Friday, July 12, 2019

Last Call For Border Line Insanity, Con't

In order to deport the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers, the Trump regime is set to ship the vast majority of them to Guatemala under a new agreement.

The Trump administration is on the verge of signing a “safe third country” agreement with Guatemala, sources have confirmed to the Prospect. Asylum seekers attempting to enter the United States would be forced to file in Guatemala instead, on the grounds that it would be the first “safe” country they arrived in. Because most asylum seekers are coming from the south, this would allow the U.S. to send thousands of asylum seekers at the southern border back to Guatemala, and render them ineligible to apply for refugee status in the U.S.

Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales is scheduled to be in Washington on Monday, and an announcement of the agreement could be made then. Spokespeople for Morales have denied that the agreement is the purpose of the visit, but said that there is hope that there can be a signing ceremony.

Immigrant rights and refugee activists, as well as lawmakers, have expressed alarm that Guatemala, itself a country wracked with bouts of violence and its own population of asylum seekers, would be considered a “safe” country for migrants in search of refuge. Civil and human rights groups have suggested they would sue to block the agreement, saying it would violate international law. Three former foreign ministers have asked Guatemala’s Constitutional Court to prevent Morales from signing an agreement, arguing that it would be illegal under Guatemalan law.

“The whole idea [is] that we can take people from Honduras and El Salvador and fly them to Guatemala, where they’re absolutely in worse shape, they don’t have friends or family or funds, so they’re much more vulnerable, so they’re going from desperation to desperation,” said Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who has been a leader on border issues in the Senate.

The administration’s desire to sign a safe third country agreement with Guatemala has been known for some time. On June 17, Trump tweeted that Guatemala “is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third [sic] Country Agreement.” Guatemala’s interior minister, Enrique Degenhart, denied that the two countries had reached a deal, though negotiations are ongoing. Then, again this month, Trump said that Guatemala would be signing a safe third country agreement.

It’s just not credible to call Guatemala “safe,” says Todd Schulte, president of, an immigration and criminal justice advocacy organization.

“This requires suspending objective truth,” Schulte says. “I think people are pretty unprepared for the U.S. declaring one of the most dangerous countries in the world … that’s driving the refugee crisis, if we just say it’s totally safe and lie about it for our benefit, that would be unbelievably tragic.”

Trump of course thinks with this he can eliminate southern border crossings by asylum-seekers, or just ship them all to Guatemala anyway.  Ideally, he'd start deporting people to Guatemala even if they weren't from there to begin with.

It'll fail miserably, but there's a lot of death and suffering he can cause even if he is outsourcing the ethnic cleansing.

Dropping One Evil Scheme For A Far Worse One

The Trump regime announced Thursday that it was giving up on the matter of putting a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, instead he announced a far more sinister plan to disenfranchise millions of black, Hispanic, young, and Democratic voters by using Census data to only count "eligible voters" for redistricting purposes.

President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he is dropping his administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, an abrupt reversal that came after Trump repeatedly insisted he would push ahead with trying to add the question.

Rather than add the question to the 2020 census, which will go to every household in America, Trump instructed other executive agencies to immediately provide all of their citizenship records to the Department of Commerce, which oversees the census. Census Bureau officials authored a memo last year arguing they could better collect citizenship data using existing government administrative records. 
Although the Trump administration has said since 2017 it needed the citizenship question for better enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, critics have long said that rationale is fake. At his Thursday announcement, Trump seemed to confirm that. He did not mention the Voting Rights Act and instead focused on how the data could be used to draw districts based only on the citizen voting-age population.

“Some states may want to draw state and local legislative districts based upon the voter eligible population. Indeed the same day the Supreme Court handed down the census decision, it also said it would not review certain types of districting decisions, which could encourage states to make such decisions based on voter eligibility,” he said.

“With today’s order, we will conduct all of the information we need in order to conduct an accurate census and to make responsible decisions about public policy, voting rights, and representation in Congress,” he added.

Congressional seats allocated to states and districts are drawn based on the total population, and switching to using only the citizen voting-age population would benefit non-Hispanic whites. States could still use citizenship data the Trump administration obtains through other means to draw districts this way.

In other words, under this plan, states would be free to create districts based on "eligible voters" rather than "people who live there." It would allow states to tailor districts to the point where even more Democratic voters could be packed into one district and leave the other districts in the state with a makeup that favors Republicans even more, because they'd be using actual voter data to do it.

