Morning Ed: Muslims {2017.01.30.M}

A little under two years ago, Muslim convert “Roger” was replaced as the counter-terrorism chief. He had a number of notches in his belt, including bin Laden’s death.

Eli Lake reports on some Syrian-Americans who are not fans of the Iranian president, or the most recent former American one.

The story of Aaron Driver, a suburban Canadian turn ISIS supporter and criminal.

Meet Ali J Mohammed, Iraq native serving in our Marine Corps.

‘I know [a ban on Muslims is] very much illegal and unconstitutional. I know it’ll never be enacted. And furthermore, even Donald Trump has backed out of it,’ says Saba [Ahmed].

If we bombed you, we’re banning you. To be fair, the list of affected nations was, evidently, inherited from the previous administration. Benjamin Wittes explains just how unconscionable it is, while David French explains that it’s no big deal.

Late last year, Zar Mohammad Stanikzai was quite worried that his a visa cap preventing exfiltration of those who help our military actions overseas. And here we are, with US veterans now worried for them.

Aspects of the Executive Order have been stayed, and we’ll see what happens, but it seems likely that it would be pretty hard to get credibility back with foreign agents after this sort of thing.


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397 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Muslims {2017.01.30.M}

  1. Zar Mohammad Stanikzai: That is the single worst thing about this whole EO. We made promises to these people in exchange for their help. We should back that up rather than leaving them to fend for themselves.

    But of course, we could have prevented that if we hadn’t created the situation where we needed their help in the first damn place.

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    • Also important to note that the stay is only about people who have already arrived here, and therefore does not affect this component of the EO at all.

      If I was a Secure Borders guy who had spent years talking about how my concerns have nothing to do with legal immigration or good “dudes” (like … interpreters risking their lives to help the military) I would be absolutely *furious* right now. I would be out there with protesters making it damn clear that this order does not represent my side. It’s a bit jarring to see very little of that fury.

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      • The GOP’s blase response to the green card ban is going to make it very hard to take “its about the illegality, they should have got in line and come in the right way” seriously ever again. If people believe that, they should be just as mad as the lefties right now.

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      • That was my understanding. We’ve temporarily gone from a rules-based system to a discretionary system. Personally, I think in countries “in which we are at war,” the DOD should largely be deciding policy and doing background checks.

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      • The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security can waive (or wave) anyone through.

        Actually, they can’t, because the people who came up with this thing are total fucking morons who don’t know how entry to the US works. There won’t be anyone able to show up to be waved through.

        To fly to the US, *the airline has to be believe you are going to be allowed in*. They can actually be fined for knowingly flying people here if those people are not allowed in. They aren’t required to detect fake paperwork or run you against US watchlists, but they are supposed to check that you, in theory, *have* paperwork that would allow you entrance.

        So…how does this extreme vetting work? At the embassies…before they get visas? That would have made sense.

        But…we just *rejected* a bunch of people with visas, didn’t we? So…we’re…vetting them here instead?

        Or is there some point where visas to enter the country of people from those countries *do* become valid again, because this ‘extreme vetting’ was done pre-visa? Are embassies being asked to extreme-vet? Is there even such a process existing?

        And, most importantly: Are airlines supposed to fly people with visas here or not? Are airlines supposed to be checking issue dates of visas? Is there some ‘super-visa’ coming, saying ‘This person can enter the country, *and we really mean it this time*. Unlike that last time when we lied about it.’?

        A visa literally is written permission to enter the country. If we do not want people to enter the country, we *must not issue them travel visas allowing them to enter the country*. This is, you know, trivially simple logic.

        This entire thing is, in fact, total chaos and utter gibberish, from top to bottom. Because, again, the person writing *has no idea how entry to this country even works*.

        If we want to add more discretion to the system, it has to be added *before visas are issued*.

        And that’s just the *visa* side. The permanent residency part is even stupider. Green card holders are, under US law and constitutional theory, *US citizens in everything but the vote*. They are ‘US nationals’. They *have all constitutional rights* except the vote and cannot be arbitrarily banned from the country.

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        • “To fly to the US, *the airline has to be believe you are going to be allowed in*.”

          Which may explain the odd situation where people are reporting that aircrew were handing out I-407 forms while the plane was in the air.

          “Because, again, the person writing *has no idea how entry to this country even works*.”

          And, here’s the thing, I doubt he was the only one. He may, in fact, represent the majority position prior to this past weekend.

          Which is the Freakonomics take on Trump. He’ll be one of the best Presidents ever, by accident, because between opposing him and correcting his ridiculous errors we’ll understand the degree to which the governance of the United States has turned into Just Let The Executive Branch Handle Everything.

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        • Green card holders are, under US law and constitutional theory, *US citizens in everything but the vote*. They are ‘US nationals’. They *have all constitutional rights* except the vote and cannot be arbitrarily banned from the country.

          Yeah, this is … kind of a big deal. We now have clear evidence that many of these people were prevented from seeking legal counsel. And there are some unconfirmed reports that people were coerced into signing forms that relinquished their green card, or were charged with violating INS law even though the executive order happened while they were in transit. So we’re one week into the administration and they are already detaining US nationals without representation, attempting to strip them of residency, and deporting them (to the extent, by the way, that a judge required some individuals to actually be brought *back* to the United States). So yeah, the fact that we’re not getting a full throated “what the fish were you THINKING!” from the “obey the laws on the books” borders folks is pretty damn telling.

          The one upside, as you mention, is that the administration either did all of this idiocy because of fantastic incompetence heretofore unseen in the White House, or because of a fantastically incompetent misunderstanding of how to be evil in the White House. Because if your goal is to send out a trial balloon to see how well our institutions stand up to a little bit of autocratic pressure, your target should be the *most* marginalized and unrepresented people in the society, not the most empathetic. You sure as hell don’t *start* with green-card holders and Iraqi interpreters – the latter being possibly the most sympathetic subsection of refugees (literally putting their lives at risk to support the United States government against our enemies) and the former being the most institutionally-connected and nationalized subsection of foreigners. It’s like testing out your internment camp scheme on orphans and veterans. There may be an 11 dimensional explanation for passing a law with some chaos built into it, but there is absolutely no competent reason for building in *this kind* of chaos. As the events over the weekend aptly demonstrated.

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          • It makes sense if you assume the Left is going to get upset no matter what Trump does.

            Trump just tried to implement “asking for the moon”… when he settles for half the moon, everyone will be relieved. Imagine a Mongol general riding up and saying he’ll kill everyone man/woman/child in the city, and then after much talk he settles for just killing the soldiers.

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            • The problem with asking the moon is if you have to deal with people repeatedly. Then you get the reputaton as a moon-asker and people just refuse to negiotiate at all. The Presidency isn’t like being a development CEO, you can’t burn your bridges behind you after you get what you want.

              Similarly, if you want to act like a Mongol, you need overwhelming force. Otherwise the townlanders get together with some guns and start shooting you in the face rather than deal with your outrageous Mongol demands.

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          • They *have all constitutional rights* except the vote and cannot be arbitrarily banned from the country.

            Actually, I think I’m technically wrong about this: They cannot be banned from the country at all, any more than citizens can. There is no such thing as ‘exile’ in US law.

            For someone with a green card to lose the ability to enter the country, they have to have their green card revoked.

            This requires either a) fraud during application, b) not actually residing in the US for long enough, or c) being convicted of a crime. And only a *judge* can revoke their status.

            As long as someone has a green card in their hand that has not been revoked by a legal proceedings involving an immigration judge, they can no more be barred from this country than a citizen can.

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        • To fly to the US, *the airline has to be believe you are going to be allowed in*. They can actually be fined for knowingly flying people here if those people are not allowed in. They aren’t required to detect fake paperwork or run you against US watchlists, but they are supposed to check that you, in theory, *have* paperwork that would allow you entrance.

          Flying to the US from Germany (just a couple weeks ago!), I can confirm that my passport was checked no fewer than 3 times when walking from my Doha->Frankfurt gate to my Frankfurt->Chicago gate.

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              • Yup to all that.

                It’s because airlines *will be fined* if you somehow manage to show up at the US without documentation that logically would allow you to enter. I am not sure exactly what the rules are, I have a feeling this doesn’t apply to *forged* documentation, or people tripping watchlists and stuff.

                But airlines do have to make some sort of good faith effort that people they are carrying to the US have documentation that would *appear* to allow them valid entry to the US, or they will be fined for that…and also, I believe, have to fly, or pay for the cost of someone else flying, the people back where they came from. (I’m sure they probably try to charge the person, but who knows how often they get paid for what is, after all, an involuntary airplane ride.)

                In fact, as I recently stumbled across in immigration law, they can be *forbidden from transporting people to the US* if they keep bringing invalid people in, which obviously would totally screw them over, considering how much they’ve paid for those routes and airline terminal fees and already sold tickets.

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  2. Terrorists killed six people and critically injured another five at a mosque in Quebec City last night. Not much is known at this point, but two have been arrested.

    I suppose I shouldn’t be any more shocked that this was in Canada, but I am.

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  3. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-30/trump-s-next-move-on-immigration-to-hit-closer-to-home-for-tech

    According to this, Trump’s next target is HB-1 Visa Programs. It is going to be interesting to see how this unfolds and whether tech giants can use their money and corporate power to reign Trump/Bannon in. My guess is not.

    Over at LGM, we are discussing Trump’s historically low popularity numbers but I am in a cynical and pessimistic mood. Trump still is very popular with the GOP and Chait started theorizing we would be heading to a partisan presidency long before the 2016 GOP primaries. The actions that Trump did over the weekend were massively unpopular with the country but they are popular with the GOP base and enough of the electorate that gave Trump his technical victory based on an 18th century anarchronism. I suspect the GOP is going to double down on the gerrymandering and we are headed for periods of massive social unrest.

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    • >> The actions that Trump did over the weekend were massively unpopular with the country

      I would like to believe this but I don’t. The Trump fans I’ve spoken to are still in “give him a chance” mode and believe these are just kinks that will soon be worked out, but that his heart is in the right place. They do not see protests (and to be clear, I attended one myself) as any kind of repudiation but as a typical and expected liberal response.

      FWIW, I think this executive order could have been the most popular thing Trump had done in his first week, and the botched roll-out gives me hope that it can be challenged in the courts and used to put the admin + GOP on the defensive. But the protests are a reflection of leftist energy, not of popular opinion as a whole.

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      • I said that Trump still had high approval ratings among the GOP and that might be all that matters.

        Chait discussed this a while ago. There used to be an ideal that Presidents were bipartisan enough and needed to represent all Americans and Presidents took bipartisan approval seriously. But starting with Obama, the polls for Presidential approval became more and more partisan. Democrats approved of his performance while Republicans are not. Now Republicans are going to approve of Trump while Democrats do not.

        Our system is not designed to function like this. Parliamentary systems have safety valves for executives/Prime Ministers with high unpopularity via notes of no confidence and the PM’s party has power to force the unpopular executive out.

        Nixon lasted for a long time because we don’t have these kind of valves. He only resigned when he lost the support of elites of his party and this was with a Democratic majority in the House and Senate.

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      • It takes time to turn a super tanker. Those people that supported Trump are not likely to drop that publicly in a week. That is just people. Once you publicly support something it takes a heck of a lot of stuff to push you to publicly admit you were wrong. Especially on highly emotionally charged topics like this. We shouldn’t expect Trumpets to drop him this fast. It’s a slow wearing down, a grinding away that will change views on him by some of his supporters. It will also change faster when they are the ones getting hurt instead of distant others.

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        • I didn’t support Trump when he ran for President, I voted against him, I don’t support a lot of these policies…

          …but there are parts of this that are entertaining and parts that might be useful. Trump was elected to break things that were broken so they might be fixed. If you’re going to have a bull in a china shop there’s going to be side effects.

          Thus far he’s looking pretty effective. He picked his crew, he’s getting them past the Senate, and he’s fulfilling his campaign promises.

          I wouldn’t be shocked if his popularity is going up, not down.

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              • You have to forgive Kim, she’s had a lot of her understanding of government turned upside down. See, she fully believes that when Obama took office, men held a gun to his head to explain how being President “really worked”. (They used a gun because Obama wouldn’t understand the methods used on previous Presidents, I guess. It was a new trick used just for him.).

                Now Trump’s in office and he’s doing stuff that’s the opposite of how the Presidency “really works” which, i guess, means they forgot where they put their gun.

                She’ll pull it together with a new unified theory sooner or later, but until then it’s gonna be erratic.

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                • morat20,
                  Trump’s making enemies. What else is new?

                  The Powers that Be are marginally okay with him (they won’t be getting arrested any more than Hillary will, I’ll bet.)

                  Do you really need me to spell out who was so fucking desperate that they’d think blackmailing the president with a gun was a good idea?

                  Who did not have public opinion on their side when Obama took office?

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    • The H1-B thing is fairly smart, on a tactical level. It will get the big dogs at Microsoft and Google and Amazon and whatnot all up in a tizzy while, at the same time, having tacit support from many of the current and former workers in the industry who watched what happened with H1-B visas.

      We’ll see a lot of nuanced opinions explaining that, of course, they don’t support Trump but H1-B visas are terribly exploitative and if there were a better H1-B system in place, it’d actually work and result in these exploited people getting treated the way they ought to be rather than in an exploitative way.

      You know that companies do this thing where they put an ad in the paper and call for DBAs with 15 years experience in technologies that have only been around for 10 years and only offer $40,000/year for them, and then when they don’t get any qualified applicants, they go to the government and say “hey, there aren’t any Americans who can do this work, we need an H1-B” and then they hire an H1-B for exploitative wages instead of paying the going market rate for a DBA with 10 years of experience.

      And so on.

      The actions that Trump did over the weekend were massively unpopular with the country but they are popular with the GOP base and enough of the electorate that gave Trump his technical victory based on an 18th century anarchronism.

      The poll I saw said that 42% of people opposed the ban. 48% supported it.

      Presumably, 10% “didn’t know”.

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      • http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/poll-president-donald-trump-disapproval-rating-record

        Admitedly a lot of this is driven by under-35s who could have turned out to vote but did not and might not be at optimal geographical distribution.

