I’m sure you’ve heard about the decision from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that eliminated a “deferred action” program allowing very ill non-citizens receiving lifesaving medical care to remain in the U.S. Many of these non-citizens are children. Last week patents and their parents began receiving letters from the U.S. government telling them they had 33 days to leave the United States or face deportation. Many of the doctors of these patients say that deportation would be a death sentence.
The purpose of this policy change, other than the cruelty itself, is obscure. I doubt we’re talking about large numbers of people here. The only number I’ve seen is that USCIS processes about 1,000 applications for the program a year, for a two-year deferment. And the ham-handed way this policy change was handled suggests Stephen Miller, Wraith of Evil, was behind it. Lawyers for immigration advocacy groups are preparing to challenge the policy change in court; let us hope the courts will put a stop to this.
But it strikes me that we’re not hearing from the Fetus People on this issue. I actually went to some “right to life” websites and news sources and looked for something about it. Crickets.
Keep in mind that the so-called “right to lifers” are not just about enforced pregnancy. They also have a long history of butting into end of life decisions to “save” patients from having life support terminated. Here is just one recent case, from this May — Texas Right to Life “saved” a woman named Carolyn Jones whose life support was being terminated by Memorial Hermann Southwest in Houston. Jones was taken to some other facility — where she died anyway. Right-to-life news outlets are full of stories about innocent people being unjustly removed from life support; this is almost as big an issue with them as abortion. And I know some of these cases are difficult, but an intervention by loony-tune fanatics can’t possibly be a help.
The Fetus People are even opposed to people issuing “advance directives” about when to terminate their own life support in case they become incapacitated. The Fetus People site Life News has had a regular vendetta going about an Oregon law that simply spells out how people can prepare a legal directive to not be put on life support if they don’t want it. Life News headlines about this law screamed Oregon Bill Would Allow Starving Mentally Ill Patients to Death.
So, given how opposed the Fetus People are to allowing people to die even when there’s no hope, you’d think that they’d be demanding that these innocent foreign people be allowed to remain in the U.S. to receive treatment that is actually saving their lives.
Well, you’d be wrong. Again, I looked and looked. The Fetus People ain’t touchin’ this one. I can’t say I’m surprised.
Children born to US service members and government employees overseas will no longer be automatically considered citizens of the United States, according to policy alert issued by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Wednesday.
Previously, children born to US citizen parents were considered to be “residing in the United States,” and therefore would be automatically given citizenship under Immigration and Nationality Act 320.
Now, children born to US service members and government employees, such as those born in US military hospitals or diplomatic facilities, will not be considered as residing in the US, changing the way that they potentially receive citizenship.
In other words, if you are a U.S. citizen and career military and you and your family are stationed in Germany, and your baby is born at, say, the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, which is entirely owned and operated by the United States military, that baby is not automatically considered a U.S. citizen? That’s not how it’s ever worked before. And even if the baby eventually becomes a citizen, he or she isn’t eligible to run for president. That would have eliminated the late John McCain. Maybe that’s the point, even though his being dead kind of took him out of politics..
And what about the many people born overseas to U.S. diplomatic and military personnel who have been skipping through life presumed to be U.S. citizens? Do they lose their citizenship now?
I don’t understand what purpose this serves. It seems to me that if I were career military and I planned to have a family I might have second throughts about re-enlisting.
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell said a “source close to Deutsche Bank” told him that President Donald Trump’s loans were underwritten by “Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.”
“If true, that would explain every kind word Donald Trump has ever said about Russia and Vladimir Putin,” O’Donnell said.
There has been no other reporting that substantiates this claim.
“I want to stress that is a single source, that has not been confirmed by NBC News, I have not seen any documentation from Deutsche Bank that supports this and verifies this. This is just a single source who has revealed that to me. And that where it stands at this point, its going to require a lot more verification before that can be a confirmable fact,” said O’Donnell at the end of his show Tuesday.
Earlier on Tuesday, Deutsche Bank confirmed that it held tax records to do with Trump, but no details have yet been made public.
Trump’s ties to Deutsche Bank have long been the subject of rumor and speculation, and O’Donnell has a long record of controversial statements.
