Saturday, May 26, 2018

When Trump Speaks or Writes, Figure Out the Lies First. Then Call It Like It Is.

We've spent days letting Trump control the agenda with his daily splash of lies. It has to stop.

Paul Waldman gets it:
You may have noticed that today’s news is not dominated by the blockbuster revelations of what members of Congress learned yesterday when they met with Justice Department officials to review information about the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, specifically the bureau’s use of a confidential informant who contacted Trump campaign officials after learning of suspicious links involving Russia.

Why is it that the results of that highly unusual meeting (two meetings, actually) are not splashed across every front page and dominating every minute of cable news today? Because the whole thing was a farce, and it didn’t give Republicans what they were hoping for.

This reveals the absurd pattern we’ve fallen into. It goes like this: President Trump makes a ridiculous accusation that almost everyone immediately understands to be false. Then we in the media, because it’s the president, treat that accusation as though it’s something that has to be taken seriously. Then governmental resources are mustered to deal with the accusation. Then Republicans try to twist the mobilization of those resources to give them the answer they’re seeking. But because it’s all based on a lie, they fail once Democrats force some measure of truth to be revealed.
This pattern has to stop. When Trump lies, just report the lie. Then follow up with "We have no reason to take Trump seriously." The press must not say things like "Trump claims [fill in lie]..." followed by reaction around the political sphere. Just say, "There he goes again. We cannot follow up on lies. We await a factual statement on the matter."

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Irrationality of Trump's Racism in One Graph

Though Trump apologists are falling over each other to defend or explain his "They're animals!" comment about immigrants, what defeats them before they even venture a word is Trump's history of racist remarks, from his Obama birtherism to his speech announcing his run for the presidency.

The truth of this covers more than New York, it covers all immigrant populations across America. Immigrants simply commit less crime that the native-born.

Face it, between Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and his shithole-countries remark -- not to mention his wistful call for more Norwegians -- we can only find proof of Trump's blatant racism. If that weren't enough, just recall to mind his Charlottesville "good people on both sides" statement.

Thanks to Paul Krugman for the graph.

Monday, May 14, 2018

John Kelly Doesn't Get What It Means to Be an Immigrant

A quick look at Kelly's bio reveals he's Irish-Italian from Boston. If anyone should get what it means to be from an immigrant family, he should. Yet he is displaying a total ignorance of his ancestry and that of so many different American immigrants throughout history.

The definition of a racist might be one who cultivates his ignorance of race
in order to appear rational while explaining why certain population groups
are sub-standard. If so, John Kelly meets that definition.

The Trump administration has practically defined its core belief as "dark skin means rapists, drug dealers, and 'not their best people.'" After all, why don't more Norwegians come here? Why do they have to come from "shithole countries?"

John Kelly, who tries to look rational even as he describes an African-American congresswoman as "an empty barrel" while lying through his teeth about some of her clearly impressive acts. He can't help himself is my guess. Growing up in Boston might make you "Boston Strong," but it clearly also can make you "Boston Racist." Kelly is living proof. Reference the busing riots of yesteryear if you need explanation.

Comes his ridiculous, recent statement on immigration:
The vast majority of the people that move illegally into United States are not bad people. They’re not criminals. They’re not MS-13. Some of them are not. But they’re also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States into our modern society. They’re overwhelmingly rural people in the countries they come from – fourth, fifth, sixth grade educations are kind of the norm. They don’t speak English, obviously that’s a big thing. They don’t speak English. They don’t integrate well.
I don't need to know the particulars of his own ancestry other than the countries his people flowed from to know that his Irish and Italian roots had a fucking boatload of rural people among them, most of which had little need of or access to education to plant and harvest their fields. Even if they came from cities, few had any education. The educated and successful had little reason to leave.

I've been to both Ireland and Scotland and seen up close the land from which my people sprang. I actually have spoken to many of my paternal grandmother's Scottish kin and learned that the Wallaces were drainers. "Oh, aye, Chairlie's a drainer like most Wallaces about." Turns out there's too much water, not too little, around Luthermuir, Aberdeenshire, and draining the land for agriculture was necessary. Who knew?

