The President offers a “compromise” to break the stalemate

Trump said he wants to build in 2019 not a full-length wall, but merely 230 miles of wall, costing $5.7 billion dollars in the 2019 budget. That’s about right, about $25 million per mile. A group of MIT engineers estimated a cost of 27 to 40 million per mile, but that was based on his previous prototypes, which were before the new steel slat design.

So Trump is willing to trade DACA and TPS for only 230 miles of wall material which is probably sorely needed (I would have to hear from the DHS experts to change that “probably” to “definitely” or “definitely not.”) Remember the photographer who shot the entire length of the wall found areas where there was nothing at all to prevent people from simply walking in. Trump may well be right in saying we really do need another 230 miles of barriers.

Note that Trump’s proposal is just that – a proposal. An offer. A negotiation. If the Democrats really want to negotiate in good faith, in my opinion, they should submit a counter-proposal to show the American public exactly where the two sides disagree. If I were in their shoes, the first thing I would demand would be a permanent DACA solution, not a delaying action that will create this same crisis again in three years. That is management by procrastination.

The Dems could really declare a win if they agree to Trump’s deal (with DACA made permanent) by taking control of the narrative and saying – “We did not fund a border wall across the southern border. We only funded 230 miles of barriers in areas that are basically unprotected today.” That would be a major victory over Trump, whose base was expecting a shiny new wall from sea to shining sea, all paid for by Mexico.

And, of course, it would also get the government open again, and government families would again be able to pay their bills.

Just call me the Amazing Kreskin. Here is my prediction.

Trump will offer to make some concessions on other matters in order to get his border wall.

They will be meaningful and realistic concessions of a statesmanlike nature, filled with well-researched key details about where a wall is really necessary, and a willingness to take only the amount needed to build that portion of the wall, in exchange for a deal on the Dreamers. He will also offer a sincere apology for having let the stalemate go on long enough to hurt so many American families and the economy in general. He will establish himself as a compassionate man and great leader who considers the welfare of his fellow Americans more important than his own ego, thus shaming the Democrats quietly and subtly, without his usual insults and ad hominem or ad mulierem arguments.

Just kidding.

This will not be a sincere attempt to end the impasse, but will be yet another political ploy to shift blame for the shut-down. He will offer concessions that the Democrats have already rejected. When they reject them again, he will say “See, the shut-down is the Democrats’ fault. I tried.”

Now he might not do that, but that is exactly what Richard Nixon would do, and Trump frequently uses the Nixon playbook. Nixon never stopped playing politics. There was, however, a major difference between Nixon and Trump: given a choice between ruining the country or ruining himself, Nixon finally chose to step aside in disgrace to let the country heal. It happened after many attempts to lie and deflect and defend his way out of it, but ultimately he spared the country when he finally realized that he really was the dead mouse that had to be swept from America’s kitchen floor, as commentator Nicholas von Hoffman had suggested.

I don’t see Trump ever thinking that a mere country is more important than Donald Trump.

No country. Not even Russia.

That’s where America is now. We have a President with less character than Richard Milhous Nixon. How many of you guys who remember Nixon ever thought that to be even a remote possibility?

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Secondary prediction: when the Dems inevitably reject his insincere offer, Trump will first blame the Dems for the stalemate, let that sink in for a day or two, then have no choice but to play the national emergency card “for the good of the country and the safety of all good Americans.”

“Good Americans,” of course, translates as all white Americans, unless they are gay, or Jewish, or young, or have a vagina, or dislike Hannity.

He will make an exception in the vagina case if they are really hot. We do need to ensure the safety of our precious and endangered national reserve of supermodels.

I am not as confident that Trump will do this portion of the prediction, because it would require him to think two moves ahead (I’ll do this, they will respond like that, so then I’ll do this). I am not confident that he can plan that far in advance. On the other hand, he may end up deciding to do that in anger, even if it is not in his current thinking.

President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project

Mueller’s office has poo-pooed the article, or has at least established that some details are not correct.

UPDATE from the comments section:

Inside the Mueller’s teams decision to dispute the Buzzfeed article

“Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, confirmed on Thursday that he paid a small tech firm to rig online polls,”… “at the direction of and for the sole benefit of” Trump.

This sounds worse than it is. It’s SOP. ALL online polls are invalid, and since the sample is self-selecting, they are all rigged in a sense. Every one I’ve ever seen is “stuffed.”