If true, this would explain a lot. Of course, we shouldn’t assume it is true until there is corroboration. And also of course, if Trump wanted to put the rumor to rest he could produce copies of the loan documents. So far, Trump hasn’t addressed this issue on his Twitter feed; he may not know it’s out there if they aren’t talking about it on Fox News. Deutsche Bank appeared to confirm it had copies of Trump family tax returns and other relevant documents yesterday.
A sharp and sometimes bitter disagreement broke out between President Donald Trump and several G7 leaders over whether to allow Russia back into their club during a welcome dinner on Saturday, according to two diplomatic officials and a senior US official with knowledge of the exchange.
Trump, as he did in public over the course of the summit, ardently advocated for it, the officials said. As the leaders discussed issues like Iran and fires in the Amazon rainforest, Trump interjected and asked why Russia should not be included in the talks, given its size and role in global affairs.
That met sharp resistance from some of the leaders, principally German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They argued Russia had grown more anti-democratic since it was ejected in 2014 for its incursion into Ukraine, disqualifying it from rejoining the G7.
President Donald Trump on Monday concluded his G7 trip by repeating Russian propaganda, claiming once again that it had been kicked out of the Group of 7 in 2014 because Russian President Vladimir Putin had “outsmarted” and “embarrassed” President Barack Obama by annexing Crimea from Ukraine. …
…Stating that there were a “lot of bad things” that happened between Obama and Putin, Trump said that Obama’s “red line” warning to Syria—a Russian ally—over the use of chemical weapons was one of the reasons Russia wasn’t in the G7. He then pivoted to the annexation of Crimea.
“And the other [reason] was in Ukraine, having to do with a certain section of Ukraine that you know very well, where it was sort of taken away from President Obama,” Trump declared. “Not taken away from President Trump, taken away from President Obama. President Obama was not happy that this happened because it was embarrassing to him, right? It was very embarrassing to him.”
He continued: “And he wanted Russia to be out of the—what was called the G8. That was his determination. He was outsmarted by Putin. He was outsmarted. President Putin outsmarted President Obama. And I can understand how President Obama would feel. He wasn’t happy. And they’re not in for that reason.”
Note that in the extended exchange Trump didn’t use the name “Crimea” until a reporter said it. One suspects he couldn’t remember what the “certain section of Ukraine” was called.
In other news, Trump is furious with Fox News for presenting a relatively straighforward newsy interview with a DNC official and tweeted that Fox News “isn’t working for us any more!”
….I don’t want to Win for myself, I only want to Win for the people. The New @FoxNews is letting millions of GREAT people down! We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!
Well, there’s always Glenn Beck. And finally, we have reports that Trump is near frantic that the 2020 general election is just over a year away and no part of his border wall has been built yet. So it’s time to cut some corners.
President Trump is so eager to complete hundreds of miles of border fence ahead of the 2020 presidential election that he has directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project.
He also has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly, those officials said.
Trump also is pressuring the Army Corps of Engineers to give a contract for his wall to a company whose chief executive is a donor to Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), one of his top GOP allies in Congress. Just another day in Trump World.
Bolsonaro and Macron have engaged in a days-long spat after the French leader used the G-7 summit this week to call for action to protect the Amazon and said the fires are a world environmental crisis that Bolsonaro has allowed to worsen. He also said that Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic, had lied about his effort to combat deforestation.
Bolsonaro responded angrily, saying Macron had insulted him and was trying to undermine Brazil’s sovereignty by intervening in the Amazon.
If the fires are not brought under control very soon, I personally think the rest of the world would be justified in moving in to do the job whether Brazil likes it or not. If baby-man Bolsonaro doesn’t like that, I’m sure somebody’s got some black ops commandos available who could persuade him to shut up. I’m serious. And that’s not something I suggest lightly, but the consequences of inaction could be beyond catastrophic.
President Trump came to Bolsonaro’s defense on Tuesday, saying via Twitter, “He is working very hard on the Amazon fires and in all respects doing a great job for the people of Brazil — Not easy.”
In reply, Bolsonaro thanked Trump and wrote, “The fake news campaign built against our sovereignty will not work.”
Of course, these two baby-men see eye to eye. Baby-man Bolsonaro also has been making crude and juvenile remarks about Michelle Macron, the French president’s wife. How Trumpish of him! Naomi Klein remarked,
Just your morning reminder that disdain for women’s bodies and disdain for the earth are deeply connected. Both remind idiotic baby men like Bolsonaro and Trump that they are part of web of interdependent life and not the lone heroic figures pretend to be.
