“As the attorney general said yesterday: ‘No greater good can be done for the overall health and well-being of our Republic, than preserving and strengthening the impartial rule of law,'” O’Malley said. “While the plaintiffs in today’s lawsuits may believe that an arbitrary circumvention of Congress is lawful, the Department of Justice looks forward to defending this administration’s position.”

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

Read Tal’s complete article at the link.

I agree with Steve Yale-Loehr and other experts that Federal Courts (other, of course, than Judge Hanen in Texas) usually are reluctant to get into the area of prosecutorial discretion (“PD”). During my “Legacy INS” days, we successfully fended off numerous attempts to judicially review PD.

There were two areas, however, where we sometimes got “pushback” from Federal Judges. One involved claims of systematic racial, political, or nationality bias in PD decisions. The other involved claims that the Government had promised foreign nationals PD as an inducement for testimony or evidence in connection with criminal investigations.

Both of these appear to be implicated here. Indeed, Sessions’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino rant from yesterday, replete with demonstrable misrepresentations and unfounded innuendo, should be a “treasure trove” for plaintiffs.

Additionally, as I pointed out in a blog from earlier this week, some Federal Judges are already on record as finding unfairness in the DHS practice of soliciting applications for humanitarian relief and then using the application information as proof of removability. The overwhelming majority of DACA applicants were not in enforcement proceedings. The came forward to USCIS voluntarily in response to a Government campaign urging them to apply and promising that application information would not be used against them.

In the past, the racially charged bombastic statements of Trump and his minions have been very useful to plaintiffs in making out a case of invidious motivation.

Finally, the claim that the Sessions DOJ is interested in  preserving and strengthening the rule of law might well provoke laughter in the courtroom. And, Sessions won’t be able to prosecute Federal Judges for reacting to his disingenuous claims the same way he can threaten his activist critics. Indeed, I can only hope that the Federal Judge assigned to this case is astute enough to note that such a ridiculous claim is being made in behalf of a President who consistently disrespects the Federal Judiciary and whose sole act of  clemency to date has been to pardon the notorious racist scofflaw “Sheriff Joe” who was held in  contempt of Federal Court. “Rule of law” indeed!

PWS

09-06-17

 

 

 

 

SARAH POSNER IN WASHPOST: Trump, Base, White Nationalist Agenda Virtually Grarantee Kelly’s Failure, Demise!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/08/07/john-kelly-is-doomed-to-fail-the-reason-why-isnt-what-you-think/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-d:homepage/story&utm_term=.ed3335ab0013

Posner writes:

“But that’s not the real reason he cannot succeed. Rather, it’s because Trump’s base, and in particular, his media and social media base, thrives on West Wing dysfunction that is rooted in what is portrayed as an existential battle between Trump’s “nationalist” staff and advisers, and the dreaded “globalists” in his midst. Because Trump has displayed no real interest in taming that beast, and in fact seems to relish feeding it, any effort by Kelly to slap Trump’s hand away from Twitter will have little impact on the persistent unrest roiling the White House.”

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

Read the complete op-ed at the link. I have been predicting for some time now that Kelly’s association with the congenital liar and bully Trump and his gonzo White Nationalist agenda will lead to a badly tarnished reputation.

We’ll see. But seems to me that Posner has it pegged about right (or, perhaps, “alt right”).

PWS

08-08-17

Continue reading SARAH POSNER IN WASHPOST: Trump, Base, White Nationalist Agenda Virtually Grarantee Kelly’s Failure, Demise!

POLITICS: CAROL ANDERSON IN THE NYT: TRUMP CHANNELS WHITE RESENTMENT — “policies . . . based on perception and lies rather than reality . . . nothing new!”

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/08/05/opinion/sunday/white-resentment-affirmative-action.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20170807&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=13&nlid=79213886&ref=headline&te=1&referer=

Anderson writes in the NYT Sunday Review:

“White resentment put Donald Trump in the White House. And there is every indication that it will keep him there, especially as he continues to transform that seething, irrational fear about an increasingly diverse America into policies that feed his supporters’ worst racial anxieties.

If there is one consistent thread through Mr. Trump’s political career, it is his overt connection to white resentment and white nationalism. Mr. Trump’s fixation on Barack Obama’s birth certificate gave him the white nationalist street cred that no other Republican candidate could match, and that credibility has sustained him in office — no amount of scandal or evidence of incompetence will undermine his followers’ belief that he, and he alone, could Make America White Again.

