Tag Archives: Immigration

I’m 100% certain this is the way Trump’s presidency will end

The Crisis We Await

The exact way the Trump presidency ends is not clear. Anything could happen.

Trump had zero idea of what he was getting into with this president thing, and the stresses must be amazing. Clearly, he is being driven over the edge by relatively minor day to day events. Nothing has yet actually happened in this administration. If you ignore self inflicted wounds and self generated drama, and all the protesting against Trump, the world has been pretty quiet. It is as though all the bad guys, all the individuals who do the things that become major international issues or domestic crises, have stocked up on popcorn and are just watching Donald Trump in awe. Normally, things happen now and then that become major issues that need to be addressed by the President of the United States. For the last six weeks, since the inauguration of Donald Trump as the Republican President, we’ve seen nothing.

Remember this scene? Everything is fine in the beginning. Then, "Let her roll!!!"
Remember this scene? Everything is fine in the beginning. Then, “Let her roll!!!”
Here is a list I compiled, with help from my Facebook friends, of exemplars of things past, and ideas for things future, that could happen and that did or would demand attention and proper response from a United States president.

  • 911
  • a military coup takes over a neighboring or allied government
  • a smaller country such as Iraq invades another country such as Kuwait
  • arkstorm hits western states
  • attack on the US power grid
  • collapse of a major fishery
  • crop failure; multiple simultaneous crop failurs
  • debilitating cyber attack
  • Deepwater Horizon explosion
  • dirty bomb goes off somewhere
  • embassy attack
  • global financial crisis
  • hostage taking at a US embassy
  • India and Pakistan have a military confongration
  • Iran: US embassy hostage taking
  • Israel and Iran exchange missles
  • Katrina
  • large earthquake or tsunami in the United states
  • major river flooding
  • major spill
  • major tropical storm strikes major metropolitan area
  • major volcanic event
  • massive earthquake or tsunami somewhere
  • North Korea actually attacks someone
  • possible epidemic threat
  • Russia invades another country
  • Sandy
  • solar flare damaged US power grid
  • terrorist attack, large
  • terrorist attack, small
  • terroristic disease or chemical attack
  • unprecedented killer heat wave
  • Death of a world leader in a sensitive region
  • Crash of a US airliner
  • Korea or Iran takes a US naval ship
  • Outbreak of a major famine

The point of this list, to which any student of American History can add many more items, is to make clear that crises are sufficiently numerous that large ones are bound to happen in any given span of a few months time.

Something is going to happen soon, and when it does, how will Trump react, what will he do? What will he tweet? Will the chaos that ensues, the pressure that mounts, the overall intensity of of the situation, put him over the edge?

He doesn’t know what to do, no one around him really knows what to do. He will be exploited and the will of the United States twisted and used, if possible. We will lose in any confrontation or competition that arises as the result of any crisis, and that will compound the badness.

All that has to happen is for history as it is being born to run its normal course, for Trump and his presidency to collapse under the weight of reality.

Ultimately, this may kill him. He may simply die of a heart attack or stroke because of the stress. Or, he may take steps that are so outrageous that someone else kills him. In fact, he is currently courting that sort of attack every day, as his immigration policies ruin the lives of thousands of people. Listen to the weeping of innocent children as their parents, also innocent, are being taken away by the ICE jack-booted thugs. Then put yourself in the position of a father or grandfather who happens to be mentally and emotionally capable, and physically ready, to act in an entirely inappropriate, violent way. That small list of crazy people that seemed to follow around Gerald Ford, or that supplies the assassins of the like that shot at Reagan or killed Lennon, has got to be very small indeed compared to the number of people who wish to end the life of a despot like Trump. It may only be a matter of time before someone on that list gets through.

Or, there is the 25th Amendment. It is possible for various government officials to simply remove an off the rails president from office. Such a thing could happen if anything like the above list of crises starts to materialize, as it will, and Trump’s reactions are so dangerous that even the selfish, politics-only, non-governing yahoos who reside in the Executive Branch actually do something to preserve our democracy.

Or it could be impeachment. Impeachment requires that the Know Nothing and Do Nothing Republican Congress grows a spine and learns something and does something. That is very unlikely to happen, but around the country right now, people are showing up by the thousands, daily, demanding that they do something, so … maybe.

A Congressional turnover, followed by impeachment, is a possibility. Maybe the American Citizenry, who usually vote against their own self interest, will grow a brain and throw the actual bums out, and a new Democratic House will impeach and a Democratic Senate will hold a trial, and Trump will be ended that way.

But none of that matters until this other thing happens, which maybe, or maybe not, is currently underway.

