Friday, June 7, 2019

Last Call For It's All About Revenge Now, Con't

Last night we reached new depths of FOX News being Trump State Media, in a performance from Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity that would have Goebbels applauding for hours. Greg Sargent details the atrocities:

In his interview with Ingraham, Trump ripped into Pelosi for privately saying she wants to see Trump “in prison.” He blasted Pelosi as a “nasty, vindictive, horrible person” and claimed special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report was a “disaster” that produced “nothing” (an incalculable absurdity, given its incredibly damning revelations). 
Trump also insisted that Mueller produced a letter to “straighten out” his recent public remarks, which were “wrong” (as Steve Benen shows, Mueller in no way backed off his devastating core assertions). And Trump called the investigation a “phony witch hunt,” absurdly suggesting the Russian attack on our political system, which Mueller extensively documented, was a big nothing never worth investigating.

“I think they’re in big trouble,” Trump said of Pelosi and Democrats, “when you look at the kind of crimes that were committed.”

This echoed Trump’s long-running argument that the only corruption that occurred was the Russia investigation itself, perpetrated by law enforcement and Democrats, an absurd rewriting of basic history that has generated one buffoonish pratfall after another.

Naturally, Hannity picked up this baton, tearing into Pelosi for wanting “a political opponent locked up in prison,” which “happens in banana republics".

Hannity also claimed it’s an “irrefutable fact that there was no collusion.” This is a severe distortion: Mueller said “collusion” isn’t a legally meaningful term and documented extensive efforts by Trump World to encourage, profit off, and, yes, conspire with the Russian attack. Hannity suggested Democrats “don’t state” what they believe Trump has done wrong — a ridiculous lie, since this is amply laid out in Democratic documents.

It should be impossible to watch these diatribes in full without quickly realizing that this isn’t ordinary political dishonesty — some level of artifice is an inevitable feature of politics — but rather is something much more insidious. What’s notable is the sheer comprehensiveness of the effort to create an alternate set of realities whose departure from the known facts seemingly aims to be absolute and unbridgeable.

As many have noted, it’s richly absurd that Hannity is claiming Pelosi is engaging in “banana republic” stuff, given that Trump has called for investigations into his political opponents for years. Indeed, in the Ingraham interview, Trump blasted Pelosi over this, then immediately segued into suggesting that Democrats will soon be held accountable for imagined crimes.

But this absurd duality should be understood as a feature of this kind of Trumpian disinformation. It won’t do to note its self-contradictory nature. The whole point is to wield this kind of absurdity as an instrument of power. It’s to use an alternate reality to supplant and extinguish good faith efforts to discern actual reality — to blot out the possibility of shared agreement on facts that are in front of all our noses through the sheer insistence that the alternate reality is supreme. The alt-reality doesn’t have to be proved as the true one; just established as the dominant one.

And this method is how Trump is going to start throwing his political enemies in jail in mass quantities.  The narrative is whatever Trump says it is, he has people to tell America this, and they listen.

And they obey.

The Road To Gilead, Con't

Americans want Roe v Wade to remain the law of the land in a new NPR poll, but they also are overwhelmingly okay with restrictions on availability of abortion, and the group most likely to support restrictions is, surprise, Republican women.

The poll comes as several states have pushed to limit abortions in hopes of getting the Supreme Court to reconsider the issue. Abortion-rights opponents hope the newly conservative court will either overturn Roe or effectively gut it by upholding severe restrictions. The survey finds that while most Americans favor limiting abortion, they don't want it to be illegal and don't want to go as far as states like Alabama, for example, which would ban it completely except if the woman's life is endangered or health is at risk.

A total of 77% say the Supreme Court should uphold Roe, but within that there's a lot of nuance — 26% say they would like to see it remain in place, but with more restrictions added; 21% want to see Roe expanded to establish the right to abortion under any circumstance; 16% want to keep it the way it is; and 14% want to see some of the restrictions allowed under Roe reduced. Just 13% overall say it should be overturned.

Even though Americans are solidly against overturning Roe, a majority would also like to see abortion restricted in various ways. In a separate question, respondents were asked which of six choices comes closest to their view of abortion policy.

In all, 61% said they were in favor of a combination of limitations that included allowing abortion in just the first three months of a pregnancy (23%); only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman (29%); or only to save the life of the woman (9%).

And again, the biggest driving factor against abortion in 2019 are Republican women, even more so than Republican men.

The most acute divide among Americans on the issue of abortion, arguably, is not a gender divide but between the parties — and of women of different parties.

For example, 54% of men identified as "pro-choice," compared with 60% of women. For women of the different parties, 77% of Democratic women identified as "pro-choice," while 68% of Republican women identified as "pro-life." (A lower percentage of Republican men, 59%, considered themselves "pro-life.")