        I see your point but this is personal for me. My girlfriend has her green card now and is from presumably a low risk country (Singapore) but she was here on an HB-1 Visa for a long time after graduate school and many of her friends are on HB-1 Visas or some other visa. These are people who founded companies that created jobs. I am starting to worry about my girlfriend’s green card getting revoked and having her having to leave the U.S. suddenly. I am worried about her friends and colleagues getting kicked out.

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        • Yah, but they only have to go back to Singapore.

          I have an ex GF who has a green card and is from Iran. Her parents have had their visa extended for another 6 months and were hoping to get green cards. Why? They’re Christians. You listen to a elderly couple talk about living through the revolution in 79 and having to put up with all the of crap they had to for the last 40 years. That’s something to worry about.

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          • That’s irrelevant. Some of them are from Malaysia. Others have American spouses. Some are in romantic relationships with other immigrants from different countries. Some have children. Families will be split apart. This is not good yet your eternal desire to be laidback about everything trumps again.

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            • Dude, I’m not being laid back. Frankly, I’m doubling down on your post. Frankly, everything you’ve described in your second post holds not a candle to the situation my ex’s family and maybe her, are in.

              Are your friends facing the possibility of going back to a country where, if certain info were widely known, your friends would be killed? Cause mine are.

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        • Oh, I’m not talking about Trump’s approval rating. I’m talking about the approval rating of the travel ban policy.

          Now, this is Quinnipiac, and Quinnipiac is a known purveyor of Alternative Facts but it says:

          By a narrow 48 – 42 percent, American voters support “suspending immigration from terror prone regions, even if it means turning away refugees.”

          If I had to guess, the 10% that isn’t accounted for is, in fact, “shy” about answering.

          I appreciate that this is personal for you. I happen to be married to an Immigrant with a Green Card.

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      • That 42-48 poll was taken two weeks ago #fakenews.

        The fact that this is hitting green card holders shows that he does not care about the people who did things the right way and stood in line. While people in the know, know that “I’m not against immigrants, I’m against illegal immigrants,” is a crock of bull, there are quite a few people who voted for Trump who do feel that way. The ham-fisted targeting of people who did it the right way makes it easier to say, “Nah, he really does just hate all immigrants.” With a victory as narrow as Trump’s, he doesn’t have much room for error. If Trump 2016-2020 looks like Obama 2008-2012, he loses by a margin between McCain and Romney.

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        • The polls for what happened over the weekend haven’t yet been released. I don’t know if they’ve even yet been conducted.

          If the poll taken on this issue two weeks ago can’t be assumed to be operative, I guess we have no choice but to assume that the American people have changed their minds and agree with us now.

          Can you believe that Trump is going against the American people like that?

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          • Part of me says “well, the ACLU just got five years’ worth of donations in a weekend, so I guess that more Americans disagree with the policy than we thought’.

            But then another part of me- says “maybe this is what it looks like when forty-two percent of Americans decide to do something together, and the important thing is not the number that showed up but the number that didn’t.”

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          • I do find it fascinating that “that poll was taken two weeks ago!” is seen as a disqualifying statement rather than one arguing that the poll is relevant.

            You know what? I don’t even think it’s inaccurate. But this poll was published on January 12th.

            If it’s worthless, and it might be worthless, then that means that useful information just does not exist.

            Which leaves us…

            Where?

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            • A 2 week old poll is useful to see what support of a potential policy is, it’s a useless barometer after it has been implemented. If I pointed to some pre-ACA poll on health coverage as evidence of support for Obamacare while people were chasing down legislators at town halls, I would rightly get laughed at.

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              • If I pointed to some pre-ACA poll on health coverage as evidence of support for Obamacare while people were chasing down legislators at town halls, I would rightly get laughed at.

                How old would the pre-ACA poll be in this hypothetical?

                To be honest, if the pre-ACA poll talked about the ACA and how 57% of the people supported it and, after the ACA passed, this poll was pointed to as relevant to the debate on public support for the ACA… I could honestly see why someone would see it as relevant.

                But, you’re right.

                We don’t have good numbers on this.

                And won’t for a while… and the question is whether the numbers will still be good by the time we get them.

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            • It leaves us who oppose this an opening.

              When it is some nameless scary brown man inside their head, its one thing.

              When we can post pictures of the actual women and children who would be shipped back to their deaths, it changes things, for a lot of people.

              When we can get rabbis, bishops ministers to all join a chorus of denunciation, it changes things.

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              • While I’m 100% down with rabbis, bishops, ministers helping us, as a nation, decide policy, I’m not sure that we truly appreciate where this will lead us at the end of the day.

                I will say that I was exceptionally impressed by the ability of all of these folks to organize at a minute’s notice and show up where they were needed downright immediately.

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                    • “I think the problem is that these religious leaders are advocating issues liberals support, as opposed to ones that conservatives support.”

                      I think if the right sheds it’s social religious authority, many churches will eventually end up on the left, with only a very few churches that recognize religion as a individual construct will remaining on the right.

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                      • Roe vs. Wade cast a very long shadow indeed.

                        Even my church, when I was a kid, had a bunch of both Republicans and Democrats in it and the debate over abortion reshaped it (to be further reshaped following the debate over gay marriage).

                        There are a lot of things in Christianity that are “on the left”, I guess we’d say. Catholics used to be famous for them. (Then there was this thing with JPII and Communism that got people to see a particular framing.)

                        But, once upon a time, “religious” could have meant right or left.

                        Now? Religious tends (tends!) to mean one thing and going out of one’s way to describe oneself as “not religious” (or “not religious but (other things)”) tends to indicate another entirely.

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                        • I give it ten years or less and churches will be banning firearms, and making mandatory tithes for membership. They will implement ‘see something say something’ with their own congregations to keep them inline.

                          Let’s not discuss the ‘ministry of truth’ just yet.

                          Any bets?

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                  • To be honest, I’d be shocked if Trump doesn’t start applying the Johnson Amendment.

                    This is from the last time we discussed the Johnson Amendment:

                    Jesse Ewiak:
                    Don’t worry, Jaybird. We’re going to wait ’til we’ve appointed 2 or 3 more Supreme Court members, then we don’t have to wins elections any more. The GOP can pass whatever they want, only for it to be thrown out by the Obama/Hillary/Castro dominated federal courts.

                    Golly, does *THAT* joke read differently in 2017!

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                    • Pretty sure the religious right won’t want the precedent of actual prosecutions under the Johnson Amendment. They’er smart enough to know that once that genie is out of the bottle, it will be used against them. It’s really, really stupid to break out weapons that hurt you more than they hurt your opponent. It’s like the Wicked Witch of the West deciding that it’s time to go after Dorothy with Super Soakers. Even if Trump keeps most of his religious supporters, losing a decent chunk hurts him. And as I said before, he is not exactly in a position to give up some of his supporters.

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                      • Dunno. It might depend on whether they feel like stuff like “Little Sisters of the Poor” or the “bake the cake” thing qualifies as the Rubicon already having been crossed.

                        Nobody wants to be the first person to defect.
                        Nobody sees a problem with being the second person to defect.

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              • When we can post pictures of the actual women and children who would be shipped back to their deaths, it changes things, for a lot of people.

                Are you claiming these countries are running death camps and engaging in Nazi style genocide?

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                • Are you claiming these countries are running death camps and engaging in Nazi style genocide?

                  No. Not Nazi-style genocide.

                  The people committing genocide in those countries usually just murder people in their houses, not ship them off to complicated death camps where they slowly kill them.

                  It’s not any of that fancy high-end *Nazi-style* genocide.

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              • If you’ve got a situation where 42% of people *REALLY* care about something, and 58% only kinda care about something, so long as it doesn’t cost them anything?

                The 42% will win. Pretty much every time.

                Even at the ballot box! You can count on every single one of that 42% to show up. How much of the 58% do you need to show up? More than two out of three of them.

                Does “only kinda care about something, so long as it doesn’t cost them anything” sound like sufficient caring to get 2 out of 3 to show up?

                Heck, we can look at gay marriage in the last 40 years as a guide. The opposition to gay marriage was broad, sure. But it wasn’t deep. At the end of the day, it was pretty shallow.

                How does that map to the immigration debate? Well… you’re going to need more than two out of three of the opposition to show up.

                And that’s assuming that every single one of the “don’t know” 10% is a shy “opposed”. It might be safe to assume that 6% or 7% of them are shy. It’s not safe to assume that all 10% are.

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        • While people in the know, know that “I’m not against immigrants, I’m against illegal immigrants,” is a crock of bull, there are quite a few people who voted for Trump who do feel that way.

          Not just green card holders….refugees.

          There are a lot of evangelicals that feel *exceptionally* betrayed about that, because helping refugees is…

          …look, I feel rather cynical about their work in that field, because a lot of it seems to be self-aggrandizing and helping a few individual refugee families is bullshit when you’re also, politically, supporting people cutting food stamps. Going and deliberately finding some refugees and putting a face on them, and having you congregation support them, and oooo, aren’t we all Christian…while at the same time not saying anything to help the random impoverished people around you, is not any real Christian virtue. But putting *my* feelings aside…

          …helping refugees is something that a lot of evangelicals work at, and there are almost certainly a few horror stories out there about how *their* refugees, the one they had sponsored and worked to the US, and were almost there, braving hardship from their country of origin…were turned away at airports by *Americans*, or now can’t even try.

          Even more of them were working to get Syria refugees out, now find themselves totally blocked.

          And those stories *are going to spread among that community like wildfire*. Probably already have, via email and stuff. And next Sunday, bam, people start talking about it in churches.

          And do you know what is going to happen if even one of these refugee families is killed? Total fucking meltdown.

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          • My FB friend that is most upset is a center-right LDS member who has been supporting Syrian and Afghan refugees*. I believe she voted for Egg McMuffin, but she is likely in the group that Josh Barro calls “Trump curious” that he needs to win over and is not.

            * And she cares enough that she asks me things like, “Hey do you think X would offend a Muslim, I want to make sure their place feels homey, but I don’t want to unintentionally offend them”

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          • “Going and deliberately finding some refugees and putting a face on them, and having you congregation support them, and oooo, aren’t we all Christian…while at the same time not saying anything to help the random impoverished people around you, is not any real Christian virtue. ”

            Well. There’s a reason that the Parable of the Prodigal Son does not end with “…but that guy was an asshole, actually, because there were thousands and thousands of poor people that weren’t his son and he didn’t do jack shit for any of them.” It is not actually outside of Christian tradition to say “our charity is intended to make the Christian family grow, not just to throw alms out at random people in the street”.

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            • Well. There’s a reason that the Parable of the Prodigal Son does not end with “…but that guy was an asshole, actually, because there were thousands and thousands of poor people that weren’t his son and he didn’t do jack shit for any of them.”

              The Parable of the Prodigal Son…doesn’t have anything to do with charity. But, just as important, there isn’t really any hint that the father *wasn’t* an asshole for how he behaved.

              The parable is trying to teach people to not be jealous of what people give other people instead of themselves, not make any statement about the guy who gave things out ‘unfairly’.

              It’s the same as Parable of the Workers. God’s position on that guy’s odd labor practices is unknown within that parable. You get the sense, from other stories, that he would not approve, but that’s not actually relevant to the story so we don’t learn it.

              It is not actually outside of Christian tradition to say “our charity is intended to make the Christian family grow, not just to throw alms out at random people in the street”.

              That may be *well within Christian traditions*, but it is *unchristian*.

              But, no, that’s not what’s going on here anyway. This is not some attempt to convert people. In fact, as Mo said, there is very often a *deliberate* attempt to respect their religion.

              Now, at some point in the back of some of their minds, there might be ‘Well, if they see how caring Christians are, maybe they will convert to Christianity’, but, honestly, I can’t condemn *that* form of evangelism.

              No, what’s going on here, what the problem is, is often *pride*. ‘We’re going to save the lives of people who aren’t even Christian! We’re awesome!’ (Note they usually aren’t really saving anyone’s life, but just giving them a chance to get on their feet after they get here.)

              Which…look, pride is not a good thing, but if that was all of it, I could deal. The problem is that prideful people are often excited about giant gestures like this, and not actually operating at any lower level that would result in much better outcomes for much more people.

              Instead of buying a house for one family, how about, oh, donating to the homeless shelter that can support hundreds of people for that amount of money?

              But I don’t expect really everyone to sit there and mathematically calculate where their support would do the best. I still see idiots buying food to donate to food pantries, instead of just giving them the money and letting *them* buy food, and, whatever. Those people are dumb, but whatever.

              But, worse, these refugee-helping people often condone government policies that try to help others…while what *they* are doing is also the result of government policies. Their gigantic gestures to help individuals, sure, they want the government involved there. The government spending the same amount of money on WIC, well…surely charities would provide. (No, they won’t, because charities do big flashy things like saving a refugee family instead of buying kids milk.)

              But, again, this is *some* people in that movement. There are plenty of people who are not like that. But the entire thing is one the biggest, flashiest, ‘most noble looking’ charity works that people can get involved in within current Christianity…and a significant fraction of people are in for exactly that reason. Not all, not most, but I’ve managed to run across a few, and I’m not even involved in it.

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        • Looks like Rasmussen put something out today.

          Most voters approve of President Trump’s temporary halt to refugees and visitors from several Middle Eastern and African countries until the government can do a better job of keeping out individuals who are terrorist threats.

          A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a temporary ban on refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen until the federal government approves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here. Thirty-three percent (33%) are opposed, while 10% are undecided.

          But that’s Rasmussen. There are a lot of criticisms of how they do polling.

          We still don’t know anything.

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            • As I told Saul when we were discussing the stale polling:

              Oh, I’m not talking about Trump’s approval rating. I’m talking about the approval rating of the travel ban policy.

              But this is all just the start. He could rebound or crater like no prez has ever cratered before.

              If his policies keep getting high marks but his approval rating is in the gutter, then that strikes me as something that is unlikely to hold forever.

              Maybe they’ll meet in the middle.

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              • Jaybird: If his policies keep getting high marks but his approval rating is in the gutter, then that strikes me as something that is unlikely to hold forever.

                He’s a bastard. But I can dislike him but like his policies. I can even think “I’m glad he’s working for me”.

                This is why he seriously over punches at the voting booths.

