Saturday, September 8, 2018

Last Call For Deportation Nation, Con't

Back in April, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was the deciding vote that shot down the Trump Regime's plans to assume basically all crimes were deportation-worthy "crimes of violence".

In a 5-to-4 decision Tuesday, the court overturned the deportation of a 25-year legal U.S. resident from the Philippines who was convicted of two burglaries.

James Dimaya came to the U.S. at age 13 as a legal permanent resident. More than two decades later — after he was convicted of two home burglaries in California and sentenced to a total of four years in prison — the government sought his deportation under a "violent crime" immigration law, though neither of Dimaya's crimes involved violence. The statute defines a violent crime as one involving force or the "substantial risk" of force.

The Supreme Court, however, said that language is so vague that it invites arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.

At the time, I noted Ian Millhiser warning that Gorsuch only did so out of a desire to cripple the federal government's regulatory capacity beyond verbatim what Congress allowed it. That's a double-edged sword, as Congress does have to define what the law is in order to be enforced, Gorsuch wrote in his concurrence.

On Friday, the House took the first steps towards doing just that.

The House on Friday passed a bill that would restore the federal government's ability to deport immigrants for a wide variety of violent criminal offenses in a vote that won quick praise from President Trump.

The Community Safety and Security Act aims to address an April Supreme Court ruling that found that the federal definition of a “crime of violence,” which under immigration law prompts the mandatory deportation of a noncitizen, is impermissibly vague. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Karen Handel (R-Ga.), specifically enumerates more than a dozen crimes that would qualify.

The bill passed 247-152, largely along party lines.

Democrats objected to the bill for being rushed to the floor without hearings or an amendment process in committee, though 29 broke ranks and supported it; four libertarian-oriented Republicans opposed it.

Trump tweeted his approval of the legislation early Friday afternoon: “House GOP just passed a bill to increase our ability to deport violent felons (Crazy Dems opposed). Need to get this bill to my desk fast!"

Among the offenses that would be considered a “crime of violence” under the bill: “murder, voluntary manslaughter, assault, sexual abuse or aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact, child abuse, kidnapping, robbery, carjacking, firearms use, burglary, arson, extortion, communication of threats, coercion, fleeing, interference with flight crew members and attendants, domestic violence, hostage taking, stalking, human trafficking, piracy, or a terrorism offense” defined elsewhere in federal law.

Also qualifying would be any offense involving illegal explosives or weapons of mass destruction or involving “the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another

All of those would become deportable offenses under the law.  Most of them definitely fit "crimes of violence". But "communication of threats" and "fleeing" along with "the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another" is all extremely vague, and that's going to mean that saying mean things about Trump or fleeing an ICE raid means you go away if you're a non-citizen.

And we already have the Trump regime openly questioning American citizenship now.

You can guess where all this is going.

This bill needs to die in the Senate, but I'm not sure it will.

Race To The Bottom, Con't

Here's FOX News and unofficial Trump adviser Tucker Carlson giving us the 2018 Donald Trump white supremacy movement in under 30 seconds.

This is what a whole hell of a lot of Americans believe, politely, and overtly.  It is definitely what the Republicans running our government believe, including the man in the Oval Office.

Straight -up white nationalist propaganda.

The Absolution Solution

Ezra Klein arrives at the correct conclusion that both Barack Obama, in his speech yesterday, and conservative loudmouth Ben Shapiro, in his response to Obama, both made a massive mistake by absolving Trump voters of their sins.

Where Obama and Shapiro differ sharply in their explanation is in the attribution of blame. Obama blames Trump — and others in the Republican Party and conservative media — for demagogically preying on Americans’ fears and anxieties. Shapiro blames Obama for adopting a lecturing tone that alienated a critical mass of Americans.

Over email, I asked Shapiro to unpack this point for me. “Obama suggested that his political opponents were badly-motivated ignoramuses, routinely ignored the rule of law, and utilized identity politics to divide the country,” he replied. “He savaged McCain and Romney in scurrilous ways. Many in the Republican base felt angered and slighted, and raged at the supposed nice guys in the party who were allegedly too weak to fight back. They supported the most aggressive candidate on the stage.”

Some of this strikes me as, well, strange. John McCain just had Obama speak at his funeral. The idea that the 2008 campaign was uniquely scurrilous is provably wrong. The rest of it is the usual Rorschach test of American politics; I think Obama treated issues of identity with unusual care and caution and, particularly early in his presidency, was unusually willing to believe the best of his political opponents, but I doubt I’ll change any minds on that in this column. Indeed, the deep division over how identity politics was wielded in the Obama era, and who was really acting outside the norms of American politics, is exactly what you’d expect if you believe this broader story of demographic, political, and cultural upheaval.

