U.S. Politics

Trump’s Wall Is Already Collapsing

Trump’s Wall Is Already Collapsing

attribution: none

THE NATIONAL MEMO

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Donald Trump spent more than a year rousing crowds with a simple promise: “I’ll build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall.” As the campaign wore on, it got so he could ask “Who’s gonna pay for the wall?” and the audience would roar, “Mexico!”

It was fun while it lasted. But now, in the cold light of day, some facts are coming into focus: It may not exactly be a wall. It won’t be paid for by Mexico. And it may not get built.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is one of the people backing off from this promise. Non-wall options, such as electronic sensors, will have to be considered in some places, he said. You see, “the border is complicated, as far as building a physical wall.”

Not only that but where would we locate it? “The Rio Grande, what side of the river are you going to put the wall?” Zinke asked. “We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.” The Mexicans won’t invite us to erect the structure on their side. So siting may be a problem.

That’s not all the Mexicans won’t do. President Enrique Pena Nieto has said repeatedly and unequivocally that his government will not bear the cost. Trump had the chance to out-negotiate Pena on the wall when he met with him in Mexico City last summer — but Trump chose not to even raise the payment issue.

The Mexican president was supposed to come to Washington for a White House meeting in January. But when Trump said it would be better to cancel the trip if Mexico was not willing to pay for the wall, Pena canceled the trip.

Trump said that rather than make Mexico pay for it upfront, “we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico.” So we’ll send the invoice and they’ll mail a check? Well, not exactly. “There will be a payment,” he told ABC News. “It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form.”

No one on Capitol Hill seems to share Trump’s confidence. When Politico’s Jake Sherman asked Mitch McConnell whether Mexico will pay for the wall, the Senate Republican leader couldn’t suppress his mirth at the very idea. “‘Uh, no,’ he shot back, chuckling,” Politico reported.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said with solemn vagueness, “We will be working with (Trump) to finance the construction of the physical barrier, including the wall, on the southern border.” Faced with the funding disagreement with Mexico, Trump included money for the wall in his budget outline, with the funds taken from other programs.

Republican enthusiasm is not abundant. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said recently that “billions of dollars on a wall is not the right way to proceed.” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina agreed it is “probably not a smart investment.”

Democrats have promised to block any bill that includes money for the wall, which means they could force a government shutdown if Republicans attach it to the emergency spending measure that needs to be approved by April 28. Ryan said Thursday that the wall appropriation will be dropped to avert a shutdown.

But there may not be much interest in funding it afterward, either. The House Freedom Caucus is generally not fond of spending money, and Trump’s declaration of war on the group will not make its members more eager to indulge him.

Plenty of Senate Republicans are also skeptical. “If you’re going to spend that kind of money, you’re going to have to show me where you’re going to get that money,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said in February. “We can’t pay for it out of thin air,” said Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma.

There don’t seem to be many people in Washington who think the wall can be built as Trump claimed or that it would work very well. Not to mention that it sounded a lot better when Mexico was going to pay for it.

Trump fooled a lot of voters when he made that promise, and he may have even fooled himself. But at some point, you run out of fools.

By Steve Chapman (website at http://www.creators.com)

U.S. Politics

Trump Immigration Policies Are A Boon For Private Prisons

Trump Immigration Policies Are A Boon For Private Prisons

IMAGE: ndlon / Flickr

THE NATIONAL MEMO

While President Trump has repackaged his Muslim travel ban to appease the military and the courts, his administration is expanding the use of private prison facilities to handle a massive increase in deportation and is considering a policy of separating women and children who illegally cross the border, according to news reports.

The revised travel ban has received most of the attention, but the new policies on detention will probably affect many more people.

The expansion of detention facilities, first reported by MSNBC, would increase the government’s reliance on the private prison company Corrections Corporation of America (recently rebranded as CoreCivic). Conditions in the facilities have been criticized by immigration lawyers as inhumane.

In a town hall with Department of Homeland Security staffers last month, John Lafferty, chief of the DHS asylum division, said the agency had already located 20,000 beds for the indefinite detention of those seeking asylum, according to MSNBC.

“This would represent a nearly 500 percent increase from current capacity,” reported MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Brian Montopoli.