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        • Here’s another poll. Reuters/Ipsos:

          Americans are sharply divided over President Donald Trump’s order to temporarily block U.S. entry for all refugees and citizens of seven Muslim countries, with slightly more approving the measure than disapproving, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday.

          The Jan. 30-31 poll found that 49 percent of American adults said they either “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed with Trump’s order, while 41 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” disagreed and another 10 percent said they don’t know.

          And I’ll repeat what I said earlier:

          That 10% that is “don’t know”? 6-7% of that is a shy “somewhat agree”.

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      • The H1-B thing is fairly smart, on a tactical level.

        What you mean is that there is a *hypothetical* way to do it smartly.

        I think, at this point, we should stop expecting things like ‘smart’ or ‘tactics’ or even a ‘level’ from the Trump malministration.

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          • I agree with you that there *is* a smart way to do it… but it has to be done as you said above, in an economic context. If it gets caught-up in the 7-countries you can’t mention on Radio/Television sort of way, then he won’t get the political wedge he might want. It will be seen an as anti-brown/anti-muslim/other religion thing, which, maybe it is, too…

            But ultimately, my early expectations of rank incompetence are being shown true… so I expect he’ll gain nothing and only fan the flames.

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          • I’m expecting it to be done in a way that drives a wedge between upper and drones.

            Is that what you’re *expecting*, or is that just what you think *would be logical*?

            Because I also think what you propose is entirely logical. I just seriously doubt *it will happen*, because the White House is being operated by complete morons. And I don’t mean complete morons in the political sense, I mean actual total idiots.

            They managed to completely screw this entire immigration thing up already. Cutting back on refugees…should have worked. It would have been unpopular, but they could have done it. But instead they did it in such a dumbass way it stranded people at airports, it blocked US nationals from re-entry, it was a total cock-up in every possible way.

            I have a phrase I think we should start repeating as a mantra: Lower your expectations of competence.

            This malministration is headed by a person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder who can barely function, and is fed information by Fox News, a white supremacist, and various other paranoid loons.

            If you squint your eyes just right, Trump is a miracle. We *could* have gotten a competent and scheming demagogue, one that really could play each side against the other. We were in the perfect position for it, all lined up for some form of populist fascism. Instead…we got Trump, apparently. And Bannon.

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            • Have you read Jared Berenstein’s writing about the Presidential Branch and Trump? His take is that a lot of the incompetence is because trump is trying to run everything directly out of the white house rather than through the various agencies, just like Nixon’s ratfucking operation, Iran-Contra, etc.

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              • I haven’t see it. I googled him and found his blog, but don’t immediately see anything about it.

                I have, however, read a few articles that pointed out that the failure wasn’t just President Bannon failing to get input from anyone who knows anything at all about immigration, but failing to let people have any time or any help to figure out what the EO even *meant*, resulting in a complete clustertrump.

                It’s one thing for a leader to give stupid orders without consulting knowledgeable people or the people who will implement them. It’s another thing to give those stupid orders…to everyone under you…that take effect immediately that no one can even prep for implementation.

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                  • I agree entirely with that piece that this what caused the blowup.

                    I also, oddly, agree with *both other* pieces it disagreed with. The strategic explanation, and the personality-based explanation. I think everything fits together perfectly.

                    My working theory is that:

                    (personality-based) Trump is widely unsuited to the job, having narcissistic personality disorder and unable to listen to or handle any criticism of himself,

                    (strategic) Bannon has no problem with chaos and protesters, because he ultimately thinks this will produce an American people on his side, because he’s a Nazi moron and think all white people secretly think like him,

                    (structurally), and thus neither of them have the slightest inclination to run anything past anyone else or listen to anyone attempting to explain that certain things are a bad idea. Trump can’t handle it, and Bannon loves watching everyone run around in a panic confused.

                    This mean, amazingly, *everything they do will be a total fuck up*.

                    And Reince Priebus, playing the only sane man, is probably about two weeks from snapping and punching Bannon in the face.

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                    • There’s been rumors he’s already wanting to resign, but then there were rumors Trump wanted to fire Spicer and that guy’s still around.

                      Even though, let’s face it, the media considers him to have all the credibility of Baghdad Bob.

                      Kellyanne Conway’s credit looks like it’s starting to run out as well.

                      The media likes spin. They can take spin and do she-said/he-said, get a lot of eyeballs, and feel pretty good about things. (Because they’re “smart” and understand it’s spin. wink-wink-nudge-nudge they’re on the inside, right?).

                      Lying straight to their faces and expecting them to believe it, not so much.

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                      • Here’s an approval poll from September of last year.

                        We’ve already said that opinion polls from two weeks ago are worthless so this one is probably only interesting as an artifact but…

                        The divisive presidential election this year may be corroding Americans’ trust and confidence in the media, particularly among Republicans who may believe the “mainstream media” are too hyperfocused on every controversial statement or policy proposal from Trump while devoting far less attention to controversies surrounding the Clinton campaign. However, the slide in media trust has been happening for the past decade. Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way. Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public.

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            • If you squint your eyes just right, Trump is a miracle. We *could* have gotten a competent and scheming demagogue, one that really could play each side against the other. We were in the perfect position for it, all lined up for some form of populist fascism. Instead…we got Trump, apparently. And Bannon.

              I guess I’m paranoid.

              Because I see this spiraling out of control.

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              • Because I see this spiraling out of control.

                Things were always going to spiral out of control. The Republicans had been setting things up to spiral out of control for years with their building a base that rejected facts and the media.

                They just now have spiraled out of control into a guy with NPD and a nazi moron who have totally stupid goals and are going to be very incompetent at reaching them.

                As opposed to it spiraling out of control and ending with some firm-handed but lovable ole’ fascist that manages to get the majority of the country firmly behind him, and oppresses just enough of the country to keep a working internal enemy to justify his power grabs.

                We were *that* close, apparently. Tell me you don’t think one of them wouldn’t have beaten Trump, and had the Republicans fall in line faster?

                Seriously, people. Knowing Trump *could get elected* makes me sorta glad Hillary *wasn’t*.

                If Hillary had been elected, we would have four or eight more years of the Republican base getting *even more unhinged*, and who know what the hell could have happened in 2020? Or later…yes, yes, at some point they, in theory, lose demographically and can’t elect a president, but that just means that would we end up with fascism imposed via gerrymandered Congress, probably via a bogus impeachment.

                Instead…Trump’s going to totally blow their chance. Just tear everything to shreds. The only way the Republican party is walking out of this alive is with repudiating him and attempting to rehabilitate their base into functional members of the consensual reality.

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                • The weakness in Trump/Bannon is that they don’t realize that fascism has to have at least two things, one, a wide enough base to retain power, and two, a thin veneer of legality.

                  They are so reckless that their base, I’m convinced, is going to shrink.
                  When you exclude the military brass and veterans from your base, when you alienate even the milder evangelicals and Mormons, and even the mutha-effing Koch Brothers, you are going to have a hard time keeping power.

                  And when you fail to get even the veneer of legal process under your grasp, its impossible to put a persuasive argument together of how this is OK. A smarter guy could have enacted a Muslim ban and made it stick legally.

                  But Trump/ Bannon aren’t smart guys.

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                • Instead…Trump’s going to totally blow their chance. Just tear everything to shreds. The only way the Republican party is walking out of this alive is with repudiating him and attempting to rehabilitate their base into functional members of the consensual reality.

                  That’s certainly one way to look at it.

                  I see all sorts of things being ripped to shreds.

                  One of the tweets that made me knit my brow over the weekend was from a BLM voice who said something to the effect of “Hey, BLM. This is what it looks like when White People actually care about something.”

                  We’re only EIGHT DAYS into this.
                  We’ve already established that polling data from two weeks ago is useless.
                  We haven’t even gotten warmed up yet.

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                • I so very much hope that this is correct . I want very much that it be correct. That’s why I’m so tempted to agree with it.

                  But I’m pessimistic a lot these days. Flags and crosses and othering are really powerful tools. Spain, Italy, Germany, and Argentina teach us that lots of people are perfectly happy to go along with authoritarianism being imposed on top of what once was a democracy, so long as they only see Other People being hurt by it.

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                  • One positive sign, I posted a link about the Koch’s concerns about Trump being an authoritarian and standing up to him and titled it, “Sometimes your foes choose your allies for you,” and none of my liberal friends, even the more left-wing of them, objected. I got a few, “The enemy of my enemy,” and things of that sort. If liberals would be willing to work with the Kochs against Trump, I’d feel pretty good.

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                  • Which is why I don’t view Trump/Bannon as being paticularly smart, politically.

                    The whole point of “First they came for…” is to pick off marginalized groups one by one.

                    The fact that they are alienating massive numbers of groups wholesale doesn’t strike me as a good strategy.

                    I mean, right now, 8 days in, we are at:

                    “First they came for the women, and gays, and black people, and Hispanics, and Muslims, and Asians, and immigrants, old people, and young people; religious liberals, evangelicals, Mormons, veterans, corporations, scientists, environmentalists, disabled people, European allies, the Royal Family, tech workers, city workers, park rangers.

                    Then on week 2…”

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                    • This makes sense to me in isolation.

                      But then I’m stuck wondering how Trump not only outplayed the Republicans on Republican turf, but Democrats on contested ground.

                      He successfully achieved something that we all knew was impossible.

                      But, hey. Maybe that’s irrelevant.

                      Maybe he’s finally got the disqualifying disaster on his hands that we knew he’d have and it only took 9 days rather than the… well, I imagine most of us would have bet that the number of days would have at least had *TWO* digits before it happened.

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                      • There’s a pretty clear difference here. None of their off-the-cuff barstool banter policies actually effected anything real before. They could just get the applause line and decry their sputering opposition as out of touch.

                        Now they are doing real things. Real people who are photogenic get effected and they get court orders in their favour.

                        Just because they could campaign doesn’t mean they knew how to govern. I’d say one of their huge campaign advantages is they acted unconstrained by the practicalities of following through with their ideas. You can campaign detached from reality, but reality suddenly gets teeth to to bite with when you are in office.

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                  • But I’m pessimistic a lot these days. Flags and crosses and othering are really powerful tools. Spain, Italy, Germany, and Argentina teach us that lots of people are perfectly happy to go along with authoritarianism being imposed on top of what once was a democracy, so long as they only see Other People being hurt by it.

                    Oh, I am not saying it will turn out well. It could, indeed, last long enough for someone *competent* to end up in charge.

                    But my theory, and it sounds like you sorta agree, is that this *was going to happen anyway*, or at least had a chance of that. The right-wing media has been building this base for a long time, and it was going to keep building.

                    And then…we got a president with a personality disorder that is going to make it extremely hard for him to actually function, and a moron in a Nazi uniform, neither who are inclined to slightly do the sort of things that would allow them to consolidate power or appease the people they need to appease.

                    They’re going to cause a lot of damage, probably more direct damage than competent people would cause.

                    But to get out from under *competent* fascists would require a rebellion, whereas our idiots are so incompetent that the only thing keeping them in power *already* (And we are ten days in.) is the fact the Republicans want things from them.

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                  • But I’m pessimistic a lot these days. Flags and crosses and othering are really powerful tools. Spain, Italy, Germany, and Argentina teach us that lots of people are perfectly happy to go along with authoritarianism being imposed on top of what once was a democracy, so long as they only see Other People being hurt by it.

                    I suspect Burt is right in the main, but I don’t think this is about flags or crosses. It’s about solidarity. If the rest of America could trust the libs’ motivations, their actions wouldn’t be nearly as important.

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                    • ” libs’ motivations”

                      Implacable unrelenting public loud opposition to everything.

                      Loud opposition drives down his popularity and puts the worry into Rs who are in close districts.

                      Implacable unrelenting opposition prevents him and the Rs from campaigning on legislative successes.

                      This we learned at the School of McConnell.

                      And as for the merits of opposition, well, he’s already shown himself to be a childish narcissistic demagogue, which is exactly how he campaigned. Except for some gibberish about changing the ACA so that everyone gets better insurance at lower cost — which would be a great idea if possible but would in fact require the states to set prices — not a single idea of his is a good one.

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                      • Loud opposition drives down his popularity and puts the worry into Rs who are in close districts.

                        Yeah, I know a lot of libs want to think this and it could turn out that way but for now at least I don’t buy it.

                        A lot of it has to do with seemingly willful misunderstanding of the dynamics of the opposition to President Obama. But mostly it’s about a misunderstanding of Trump and where it fits into the jigsaw puzzle of American politics.

                        People are supporting President Trump because they trust his intent, not his character or his competence. This episode hasn’t let anyone down.

                        Let’s also note that there was a major dog that didn’t bark at all last election cycle, which was negative repercussions against other GOP candidates due to Trump. I know I expected it and was worried about it, but it didn’t happen.

                        The American hear Trump’s outlandish things and they don’t hold it against Republicans because Republicans don’t associate themselves with the ridiculous Trump.

                        I suspect that if Trump does take on water politically the first thing that will happen is the empowerment of establishment mainstream conservatives. And what happens after that is where it gets really interesting and unpredictable.

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                        • People are supporting President Trump because they trust his intent, not his character or his competence.

                          This actually made me laugh out loud.
                          Really and truly, this has to be the most left handed compliment of a politician I have seen in all my years.

                          This episode hasn’t let anyone down.

                          Indeed.
                          Indeed it hasn’t.

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                        • People are supporting President Trump because they trust his intent, not his character or his competence. This episode hasn’t let anyone down.

                          That was during the campaign. He’s not running against HRC, in 2018 and 2020, he’s running against his record. If his intent is good and he fishes up, then he’s of no use. You may as well get the person who doesn’t care and things muddle along.

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                          • It would work that way in different circumstances, but it’s not working that way now.

                            There’s a huge credibility gap in American politics, and optimally, Trump is the solution to that.

                            I don’t have to be right about this, but politically speaking, I don’t think this EO has hurt Trump at all. If anything, the incompetence almost helps. It’s clear what Trump’s intent is, it’s clear what his opponents’ intent is. Specifically, it’s clear who’s looking out for the best interest of America.

                            Things will be more interesting when we run into an issue that needs better execution than what Trump has done so far.

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                              • The EO won’t do it, but if everything ends up a clusterfish like this, patience will run short. The hard and medium core Trump supporters won’t budge, but you can’t win elections with just them.