More interesting, I think, is the way both Obama and Shapiro implicitly absolve voters of responsibility for the choices they made. Obama’s basic argument is that too much change, too fast, made right-leaning voters susceptible to a demagogue’s charms; Shapiro’s basic argument is that too much of Obama’s liberal provocations, for too long, made right-leaning voters long for a strongman of their own.

The term “white fragility” is overused in politics right now, but it is relevant here: The unwillingness to state the obvious — a critical proportion of Republican primary voters enthusiastically supported the candidate who promised to turn back the demographic clock — might be politically wise, but it’s analytically disastrous. Black voters who supported Louis Farrakhan would never be treated with such delicacy.

Trump, for all his flaws, ran a campaign based on clear positions and aspirations. He promised to build a wall; he said that our country was being weakened by louche, violent, parasitic immigrants; he said Obama was an illegitimate president with a forged birth certificate; he vowed to stop Muslims from traveling to the country; and in every speech, at every turn, he promised to turn back the clock, to make America great again.

That a crucial portion of the Republican electorate agreed with him in all of this is undeniable. What it says about them is often treated as if it is unspeakable — either because to state their beliefs clearly is insulting or because it just makes a bad political situation worse.

Trump did not create these voters. They long predated him — they were present in both Pat Buchanan’s and Ross Perot’s candidacies — but they were homeless in American politics, suppressed by the two parties for reasons of both principle and political expediency.

Trump, with his money, celebrity, and media-savvy, taking advantage of new communication technologies, a weakened Republican Party, and the rage that grew on the right amid the daily affront of Obama’s presidency, was able to break through the cartel and offer those voters the choice they actually wanted, and in the Republican primary, enough of them took it to make him the nominee. (The general election, it should be said, had more complex dynamics, with a lot of voters unhappily choosing Trump over Clinton, which is why I think the primary was the real pivot here.)

So yes, Republican voters enraged by the feeling that they were being lectured by the first black president is a big part of how we got Trump. This idea is popular in some quarters of the right because it’s understood as somehow absolving them of blame for Trump, but it’s just another way of saying that Obama’s presidency — and the broader demographic and cultural changes it both revealed and represented — activated ugly sentiments in the Republican Party, those fears and resentments were amplified by conservative media, and Republican voters turned to the candidate who championed those sentiments most clearly.

Which is all to say Trump’s voters made a rational choice based on their beliefs about, and preferences for, the country they live in. There’s a powerful impulse to absolve them of that choice, to blame it on someone or something else, but doing so obscures the reasons it was made and confuses our attempts to move forward.

This is not only correct, but clear-headed and sobering to boot.

The reason we have Trump in the White House is that 63 million Americans made the choice to vote for him.  

You know what?

Those 63 million Americans are the problem

Oh I know, "But Zandar, you can't blame the voters, that's playing right into the hands of the politics of resentment".


Take responsibility for what you did.  Fix it in November by throwing out the Republicans at the ballot box.

Trump Flew Over The Coup-Coup Nest

What is it with Republican regimes and plotting South American coup attempts all the damn time? Donald Trump sure has more in common with Reagan/Bush CIA hijinks than he lets on, now that we have this NY Times story exposing a secret US coup attempt in Venezuela.

The Trump administration held secret meetings with rebellious military officers from Venezuela over the last year to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, according to American officials and a former Venezuelan military commander who participated in the talks.

Establishing a clandestine channel with coup plotters in Venezuela was a big gamble for Washington, given its long history of covert intervention across Latin America. Many in the region still deeply resent the United States for backing previous rebellions, coups and plots in countries like Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil and Chile, and for turning a blind eye to the abuses military regimes committed during the Cold War.

The White House, which declined to answer detailed questions about the talks, said in a statement that it was important to engage in “dialogue with all Venezuelans who demonstrate a desire for democracy” in order to “bring positive change to a country that has suffered so much under Maduro.”

But one of the Venezuelan military commanders involved in the secret talks was hardly an ideal figure to help restore democracy: He is on the American government’s own sanctions list of corrupt officials in Venezuela.

He and other members of the Venezuelan security apparatus have been accused by Washington of a wide range of serious crimes, including torturing critics, jailing hundreds of political prisoners, wounding thousands of civilians, trafficking drugs and collaborating with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.

American officials eventually decided not to help the plotters, and the coup plans stalled. But the Trump administration’s willingness to meet several times with mutinous officers intent on toppling a president in the hemisphere could backfire politically.

Suddenly that drone attack on Maduro last month allowing him to consolidate power and crack down militarily while the nation's economy disintegrates is bathed in a whole new light.  The military intervention that Trump openly bragged about in August of 2017 fell apart fantasitcally, and now we have a failed state on our hands in real time.

What will Republicans do about it?  Will there be any oversight?

Of course not.  Not in this banana republic.
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