The proposal to separate women from children is designed to deter mothers from migrating to the United States with their children, officials told Reuters.

“The policy shift would allow the government to keep parents in custody while they contest deportation or wait for asylum hearings. Children would be put into protective custody with the Department of Health and Human Services, in the ‘least restrictive setting’ until they can be taken into the care of a U.S. relative or state-sponsored guardian,” said the Reuters report.

A July 2016 federal court decision requires that immigrant children should be released from detention as quickly as possible, but permits continued detention of their parents. To comply with that order, the Obama administration implemented a policy of holding women and children at family detention centers for no more than 21 days before releasing them.

The Trump administration is considering changing that policy. The expanded detention facilities would accomodate the increase in mothers separated from their children.

“Bottom line: separating mothers and children is wrong,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat whose district borders Mexico. “That type of thing is where we depart from border security and get into violating human rights.”

About 54,000 children and their guardians were apprehended between Oct. 1, 2016, and Jan. 31, 2017, according to Reuters, more than double the number caught over the same time period a year earlier.

Jefferson Morley is AlterNet’s Washington correspondent.

U.S. Politics

A DANGEROUSLY ISOLATED PRESIDENT

In the first week of the Trump Presidency, influence has run through a very select group of advisers—maybe as many as half a dozen, maybe as few as two.

In the first week of the Trump Presidency, influence has run through a very select group of advisers—maybe as many as half a dozen, maybe as few as two | PHOTOGRAPH BY CHERISS MAY / NURPHOTO / GETTY

THE NEW YORKER

The Presidential order that Donald Trump signed on Friday barring all refugees and citizens from seven Muslim countries from travel to the United States was reviewed by virtually no one. The State Department did not help craft it, nor the Defense Department, nor Justice. Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, “saw the final details shortly before the order was finalized,” CNN reported. Early Saturday morning, there were reports that two Iraqi refugees had been detained upon their arrival at John F. Kennedy Airport. When a lawyer for the men asked an official to whom he needed to speak to fix the situation, the official said, “Ask Mr. Trump.” This sounded like a sign of straight goonery and incipient authoritarianism; maybe it was. But it also may have been the only reasonable answer. Few people understood what was going on.

The order claims to protect Americans from “foreign terrorist entry,” but that was no reason for it. A wealth of data shows that immigrants from those countries have not been responsible for fatal terrorist attacks in the United States. At first, the acting spokesperson of the Department of Homeland Security said that the order would not apply to permanent residents of the United States. This seemed to be a sensible assumption; as fevered as the talk over immigration has been on the right, few have threatened a mass revocation of the rights of green-card holders. But a senior White House official later said that green-card holders would have to undergo screenings. Morally outrageous scenes followed. Homeland Security officials said that at least a hundred people had been prevented from entering the country, and many more had been stopped from boarding planes to the U.S. Those detained at Dulles International Airport, before federal judges issued stays of the order, included an Iranian couple in their eighties, both with green cards. One was legally blind, and the other had recently had a stroke; their granddaughter said that officials at the airport “weren’t treating them very well.” At O’Hare, a couple with an eighteen-month-old was reportedly detained, after a trip abroad to introduce the baby to relatives.

On Saturday, the President announced three more executive actions, one of which changed the composition of his National Security Council. Trump reserved one seat on the Council for his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, the former chairman of the right-wing Web site Breitbart News, who has no experience in foreign relations. Trump also limited the roles of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of National Intelligence, with a memo that said they will only attend meetings when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.” The erasure of the line between national security and Bannon’s politics, which have included an embrace of white nationalism, was deeply troubling. But the exclusion of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of National Intelligence was more surprising. The President can pick anyone he wants for those positions. Trump has nominated the former Indiana senator Dan Coats to be the director of National Intelligence; the term of the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, will expire this year. The President seems to be deliberately tightening the circle around him.

In the first week of the Trump Presidency, influence has run through a very select group of advisers—maybe as many as half a dozen, maybe as few as two. The President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Bannon have consolidated their influence. Kushner, who has spent his brief career running his father’s real-estate empire, reportedly has been told to lead negotiations with Mexico. Kushner was also involved in a discussion with British officials, and denounced the United Kingdom’s support of a United Nations resolution opposing Israeli settlements. According to the Washington Post, some former campaign aides “have been alarmed by Kushner’s efforts to elbow aside anyone he perceives as a possible threat to his role as Trump’s chief consigliere.” But Bannon’s portfolio may be even broader. His hand was apparent in the President’s dark Inauguration speech, in his economic nationalism, and in his early, aggressive stances against Mexico and refugees.