                                That’s true, but hopefully everything won’t end up like this.

                                In the medium term, the Republicans might be pretty strong. I don’t think there particularly vulnerable to Trump imploding, and they have at least a few demographics where they might look to improve.

                                Among others, conservative upper-middle class Romney voters. One thing that’s been overlooked is that Trump only ran ahead of Romney among white voters by like a point. Or maybe it was the other way around, I forget. In any event, the particular breakdown helped Trump a lot. He got a lot of downscale white voters that won the Rust Belt, and he hemorrhaged piles of upscale white Republicans. But if Trump is gone, or his excesses can be perceived to be contained, or if they don’t negatively impact Republicans, I think a lot of those voters will come back.

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                                • He got a lot of downscale white voters that won the Rust Belt, and he hemorrhaged piles of upscale white Republicans. But if Trump is gone, or his excesses can be perceived to be contained, or if they don’t negatively impact Republicans, I think a lot of those voters will come back.

                                  Speaking personally, yes, that exactly.

                                  I can get used to (i.e. ignore) Trump the drama artist and Trump the bull in a china shop. He’s taken a lot of steps which give me pause for hope.

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                                • e got a lot of downscale white voters that won the Rust Belt, and he hemorrhaged piles of upscale white Republicans. But if Trump is gone, or his excesses can be perceived to be contained, or if they don’t negatively impact Republicans, I think a lot of those voters will come back.

                                  But doesn’t that mean the downscale voters that want to MAGA will leave? The Republicans need to balance on the knife edge of marginalizing Trump without alienating his base and winning back their old base. Right now that strategy involves saying, “I don’t like Trump but ‘teh media!'”

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                                  • No not at all, at least I don’t see it that way. Ie, the one thing I’m fairly confident will happen as a result of Trump is that the GOP coalition will stabilize around the voters who voted for Trump this election plus culturally conservative/GOP upper-middle class white voters who voted for Romney and work out from there.

                                    Frankly, it’s what was I expecting in 2012 but I was wrong on that score. In any event, there were clear reasons why the white working class were alienated from the GOP (Gang of 8, the autopsy, etc) and by now even the dullest GOP pol has figured out where the votes are and I don’t expect that they will be repeated.

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                                    • Will they stick with him even if the steel mills don’t reopen?

                                      If not, what do you think the odds are the mills will actually reopen?

                                      If yes, then what do you think they really are getting out of a Trump Administration that satisfies them?

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                                      • No, I don’t think they will.

                                        But Trump (even though he said he would get them their jobs back) doesn’t actually have to get them exactly those jobs back to make them stick with them.

                                        Tyler Cowen comments on this today: The Left Underestimates Trump’s Economic Plan

                                        So, if mirabile dictu Trump pulls off this sort of redistribution, then you will be able to point out to happily employed people that he lied about getting them their jobs back… then we will realize it wasn’t about the Steel or Coal job at all.

                                        Now, like Cowen, I don’t think Trump has the goods to pull this off… but that’s a different argument than he *has* to re-open the coal mines and steel mills to keep his coalition happy.

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                                        • After witnessing the trainwreck of a rollout of his signature issue this week, could anyone envision Trump/Bannon successfully designing and implementing a redistributive economic plan that produces jobs in the Rust Belt?

                                          Even with the help of Ryan/ McConnell? And why would those two want such a thing anyway?

                                          Further, as Trump voters throughout the Rust Belt receive their cancellation notices from Blue Cross, then see Medicare benefits cut after being block granted, then see disability payments reduced…

                                          While people like me are pointedly asking, “Hows that Trumpey-Changey thing workin’ out for ya?”

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                                      • First of all, I was talking about the post-Trump GOP as opposed to Trump himself. That said, yes I do expect the non-college educated white voters to stay GOP after Trump, for a few reasons.

                                        The electoral success of Trump will be an example for more mainstream GOP pols to avoid doing the things they did to alienate the white working class.

                                        Second, the Demo’s will likely be anathema for a while, since the Demo’s are for the moment all in with multiculturalism and the lies, distortions, and antagonisms associated with that.

                                        Finally, I suspect that GOP or Trumpish or non-“neoliberal” economic policy has the propensity for delivering economic or quality of life improvements for them that don’t necessarily include bring the steel mills back.

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                                          • It could mean a lot of different things, that’s the point.

                                            Basically, as things stand the rents from equalizing wage differentials between the First World and the upper-middle class of the Third World are going to a narrow band of people who command a combination of capital and regulatory arbitrage, thereby allowing them to market to First World consumption without having to employ First World labor.

                                            My guess is the Trump-less GOP will address this through restrictions in immigration and efforts to improve cultural solidarity. Trump, if he stays in office and to the extent that he has a coherent program, will go beyond that to straight mercantilism.

                                            But whatever it is, there’s a lot of variables in play beyond bringing the steel mills back.

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                                            • “Efforts to improve cultural solidarity”.

                                              I’ve never heard that phrase, and honestly have no idea what it means or how the government brings it about.

                                              I’m also wondering where the Speaker of the House’s ideas about free market capitalism fit into this.

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                                              • Well, the first cut is simply what I was telling David in another comment, that libs give up their rejectionist stance toward the GOP and Middle America especially, leaving aside Trump himself for a moment.

                                                As far as what GOP government would do, it would be a matter of unwinding the governmental and cultural foundations of the Pokemon-style multicultural pointscoring that libs like to engage in. One thing I heard, not directly related, was that before sometime around 1967, Hollywood made movies on the idea that Americans were the sons of the pioneers, whereas afterward the idea was that Americans were the sons of immigrants. Well, now we’re the sons of the pioneers again.

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                                                • You keep speaking on behalf of some “middle America” that is set in oposition to the Dems.

                                                  Sure that’s accurate?

                                                  I mean, the people of Ferguson, Missouri- are they part of this “middle America”?
                                                  The Mexican immigrants in Texas farms- are they a part? Gay people in Cincinnati?

                                                  Who exactly are you speaking for?

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                                                  • Sure that’s accurate?

                                                    No, it’s not, I think you’re misunderstanding me. It’s not that Middle America is now and forever GOP, because it’s not.

                                                    It’s the fact that libs as a practical matter give themselves a bad license to repudiate their allegiance to America, if at some the operational authority the powers that be derives from Middle America over the objections of the liberal coastal areas. Get over it.

                                                    Most explicitly and most relevant right now, yes Donald Trump is your President. Deal.

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                                                    • It’s the fact that libs as a practical matter give themselves a bad license to repudiate their allegiance to America, if at some the operational authority the powers that be derives from Middle America over the objections of the liberal coastal areas.

                                                      Maybe you were typing from a phone or something, because I don’t understand the sentence.

                                                      But my point is that Dems ARE “middle America” and we are saying that Trump doesn’t represent us.

                                                      Trump is the one who represents values and norms that are in opposition to America.

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                                                        • I’ve always had it explained that America was an Idea, while other countries were merely countries.

                                                          Seeing how that overlaps with some religious concepts, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that we’re entering “not *REAL* Christians!” territory.

                                                          And I’m not sure that “priesthood of all believers” will help us here. Seems to me that it’s the necessary groundwork for a dang schism, if the Babtist church is any indicator.

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                                                        • I know.

                                                          We libs need to say it loud, say it proud.

                                                          We are Americans. Its our values that the flag represents.
                                                          We are the patriots, the citizens, the families of America.

                                                          This cuts right to the heart of the battle lines that are forming.

                                                          The GOP has staked its soul on the identity politics of white Christian dominion, and cast the rest of us as outsiders.

                                                          The fights over trans bathroom access, same sex marriage, immigrants and refugees, Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays, Press 1 for English, and so on are really about whose is allowed to be part of “America”.

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                                                          • The GOP has staked its soul on the identity politics of white Christian dominion, and cast the rest of us as outsiders.

                                                            Sounds a lot like you’re headed back to “vote Dem or you’re a racist”.

                                                            Rather than continue with identity politics, or insist that’s all the other side is doing, I’d rather see ideas debated… and yeah, that might be just me.

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                                                            • Uh huh, ok.
                                                              Ideas.
                                                              Debated.
                                                              Not identity politics, but ideas.

                                                              Which ideas, exactly, form the centerpiece of Trump’s voter base?
                                                              Mexican rapists?
                                                              Being able to say “Merry Christmas”?
                                                              Muslim terrorists, and Sharia Law?
                                                              The Lugenpresse?
                                                              Repeal Obamacare and make sure everyone is covered by great insurance, really great coverage, the best?
                                                              Reduce the size of government, and negotiate great deals and force other countries to send the jobs back to America by telling corporations what to do and how?

                                                              Identity politics IS the very essence of the Trump base. Every policy aside from identity politics is a chaotic gibberish.

                                                              They have no ideas, no vision of the Great America other than white Christian identity.Its their one unifying pole star that guides them.

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                                                              • That’s one way to interpret it, but imho that’s through the Dem lens of “everyone plays identity politics” and competes to be the biggest victim with the whites as the designated losers.

                                                                I don’t think you beat him by doubling down on what didn’t work before and giving him all the white voters because they’re not black/brown/whatever. I also think White Guilt just hit a wall.

                                                                Trump is probably best viewed as a “strong man” politician, in the mold of Putin or various others like him. He defeats the “victim” game by attacking his attacker.

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                                                                  • Not all white people are attracted to the White Christian Identity party Trump/Bannon are creating.

                                                                    This line of thought spares you the burden of saying anything but “all members of the GOP are racists”. The Dems don’t need to change. Next election, you won’t need to do anything other than scream “racist” loud enough and everyone will rally to your side.

                                                                    I don’t think screaming “racist” will be enough, by then we’ll have four years of Trump NOT building death camps and putting people like his daughter and grandchildren in them.

                                                                    Trump is a clown, I’m going to ignore a lot of what he does and everything he says, and look at what he’s done to the economy. Clowns are fun (or scary) but Money! is important. I think for lots of people ideology comes down to voting their wallet.

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                                                                    • What do the Trump fans want us to change?

                                                                      They have no coherent economic policy.
                                                                      They have no coherent foreign policy.
                                                                      They have spent 8 years shrieking about Obamacare, and now they have fallen mute, dumbstruck into silence.

                                                                      Even if we somehow said “Yes, we will meet you halfway” where would this halfway point be?

                                                                      What is halfway to madness?

                                                                      Everything Trump/ Bannon says is gibberish, except that they really really hate Muslims, Mexicans, and anyone who isn’t a white rural Christian male.
                                                                      Oh, and they want to kick ass on bad hombres.

                                                                      Seriously, have you actually talked to Trump supporters?
                                                                      The ones I know spent the last few years filling Facebook and online blogs with cries of “Merry Christmas”, pressing 1 for English, demanding the government keep its hands off Medicare, and saying the Pledge of Allegiance in schools.

                                                                      That is what animates them, that’s what drives them out to vote. Its all culture war and identity politics with these folks.

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                                                                      • Yes, Trump’s people (and Trump) are incoherent and economically ignorant. But all this emotion is the symptom, not the cause.

                                                                        Follow the money and things make sense. The recovery started almost 8 years ago, and it hasn’t delivered growth. Much of the benefits of the recovery has flowed to the coasts, which implies the non-coasts have suffered.

                                                                        From that point of view:

                                                                        Obama has been trying to regulate the economy into prosperity when he doesn’t go off on tangents like claiming the ACA would create jobs, or fighting with the GOP on how much of a tax increase is needed to continue to grow the gov.

                                                                        Dems have been talking about how bad jobs need to be destroyed, oil, coal, and low wage. But “the fight for $15” looks very different in a low-cost-of-living county where the median wage is $30k, and destroying coal/oil looks very different in Texas or coal country.

                                                                        Return the country to 4% growth and all this angst goes away.

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                                                                        • I’m not sure why we should stop at promising the tax cut fairy will deliver 4% growth. 6% would be better, as would 10%, and they seem more or less equally speculative. I’m sure that there are things we could do that would improve growth, but they can’t create totally different facts of life. No matter what our regulatory or tax policies are, we won’t be the US in the 60’s or China in the 00’s.

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                                                                          • I’m not sure why we should stop at promising the tax cut fairy will deliver 4% growth.

                                                                            If you don’t like the idea of tax cuts then I’ve got a long list of pro-growth reforms we could do, some of which Dems claim to favor.

                                                                            The problem hasn’t been a lack of way to increase growth and get companies to stop wanting to flee the US. The problem has been “growth” policies has been so far down the list of priorities it hasn’t happened.

                                                                            Everyone in Washington earns AT LEAST 6 figures, that growth *shouldn’t* be sacrificed for some other policy choice isn’t on their person radar.

                                                                            In Trump-speak The “elites” don’t need growth, nor do the people that pay them, everyone else does.

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                                                                        • If you follow the money, nothing makes sense.
                                                                          His support doesn’t correlate with economic distress; and his applause lines were never economic populist ones. His fans are happy to see Wall Street and coastal elites take a commanding presence in government.

                                                                          The only straight line connecting his policy to his voters is identity politics.

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                                                                          • The only straight line connecting his policy to his voters is identity politics.

                                                                            This leads to you claiming that it’s a White thing, fueled by racism, even though a lot of these people voted for Obama.

                                                                            That’s a big enough problem that the underlying assumptions should be doubted.

                                                                            His support doesn’t correlate with economic distress…

                                                                            Eh? His “new” base is voters are not non-college educated, which stacks up well with people not doing well in the modern economy. He kept most of the traditional GOP crew but not all.

                                                                            his applause lines were never economic populist ones.

                                                                            Who is taking your jobs? What is preventing your pay from increasing? Free Trade and Immigration.

                                                                            Note his “anti-elite” message also gets in there, i.e. the “elites” are enriching themselves at the expense of the hard-working lower-middle class (or something like that).

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                                                                        • I believe that Trump’s appeal has much more to do with economic populism than it does with actual economics and that economic populism involves a significant amount of identity politics. And I also believe that Trump’s policies, at least so far as he has presently enunciated them, have very little chance of leading to 4% growth.

                                                                          That said, there is an alternate timeline in which Obama comes into office in 2009 and makes the economy his top priority. With a bit of shameless politicking, he could have simply refused to work with the outgoing Bush administration, distancing himself from the collapse. And then he could have made getting a bigger stimulus, a tougher version of Dodd-Frank, and a more redistributive budget the legislative priorities, instead of passing the ACA. In that timeline, if the Keynesians are right (which I don’t think they are), the economic recovery would have been quicker and would have been better felt by the median American.

