Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Last Call For The State Of The Police State, Con't

Oregon Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have figured out that what Trump really wants from his performative stormtrooper ballet is something he can call a victory, and very wisely the effort is being made to give the Toddler-In-Chief a win on the scoreboard that doesn't involve splitting open people's heads like ripe melons.

The Trump administration has started talks with the Oregon governor’s office and indicated that it would begin to draw down the presence of federal agents sent to quell two months of chaotic protests in Portland if the state stepped up its own enforcement, a senior White House official said Tuesday. 
The official stressed to The Associated Press that the talks with the office of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown are in the early stages and there is no agreement. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations and spoke on the condition of anonymity. 
Brown didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office also didn’t immediately respond to an email. 
Just a day earlier, the U.S. Marshals Service and Department of Homeland Security were weighing whether to send in more agents. The marshals were taking steps to identify up to 100 additional personnel who could go in case they were needed to relieve or supplement the deputy marshals who work in Oregon, spokesman Drew Wade said. 
Homeland Security was considering a similar measure with Customs and Border Protection agents, according to an administration official with direct knowledge of the plans who was not authorized to speak publicly about the plans and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity. 
President Donald Trump did not let up on criticizing local authorities in their handling of the protests that began after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police and have grown to include the presence of federal agents in Portland and other Democratic cities. 
The nightly protests often spiral into violence as demonstrators target the U.S. courthouse in Oregon’s largest city with rocks, fireworks and laser pointers and federal agents respond with tear gas, less-lethal ammunition and arrests. 
“We, as you know, have done an excellent job of watching over Portland and watching our courthouse where they wanted to burn it down, they’re anarchists, nothing short of anarchist agitators,” Trump said Tuesday. “And we have protected it very powerfully. And if we didn’t go there, I will tell you, you wouldn’t have a courthouse. You’d have a billion-dollar burned-out building.”

Trump wants to send in more contractors and spur a violent event that will become the catalyst for a crackdown. What Brown and Wheeler are trying to do is to give Trump a political win he can brag about, so he can go on TV and say he "saved Portland".  Trump fancies himself to be a dealmaker, not because he's good at making deals (he's horrific at it) but because his malignant narcissism requires that he believes everyone else operates within the same transactional social framework as he does.

What Trump wants is for people to say good things about him on TV, about how smart he is and how good of a negotiator he is, and how only he could resolve the protests in Portland. That's his ticket to a second term, he thinks.

He's wrong, and Brown and Wheeler are trying to manipulate him the way you would deal with any tantrum-prone 4-year-old. Someone's going to point that out to him and this ploy is probably going to fail miserably and end in bloodshed anyway, because Trump is also easily manipulated by his cadre of revenants, ghouls, and vampires and they've had a lot more practice at it.

But you have to give Brown and Wheeler credit here.  They are honestly trying to save lives by placating a buffoon in love with the smell of his own flatulence.

Not A Shutdown Countdown But Could Have Been

If you're wondering why Democrats refuse to use the power of the purse to punish Trump, it's because Dems don't have the desire to shut down the government and aren't going to pick a fight over anything in a presidential election year, not even DHS funding.

House Democrats on Tuesday were forced to pull their Homeland Security spending bill from the floor just days before it was slated for a vote, after it faced strong blowback from both progressives and centrists within the caucus.

Dozens of vulnerable Democrats in swing districts as well as progressives had threatened to torpedo the measure in recent days: The moderates argued the bill went too far in cracking down on immigration enforcement, while liberals argued it didn't do nearly enough to rein in the Trump administration's draconian policies.

“Frontline members raised serious concerns that the Homeland bill was a tough vote in swing districts because of its progressive provisions,” a House Democratic aide said Tuesday.

“At the end of the day, frontliners are our majority makers and there is no reason to force them to take a tough vote," the aide said, noting that the House would ultimately still need to negotiate with the Senate GOP to avert a government shutdown this fall. Congress is widely expected to enact a stopgap measure in September and punt any major funding decisions until after the November election.

The House had planned to take up the Department of Homeland Security funding measure on Friday, as part of a seven-bill, $1.4 trillion minibus. The package will now include just six bills, and is expected to easily pass.

