The War on Blue America

The story about Trump’s proposed immigrant-dumping in so-called “sanctuary cities” broke last night. Unless a rogue drone snatches the clump of hair off Trump’s noggin, or Javanka are exposed as masterminds of a global kitten-pelt purveying ring, or “acting” WH Chief of Staff Mulvaney discards his skin suit to reveal himself as a razor-toothed alien life form (not scenarios that can be discounted in this administration), that story deserves wall-to-wall media play. From The Post:

White House proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes

White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries, according to Department of Homeland Security officials and email messages reviewed by The Washington Post.

Trump administration officials have proposed transporting detained immigrants to sanctuary cities at least twice in the past six months — once in November, as a migrant caravan approached the U.S. southern border, and again in February, amid a standoff with Democrats over funding for Trump’s border wall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco was among those the White House wanted to target, according to DHS officials. The administration also considered releasing detainees in other Democratic strongholds.

It’s outrageous on so many levels. First, there’s the basic indecency of a proposal to transport frightened, desperate people to distant cities and dump them like so many stray dogs. We rightly revile and criminally charge people who treat unwanted pets this way, and here’s the White House pressuring federal agencies to do this to human beings.

It’s particularly scandalous considering that Trump demonizes immigrants constantly, routinely portraying asylum-seekers and immigrant detainees as murderous gang members bent on marauding through our streets in search of young blond women to rape and kill.

So, if we take Trump at his word about the character of the people in our custody, Trump tried to loose violent criminals on unsuspecting populations for the crime of electing Democrats. By his own lights, that’s a direct violation of Trump’s duty to protect U.S. citizens — all of us, not just MAGA chuds.

It’s also important to remember that this is consistent with Trump’s other actions to wage war on non-supporters. There’s the Trump administration’s absolutely catastrophic failure to assist fellow Americans who live in Puerto Rico, contrasted with Trump’s March 4th tweet about Alabama:

FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes.

That tweet barely caused a blip in the media, despite the clear implication that the POTUS personally directs which grade of “treatment” devastated communities receive in the wake of natural disasters from the taxpayer-funded organization charged with assisting ALL Americans.

Then there are the provisions in that plutocratic grab-bag of a tax bill that specifically target people in blue states by imposing property tax caps, which will eventually have the effect of tanking local education budgets.

There’s also the citizenship question ruse in the proposed U.S. Census questionnaire, which was designed to reduce the headcount and political power of states like California and New York. There’s the lowering of auto emission standards to depress green job growth. The list goes on.

The Republican presidents I personally have clear memories of include Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. They were all terrible. But all at least gave lip service to the notion that they had a duty to serve all Americans.

Their awful policies harmed huge groups of voters, including minorities, women, the disabled, young people, etc. But I can’t recall them obsessing over maps and drawing up plans to surgically strike back at entire regions of the country that gave electoral votes to an opponent.

It’s outrageous, and it’s a danger to the country. But this is the Trump administration, so I guess it’s just Friday.

Cold Grey Pre-Dawn Open Thread: Old, Alone, and Bitter


Also, WHY IS THA GUBMIT BOTHERIN MY GUYS (who possibly have different opinions about workers who were not born in Iowa, or even America)?!?

The most senior Senate Republican is warning the White House not to oust another top immigration official, making appeals to the administration against dismissing Lee Francis Cissna, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, amid a purge of Homeland Security leaders.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said he was “very, very concerned” regarding reports that Cissna could be next in a series of rapid-fire DHS dismissals that began late last week when the White House suddenly pulled the nomination of Ronald Vitiello, who had been tapped as director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement…

Grassley had already worked closely with Cissna, who had been detailed from the administration to work on the Senate Judiciary Committee when the Iowa Republican served as its chairman. Other Grassley alumni hold senior positions at the citizenship agency, including Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, who is the chief of USCIS’s Office of Policy and Strategy.

“The president has to have some stability and particularly with the number one issue that he’s made for his campaign, throughout his two and a half years of presidency,” Grassley said. “He’s pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal.” …

Earlier Monday, Grassley said he texted Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, to relay his concerns about Cissna’s potential departure. Once the two men got on the phone, Mulvaney said he would look into the issue, according to Grassley.