How Trump Can Stay In Power Forever

Donald trump is likely to stay in power as long as he wants to, even after his presidency ends, because Chuck Todd will make sure it happens. Andrea Mitchel will work to keep Trump in the White House. All the CNN reporters, and all the TV reporters in general, will work on this on a daily basis, tweaking the news, affecting public perception, in such a way as to make sure Trump is not removed by virtue of the 25th, or impeached, or even stressed out too much.

Why? This is why and how that happens. Go read that post if you want to understand how the news media fails us all, every day, and why they may not be able to stop themselves.

There is another possibility, though.

Last Tuesday, Trump gave his “joint address” (a form of State of the Union with a different name). During the address, he said all the things we expect if we assume he is not changing his policies. He also introduced an alarming new thing, a fund to increase the level of national hate against immigrants. All in all, any intelligent watcher of politics would have come away from that address knowing that Trump is still Trump, and nothing has changed.

The astute observer would also note this: Trump’s address was a carefully written speech that Trump clearly did not compose, but that he did work hard to read correctly off the teleprompter. That is actually bad news. It means that Trump’s handlers are on board with keeping him in the groove he is already in, and are helping him do that by constructing a speech with no change in direction, but that is less shocking in its messaging qualities.

Soon after Trump’s speech, I pulled the shotgun I keep under the couch out, pumped five rounds into the TV, and threw the smoldering wreckage right through the big glass window onto the street.

OK, I didn’t really do that. I don’t actually have a shot gun under the couch. But if I did…..

What actually happened was this: Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchel and the talking heads on PBS, and all the other reporters got all titilated about how Trump finally sounded presidential, about how everything would be fine now, about how the “presidential pivot” had finally happened.

They failed to notice that all that really happened was that Trump read the speech off the teleprompter and that the speech was a little more carefully written than usual — well, not for an address to the joint session, but for a Trump speech. They failed to notice that nothing had changed except a couple of things that went bad. They went on and on about how great the speech was and failed to mention the 18 or so bald faced lies, or the exploitation of a war widow to justify a failed military action, or, once again, the initiation of a hate-the-immigrant program.

They failed to save Democracy from Trump. For that, they should all be fired. For that, I get the shotgun out from under the couch and blast the TV to smithereens. Or, really, imagine myself doing it.

100% certain to end Trump: Reinforcements are always welcome!

But then something else happened. Trump did two things over the following few days, neither unexpected but both critically important.

1) He kept being Donald Trump; and

2) He actually got worse.

Believe it or not, and I’m still not quite believing it, this may have caused the press that fall in love with him on Tuesday to step back and realize they had been duped. They will never admit this because, frankly, only a stupid child could have been duped this way. But Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchel and the rest of them are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. They were all fooled, badly fooled, on Tuesday, then later in the week, made to appear as the embodiment of foolishness itself as the reality of Trump re-tweeted, er, re-emerged.

I was mulling this over this morning while checking over some of the previous day’s news reports and commentaries, when I came across this piece by Lawrence O’Donnell on his show “The Last Word.”

Watch it. Then, for fun, and a good cry, watch the next piece as well.

O’Donnell seems to believe that the press can snap itself out of its own stupidity if Trump is so blatantly bad as he was last weekend. I don’t. But it is quite possible that I am wrong and O’Donnell is right. And in hopes that this is the case, I’m going to unload the shells from my imaginary shotgun. For now.

So, yes. Trump’s presidency ends when Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell say it ends.

Now, watch this to the end. THE END. Just do it.

The end end, not the part you will think is the end. Just wait until the “tape” runs out. Past 4:20

Imagine that child crying is your own.

To hell with it, I’m putting the imaginary shells back in the damn gun.


PS, I know someone is going to complain about the shotgun, because some people are just that way and can’t help themselves. The shotgun is to shoot the TV because the news, and the way it is handled, and reported, is so frustrating. It is not to shoot a person. I would never do that, you should never do that.

Where does the Trump Presidency stand a fortnight and a half in?

The most recent polling indicates that Donald Trump has a 43% approval and 53% disapproval rating. So he is not exactly loved by the American people, which is odd because he seems so lovable. And, he has told us that the American people love him. And his victory in the November election was unbelievably big league. But, that’s how it is, according the scientific polling.

Approval and favorability are apparently slightly different, but the pattern holds. The same polling tells us that the American people have a 45% favorable attitude about the president, which would be tremendous for any product in a market economy. But for a president it is not so good, as a majority of Americans, 52%, look at the president with an unfavorable eye.

But what about some of the specific, Trump Brand signature issues? How’s he doing, and what do people think?

Building The Wall

The wall is still not built, but Trump still intends to build it. But, the promise was that Trump would “make Mexico pay for it.” The president has now learned that you can’t do that, and it is in fact not going to happen. And, the wall is still not built yet.

According to this recent poll, 56% of Americans oppose building the all, 37% are in favor of it, if Americans are paying for it.

The Muslim Ban

Trump promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and to practice extreme vetting. One of the main reasons he got elected was because of this promise. How’s that going?