The guiding principle in Mr. Trump’s government is to turn the politics of white resentment into the policies of white rage — that calculated mechanism of executive orders, laws and agency directives that undermines and punishes minority achievement and aspiration. No wonder that, even while his White House sinks deeper into chaos, scandal and legislative mismanagement, Mr. Trump’s approval rating among whites (and only whites) has remained unnaturally high. Washington may obsess over Obamacare repeal, Russian sanctions and the debt ceiling, but Mr. Trump’s base sees something different — and, to them, inspiring.

Like on Christmas morning, every day brings his supporters presents: travel bans against Muslims, Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in Hispanic communities and brutal, family-gutting deportations, a crackdown on sanctuary cities, an Election Integrity Commission stacked with notorious vote suppressors, announcements of a ban on transgender personnel in the military, approval of police brutality against “thugs,” a denial of citizenship to immigrants who serve in the armed forces and a renewed war on drugs that, if it is anything like the last one, will single out African-Americans and Latinos although they are not the primary drug users in this country. Last week, Mr. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions put the latest package under the tree: a staffing call for a case on reverse discrimination in college admissions, likely the first step in a federal assault on affirmative action and a determination to hunt for colleges and universities that discriminate against white applicants.

That so many of these policies are based on perception and lies rather than reality is nothing new. White resentment has long thrived on the fantasy of being under siege and having to fight back, as the mass lynchings and destruction of thriving, politically active black communities in Colfax, La. (1873), Wilmington, N.C. (1898), Ocoee, Fla. (1920), and Tulsa, Okla. (1921), attest. White resentment needs the boogeyman of job-taking, maiden-ravaging, tax-evading, criminally inclined others to justify the policies that thwart the upward mobility and success of people of color.

. . . .

Part of what has been essential in this narrative of affirmative action as theft of white resources — my college acceptance, my job — is the notion of “merit,” where whites have it but others don’t. When California banned affirmative action in college admissions and relied solely on standardized test scores and grades as the definition of “qualified,” black and Latino enrollments plummeted. Whites, however, were not the beneficiaries of this “merit-based” system. Instead, Asian enrollments soared and with that came white resentment at both “the hordes of Asians” at places like the University of California, Los Angeles, and an admissions process that stressed grades over other criteria.

That white resentment simply found a new target for its ire is no coincidence; white identity is often defined by its sense of being ever under attack, with the system stacked against it. That’s why Mr. Trump’s policies are not aimed at ameliorating white resentment, but deepening it. His agenda is not, fundamentally, about creating jobs or protecting programs that benefit everyone, including whites; it’s about creating purported enemies and then attacking them.

In the end, white resentment is so myopic and selfish that it cannot see that when the larger nation is thriving, whites are, too. Instead, it favors policies and politicians that may make America white again, but also hobbled and weakened, a nation that has squandered its greatest assets — its people and its democracy.

PWS
08-07-17

TRUMP & GOP EXTREMISTS DECLARE WAR ON AMERICA: Xenophobic, Racist Agenda Also Attacks Young & Old — CNN’S TAL KOPAN BREAKS DOWN WHAT RAISE ACT REALLY DOES!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/02/politics/cotton-perdue-trump-bill-point-system-merit-based/index.html

Tal writes:

“Under the plan — if approved by Congress, which will be a heavy lift — the highest point-getting candidate, for example, not including special circumstances, would be a 26- to 31-year-old with a US-based doctorate or professional degree, who speaks nearly perfect English and who has a salary offer that’s three times as high as the median income where they are.
Have an Olympic medal or Nobel Prize? That will help too.
A candidate must have at least 30 points to apply.
Here’s how the points would be doled out:

Age

Priority is given to prime working ages. Someone aged 18 through 21 gets six points, ages 22 through 25 gets eight points and ages 26 through 30 get 10 points.
The points then decrease, with someone aged 31 through 35 getting eight points, 36 through 40 getting six points, ages 41 through 45 getting four points and ages 46 through 50 getting two points.
Minors under the age of 18 and those over the age of 50 receive no points, though people over 50 years old are still allowed to apply.”
*****************************************
Read Tal’s complete article at the link.
PWS
08-03-17

JUST WHAT AMERICA DOESN’T NEED RIGHT NOW: Lower Levels of Legal Immigration — Trump/GOP’s White Nationalist Agenda Would Likely Tank Economy, Reduce Tax Base, Increase Border Pressures, Increase Refugee Deaths!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/08/02/trump-gop-senators-to-introduce-bill-to-slash-legal-immigration-levels/?utm_term=.4f699ce139fd

David Nakamura reports in the Washington Post:

“Trump’s appearance with the senators came as the White House moved to elevate immigration back to the political forefront after the president suffered a major defeat when the Senate narrowly rejected his push to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The president made a speech last Friday on Long Island in which he pushed Congress to devote more resources to fighting illegal immigration, including transnational gangs.