But you have to love the details of the payoff. The Journal reported: “Cohen gave Gauger a blue Walmart bag containing about $13,000 in cash. Gauger also said that Cohen randomly included a boxing glove Cohen claimed at the time had been worn by a Brazilian mixed-martial arts fighter.”

(Cohen denies those details, thereby refuting the one and only cool thing anyone has ever said about him.)

The other great detail: Trump/Cohen were supposed to pay the guy $50,000 in total. According to the story, Trump did give Cohen the fifty grand, but Cohen only turned over $13K and pocketed the rest.

In a related detail: Cohen also hired that same firm to promote a “Cohen is sexy” campaign on Twitter. Wall Street Journal reports Cohen paid John Gauger to set up WomenForCohen account to promote him as a ‘pit bull’ and ‘sex symbol’

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Boy, if ever a client and a lawyer were meant for each other!

You go, Rudy. Soon you’ll actually fall back on the spurious Onion quote of you saying “Crime is not illegal.”

Perhaps Giuliani is right. It’s hard to keep track of his positions. He has argued that collusion is not a crime, so he obviously thought there might be some. Well, I was assuming he thinks rationally. I figured, “If he thought there was no collusion, he would not bring up the subject of whether it was criminal.” That might be logical on my part if we were talking about a sensible person, but this is Rudy.

The President, however has said many times that the campaign did not collude with Russia, the most recent being his infamous “smocking gun” tweet in December.

In the past year, the percentage of Americans approving the wall has increased from 34% to 42%. Assuming 250 million Americans of voting age, that means Trump managed, in the past year, to convince an additional 20 million eligible voters to support his position.

Among college-educated voters, support for the wall rose 13 points, from 30% to 43%. That means that college-educated voters are now slightly more likely to support the wall than those without degrees. The opposite was true last year.

“Strong” opposition to the wall has declined significantly, from 52 percent last January to 38 percent now.

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Mind you, these findings still show that the majority of Americans oppose the wall. (54-42, with 4 undecided).

It’s also worth noting that the majority of Americans blame Trump for the shutdown. About twice as many blame Trump as blame the Democrats. (53-29, with the other 18% either in the “don’t know” or “both” camps).

Americans overwhelmingly reject Trump’s depiction of the border situation as a “crisis.” Only 24% agree with that. On the other hand, another 48% call it a serious problem, so almost 3/4 of Americans believe that the border situation is a serious problem or worse. (The rest are either undecided or in the “not a serious problem” camp.)

Yeah, I can’t imagine

I can understand that some racists would believe that. It’s difficult to believe that they would articulate it outside a trusted group of fellow racists. It’s totally incredible that a U.S. congressman would be the one doing the public articulation. I just can’t imagine anyone that clueless.

For the record:

A supremacist is one who thinks one group is superior to another. Therefore a white supremacist is one who thinks the white race is superior to others.

A racist is one who believes that one race is superior to another.

In other words a white person who is a “racist” is precisely the same as a “white supremacist,” by definition.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that might be why white supremacism is recognized as offensive.

Same old. Same old. Here’s the story.

You’ll remember it was not long ago that the Democrats, then having no control of either house of Congress, offered to let Trump have the wall in exchange for permanent protections for the dreamers. Everyone seemed to think that was a fair deal, even Trump. A bipartisan deal was struck in Congress, but then Trump backed out for reasons and motivations which seemed murky. (Phone call to Hannity?)

So Trump could have had his wall funding a year ago. He completely won that exchange with the then-powerless Democrats in the sense that all he had to do was to “trade” it for something he professed to agree with anyway.

And then he didn’t.

And now 800,000 working people are without paychecks, and about half of them are still expected to work! Not to mention all the other consequences of the shutdown.

Trump claimed that former presidents have told him they should have built the border wall when they were in office. Needless to say, that was a total fabrication. You know that, I know it, Trump knows it, Mulvaney knows it, and everyone in the press knows it. So how does Mulvaney weasel out of it?

Bring back Scaramucci. The Mooch would have said, “Hey, he made that shit up to get you all worked up. Mission accomplished! Psych!” And then he would have done that thing where he pretends to extend his hand to shake yours, but instead just keeps raising the hand to smooth his hair.

She was probably expecting a softball game on Fox News.

Surprise!

“White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempted on Sunday morning to further the lie that thousands of terrorists have been stopped trying to cross the the southern border of the United States. Fox News’ Chris Wallace was ready.

