Browsing the blog archives for September, 2017.

Stuff to Read About DACA

Trump Maladministration

I haven’t little to add to what has already been written about Trump’s abrupt ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, except for the obvious: This is just Trump getting his jollies by being an abusive son of a bitch. There is no other purpose served by ending DACA.

Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker:

On Tuesday morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration was ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (daca), the Obama-era policy that protects close to a million undocumented immigrants who grew up in the U.S. Many Americans, including the President, refer to the beneficiaries of the policy as Dreamers, but at a press conference in Washington, Sessions called them by a different name. They were, he said, “a group of illegal aliens” who were taking jobs away from citizens, contributing to “lawlessness,” and threatening the country’s “unsurpassed legal heritage.” The decision to end daca wasn’t personal, he insisted. “This does not mean they’re bad people or that our nation disrespects them or demeans them in any way,” he said. It was just a matter of “protecting the integrity of our Constitution.” President Barack Obama, who created daca by executive action—without congressional approval—had “unilaterally” granted Dreamers “amnesty.” Sessions’s tone suggested that he believed these words were as abhorrent to his listeners as they were to him. “We simply can’t admit everyone who comes here,” he said. Then he took a drink of water, and praised Donald Trump. “The President has delivered to the American people,” Sessions said.

Since daca was implemented, in 2012, its beneficiaries, who came to the U.S. as small children, have been living in the country under “lawful status.” They’ve been able to obtain work visas and driver’s licenses, and were free from the immediate fear of arrest and deportation. But daca does not grant citizenship. “It’s a temporary, stopgap measure,” Obama said when he first announced the policy. Yet years have passed and Congress never formalized Dreamers’ status, despite the fact that a majority of Americans, across ideological lines, supported both their citizenship and their right to remain in the country. Ninety-seven per cent of daca recipients are in school or in the workforce, and—per the conditions of the program—not one of them has a criminal history.

Josh Marshall, Trump Wishes Dreamers Luck as He Tosses Them Out of the Plane

Jennifer Rubin, And Trump didn’t have the nerve to make the announcement himself

Greg Sargent, Don’t be fooled by the scam that Trump will pull today on DACA

James Hohmann, DACA decision highlights chasm between Trump’s compassionate rhetoric and reality

Roberto G. Gonzales, DACA’s beneficiaries landed good jobs, enrolled in college, and contributed to society


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Harvey Could Still Be Trump’s Katrina

Trump Maladministration

Amy Davidson Sorkin writes at the New Yorker:

The problem is not that President Trump does not realize that Harvey is huge; a number of his tweets on the storm have contained the word “Wow,” and he called it “epic” and “historic,” adding that “Texas can handle anything!” But the enormity of the situation does not seem to have organized his thoughts beyond declarations of how it will be matched by the greatness of his Administration and its allies. On the flight to Texas, on Tuesday morning, he had retweeted a message from Brazoria County, which consisted of a red box containing the words “notice: The Levee at Columbia Lakes has been breached!! get out now!!” Get out to where? What are the practical consequences of a breach? Trump didn’t say. (Vox has a more technical breakdown of the levee situation.)

In Corpus Christi, speaking to Governor Abbott, Trump began by acknowledging that it wasn’t time for congratulations, but offered a prediction that Houston would soon be better than ever: “We’ll congratulate each other when it’s all finished.” Later in the day, at a briefing at a control center in Austin, he said that his team’s coördination had been “incredible—everybody’s talking about it,” then offered this observation on the challenge that they faced: “Nobody has ever seen this much water. . . . The water has never been seen like this, to this, to the extent. And it’s, uh, maybe someday going to disappear. We keep waiting!”

Trump seems to think that once the water goes away, everything will just go back to normal.

What will be harder is persuading not only Trump but the Republican Party that Harvey has a reality that reaches beyond the borders of this storm, and involves major policy issues. Both Senators Cruz and Cornyn voted against a major emergency-relief bill allocating funds for rebuilding and recovery after Superstorm Sandy. Cruz, in particular, has misrepresented that bill’s contents and its purpose, saying that two-thirds of the money in it wasn’t really related to Sandy but was, rather, pork and other wasteful government spending. (Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s fact checker, gave Cruz three Pinocchios for that.) Cruz and others, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, also complained that the bill wasn’t really for emergency spending because it covered things like improving forecasts and repairing damaged infrastructure in a way that protected it against the next storm. This time, for the congressional Republicans, as much as for Trump, the emergency can’t stop when the rain does.

Here’s Glenn Kessler’s fact check of Cruz’s claim.

I think most Americans are looking at Texas and thinking it’s going to take a ton of money to put things right. I have read that up to a million cars are ruined. I have read that 80 percent of people whose homes were damaged or destroyed have no flood insurance. We’re hearing about exploding chemical plants and who knows how much petroleum and other toxic things being released into the water. So far I haven’t heard an assessment of how many businesses have been shut down and how many jobs are lost. I haven’t heard an assessment of repairing roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

And most of the issues involved in all these things deal with policy matters that Republicans don’t like to deal with. They want the private sector to somehow take care of it all.

