The U.S. Immigration System May Have Reached a Breaking Point

“Experts say the president is not wrong when he says that ‘legal loopholes’ in America’s immigration system are partly responsible for encouraging migrants to bring children on a dangerous journey that in some cases ends in tragedy.”

Of course, Trump is not correct about the fact that these people are drug lords, terrorists and criminals. They are almost all just poor people, often ill people, desperate for a better life. The only real danger they represent consists of the diseases they carry.

“The majority of our agents get sick. Infectious disease is everywhere. There’s always scabies in there. Usually we have chickenpox. We have tuberculosis in there. You name it, it’s probably been through that building. So it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous for our agents. It’s dangerous for the detainees that don’t have anything.”

The distinction between Trump’s perception and reality seems irrelevant, because the real point is just that there are too many of them and our system can no longer process them effectively. As the FNYT reports: “The flow of migrant families has reached record levels, with February totals 560 percent above those for the same period last year.” Trump may be confused about the nature of the danger, but he seems to be correct that the danger is real.

And the most depressing element of this situation is that nobody seems to have a solution, and the few ideas that might be tried are rejected by one side of the aisle or the other, so the backlog just keeps piling up.

Heads-up in advance: I am not kidding …

“Filings by the department since June 2017 reveal a new interpretation that ‘would permit the president – and all federal officials – to accept unlimited amounts of money from foreign governments, as long as the money comes through commercial transactions with an entity owned by the federal official.'”

Yup, that’s right. Our government officials can take all the foreign bribes they want as long as the foreign governments don’t actually hand them the checks. According to this interpretation, it is literally true that if Joe President owned a bank, he could accept unlimited amounts of “interest payments” from foreign investors.

The esteemed professor of medicine, Donald J. Trump, again settled the scientific debate.

In this case, there’s not even a debate. He just manufactured this from whole cloth, and it is wacky even by his own high standard of wackitude. “Cancer is not caused by noises of any kind. A power source that does cause many health problems, including cancer, is coal, an extremely dirty fuel Trump loves and has attempted to bolster.”

For Richard Nixon, the fatal “third rail” was his secret tapes. For Trump, it may be his secret tax returns.

That issue will test the true resolve of Congress to show its independence. While they can’t jail the President, they can cite Mnuchin for contempt of Congress, and the courts have been sympathetic to that in the past.

A close parallel happened in 1982, after the director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Anne Gorsuch Burford, refused to hand over documents related to the mismanagement of a $1.6 billion toxic waste superfund. When Congress passed a citation for contempt, the U.S. attorney refused to prosecute, asking a federal court to instead rule the citation unconstitutional. The court refused, so President Reagan’s team had to give up the documents to keep Burford out of jail.

I think we know that Trump will not follow Reagan’s example and give up the documents to keep Mnuchin out of jail, so hilarity should ensue! I think a little jail time for Mnuchin would be fun for everyone!

Well, maybe not everyone, but certainly for me!

To be fair, ol’ Munchkin didn’t actually say he would refuse the request. That’s just how people have interpreted his statement. He said, “We will examine the request and we will follow the law … and we will protect the president as we would protect any taxpayer.”

The vote was 420-0

This is not binding on anyone, really, but the fact that no Republican voted against it demonstrates the resolve of Congress to establish its oversight cred.

By the way:

“Four Republicans — Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky — voted ‘present.'”

The media kinda failed to see this coming, and so did I (because they did)

Up until the last minute, I kept reading that five Republicans would defect. I didn’t see a single “wise” pundit who predicted the number would be anywhere near the twelve who crossed over.

Now I’m starting to question one of my deeply-held beliefs, which is that there is no chance to get 67 senators to vote for conviction in an impeachment trial. The surprising tally of 59 in this vote is starting to get tantalizingly close. Maybe, and I stress that is still only a remote chance because our lawmakers rarely vote on conscience over political expedience, but maybe it is possible to get 67 votes to convict if there is a solid mass of evidence for some obstruction of justice charges. Although we cynics of the world are right almost all of the time, there’s still that pesky “almost” in the sentence. The Congress does occasionally fool me by doing the right thing.