The decision by Democratic leaders — while a relief for more moderate members — is a disappointment for appropriators, who had laced the bill with language to curb the Trump administration’s immigration agenda and cut Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention.

“This is probably the most progressive Homeland Security bill that has ever been presented to the House,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), the chair of the Homeland Security spending panel, said last week.

“It literally has everything in it that the advocates, the members, have told me over the years, had to be in the bill,” said Roybal-Allard, ticking off provisions that limit the number of detention beds and prevent the Trump administration from moving money around for its immigration priorities.

Democrats had also crafted an amendment to the DHS bill to block federal funding for the administration’s use of paramilitary action to quell protests in Oregon and Washington state, in hopes of winning over more progressive votes.

But leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus made clear that the amendment wasn't enough, and had been pressing leadership to strip the measure from the minibus.

“Voting to put so much money into this agency, at this moment, when these bills aren’t going to go anywhere in the Senate, I think makes no sense whatsoever,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, co-chair of the CPC, said in an interview last week.

The reversal comes after several weeks of complaints from many Democrats, who questioned the merits of voting on a contentious immigration bill on the floor in an election-year, when it stood no chance of becoming law and would only highlight party divisions on the issue.

It's easy to say this is a rare misfire by Nancy Pelosi, bringing a bill to the floor she didn't have the votes for, and it sounds like she was nowhere near close to having them.  Not sure what she was thinking here, but it was an unforced error on her part.

The larger issue is that the Congressional Progressive Caucus in safe blue seats decided making the perfect the enemy of the good is why this vote had to be pulled.

It's also exactly why Trump never gets punished.

Fraud Of The Yankees

Donald Trump is such a thin-skinned man-child that he couldn't stand to see Dr. Anthony Fauci be invited to throw out a first pitch for the Washington Nationals last week, so much so that he invited himself to throw out the first pitch at a Yankees game, which was news to the Yankees and everyone else and then he "canceled" days later.

When he abruptly announced on Sunday that he would not be throwing out the first pitch at the Yankees game August 15, Donald Trump claimed that it was because he couldn’t break his “strong focus” on the coronavirus pandemic and a host of other issues he’s never before had a problem ignoring. But the real reason he won’t be taking the mound next month is far simpler: He hadn’t actually been asked.

According to the New York Times, the president surprised both the Yankees and his own staff when he said during a press conference that he’d be tossing the opening pitch on the 15th next month—a day he hadn’t been invited to do so, and which evidently conflicted with something already on his schedule. It’s not clear what that prior engagement is, but aides—shocked by his announcement—“scrambled to let the ballclub know that he already had plans for that Saturday. “We will make it later in the season!” Trump promised in his tweet canceling the outing.

Why would Trump impulsively announce he’d been asked to throw a ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game he hadn’t actually been invited to, on a date when he already had something on his schedule? Because Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert whose clear-eyed assessments of the coronavirus crisis contradict the president’s wishful thinking, was about to throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals home opener against the Yankees. Jealous of Fauci, and irritated that the public health expert is stealing the spotlight, Trump said an hour before the doctor’s first pitch Thursday that he, too, would be taking the rubber before a Yankees game. “Randy Levine is a great friend of mine from the Yankees,” the president said. “And he asked me to throw out the first pitch, and I think I’m doing that on August 15 at Yankee Stadium.”

Trump has done this kind of thing before, and for equally stupid, selfish reasons. The most recent example, perhaps, was his announcement in April that he’d be giving a commencement speech at West Point—surprising the school, and forcing cadets to return to campus in the middle of a pandemic to listen to him ramble. That outing didn’t go so well; his address was overshadowed by his slow, ginger walk down what he’d later claim, in one of his numerous ludicrous explanations for his careful gait, was a “very long & and steep…[and] very slippery” ramp. It’s possible he would have fared better on the mound; having a catch with former Yankees great Mariano Rivera outside the White House last week, his arm looked like it had some pop in it—enough, perhaps, to get the ball closer to the plate than Fauci, whose opening pitch was a bit low and outside. (“I completely miscalculated the distance from the mound,” Fauci told the Times Monday.)

He's a child.  I keep saying this, he keeps doing childish things, we admit he does, and we keep not saying "This is a child who should resign because he is an infantile moron incapable of the job". 
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