Sunday, October 21, 2018

Last Call For Deportation Nation, Con't

Donald Trump has apparently had enough of this whole "migrant" thing and is now considering sealing and militarizing the southern border totally as WH Chief of Staff John Kelly, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and National Security Adviser John Bolton's Mustache are now fighting it out to see whether or not we start putting goddamn tanks and troops on the Rio Grande.

President Donald Trump's frustration over rising numbers of undocumented immigrants crossing into the U.S. is stoking tensions among his advisers as some White House officials push for a more aggressive policy that includes completely sealing the southern border, said four people familiar with the discussions.

The differences escalated into an angry, profanity-laced exchange on Thursday between White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton as a Honduran migrant caravan of roughly 4,000 people approached the U.S. border. The dispute was so heated, according to several people, that Kelly ended up storming out of the White House shortly afterward.

Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration, including family separation policies that involved holding children in cages, has been a centerpiece of his presidency and a core message ahead of the midterm elections. But his failure to secure funding for a promised wall along the border with Mexico, coupled with a renewed surge in border crossings, has tested his ability to make good on his promises.

During a meeting Thursday about the issue, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was explaining an 80 percent rise in immigrant families crossing the border when Bolton interrupted her to criticize her handling of the issue, two people familiar with the meeting said.

Bolton said that Nielsen, a close Kelly ally, was doing a poor job with the border and that her department was not producing the needed results, these people said. He argued that she was failing at one of her signature tasks as Homeland Security secretary, they said.

Bolton, as well as Trump's senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, also proposed sending armed guards to the border and denying entry to anyone without proper documentation, including asylum-seekers, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

What began as a policy discussion turned into a harsh exchange between Kelly and Bolton, just steps from the Oval Office, with Kelly telling Bolton that he lacked an understanding of the complexities of immigration policy, and Bolton telling Kelly that his efforts so far have been ineffective, people familiar with the discussion said. The exchange between Bolton and Kelly was first reported by Bloomberg.

According to three people familiar with the exchange, Kelly repeatedly used the f-word to punctuate his points. These people said Kelly, who had served as Trump’s first secretary of Homeland Security, fiercely defended Nielsen, who has come under fire from Trump over her handling of the border.

The advisers then went into the Oval Office to discuss the matter with the president. Kelly ultimately stormed out of the White House early with no resolution on the issue, these people said.

"I’m f---ing out of here," Kelly said, according to one person briefed on the exchange.

I've said multiple times that the one thing Trump won't tolerate as far as his rogues' gallery of staffers and cabinet flunkies is "making the boss look bad to his base".  With border crossings up due to Trump being forced to back off on separating families at the border, it looks like Trump is going to blow a gasket and maybe seal the border completely at some point as a caravan from Honduras approaches.

We'll see.

The GOP's Race To The Bottom, Con't

Republican continue to be the party of white supremacy, and it's not just "Southern Strategy" mummery to placate the rubes, they honestly believe this garbage and when they won't admit it here in the States, Republicans like Iowa Rep. Steve King are more than happy to give interviews to European white supremacist publications.

King’s conversation with [Austrian white supremacist Caroline] Sommerfeld largely revolves around the paranoid idea of the Great Replacement — the belief that mass migration, particularly from Muslim-majority countries, is an extinction-level event for white European culture and identity. Or as he put it in the interview, a “slow-motion cultural suicide.”

“The U.S. subtracts from its population a million of our babies in the form of abortion,” King said. “We add to our population approximately 1.8 million of ‘somebody else’s babies’ who are raised in another culture before they get to us.”

Sommerfeld responded, “That’s what we call the Great Replacement.

Nick Ryan, the director of communications at the British-based anti-racism advocacy group Hope Not Hate, told HuffPost that “terms such as ‘Great Replacement’ are the preserve of conspiracy theorists and extremists.”

It’s a phrase, he said, widely used by anti-Muslim European networks to refer to the supposed Islamification of Europe by migrants and refugees.

The idea of the Great Replacement is imagined most vividly in The Camp of the Saints, a stunningly racist 1973 novel by Jean Raspail that “reframes everything as the fight to death between races,” said Cécile Alduy, a professor of French at Stanford University and an expert on France’s far right. It describes the takeover of Europe by waves of immigrants that “wash ashore like the plague.”

