Sunday, January 29, 2017

Little Donny's First Constitutional Crisis

Late last night a federal judge in Brooklyn has issued a federal court order to stop the Trump regime's deportation scheme.  As of this hour, that order is being willfully ignored.

The ACLU is getting “multiple reports” that federal customs agents are siding with President Trump — and willfully ignoring a Brooklyn federal judge’s demand that travelers from seven Muslim countries not be deported from the nation’s airports.

“The court’s order could not be clearer… they need to comply with the order,” Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants Rights project, told The Post late Saturday.

“It’s enough to be a serious concern,” Jadwat said of the reports.

Jadwat and other ACLU lawyers had earlier Saturday night won an emergency stay of Trump’s deportation order from Brooklyn Federal Judge Ann Donnelly.

So here we are, barely into week two and we're already in constitutional crisis mode.  Protests continue at major US international airports across the country.  Right now Trump looks like a tyrant and an ass.  But as Steve M. points out, this is far from over.

Nope. Not good enough. The order has to be overturned and the president has to be prevented from either modifying it slightly or ignoring the courts altogether. And the damage to America's reputation as a place where Muslims are welcome has suffered irreparable damage in any case.

The administration has suffered a setback. It's not nearly enough.

It won't be enough until the Trump base stops supporting him. And the base has made it clear that there's nothing he can do that will qualify short of surrendering to the hated liberals.

Meet Our National Insecurity Team

Name me any other time a President has put a chief strategist on the National Security Council, especially when that strategist is white nationalist asshole Steve Bannon.

President Donald Trump has tapped his controversial senior adviser and chief strategist Stephen Bannon for a permanent seat at National Security Council meetings in what some experts are calling an "unprecedented" political appointment to the panel.

In an executive memorandum signed by Trump on Saturday, the president also downgraded the status of the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff on the security council's principals committee. Both will now only attend meetings "where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed."

The invitation-only status of the joint chiefs chairman and director of national intelligence is similar to a policy instituted under President George W. Bush.

Another Bush-era policy re-instituted in Trump's memorandum is separating the Homeland Security Council from the NSC, which President Obama had previously merged.

While it's not abnormal for presidents to restructure the makeup of their National Security Council, the addition of Bannon, the former publisher of Breitbart News, has brought scrutiny over the adviser's influence in Trump's inner circle.

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who worked with Trump's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn during the transition, called Trump's reorganization "stone cold crazy."

If you're wondering where Trump's awful immigration policies are coming from, it's Steve Bannon and policy aide Steve Miller, and these two clowns in hoods are the reason we've seen the Trump regime completely botch this plan this weekend.

When President Donald Trump declared at the Pentagon Friday he was enacting strict new measures to prevent domestic terror attacks, there were few within his government who knew exactly what he meant. 
Administration officials weren't immediately sure which countries' citizens would be barred from entering the United States. The Department of Homeland Security was left making a legal analysis on the order after Trump signed it. A Border Patrol agent, confronted with arriving refugees, referred questions only to the President himself, according to court filings. 
Saturday night, a federal judge granted an emergency stay for citizens of the affected countries who had already arrived in the US and those who are in transit and hold valid visas, ruling they can legally enter the US. 
Trump's unilateral moves, which have drawn the ire of human rights groups and prompted protests at US airports, reflect the President's desire to quickly make good on his campaign promises. But they also encapsulate the pitfalls of an administration largely operated by officials with scant federal experience. 
It wasn't until Friday -- the day Trump signed the order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days -- that career homeland security staff were allowed to see the final details of the order, a person familiar with the matter said. 
The result was widespread confusion across the country on Saturday as airports struggled to adjust to the new directives. In New York, two Iraqi nationals sued the federal government after they were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and 10 others were detained as well. 

Steve Bannon is at the center of all this mess, guaranteed.  He's the devil in the shadows here.

Sunday Long Read: The Dark Side Of Data

Two reporters for Zurich's Das Magazin take a look at British data analysis company Cambridge Analytica in this week's Sunday Long Read at Vice and find there's a method to the madness of "fake news" and social manipulation in the 2016 elections.

On November 9 at around 8.30 AM., Michal Kosinski woke up in the Hotel Sunnehus in Zurich. The 34-year-old researcher had come to give a lecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) about the dangers of Big Data and the digital revolution. Kosinski gives regular lectures on this topic all over the world. He is a leading expert in psychometrics, a data-driven sub-branch of psychology. When he turned on the TV that morning, he saw that the bombshell had exploded: contrary to forecasts by all leading statisticians, Donald J. Trump had been elected president of the United States.

For a long time, Kosinski watched the Trump victory celebrations and the results coming in from each state. He had a hunch that the outcome of the election might have something to do with his research. Finally, he took a deep breath and turned off the TV.

On the same day, a then little-known British company based in London sent out a press release: “We are thrilled that our revolutionary approach to data-driven communication has played such an integral part in President-elect Trump’s extraordinary win,” Alexander James Ashburner Nix was quoted as saying. Nix is British, 41 years old, and CEO of Cambridge Analytica. He is always immaculately turned out in tailor-made suits and designer glasses, with his wavy blonde hair combed back from his forehead. His company wasn't just integral to Trump’s online campaign, but to the UK's Brexit campaign as well.

Of these three players—reflective Kosinski, carefully groomed Nix and grinning Trump—one of them enabled the digital revolution, one of them executed it and one of them benefited from it.

Anyone who has not spent the last five years living on another planet will be familiar with the term Big Data. Big Data means, in essence, that everything we do, both on and offline, leaves digital traces. Every purchase we make with our cards, every search we type into Google, every movement we make when our mobile phone is in our pocket, every “like” is stored. Especially every “like.” For a long time, it was not entirely clear what use this data could have—except, perhaps, that we might find ads for high blood pressure remedies just after we’ve Googled “reduce blood pressure.”

On November 9, it became clear that maybe much more is possible. The company behind Trump’s online campaign—the same company that had worked for Leave.EU in the very early stages of its "Brexit" campaign—was a Big Data company: Cambridge Analytica.

To understand the outcome of the election—and how political communication might work in the future—we need to begin with a strange incident at Cambridge University in 2014, at Kosinski’s Psychometrics Center.

The reality is Facebook is an open book, and that building a database of profiles based on likes and activity online was far easier than anyone has ever imagined.  One company discovered that you could use Facebook to target people you wanted to target with messages tailored to them from a political standpoint.  It can be used to get Trump voters to go vote, and could be used to get Clinton voters to throw their votes away.

For the Trump campaign, it worked far better than anyone could have guessed.  The money you didn't see Trump spending on traditional political advertising was being spent on Cambridge Analytica, as much as $15 million in order to individually target people through the internet and directing canvassers with specific messages to specific houses.

The Clinton camp had no clue what was going on, either.  They had no way of knowing.  The Trump campaign unleashed this weapon in 17 states, and it was this data model that put Trump in the Rust Belt in the last month of the campaign.

It won him the White House.
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