“Emergency” Open Thread: President #Flopsweat

And it was hardly a last-minute impulse decision! From the Washington Post, “How President Trump came to declare a national emergency to fund his border wall”:

President Trump knew that lawmakers were unlikely to ever give him the billions of dollars he wanted to build a wall on the southern border, so in early 2018, he gave aides a directive: Find a way to do it without Congress.

It was hardly an easy assignment. The White House had some flexibility to spend money the way it wanted, but could not move the necessary billions at will. Trump could declare a national emergency, but White House attorneys repeatedly warned him the risk of failure in court was high.

On Friday, Trump did it anyway. Stepping to a microphone in the Rose Garden, the president told reporters he was invoking his powers to declare a national emergency, then acknowledged what his lawyers had been warning him: He will get sued and, at least initially, will probably lose.

The remarkable moment, people familiar with the matter say, marked the culmination of months of heated internal deliberations between the White House Counsel’s Office, the Justice Department, the Office of Management and Budget, lawmakers and the president over how to fund the wall…

Keep track of the rogues’ gallery here:

The tension came to a head in a March meeting in the White House residence, when Trump learned that his aides had secured only $1.6 billion for border fencing in an omnibus spending bill.

Trump fumed to then-House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that the funding was a fraction of what he would need and threatened not to sign the measure, according to two people with knowledge of the conversation.

“We gave you what you wanted!” Ryan shot back, the people said.
Read more



Interesting Read: Iowa Does Not Look Like America the Democratic Party

Nor does New Hampshire. Philip Bump, in the Washington Post:

There’s a pretty obvious reason that white men make up the vast majority of Republicans elected to the House of Representatives in 2018 but only about 4 in 10 Democrats: The Democratic Party has a lot fewer white members than the GOP. Pew Research Center data indicates that, in 2017, about 83 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters were white, compared with 59 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. In fact, the Republican Party is more heavily white now than the Democratic Party was in 1997 — by a fairly wide margin.

This data about the composition of each party allows us to run an interesting experiment. Which states have a racial composition that’s most like one party or the other? (Below, any non-Hispanic racial group excludes any Hispanic members.) To figure that out, we compare the density of each racial group to the density of each party. The closer the size of each group is to either party, the smaller the bar showing the deviation from that party…

It is February 2019, less than a year until the Iowa caucuses. As is the norm, Iowa will be the first state to weigh in on the Democratic Party’s presidential nominees next year, according to the primary-tracking website Frontloading HQ. It will be followed, as usual, by New Hampshire (barring some weirdness from New York that the link in the preceding sentence explains).

Why is that important? Because Iowa and New Hampshire have populations that look a lot more like the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. Of the 50 states, Iowa is 39th most like the Democratic Party. New Hampshire is the 44th most like the Democrats. New Hampshire is also the 13th most like the Republican Party in terms of racial composition — and Iowa is the third most similar to the GOP in the country, following only Wyoming and North Dakota.

In other words, the first two states to weigh in on who should be the Democratic nominee — undoubtedly helping narrow down the field of contenders — are states that are more likely to resemble the GOP racially…

Full tables at the link. Yet more reasons why the current cavalcade of primaries is harmful to everyone except a handful of hotel / restaurant profiteers — and the GOP.



Economic Terrorism Open Thread: Eat the Rich… ‘s Taxes

Didn’t find a space to post this during Davos, but now Bregman’s work looks to be going viral, as the Youngs say…

Hard to think of a more fitting poster child for ‘Expropriate Unearned Wealth’ than Tucker Carlson, yes?

More on this topic, from the Guardian:

No, wealth isn’t created at the top. It is merely devoured there (May 2017)

Fightback against the billionaires: the radicals taking on the global elite (Feb 2019)



Kids These Days Open Thread: Anti-Anti-Vaxxer Edition

Anything originating on Reddit must be closely inspected for “intent”, but if this is true, it seems like the most counter-intuitive method of trolling one’s parents since the early days of Straight edge:

Ethan Lindenberger, frustrated by years of arguments about his mother’s anti-vaccination stance, staged a quiet defection on Reddit.

The Norwalk, Ohio, teenager needed advice, he said, on how to inoculate himself against both infectious disease and his family’s dogma. At 18, he was old enough, Lindenberger explained. He wanted to get vaccinated. But he didn’t know how…

As anti-vaccination movements metastasize amid outbreaks of dangerous diseases, Internet-savvy teenagers are fact-checking their parents’ decisions in a digital health reawakening — and seeking their own treatments in bouts of family defiance.

At least three self-described teenagers from different states told Reddit they have a common problem: Their parents are staunchly opposed to vaccination, and they fear for their health if they do not take action. Different state laws affect how old minors need to be to make their own medical decisions…

For Lindenberger, the tension over vaccines started years ago after he began to notice his mother posting anti-vaccination videos on social media, he told The Washington Post on Sunday. His friends were getting vaccinated. So what was happening in his house?

Lindenberger read scientific papers and journals. He pulled up Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies on his phone at the dinner table, hoping his mother would relent and get him and his four younger siblings — now ages 16, 14, 5 and 2 — vaccinated.

“I looked into it; it was clear there was way more evidence in defense of vaccines,” he said.

His mother, Jill Wheeler, resisted; she claimed there were autism risks from vaccines, a common argument used by anti-vaccination groups that has been widely debunked.

Wheeler was angered by his pursuit, she told Undark, an online science magazine. “It was like him spitting on me, saying ‘You don’t know anything, I don’t trust you with anything. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You did make a bad decision and I’m gonna go fix it,’ ” she told the site.

Wheeler did not respond to a request for comment from The Post…

Second major media siting:



All-Too-Thrilling Adventures Read: Crypto-Anarchists, Anarcho-Capitalists, and Old-Fashioned Drug Cartels

I’m surprised there hasn’t been more written about this incident, although it may just be that my dark-web access skillz are less than subpar. As reported here, it sure sounds like an example of the old truism: Just because ‘the cops’ are your enemies doesn’t make ‘the crooks’ your friends. From the Washington Post, last Monday, “An American ‘crypto-anarchist’ fled the country. He was just killed in Mexico’s ‘murder capital’”:

Bathed in the sunlight of Mexico’s dry season, his dreadlocks tumbling down his back, a man who went by the name “John Galton,” an apparent nod to the hero of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” observed almost two years ago, “There’s pockets of freedom all over the world if you’re willing to live in freedom.”

Galton paid a high price for that freedom. He was gunned down Friday by a band of men who stormed his home in Acapulco, where he and his girlfriend had found safe haven from drug charges in the United States, as they explained in a March 2017 video interview with the conspiracy site Press for Truth.

Joining a community of like-minded expatriates, Galton had sought to build a life as a self-made man. He advocated drug liberalization and taught classes on cryptocurrencies. He was set to be featured in a documentary called “Stateless.”…

His girlfriend, Lily Forester, nodded. Defending the once-glamorous Pacific Coast city now considered Mexico’s “murder capital,” she said, “It’s not perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than anything I’ve experienced in the States.”

On Friday, she was left pleading for help after the rampage left her boyfriend dead and another man, Jason Henza, injured…

Guerrero State police said in a statement Saturday that the survivors reported armed men showing up at a “cannabis greenhouse” and targeting Galton. The attorney’s office, which confirmed that Galton had been killed, said in a statement Sunday that it had found a marijuana laboratory on the premises, including white lights and gas tanks. No suspects had been named, and a motive for the killing remained unknown.
Read more