Monday, October 10, 2016

Last Call For A Policy Most Foreign

Foreign Policy magazine (not exactly the Obama administration's biggest fans) nevertheless finds itself in a situation they haven't been in before: making a clear endorsement of a presidential candidate because her opponent is so singularly unfit for the office of President of the United States and commander-in-chief of its military and nuclear forces.

In the nearly half century history of Foreign Policy, the editors of this publication have never endorsed a candidate for political office. We cherish and fiercely protect this publication’s independence and its reputation for objectivity, and we deeply value our relationship with all of our readers, regardless of political orientation. 
It is for all these reasons that FP’s editors are now breaking with tradition to endorse Hillary Clinton for the next president of the United States. 
Our readers depend on FP for insight and analysis into issues of national security and foreign policy. We feel that our obligation to our readers thus extends now to making clear the great magnitude of the threat that a Donald Trump presidency would pose to the United States. The dangers Trump presents as president stretch beyond the United States to the international economy, to global security, to America’s allies, as well as to countless innocents everywhere who would be the victims of hisinexperience, his perverse policy views, and the profound unsuitability of his temperament for the office he seeks. 
The litany of reasons Trump poses such a threat is so long that it is, in fact, shocking that he is a major party’s candidate for the presidency. The recent furor over his vile behavior with women illustrates the extraordinary nature of his unsuitability, as does his repudiation by so many members of his own party — who have so many reasons to reflexively support their nominee. 

And that would be a brutal and fair summary judgment of the man.  FP however brings the receipts.

Beyond this, however, in the areas in which we at FP specialize, he has repeatedly demonstrated his ignorance of the most basic facts of international affairs, let alone the nuances so crucial to the responsibilities of diplomacy inherent in the U.S. president’s daily responsibilities. Trump has not only promoted the leadership of a tyrant and menace like Vladimir Putin, but he has welcomed Russian meddling in the current U.S. election. He has alternatively forgiven then defended Russia’s invasion of Crimea and employed advisors with close ties to the Russian president and his cronies. Trump has spoken so cavalierly about the use of nuclear weapons, including a repeated willingness to use them against terrorists, that it has become clear he understands little if anything about America's nuclear policies — not to mention the moral, legal, and human consequences of such actions. He has embraced the use of torture and the violation of international law against it. He has suggested he would ignore America’s treaty obligations and would only conditionally support allies in need. He has repeatedly insulted Mexico and proposed policies that would inflame and damage one of America’s most vital trading relationships with that country. 
Trump has played into the hands of terrorists with his fearmongering, with his sweeping and unwarranted vilification of Muslims, and by sensationalizing the threat they pose. He has promised to take punitive actions against America’s Pacific trading partners that would be devastating to the world economy and in violation of our legal obligations. He has dismissed the science of climate change and denied its looming and dangerous reality. He has promoted a delusional and narcissistic view of the world, one in which he seems to feel that the power of his personality in negotiations could redirect the course of other nations, remake or supplant treaties, and contain those tyrants he does not actually embrace. 
He has repeatedly denigrated the U.S. military — its leadership, service members, veterans, and the families who stand behind them. He has also derided the intelligence community. Many of the most prominent Republican national security and foreign-policy specialists have repudiated him publicly. Indeed, he is not simply seen as a dangerous candidate by members of the Democratic Party, but virtually no single credible GOP foreign-policy advisor has joined his team. This is because Trump either undercuts or has placed himself in opposition to the best foreign-policy traditions of the Republican Party and to the standards and ideals of every GOP administration in modern history.

And yes, FP is definitely a GOP shop.  But they understand that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton at least has diplomatic experience and isn't likely to say, nuke Cameroon because she misspelled former UK PM David Cameron's last name in a tweet.

Clinton is the sane choice in an insane election.

Dispatches From Bevinstan

I may have given Dinosaur Steve Beshear a lot of crap for his conservative Democrat views as Kentucky governor, but his administration did put an end to private prisons in the state back in 2013 as the state chose not to renew its contract with Corrections Corporation of America and shuttered three prisons as a result.  One of those prisons, Otter Creek, was a women's prison rife with abuses and neglect.  It was the first to be closed in the state and CCA's two other facilities were mothballed soon after.

But that was under Steve Beshear.  Gov. Matt Bevin wants to reopen those facilities and plans to put more taxpayer money in CCA's pockets.

As Kentucky’s prison population rises and county jails become overcrowded, the state may reopen a pair of private prisons to temporarily take in more than 1,600 inmates.

The state stopped housing inmates in private prisons in 2013, but there has been unexpected growth in the number of state prisoners over the last seven months, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley said. State prisons are at capacity, and county jails are housing a record number of state inmates.

Over 11,000 of Kentucky’s roughly 23,600 state inmates are being held in those facilities, and many county jailers say they can’t handle any more, Tilley said. In the short run, only one option seems viable: the temporary use of private prisons.

The state could transfer around 1,642 inmates to the Marion Adjustment Center in St. Mary and the Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville, which are owned by the Corrections Corp. of America (CCA), Tilley said. Those facilities are closed but still are being maintained.

"This doesn’t represent a change in philosophy," he said. "This is simply a pragmatic approach to a problem of capacity that we have at the moment."

A capacity problem of course cause by Matt Bevin reversing many of the executive orders Steve beshear made on criminal justice reform, including turning thousands of felons back into disenfranchised citizens who cannot vote even after serving their time.   That decision was made back in June.  In August it was all but assured this was going to happen including reopening Otter Creek.