In the interview, King said that he read the book and that it was “completely logical to me that this could come to pass.” He went on to describe how he believes George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and bogeyman of the far right, might be footing the bill for the Great Replacement.

To recap:

White supremacist Republican Congressman goes to Austria, talks about how non-white immigrants are destroying the "European" way of life, warns of the end of white culture, blames Jewish boogeyman for funding it.

And this isn't even the only "Steve King is a white supremacist" news this week.

U.S. Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who has a history of controversial remarks, is praising a Canadian political candidate who is far right and a white nationalist.

King tweeted Tuesday night in support of Faith Goldy, a candidate for Toronto mayor, describing her as an excellent candidate who is "pro Rule of Law, pro Make Canada Safe Again, pro balanced budget, &...BEST of all, Pro Western Civilization and a fighter for our values. @FaithGoldy will not be silenced."

King, a Kiron resident who is seeking re-election in Iowa's 4th Congressional District, got a blizzard of responses on Twitter. King's tweet about Goldy had nearly 3,000 likes and nearly 1,000 comments by Wednesday morning.

Kedron Bardwell, who chairs the political science department at Simpson College in Indianola, said Goldy has claimed "Canada is undergoing a 'white genocide.'"

Goldy also "appeared on the Neo-Nazi/white supremacist web site 'Daily Stormer,' and was fired by a Canadian right wing/anti-Muslim site for being too extreme," Bardwell said.

Bardwell also tweeted that Goldy "explicitly recited white supremacist slogan The 14 Words ("We must secure the existence of our people and a future for WHITE children") on a 2017 radio show, and she also said she “salutes” white supremacists who showed up in Charlottesville, Virginia, “in hordes.”

Goldy has worked as a reporter and commentator for a number of media organizations and she stirred controversy last year when she appeared in a video from Bethlehem, discussing the Islamic call to prayer and claiming that "Bethlehem's Christian population has been ethnically cleansed."

But don't call them Nazis, nope.

And Iowa keeps re-electing this scumbag.  Can we not?  Can we elect Democrat J.D. Scholten instead, guys?

After topping eight-term U.S. Rep. Steve King in campaign cash for a fourth straight period, Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten says he's financially set to competitively challenge the incumbent over the final three weeks to election day.

Scholten, a former paralegal and professional baseball player from Sioux City, raised $661,013 in the three-month period ended Sept. 30. That's more than four times the $161,673 King collected during the quarter, according to reports filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

Scholten and King, a Republican from Kiron, are competing in the Iowa 4th district race with Libertarian Party nominee Charles Aldrich, of Clarion in the Nov. 6 election.

Scholten, a first-time candidate for public office, has outraised King in four consecutive quarters, dating to the report that ended the 2017 year. In the previously quarter, he tripled the amount King raised through June 30, with Scholten's taking in $269,162, compared to the $70,601 collected by the congressman.

Combining the last four quarters, Scholten has raised $1.38 million, while King has brought in just over $515,000.

"Anyone who doesn’t think we can win this race hasn’t been paying attention," Scholten said in a news release Tuesday. "Increasing our fundraising numbers for a fourth quarter in a row shows the momentum our campaign is building.

Scholten is a long shot, but he's gaining ground.  I would LOVE for this to be one of the big upsets nobody saw coming, even though the polls mostly show King with a safe lead.  Nobody's giving him a chance, and basically no polling has been done.  King isn't even bothering to debate him.

But man, wouldn't this be great? Show him some love.

Sunday Long Read: The Company Line

This week's Sunday Long Read comes to us from The New Yorker's Sheelah Kolhatkar on Sinclair, arguably the biggest media threat to the US today. I've talked multiple times before about Sinclair Broadcast Group, the right-wing conglomerate that owns nearly two hundred local broadcast stations and forces pro-Trump, pro-GOP, pro-corporate propaganda on its local news broadcasts. The man behind Sinclair is David D. Smith, who makes no effort to hide the fact that he is there to spread the message of the Trump GOP for his 20 million daily viewers in dozens of TV markets around the country, whether they like it or not.