                                                                          If that happened, Obama would have likely had the popularity and the Democratic congress to then pass a health care reform and perhaps enough residual popularity to get Hillary into office in last year’s election.

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                                                                          • With a bit of shameless politicking, he could have simply refused to work with the outgoing Bush administration, distancing himself from the collapse.

                                                                            Considering how much that would have undercut the Tea Party, I wonder if that alone would have resulted in less ACA protests.

                                                                            And then he could have made getting a bigger stimulus, a tougher version of Dodd-Frank, and a more redistributive budget the legislative priorities, instead of passing the ACA.

                                                                            What is totally unknown there is how the Republicans would have tried to screw that up.

                                                                            Reject stimulus funds to their states? That might be a bit too blatant, though. Reject THE FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF BRIDGES? Maybe that.

                                                                            This alternate timeline is sorta assuming Obama is always choosing the thing it is hardest for Republicans to screw with. (Is Obama in a Peggy Sue loop living his life over?)

                                                                            In that timeline, if the Keynesians are right (which I don’t think they are), the economic recovery would have been quicker and would have been better felt by the median American.

                                                                            Alright, I’ll bite: What do you think should have been done by Democrats for faster economic recovery?

                                                                            If that happened, Obama would have likely had the popularity and the Democratic congress to then pass a health care reform

                                                                            The problems with the passage of the ACA were not ‘popularity’ or, really, ‘Democratic Congress’. The problems were that the Republicans had opposed it from the start, and made sure their base got very angry about it on mostly stupid grounds.

                                                                            I don’t see why they couldn’t have done that later.

                                                                            You’re basically postulating that a real recovery could have made Obama popular enough not only to not lose Congress, but to get him back up to his honeymoon levels to do the ACA later…but unless he’s *epically* more popular, the Republicans would just do exactly the same thing during the passage.

                                                                            I can see it resulting in him being more popular as he leaves office, I can even see it resulting in not-Trump. (Although I think it would be most likely Trump loses the primary and some other Republicans beats Hillary.) But I don’t really see it altering the ACA much, except it’s happening two years later. (Which makes it easier to dismantle.)

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                                                                          • Trump’s policies… have very little chance of leading to 4% growth.

                                                                            I still have hope. Totally eliminating FreeTrade+Immigration would be nuking the economy. But some political posturing in combo with tax reform and regulation reform might be a net gain.

                                                                            there is an alternate timeline in which Obama comes into office in 2009 and makes the economy his top priority…

                                                                            :Flinches: Obama tries to redistribute, tax/stim, and regulate our way to growth? That probably goes even worse than it did.

                                                                            there is an alternate timeline

                                                                            Let’s try a very different alternate timeline (which requires restructuring Obama’s personality and core beliefs but whatever).

                                                                            Obama comes into office in 2009 and makes the economy his top priority.

                                                                            Banks are forced to eat some (not all) of their mortgage losses, they’re also recapitalized but the top two or three levels of management are fired without golden parachutes. (The tea party never forms).

                                                                            The Stim is directed towards infrastructure (which takes advantage of the unemployed construction workers). Tax reform is implemented (and yes, corp taxes are lowered so they stop fleeing the country), which shifts Trillions of dollars of money parked overseas to the US (so we have a 2nd Stim of business spending their own money).

                                                                            The great recession still ends 6 months into 2009, but we get a Reagan style bounce after that instead of 2% growth. Obama implements the ACA in the context of an expanding economy.

                                                                            The Trump voters stays Blue. Hillary is a shoo in.

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                                                  • “Middle America”?

                                                    I’m a high school dropout. My brother is a firefighter and a dad. My sister is a paramedic, who as a hobby raises rabbits in the hills of North Carolina. My father is a preacher man, born and raised in Eaton Ohio. His father worked in Dayton, on the factory floor for Frigidaire.

                                                    My mom is my mom. She used to be a hairdresser. Then she was a housewife.

                                                    Anyway, dad moved around taking different preaching jobs. I was born in Atlanta, but was then raised in the South Florida burbs. But whatever. Back in middle school I thought the rebel flag was cool. I don’t think that now.

                                                    I’ve fired a rifle. In fact, I’ve fired a flintlock rifle, with shot that I cast myself with lead tire weights. My favorite rifle, however, was my O3A3. My roommate and I used to shoot at steel silhouettes. I’ve worked in a auto shop, mostly fixing tires and easy shit like that. I certainly wasn’t a mechanic, but occasionally I throw a set of break drums on the lathe.

                                                    I’ve worked construction. Back then I drove an F150, with a toolbox that included a core drill I frequently used.

                                                    Am I “middle America”?

                                                    I taught myself mathematics from books and now I work for Google.

                                                    I dunno. I feel perfectly comfortable around “plain folks,” if they can get past the fact I’m transgender. So whatever. Some can. Some cannot. I’m also really good a math, but I’m not the first American to be good at math.

                                                    Except I might become a Canadian soon, but that’s for love. I’m not the first American to fall in love.

                                                    Donald Trump is fucking repulsive. He is the worst of us.

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                                                          • notme:
                                                            Ah yes, it’s Dave the tough keyboard commando. What happened to that lesson you were going to teach me?

                                                            I put on a pretty good Second Amendment show for you individual rights apologists. I even attracted a nice little shit talker into this place for a short period of time, but sadly, he couldn’t get much farther than his opportunistic out of context historical-era quotes.

                                                            It’s funny. I have zero interest in the gun control debate and even less so in taking a position on it, but I have to say that I’ve come to the conclusion that there are interesting similarities between the gun rights crowd and the Christian Nation crowd when it comes to their preferred positions. Constitutionally speaking, both are completely full of shit.

                                                            Actually, I’d love to continue this because of all this chickenshit conservative nationalism I see here (like people that say “he’s your President. Deal”.) just doesn’t do it for me.

                                                            Keyboard warrior? Moi? Oh please. I’m a meathead. I’m too stupid to know how to do that. I just walk around looking like I can pick up a small automobile and throw it. That’s my thing, not trolling a site full of very smart decent people by posting idiotic right wing shit.

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                                                              • Joe Sal:
                                                                Ha, ole Hansberry. He threw something on the ground that looked a lot like social norms, and quietly walked off.

                                                                He threw a lot more on the wall than he did the ground.

                                                                I actually kind of liked him. It’s not often that someone so belligerent cites the Preamble to the Bill of Rights in a discussion. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that anywhere.

                                                                I have a feeling that my mere mention of the Second Amendment may come across his feed so we may get to see him again and welcome him back to this fine establishment.

                                                                In the meantime, my Hater club will be one person shy ;)

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                                                      • — Certainly I might leave, depending on how safe I feel here. I might soon marry a Canadian girl. She will either come live with me here, or the reverse. I have a great job. It would be logical for her to come here. But will we be safe from our own government?

                                                        I’m not yet sure. The fact is, as the Pulse shooting proved, we can’t really be perfectly safe anywhere. However, when the hatred against us is backed by the power of the state — that is intolerable.

                                                        So Canada — maybe. But then, that does nothing to change what Trump is, and what Bannon is, and what Pence is, and what the spineless Republican leadership is, and what the mass of fucking idiots who voted for Trump are. It’s not my fault these people are rotten.

                                                        They are a minority. America should be better than this.

                                                        After all, I am an American, as much as anyone here. I was born here. I’ve lived my life here. I put into the system as much (or more) than you have.

                                                        I educated myself. Now I create cutting edge technology. That is certainly a contribution.

                                                        What is happening is shameful.

                                                        #####

                                                        But then, let me ask, is my loyalty to country somehow predicated on my loyalty to Trumpism? Cuz that’s not how we do things here. In fact, such an attitude is deeply unamerican. Surely you can see that. Please explain yourself.

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                                                        • V,

                                                          You and I don’t agree on a lot of things. While I consider, at least for now, the left’s reaction to Trump to be a bit overwrought, there is reason to be concerned. Of course, I could say the same thing about Obama for different reasons. Hearing the Right’s bitching about Obama rings very similar to the current left’s bitching But here’s the point.

                                                          I don’t want you to go. The majority of people really just want to do their own thing and live their lives. Only a small minority want to change society into what they think it should be…and are willing to force everyone else to comply. You see that on both sides. So, stay, and fight for what you want. Sometimes the wheel brings you up, sometimes it grinds you down. Wait for the turn. And god, how I hate this cliché, but “it’ll get better”.
                                                          .

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                                                          • — It’s the bathroom laws — not the laws themselves. After all, I can just choose not to travel to such places, although that means I cannot visit my sister and dammit I feel sorry for my friends trapped in those places. But it’s more. It’s this: http://news.wgbh.org/2017/01/31/politics-government/caustic-trumpian-tone-invades-newtons-politics

                                                            Those people live around here. No doubt I see them on the subway.

                                                            In fact, such a person threatened to murder me, face to face. (I’ve told this story before.)

                                                            I mean, I doubt he was literally one of those people at that meeting, but still, before he threatened me, he was verbally harassing a couple brown college kids, accusing them of being Muslims. (They were not. I later learned from Facebook they were medical students from India.) But in any case, I feel safe assuming he was “radicalized” by right-wing news.

                                                            It is true that Massachusetts will probably remain fairly safe for the nonce. In fact, my current (very tentative) plan is to bring her here, marry her, live with her, work at my current amazing job, and then see. But the point is, the option is there to leave, especially if the police begin to disobey the local authorities, which seems very much a part of “Trumpism.”

                                                            Anyway, you must admit, we make a cute couple.

                                                            That shot was taken in Vancouver, which is an amazing place. Objectively, British Columbia seems like a place I could thrive as easily as anywhere in the US. It lacks a Google office, sadly.

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                          • That was during the campaign. He’s not running against HRC, in 2018 and 2020, he’s running against his record. If his intent is good and he fishes up, then he’s of no use. You may as well get the person who doesn’t care and things muddle along.

                            Increase economic growth and all sorts of sins are forgiven and all kinds of things forgotten.

                            The previous elites have left a LOT of growth enhancing things on the table because of ideology or incompetence or self interest. That *should* be disturbing to people because it’s opened the door to Trump.

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                            • Dark,
                              He walks into an incoming recession. Know that few presidents actually manage to turn the ship in less than four years. Obama’s attitudes and policies will cause the recession regardless, unless Trump does something major.**

                              **Double that if the H1B goes through, and there’s not much that the tech companies can do to prevent it. That’s executive branch wankery, and even getting the legislature to touch it will be a hot potato. And the judiciary will back out on a “this is an executive ruling on enforcement”

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                    • It’s about solidarity. If the rest of America could trust the libs’ motivations, their actions wouldn’t be nearly as important.

                      Hey, that reminds me. In our last discussion, you didn’t tell me how you thought libs *could* show solidarity with the right.

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                      • koz ain’t gonna tell you, but I will. Plans on the books for getting high speed internet to every single school in the country. Part of the ARRA, actually.

                        (yeah, I know the guy who wrote that plan. it’s kinda funny when line items in really, really large bills are someone’s personal “this is your job now”)

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                        • Plans on the books for getting high speed internet to every single school in the country. Part of the ARRA, actually.

                          …so I’m just imagining that it’s *Republican* state governments that seem to be perfectly fine with shitty ISPs, and in fact attempt to ban cities from rolling out their own high-speed connectivity?

                          Oh, wait, you said schools. So…why are liberals in charge of the internet, again? If states want their schools to have high speed internet, why don’t they get it?

                          I’m really not sure the left is holding this up.

                          Or do you just mean the left can do it and take credit for it?

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                          • David,
                            This was back in 2010. A plan got paid for — not sure if it ever got implemented. Please don’t assume that because a plan got made, it ever got implemented.

                            koz was saying that liberals should do things for everyone, not just liberals (which, okay, there’s some of that) — this is one of those “do something for the rural schools” ideas.

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                      • Hey, that reminds me. In our last discussion, you didn’t tell me how you thought libs *could* show solidarity with the right.

                        This one doesn’t look difficult from here. Conceptually speaking, the libs already have the edifice for this, they just have to flip the switch on it.

                        The upper-middle class SWPLs need to check their privilege, ie to work with people and institutions the conservatives and Republicans are likely to participate in, instead of trying to maneuver around them.

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                        • The upper-middle class SWPLs need to check their privilege, ie to work with people and institutions the conservatives and Republicans are likely to participate in, instead of trying to maneuver around them.

                          And some examples of these ‘people and institutions the conservatives and Republicans are likely to participate in’ *would be*?

                          It’s like pulling teeth with you.

                          State a *concrete actual thing* you’d like to see done, and while you’re at it, identify some *actual person on the left* that could hypothetically do it if they wanted to.

                          Like ‘The Obamas could be grand-marshals of a NASCAR race’ or something.

                          And, incidentally, talking about what the ‘upper-middle class SWPLs’ should do is nonsense. There’s no mainstream activity that is *just* conservatives or *just* liberals. (Barring specifically political stuff like political organizing, and even there you get weird crossover.) It simply doesn’t exist.

                          Granted, this is s bit difficult for me to argue, because you decided to *not* provide any examples of ‘people and institutions the conservatives and Republicans are likely to participate in’. Are you talking hunting? Being a police officer? Going to NFL games? Being elected to Congress on a Republican ticket?

                          Liberals do all those things.

                          Do you even *know* what you’re talking about?

                          And it’s a bit weird you’d focus on *upper-class* people. Upper-class people…hang out with each other. Conservatives and liberals. Upper-class people do not walk around among the peons.

                          Demanding that *liberal* ones come down and walk among the poors really just seems like an excuse for you to have something to point fingers at.

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                          • And some examples of these ‘people and institutions the conservatives and Republicans are likely to participate in’ *would be*?

                            It’s like pulling teeth with you.

                            Really? To be honest I think I’m pretty good at spelling stuff out.

                            In case, for a first instance we could have a world where it’s unthinkable that a candidate for the chairmanship of the DNC, representing Idaho of all places, would self-describe her intent as being to “shut other white people down.”

                            Or California secession. Or the protests against Trump’s immigration EO’s. Or any number of things really.