Because of the overcrowding of jails throughout Kentucky, the state is looking toward private facilities to alleviate some of the stress. According to Marion County Jailer Barry Brady, that means the Marion Adjustment Center will open sometime in the near future. 
“The contract with CCA will be resigned for all three private prisons,” Brady told the Marion County Fiscal Court during its regular monthly meeting Aug. 18. “I’m not sure when, but it’s on short order. The communication to me is that it’s a done deal and they are working on the contracts right now.” 
He said that in addition to opening MAC, the state will also work with CCA to open Otter Creek and the Lee Adjustment Center. This will free up 2,327 beds. 
Barry said he wasn’t sure why the DOC and CCA were being so secretive about the jails reopening. 
The state ended its contract with MAC in 2013 based on House Bill 463. The bill introduced policy changes that would allow more inmates to be released and, in turn, allow the DOC to house all of the Kentucky inmates. Overpopulation, however, has forced their hand, and they are now planning to open more private facilities.

Now we find out that the plan is moving ahead as the opioid epidemic in the Midwest is rapidly filling up jails again because of drug-related arrests.

As jails across the commonwealth run out of beds amid a logjam of state prisoners, Kentucky officials are considering a controversial return to private prisons.

"This is not a decision we can make overnight," said Corrections Commissioner Rodney Ballard, who toured Kentucky's vacant private prisons this summer. "All our options are still on the table."

Kentucky is grappling with an 18 percent rise in its prison population since 2013, according to a recent Pew Charitable Trusts presentation, which has helped overwhelm jails around the state, including Jefferson County’s. The state says its roughly 11,700-bed prison system has been coping with around 23,640 prisoners - about half of whom are held in county jails.

State officials see private prisons as a potential, temporary fix, but experts say those institutions entail significant risks even when used only as a short-term solution.

So we're right back to where we were in 2012, about to reopen private prisons that we know were abusive and corrupt .

Welcome to Bevinstan.

The Master Debaters, Con't

The second presidential debate this year was a town hall forum in St. Louis, and given the weekend's previous events, fireworks flew from the get-go.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton got straight to the point after taking the presidential debate stage Sunday night -- the Republican calling her a "devil" and the Democrat saying her opponent owes all Americans an apology for a campaign driven by insulting, degrading comments about women, African-Americans and others. 
The debate, coming little more than 48 hours after the release of a recording in which Trump boasted about sexually assaulting women, caps off a weekend that saw senior Republican elected officials, including Sens. John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and John Thune, rescind their support for Trump. Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump’s own running mate, Mike Pence, condemned the remarks. 
But Trump remained defiant. After stating he will never drop out of the race, and slamming Republican defectors, he has sought to focus on accusations of sexual assault levied at Bill Clinton, who is not running for president. 
The town hall style debate is moderated by ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Clinton did get in a couple body blows on Trump's video, but Trump went completely off the rails near the end.

If Trump is elected, he said, he will appoint a special prosecutor with the aim of putting Clinton in prison for her actions related to keeping a private email server during her time as secretary of state. The use of the server was investigated by the FBI, which decided not to press charges. 
“I didn't know I would say this, but I'm going to and I hate to say it,” Trump said. “If I win, I am going to instruct my Attorney General to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation. There has never been so many lies, so much exception. There has never been anything like it. We will have a special prosecutor.” 
“You should be ashamed,” Trump repeated. 
Clinton called Trump’s accusations “absolutely false.” 
“It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Clinton said. 
Trump fired back: "Because you would be in jail.”

I mean openly threatening to jail your political opponent at a town hall debate is the stuff of nightmares if you're Trump's handlers.  If he hadn't somehow lost the campaign with the video of him happily describing how good he is at sexual assault, this finished him in the long run.

In the short run, it actually serves the purpose of keeping him in the race by serving as red meat to vacillating supporters.  The calls for him to drop out will almost certainly stop.  And that's what Democrats should be salivating over.

I don't want Trump to drop out on his terms.  I want him to get smashed flat by the enraged giant of the body politic and take GOP control of Congress with him.

29 days to go and the odds of a landslide are better than ever.  And Trump has another debate and four more weeks of reminding people how petty, awful, abusive, bellicose and intemperate he is. Trump, as BuzzFeed's Rosie Gray finds, has gone the Full Breitbart.

On Sunday night, Trump signaled that his objective now is to fight to the end as the champion of the populist nationalist movement he has spearheaded and which propelled him to the Republican nomination. Trump’s revanchist positioning is a sign he’s retreated to pleasing the hard core of his base, despite the fact that they cannot deliver him the White House; a performance like this won’t bring on board the voters Trump must persuade in order to win.

I like Clinton's chances here.  Trump's going to lose, the question is by how much, and how many downticket races he can wreck before it's all said and done. He did a good job of starting that process this weekend and continued in the debate and made it very clear his goal is now to try to punish anyone in America who doesn't support him, and to try to bully the rest of us into doing that.

Not only will that fail, it's going to crack the GOP like an egg fired from a railgun.  When that goes splat all over his face, it will most likely take the GOP with it, because now they are stuck between supporting him and losing swing voters, and not supporting him and losing the base.  It's not going to hold anymore.

And it's going to be amazing when this detonates in four weeks. All Trump did was trade in his support floor for a support ceiling.


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