The event on Wednesday illustrated the president’s efforts to broaden his push to reform border control laws beyond illegal immigration. Trump called the changes to legal immigration necessary to protect American workers, including racial minorities, from rising competition for lower-paid jobs.

“Among those who have been hit hardest in recent years are immigrants and minority workers competing for jobs against brand new arrivals,” Trump said. “It has not been fair to our people, our citizens and our workers.”

But the bill’s prospects are dim in the Senate, where Republicans hold a narrow majority and would have difficulty getting 60 votes to prevent a filibuster. The legislation is expected to face fierce resistance from congressional Democrats and immigrant rights groups and opposition from business leaders and some moderate Republicans in states with large immigrant populations.

Opponents of slashing immigration levels said immigrants help boost the economy and that studies have shown they commit crimes at lower levels than do native-born Americans.

“This is just a fundamental restructuring of our immigration system which has huge implications for the future,” said Kevin Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy for the Center for Migration Studies. “This is part of a broader strategy by this administration to rid the country of low-skilled immigrants they don’t favor in favor of immigrants in their image.”

Other critics said the Raise Act, which maintains the annual cap for employment-based green cards at the current level of 140,000, would not increase skilled immigration and could make it more difficult for employers to hire the workers they need. And they noted that Canada and Australia admit more than twice the number of immigrants to their countries as the United States does currently when judged as a percentage of their overall population levels.

“Just because you have a PhD doesn’t mean you’re necessarily more valuable to the U.S. economy,” said Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy. “The best indication of whether a person is employable is if someone wants to hire them.”

Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst at the CATO Institute, wrote in a blog that the bill “would do nothing to boost skilled immigration and it will only increase the proportion of employment-based green cards by cutting other green cards. Saying otherwise is grossly deceptive marketing.”

Groups that favor stricter immigration policies hailed the legislation as a step in the right direction. Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, said the Raise Act “will do more than any other action to fulfill President Trump’s promises as a candidate to create an immigration system that puts the interests of American workers first.”

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

If Stephen Miller and Roy Beck favor it, you can be sure that it’s part of a racist agenda.

PWS

08-02-17

 

THE HUMAN COST OF GONZO POLICIES!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trumps-travel-ban-is-leaving-these-orphans-stuck-in-refugee-camps/2017/07/28/58195d24-6d52-11e7-8fb5-d101fa38cebd_story.html?utm_term=.c1979f167906&wpisrc=nl_buzz&wpmm=1

Justin Wm. Moyer reports in the Washington Post:

“The tranquil home of James Isaacs, an Episcopal priest, and wife Maggie Brewinski Isaacs, a pediatrician, sits on a hill above a creek on 5½ wooded acres in suburban Maryland. Inside, an unoccupied bedroom awaits a refu­gee ready to join the family.

But the 16-year-old girl, blocked by the Trump administration’s travel ban, is stuck in an Ethio­pian refu­gee camp and might never see the room.

“The children ask us when their big sister is going to arrive,” James Isaacs said of his sons, ages 4 and 2, one of whom was adopted from South Africa. “We are left in this time of uncertainty because of the administration and the Supreme Court decision.”

The girl, from the East African nation of Eritrea and identified to The Washington Post only by her initials “M.T.” to protect her privacy, is an “unaccompanied minor refu­gee” — a young, displaced person without a parent or guardian who is seeking refuge in the United States.

Jimmy Isaacs, 4, left, and his brother, Joseph, 2, play on the bed inside the room that the family prepared to foster an “unaccompanied minor refugee” from Africa. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

A painting is seen inside the room that Irene Stevenson prepared to foster an “unaccompanied minor refugee” from Africa. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

On July 19, the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration’s travel ban to stand, leaving about 100 unaccompanied minor refugees stranded overseas. The decision comes after months of judicial back-and-forth over the ban, casting doubt on the children’s plans to live in the United States.