Whether women’s bodies or the earth remind the baby-men of anything useful is questionable, but I agree that such disdain seems to be part of the baby-man syndrome.
A giant balloon inflated by activists depicting US President Donald Trump as an orange baby is seen during a demonstration against Trump’s visit to the UK in Parliament Square in London on July 13, 2018. – US President Donald Trump launched an extraordinary attack on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy, plunging the transatlantic “special relationship” to a new low as they prepared to meet Friday on the second day of his tumultuous trip to Britain. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Mr. Trump’s wild and unscripted pronouncements on Friday renewed questions about his stewardship of the world’s largest economy even as he escalated a trade war with China before heading to France for a high-profile summit with the leaders of many of the world’s other major industrial powers.
“Renewed questions” about his stewardship of the ecocnomy? Renewed questions? Your bleeping hair should be on fire, you dweeb.
If he wanted less China-related economic drag, he could back off the tariff threats. And indeed, he did a little of that a couple of weeks ago, delaying some of the new tariffs he announced for September 1 so they won’t take effect until December 15. His administration said this delay was for national security reasons, though he said himself it was because he didn’t want to interfere with the Christmas shopping season.
But the Chinese appear to have read the delay as a sign of weakness. This week they announced more tariffs, infuriating the president. Since backing off didn’t work, he decided to escalate today. And that’s what’s so nerve-racking for the markets: His trade policy no longer appears to be self-limiting. In fact, it could be self-reinforcing, where tariffs cause damage and the president tries to “fix” the damage with more tariffs. …
…With a China less willing to back down and a trade war maybe too far along to stop, the president is backed into a corner. He may feel he can’t save the economy by folding. And so he may follow his instinct — one of the few consistent policy views he has expressed for decades — that protectionism is good for the economy, and that despite what the markets and his advisers are telling him, trade wars are good and easy to win and more tariffs and more disruption will only mean more winning for the U.S.
What the president showed us today is he’s prepared to hit the gas as he approaches the cliff.
I don’t see any way that won’t happen as long as Trump is in the White House. Near term, the money people may still keep the stock market, and Trump, propped up, but we’ll see what happens with the markets on Monday.
Another thing that irritates the hell out of me is that the teevee bobbleheads keep saying that of course a president has the power to enact any tariffs he wants to, without congressional approval. Except he doesn’t, or at least he’s not supposed to. The Constitution plainly gives Congress and only Congress the power to levy tariffs in Article I, Section 8, first paragraph, where it says “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.” In 18th century language tariffs come under “duties” and “imposts.”
At article published at Vox last year explained how Congress has been ceding trade regulation powers to Congress for decades through a number of bills that give presidents tariff powers under particular circumstances that can be stretched to fit just about any occasion. Trump shows us why that was a bad idea. But today he specifically mentioned one instrument of that congressional power shift —
For all of the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977. Case closed!
The full title of the bill is International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977, known as IEEPA for short. Trump seems to think this bill gives him complete control over how American businesses work with China. Per Anya van Wagtendonk at Vox: Um, no.
The Economic Powers Act allows the president of the United States to regulate commerce during a national emergency. It does not allow a president to order companies to close their factories in foreign countries, however. And as there has not yet been a national emergency declared with respect to Chinese trade, Trump’s present abilities to govern economic interactions with China are limited to measures like tariffs.
Even Wagtendonk surrenders extraconstitutional tariff powers to Trump. IMO if we ever again have a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, there needs to be a great taking back of a lot of these surrendered powers, including war powers. See also this “primer” on IEEPA at Lawfare that is fairly terrifying, since it describes what a president could do under IEEPA.
And see also Trump ‘hereby’ orders U.S. business out of China. Can he do that? at WaPo. The answer is, yes and no. Trump really could do a lot of things presidents haven’t done before that could do a lot of damage, and at this point it’s clear there is nobody keeping him in check. Congress could do it, if it acted, but Mitch McConnell won’t allow that.
But the Chinese can read poll numbers and can see that Trump could be a one-term president, meaning it’s likely he’s got 17 months before he’s out. The Chinese do tend to take the long view of things. I would be enormously surprised if they blink.