Speaking of the private sector, there’s a pernicious pattern of disasters being used as opportunities for all kinds of political patronage and profit. See Naomi Klein, “How Power Profits From Disaster.”

One of those moments arrived in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, as I watched hordes of private military contractors descend on the flooded city to find ways to profit from the disaster, even as thousands of the city’s residents, abandoned by their government, were treated like dangerous criminals just for trying to survive.

I don’t think we ever got an honest assessment of how much taxpayer “recovery” money was lost to waste and fraud after Katrina, and a lot of that money disappeared into the pockets of contractors, sub-contractors and various middlemen. People’s lives were put on hold for months and years waiting for help. The Bush Administration was colossally inept, but does anyone think the Trump Administration is going to do better?

On top of that — while everyone’s been focused on Hurricane Harvey, wildfires are raging through the Pacific Coast states. Home owners are getting evacuation orders. Yosemite National Park is threatened.

On top of that, there’s a category 3 hurricane out in the Atlantic named Irma that might strike the Atlantic coast next weekend. That’s not certain though.

On top of that, North Korea.

So, shit’s getting real, and Republicans plan on converging in Washington this month to cut taxes for rich people.

Back to Amy Sorkin:

If the tragedy of Harvey is not met properly and consistently, on a national level and with an eye toward a long-term commitment, it could mean the decline and fall of a great American city.

Today’s Republicans have absolutely no grasp of what “properly and consistently, on a national level and with an eye toward a long-term commitment” even means, and Trump is incapable of commitment except to himself. Twelve years ago, Republicans were perfectly content to leave New Orleans to rot. And they largely got away with it. Somehow, I don’t think they’ll get away with letting Houston rot.

See also:

Donald Trump in Houston: “Have A Good Time Everybody”

He Can’t Even Fake It

And an old Mahablog post, What Is Evil?

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Panic in Trumpland

Trump Maladministration

Earlier this week it was revealed that Robert Mueller is working with  New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which opens up the possibility that the investigation will eventually result in state as well as federal criminal charges. Presidents can’t pardon state offenses. There also are reports that Mueller is working with the IRS Financial Crimes Unit, which usually works on tax evasion and money laundering cases. Heh.

Today we’re learning that Mueller has in his possession a letter composed by soulless creep Stephen Miller and Trump himself to justify James Comey’s firing. Andrew Prokop writes at Vox,

When President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey back in May, his administration at first offered a laughably implausible pretext. The claim was that Comey’s ouster had nothing to do with the Russia investigation, and that Trump was merely accepting the Justice Department’s recommendation to fire Comey because he had been too tough on Hillary Clinton in the email investigation.

But that wasn’t the initial story. The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman report that Trump and White House aide Stephen Miller first drafted a different letter recommending Comey’s firing — a letter that White House counsel Don McGahn blocked because he found it to be “problematic.”

It’s not yet known what, exactly, the letter said or why the White House counsel found it to be so troublesome. But the Washington Post’s Rosalind Helderman, Carol Leonnig, and Ashley Parker report that it is several pages long and mentions “Trump’s frustration that Comey was unwilling to say publicly that Trump was not personally under investigation in the FBI’s inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.”

Obstruction of justice, anyone? See also Bob Mueller has an unreleased Trump letter about firing James B. Comey. Here’s why that’s big.

Josh Marshall writes about the time at which this letter probably was written.

What happened that Sunday night on Air Force One? What am I talking about? Let’s look at the timeline. We know from abundant reporting that in early May (May 6th-7th) President Trump spent the weekend at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. He apparently stewed over that weekend about Comey and came back to Washington Sunday night determined to fire him. He proceeded to do just that. He called in Rosenstein and Sessions the next day (Monday), got Rosenstein’s recommendation memo and promptly fired Comey on Tuesday (May 9th).

This we all know. But that Sunday evening return flight from New Jersey was also the night something kind of odd happened. Air Force 1 left Morristown at 8:02 PM and landed at Andrews at 8:40. But unlike what normally happens, the President didn’t get off the plane. Just before 9 PM Jared and Ivanka got off the plane with their kids. Jared put Ivanka and the kids into a silver minivan and got back on the plane. He got off the plane again at 9:07 and then got back on the plane a couple minutes later. The press pooler for that night filed an update at 9:18 PM updating colleagues and noting that there’d been no explanation what the hang up was or why the President was still on the plane.

Stephen Miller also was one of the people on the plane.

How worried is Trump? Hard to say from a distance of course, but there are stories yesterday that Trump out-of-the-blue called Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley and pledged his support for ethanol. Grassley is a senator from Iowa, so he likes ethanol subsidies. But note that Donald Trump, Jr., had just agreed to be interviewed by … the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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