In other words, they've dropped the pretense and are now directly advocating using state eligibility formulas to make new hyper-gerrymandered districts to harm Democrats.  The situation in Ohio, where Democrats won half the vote but have only 4 of 16 districts, or North Carolina, where Democrats actually got a majority of the House votes but 3 of 13 districts, will now become the new normal. 

Imagine NC Democrats getting another majority of total House votes but only two Democratic Representatives out of 13.  The Supreme Court just ruled that's okay and that the federal courts have no business interfering in that.

Imagine Texas, which could have as many as 40 Congressional districts in 2022, with Democrats getting something like 48%-50% of the House vote, but only having 8-10 Democrats.  Imagine Florida, Wisconsin, Virginia, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, Missouri, all gerrymandering one or two Democrats right out of their districts on a new permanent basis.

It would be a permanent 20-seat shift to the GOP.  Maybe more.

That's the point.

The Acosta Of Failure

Trump regime Labor Secretary Alex Acosta has failed the one ironclad law of the Trump regime: he made Dear Leader look like an idiot, so now he's being forced out.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is stepping down from his post, just two days after he held a news conference to defend a plea deal that he brokered for wealthy sex offender Jeffrey Epstein while serving as a U.S. attorney in Florida more than a decade ago.

Acosta, a 50-year-old Harvard-educated lawyer, came newly under fire for the lenient 2008 plea deal after Epstein was re-arrested July 6 in New York City and charged with sex trafficking. Under the earlier plea agreement, Epstein served only 13 months of an 18-month term and was permitted daily furloughs to go to the office. Epstein also was required to register as a sex offender and to pay restitution to his underage victims.

Things began to unravel for Acosta in November, when the Miami Herald published a lengthy reexamination of the case, and accelerated in February, when a district court judge ruled that the 2008 plea deal violated the Crime Victims Rights Act because Acosta never revealed the terms of the deal to Epstein's victims before it was finalized. Also in February, the Justice Department opened an investigation into whether Acosta’s prosecution team committed professional misconduct in its handling the Epstein case.

Key details of Acosta's plea agreement with Epstein were known to senators at the time Acosta was confirmed as labor secretary, though initially these seemed minor compared to domestic abuse allegations against Trump’s first pick for labor secretary, Andy Puzder. Acosta defended his actions at a congressional hearing this past April, saying he entered the case only after a state grand jury recommended that only one charge be filed against Epstein — a course of action that would have resulted in no jail time for Epstein, no restitution to victims, and no registration as a sex offender.

Acosta went down because his press conference defending his plea deal with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was an absolute disaster.

Acosta, who at the time served as the U.S attorney in south Florida, said in a news conference that his office intervened in the case after state prosecutors failed to secure a plea deal that would have resulted in jail time for Epstein and give justice to his victims.

"Times have changed, and coverage of this case has certainly changed," Acosta said, adding, "the facts are being overlooked."

“I wanted to help them, that is why we intervened, and that’s what the prosecutors of my office did," he said. "They insisted that he go to jail and put the world on notice that he was and is a sexual predator."

Acosta added: "Epstein's actions absolutely deserve a stiffer sentence."

Acosta secured a federal non-prosecution agreement with Epstein as part of the plea deal, which critics have blasted as too lenient.

"I think what they would find is that the office acted appropriately," Acosta said at the news conference when asked about the criticism. He also pushed back against an assessment that he violated the law by not informing Epstein's victims about the non-prosecution agreement.

Calling the case "complex," Acosta argued that he and the other federal prosecutors were following Justice Department policy. They waited until they secured the plea deal with a provision that would require Epstein to pay restitution to his victims before notifying them, he said, in case the deal fell apart and the defense tried to use any payments as a way to undermine the victims' credibility.

The labor secretary's role in the administration has come under scrutiny after Epstein, 66, was arrested over the weekend and charged Monday with sex trafficking of minors in New York and Florida from at least 2002 through 2005. Epstein has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

I was convinced Acosta was going to survive until this press conference.  Trump used his usual "We'll see" hedge afterwards, indicating that Acosta didn't discharge his only actual duty, insulating Trump from the Epstein fallout.  This morning, Trump fired Acosta.  Even Republicans were glad to see Acosta gone.

Of course, the real problem is that Acosta was confirmed by these same Republicans in the first place.

Bonus StupidiNews:  Acosta's replacement, Deputy Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella, is a friend of disgraced lobbyist and criminal Jack Abramoff and a child labor "enthusiast".


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