As much as I’d like to take time to celebrate observe the death of David Koch, there is more significant news. As I write this, the Dow is down 457 points. Earlier today is was 500. It’s possible the Big Money people will dump enough money into the markets to prop it up before the bell rings, of course.
But what caused today’s financial scare? Trump, of course. Well, and China.
The trade war between the U.S. and China worsened Friday as Beijing imposed retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in American goods and President Trump took the extraordinary step of calling on U.S. companies to stop doing business with China.
The new tariffs, which included reinstated levies on auto products, delivered a strategically timed blow as recession warning signs cast doubt on the strength of the U.S. economy.
Now, that’s a bad thing. What would a sensible, level-headed response from the White House be? Probably not this:
Trump initially directed his ire at Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell in Friday tweets, painting the Fed’s lack of monetary easing as a greater threat to American workers and businesses. But moments later, he said he would be responding to China’s tariffs later Friday and demanded American companies cut ties with China.
Yeah, the tweets were even more off the wall than usual today. Here is his most recent one:
The Dow is down 573 points perhaps on the news that Representative Seth Moulton, whoever that may be, has dropped out of the 2020 Presidential Race!
Who knew that Moulton (which one was he, again?) was that significant? 573 points? Latest updates I can find say 536.26. Not lookin’ good.
Anyhoo — this morning the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that interest rate cuts are on the table, but that the Fed could only do so much to counteract Trump’s trade policies. Well, he didn’t mention Trump, but that’s what he meant.
“Trade policy uncertainty seems to be playing a role in the global slowdown and in weak manufacturing and capital spending in the United States,” Mr. Powell said, adding that there were “no recent precedents to guide any policy response to the current situation.”
Trump went ballistic.
….My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?
The thing is, recent events clearly point to, um, deterioration in Trump’s mental and emotional state. The Chinese are not stupid. They might have sensed the time to strike is now.
Trump really did order all U.S. companies to stop doing business with China. “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA,” he tweeted.
Wait. I thought we had all agreed that nothing Trump tweets is actually an order or anything like it. It’s merely a manifestation of how Trump wants his base to perceive him. In this case, he apparently wants them to perceive him as Albert Speer or something.
Anyway, the president obviously doesn’t have the authority to order US companies to do anything, even if he does use a big word like “hereby.” Still, I assume Republicans will all be shocked and outraged by this megalomaniac attempt to interfere in the free market. Right?
Ha. But I guess if you think you’re Jesus, it’s not that far a stretch to be emperor of commerce, too. And the G7 is about to start! Great fun!
Also: On a sober note, it’s been announced that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being treated for pancreatic cancer. This is seriously bad.
Update: Just a couple of minutes before the closing bell the Dow was down over 700 points, but last minute trading brought it back up to 622.6. Still, there’s nothing like a bad Friday to lead to a worse Monday.
“Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words. “President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world…and the Jewish people in Israel love him….
Root, a longtime conservative columnist and radio host, has promoted a wide range of false conspiracy theories, including that President Barack Obama attended Columbia University as a “foreign exchange student,” that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered by Democrats because he provided DNC files to WikiLeaks, that progressive donor George Soros hired the murderer of Charlottesville, VA, rally victim Heather Heyer, and that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ 2015 Obamacare ruling might have been the result of him being “blackmailed or intimidated.”
Root has nonetheless received direct access to Trump and his family, whom he has partied with at the president’s Mar-A-Lago resort.
Of course. Back to Trump:
….like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for…..
“The last time ‘King of the Jews’ trended, things did not end well.” Charles Pierce
Fifty-three years ago, John Lennon said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, and the Bible Belt erupted in outrage. Today? Not so much.
One of my Facebook friends says that for Dispensationalists, which conservative evangelicals often are, claiming to be as loved as Jesus in Israel puts Trump in serious Antichrist territory. I’ll take his word on that; I don’t care to look deeply into Dispensationalism. But will any of Trump’s evangelical supporters express concern about this? I’m not going to hold my breath until they do.
We need a cartoon of Trump and Franklin Graham throwing Jesus under a bus.