“They are youth that are on their own,” said Autumn Orme, a director at Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area, which works with unaccompanied minor refugees. “I find it pretty extraordinary that they are managing this all on their own. These are children that don’t have parents to care for them.”

The result: M.T., an orphan who fled child labor in Eritrea two years ago and was approved by the State Department to live in the United States, remains in legal limbo.

“Not only is she missing out now, we’re missing out,” Isaacs said.

The Isaacs family is not the only one with an empty bedroom after the ban.”

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

Read the rest of the stories at the link.

So what kind of country bars vulnerable kids in need while letting the real threats to our national security — Trump, his family, and his cronies — have free rein at the seat of Government? Trump, his family, and some of his advisers probably wouldn’t be able to pass the type of security screening to which overseas refugees are subjected.

PWS

07-28-17

BREAKING: GOP’s WAR ON AMERICANS’ HEALTH CARE DEFEATED, AGAIN — SENS COLLINS, MURKOWSKI, McCAIN STAND TALL FOR AMERICA — MISOGYNIST GOP, CHURLISH PREZ HURL INSULTS, THREATS! — Also Give Dems Credit For Hanging Together To Save Lives, At Least For Now!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-gop-leaders-work-to-round-up-votes-for-modest-health-care-overhaul/2017/07/27/ac08fc40-72b7-11e7-8839-ec48ec4cae25_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_healthcare-140a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.60f100ad6021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/female-senators-are-increasingly-on-receiving-end-of-insults-from-male-officials/2017/07/27/6b0b6078-72d7-11e7-9eac-d56bd5568db8_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_gopmen-817pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.7aab9ead18ac

Excerpts from two reports from the Washington Post:

“Senate Republicans suffered a dramatic failure early Friday in their bid to advance a scaled-back plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, throwing into question whether they can actually repeal the 2010 health law.

Their latest effort to redraw the ACA failed after Sen. John McCain’s decision to side with two other Republicans against President Trump and GOP leaders. The Arizona Republican, diagnosed with brain cancer last week, returned to Washington on Tuesday and delivered a stirring address calling for a bipartisan approach to overhauling the ACA, while criticizing the process that produced the current legislation.

It was a speech that laid the groundwork for Friday’s dramatic vote.

The vote was 49 to 51 — all 48 members of the Democratic caucus joined with McCain and Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to block the legislation.”

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

“Republican female senators whose disapproval of the GOP health-care effort has at times endangered its progress are facing an increasingly pointed backlash from men in their party, including a handful of comments that invoked physical retaliation.

In the past week, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) has been challenged by a male lawmaker to a duel. She and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) were told that they and others deserve a physical reprimand for their decisions not to support Republican health-care proposals. Murkowski, who voted with Collins against starting the health-care debate this week, was specifically called out by President Trump on Twitter and told by a Cabinet official that Alaska could suffer for her choice, according to a colleague.

The language of retribution increasingly adopted by Republican men reflects Trump’s influence and underscores the challenges GOP women can face when opposing the consensus of their party, which remains dominated by men, outside experts said. A videotape of Trump surfaced during the campaign revealing him bragging in vulgar terms about groping women, and some believed that opened the gates for further insults and degrading behavior toward women.

“Masculine dominance in the Republican Party is not only in numbers but in culture,” said Kelly Dittmar, a scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University and the author of “Navigating Gendered Terrain: Stereotypes and Strategy in Political Campaigns.”

“When the person who is supposed to be the leader of the party shows it’s okay to use those sorts of attacks, whether they are specifically gendered or not, that is something that catches on at other levels,” Dittmar said. “We see it in the [elected officials] who feel it’s okay to say things like this.”

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

Gee, are there only three adults in the “romper room” that passes for the Senate GOP? According to NBC’s Chuck Todd on Today, at least a dozen GOP Senators were “secretly relieved” that McCain vetoed the bill. What happened to their backbones? Whatever happened to governing for the good of the country, rather than trying to make good on boneheaded campaign promises? How much taxpayer money has the GOP wasted with its endless bogus votes to repeal Obamacare and the ongoing legislative circus they have been staging? Probably enough to pay for health care in all the rural counties in America.