The President’s isolation runs deeper than that. As the confusion around the immigration ban made clear, the vast government he oversees has little input on his actions. In an interview this week, Trump said that he reads the Times, the New York Post, and the Washington Post each day, but he seems to scan them as an actor does, for reviews of his own performance. His campaign made clear that he was not interested in the findings of scientists, social scientists, or the American government. Trump’s transition has alienated him from the American public. Gallup found on Friday that fifty per cent of Americans disapproved of Trump’s performance, the highest disapproval rating on record for any American President this early in his term.

In normal times, an Administration this isolated and divorced from public opinion would seem to be fatally weak. The argument made by the President’s first week is that these conditions, combined with the general assent of a Republican-controlled Congress, might in fact create the opposite situation, freeing him to do whatever he wants.

At times this past week, the theatre of the Administration has seemed to be as large as the Oval Office; at others, it has seemed smaller still, about the size of the President’s own head. “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on . . . I will send in the Feds!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday evening. In fact, a large team from the Department of Justice had recently been in Chicago, where it delivered an indictment of the excesses of the Chicago Police Department, connecting them to the collapse of trust between residents and officers, which in turn enabled a rise in crime.

But that report hadn’t prompted the President’s tweet. What had? It turned out that Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show had just aired a segment on crime in Chicago. The President had seen something that moved him on a news program, and then he had reacted. The tweet was one of the least significant Presidential gestures of the past week. But it served as prelude for some of the darker ones. At times, the only figure in the room may be Trump himself, with the blue glow of his television screen.

Benjamin Wallace-Wells

U.S. Politics

THE VULNERABILITIES IN THE NINTH CIRCUIT’S EXECUTIVE-ORDER DECISION

President Trump signs an executive order, on January 27th, imposing a travel ban on refugees and a ninety-day hold on travellers from Syria, Iran, and five other Muslim-majority countries.

President Trump signs an executive order, on January 27th, imposing a travel ban on refugees and a ninety-day hold on travellers from Syria, Iran, and five other Muslim-majority countries.PHOTOGRAPH BY CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS

THE NEW YORKER

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered an extraordinary rebuke to President Trump yesterday. The politically diverse panel (two Democratic appointees, one Republican) rejected just about every argument put forth by the Justice Department and left intact a temporary restraining order that prevented Trump’s ballyhooed executive order on immigration from going into effect while a federal court in Seattle considers a challenge brought by the states of Washington and Minnesota. Trump’s political adversaries, starved for victories, celebrated.

But is the Ninth Circuit ruling correct on the law? And what are the prospects for the underlying case as it continues through the legal system toward an expected dénouement in the Supreme Court? Short answer: one can’t say for sure. But I think there are several vulnerabilities in the Ninth Circuit opinion that may help the Trump Administration pull this case out in the end.

Here are four areas of concern.

Standing. Article III of the Constitution says that the federal courts may only decide cases and controversies. The Supreme Court has interpreted this command to mean that only plaintiffs who can claim an “injury in fact” caused by the defendants are allowed to bring cases. If you’re simply interested in a case or, say, alarmed by something the President does but can’t claim a real injury, you’re said to lack standing, and the courts will toss your case without addressing the merits.

What injury did the states of Washington and Minnesota suffer? According to the Ninth Circuit, “the states allege that the teaching and research missions of their universities are harmed by the Executive Order’s effect on their faculty and students who are nationals of the seven affected countries.” The faculty members and students themselves would surely have standing to sue; most of the other cases percolating through the courts involve challenges by individuals whose travel has been affected by the order. But the harm to the universities is pretty attenuated. And it’s worth noting that the Justices of the Supreme Court (and Chief Justice John Roberts in particular) have been sticklers on the standing rule and haven’t hesitated to toss cases on this ground.

