Only love can break your heart

I’ve been impressed by how many right-wing pundits — George Will and Robert Kagan stand out — are so freaked out and upset about Trump that they’re willing to be anti-Trump all the time and note devote any columns to fragging Hillary. Meanwhile, the professional centrists continue to treat Trump and Hillary as two sides of the same coin:

Why is the convention so negative? For the same reasons next weeks’ Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia likely will be an anti-Trump orgy.

[….]

Shouts of “fascist” from the convention floor, for example, would be the Philadelphia analogue of “Lock her up!” Smug dismissals of Trump’s populist approach and policies might be viewed by undecided voters as an indictment of them.

Ron Fournier and Matt Bai aren’t upset that the country could devolve into a fascist dictatorship under Trump (note: I don’t think it probably would, but some on the right make a good case that it might). It would just be further proof of the corrupt duopoly derp derp and, anyway, they have plenty of money so it probably wouldn’t hurt them much.

A lot is made about how the country has become too polarized and angry. Well, fury can be misdirected but being mad as hell is at least a sign that you give a fuck.

In the comments a few times, some of you have mentioned studies that show that people can’t make decisions if the part of the brain that deals with emotion is incapacitated. I hate to go into Boboish pseudoscientific gibberish here, but I do think that sober-minded, nonpartisan, objective blah blah blah analysis has its limits. That it’s not just that Ron Fournier is a sociopathic asshole but that the whole nonpartisan project is doomed to failure.



Time To Take Acting President Mike Pence Seriously

Francisco_Goya_-_Night_Scene_from_the_Inquisition_-_Google_Art_Project

From The New York Times:

One day this past May, Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reached out to a senior adviser to Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who left the presidential race just a few weeks before. As a candidate, Kasich declared in March that Trump was “really not prepared to be president of the United States,” and the following month he took the highly unusual step of coordinating with his rival Senator Ted Cruz in an effort to deny Trump the nomination. But according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?

When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?

“Making America great again” was the casual reply.

Two obvious thoughts:

First:  the Trump folks can’t be bothered to hide the con, not even a little.

Every Trump voter out there, know this:

Remember:  in any good confidence game, most of the work is done by the sucker.  So you Trump voters?  You’re marks. Chumps. Just the latest in the long, long line of folks whom the ferret-headed Mussolini-of-Queens-County has played for losers.  You think you’re electing a tough guy who can get things done? He tells you himself that’s bullshit.

Second: as we confront the FSM-help-us-and-save-us possibility that Trump actually wins come November, who Pence is, what he thinks, and what he wants to do are much more important than they should be, more vital even than the Cheney history would remind us.

And that should scare the living piss out of us.  “Scare” isn’t the right word, actually.  Try “terrify.”  With Trumpismo as the public face of the United States and a theocratic, misogynist, bigoted incompetent administrator with zero effective knowledge/experience of the world beyond our borders in charge of domestic and foreign policy?….

Heed the words of Master Bruce:

.
Image: Francisco de Goya, Night Scene from the Inquisition1810


Tell that fucking bullshit to the tourists

I often tell people that national American politics primarily about race, that no one cares about smaller government or individual rights or any of that crap, and that the proof of this is that white southerners voted overwhelmingly for Democrats before the Civil Rights era and now vote overwhelmingly for Republicans. This George Wallace quote tells you all you need to know:

“You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.”

There’s other stuff around the edges, people like a good economy and dislike disastrous wars, but when it comes to basic party allegiances in the main, everything boils down to race and attitudes about it. The end.

The southern strategy was the smart move (Nixon was always smarter). But it was a strategy and let’s not pretend it’s a coincidence that the Republican party became dominated by white identity politics.

When I say this out loud in real life, anyone who has even a little bit of totebagger in them looks at me like I was Ward Churchill. I don’t mean just the “David Brooks has a good point” dead-enders, I mean even the moderate totebaggers (the ones we should arm).

So fuck all that “oh no, Donald Trump is such a sad turn for the party of Lincoln”. Atrios says it well:

You know, they haven’t actually been hiding it. Even that nice Mr. Brooks isn’t, you know, nice. Respectable demeanor is not the same thing as nice. They’ve been all about kicking the poors and the blahs and the gays and the whoever they can get the press to see as a “sides disagree” issue (are black people stupid? the two sides disagree) that week as long as I can remember. Trump just isn’t as well-trained and he does not give a fuck. There are plenty of reasons to dislike Trump, but most of those are reasons to dislike most Republicans. With Trump, the people who think they should and do run the country worry they’ll lose control. That’s the main difference.



Got to kill em to civilize em

Or asshole of the week award nomination:

Hmm, isn’t he supposed to be a conservative with a respect for institutions that work even if they don’t work well and a healthy suscipian of outsider experts smashing a system and imposing externally solutions that don’t have internal stakeholder buy-in.

Nope, just Col. Blimp at work.



Thursday Evening Open Thread: Still At It

Dude must be aware that his predictions have become a standing joke, right? When even the VDare white supremacists start rolling their eyes, surely Bill ‘Always Rong’ Kristol must realize he’s worn out his patter, right?

You’d think he’d step aside, if only for the sake of the rising generation of Repub japesters…

And I want to win the lottery, if only I could remember to buy the tickets. My chances, still better!