                            I was reading the other day, I think it might have been here, a book review about how for all the partisan antagonism there is in politics today, there was actually much more political violence circa 1970 or so: something like 2000 domestic political bombings, blah, blah. And it occurred to me that was true, but it also glazed over the fact that separatist sentiment is much stronger now. Ie, that libs, and conservatives for that matter, are strongly motivated to manipulate jurisdictions so as not to be held accountable to partisan adversaries. Whereas before, that would not have occurred, not because of warm feeling between the adversaries, but because the whole train of thought would have been ridiculous from the outset.

                            That’s something that libs need to give up. Probably half of libs in NY, or SF or LA, want to think that when the shit hits the fan, they’ll just go to Vancouver, or London, or Singapore or wherever. It’s bullshit. There’s a lot of libs who work for firms with substantial overseas sales. But very few of them have meaningful personal overseas connections, to the extent that they could relocate there.

                            Hopefully, the GOP will bring the hammer down on this. Not as a matter of policy, but just as a matter of course. We’re all Americans. It’s time for libs to quit trying to evade their civic obligations, and start figuring out how to honor them.

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                            • Personally, I think that marching in the streets is honoring our civic obligations.

                              So is the ACLU suing the administration.

                              So is setting up to send Planned Parenthood a check every month.

                              Fearing, and quashing, dissent is a long-standing American value. It’s just not a good one.

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                              • A few things: the fact that the energy is expended for the benefit of foreigners and we’d never see this for Trump voting demographics. IIRC, Jaybird made a similar comment from the point of view of BLM and the point is the same, just different beneficiaries.

                                The fact that it’s an expression of energy by SWPL’s to circumvent any offices that could be held by a mainstream Republican.

                                The fact that, at least among the commentary that I’ve seen, hasn’t given any consideration to the idea of how to restrict or modify the idea behind the EO so that it would go in force and benefit America. Or to put it another way, the failure to consider that limiting travel from those seven countries might be in America’s interest.

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                                • A few things: the fact that the energy is expended for the benefit of foreigners and we’d never see this for Trump voting demographics.

                                  People do not protest ‘for the benefit’ of people. People protest *laws and/or conditions*.

                                  There are plenty of protests that protest things that harm the ‘Trump voting demographics’. (Or, at least, things that they *think* harm them.)

                                  For example, let’s take what they think is the *largest* source of harm: Free trade. The left created the TPP protests! They created the original NAFTA protests! They even did the WTO protests! Trump was literally the first Republican to even take a position, a position that grassroots Democrats (If not their leadership) had been taking for *decades*.

                                  Oh, oh, wait, I know. We’re supposed to protest the ACA. Well, a little late for that now…the ACA repeal is now opposed by the majority, so really, shouldn’t the *right* join *the left* in protesting people trying to repeal it? I mean, we’re all Americans, it’s time Republican got on board with their civic responsibilities. (Which I assume is determined by majority poll?)

                                  So that’s no good. What’s else…shouldn’t we be able to figure this out by looking at what the *Trump voting demographics* are protesting? I mean, surely the right has a duty to at least *start* those protests, and the left can just join in. So…what are they protesting? Well, mainly, right now, they seem to be…have rallies for Trump? That…is odd, and a bit creepy, and probably not something the left is going to join.

                                  What were they protesting before Trump?

                                  Let’s see….the last protest I can see from the right, pre-Trump, was Republicans…uh…protesting the president’s executive order on…um…immigration, which they claimed was unlawful.

                                  Aaaawkward.

                                  Heh….I just realized. Trump never got around to undoing DACA, did he? Checking, it appears he promises to do something about it ‘within four weeks’. (last week, so three week now)

                                  So remember, altering an enforcement priority on immigration back the way it was before, something that, although heartless, won’t actually break anything…four weeks deliberation. But what he did this Friday, upheaving travel for thousands of people and stranding residents outside the county…eh, whatever. Looks good, let’s just do it. We don’t need to run it past anyone.

                                  The fact that, at least among the commentary that I’ve seen, hasn’t given any consideration to the idea of how to restrict or modify the idea behind the EO so that it would go in force and benefit America.

                                  So you content it is the job of *people currently trying to stop families from being broken up and lawful permanent residents with their entire lives here* to…figure out the right way to do the EO?

                                  Forget the fact that’s they are not lawmakers or lawyers, and making laws is, uh, generally the government’s job, let me ask the obvious question: Do you have *any evidence at all* that Trump would listen to these protester’s suggestions, considering he didn’t even bother to run his nonsensical ravings though any government channels?

                                  But, hey, they probably should have offered anyway. After all, that was how the ACA protesters acted. They interrupted town hall meetings with a list of different ways to implement health care and/or suggestions for the proposal plan, if I recall correctly.

                                  Or to put it another way, the failure to consider that limiting travel from those seven countries might be in America’s interest.

                                  Well, I mean, we have been debating about this bill ever since it was introduce in Congress several weeks ago, and both sides have made some very good points but ultimately-

                                  *holds hand to ear*

                                  Sorry, I’m being informed the reason that no one debated this at all, because it is something that Trump did without asking anyone to ‘consider’ anything at all.

                                  Also, the fact you appear misinformed about the scope of the order is, uh, not a good sign. (I mean, it’s hardly your fault. Almost no one can understand it.) The EO did not ‘limit’ travel from those countries.

                                  The EO *bars* travel to the US of people holding citizenship in those countries. Outright bars.

                                  It doesn’t matter that Trump yammers about ‘extreme vetting’ and how people can get waived through. That can’t happen. (Except for the few people already physically here.) Why?

                                  Because, as I have explained in other posts here, that is not how immigration works…people without valid visas, or whose apparently has visas that are not being accepted by the US government, will not be allowed to fly here by airlines, and thus cannot be ‘given waivers’ by the border patrol. Nor is there any system for them to get a waiver before flying here…or, in fact, there a system to get permission to visit the US, and *it’s called a visa*. (And not only will airlines not let those people fly with visas anymore, but the embassies have already stopped issuing visas to those people.)

                                  And it’s not like this is *secret*. There were reports of people being pulled off planes and not being allowed to fly here *as soon as this started*. They are, literally, stranded outside this country, with no way to return, and some of them have been permanent residents here for *decades*.

                                  Everyone needs to stop pretending this EO works in a way it clearly does not. There is no additional vetting, there is no process for additional vetting, there is no place for additional vetting. (Except the few already here.) Those people are just *barred*.

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                                  • People do not protest ‘for the benefit’ of people.

                                    Sure they do, and it’s certainly the case here.

                                    So you content it is the job of *people currently trying to stop families from being broken up and lawful permanent residents with their entire lives here* to…figure out the right way to do the EO?

                                    Yep.

                                    Forget the fact that’s they are not lawmakers or lawyers, and making laws is, uh, generally the government’s job, let me ask the obvious question: Do you have *any evidence at all* that Trump would listen to these protester’s suggestions, considering he didn’t even bother to run his nonsensical ravings though any government channels?

                                    I don’t know. Jeff Sessions is in the middle of a confirmation process in the Senate, you could ask him. I’d be interested in hearing what he’d have to say to be honest.

                                    In any event, there’s a lot of people in Washington who might have their thumb in the pie, it goes way beyond Trump and his inner circle. Libs want to avoid all those who are obviously accountable to mainstream Republicans in some way.

                                    The EO *bars* travel to the US of people holding citizenship in those countries. Outright bars.

                                    ok

                                    Everyone needs to stop pretending this EO works in a way it clearly does not. There is no additional vetting, there is no process for additional vetting, there is no place for additional vetting. (Except the few already here.) Those people are just *barred*.

                                    For 90 or 120 days or maybe even sooner if the EO is modified before then.

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                                    • Yep.

                                      I’m going to assume you realized how unjustified asking for a solution that would be by the fact you didn’t bother to justify it.

                                      But the protesters actually have a pretty clear solution: Stop applying this to current visa holders and green card holders.

                                      You have noticed that the actual location that is being protested at is the airport, right? The place that people *who have already been granted permission to enter the country* are trapped. The people who, in many cases, live here.

                                      *That* is what has people outraged. People trapped at airport, unable to enter the country. Because of one decision that is illegal (when applied to people with visas) and one that is unconstitutional (when applied to green card holds) and is utterly stupid regardless (If there is going to be more vetting, it should be before visas or green cards are issued, not at entry, trapping them in some idiotic airport limbo.), and *is going to be struck down by the courts*.(Hell, the Trump administration itself already had to back off on the green cards, as that was *obviously* unconstitutional.)

                                      You’re trying to pretend that people are mostly protesting the refugee restriction or any sort of restrictions on entry. And I’m sure there are some people pissed about that, although that also is mostly about refugees trapped at airports also. (Which is constitutional and perhaps lawful, but completely insane behavior.)

                                      The fact is…people don’t show up at an airport to protest the State Department no longer authorizing refugees. That doesn’t have anything to do with airports. People showed up at because the airports are holding people who *were already granted permission to enter the US* in limbo.

                                      The claim that most protesters would have any objection to temporarily stoppoing refugees, or additional screening for refugees or even for *issuing* visas, (Aka, the *non-illegal*, moderately *sane* part of Trump’s place.) has no real evidence. Maybe they would, I don’t know, but you can’t just assume it. (I actually expect the largest pushback on refugees is going to come from evangelicals.)

                                      And, again, you’re sorta arguing as if the story is ‘Trump says we need more restrictions on immigration, the left immediately rejects that idea and takes to the streets without debating it’. That…is not what happened. It’s basically the opposite of what happened. What happened is the Trump did some very stupid thing without running it past anyone and people took to the streets. No one was even allowed to give *any input at all*, and demanding they do it *now* is completely absurd.

                                      If Trump wants to have a reasonable discussion with the American people about who we are letting immigrate…he knows where to find us. (And, just as importantly, he knows where to find *Congress*. Man, I remember when the president unilaterally changing immigration policy when Congress ended up deadlocked was a horrible thing for a president to do. How much worse is it when Trump doesn’t even *try*, despite having Congress *on his side*? I wish I could remember who that discussion was with. Rhymes with Voz. Loz? Joz? I forget.)

                                      Hey, is Trump aware that he probably doesn’t have four weeks to look at DACA, considering he’s being sued for it and that suit was on hold until, well, him?

                                      I don’t know. Jeff Sessions is in the middle of a confirmation process in the Senate, you could ask him. I’d be interested in hearing what he’d have to say to be honest.

                                      How can protesters can ask Jeff Sessions anything?

                                      Democratic Senators on the Judicary committee were not allowed to ask any new questions of Session. We will see if they are allowed to ask questions on the Senate floor.

                                      In any event, there’s a lot of people in Washington who might have their thumb in the pie, it goes way beyond Trump and his inner circle. Libs want to avoid all those who are obviously accountable to mainstream Republicans in some way.

                                      I do not understand what that is supposed to mean. What do you mean, ‘avoid’? What do you mean, ‘accountable to mainstream Republicans’? (Hell, I’m not even sure what you mean by ‘libs’. The protesters? Or politicians?)

                                      The left is, as of this moment, putting pressure on *Republican* Congressman in a pretty consistent manner to do something about this.

                                      For 90 or 120 days or maybe even sooner if the EO is modified before then.

                                      I’m pretty sure you can’t use ‘This might be modified later’ as evidence of it not being as harsh as it is. And I’m also pretty sure you can’t use ‘The president is forced to modify the EO to be less stupid due to massive protests’ as evidence indicating that the protesters are wrong.

                                      But, anyway, I guess schools will understand if students on student visas miss 120 days of classes. And people on work visas will, of course, still have their jobs. And permanent residents will…find someone to watch their kids and pets and house and, uh, their entire life.

                                      And I guess all require health screening for people will just…still be valid.

                                      Everyone can afford to live in whatever random country they were visiting for another three or four months, right? How much do hotels even really cost? (Wait, unless they’re in *that country* on a visa too, at which point they’ll have to go somewhere else.)

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                                • A few things: the fact that the energy is expended for the benefit of foreigners and we’d never see this for Trump voting demographics.

                                  This is the contention that underlies much of the pro-Trump/America First sentiment. And frankly, it’s stupid. It’s politics though, so to the extent that we are interested in getting thoughtful and effective people into public office, we have to take stupid beliefs seriously.

                                  So, in the spirit of that…

                                  Or to put it another way, the failure to consider that limiting travel from those seven countries might be in America’s interest.

                                  This is simple. It’s not. The genesis of choosing those seven countries comes from the Obama administration having identified them, ex Iran, as places that a visit to might trigger extra scrutiny on a visa application. That makes some sense.

                                  Trump’s total ban makes no sense. Almost none of the terrorist attacks carried out on US soil were done by nationals from any of those seven countries. The only sense that it makes any sense is that Trump’s base doesn’t particularly care to make distinctions between countries and people in the Middle East or larger Muslim word. Basically, we have policy being conducted for the benefit of people who see large parts of the rest of the world and think “Here be dragons.”

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                                  • This is the contention that underlies much of the pro-Trump/America First sentiment. And frankly, it’s stupid. It’s politics though, so to the extent that we are interested in getting thoughtful and effective people into public office, we have to take stupid beliefs seriously.

                                    First of all it’s an impression, not a contention.

                                    This is simple. It’s not. The genesis of choosing those seven countries comes from the Obama administration having identified them, ex Iran, as places that a visit to might trigger extra scrutiny on a visa application. That makes some sense.

                                    Trump’s total ban makes no sense.

                                    Really? No we know what those people’s connections to terrorists or fundraising are? Do we know if they are likely to overstay their visas? Do we know if they are likely to work without authorization and where?

                                    Let’s recall that the EO was only intended to be in force for 90 or 120 days. The idea being we try to find answers to some of these questions and then adjust policy as new information arrives.

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                                    • IIRC, Egypt & Saudi Arabia generate more problematic people than those 7.

                                      Also, none of this addresses travel from places like France, that is currently having trouble with home grown & imported terrorists.

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                                            • koz,
                                              Objecting to paid protestors are we?
                                              Seems you weren’t objecting when they were on your side…
                                              I do remember what you were like when the Tea Party was around, after all. (Koch-led, Koch-run).