Presidential power. Trump issued the executive order pursuant to his power under this federal law:

Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

What does the Ninth Circuit say about this provision? Nothing. Remarkably, the opinion does not quote or even cite the relevant law. (Benjamin Wittes makes this point nicely.) To be sure, the President’s exercise of his authority under this law must be consistent with the Constitution. But the words of the statute must be taken seriously as well. They amount to a broad grant of power in an area (national security) where the courts have traditionally given the President a relatively free hand. The Ninth Circuit should have engaged with this statutory text and explored its relation to the commands of the Constitution.

So how does the executive order fare under constitutional scrutiny?

Due process of law. The primary ground for the Ninth Circuit’s opinion is that “the Government has not shown that the Executive Order provides what due process requires, such as notice and a hearing prior to an individual’s ability to travel.” But in making this finding, the judges refer primarily to the order’s effect on lawful permanent residents, i.e., green-card holders. The main effect of the order, though, is on other immigrants: refugees and visa applicants and visa holders. By definition, they have fewer rights to due process than green-card holders. (They can have some, but are not necessarily entitled to a full panoply of rights to notice and hearing.) The court basically ignores this distinction between green-card holders and others. The language of the executive order, which doesn’t explicitly protect green-card holders, bears significant blame for this confusion. Still, the Supreme Court may take a closer look.

Religious discrimination. Most of the criticism of the executive order has focussed on the possibility of religious discrimination. Many believe that the order represents a “Muslim ban,” as promised by Trump during the campaign, and such a rule would run afoul of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. As the Ninth Circuit notes, the plaintiffs argue that the order is unconstitutional “because it was intended to disfavor Muslims.” The judges say that “the States’ claims raise serious allegations and present significant constitutional questions,” but they don’t come out and say that the order represents religious discrimination. By its own terms, the order does not mention Muslims, or any other religion. Of course, it applies only to seven majority-Muslim countries, and it offers special solicitude for applicants from religious minorities in these countries. But the laws of immigration involve making distinctions about which people may enter the country; here again the President enjoys wide latitude. It may be that the plaintiffs can prove that the order represents religious discrimination, but they haven’t done so yet.

These issues represent problems for the challengers to Trump’s executive order. None are necessarily fatal. The botched launch of the order, as well as the President’s crude attempts to disparage the judges who evaluated it, certainly poisoned the atmosphere in which the case was heard. But it’s clear that the Justice Department will keep pressing the defense of the executive order, and the plaintiffs’ celebrations, while understandable, may turn out to be premature.

Jeffrey Toobin

U.S. Politics

Immigration hard-liners angered by Trump’s softer tone on ‘Dreamers’

170124_mo_brooks_gty_1160.jpg

“Donald Trump got a lot of votes — probably got the Republican nomination in large part — because he said he was going to be aggressive in defending our borders,” Rep. Mo Brooks said. | Getty

POLITICO

Donald Trump promised during the campaign that he’d “immediately” kill Barack Obama’s unilateral actions to shield hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Now, just four days into the new administration, immigration hardliners are demanding that the new president follow through. And they’re increasingly frustrated at the shift in tone from top White House officials signaling a more compassionate approach for so-called Dreamers.

Influential groups advocating for more immigration restrictions have already launched a campaign aimed at pressuring Trump to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era directive that allowed Dreamers to obtain work permits and protection from deportation. On Tuesday, NumbersUSA urged its 2 million-plus members, as well as 6 million followers on Facebook, to tweet at Trump urging him to rescind DACA, and even the Trump-friendly news outlet Breitbart ripped the administration for its DACA inaction.

That irritation from Trump’s base is quickly spreading to conservatives on Capitol Hill.

Asked whether he was disappointed Trump hadn’t yet ended DACA, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) barely let a reporter finish the question before he responded: “Yes.”

“It was front and center in his campaign,” Brooks said in an interview Tuesday. “Donald Trump got a lot of votes — probably got the Republican nomination in large part — because he said he was going to be aggressive in defending our borders. One of the low-lying fruits is repealing, by executive order, the amnesty executive orders of Barack Obama, and he hasn’t done it yet.”

For the hard-liners, rescinding the DACA program should be the easiest of Trump’s immigration promises to fulfill: a simple memo ordering federal officials to stop accepting DACA applications that have steadily arrived since Obama first announced the initiative in 2012.