Oh, and the threats to let Obamacare tank (that’s the latest version of Trump(we don’t)care)? Those hurt most would be the poor and struggling folks out there in Trumpland. Interesting that Democrats were willing to stand up for them, even though the folks in Trumpland were not willing to stand up for the rest of us Americans. Yeah, and no amount of Kris Kobach, Mike Pence obfuscation and outright lying can change the fact that the majority of Americans voted against the Trump Circus in the first place.

I’ve read lots of articles about how the rest of us need to be kind, compassionate, and understanding of the needs and situations of those who voted for Trump. Generally, I agree with that. It’s one country, and we should take care of everyone, including those who have differing ideas and those who can’t take care of themselves. But, as the GOP would say, at some point there has to be at least a little sense of personal responsibility. Don’t the folks who irresponsibly voted for a supremely (and obviously) unqualified individual to occupy the highest office in the land, and compounded the problem by putting a party that can’t (and never really has been) able to govern in power, bear any accountability for the disaster that has followed?

And one more thing. Could we please have a moratorium on articles about the “legislative genius” of Mitch McConnell?

PWS

07-28-17

 

HISTORY: In January 1972, A.G. John Mitchell Sat In His Paneled Office At The DOJ, Puffed On His Pipe, And Listened To Plans For A Whacko Criminal Conspiracy (Which Sent Him To Jail) — Since Then The Vaunted “Independence” Of The DOJ Has Been More Myth Than Reality — Trump Wants To Make The DOJ Part Of His Corrupt Political Empire — GOP Pols Talk Big But Do Little When It Comes To Standing Up To America’s Corruptor In Chief!

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/07/27/jeff-sessions-is-the-canary-in-the-coal-mine-215424?cid=apn

Joshua Zeitz writes in Politico:

“President Trump’s condemnation of his own attorney general may seem bizarre and unprecedented, but here’s something many in America’s gobsmacked chattering class are forgetting: The vaunted independence of the Justice Department took over a century to build, and it’s a far more fragile institution than we realize.

The spectacle of Trump attacking Jeff Sessions, one of his earliest and most stalwart supporters, as “beleaguered” and “unfair” is certainly jarring. The president seemingly cannot help but vent his frustration over the attorney general’s decision to step aside in the Department of Justice’s probe into Russian election interference—a step that led indirectly to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. If Sessions “would have recused himself before the job,” Trump told the (“failing”) New YorkTimes. “I would have said ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’”

The prospect that the president might fire Sessions, whose immigration policies and draconian approach to law enforcement are anathema to the left, places Democrats in an unusual position. They despise the attorney general but find themselves bound to protect the independence of his office. But the real test lies with Republicans, who have largely looked the other way as Trump has laid waste to one political norm after another. Will they draw a sharp line in the sand, or bury their heads in it?

It took well over a century for the office of the attorney general to accrue the very power and independence that Trump now stands poised to blow up. Originally a minor position with little authority or autonomy, over the years the AG emerged as the nation’s top law enforcement official and a key adviser to the president. The office withstood considerable strain in the latter quarter of the 20th century. But like so many civic institutions today, it is imperiled precisely because it is largely the product of traditions, and administrative rules that capture those traditions, rather than permanent statutes or laws. Once broken, it may not be so easily reassembled.”

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

Read the complete article, which contains a fascinating short history of the DOJ, at the link.

Washington was, in fact, built on swampland with Tiber Creek running through it. I’m sort of expecting that the old swamp will just open up again some day and swallow Trump and the whole corrupt mess surrounding him.

PWS

07-27-17

 

 

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S WAR ON AMERICA — Proposals To Restrict Student Visas & Reduce Legal Immigration Will Hurt Economy, National Standing

These articles from today’s Washington Post highlight three “gonzo” immigration proposals driven by the Trump Administration’s white nationalist agenda.

First, the proposal to require nonimmigrant students in the U.S. to apply for annual extensions of stay would roll back the “duration of status program” for students — arguably the single best and most mutually beneficial efficiency move in the history of INS/USCIS. It would also create chaos in student visa programs that not only keep many colleges and universities financially viable, but also fuel American innovation and technological advances in the STEM fields.

Second, proposals to make visa issuance a law enforcement function within the DHS would lead to chaos in the visa issuing program and probably will result in retaliation by other friendly nations. Visas are part of the foreign commerce of the U.S., not a domestic law enforcement program.