Apart from mocking the Repubs, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



The Politicization of Policy

Earlier today the Supreme Court, in a 4-4 deadlocked ruling pertaining to President Obama’s Executive Order pertaining to the status of the parents of American citizens or legal residents who are in the country illegally, issued the following ruling: “The judgement is affirmed by an equally divided Court.” In the short term this means that the original District Court ruling, affirmed by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, stands. It is unclear whether this means that the President will seek to enforce his executive order to not deport the parents of American citizens or legal residents outside of the 5th Circuit or not. The ruling is partially the result of Texas and 25 other states shopping for a sympathetic District Court Judge, which is why they filed it in Brownsville, not Austin the state capitol. It demonstrates both the challenges of a divided Supreme Court and the politicization of policy.

While Speaker Ryan has issued a statement lauding the decision and claiming it as a victory for the Constitution and Congress, specifically under Article 1, this is simply part of the politicization of this particular policy. And that comes at a price. Both in lives affected and in dollars spent. The reality that no one wants to mention when discussing the President’s DAPA and expanded DACA order to defer deportations for specific, low risk classes of undocumented people in the US, and which demonstrates why Speaker Ryan’s claiming victory for Article 1 and the Congress’s power to write the Law, not the Executive Branch, misses the point is that Congress did write the Law. Congress made it a misdemeanor to improperly enter the US; specifically entering in an undocumented capacity without papers while avoiding immigration control. Unlawful presence, overstaying one’s visa or not leaving the US and returning to one’s home country when one is supposed to is not actually a crime at all. The Executive Branch, however, has to administer (execute) this law. But here’s where the rubber of making Law hits the road of enforcing it: Congress also has to provide the ways and means.

Currently Congress only appropriates enough money for the Department of Homeland Security to deport approximately 450,000 undocumented immigrants that have illegally entered or overstayed their visas. This is not something new. Congress never appropriates enough money to deport everyone who has entered illegally or overstayed their visas. The cost for trying to identify, round up, and deport all of the estimated 11 million undocumented people – both improper entry and unlawful presence – in the US right now is estimated at no less than a $100 billion and up to $600 billion. As a result every Presidential Administration has had to prioritize who to focus on. The focus is always on those who have been arrested and/or previously convicted of engaging in violent crimes or who are tied to human or drug trafficking or terrorist/extremist organizations. And this makes sense from a domestic, public policy standpoint: focus on those who present the greatest potential threat to the US, American citizens, legal residents, and those visiting the US. What Speaker Ryan, Governor Abbot of Texas and his 25 colleagues from when he was the Texas Attorney General, Federal District Court Judge Hanen, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the four Supreme Court Justices that voted to uphold the lower court rulings against the Administration’s Executive Orders have chosen to ignore is that tomorrow the Obama Administration still only has enough Congressionally appropriated funding to deport 450,000 people in the US illegally. And tomorrow the Department of Homeland Security is still going to have to prioritize who they focus on – the parents of an American citizen who other than the Federal misdemeanor of improper entry or the not an actual crime at all of unlawful presence are otherwise law abiding or the guy trafficking women for the sex trade.

We’ve reached this moment of policy and juridicial stupidity because both the President and those opposing his policy of prioritization politicized the issue. The President publicly announced the policy of placing the parents of US citizens and legal residents on the low priority list for deportation, which provided them with an effective exemption. President Obama did this as part of a strategic communication strategy to signal to an important constituency that he, and the Democratic Party, were not going to forget them even if Congress was unable or unwilling to act. The House GOP majority, as well as twenty-six Republican controlled states, responded by also strategically communicating to their constituencies that they would sue the President to overturn his Executive Order to ensure that the Law was administered and that only Congress, as Article 1 states, can write Law. The issue, which was already politicized, was dialed up to 11.

There is no way of knowing if, had the President not publicly announced what he was doing, the GOP House Majority or one or more of these 26 Republican governed states would have still objected as vehemently or opposed the President’s actions through a lawsuit. Moreover, there isn’t equal guilt for politicization on both sides. Until or unless Congress appropriates more funds for deportations, which they do not seem to be inclined to do, the Obama Administration, and any subsequent administrations, will only have the funding – the means – to identify, arrest, detain, and deport 450,000 undocumented people per year. No matter what Judge Hanen, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, or the Supreme Court rules, tomorrow the Department of Homeland Security, part of the Obama Administration’s Executive Branch, will still have to prioritize who to deport. I fully expect that they will continue to prioritize their efforts on those accused of and/or convicted of violent crimes, as well as those suspected to be trafficking drugs and people or of being affiliated with extremist or terrorist organizations. Focusing on less dangerous cohorts among the undocumented would create an actual threat to the safety and security of the US, its citizenry, its legal residents, and those visiting for work, school, or enjoyment.



No Longer Breaking News that was Poorly Reported and Lost in the Shuffle: CNN & Hillary Clinton’s Email Edition

Last Friday CNN reported that:

The FBI has not yet interviewed Clinton as part of its investigation. As CNN first reported, investigators have not found evidence to support criminal charges against Clinton and none are expected, but no final determination will be made until that interview has taken place.

This was the fifth paragraph of a longer report dealing with emails about the US drone program. The context was of State Department officials emailing Secretary Clinton about the drone program, which is classified, during the Winter holidays (Christmas to New Years) in 2011 while on leave, away from the office, and unable to access the classified email systems, but still having to conduct their work. It is also spillage – the information was sent to her, she did not go and take classified information and purposefully place it into an unclassified email. This CNN report got lost in the shuffle over the weekend, for obvious reasons, but its important to highlight it nonetheless.