But U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is still taking DACA requests, a spokesman confirmed Tuesday. That means the agency is greenlighting an average of 140 initial applications and 690 renewals, according to the most recent publicly available data.

Advocates pushing for more restrictions on immigration see each approval as an affront to Trump’s core campaign pledge.

“This was one promise I thought he would keep,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “There was no wiggle room. ‘I will immediately cancel.’ That’s a pretty declarative sentence.”

Krikorian has fired off a flurry of tweets and written an op-ed for the conservative National Review wondering whether Trump plans to revoke DACA, which was established through a Department of Homeland Security memorandum by then-Secretary Janet Napolitano. Brooks said he is discussing the matter with Peter White, his former legislative counsel who now works in the White House’s policy shop, and Krikorian has also reached out to White House officials.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) warned Tuesday that Trump “absolutely” faces a backlash from his political base if he backtracks from his pledge to rescind DACA and a related Obama executive action that expanded those benefits to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens. That directive never launched after being blocked by the Supreme Court last June.

“The quicker he takes the action, the less painful it’s going to be,” King said. “There was a Hispanic young lady in my district and I said I would consider adopting her, I like her so much. [But] I love the rule of law more. And we can’t have the rule of law if we let our hearts rule.”

But after Trump’s vows to crack down on illegal immigration during the campaign, his tone has softened when it comes to the more than 740,000 immigrants brought here illegally as children who have DACA permits.

He was sympathetic toward Dreamers in an interview with Time magazine after being chosen its Person of the Year. And after Sen. Dick Durbin thanked Trump at Friday’s inaugural lunch for his warm comments about Dreamers, Trump told the Illinois Democrat that he would find a way to accommodate the DACA recipients that was “fair” to them, Durbin recounted Tuesday.

“I know there are people in the administration who understand these issues. There are many voices inside the administration. There are hints of a power struggle going on now,” Ting said. “They have a political problem. They recognize it. They don’t want to have bad press of having all these Dreamers thrown to the wolves.”

There are signs that the pressure campaign — both public and private — to ensure Dreamers can work and stay in the United States is influencing the mercurial Trump.

In their first private meeting after his election, Obama repeatedly impressed upon Trump the value of the Dreamers who’ve benefited from DACA. It was one reason why their 90-minute meeting ran so long, according to Durbin, who said Obama had relayed that account to him and other Democrats.

“I’ve been encouraged because they have been making an exception for Dreamers with DACA,” Durbin, who has made rescuing Dreamers his top priority since Trump’s surprise election, said Tuesday. “Until we get the proper legislation passed, I’m going to be worried. But these statements make me feel better.”

Josh Gerstein contributed to this report.

U.S. Politics

“If there is a move to deport immigrants, I say then start with me” – Andrew Cuomo

I was an avid fan of his father (New York Governor,  Mario Cuomo).

I will confess that I have never held the same esteem for Andrew but in this instance I’ll concede that he “knocked it outta the park…” with this excerpt from a recent speech. (ks)

U.S. Politics

6 Despicable Things President-Elect Trump Has Done This Week

6 Despicable Things President-Elect Trump Has Done This Week

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump yells to members of the media from the steps of the main clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

THE NATIONAL MEMO

It has been one of the longest weeks in human history and the Trump presidency has not even begun yet. Any notion that reasonable, well-intentioned people should give him a chance—hey, maybe he was just kidding about all that hateful, bigotedstuff he spewed on the campaign trail—was immediately dispelled. One of his first official acts was to name the anti-Semitic mastermind of the racist “alt-right,” fake news website Breitbart, Steve Bannon, to chief propagandist and horse’s ass whisperer. The president-elect dodged the media, regained control of his Twitter account and proceeded to confirm all of our worst fears about him.

If it was not already clear, Trump plans to surround himself with sycophantic yes-men who share his racist views and will just as gleefully set about laying waste to civil liberties and justice as he will. Also, his unelected children will be playing major roles in the new White House, it appears, while also running his businesses.

“We won,” he and his team have told anyone who disagrees with them. They have every plan to claim all the spoils. Here is a partial list of the both the horrors and the mere affronts to decency Trump has visited upon us this week.