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Sanders: “We know that roughly, nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Wallace said, stopping her there. “Because, I know the statistic. I didn’t know if you were going to use it, but I studied up on this. Do you know where those 4,000 people come—where they are captured? Airports.”

As Sanders replied, “Not always,” Wallace interjected and repeated, “Airports,” adding,“The state department says there hasn’t been any terrorists that they’ve found coming across the southern border with Mexico,” Wallace said.

“It’s by air, it’s by land, it’s by sea, it’s all of the above,” Sanders added, “but one thing that you’re forgetting is at the most vulnerable point of entry that we have into this country is our southern border. And we have to protect it.”

“But they’re not coming across the southern border, Sarah, they’re coming and they’re being stopped at airports,” Wallace said once again.

Christian Bale was pretty funny in general, but he definitely hit a home run by thanking “satan” for inspiring him to play Dick Cheney.

It’s just so rare for Satan to get the credit he deserves!

To be honest, Dick Cheney’s proclivity for evil is not the main thing I remember about him. The impression that immediately comes to mind is that everything he ever said was utterly wrong. From bad predictions to outright lies to ridiculous claims, he was the absolute master. Trump may say more incorrect things, but that’s because of his sheer output. Trump is occasionally right about something, but Cheney pretty much batted 1.000.

And what a pair of balls he had. He would say “I never said that” right after a reporter would play a tape of him saying exactly that – verbatim.

When Darth Cheney left office, his approval rating stood at a astoundingly low 13 percent, which probably makes him the most despised person in history ever to hold the office of President or Vice-President of the USA. Even Aaron Burr would have to high-five him on that number.

Forget those offices. What American in history would poll below 13%? Perhaps Charles Manson or the Rosenbergs would be lower, but Cheney has a chance to be the most despised American never to be convicted of a major crime. They didn’t have polls in 1865, but I’d guess that John Wilkes Booth would have polled better than 13%.

I miss Hunter Thompson in many ways, but one of my greatest regrets is that Hunter will not be around to write a eulogy for Dick Cheney like the one he wrote for Dick Nixon. I don’t know of anybody alive who has a big enough pair of balls to publish something like that in a major media source.

Interesting. I never thought about it before, but it makes a lot of sense. Gallup’s theory is that there is almost no success that will allow Trump to win over his opponents, and almost nothing so heinous that it can turn his base against him. Breaking sharply from the trends in past years, only a small portion of the population can be swayed by current events.

“Americans’ approval of the job Donald Trump is doing as president has been highly stable, showing less movement than all previous presidents’ ratings during their first two years in office. His presidency also has been notable for the absence of two historically reliable patterns in presidential job approval — honeymoon periods and rally events. It is possible that Trump … has ushered in a new era of marked stability in job approval ratings resulting from extreme party polarization.”

One of the remarkable facets of the stability of Trump’s approval ratings is this: while his low points fall within the normal range, he has no high points.

LOW points: Trump’s low of 35 is not the lowest on the list, and five other Presidents have dipped into the thirties in their first two years: Clinton, Reagan, Ford, Carter and Truman.

HIGH points: This is where Trump is unusual. Every other president has risen at least to 59 in his first two years. Nine of the Presidents crossed the 70 threshold, and four of them topped 80. Trump’s high is 45. Six former presidents have a LOW point higher than Trump’s HIGH!

As a result of Trump’s lack of high points, his average approval rating for the first two years is BY FAR the lowest in history. He has averaged 39%. The next lowest is 48%. The average for all Presidents is 59%.

I think Gallup may be reaching a hasty conclusion about Trump’s inability to create approval increases through rally events. The fact that he has not done so doesn’t mean it is not possible. I believe he could still get his ratings up with notable successes or acts of statesmanship, the equivalent of killing bin Laden or the Camp David accords. I just don’t know whether he is capable of such acts.

“Asked by Today’s Savannah Guthrie about the Department of Justice’s guidance that a sitting president cannot be indicted, Pelosi said that was not settled law.”

I have to call bullshit on that one, at least in terms of a public indictment and conviction of a sitting president. The justice department is correct in their policy, and the reason has nothing to do with the law or the Constitution. Here is why: an indictment and even a conviction does not remove a President from office. Only a Senate trial can do that.