Sinclair has largely evaded the kind of public scrutiny given to its more famous competitor, Fox News, and David Smith sometimes expresses frustration that his business doesn’t command as much respect as Rupert Murdoch’s company, 21st Century Fox, which owns the channel. Fox News is the highest-rated cable property, with 2.5 million viewers during prime time. But twenty million or so U.S. households don’t have cable or streaming television, and therefore rely on local stations such as Sinclair’s. A Republican operative who has worked with Smith told me, “He has a shtick that he does not deviate from: ‘People watch broadcast television, and there’s a shitload of people in this country who do not have cable.’ And he’s right. Local TV is still where a significant cross-section of the population gets their news, and a lot of what’s going on in cable television is just totally irrelevant. It’s not a sexy business, but he’s laughing all the way to the bank.”

Sinclair was founded by Smith’s father, Julian Sinclair Smith, who worked in aerospace engineering before applying to the F.C.C., in 1965, for a license to operate a television station in Baltimore. In 1971, Julian Smith launched Channel 45, also known as WBFF. The airwaves are considered a publicly owned resource, and broadcasters must agree to devote a portion of their programming to serving the public interest. Julian’s four sons—Fredrick, Duncan, Robert, and David—grew up watching the family’s channel, known as “the BFF,” for Baltimore’s Family Features, which showed old movies and children’s shows. The Smith family ate dinner with the TV on, so that they could keep an eye out for technical problems. Julian encouraged his sons to help at the WBFF offices by hauling out garbage.

David was the most entrepreneurial of the boys. In the nineteen-seventies, when he was in his twenties, he became a partner in a company called Ciné Processors, which produced copies of pornographic films, including “Deep Throat.” (Smith’s colleague in the enterprise told the Los Angeles Times that Ciné Processors later went out of business after a police raid.) David also founded, and then sold, a company that made television transmitters. In the nineteen-eighties, as Julian’s health declined, the Smith sons began to take a more active role in running Sinclair. In 1991, the Baltimore Sun portrayed the brothers as role models in the business community. “Listen as they gather in the stately Roland Park home of the parents to talk about themselves and the station, the sons joking and wisecracking and chiding one another as if they are at some sort of bawdy class reunion, adding to each other’s thoughts, and ultimately deferring almost solemnly to the father,” the reporter wrote.

Sinclair had recently introduced its first hour-long newscast, after David pointed out that Baltimore was one of the only top television markets without a 10 p.m. national news program. Soon, under David’s direction, Sinclair began buying new stations. “I didn’t want to be a digit head; I wanted to be an entrepreneur,” David told Forbes in 1996. “My father was too much of a visionary to care about profits. What I wanted was purely to make money.”

At the time, F.C.C. rules prohibited a company from owning two stations in the same market, but Smith found a work-around. Sinclair bought a television station in Pittsburgh, WPGH, even though Sinclair already owned its main rival, WPTT. The first Iraq War had just started, and the stock market was dropping, but Smith paid a high price—fifty-five million dollars—for the station. “Everybody thought it was the end of the world,” Smith said. “I didn’t. I believed that certain things were going to happen in the television industry, the most important being consolidation.”

To comply with the F.C.C., Sinclair would have to divest one of the two stations to an independent owner. Instead, Smith sold WPTT to its manager, a Sinclair employee named Edwin Edwards, Sr., and then signed an agreement that gave Sinclair day-to-day control over the station
. A few years later, Sinclair replicated this strategy in Baltimore, divesting one station to a company called Glencairn, which was jointly controlled by Edwards and Smith’s mother. These “duopolies” gave the company leverage in purchasing syndicated television shows like “Friends” and “Cheers.” The fact that Edwards is African-American meant that Sinclair qualified for tax benefits for companies selling to minority owners. Although Sinclair told the F.C.C. that the divested stations were independent, filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicated that they were Sinclair assets.

By 1998, Forbes reported, Sinclair had made twelve of these so-called sidecar purchases, with eight more pending. All were made through Glencairn, Smith family members, or Sinclair executives, allowing the company to circumvent another F.C.C. regulation: an ownership cap dictating that no corporation can control more than thirty-five per cent of the national market, a figure that has since been raised to thirty-nine per cent. When reached for comment, Sinclair said that the company “used these legally permissible operating efficiencies to continue to survive in a very competitive business landscape,” and added that the sidecar deals were “similar in all material respects to arrangements in which many other broadcasters frequently engage.”