“He didn’t seem to know who I was talking about,” recalled Grassley, whose top aides were also talking with senior White House staff about those concerns. Asked whether he wants to speak with Trump directly on the matter, Grassley said: “I’ll see if it’s necessary.”

Grassley also said he was going on Fox News — Trump’s favored cable news channel — to make his case publicly. Cissna was confirmed in October 2017 on a 54-to-43 vote.

The GOP senator was also critical of Stephen Miller, a senior White House adviser who has been one of the leading voices within the administration that has lobbied for the wholesale housecleaning at DHS.

“I think it would be hard for him to demonstrate he’s accomplished anything for the president,” Grassley said. When asked to elaborate, the senator chuckled and added: “It’s pretty hard to elaborate on it when there hasn’t been any accomplishments.”

I suspect that what Grassley really wants — just like his constituents — is for the kids to come back to the Heartland(tm), marry a member of the opposite sex and the same ethnicity, and start producing kids who aren’t half-breeds, weirdos, and/or Catholics. But since he’s accepted that’s not gonna happen soon enough, he at least wants to be sure he can find folks to pick the crops, work the production line, and clean the toilets at a price he considers affordable. Trump’s dementia-fueled meltdown and the Konservative Klown Korps taking advantage of their Oval Office occupation are making life just that much harder for Sen. Chuck, and the old man is not having it.

Me, I’m just rooting for injuries curious to see which side Mitch McConnell decides to support. Because McConnell’s Repubs, after all, are the party of Pecunia non olet

Quadrupling Down on Cruelty

Some additional reporting support’s Cheryl’s point downstairs that Trump is flailing, specifically on immigration. According to NBC News, it was Nielsen’s refusal to reinstate the family separation policy that led to her ouster:

President Donald Trump has for months urged his administration to reinstate large-scale separation of migrant families crossing the border, according to three U.S. officials with knowledge of meetings at the White House.

Trump’s outgoing Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, resisted — setting her at odds with the president.

Trump has been pushing this policy since January, the sources said, when the numbers of undocumented immigrants crossing the border began to rise.

A senior administration official said it seems Trump is convinced that family separation has been the most effective policy at deterring large numbers of asylum-seekers.

The acting secretary, Kevin McAleenan, hasn’t ruled out reinstating the policy, which is why he’s in and Nielsen is out. As for Nielsen, it will really piss me off if the Beltway bozos try to make a martyr of her. I hope Jeffrey Toobin will set the tone:

He said she deserves the lousy reputation she’ll have for the rest of her life, and he’s correct. Nobody made her take that job, implement horrendous policies and lie to defend her shitty boss.

If Nielsen could have done more to circumvent the legal protections asylum-seekers are afforded and/or hide the cruel practices of the agency she led, she would have done so. Trump will likely install another toady who will also fail.

The real problem is that Trump’s own rhetoric created a crisis at the southern border where none existed. People in desperate circumstances hear rumors of a wall going up, remittances (frequently the difference between having food or not) being shut down, etc., and they think, “Now or never.”

The New Yorker has a great three-part piece on factors driving immigration from Guatemala. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating in a thousand ways but well worth a read. The first part of the series is here.

Let’s hope our 2020 contenders are prepared for the coming shitstorm around immigration. Julián Castro was on Pod Save America last week and outlined his vision for a sane approach to immigration, as well as other issues. Even if he’s not the nominee, Castro’s ideas on immigration deserve a wider hearing within the party (and Warren’s on fighting corruption, etc.).

Buckle up, folks. It’s going to get even uglier.

Another Day in the Third Year After the End of the American Century

I’m sure Stephen Miller’s and Kirstjen Nielsen’s parents are so proud…

Open thread!

Nielsen on Capitol Hill

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is before a Congressional committee right now. Here’s the live stream:

Democrats will ask her to explain her lies about the administration’s family separation policy, complicity in spreading the fake border emergency lie, the status of the thousands of immigrant children kidnapped by the Trump administration, etc.

Republicans, presumably, will chivalrously defend her honor.

Open thread!