Throughout the poll, the divide was stark. On Roe, for example, 62% of Republican women said overturn it or add restrictions; 73% of Democratic women said keep it the way it is, expand it to allow abortions under any circumstance or reduce some of the restrictions.
Eighty-four percent of Democratic women said they are more likely to support state laws that decriminalize abortion and make laws less strict; 62% of Republican women said they are more likely to support laws that criminalize abortion or make laws stricter.

On requiring insurance companies to cover abortion procedures, 75% of Democratic women support that, while 78% of Republican women oppose it, higher than the 63% of Republican men who said the same.

Republican women also stand out for the 62% of them who said they oppose laws that allow abortion at any time during pregnancy in cases of rape or incest. They are the only group to voice majority opposition to that. Fifty-nine percent of Republican men, for example, said they would support such a law.

And Republican women are the only group to say overwhelmingly that life begins at conception. About three-quarters said so, compared with less than half of Republican men and a third of Democratic women.

It's a reminder that Republican women, in many ways, are the backbone of the movement opposing abortion rights.

As long as women are happily signing away their own bodies to men in order to force other women to do so, we remain on the road to Gilead.

Deportation Nation, Con't

Mexico is actually making a serious effort to stave off Trump's tariffs, but the Obrador government just doesn't understand that once you pay the bully, he always ups the toll

U.S. and Mexican officials are discussing the outlines of a deal that would dramatically increase Mexico’s immigration enforcement efforts and give the United States far more latitude to deport Central Americans seeking asylum, according to a U.S. official and a Mexican official who cautioned that the accord is not final and that President Trump might not accept it. 
Faced with Trump’s threat to impose steadily rising tariffs on goods imported from Mexico beginning Monday, Mexican officials have pledged to deploy up to 6,000 national guard troops to the area of the country’s border with Guatemala, a show of force they say will make immediate reductions in the number of Central Americans heading north toward the U.S. border.

The Mexican official and the U.S. official said the countries are negotiating a sweeping plan to overhaul asylum rules across the region, a move that would require Central Americans to seek refuge in the first country in which they arrive after leaving their homeland. 
Under such a plan, the United States would swiftly deport to Mexico any Guatemalan asylum seekers who set foot on U.S. soil. And the United States would send Honduran and Salvadoran asylum applicants to Guatemala, whose government held talks last week with acting Homeland Security secretary Kevin McAleenan. Central American migrants who express a fear of death or torture if they are repatriated would be interviewed by U.S. asylum officers to determine whether the chances of such harm were more likely than not — a screening standard with a greater likelihood of rejection than current procedures. 
Mexico has repeatedly said it will not accept the kind of “Safe Third Country” agreement that the United States has with Canada, a pact that requires asylum seekers to apply for refuge in whichever country they first arrive in, as each is considered safe. But the Mexican official said the government is willing to make asylum changes for the sake of a coordinated regional approach.

Mexican negotiators also have made clear that they will withdraw their offers if Trump imposes the tariffs, telling their U.S. counterparts that the economic damage would undermine Mexico’s ability to afford tougher immigration enforcement.

The problem with reasonable, good faith efforts like Mexico's here in response to belligerent bully tactics is the bully always smashes you in the face again while yelling "What else ya got?"

The correct response for Mexico is hardball, not appeasement.  Closing the Nuevo Laredo crossing for "repairs" for instance for all southbound traffic for a week might get the attention of some big corporate donor types, for example.

But this plan?  It's already dead on arrival, hombre.

President Trump is planning to declare a new national emergency in order to implement sweeping tariffs on Mexico over the flow of Central American migrants to the U.S., according to a draft document of the declaration reviewed by The Hill. 
According to the document, the new emergency is necessary due to “the failure of the Government of Mexico to take effective action to reduce the mass migration of aliens illegally crossing into the United States through Mexico.” 
The new emergency declaration would follow a February emergency declaration, which Trump used to justify sending National Guard troops to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the southern border. 
The draft document signals that the White House believes that imposing the tariffs under the February emergency declaration might not pass legal muster. But it remains unclear if a final decision has been made to invoke another emergency. The White House did not answer questions about the document. 
Officials from the White House counsel’s office and the Justice Department floated the idea of a new declaration this week during a closed-door meeting with Republican senators. 
The White House has said it plans to impose the tariffs under the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which allows the president to take unilateral action to counter an “unusual and extraordinary threat” in times of national emergency. 
But a new national emergency is likely to spark widespread opposition on Capitol Hill from Republicans and Democrats who say Trump is overstepping his tariff authority and also could draw fresh legal challenges.

So all those Republican Senators worried about how tariffs would affect constituents in 2020 folded in just a couple of days as they were told what Trump was going to do, and that they were going along with it.

And don't expect a Roberts Court that sided with Trump on his Muslim ban to lift a finger here.

Like I said, give in to the bully once...


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