Of course, the cynic in me thinks “Nah, they’re not doing the right thing. They’re just worried that some future Democratic president will use his emergency powers for something they don’t like that really is an emergency!”

That’s the smart play. She said: “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.”

This echoed the words of 443 legal scholars who wrote a joint letter to Newt Gingrich in 1998. It read:

“The House’s power to impeach, like a prosecutor’s power to indict, is discretionary. This power must be exercised not for partisan advantage, but only when circumstances genuinely justify the enormous price the nation will pay in governance and stature if its President is put through a long, public, voyeuristic trial.”

I agree with that, but I would add one more clause to the last sentence: “especially one which offers absolutely no possibility of a conviction in the existing Senate.”

And the Senate will not change until Trump himself is up for re-election, so the only way to beat him is at the ballot box.

Pelosi may be standing on a correct principle, but more important, she is being pragmatic. The House Democrats can only lose by impeaching Trump. A show trial in the Senate is not only divisive, but it could not produce a conviction, and might energize Trump’s supporters for the next election. Moreover, the ultimate verdict would allow Trump to crow that he was totally exonerated, offering him political advantages, and solidifying his supporters’ perception that he has been unfairly harassed.

Continue reading “Nancy Pelosi: “I’m not for impeachment””

Do not underestimate Trump. He won in 2016 with an amateur campaign, just on the force of his personality and ideas. He will be even more formidable with an organized and professional infrastructure behind him.

He will lose the popular vote, but that doesn’t really matter if he focuses on his path to victory. He can easily win a majority of the electoral votes if the Democratic candidate isn’t smart and disciplined enough to campaign in the battleground states and avoid wasting time in the states where the result is a foregone conclusion.

NOTE: An updated version of that map should include Michigan, Minnesota, Georgia and Pennsylvania as well. Those four, plus the purple ones in the map, are the only states that really matter in a presidential campaign. Just about everything else is predetermined.

(I guess you could include Maine if you want to be really picky.)

So, how did Trump do in that map of the “real” America. He kicked ass.

Continue reading “Trump’s massive reelection campaign has 2016 themes — and a 2020 infrastructure”

The House passed an anti-hate resolution

“Be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) rejects the perpetuation of anti-Semitic stereotypes in the United States and around the world, including the pernicious myth of dual loyalty and foreign allegiance, especially in the context of support for the United States-Israel alliance;

(2) condemns anti-Semitic acts and statements as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States;”

And so forth.

Read the full bill here.

It’s innocuous enough. It’s basically, “We think hate is bad.” 234 Democrats and 173 Republicans voted for it. It passed 407-23.

Trump condemned it.

Continue reading “Trump comes out pro-hate”

Ilhan Omar ripped former President Barack Obama in an interview published Friday, belittling his ‘pretty face’ and saying his agenda of hope and change was an illusion.”

The right-wing hate-o-sphere must be so-o-o-o conflicted right now. Sure, they want to hate her because of Islam, but first David Duke praises her for her alleged anti-semitism, and now she goes full Limbaugh on Obama. She might end up getting re-elected as a Republican.

That is a very wise decision. His advisors should tell him to stick to it.

He has absolutely nothing to gain from debating, and a lot to lose. He must stay in control of the circumstances, and any debate format involves a loss of control and a necessity to share the mic.

His hard-core supporters tend to watch Fox News, which always presents the president in the best light. It doesn’t matter what kind of scandals are exposed on the other networks, because his base doesn’t watch them. But if the debate is on CNN, his followers will be watching, and that gives CNN a chance to tell them the truth. Moderators will be asking and following up on tough questions, and analysts will be correcting his false statements with facts.