1. He tapped Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General.

Early loyalist Sessions has been rewarded for being one of the earliest lap dogs for Trump with one of the most powerful positions in the country, Attorney General. The two men share a deep love of racist policing, hatred of civil rights and desire to roll the clock back to approximately the 1950s. That would place us well before the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, Roe v. Wade and nationwide legalization of gay marriage. Sessions would also be perfectly positioned to undo some of the gains made during the Obama Administration to reverse the worst effects of the 1994 Omnibus Crime bill that rained mass incarceration down on vast portions of the black and Latino populations. The two share a hatred and demonization of marijuana. Sessions once hilariously joked that he liked the KKK until he heard they smoked weed. Another piece of common ground: they both hate immigrants, with Sessions saying in 2006 that no one from the Dominican Republic has anything of value to contribute to the United States.

Alabama Senator Sessions was deemed too openly racist to be a federal judge by Senate Republicans in 1986 after President Ronald Reagan nominated the then United States attorney from Alabama. Former colleagues gave devastating testimony about Sessions’ blatant racism. But Senate Republicans are not what they used to be.

There’s no evidence that the years have dimmed Sessions’ racist views, which are apparently right in line with his new boss man. On Friday, Sessions praised Trump’s demand for the death penalty for the Central Park Five in 1989. He said it shows that Trump has always been a “law and order” guy. The teenagers Trump demanded death for were fully exonerated by DNA evidence and shown to have been victims of police railroading. Despite all this inconvenient truth, Trump has continued to stand by his earlier bloodlust, and now the nation’s likely top prosecutor has praised him for it.

That is some very twisted law and order.

2. His surrogate floated the Muslim registry idea and justified it by citing one of the most shameful pieces of American history.

One of the more terrifying campaign ideas Trump floated was the idea of a registry for Muslims in this country. Undaunted by the very real comparison between this and the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany, the president-elect has made it clear that this awful breach of human rights, and act of outright religious persecution, is still very much a possibility.

A prominent Trump backer and spokesman for a major super PAC that backed him by the name of Carl Higbie laid out the legal justification for this atrocity on Wednesday to a horrified Megyn Kelly. His argument was that the mass internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was a “precedent” for Trump’s planned Muslim registry. Since it has a “precedent,” a kind of legalistic term that Higbie was just using to mean something like this happened before, the Muslim registry would therefore “hold constitutional muster,” Higbie argued.

Kelly tried in various ways to express her utter shock and dismay that Japanese internment camps were being used as some sort of positive example of how the United States should behave today.

Higbie may just be a Trump-loving supporter with no official role, but word is that the Muslim registry is definitely being considered. A day earlier, an actual member of Trump’s transition team, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, said Trump’s advisers were discussing whether to send him a formal proposal for a national registry of immigrants and visitors from Muslim countries. It’s happening.

Kobach, whose other claim to fame is crafting a law making it legal for police to profile Latinos, was said to be in line for the Attorney General position. Now he’ll have to wait for another plum position, like czar of immigration.

3. He tapped insanely Islamophobic retired General Michael Flynn for top national security post.

There is every indication that Trump has great respect for fellow hotheads, as long as they are sufficiently sycophantic and Islamophobic. Retired General Michael Flynn, Trump’s truly frightening pick for national security adviser, fits the bill perfectly.

Flynn served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was later tapped to lead the Defense Intelligence Agency. Obama subsequently fired him. It is unclear at what point he became the virulent Islamophobe with a shaky grasp on the truth, but that is who he is today. Ever since, he has been sounding the amped-up alarm about the threat posed by extremist Islamic groups and blaming Obama for “coddling” them to anyone who will listen. And Trump very obviously listens to him and in fact wants to keep on listening to him.

What President Trump will likely hear from Flynn are variants on his recent tweet, “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” He has also said in interviews that he considers Islam—yes, the whole religion—a cancer that has metastasized. Another thing Flynn likes to say is: “Lock her up,” referring to Hillary Clinton.

4. He invited his daughter to a meeting with the Japanese prime minister.

Way before his election, Trump had shattered every norm of someone aspiring to public office, using campaign press conferences to promote his hotels, refusing to release his tax returns, and ignoring the usual rules regarding conflicts of interest. Surprise, as president-elect, he’s still writing his own rules as he goes. Early in the week, he was said to be requesting security clearance for his kids and son-in-law.