And then there’s the Greenland thing. Trump actually cancelled a visit to Denmark that was supposed to have happened around the first of September because the Danish prime minister told him flatly she wasn’t selling Greenland. Kevin Drum:
Can we finally start talking publicly about Trump’s mental state? This is the action of a child, not an adult in full control of his faculties. Everyone aside from Trump understood that his Greenland compulsion was a sign of cognitive regression in the first place, and this episode demonstrates that it was no passing fantasy. Trump took it seriously enough to treat Frederiksen’s comments as just another incitement to a feud with a political enemy.
The man is not well. I don’t care what you want to call his condition, but he’s not well. I can only shiver at the thought of what the folks who work regularly with Trump really think of him these days.
Greg Sargent thinks that it’s possible Trump is aware that Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Denmark in mid-September, and Trump is afraid the Danes will treat Obama better than him and make him look bad. But as a “most charitable” reason, that still smells out loud.
This is a fresh tweet:
For the record, Denmark is only at 1.35% of GDP for NATO spending. They are a wealthy country and should be at 2%. We protect Europe and yet, only 8 of the 28 NATO countries are at the 2% mark. The United States is at a much, much higher level than that….
No, moron, the other NATO countries do not owe us protection money. NATO is not the Mob.
Oh, and Trump is now starting a war with the auto industry. He can’t understand why they aren’t grateful to him for getting rid of Obama emission standards. Instead of just reverting to manufacturing smog-emiting cars, automakers are agreeing to abide by standards passed by California that are, essentially, the Obama standards. The Trump Administration declared that states cannot set their own standards, but that is being challenged in court. The auto manufacturers probably realize that once Trump is gone the next president will reinstate the Obama standards, so there is no point retooling. But Trump is pissed.
My proposal to the politically correct Automobile Companies would lower the average price of a car to consumers by more than $3000, while at the same time making the cars substantially safer. Engines would run smoother. Very little impact on the environment! Foolish executives!
No, he’s not well. And perhaps the most dangerous thing the King of the Jews said yesterday was to call Jews “disloyal.” Dahlia Lithwick:
At a press conference on Tuesday, President Donald Trump released a tirade of nonsensical statements after he was asked whether the United States should reconsider its policies toward Israel after the country refused entry to two Muslim American U.S. congresswomen. His reply? “I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation. Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they are defending these two people over the state of Israel?” Trump said. “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
Media accounts suggest it wasn’t exactly clear to whom Jews voting for a Democrat would be disloyal, but in context it appears that he was suggesting that Jews owe their first loyalty to Israel and that any choice to defend Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota—freshman Democrats who were first granted entry to Israel by the Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and then denied it after Trump suggested they be barred—is a choice not to defend Israel, where, according to Trump, Jews’ principal loyalty should lie.
This is not at all farfetched. Awhile back, in a speech to American Jewish Republicans, Trump referred to Benjamin Netanyahu was “your prime minister.” In Trump’s head, American Jews are not entirely American. This is dangerous. Some of Trump’s unhinged, gun-toting followers might take Trump’s “disloyalty” comments to mean that it’s time to shoot up another synagogue.
Jennifer Rubin notes that a number of prominent Democrats have criticized Trump’s words. And “Jewish groups — with the exception of the quisling Republican Jewish Coalition, which had the chutzpah to defend Trump — condemned the president,” she wrote.
However, we have yet to hear from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) or House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who claimed to be oh so concerned about anti-Semitism when the issue was statements by Omar. It comes as no surprise to anyone paying the slightest attention that their concern about anti-Semitism appears to be entirely situational.
“I don’t think we’re having a recession,” Trump told reporters on Sunday in an attempt to quell fears over a potential market crash. “We’re doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut and they’re loaded up with money.”
“I don’t see a recession,” he continued. “I mean, the world is in a recession right now. Although, that’s too big a statement.”
Toss in some paranoia:
Trump accused the media of deliberately precipitating an economic apocalypse in order to run him out of office. “The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election,” he wrote on Twitter. “The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!”
The paranoia doesn’t end there. The New York Timesreported on Sunday that in addition to his public grievances about the economy — which have also been directed at Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, whom Trump has accused of hamstringing growth by not cutting rates by enough — the president has been griping privately to aides and allies that everyone is out to get him and that all of this talk of an economic downturn is part of a multi-pronged scheme perpetrated by enemies who he believes are more concerned with sticking it to him than they are with the welfare of the United States. Very sane. Very normal.
