Trump’s Dangerous Anti-Immigrant Hysteria

Predictable as the sunrise, Twitler reacted badly to the narcissistic injury of having a court swat down another of his attempts to give force of law to anti-immigrant bigotry. The sting was amplified by timing since Team Trump is desperately cobbling together participation trophy-fodder to counter the narrative that his presidency is in shambles at the 100-day mark.

Trump went on a fact-challenged rant on Twitter this morning, blaming the wrong court and vowing ultimate victory in the SCOTUS. But the truly deranged response was a statement issued on official White House letterhead last night:

The Twitter rant and official statement are designed to “otherize” a populated swath of the country. They baldly question the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit or a judge in San Francisco to make rulings affecting “real America.” This echoes the incredulity of the diminutive racist occupying Eric Holder’s old office over the jurisdiction of a court on “some island in the Pacific,” i.e., the State of Hawaii.

But as appalling and divisive as that notion is, more ominous, IMO, is the overheated language about undocumented immigrants in this statement — the conflation of the folks who pick America’s tomatoes, design our software, landscape our office parks, excel in our finest universities, etc., with violent criminals who shoot innocent blond women for sport.

It’s based on a lie; undocumented immigrants are generally more law abiding than the native born. But worse, it’s a particularly corrosive and dangerous lie. There are valid questions about immigration law that we can and should debate. But that’s not what Trump’s doing here.

Demonizing an entire class of people amounts to a blood libel, and the murder of legal immigrants like Srinivas Kuchibhotla show how quickly lies about undocumented immigrants can infect the minds of unhinged bigots who would target anyone they see as the “other.”

History is filled with the tragic consequences of such lies. Trump traveled to the Holocaust Museum to commemorate one such consequence yesterday…the same day his press secretary issued the above statement.



Late Night Open Thread: Subtle As A Chili Fart…

… even less useful, and not quite as popular!

After all, he got his GOP arse kicked by *this* mook…

The wall, of course, was the biggest applause line for Trump throughout his campaign — often taking the form of a call-and-response with his approving crowds. And given how divisive it is, inserting it into must-pass legislation like a government funding bill seemed to be the best way to get what Trump wants…

Fast forward a little more than 24 hours, and Trump apparently abandoned that demand. With still four days to go in the funding battle, he showed his hard-line stance wasn’t so hard-line, after all. Basically, he had his bluff called — again.

He took what is likely his best chance at getting funding for something he promised to voters dozens upon dozens of times, and he didn’t even bring it close to the finish line to make Democrats sweat. Indeed, the likelihood that Congress is going to agree to fund the wall at a later date seems considerably less than it would be this week. Trump has essentially taken his wall and turned it into a metaphorical wall — substituting increased enforcement — rather than a brick-and-mortar one.

This kind of bluffing and having it called is undoubtedly something Trump is used to in the business and real estate worlds. But in the political world, you are negotiating with the same people over and over again. And the lesson of the first two big congressional debates is that when Trump says a bill must contain XYZ, he doesn’t really mean it; it’s just posturing. And that doesn’t bode well for future Trump demands….

From the Washington Post‘s pages to Murphy the Trickster God’s ever-cocked ears, she said piously.



More Rain for the Fail Parade

Via CNN:

Judge blocks part of Trump’s sanctuary cities executive order

Washington (CNN)A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing a threat to take away funds from sanctuary cities — the latest blow from the federal judiciary to President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda.

In a ruling delivered Thursday, Judge William H. Orrick sided with Santa Clara, the city of San San Francisco and other cities, who argued that a threat to take away federal funds from cities that do not cooperate with some federal immigration enforcement could be unconstitutional.

Velveeta Voldemort was reportedly so angry he transformed Bannon into a ferret, performed a Cruciatus Curse on Conway and made Spicer chug the Drink of Despair so he could check the status of a locket Horcrux.



Surely the Germans have a word for this…

I’ve long thought we’d be better off if the entire Beltway media contingent were summarily converted to Walmart greeters and their papers’ foreign correspondents recalled to replace them, then instructed to cover domestic politics as if still writing dispatches from a foreign capital.

That view was reinforced this morning by the spectacle of the German media politely covering Ivanka Trump like the presumptuous banana republic princess she is, something American infotainment personalities have repeatedly failed to do. Via Politico:

BERLIN — Ivanka Trump arrived in Berlin Tuesday morning armed with facts and figures to recite at what was expected to be a high-brow international summit to discuss women entrepreneurship, alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But on her first international trip as an official representative of the United States, the first daughter was put on the spot about her father’s attitudes toward women, booed and hissed at by the crowd, and grilled by the moderator about what, exactly, her role is in President Donald Trump’s administration.

“You’re the first daughter of the United States, and you’re also an assistant to the president,” the moderator, WirtschaftsWoche editor-in-chief Miriam Meckel, said. “The German audience is not that familiar with the concept of a first daughter. I’d like to ask you, what is your role, and who are you representing, your father as president of the United States, the American people, or your business?”