He has promised to place his business holdings in a “blind trust” while he is president, and of course he always keeps his promises. The “blind trust” would also be run by his kids, so not really blind at all. Plus, his kids are part of the government now! They are part of the transition team!

As the week wore on, after confusing the hell out of the Japanese prime minister about when and where they would meet, Trump invited daughter Ivanka to attend. So far no word if she will be selling any of the items she wore to the meeting online.

5. He took credit for the fact that a Ford factory is not moving to Mexico when it was never going to move to Mexico.

On Thursday, the president-elect tweeted that he got a phone call “from my friend Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford, who advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky—no Mexico.”

He tweeted this because had he sent a press release, the mainstream media just might have (no guarantees, but might have) looked into it and found out that Ford was never going to close the factory in question. To get even more granular, the company had considered moving one production line to Mexico, but the move would not have cost any Americans their jobs, and then it decided not to. Details, details.

But that did not prevent Trump from taking credit for it and calling it a win for him. And it did not prevent various fake newsoutlets from agreeing and perpetuating his false claim. And now he’ll say it a bunch more times, and the fake news outlets will say it a bunch more times and then it will become true.

That’s the way things work in the post-truth world.

6. He demanded an apology from the “Hamilton” cast.

On Friday night, our virulently homophobic VP-elect Mike Pence went to see the smash hit Broadway musical “Hamilton.” There, in addition to being entertained, he was also booed. At the end of the show, cast member Brandon Victor Dixon delivered the message to Pence that many Americans are truly afraid and worried that the new “administration will not protect us, defend us and uphold our inalienable rights.”

This rather mild, and completely true statement—millions of Americans really are worried!—was termed “harassment” by our new commander-in-chief in waiting on Twitter the next day. It was so rude, Trump said, and demanded an apology.

Without a trace of the bitter irony that surrounds us every day, Trump invoked the notion of a “safe space” in his tweets about the incident. “The theater must always be a safe and special place,” he said.

Let the boos continue to rain down upon both of these deplorable men and their cast of horribles, forever.

U.S. Politics

Jeb Bush Comes Out Of Hiding To Call Trump ‘Abhorrent’ And ‘Disturbing’

Jeb Bush Comes Out Of Hiding To Call Trump ‘Abhorrent’ And ‘Disturbing’

attribution: none

POLITICUS USA

During the GOP primary campaign, Donald Trump spent a lot of time calling Jeb Bush “low-energy,” but the former Florida governor was fired up on Thursday when he slammed the Republican nominee’s recent behavior, specifically on the subject of immigration.

In an exchange on Rita Cosby’s ‘Election Central’ radio program, Bush talked about Trump’s verbal waffling on immigration – even though his actual policy remains unchanged – and said it’s impossible to know what Trump’s views really are.

Audio:

//embeds.audioboom.com/boos/4974288-jeb-bush-trump-change-on-immigration-abhorrent-exclusive-with-wabc-s-rita-cosby-8-26-16/embed/v4?eid=AQAAAKzsv1fQ5ksA

Bush said:

I can only say that whatever his views are this morning, they might change this afternoon, and they were different than they were last night, and they’ll be different tomorrow. So I can’t comment on his views because his views seem to be ever changing depending on what crowd he’s in front of. Sounds like a typical politician, by the way…all the things Donald Trump railed against, he seems to be morphing into. 

I don’t know what to believe about a guy who doesn’t believe in things. I mean he doesn’t … this is all a game. He doesn’t … his views will change based on the feedback he gets from a crowd, or, you know, what he thinks he has to do. Life is too complex. For me, I couldn’t do that. I have to believe what I believe, and if it’s popular, great, if it’s not, I try to get better at presenting my views. But shifting my views because, because it’s political to do it? That’s what politicians do in this country, that’s what Trump is trying to do right now. I find it abhorrent.

What Donald Trump has been doing lately is try to have it both ways.

He ridiculed Jeb Bush during the primary campaign for his stance on immigration, but he’s now trying to adopt Bush’s (low-energy?) tone, all while sticking closely to the same policies that his anti-immigrant base will applaud.

Trump claims to be the only non-politician in the race, but his behavior certainly indicates that he is doing political backflips to avoid losing any more support than he already has against Hillary Clinton.