A Trump Tower in Turkey, a Muslim country not banned.
A Trump Tower in Turkey, a Muslim country not banned.
Trump’s idea of “extreme vetting” seems to be “don’t let anyone in who is trying to get in legally.” Which, of course, leaves the death squads that are streaming across our borders leave to come, but leaves people like graduate students, professors, folks who went overseas to visit their grandmothers, etc. in the lurch.

Also, the ban on Muslims only banned some Muslims, from certain countries, so Muslims from countries where Trump does business are unaffected. So there may be an ethical issue there.

As you know, a key Federal court ruled unanimously to uphold a lower court decision to stay the ban because it negatively affects people and states. No higher court ruling has come down about the Second Amendment violation but that may happen later. There are more law suits against this ban than hairs on a dog, so we can expect a lot more news in this regard.

Meanwhile, the recent pol shows that 49% of Americans are opposed to the ban, with 45% in favor of it.

More interestingly, though, the vast majority of Americans, a whopping 66%, think Trump’s ban was poorly executed (27% thought everything went just fine). A majority of Americans recognized the “Muslim Ban” as an effort to ban Muslims. (Trump’s people claim it never was, even when it was called a “Muslim Ban.”) A strong majority (65% over 22%) do not think Muslims should be banned. In a sense, the courts are helping Trump out here, by shutting down this whole operation so we can move past what has turned out to be one of the most self damaging political nosedives witnessed in American history.

By the way, a strong majority of Americans trust Judges over Donald Trump to make the right decisions for the United States.

Repealing and Replacing Obamacare

Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare. Most observers were under the impression that Trump and Congress, between them, had no idea what to replace Obamacare with. Boy, were they ever right! Congress made a couple of initial procedural moves that will allow them to later undo Obamacare, ran in to major opposition, forgot to have any ideas about reforming Obamacare, and then stopped.

"The White House response is that he's not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care.  They voted for him, and let me make this very clear: Most Americans are -- are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like."
“The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care. They voted for him, and let me make this very clear: Most Americans are — are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like.”
The White House has been mostly silent on the issue. Polls show that a strong plurality of American support Obamacare (far more than those who oppose, with 47%-39% supporting-opposing). A YUGE majority of Americans, 65%, do not want Congress to repeal Obamacare and, rather, keep what works in the plan.

Keeping his Tax Returns Secret

Trump never did release his tax returns. He promised to release them after an “audit” was over. But soon after the election, spokes-minuteman Kellyanne Conway, announced a new policy: since Trump won, it must be true that nobody cares about his tax returns, or why would the majority of Americans have voted for him?

There are two problems with this “logic.” First, a majority of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump. Second, at present, an overwhelming majority of Americans want Trump to release his tax returns. (58% say yes, 31% say no.)

Keeping his business ties ethical

LOL.

Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 1.13.12 PMAt his first press conference, Donald Trump showed us piles of folders containing all of the plans to unlink him from his businesses. A lawyer explained how all the ethical rules would be followed. We were also told that all the ethical rules did not apply to the President anyway, and that nothing would really be done.

The folders, we learned later, were as empty as his earlier promises to disassociate his business and his activities as president. Indeed, just yesterday, Kellyanne Conway went on Fox News, representing the White House, and urged listeners to buy Trump’s daughter’s products. Perhaps, technically, though I don’t know, Trump himself has no direct ties to this business. But it is his daughter’s business so legal and ethical constraints apply. Conway should not have made the statement she made.

Had she been a Democrat, the calls for her being fired would never end. But since she is a Republican, there was a minor outcry. But, the event was a clear enough case of unethical behavior that even the FOX news people sensed something was wrong:

The moment three FOX news anchors realize that Kellyanne Conway stepped over the line, legally and ethically.
The moment three FOX news anchors realize that Kellyanne Conway stepped over the line, legally and ethically.

By the way, 62% of Americans think Trump should fully divest himself from his businesses.

The Investigation of Voter Fraud

In his never ending but always unsuccessfull effort to not be the Biggest Loser, Trump issued the blatant lie that millions of people, mainly Illegal Immigrants, voted illegally in the last election, and that this is why he actually lost the vote. As you know, great efforts were made to recount the votes in several states, and this showed no problems. Also, the Secretaries of State across the country declared that there was no measurable problem with the voting. The White House has been relatively silent about this issue lately, perhaps because they sensed that the country was against them on this. Indeed, it seems that about 55% of Americans think there was no illegal voting by millions of people in the last election.

Be Presidential

During the election, Trump told us that he’ll be big league presidential. I assume this means, among other things, being, or at least, seeming, credible.

How’s that going?

Well, the poll I’ve been referring to all along (see below) pits the New York Times against Trump in credibility, which is appropriate because Trump has been engaging in an aggressive Twitter war against the Paper of Record. The result? 52% of Americans think the NYT is more credible than Trump, 37% think the opposite.