No matter what other decision he makes, he definitely should not agree to a debate format with a live audience. His schtick doesn’t work without his hand-picked, low-information audiences. The statements that work at his rallies might well be laughed at by a randomly-selected audience, much as they were at the U.N. And I don’t think he understands how to modify his routine to fit the circumstances. He seemed genuinely surprised when they laughed at him in the general assembly.

UPDATE:

Whatever that means.

Can anyone give me an example of an impeachable offense that is a perfectly legal action?

Mind you, I know that an impeachable offense is whatever Congress says it is. A Senate vote to convict is not subject to judicial review or any kind of appeal. If they choose to, the Senate can remove Trump for his ridiculous hairstyle.

But setting that aside and assuming that our lawmakers respect the Constitution, what is an example of an impeachable offense that is non-criminal? Should a president be impeached for, let’s say, breaching a contract (which would be civil rather than criminal)? Parking in a handicapped spot? Dereliction of duty? Being drunk on the job? Failing to supervise a subordinate? Conduct unbecoming (let’s say throwing around the “n” word as an example)? General incompetence?

To me, the full wording “treason, bribery, or OTHER high crimes and misdemeanors,” implies that the “other” things would be roughly as important as treason and bribery, or in other words, a President should only be impeached for “really serious shit,” and that other matters are to be decided by the voters, not the Congress. What say ye?

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For further discussion, click on “continue reading.”

(Sorry. It’s a rather abstruse discussion, I’m afraid, and completely joke-free. I probably approached this too seriously for my little “fun” blog.)

Continue reading ““There can be crimes that are impeachable offenses and impeachable offenses that are not crimes.””

“For the Democrats to interview in open hearings a convicted liar & fraudster, at the same time as the very important Nuclear Summit with North Korea, is perhaps a new low in American politics and may have contributed to the ‘walk.’

First of all, “MAY have”? You don’t know? Well, who does? Gee, if only there was somebody you could ask about whether Cohen’s testimony affected your decision to walk.

Second, contributed how? Is The Donald really saying he was so upset with Cohen that it altered his mood and made him walk out on Kim? What a wuss!

Third, if that is what he’s saying, why is it bad? He has been defending the “walk” as the right thing to do. So is he saying that Cohen and the Democrats got him to do the right thing? Or is he now saying that walking was the wrong thing to do, and the mean old Democrats made him do it? This time I can’t even figure out what he is driving at.

Finally, it’s probably not that wise for Trump to remind everyone that Cohen lied under oath, because the alleged lie was saying that Trump was not involved with Russia. If Cohen was lying when he said that, then Trump WAS involved in negotiations with Russia about deals that would eventually require Putin’s OK, and therefore ultimately affected every position he took, and every statement he made, concerning either Russia or Putin. In fact, it would be in Trump’s best interest to argue that Cohen did NOT lie to Congress. (It would be best for Trump if Cohen had told the truth to Congress, but that would not be accurate because Cohen did lie. Then again, when did Trump ever care about accuracy?)

Fuck ’em.

Everyone is always angry about everything now.

I read a lot of tweets attacking Jones as a sell-out, but not a single one arguing that he was incorrect on the substance of his comments. All he did was to praise conservative leaders for doing something right. That’s not selling out. That’s calling it fair. He’s a newsman, and they should be like referees. When somebody does something right, they shouldn’t pretend it never happened.

The reality is that we should stealthily encourage the conservatives to take the lead on issues like that, because if liberals did, the conservatives would crap all over them. Only Dick Nixon could have normalized relations with China, because if anyone else had done it, Nixon would have called him a traitor. It’s good that Donald Trump works toward normalizing relations with North Korea, because the world would be safer if NK were a modern, peaceful country, but if Obama had started moving in that direction, the right-wing wackosphere would have gone ballistic.

I’ll tell you right now – if Trump would champion powerful gun control laws, even I would gladly sing his praises and fully support a Nobel Prize. (I suppose that’s a third rail for his base, but damn, if he wants us to think of him as truly Presidential, that would show guts and leadership, and would go a long way toward winning me over.)

Yeah, yeah. I know it ain’t gonna happen.