Saturday, June 23, 2018

Border Line Sociopaths

No, the real issue here is Trump and Jeff Sessions and their zero-tolerance policy at the border, announced back in April.  This is the real outrage we should be fighting, it's immoral, inhumane, and illegal.  People are being detained at the border before they can even seek to apply for asylum.  Instead, Trump has shifted the argument and the outrage to child separation after families are detained, and yesterday shifted back to mass zero-tolerance detainment as seemingly more humane by comparison.

Trump lost this battle, but he lost it on purpose and in such a way that it gives him the opportunity to win the warIt's a classic abuser tactic, and I'm afraid that the rest of us are the ones who will really end up caving as zero-tolerance at the border becomes zero-tolerance inside the United States for undocumented immigrants.

There's now additional evidence that this is true.  Trump has shifted the debate so far past whether or not his zero tolerance policy is acceptable that we're stuck debating whether we should detain everyone and keep them together as families, of if we should detain everyone and separate kids and parents.

We're still detaining everyone, and Americans are definitely letting Trump escape blame for his zero tolerance immigration stance.

The Trump administration’s contradictory responses to the outrage over its family separation policy may have clouded public opinion about why the families were separated and who bears responsibility, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

The White House has gone through more than a dozen rationales, changing its story repeatedly on whether separating undocumented children from their parents at the border was an administration policy, whether it was intended as a deterrent, whether it was mandated by law and whether it could be reversed by executive order. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, after defending the policy as a deterrent, claimed Thursday that the administration had never intended to separate families, noting that “the American people don’t like the idea.”

The concept of family separation does remain deeply unpopular. The latest survey, in line with past polling, found that fewer than a third of the public considered separations to be acceptable.

Those who thought the policy was acceptable were more or less evenly split between the 48 percent who said removing children from their parents was a good thing because it served as a deterrent and the 44 percent who said it wasn’t a good thing but it was necessary to carry out U.S. immigration policy. Among those who found it unacceptable, 79 percent said they were angry that the separations were happening. (The poll was conducted largely before President Donald Trump issued an executive order Wednesday tweaking the policy to detain the children with their parents.)

There was little consensus among Americans on who bears responsibility for the separations. Just 36 percent thought the Trump administration bore at least some responsibility, several points less than the 44 percent who put at least some of the blame on undocumented parents. Slightly over a third judged the parents to hold the most responsibility; slightly under a third said the Trump administration was most responsible.


That's right, less than a third of Americans blame Trump for his own stated policy.  The same amount blame parents bringing their kids, and one in ten people actually buy Trump's lies and blame the Democrats.

Responses to the unfolding drama were especially muddled among Trump voters. Nearly three-quarters of Trump voters said they found the practice of family separation acceptable, with those who did about evenly split over whether the separations were actually a good thing. Just 11 percent of them, however, thought the Trump administration was intentionally separating families, and under a quarter said the Trump administration considered the separations a good thing. Asked who should bear at least some responsibility, 83 percent named undocumented parents and 47 percent pointed at congressional Democrats, with just 8 percent blaming the White House.

No, the Trump cultists are still absolutely behind Dear Leader on this.  Only 8% -- eight percent, mind you -- of Trump voters think the White House bears any responsibility whatsoever.   That means 92% of Trump voters are willing to let Trump get away with child internment camps.

Clinton voters, on the other hand, basically the exact opposite.

Ninety-three percent of voters who supported Hillary Clinton, by contrast, considered the separations unacceptable. Ninety percent said the Trump administration was intentionally separating families and 81 percent said the administration deserved at least some responsibility for what was happening.

No, at this point Trump voters are still enslaved by the Cult of Trump on this.  More than 9 in 10 Trump voters refuse to blame Trump for Trump's policy, and Trump knows he can move on to the next stage in the plan as soon as the logistics are in place.

The U.S. Navy is preparing plans to construct sprawling detention centers for tens of thousands of immigrants on remote bases in California, Alabama and Arizona, escalating the military’s task in implementing President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy for people caught crossing the Southern border, according to a copy of a draft memo obtained by TIME.

The internal document, drafted for the Navy Secretary’s approval, signals how the military is anticipating its role in Trump’s immigration crackdown. The planning document indicates a potential growing military responsibility in an administration caught flat-footed in having to house waves of migrants awaiting civilian criminal proceedings.

The Navy memo outlines plans to build “temporary and austere” tent cities to house 25,000 migrants at abandoned airfields just outside the Florida panhandle near Mobile, Alabama, at Navy Outlying Field Wolf in Orange Beach, Alabama, and nearby Navy Outlying Field Silverhill.

The memo also proposes a camp for as many as 47,000 people at former Naval Weapons Station Concord, near San Francisco; and another facility that could house as many as 47,000 people at Camp Pendleton, the Marines’ largest training facility located along the Southern California coast. The planning memo proposes further study of housing an undetermined number of migrants at the Marine Corps Air Station near Yuma, Arizona.