Weaponized paranoia always has been at the heart of El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago‘s political identity. In the tangles of his mind, he is always standing strong and alone against a vast array of enemies, including the minions of The Deep State and certain Guatemalan toddlers. If he feels like his presidency* is in serious peril, he’s liable to go off the deep end. He’s already setting up the members of the cult to refuse to accept the result of any election he doesn’t win. (He’s recently gone off again about those busloads of Massachusetts voters who drove to New Hampshire to deprive him of his win there in 2016.) If a recession hits, he’s already blamed his own Fed chair and the evil media. Who would be left?
“Our Economy is very strong, despite the horrendous lack of vision by Jay Powell and the Fed, but the Democrats are trying to ‘will’ the Economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 Election,” Trump tweeted. “Very Selfish! Our dollar is so strong that it is sadly hurting other parts of the world.”
Yes, evil Democrats with their mighty mind-beams are willing the economy to slow.
A slowing economy wouldn’t necessarily be terrifying, except that the people in charge of the economy are the likes of Trump and Larry Kudlow, who have no clue what they are doing. So there’s little hope we’re going to escape some consequences. See also Paul Waldman, Trump’s Scam Is Failing Him, and He’s in a Panic Over It.
Trump made it clear on the tarmac as he prepared to board Air Force One, bound for the G7 summit in France, that he thought Greenland had a price, in the same way that everything and everybody has a price, and Denmark could be a willing seller.
He said: “We protect Denmark like we do large portions of the world. So the concept came up and I said, certainly. Strategically it’s interesting. It’s essentially a large real estate deal.”
The art of the deal is to spot your adversary’s weakness. Trump said Greenland was costing Denmark about $700m (£575m) a year in subsidies. While he pointed out this drain on the public finances, it was clear he saw it as a bargaining chip that could be used to persuade Danish taxpayers.
Didn’t see this coming — last week Sheldon Whitehouse and four other Democratic senators filed an amicus brief in a Second Amendment case the SCOTUS is considering. And it’s some brief.
“The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it,” writes Whitehouse, who is listed as the attorney of record on the friend-of-the-court brief. “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ ” The phrase is from a poll question with which a majority of Americans agreed.
Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) joined the incendiary brief, which questions whether the court’s conservative majority — nominated by three Republican presidents — is motivated by partisan intent and is in the pocket of the National Rifle Association and the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.
“Out in the real world, Americans are murdered each day with firearms in classrooms or movie theaters or churches or city streets, and a generation of preschoolers is being trained in active-shooter survival drills,” Whitehouse writes. “In the cloistered confines of this Court, and notwithstanding the public imperatives of these massacres, the NRA and its allies brashly presume, in word and deed, that they have a friendly audience for their ‘project.’ ”
The senators are challenging the legitimacy of this court to rule on cases touching on partisan issues, which is a damn ballsy thing to do. I’m impressed. And this could be read as a warning to Chief Justice Roberts to avoid letting his court turn into a rubber stamp for right-wing interests. Or else.
The brief itself is less a legal document than a declaration of war. Though parts of it argue that the high court lacks jurisdiction over this case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, the thrust of the brief is that the Supreme Court is dominated by political hacks selected by the Federalist Society, and promoted by the National Rifle Association — and that if those hacks don’t watch out, the American people are going to rebel against them.
New York State Rifle, Whitehouse writes, “did not emerge from a vacuum.” Rather, “the lead petitioner’s parent organization, the National Rifle Association (NRA), promoted the confirmation (and perhaps selection) of nominees to this Court who, it believed, would ‘break the tie’ in Second Amendment cases.” That promotional effort includes $1.2 million Whitehouse says the NRA spent on television advertisements supporting the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.
The City of New York actually rescinded the law that is being challenged by the gun-rights people to stop the case from going to the Supreme Court, so I don’t see how the case is not moot. The law put restrictions on transporting firearms that the Rifle & Pistol Association thought were unreasonable.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler is moving to bring new scrutiny to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s past, asking the National Archives on Tuesday to release a large cache of records related to his time in George W. Bush’s White House.
In a letter from Nadler and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), another senior Judiciary Committee member, the lawmakers said accessing the records are essential to “the public’s faith in the integrity of the judiciary.”
It may be too much to hope for that they might move to impeach Kavanaugh, but at the very least the SCOTUS is on notice that they need to act carefully or face consequences.