Kelly, you prick, I did. I've also been all around Galway, Ireland where that side of the family came from, and there were more sheep there than you could shake a stick at, and it was one of the hardest hit areas during the Great Potato Famine. I doubt my kin spent many years in a schoolroom or reading books. Play a fiddle, now that might be a different story. Within two generations, though, my family was producing doctors, lawyers, teachers, writers, and, yes, musicians.

John Kelly's world view, like that of most around Trump, is dependent on some people being inferior. Kelly needs that to feel good about himself. In that, he channels Trump. What pure dicks.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Fourth Circuit Rules Electronic Devices Searches at Border Are Unconstitutional.

This is great news. So many illegal searches, now over.

No more unwarranted snooping.

This is good news for a change. Confiscation and forensic searches of electronic devices at U.S. borders are out.
The ruling in U.S. v. Kolsuz is the first federal appellate case after the Supreme Court’s seminal decision in Riley v. California (2014) to hold that certain border device searches require individualized suspicion that the traveler is involved in criminal wrongdoing. Two other federal appellate opinions this year—from the Fifth Circuit and Eleventh Circuit—included strong analyses by judges who similarly questioned suspicionless border device searches.
Good. A step in the right direction.

Anne Applebaum Weighs In: America IS Losing Hegemony with Trump's Moves

As sometimes happens, I have "original thoughts," only to find out I'm channeling the experts. Nice feeling while it lasted

Leading NATO has let us lead "the free world," as Applebaum says, "on the cheap."

Here's her piece this morning on vanishing hegemony:
Above all, it depended on an American willingness to invest: in diplomacy, in military power — but above all in alliances. By forging mutually advantageous agreements with Germans or South Koreans, the United States had far greater influence than it would have had otherwise. By creating and then expanding NATO, by maintaining troops in South Korea and Japan, the United States kept parts of Europe and Asia free to choose democracy, and open for commerce and trade. Everywhere else, agreements and partnerships as well as money and armies gave the United States an outsize voice in trade and commerce, as well as matters of war and peace.
President Trump knows no history and does not have any idea how the United States became an “essential” country, let alone a superpower. But he seems to believe that he can maintain that status, and even increase it, without making investments — diplomatic, military or monetary — at all. This week, the outline of what this means — call it “hegemony on the cheap” — suddenly came into sharp focus.
The sharp focus is on Trump blowing stuff up, mostly out of ignorance.

What Trump Has Done to Our Carefully Crafted Hegemony

Blown it up is what.

Donald Trump, thinking through shit. This might take a while (if we're lucky).

I've spent my life with baby boomers. We have one thing in common. We've only known a world that America clearly has led, shaped by our victory in WWII, dominated by fidelity to our European allies in the West through NATO (driven by the Cold War) and our allies in the East, Japan and S. Korea (driven by concerns of eventual Chinese hegemony).

So Trump comes in with his America First nationalism and blows up all the relationships. After the smoke clears, we'll see a diminished America, no matter how tough Trump thought he was being. Make no mistake, we will pay a price.

Trump's Drug Plan Blames "Big Government" and Protects Big Pharma. Surprise, Surprise.

On the Destroy-the-Obama-Legacy front, Donald Trump is keeping promises left and right, no matter how destructive his policies are. On the promises that would help real people -- whoever they are -- no so much.

Traders were cautious on health stocks, then Trump spoke, people panicked,
then they figured out what he said, leading to the super spike of relief.

You've got to hand it to Donald Trump, he knows how to obscure his broken promises. Saying “Today, my administration is launching the most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people,” without batting an eye and then adopting a plan that does next to nothing to fix drug prices is quite a trick. if you wonder what Wall Street thought of it, look at the chart above. If you wonder what Big Pharma thought of it look below.

The dip before he spoke? The same. The bit of dread as he spoke? The same. The spike of relief after analysts figured out "big whoop?" Yep. Man of the people, all right.