The planning document estimates that the Navy would spend about $233 million to construct and operate a facility for 25,000 people for a six-month time period. The proposal suggests these tent cities be built to last between six months and one year.

A lot more immigrants are going to be detained.  And it will not be long before -- as I've said repeatedly now -- that the Trump regime will start rounding up immigrants already in the US to place in these internment camps.

Surely this is the bridge too far, right? And despite Chuck Pierce thinking this is a moment that could break America's Trump fever, I don't buy that for a second.

The country’s head is clearing. The country’s vision is coming back into focus and it can see for the first time the length and breadth of the damage it has done to itself. The country is hearing the voices that the cacophony of fear and anger had drowned out for almost three years. The spell, such as it was, and in most places, may be wearing off at last. The hallucinatory effect of a reality-show presidency* is dispersing like a foul, smoky mist over a muddy battlefield.

The migrant crisis is going to go down through history as one of the most destructive series of own-goals in the history of American politics. The establishment of the “zero-tolerance” policy made the child-nabbing inevitable. The president*’s own rhetoric—indeed, the raison d’etre of his entire campaign—trapped him into at first defending the indefensible and then abandoning what was perhaps the only consistent policy idea he ever had—outside of enriching himself and his family, that is. Then the cameras began to roll, and the nation’s gorge began to rise, and the president* couldn’t stand the pressure that was mounting around him. Of course, because he knows nothing about anything, including how to actually be president*, he bungled even his own abject surrender. He’s spent the days since signing his executive order railing against what he felt compelled to do and arguing against himself and losing anyway.

Unless he's losing on purpose, as I have explained.  If you're expecting Trump voters to start abandoning him over this, for the fever to break, then you simply haven't been paying attention.

Gina Anders knows the feeling well by now. President Trump says or does something that triggers a spasm of outrage. She doesn’t necessarily agree with how he handled the situation. She gets why people are upset.

But Ms. Anders, 46, a Republican from suburban Loudoun County, Va., with a law degree, a business career, and not a stitch of “Make America Great Again” gear in her wardrobe, is moved to defend him anyway.

“All nuance and all complexity — and these are complex issues — are completely lost,” she said, describing “overblown” reactions from the president’s critics, some of whom equated the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children and parents to history’s greatest atrocities.

“It makes me angry at them, which causes me to want to defend him to them more,” Ms. Anders said.

In interviews across the country over the last few days, dozens of Trump voters, as well as pollsters and strategists, described something like a bonding experience with the president that happens each time Republicans have to answer a now-familiar question: “How can you possibly still support this man?” Their resilience suggests a level of unity among Republicans that could help mitigate Mr. Trump’s low overall approval ratings and aid his party’s chances of keeping control of the House of Representatives in November.

He’s not a perfect guy; he does some stupid stuff,” said Tony Schrantz, 50, of Lino Lakes, Minn., the owner of a water systems leak detection business. “But when they’re hounding him all the time it just gets old. Give the guy a little.”

Republican voters repeatedly described an instinctive, protective response to the president, and their support has grown in recent months: Mr. Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is now about 90 percent. And while polling has yet to capture the effect of the last week’s immigration controversy, the only modern Republican president more popular with his party than Mr. Trump at this point in his first term, according to Gallup, was George W. Bush after the country united in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

After 18 months of being in office, there is no sign Trump will moderate his behavior, no indication that he will "grow into the job", and no scintilla of a chance his followers will leave him.

They are a cult.  They are bound to him for better or worse.  The people in that NY Times account are using the language of those in an emotionally abusive relationship, in this case, with America.  They love America, but America doesn't love them back.

And there *is* no better.  Only worse.

Unless we prevail with an intervention in November, and even then...well, it all starts with that.

The War On The Impoverished

The latest UN report on world poverty is out and the Trump regime is livid that anyone would dare mention the fact that poverty not only exists in America but that the Trump regime is actively trying to lower to standards of living of Americans and working to destroy anti-poverty programs.

A United Nations report condemning entrenched poverty in the United States is a "misleading and politically motivated" document about "the wealthiest and freest country in the world," the Trump administration's top U.N. official said. 
U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley criticized the report for critiquing the United States' treatment of its poor, arguing that the United Nations should instead focus on poverty in developing countries such as Burundi and Congo Republic. The U.N. report also faulted the Trump administration for pursuing policies it said would exacerbate U.S. poverty. 
"It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America," Haley wrote in a letter to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday. "In our country, the President, Members of Congress, Governors, Mayors, and City Council members actively engage on poverty issues every day. Compare that to the many countries around the world, whose governments knowingly abuse human rights and cause pain and suffering."

The rebuke comes two days after Haley announced the United States' resignation from the U.N. Human Rights Council over that body's perceived bias against Israel and toleration of human rights abusers.

"There are really poor people in Africa you know!" is actually kind of funny coming from the former governor of South Carolina, a state constantly at or near the bottom in national poverty statistics, especially for black folk.  Sure, being poor and hungry in America isn't as awful as Yemen or South Sudan, but it doesn't mean people don't die in America because they can't afford to live here.