                                              Of course, I agree with you. Liberals can’t get anything done if they don’t time it right. And this is poor Public Relations, poor metabolism.

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                                            • “Feral” is such an interesting adjective to be used so often.

                                              My immediate association is (conveniently) confirmed by google: resembling a wild animal. But not just any wild animal; we’re not talking about Bambi here. No, the synonyms include vicious, savage, predatory and the like.

                                              Feral animals are also not sapient. So in addition to being vicious, we can add mindless.

                                              What does one do to a mindless, vicious beast? Shoot it, of course. You certainly don’t listen to it, or respect it. That’s reserved for humans.

                                              So, if anyone is (honestly) wondering why a certain commenter isn’t engaging with the comments being made by the more liberal members of the commentariat, the answer is right there before you:

                                              We are not human.

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                                              • Feral animals are also not sapient. So in addition to being vicious, we can add mindless.

                                                Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to get at. The indiscriminate, mindless anger of the Left and its political and cultural protagonists, and how that filters through and shapes where we are now.

                                                So, if anyone is (honestly) wondering why a certain commenter isn’t engaging with the comments being made by the more liberal members of the commentariat, the answer is right there before you:

                                                This seems to insinuate that I’m not replying to so-and-so lib, which isn’t true. Maybe it means that so-and-so lib isn’t replying to me, which is fine whoever so-and-so is supposed to be. This is enough a time suck as it is.

                                                We are not human.

                                                Like this. Are we really supposed to pretend to take the word feral that literally? That that was a fair reading of anything I wrote? I doubt it. I think it’s a pretty clear instance of bad faith.

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                                    • No we know what those people’s connections to terrorists or fundraising are?

                                      Objection: Refugees are some of the most vetted people on the planet, and we know exactly their connection to terrorism, specially, they are terrorized by it.

                                      And the only terrorism we’ve really ever seen from them has been from *Cuban* refugees, and that’s because we had kinda dumb rules there.

                                      Do we know if they are likely to overstay their visas?

                                      Objection, your honor: It is impossible for green card holders to overstay their visas, because they do not have visas.

                                      In fact, they are expected to permanently reside in this country, so much so that spending a lot of time out of the country can cause them to forfeit their green card.

                                      Another objection: Refugees cannot overstay their visas, either.

                                      Do we know if they are likely to work without authorization and where?

                                      Objection: People with actual work visas are being blocked too, in addition to both green card holders and refugees, all of whom have authorization to work.

                                      Opposing counsel is clearly just making up justifications as he goes along.

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                                      • Now you’re quibbling. And the quibbles are for the moment at least irrelevant since the parts about greencard holders and presumably dual citizens are invalid from a couple of judges injunctions and the rest of it would expire in 90 or 120 days anyway.

                                        The problem is, as I stated before, the motives and the feral nature of the opposition to Trump. Like you asked a day or so ago what the Left could conceivably do to show solidarity with the Right or the rest of America for that matter. And guess what? In the one day or however long since then, President Trump nominated Judge Gorsuch for SCOTUS.

                                        If the Demos wanted a way to demonstrate solidarity, they could find 20, 25, or 30 Demo votes for him. It really wouldn’t cost them anything, he’s going to get confirmed anyway.

                                        But it would show where their thinking and their aspirations are at. But this is unlikely to happen for exactly this reason. The Dems in the Senate will likely feel a strong push from Demo voters to oppose Judge Gorsuch out of spite, thereby furthering the alienation of Demos, especially Demos in Congress, away from rest of America. I don’t think this is in America’s best interest, and I don’t think it’s in the Demos political interest either, if I supported that.

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                                        • You justify dismissing the actions of lawyers and protesters on the grounds that court orders will mitigate the worst of the executive orders.

                                          The reason those orders exist to mitigate the damage was due to the actions of the lawyers and protesters to get those orders.

                                          Basically, you are fine with your guy governing without any sense of responsiblity because you know the “libs” will use their blood, sweet and tears to prevent the worse of it.

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                                          • Basically, you are fine with your guy governing without any sense of responsiblity because you know the “libs” will use their blood, sweet and tears to prevent the worse of it.

                                            Actually, that’s what I’m hoping for. In fact I can go beyond that even, in that I’m hoping that the maximum energy expenditure on their part gets the minimum in terms of policy change. And if for some reason it doesn’t work I’ll probably blame you for it. You’re looking at somebody who completely believes in cultural appropriation (or maybe political appropriation).

                                            I’ve even given the libs another alternative if they don’t like that one. They can get behind the mainstream GOP and see if that works out better.

                                            Everything the libs have done since the election has been crude grasping for power that they don’t have. This includes the obstruction of Trump’s nominees, the reaction to the SCOTUS nomination, the inaugural demonstrations, the unrest at colleges, etc. This is all an attempt to say, the election we just had, that was an optical illusion. The actual power is still here, with us, no matter who holds the federal offices.

                                            This is especially unfortunate because the election was among other things a repudiation of multiculturalist enthusiasts and the Demo Establishment holding power, independent of whatever policies they might hold. Therefore, setting up dramas like the immigration EO works to Trump’s benefit. All the people who voted for him are likely to support him again for the purpose of putting the hammer down on the losers of the election.

                                            If the libs would flip this, and make a big stink about approving Trump’s nominees, that we as libs are not in power, then we just have the substantive problems, and the Trump Administration would have to manage somehow. That’s what would take the starch out of the Bannon inner circle. Until that happens, he’ll probably just continue running rings around you.

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                                        • And the quibbles are for the moment at least irrelevant since the parts about greencard holders and presumably dual citizens are invalid from a couple of judges injunctions and the rest of it would expire in 90 or 120 days anyway.

                                          Have we heard anything about whether those orders are still being defied, or do we still have an independent judiciary check on the executive? Because the argument, “Let him do whatever crazy stuff he wants and assume that others will keep the worst of it in check,” is a whole lot less appealing when nobody seems to be keeping him in check.

                                          I’ll more interested in questions over Supreme Court justices and the Department of Education once I’m sure the executive branch hasn’t neutered the enforcement wing of the judiciary.

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                                            • Well, we’re now well into the week after a court order was issued over the weekend, and I still haven’t seen anything about them complying. Nobody seems to be able to respond to journalists about what’s going on or make a clear statement acknowledging the order and how they’re complying/what’s preventing compliance.

                                              Unless everybody from the lowest tier all the way up to POTUS is not watching TV and only accepts messages by pack mule courier, it looks a lot like CBP is simply ignoring an order from a federal court. Bureaucratic delay made sense when they weren’t complying on Sunday with an order issued late Saturday night. Now it’s either stonewalling or epic incompetence. I’m willing to believe either one.

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                                        • And the quibbles are for the moment at least irrelevant since the parts about greencard holders and presumably dual citizens are invalid from a couple of judges injunctions and the rest of it would expire in 90 or 120 days anyway.

                                          Have we heard anything about whether those orders are still being defied, or do we still have an independent judiciary check on the executive? Because the argument, “Let him do whatever crazy stuff he wants and assume that others will keep the worst of it in check,” is a whole lot less appealing when nobody seems to be keeping him in check.

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                                    • Really? No we know what those people’s connections to terrorists or fundraising are? Do we know if they are likely to overstay their visas? Do we know if they are likely to work without authorization and where?

                                      Oh, and biggest objection of all:

                                      If we are concerned about those things for green card holders…

                                      …*why are we only rechecking the ones that happened to be outside the country when this went into effect*?

                                      Note this is ignoring that green cards can only be removed *via due process in a court* and until then green card holders have just as much legal right to enter the country as citizens…

                                      …but, seriously, if we pretend for a second that administrative action by the executive was allowed to remove people’s permanent residence status…why are we only applying it to people who happened to be physically located outside the country at the time the order is passed?

                                      In fact, considering that 95% of green card holders are probably *in the US right now*, wouldn’t it make more sense to not worry about the fraction of people outside as a specific group, and just *start a review*, in some order, of all green card holders from those locations? Just keep everything operating as normal, them going in and out if they want, and we just contact each of them at home and make each of them do some more paperwork and interviews? (Again, pretending this was allowed by law.)

                                      ‘Man, these people, many who have resided in the US for decades, are an extreme threat to our way of life! We better randomly check the 5% of them that randomly are currently located outside the US as they try to come back, and then completely ignore the 95% of people currently located here! ‘

                                      The answer here is: Trump is a moron, and Bannon is trying to break things.

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                                      • Again, these are small quibbles and my answer here is the same as my other comment from a minute ago.

                                        As far as what Bannon is doing or trying to do, there’s at least a couple of possibilities it seems to me. Either in a mad rush and without a couple rounds of bureaucratic hoopjumping, they promulgated the EO so that it could apply to green card holders and dual citizens as an oversight.

                                        Or he did it deliberately, with the intention of drawing out feral opposition, knowing that those provisions would never hold anyway. I’m not sure which it is, it might not make a difference.

                                        But the nature of the opposition is not hurting Trump, at least not yet. So that may be an occasion for you to rethink things.

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                                        • Again, these are small quibbles and my answer here is the same as my other comment from a minute ago.

                                          You are complaining about protests that got results you admit need getting. So…they *shouldn’t* have happened?

                                          Let’s have the other option. Let’s assume, for the purpose of this, that the green card thing barring *is* unconstitutional. (Trump appears to have stopped it before court, although some people with them who were deported probably still have cases.)

                                          If the government is, blatantly, in full view of everyone, doing an unconstitutional thing…please explain what people are *supposed* to do instead of protesting and attempting to get those people access to lawyers?

                                          As far as what Bannon is doing or trying to do, there’s at least a couple of possibilities it seems to me. Either in a mad rush and without a couple rounds of bureaucratic hoopjumping, they promulgated the EO so that it could apply to green card holders and dual citizens as an oversight.

                                          Or he did it deliberately, with the intention of drawing out feral opposition, knowing that those provisions would never hold anyway. I’m not sure which it is, it might not make a difference.

                                          You need to do a bit more research here. Specifically, DHS decided the EO obviously didn’t apply to green card holders, and then Bannon *overruled that*. (Not entirely sure why Bannon has that authority, but whatever.)

                                          Basically, the point these orders hit sane people, the sane people said ‘Whoa, this says ‘aliens’, but that technically would include green card holders, and obviously that doesn’t make sense. Green card holders are US Nationals and can enter and leave the country freely.’ and Bannon said ‘Ha! Nope. They are also included!’

                                          But the nature of the opposition is not hurting Trump, at least not yet. So that may be an occasion for you to rethink things.

                                          Bannon is attempting to cause chaos and destruction in the government. Seriously, that is his actual goal.

                                          http://www.gq.com/story/steve-bannon-shadow-president

                                          “I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.
                                          Shocked, I asked him what he meant. “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

                                          This is *deliberate* behavior on the part of Bannon. He is trying to break things. As he breaks things, people who need those things are, well, going to get annoyed. At Trump.

                                          Meanwhile, the idea that this is not hurting the president is a bit absurd. Trump dropped 10 points during all this.

                                          Of course, in reality, ‘hurting the president’ doesn’t happen because of the public. It happens because *Congress* starts refusing to work with him.

                                          So, funny story. Congress is not happy about having to deal with this. At all. And, on top of that, Trump’s constant claim that they were involved, only for it to turn out to be *their legislative aides*, which he had *sign an non-disclosure agreements so they couldn’t tell their boss*, is…uh…bad.

                                          Let me put it this way: President Carter could not get anything done as president because he pissed off Congress…and he did a lot less than this. There is more partisanship now, more a requirement to stand behind the president…but that won’t last forever.

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                                          • You are complaining about protests that got results you admit need getting. So…they *shouldn’t* have happened?

                                            Exactly this. The ferality of the resistance to Trump is a large part of what’s empowering him.

                                            Some people have claimed with greater or lesser plausibility that Bannon is doing this on purpose. That he’s deliberately provoking an overreaction to induce the Republican and otherwise apolitical people to start supporting him or continue supporting him. I don’t know if that’s exactly true, but it is clear enough that he’s leveraging it when it does happen.

                                            Of course, in reality, ‘hurting the president’ doesn’t happen because of the public. It happens because *Congress* starts refusing to work with him.

                                            Exactly. And who controls Congress? Our team does, so it’s probably more useful to start talking to us instead indulging mindless lib anger.

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                                            • Exactly this. The ferality of the resistance to Trump is a large part of what’s empowering him.

                                              ’empowering’ him?

                                              The guy isn’t, like, some sort of fantasy creature that feeds off our anger. He doesn’t get more powerful because we *dis*like him.

                                              Do I need to do my little political capital speech here? Let me summarize here:

                                              Presidents get power due to political capital, which is basically the concept of how popular they are. This is not any sort of direct equation (Unless you’re playing Democracy 3.), how it actually works is that popular presidents produce proposals that are automatically more popular. People basically *trust* the proposal because they trust the president.

                                              When a proposal is popular, other people in the government (Mostly Congress, but sometimes cabinet members play this game too.) are more likely to support it, in the hopes that popularity will rub off on them. Thus resulting in political movement and supporting the President’s proposals.

                                              Likewise, this works backwards: A popular president can remove or withhold his support from something, causing its popularity to drop. Thus he has leverage that he can use for policies that are less popular.

                                              Political capital. A vague currency, but a currency.

                                              Trump… does not understand how this works at all. I mean, I don’t think he’d be very good at it, and I sorta went into this presidency assuming he’d suck at it, because he can’t play nice…but I have realized that Trump literally does not seem to understand how this operates. He’s a guy playing monopoly that does not understand those ‘property deeds’ are important.

                                              And thus Trump, is, in reality, *the weakest president there has ever been*, in the traditional sense, because he does not understand the currency used. (Even presidents that have gone so unpopular to be basically *negative* at least understood what was going on and the limits of possibility for them. To get philosophical: A guy who knows he has no money is richer than a guy who does not understand what money is, even if the second guy still has some bouncing around his pockets because he hasn’t thrown it all at geese or whatever the hell he thinks money is for.)

                                              What many people missed in all this EO nonsense is that Trump just pissed off Congress for no reason. He went around Congress, he even used their people without their permission or knowledge, he got everyone really upset for nothing…no one is happy here. He could have gone to Congress, presented an argument for extra vetting from some countries (Revoking the anti-discrimination things), and less refugees, exempted green card holders, and had them make a law, and maybe gone up in popularity, at least among Republicans. (Although, again, evangelicals are pissed about the refugee thing, but that at least would be a normal trade off.)