None of this would have been possible without the willful blindness of the F.C.C. Andrew Schwartzman, who has been involved in litigation against Sinclair, told me that Sinclair “pushed the envelope and the rules aggressively, time after time after time,” and that the company had “an unparalleled track record of getting away with stuff.”
Emboldened by the sidecar strategy, Sinclair made a flurry of new purchases. In 1998, it announced plans to buy Sullivan Broadcast Holdings, which owned thirteen stations in places like Oklahoma City, Nashville, and Dayton. Around the same time, the F.C.C., under pressure from lobbyists, modified the duopoly rule to be more lenient. Sinclair responded by buying all but two of the Glencairn stations, for a fraction of their market value.

Public-interest groups and media organizations complained to the F.C.C., arguing that Glencairn was a front for Sinclair, and that the situation had allowed the company to build a near-monopoly in many markets. In 2001, an F.C.C. investigation found that Sinclair had exercised de-facto control over Glencairn, but the commission fined the two companies a mere forty thousand dollars each. The pattern continued, with Sinclair buying back divested stations when regulations loosened. Glencairn changed its name to Cunningham Broadcasting, and promised that it would be under new management—which, it turned out, meant Sinclair’s former president Robert Simmons. Shortly afterward, Sinclair filed applications to acquire five stations licensed to Cunningham, at what critics said was a tenth of their true market value.

And on and on.  Sinclair was the man behind the "Stolen Honor" movie in 2004 that was essentially a two-hour campaign commercial attacking John Kerry.  It ran on all of Sinclair's Ohio stations, cost Kerry the state, and the election.

Smith is right up there with Steve Bannon and his ilk as the most consistently powerful and dangerous media mogul in America.  It's safe to say Trump would not be president without his broadcast stations in Michigan (8 stations), Ohio (9 stations), Pennsylvania (9 stations), and Wisconsin (5 stations) and his pro-Trump propaganda there which basically amounted to tens of millions in free advertising in 2016.

How much damage has he done in 2018?

We'll know soon, I suspect.

Supreme Misgivings, Con't

I mentioned this in StupidiNews on Friday where the Trump regime was asking for the courts to block a lawsuit by a number of young climate change activists over America's lack of climate change policy.  I figured the Ninth Circuit would agree to an injunction, but apparently Chief Justice John Roberts himself stepped in to effectively end the lawsuit.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday temporarily blocked a high-profile climate change lawsuit brought by young activists who accuse the federal government of violating their constitutional rights with policies that have caused a dangerous climate.

Chief Justice John Roberts signed an order freezing the trial that was set to start in 10 days in federal court in Oregon until lawyers for the young people provide a response and the high court issues another order.

It marked a victory for the government, which under the Obama and Trump administrations has tried unsuccessfully for years to get the case dismissed. An expert says the Trump administration tried again before the Oct. 29 trial as the court shifted to the right with the confirmation this month of Brett Kavanaugh.

The Supreme Court refused to toss the lawsuit in July, calling it “premature.”

Justice Department lawyers asked again Thursday, arguing that the claim aims to redirect federal environmental policies through the courts rather than through the political process.

Julia Olson, a lawyer representing the young plaintiffs and chief legal counsel for Our Children’s Trust, said they are confident the trial will move forward once the justices receive their response, which is due by Wednesday.

The Supreme Court has recognized in other cases that review of constitutional questions “is better done on a full record where the evidence is presented and weighed,” she said in an email. “This case is about already recognized fundamental rights and children’s rights of equal protection under the law.”

The young people say government officials have known for more than 50 years that carbon pollution from fossil fuels was causing climate change and that policies on oil and gas deprive them of life, liberty and property. They also say the government has failed to protect natural resources as a “public trust” for future generations.

The lawsuit wants a court to order the government to stop permitting and authorizing fossil fuels, quickly phase out carbon dioxide emissions to a certain level by 2100 and develop a national climate recovery plan.

The Trump administration got a temporary reprieve on the case after also asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected the request in July.

“The latest attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the trial does not appear to be based on any new evidence or arguments. The only new element is an additional Supreme Court justice,” said Melissa Scanlan, a professor at Vermont Law School, who is not involved in the case.

I guarantee you Kavanaugh was the deciding factor in this injunction and the reason why the trial was stopped.  I also guarantee you that the trial will never, ever go forward now, and will be dismissed out of hand.  People have badly underestimated just what Kavanaugh's presence on the bench means.

Things will only get worse from here.
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