Finally, proposals to reduce legal immigration and further restrict legal opportunities for unskilled workers would deprive the U.S. of workers at a time when the growing economy needs them the most. This short-sighted policy would likely lead to the same type of economic stagnation that has plagued EU countries and Japan over the past several decades.

Read the articles here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-latest-nativist-trump-proposals-would-actually-hurt-american-institutions/2017/07/17/c85765fc-67eb-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html?utm_term=.570c8e41fee6

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/07/17/cutting-legal-immigration-50-percent-might-be-trumps-worst-economic-policy-yet/?utm_term=.ac7808d8383d

Restrictionist policies driven by xenophobia and racism inevitably lead to disaster.

PWS

07-18-17

COLBERT I. KING IN WASHPOST OP-ED: “Americans put Trump in the Oval Office. What does that say about the country?”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/americans-put-trump-in-the-oval-office-what-does-that-say-about-americans/2017/07/14/e6dd8996-67e8-11e7-a1d7-9a32c91c6f40_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.490e8d0e535b

King writes:

“The vaudeville show that’s running at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue didn’t book itself into the White House. Nearly 63 million Americans sent that burlesque comedy with headliner Donald Trump to Washington. That 66 million other voters thought otherwise is beside the point. Trump didn’t anoint himself president. Millions put him in office.

What does that tell us about the country?

Was hatred of President Barack Obama, fear of Hillary Clinton, outrage over America’s perceived direction enough to transfer the reins to Trump?

It’s not as if the Trump on display in the Oval Office is not the same Trump we saw on the campaign trail or on reality TV or out and about touting his businesses. He was, by any yardstick, the most unqualified presidential nominee in modern history.

Trump didn’t seize the presidency by deception. For months on end, he was out there for all voters to see, measure and judge. Some of us did offer our preelection assessments, based upon his campaign, well before time came to cast ballots.

In my view, Trump showed himself to be one who could be neither out-demagogued nor out-nastied.

Well in advance of the vote, the country heard Trump’s vile insults and claims: Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists; Obama wasn’t born in the United States and was an illegitimate president.

 

And his attacks on people. Megyn Kelly: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” Jews: “The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): “He’s not a war hero . . . I like people that weren’t captured.” My journalist colleague Serge Kovaleski, who has limited mobility in his arms: “Now the poor guy, you ought to see this guy,” Trump said, before contorting his arms in an apparent impersonation.

Trump the candidate showed himself to be an ignorant, undisciplined, ranting bully who exaggerated and lied without shame. A man who wore a tough-guy masculinity but was actually a coward, who picked on women, demeaned minorities and was thoroughly lacking in human decency.

Trump’s character defects were on full display well before the polls opened.

President Trump’s behavior in the White House has been equally as disgusting and beneath the dignity of that high office.

And now our nation’s capital is being wrenched apart by the Trump-Russia scandal and congressional and federal investigations into the Kremlin’s intrusion in the election.

The country can’t claim not to have seen this coming.”

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

Read King’s full op-ed at the link.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the Trump fiasco is that although he might be “historically unpopular,” his support in the polls has remained steady at around 35% – 40%. That means that at least 1/3 of Americans are willing to accept incompetence, dishonesty, bias, racism, xenophobia, intentional cruelty and divisiveness, nepotism, bullying, anti-intellectualism, scientific ignorance, undermining national security, and misogyny as the “new norms” in America. It essentially means that a substantial number of our fellow Americans have put themselves out of reach of rational political dialogue. That’s going to make America “tough to govern” no matter who wins the next round of elections.

PWS

07-15-17

“LACKS CREDIBILITY” — That’s A Federal Judge’s Verdict On KRIS KOBACH, The White Nationalist Kansas Elected Official Leading The Trump-Pence Voter Suppression Effort!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kris-kobach-sanctions_us_595d4d60e4b0d5b458e7ce73

Sam Levine reports in HuffPost:

“In a Wednesday ruling, [Judge James P.] O’Hara denied Kobach’s request for a motion for reconsideration because he was introducing new arguments he hadn’t used before.

“Significantly, defendant never represented, as he does now, that his misstatements were the result of editing errors. The court declines to grant reconsideration based on this explanation ‘that could have been raised in prior briefing.’ In any event, this new excuse lacks credibility based on its late assertion (which appears to be an attempt at a second bite at the apple) and lack of supporting documentation,” O’Hara wrote.