“Certainly not the latter,” Ivanka Trump said. “I’m rather unfamiliar with this role as well…It has been a little under 100 days and it has just been a remarkable and incredible journey.”

We’re all unfamiliar with the role because it shouldn’t exist, not outside a tin-horn kleptocracy. But while Trump’s sole non-fluff response about her role was to explicitly deny that she represents her business, the only tangible results she’s achieved in “office” have accrued to her brand. She’s done exactly nothing to “moderate” her lunatic father or advance the vague objectives she supposedly champions, i.e., empowering women and families.

Ivanka Trump, who was deeply involved with her father’s campaign and has been instrumental in his administration in the first three months in office, positioned herself as someone who is still in humbling listening tour mode. “I’m striving to think about how best to empower women in the economy,” she said, at one point calling herself a feminist. “I have no doubt that coming out of this trip I’ll be more informed.”

But she was booed and hissed at by the majority-women audience at the conference when she lauded her father for supporting paid leave policies. “I’m very proud of my father’s advocacy,” she said, calling him “a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive.”

The Politico account overdramatizes the reaction (shocking, I know) — it was more of a collective groan at the absurdity of framing the grotesque orange pussy-grabber as an advocate rather than actual booing and hissing (at least on the audio I heard). When asked to respond to the audience reaction, where the elder Trump would have screeched “FAKE NEWS,” Ivanka replied with a more modulated, polysyllabic version of that non-response:

“I’ve certainly heard the criticism from the media, that’s been perpetuated,” she said, drawing laughs from the audience.

Good for them, because laughter is an appropriate response to that ridiculous deflection. But Ivanka, still determined to pass her gross old fart-sack of a father off as pro-woman, barfed up the following treacle:

“As a daughter, I can speak on a very personal level. I grew up in a house where there were no barriers to what I could accomplish beyond my own perseverance and tenacity. That’s not an easy thing to do, he provided that for us. There was no difference [between Trump’s treatment of her and her brothers].

Well, Trump didn’t repeatedly imply that he’d like to shag the sons, so that’s at least one difference. But again, the overweening entitlement and self-regard. This isn’t a person who was born on third base and thinks she hit a triple. This is someone who was born in the Diamond Suite in the clubhouse and thinks she won the World Series.

Still, even people who should know better will go on assuming the shitgibbon’s chief enabler is a good influence and deserves credit for curbing the worst of her vile shit-stain of a father’s excesses. Jon Oliver dispatched this myth ably late last week:

The most telling tidbit was a quote from Ivanka’s book, “The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life,” which flat-out telegraphs her current role in the Trump shit-show:

Perception is more important that reality. If someone perceives something to be true, it is more important than if it is in fact true. This doesn’t mean you should be duplicitous or deceitful, but don’t go out of your way to correct a false assumption if it plays to your advantage.

As Oliver says, the apple didn’t fall very far from the orange. And the word I was looking for up top is “Scheiße,” which I imagine in thought-bubbles over the heads of the accomplished women who had to share a stage with this vapid dilettante. It’s just so embarrassing.



Late Night Creepshow Open Thread: Whither Bannon?

(Matt Davies via GoComics.com)

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Now that Steve Bannon is (theoretically) in eclipse — Vanity Fair even found a handful of former loyalists willing to be quoted denying their dark lord before cockcrow — his true disciples are debating what he might’ve done differently in the civil war against the Kushner/Cohn/Mnuchin globalist oligarchs. Olivia Nuzzi, professional sharpshooter, reports for NYMag: “The Alt-Right Is Debating Whether Bannon Needs a Better Press Strategy“:

Now that Steve Bannon has been temporarily or permanently sidelined by President Donald Trump, his nationalist allies — people who formerly identified as “alt-right,” but now reject that label as it has become synonymous with white supremacy — are debating what their man in the White House did wrong and what he might do to salvage the situation. One of the key questions up for debate is whether Bannon should have made better use of ideologically sympathetic media outlets — when he ran Breitbart News, he described it as “the platform” for the alt-right — to get out his side of the story.

The chief strategist to the president might have done better job of holding onto power, the thinking goes, if he were talking to those who want what he wants and have the benefit of seeing things the way they appear outside of the bubble of his “war room,” the name Bannon’s given his West Wing office…

In some ways, the question of whether Bannon should be cultivating more allies in the press is part of a larger debate over his operating style in the White House — which is to operate in isolation. “I’m not doing this to have friends,” he told me. “I don’t socialize a lot, I don’t bring people into my life. This is like being in the Navy, this is like a duty. I don’t enjoy this every day. This is not living; this is a kind of existence.”