So let’s assume the President commits murder in front of hundreds of witnesses, or is discovered to have raped someone before he took office. If he can be convicted of a crime, no matter how heinous, he is still the President and the Commander-in-Chief, and would be running the country from his jail cell. I’m pretty sure we don’t want America to be in that situation. I presume that is one reason why we have the impeachment process and the 25th amendment – to prevent just that from happening. Imagine Donald Trump in the slammer, but still controlling the mighty U.S. Military and the nuclear launch codes.

Instead of prison, I suppose he would be under (white) house arrest.

Does that mean that a President can commit any crime he wants, as long as the Senate supports him and he stays in office until the statute of limitations expires? No, I don’t think so. Pelosi may be right in a legal sense. If the President commits a crime, assuming the Senate will not remove him, and the statute of limitations will expire before he leaves office, there seems to be no reason why a court cannot issue a sealed indictment against him while he is President, with the indictment to be opened when he leaves office. I think the answer to that must be “yes, he can be indicted,” for practical reasons rather than on Constitutional grounds, because that is the only way he can be held accountable for his crime, and the first principle of justice is that nobody can be above the law.

There are probably no sealed federal indictments against Trump because Mueller’s team putatively intends to respect the “no indictment” policy of the justice department, but there could be sealed state indictments against him right now. We would not know about them.

Now our government is making it easier to discriminate?

To quote Mel Brooks: “Now what’ll that asshole think of next?”

To be fair, some of these rules do need to be clarified or modified. Case in point:

“In New York, a lawsuit alleges that a large apartment complex in Queens will not rent to anyone with a criminal record, and that this has the effect of discriminating against African American and Latino renters. The suit is pending, relying on disparate impact to make the case.”

In my opinion the principle of “disparate impact” needs to be overridden by the same BFQ rules that apply in employment law. For example, if I am hiring an actor to play Louis XIV as a teenager, I am allowed to discriminate against minorities and women and old people and post a casting call for young white males only. If I am hiring somebody who needs to be able to reach shelves eight feet in the air without assistance, I am allowed to specify that, even though it discriminates against women, who are shorter than men on average. That is called a “bona fide occupational qualification.” Bona fide qualifications should apply elsewhere as well. A landlord not wanting to rent to people who have defaulted on previous rental agreements, or who have broken into other people’s homes, or who have molested children, seems like a bona fide qualification to me, even if it would disproportionately affect minorities. (Just hypothetically. I have no idea whether it would affect any group more than others.)

However, BFQs should have to be defended in court if challenged, to prevent landlords, employers and others from establishing bogus qualifications for the sole or primary purpose of discrimination.

In the same sense that I am “essentially” as sexy as George Clooney.

Related: Trump’s most unhinged comments of the day

From the comments section:

Actually the Orange Buffoon’s most unhinged remarks were in his little mini-seminar on the relationship of Russia, Afghanistan and the USSR.

“Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan. Russia. … The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there. The problem is, it was a tough fight. And literally they went bankrupt; they went into being called Russia again, as opposed to the Soviet Union. You know, a lot of these places you’re reading about now are no longer part of Russia, because of Afghanistan”

Wow. Where do you start? As Kelly Bundy might say, “It wobbles the mind!”

I’m not opposed to border security, and a high wall may make sense in some remote areas, but Beto is right about that stretch along the Rio Grande

First, much of the land on our side is owned by private landowners, each of whom would have to be subjected to eminent domain processes. Eminent domain can be challenged in court. Not only could that be a long, dragged-out process, but if even one challenger wins, there would be a big opening in the wall! And the USA can’t just take a narrow strip of land like a railroad path. There has to be room on the river side for flood control, repairs and patrols. There also has to be room on the other side for patrols and repair crews. There will have to be a second wall built by any ranchers that have livestock in order to keep them out of the strip of federal land, and out of the way of border officers making their rounds. (That may or may not be at government expense. The ranchers and the state of Texas may have to build their own barriers from the newly-formed federal territory.)

Second, the actual border between the USA and Mexico is in the middle of the river. Therefore, any immigrants who cross the river would have reached USA territory before they get to the wall, and could then claim asylum, and/or deliver an anchor baby without even reaching the border wall! Therefore, border patrol officers would have to patrol the river side of the wall as well as the area beyond the wall.

I very much doubt that anything will ever be built there, and if it is, it will probably be far in the future.

And even if it does happen, it will cause more problems than it solves.