Trump knows he is losing, so he’s trying to con his way back into the race. If Jeb Bush’s statements are any indication, his waffling isn’t doing a very good job of winning back disaffected, moderate Republicans.

By

U.S. Politics

Supreme Court May Kill Obama’s Plan to Shield 5 Million Immigrants From Deportation

Supreme Court May Kill Obama's Plan to Shield 5 Million Immigrants From Deportation

Image Credit: Getty Images

POLICY.MIC

On Monday, a top lawyer from the Obama administration faced a tough line of questioning from Supreme Court justices over a case that could decide the fate of up to five million undocumented immigrants.

The case, which pits 26 states against the White House, contests the legality of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, program, which he announced through executive actions in 2014.

There’s a great deal at stake. The program would protect close to 5 million undocumented immigrants who are parents of United States citizens or permanent residents and provide them with the opportunity to apply for work permits, assuming they’ve resided in the country for a minimum of five years, pax taxes and don’t fail abackground check.

Read more: A Divided Supreme Court Spares Public Labor Unions From a Devastating Blow

The New York Times reported that Monday morning’s oral arguments involved some “sharp questions” from the justices:

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy questioned whether the president can defer deportations for millions of people without specific congressional authorization, saying “that is a legislative task, not an executive task.”

“It’s as if the president is defining the policy and the Congress is executing it,” Justice Kennedy said. “That’s just upside down.”

Supreme Court May Kill Obama's Plan to Shield 5 Million Immigrants From Deportation

Source: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

If the Supreme Court, which has had only eight justices since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February, ties on the ruling, it will uphold a lower court ruling against the plan and would obstruct the Obama administration’s ambitions.

The possibility of a ruling in favor of the Obama administration is possible. As Richard Lugar, a former senator from Indiana, noted in a New York Times op-ed on Monday, the executive branch has long been given a great deal of latitude in dealing with enforcement of immigration law, both by Congress and the Supreme Court:

Congress has repeatedlygranted the executive branch broad power in enforcing immigration laws. The 2002 law creating the Department of Homeland Security explicitly said the executive should set “national immigration enforcement policies and priorities.” The Supreme Court has recognized the leeway Congress gives the executive branch in deportations. In a 2012 majority opinion written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the court noted that “a principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials,” including the decision “whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all.”

Notably, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy joined three liberal justices in the last high-profile immigration case, striking down Arizona’s controversial immigration law in 2012.

The Supreme Court’s ruling isn’t expected until June, but the stakes are high — both for the undocumented immigrants whose lives would be changed by the ruling, and also for Obama’s legacy on immigration.

If the Supreme Court rules against the president, Obama, who has overseen more deportations than any other president in American history, will likely be remembered on immigration as “deporter-in-chief,” in the words of National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia. But if the court rules in his favor, he will have achieved some redemption in the eyes of many advocates.

Zeeshan Aleem

U.S. Politics

Actually, Ted Cruz Does Want To Round Up Every Undocumented Immigrant

THE HUFFINGTON POST

Walls, border patrols and biometric scanners, oh my.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has taken a page from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign playbook, hardening his rhetoric against undocumented immigrants.

Cruz told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Monday that yes, should he be elected president, his administration would deport all 12 million undocumented people estimated to be in the U.S. and wouldn’t allow them to return.

“We should enforce the law … federal law requires that anyone here illegally that’s apprehended should be deported,” Cruz said. “Of course” he’d look for undocumented immigrants, he said.

Cruz said America would build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, triple the border force and establish biometric entry systems “so we will know the day someone overstays their visa.”

Cruz’ comments represent an escalation in rhetoric from a candidate who rejected the notion of a “deportation force” of “jackboots” just last month, and lambasted the idea after it was proposed by GOP front-runner Trump. Cruz in January said such a policy would reflect “a police state,” adding, “That’s not how we enforce the law for any crime.”

Cruz was pressed on the issue Monday by O’Reilly, who asked if he would seek out fictitious Irishman Tommy O’Malley and deport him for overstaying his visa.

“You better believe it,” Cruz said. “Both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio would allow those 12 million people to become U.S. citizens. I will not.”

Nick Visser