Kobach is the vice chair of a commission that Trump convened to investigate elections. He is also running for governor of Kansas.”

[emphasis added]

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

Read the complete article and a copy of Magistrate Judge O’Hara’s order at the link.

It’s no wonder that 44 states, including a number of so-called “Red States,” are declining Kobach’s request for information, in whole or in part, in connection with a bogus commission (and taxpayer financed boondoggle) to investigate what all credible experts and prior studies have shown to be a non-problem. Read the latest article from the Washington Post below:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/trump-voter-commission-discloses-names-of-members-plan-to-store-data-at-white-house/2017/07/06/74e454ae-625d-11e7-84a1-a26b75ad39fe_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-more-top-stories_voterdata-650pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.644cd6cad0db

Kobach’s career marked by consistent xenophobia, white nationalism, and the squandering of public resources speaks for itself.

Oh, and another thing: Judge O’Hara’s finding that Kobach’s motion to reconsider “lacks credibility” was issued in connection with a previous order sanctioning Kobach for unethical conduct. http://immigrationcourtside.com/2017/07/02/smelling-a-rat-named-kobach-many-states-decline-to-provide-voter-info-to-bogus-trump-commission-looking-for-voter-fraud-gops-well-known-voter-suppression-efforts-turn-off-many/

You can’t make this stuff up, folks!

PWS

07-06-17

 

JUSTICE WATCH: Experts See Sessions’s DOJ Joining Efforts At Voter Suppression!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/department-of-justice-voter-purge_us_595d22b1e4b0da2c7326c38b?1g9&ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

Sam Levine writes in HuffPost:

Former Department of Justice officials and voting advocates are seriously alarmed over a DOJ letter sent to states last week that they say could signal a forthcoming effort to kick people off voter rolls. This comes as national attention focuses on several states blocking a request for voter information from President Donald Trump’s commission to investigate voting fraud, which does occur, but is not a widespread problem.

The DOJ sent the letter to 44 states last Wednesday, the same day the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent a letter controversially requesting personal voter information. The DOJ letter requests that election officials respond by detailing their compliance with a section of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which covers 44 states and was enacted to help people register to vote, but also specifies when voters may be kicked off the rolls. 

Several experts said it’s difficult not to see the DOJ letter in connection with the commission’s letter as part of a multipronged effort to restrict voting rights.

Former Justice Department officials say that while there’s nothing notable about seeking information about compliance with the NVRA, it is unusual for the department to send out such a broad inquiry to so many states seeking information. Such a wide probe could signal the department is broadly fishing for cases of non-compliance to bring suits aimed at purging the voter rolls.

“These two letters, sent on the same day, are highly suspect, and seem to confirm that the Trump administration is laying the groundwork to suppress the right to vote,” said Vanita Gupta, the CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and former head of DOJ’s civil rights division under President Barack Obama. “It is not normal for the Department of Justice to ask for voting data from all states covered by the National Voter Registration Act. It’s likely that this is instead the beginning of an effort to force unwarranted voter purges.”

These two letters, sent on the same day, are highly suspect, and seem to confirm that the Trump administration is laying the groundwork to suppress the right to vote.Vanita Gupta, head of DOJ’s civil rights division under President Barack Obama.

“If this went to any individual states, I don’t think anybody would’ve blinked twice,” said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School who served as deputy assistant attorney general in the civil rights division in the Obama administration. The letter asked for public information that was uncontroversial, he added, but what made the letter “really weird” was that it was sent out to so many states.

“The Department of Justice does investigations all the time, but those are usually based on individualized predicates to believe that there’s a problem in a given area, in a given jurisdiction. And I’m not aware of a similar letter being sent to blanket jurisdictions across the country,” he said.”

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

Read the complete article at the link. The concept that “Gonzo Apocalypto” would protect anybody’s voting rights except those of white GOP leaning voters is borderline absurd. Deconstructing (and perverting) the American justice system one gonzo decision at a time.

PWS

07-056-17

POLITICS: WASHPOST OPINION: Harvard’s Danielle Allen Has Some Advice For Dems!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-should-democrats-be-trying-to-achieve-submit-your-ideas/2017/07/03/d1e06aa6-5ddc-11e7-9fc6-c7ef4bc58d13_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-d%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.90fd322b7995

Allen writes:

“By now, we should all be bored to death with despairing Democrats’ decrying the non-appeal of their “brand.” If they remembered that we were citizens, not consumers, they might bother to develop some ideas and propose to lead us somewhere, anywhere. Perhaps the anti-Trump resistance could tackle the challenge of building a positive vision. “Resist and rebuild” might be the mantra.