                                              Instead…he did this. Congress saw him do this. Congress got phone calls about this.

                                              Now, it is possible for the president to play *some other game*. There are things he can do without Congress. For example, issue idiotic executive orders.

                                              But Trump is, *very quickly* putting himself at the point of not being able to operate as a traditional president, limiting himself to only being able to sit in the White House and issue executive orders that the courts then blow up, or, at some point, Congress starts slapping down.

                                              I dunno, maybe that’s what he wants, or even what he thinks the presidency is, but let’s not pretend that’s ‘power’.

                                              Some people have claimed with greater or lesser plausibility that Bannon is doing this on purpose. That he’s deliberately provoking an overreaction to induce the Republican and otherwise apolitical people to start supporting him or continue supporting him. I don’t know if that’s exactly true, but it is clear enough that he’s leveraging it when it does happen.

                                              It is true.

                                              And he’s a moron who thinks he can ‘leverage’ it into people become so outraged this turns into a race war.

                                              That’s his plan:
                                              1) Break everything in the government.
                                              2) Rebuilding the government with white nationalism.

                                              He does not seem to grasp the fact that deliberately breaking everything is going to piss the rest of the government off, and they will not stand for it for every long.

                                              And who controls Congress? Our team does, so it’s probably more useful to start talking to us instead indulging mindless lib anger.

                                              …or we could just wait until your team either a) is forced to do something, causing them to get voted out of office by the Republican base, or b) doesn’t do anything, and the American people are so annoyed they vote them out.

                                              Basically, we’re calling your bluff. We’re not going to be the guys that stop Trump *for you*. We refuse to be. This has actually emerged as a pretty wide consensus on the left: Do not take steps towards impeaching Trump. Do not even *bipartisanly* impeach Trump. Make the Republican party own it. (And then join in.) I even wrote a post about it, somewhere.

                                              Because if you weren’t forced to own it, you would forever paint us as the villains, the only people who ever impeached and removed a president, for partisan reasons. And you would pretend to stop us every step of the way.

                                              Oh no. We’re not playing that game. You guys elected him, *you* control him.

                                              Because here’s the actual truth: You guys need to be *destroyed* in the eyes of the horrible part of your base. Your base need breaking in half, with the crazy part (Whatever size that is.) wandering off into the wildness and joining Constitutional Party and whatever else is way over there, *never to trust Republicans again* because the Republicans stabbed Trump in the back.

                                              Because those people are *really fucking dangerous*. They elect people like Trump, and they cannot be allowed to have one of the two main political party roll over for them. (The alternative, of course, is for Republicans to no longer be one of those two parties, which is where option (b) eventually ends up.)

                                              And, yes, this will hurt. You’re in a demographics crunch already, and losing X% of your base will cause you to lose elections until you adjust some policies. But it’s coming up, so brace yourself.

                                              Hey, maybe it’s not only the Republicans who are operating out of spite.

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                                              • This is all well and good, except for the fact that Obama was really popular (still is), yet here we are. GOP control of both houses of US Congress and the White House, and one nuked fillibuster away from maintaining the conservative balance on the Supreme Court.

                                                Trump’s victory is such a fluke, he doesn’t need to play the political capital game like one usually does. (& not playing the political capital game like a normal person is large part of the fluke)

                                                As long as the people that want their judges get their judges, the people that want their regulations lax get their regulations lax, the people that want more ships and soldiers get more ships and soldiers – everyone’s going to dance with who brought them, regardless of how much he pisses off Mexico or Australia and regardless of how much he bollocks up US points of entry.

                                                (The thing that will get him, perhaps the only thing, is too many flights into Dover with caskets)

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                                                • No. The political capital game is not how you get elected.

                                                  Now, there *is* a game to get elected, and Trump indeed did not play it, instead getting elected because Republicans had been trained not to listen to the traditional media, and the traditional media itself is comprised of a bunch of ratings-seeking dumbasses.

                                                  But that’s the election game.

                                                  That doesn’t have anything to do with political capital. Trump has basically about a third of the way to being completely politically impotent. (And it will be getting worse.) At some point, let’s call it the tipping point, he is not going to be allowed to have any acknowledged input on the political process, because his input will be *completely toxic* in the eyes of the public. He will still be powerful because he’s the *president*, but he will be gone from *politics*.

                                                  After that point, the Republicans in Congress will only put up with him because a) it will damage them if they oppose him, and b) he will sign their stuff and nominate their guy. The second both of those isn’t true, or one of them isn’t true and they think they can work around the other thing, he’s gone.

                                                  But he will have lost almost all his leverage at this tipping point. (And, again, the problem isn’t so much he has lost it but that he literally doesn’t know it existed or how it works.(1)) The only leverage he will end up with is the ability to threaten the Republicans.

                                                  But, of course, threatening people is a pretty unworkable way of making policy, and he can’t use the threats correctly…as he has *negative* political capital, him opposing Congressional Republican plans would make those plans *more likely*, risking *even more people* coming on board, and at some point we start talking about veto overrides. (And serious considering of removing him…which is, thanks to Trump’s entangled business connection, almost trivial to find grounds for.)

                                                  1) Incidentally, I suspect his inability to understand political capital (Which is not a very complicated idea! It’s basically ‘popular politicians make things popular, and doing popular things makes politicians popular’. It’s hardly rocket science.) is due to his personality disorder rendering him literally incapable of comprehending and integrating disapproval of himself. Either people like him, or they are jealous of him so won’t admit they like him.

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                                              • The guy isn’t, like, some sort of fantasy creature that feeds off our anger. He doesn’t get more powerful because we *dis*like him.

                                                Sure he is, I think I explained it before. The feral nature of the libs increases the need for someone to put the hammer down on them. Ie, Trump. The more mature the libs are, the less need for Trump.

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                                                • Sure he is, I think I explained it before. The feral nature of the libs increases the need for someone to put the hammer down on them. Ie, Trump. The more mature the libs are, the less need for Trump.

                                                  You do realize you basically are arguing that Republicans nominated Trump because of Democratic opposition to Trump, and that if Democrats stopped opposing Trump, the Republicans wouldn’t nominate people like him?

                                                  You realize that doesn’t make any chronological sense, right?

                                                  If Trump was nominated because of what you say, then it is very clear that Republicans thought Democrats were ‘feral’ and needed to be stopped in *early 2016*.

                                                  If you theory is true, the only way for the left to become *non-threatening* would be to…I don’t even know? Move out of the country? Permanently agree to never protest anything again?

                                                  And the problem here is that, basically, you’re attempting to justify the right’s hatred of the left on the behavior of the left.

                                                  Except the right’s hatred of the left has *never* had any justification, and there’s very little evidence it’s *increased* recently, or that Trump’s election had anything to do with that in either direction.

                                                  Trump’s election, in fact, was due to the Republican’s base hatred increasing towards *the Republican establishment*, because the hate-mongers presenting them with all their facts had sorta run out of things to say about Democrats.

                                                  The Republican base has *always* hated the left. They hated the Democratic politicians, and they hated the Democratic voters. This has been true for *decades*.

                                                  Now they just hate the Republican politicians, also.

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                                                  • If you theory is true, the only way for the left to become *non-threatening* would be to…I don’t even know? Move out of the country? Permanently agree to never protest anything again?

                                                    Well, ultimately of course you should simply support conservatives and vote Republican.

                                                    But before that, you could simply give up the expectation that you can make the political Establishment bend to your will. In a good number of cases, you simply can’t. And the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States seems to be one such example.

                                                    And on top of that, you should also appreciate that in addition to a partisan interest in favor of liberalism, you should also be willing to defend an American interest independent of that. And mindless factional antagonism is a substantial detriment to that.

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                                                    • you should also be willing to defend an American interest independent of that. And mindless factional antagonism is a substantial detriment to that.

                                                      You have such a dry sense of humor.

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                                                    • Well, ultimately of course you should simply support conservatives and vote Republican.

                                                      Why would I do that? They’ve promised to reduce my parents (and eventually my) social security, block grant and reduce the Medicaid support my niece is getting, stop my friends from getting married, render my female friends unable to get abortions, and oh yeah, are actively trying to take away the only health insurance I’ve ever been able to get.

                                                      And that’s the stuff I could think of off the top of my head.

                                                      Seems like throwing in with the Republicans would be pretty stupid on my part.

                                                      But before that, you could simply give up the expectation that you can make the political Establishment bend to your will. In a good number of cases, you simply can’t. And the nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States seems to be one such example.

                                                      Let’s accept your premise that this is something that liberals think they can do.

                                                      Of course, what they *actually* want is *their representatives* to make a statement, and to make the Republicans look like hypocrites. And everyone suggesting this fully expect any blockage to almost immediately fail. But let’s pretend liberals do not know this will fail. There’s no evidence of this, but let’s pretend.

                                                      And? Why is this a concern for you? Liberals are disappointed? Oh noes!

                                                      Oh, I know, you’ve built a universe where you think liberals will go completely batshit crazy and start tearing things down when this fails.

                                                      Do you want to put *any money* on that? Because it’s a really really stupid premise.

                                                      And on top of that, you should also appreciate that in addition to a partisan interest in favor of liberalism, you should also be willing to defend an American interest independent of that.

                                                      For example, I could be willing to defend a law that provides health care to most people, or figure out how to alter it, instead of mindlessly tearing it down because the other side passed it?

                                                      Wait, sorry, thinking of something else, bad example.

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                                                      • Let’s accept your premise that this is something that liberals think they can do.

                                                        Of course, what they *actually* want is *their representatives* to make a statement, and to make the Republicans look like hypocrites. And everyone suggesting this fully expect any blockage to almost immediately fail. But let’s pretend liberals do not know this will fail. There’s no evidence of this, but let’s pretend.

                                                        And? Why is this a concern for you? Liberals are disappointed? Oh noes!

                                                        Oh, I know, you’ve built a universe where you think liberals will go completely batshit crazy and start tearing things down when this fails.

                                                        Do you want to put *any money* on that? Because it’s a really really stupid premise.

                                                        Forgive me, but I’ve read this a couple times and I’ve got no idea what this is supposed to mean.

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                                              • Because here’s the actual truth: You guys need to be *destroyed* in the eyes of the horrible part of your base. Your base need breaking in half, with the crazy part (Whatever size that is.) wandering off into the wildness and joining Constitutional Party and whatever else is way over there, *never to trust Republicans again* because the Republicans stabbed Trump in the back.

                                                Yeah, that’s not going to fly. If the GOP takes out Trump, he’ll have deserved it. The GOP has done a good job in terms of letting Trump be who he needs to be to represent the people he represents. If and when he goes down, the GOP will get credit for letting him ride as long as they did.

                                                And given that the open borders donorists no longer have a chokehold over the party, the Trump base will slide pretty comfortably over to the GOP.

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                                              • The guy isn’t, like, some sort of fantasy creature that feeds off our anger. He doesn’t get more powerful because we *dis*like him.

                                                Yeah, actually he does. He’s this massive disruptive force on the Left, causing them to channel their anger unproductively into shadows and straw men while Trump’s minions actually get things done.

                                                You’re playing the bull to his matador, and he doesn’t care how many times you charge him as long as you’re focused where he wants you to be focused.

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                                                • Yeah, actually he does. He’s this massive disruptive force on the Left, causing them to channel their anger unproductively into shadows and straw men while Trump’s minions actually get things done.

                                                  No. Just, no.

                                                  Trump is not playing 11 dimensional chess. He’s not even playing checkers. Trump is a scared little man with a personality disorder that only cares about the approval of the masses. He has almost no idea what’s going on, and he is superbly incompetent on a hitherto unimagined scale.

                                                  And the only ‘ Trump minion’ wandering about is a racist idiot named Steve Bannon who *is the disruptive force himself* because, and I repeat myself, he’s a racist idiot. He thinks he can destroy the government and replace with a white nationalist one, and fails to notice that other branches of government exist, and what he’s actually doing is destroying, or just weakening, the executive branch…you know, the place he’s located. (Don’t get me wrong, he can do a lot of harm because the executive is stupidly powerful, but his actions, by causing random harm, are literally designed to weaken it, and he doesn’t seem to understand it’s not ‘the government’.)

                                                  There is nothing deeper there. There is nothing secret going on, there is no greater plan.

                                                  Of course, *Congress* still exists, and still can do things, and there’s always the danger that they will sneak something stupid through while everyone cares about Trump…but Congress always exists, it’s not some sort of secret, and they’re not ‘Trump’s minions’. We need to remember to look back at Congress occasionally, check on what Republican thing they’re doing, but Trump is not any sort of clever plan to distract anyone.

                                                  You’re playing the bull to his matador, and he doesn’t care how many times you charge him as long as you’re focused where he wants you to be focused.

                                                  Trump *must have approval*, it’s part of his personality disorder. If he can’t have approval of people, he has to make everyone else dismiss those people, or come up with a reason their disapprove doesn’t count, like they’re jealous of him.

                                                  This is the man who is running around introducing voting fraud claims *about his own election* because his brain will not let him accept that more people voted against him than for him!

                                                  There is no possible way he’s acting like he is in order to get people to dislike him.

                                                  Bannon, of course, is acting that way on purpose, but Bannon is one of the dumbest people on earth and thinks the President being extremely incompetent and causing chaos will cause people to rise up, en-mass, and throw off the chains of this multi-cultural government and we’ll have white power forever, when in reality it’s going to cause them to rise up, en-mass, and do something about the dumbass President. (Assuming Trump doesn’t figure out that Bannon is deliberately doing things that cause people to dislike Trump, in which case I actually fear for Bannon’s safety.)

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                                                  • You’re wasting your time. Trump MUST be a clever man baiting the left with obfuscating stupidity…..or else people elected an incompetent President.

                                                    Denial is not limited to the left, it’s just as strong on the right.

                                                    All that “Trump is secretly/Trump is winning” stuff is just pure denial.

                                                    The man’s at 40% and falling, it’s only week three, and just recently he threatened Mexico with invasion and hung up on Australia.

                                                    Look, when the US President fails at a phone call to Australia, you’re dealing with a man who can’t beat the tutorial.

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