Though he brought into the White House some of his own staff — Julia Hahn from Breitbart; Andrew Surabian from the Tea Party Express and Alexandra Preate, his personal flack — he has spent little political capital fighting for high-level strategists with whom he could align in ideological disputes…

Perhaps coincidentally, questions are being raised about the oft-told tale that Bannon made $32 million on a canny Seinfeld deal. It wouldn’t really matter, at this point, whether he made his grubstake off the Hollywood version of a scratch ticket… except that the alternative would cast his political success as entirely the product of semi-legitimate Robert & Rebekah Mercer money. Not a good look for a self-styled swashbuckling free spirit, at the very least.

But then, Bannon’s expulsion from Mar-a-Lago Eden would be a loss to Media Village Idiots far more “respectable” than the Pepe kkkrew… even those at the Grey Lady…



Babbling Idiot Babbles Unintelligibly

Velveeta Voldemort’s AP interview from last Friday is getting a lot of social media attention. (Transcript here via TPM.) I’m not sure why people find it noteworthy.

It’s a random, incoherent stew of hyper-aggressive posturing, bald-faced lies, butthurt braggadocio and demented ravings. In other words, it’s a typical Trump interview.

Folks have seized on the numerous passages marked “unintelligible,” and indeed it is strange that a grown-ass man who successfully masqueraded as an executive for several decades and managed to accrue tens of millions of votes is so profoundly inarticulate. But while remarkable in a historical sense, that’s hardly news now.

The thing I found most interesting (as a real-time psychological decompensation artifact) was the way Trump ended the interview, by lying about a new trick he claims to have learned over the past year:

TRUMP: OK. The one thing I’ve learned to do that I never thought I had the ability to do. I don’t watch CNN anymore.

AP: You just said you did.

TRUMP: No. No, I, if I’m passing it, what did I just say (inaudible)?

AP: You just said —

TRUMP: Where? Where?

AP: Two minutes ago.

TRUMP: No, they treat me so badly. No, I just said that. No, I, what’d I say, I stopped watching them. But I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC. I don’t watch it. Now I heard yesterday that MSNBC, you know, they tell me what’s going on.

AP: Right.

TRUMP: In fact, they also did. I never thought I had the ability to not watch. Like, people think I watch (MSNBC’s) “Morning Joe.” I don’t watch “Morning Joe.” I never thought I had the ability to, and who used to treat me great by the way, when I played the game. I never thought I had the ability to not watch what is unpleasant, if it’s about me. Or pleasant. But when I see it’s such false reporting and such bad reporting and false reporting that I’ve developed an ability that I never thought I had. I don’t watch things that are unpleasant. I just don’t watch them.

AP: And do you feel like that’s, that’s because of the office that you now occupy —

TRUMP: No.

AP: That you’ve made that change?

TRUMP: I don’t know why it is, but I’ve developed that ability, and it’s happened over the last, over the last year.

AP: That’s interesting.

TRUMP: And I don’t watch things that I know are going to be unpleasant. CNN has covered me unfairly and incorrectly and I don’t watch them anymore. A lot of people don’t watch them anymore, they’re now in third place. But I’ve created something where people are watching … but I don’t watch CNN anymore. I don’t watch MSNBC anymore. I don’t watch things, and I never thought I had that ability. I always thought I’d watch.

AP: Sure.

TRUMP: I just don’t. And that’s taken place over the last year. And you know what that is, that’s a great, it’s a great thing because you leave, you leave for work in the morning you know, you’re, you don’t watch this total negativity. I never thought I’d be able to do that and for me, it’s so easy to do now. Just don’t watch.

AP: That’s interesting.

TRUMP: Maybe it’s because I’m here. I don’t know.

So that’s how the awesome responsibilities of the office have changed Trump, by his own reckoning: He has developed the ability to refrain from watching media coverage about himself.

We know he’s lying — the AP reporter busted him in real time, and Trump famously live-tweets the shows he claims he doesn’t watch. But I think it’s fascinating that Trump felt this was important enough to put on the record when asked about how his decisions are affected by the 24/7 news cycle. If you wave away the squid-cloud of butthurt and hack through the tangle of self-congratulations, the bottom line is he’s retreated fully into the Fox bubble.

Bear in mind that as a candidate, Trump said he gets his information from “the shows,” and that doesn’t seem to have changed much now that he has access to perhaps the most sophisticated intelligence-gathering apparatuses in human history. Odd pronouncements that seem to be nods to Fox News hysteria-objects continue to appear in official policy documents emanating from the White House, such as the weird Trumpcare fixation on lottery winners on Medicaid.

“The shows” also seemed to have set off the accusations about President Obama “wiretapping” Trump Tower and the subsequent flurry of possibly illegal and certainly unethical actions on the part of Rep. Nunes and White House staff in an attempt to provide cover for Trump’s paranoid Twitter ravings.

So, the key takeaway from this interview (for me, at least) is that, yep, your Fox-addled grandpa is in charge of the nuclear codes. Terrifying? Yes. But there’s nothing new to see here, folks.



Sunday Evening Open Thread: A Hundred Too Many Days

What’s on the agenda as we wrap up the weekend?