The original Independence Day was one of construction. By July 4, work on the Articles of Confederation and state constitutions was already well advanced. Maybe the thing to do is have a competition. Hear ye, hear ye, all Americans, what do you think Democrats should be trying to achieve? Submit your ideas!

I, for one, would love to see somebody stand up on some platform somewhere and say something like the following:

We are better than this, America. Better than this division, disdain and despair. We will chase away the clouds and let the sun shine through. The sun of honor and truth. The sun of freedom, fairness and equality.

We will connect, empower and emancipate Americans.

How? By transforming transportation, housing, criminal justice and health care.

We will get our fiscal house in order — achieving a new social contract across generations to rebalance Social Security and Medicare. With our own resources — and without Saudi infrastructure investments being arranged at the same moment that sales of arms to the kingdom are being hammered out — we’ll rebuild our transportation infrastructure. We’ll reconnect rural America to mobility and break the grip of deadening traffic on the lives of urban and suburban residents. By banishing remoteness, we’ll restore opportunity. With less time in cars, we’ll have more time for neighbors; parents will have more time for kids.

We will tackle the true housing crisis: the high cost of rent and the limited availability of affordable housing in places where there is economic opportunity. While real estate developers get rich on the tax treatment of commercial real estate losses, ordinary Americans keep taking hits. We will address underwater mortgages that continue to trap people in undesirable situations and make moving a threat to one’s retirement. An America on the move is an America empowered, firing up engines of opportunity now stalled out.

We will end the war on drugs, build universal health care and reinvest in education. Criminal justice isn’t the tool for the problem of addiction. Health care is. We can and should fight high-level traffickers, but we should emancipate those who suffer from addiction, by calling on the blessings of medicine. We can and should rally the international community against international trafficking, but we must emancipate young people entrapped as low-level employees in international cartels’ predatory distribution systems. They need pathways out — through education and jobs. And we must emancipate communities of color from mass incarceration’s devastation. We must liberalize our drug laws at last.

The time has also come for universal health care. Where Medicaid has expanded, states are better able to fight opioid addiction. When children go to school healthy, they learn better. As Thomas Paine, author of “Common Sense,” argued, everyone needs a starting kit for life. Congress has proved that our health-care system is a mess — too complicated, too byzantine — for any group of 535 honorable women and men to sort out. Let’s make it simple. Forty percent of the nation’s children are already on Medicaid. We can offer Medicaid to all.

With Medicaid for all, we can secure what most of us now recognize as a basic right: routine access to modern medicine. This should be, for all Americans, like access to our highway system. Sure, some will use toll roads for a superior journey. But the road to good health should be open to all. Empowered with a strong foundation of health and education, all Americans will at last have a shot at the American dream.

America is woven of many strands: religious and secular; black, brown and white; male, female; gay, trans and straight; rural and urban. We would recognize it and let it so remain. We will connect, empower and emancipate all Americans, new and old, the sons and daughters of ancestors who have been here for generations, the sons and daughters of those just arrived.

We ask in return that you begin to speak to each other again with civility and decency, whether online or off, and in the expectation of securing goodwill from one another. We didn’t get to be the richest, freest country in the world on a fuel of mutual disdain. What we have we’ve built with the mutual respect that makes working together possible. We ask that all Americans aspire to prove themselves trustworthy to one another, to stand beside each other, and to hope to guide one another generously, in a spirit of equality, upholding justice for all, with the grace of Lady Liberty.

We will also ask Americans to welcome a set number of new immigrants every year and another set number cycling through on work permits. We will bring order to our immigration system. But remember this: Families coming from distant lands seek us out because we are the country of good hope. This is our pride and joy. To see that hope reflected in the faces of newcomers is an honor indeed. By asking for entrance, new immigrants tell us that we have done well. We have built something of value to all humankind.

Connect. Empower. Emancipate. This is what we will do for the American people. This is what we ask you, the American people, to do for yourselves. Connect. Empower. Emancipate.

We will banish the dark. We will again lift the lamp of human dignity.”

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

I wonder how many times the word “dark” has been used to describe various aspects of the Trump Administration?

PWS

07-05-17