In May, U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston released a report saying the United States has the highest rates of youth poverty, infant mortality, incarceration, income inequality and obesity among all countries in the developed world, as well as 40 million people living in poverty. Alston accused President Trump and the Republican Congress of deepening poverty and inequality in the country, citing the Republican tax law passed last fall.

"The policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege," Alston wrote in the report.

Haley pushed back in Thursday's letter, arguing that the administration had created a strong economy that would lift people out of poverty and that Alston's report was premised on misleading statistics. Haley said the U.N. special rapporteur had "categorically misstated" the progress America had made reducing poverty, but she gave no examples.

"I am deeply disappointed that the Special Rapporteur used his platform to make misleading and politically motivated statements about American domestic policy issues," Haley said. "Regrettably, his report is an all too common example of the misplaced priorities [of the U.N.]."

Haley's response is exactly what I'd expect out of China's Communist bureaucracy, North Korea's state media, or India's technocratic dog and pony show.  Poverty in the US is very real for tens of millions of people, but we live in the richest country ever to exist, and being poor here still means you can be homeless, you can go hungry, and you can die from not being able to afford basics.

Of course she's going to scream and pretend like that's not happening.

The Pendejo Soybean War

Another day, another piece on Real Americans In The Heartland who now have buyer's remorse over the racist crapsack they had no problem voting for in November 2016, but now that Trump's trade war is destroying their livelihoods, maybe it's time for a second look at those dirty hippies again.

"This isn't just numbers on a sheet or percentage of trade or dollar value," said Michael Petefish, a 33-year old Trump supporter and fifth generation farmer in southern Minnesota. 
Standing on the farm he will likely run for the next 40 years, he added, "This is multi-generational American families, your base, that you are now squarely putting into financial peril." 
Petefish is one of the thousands of farmers who have seen the price of their crops tank in the face of escalating trade rhetoric between the United States and China. Growers in the area talk of their farms losing over $200,000 in value as commodity prices slump, all while the back and forth between the two countries has played out like a game of chicken, with each side trying to one up each other by raising the size of tariffs they plan to implement on each other. 
After Trump announced that he planned to implement tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods last week, the Chinese Commerce Ministry accused the United States of starting a trade war and said it will retaliate. Trump and his top aides have said they are implementing the tariffs to protect American intellectual property, but farmers like those here in southern Minnesota who are now under the threat of Chinese tariffs feel like collateral damage in a fight full of unintended consequences. 
"I cringe," Dale Stevermer, a soybean farmer and pork producer, said when asked about President Donald Trump's tit-for-tat trade spat with China. "When a tariff even gets talked about, it makes both the buyers and the sellers jumpy. It's going to impact my bottom line, it's going to impact my business livelihood, and, to an extent, it becomes a mental outlook." 
Standing on the Easton, Minnesota farm he was raised on, near the apple tree where he met his wife and the fields where he made a living for himself, Stevermer took a long pause. 
"It's hard not to have some down days," he said, looking out on his 200 acres of soybeans. 
Dale Stevermer wouldn't say who he voted for in 2016, but his wife, Lori, said she voted Republican. 

Rural  voters knew exactly what they were voting for, and exactly who they were voting for. As I keep saying, best case scenario for every single person who voted for Donald Trump was that his overt racism, sexism, and vulgarity wasn't a dealbreaker and was an acceptable "character flaw" they were willing to overlook, so they rolled the dice.

Eventually you come up snake eyes and lose.

The political irony for people like Petefish and others in southern Minnesota is that they helped propel Trump to the White House, backing the businessman-turned-politician because, in part, they felt he understood their needs better than Hillary Clinton. Trump only lost Minnesota by 2% in 2016, coming close to becoming the first Republican to win it since Richard Nixon
Farmers in the area are not ready to say they regret their vote for Trump but are closely watching how they will fare in the intensifying trade fight as they consider whether to break with the Republican Party in November. 
"We have got about a month and a half where we can play with this thing and then after that, these prices have to be corrected, so we urge the administration to do what it has to do and do it quickly," said Tom Slunecka, the CEO of the Minnesota Soybean Association. "If we get into harvest with prices like they are, it will decimate much of farm country." 
And it is not just Minnesota that will be impacted. States like Iowa and Illinois, both of which feature top House races this November, produce millions of bushels every year.
"Right now, people are overcome with risk," said Dan Feehan, the Democrat vying to represent southern Minnesota in Congress come November. "Those who chose to vote for the President two years ago did so because they felt anxiety about what their future and have seen things get worse."

And yet, we're still pretending it was "economic anxiety".  I'm gonna say losing 200 grand off the value of your farm because of this guy might be much more of an economic hit than anything Clinton would have done, even worst-case, but of course the economics were never the real reason people perfectly okay with racism chose to vote for the racist.

When Mike and Dale and their wives and kids and parents and neighbors and friends all vote for Republicans in 2018 and 2020, with Hillary Clinton nowhere near being on a ballot, will we still be using that "economic anxiety" line?
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