Saturday Night Live, the fictional, comedy, all the stuff is made up TV show of fame, doesn’t do quite as well as the New York Times. A mere 48% of Americans put SNL above Trump in credibility, with 43% saying the opposite. So, while it may be stranger than fiction, it seems that Trump is less credible than fiction in the minds of a plurality of Americans.

People are about evenly divided on whether or not Trump should be impeached, with about 46% saying each “yes” and “no.” That is a lot of people who want to see his presidency ended immediately. But, one might expect a higher percentage of people saying “Impeach” than indicated here, given all the above information.

Rachel Maddow has a theory as to why more people don’t, at the moment, want to see Trump thrown out of office. I’ll let her tell you. Watch the whole video, but the key moment starts about 4 minutes.

I hope you watched that whole thing to see how Trump supporters seem to not know about, or care about, the Constitution.


America is part Mexican

The Dogs Still Bark in Dutch

I grew up in the old Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, now known to you as the State of New York. There, I carried out extensive archaeological and historic research, and along the way, came across that phrase, “the dogs still bark in Dutch.”

It is an idea that might occur to a denizen of Harlem, the kids off to Kindergarten, sitting on his stoop eating a cruller, or perhaps some cole slaw with a gherkin, and pondering the Dutch revival architecture down on Wall Street.

There was a war between the Dutch and the English in the 17th century, and as a result of that war, colonial lands were passed back and forth multiple times. In the case of the colony of New Amsterdam, the passing to the English involved the arrival of a warship on the Hudson, but they used their cannon only to wake up the governor so he could receive a letter telling him about the change. Actually, the colony went back and forth a couple of times.

But when the English took over that Dutch colony, they did not remove the Dutch, or really, do much at all. There were some old Dutch customs, such as the Pinksterfest, a bit of a happy go lucky free for all dance party with vague religious overtones, that were illegalized, because the English versions of Christians at the time didn’t like dancing. But mostly nothing happened to affect day to day life for most people. The Dutch parts of the collection of English Colonies and the early United States retained its Dutchness long enough for someone to remark of the time that even with all the political change, the new form of money, the change in monarch, all of that, the dogs still barked in Dutch.

(I oversimplify two centuries of history slightly.)

We know we are eating burritos, yet we call them tacos

I think this is a Minnesota custom but it could be more widespread. This is what you do. You get a large flour tortilla, some kind of meat or beans, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa or hot sauce, grated cheese and sour cream, and you put all that stuff inside the tortilla, roll the tortilla up, eat it, and then say, “That was a good taco, you betcha.”

The part about the tortilla, lettuce, cheese, etc. is not Minnesotan. That is widespread. But calling a burrito a taco may be more local. And, we know it is a burrito. Nobody in Minnesota ever gets confused about what they are ordering at a Mexican restaurant. In fact we’re pretty good at that. Indeed, of all the upper mid west cities, I’ll bet you that Minneapolis has one of the oldest Mexican restaurants, and there has always been a Mexican community here, though it has grown in recent decades.

But never mind the taco-burrito distinction. We Minnesotans also mix up “yet” and “still” and do things “on” accident instead of “by” accident. Don’t get me started on soda vs pop vs sodapop.

What I really want to talk about here is “Mexican food.”

Go find some hipsters and tell them, “Imma go get Mexican food, wanna come?” and you’ll find out that there is no such thing as “Mexican food,” that what you really mean is “Tex-Mex” and that if you want some authentic “Mexican food” there’s this great taco truck down the street that has authentic tacos.

So you got to get the authentic tacos. I did that the other day. Hipsters everywhere. All the tacos, though, were various meat or bean substances, some kid of lettuce, tomato, etc. with some sort of sauce, on a flour tortilla. The only difference between our home made “tacos” and these legitimate “tacos” was that our burritos are chimichanga size, and those burritos were hand size.

Don’t get me started on chimichangas.

Anyway, here’s what I want to say about Mexican food. It is Mexican, and it is not Tex-Mex. Why is it not Tex-Mex? because Tex-Mex is a made up word, a made up category of food. It was made up because people thought this stuff we call “Mexican food” was fake, an American, non-Mexican version of what they eat in Real Mexico. It was not understood that America did not invite Mexico over as long as they bring the Tacos, that things Mexican in America are not immigrated, but rather, indigenous, often. Even though many Mexicans actually do go back and forth across the US-Mexico border, the truth is, the geographical and cultural entity that gave rise to the Country of Mexico also gave rise to the Country of the United States, in part. In part for both. The Yucatan is no more Hispanic Mexican than El Passo is Anglo-American.

Both modern countries have histories that involve big areas of land, country size areas of land by European standards, that had this or that national, ethnic, or cultural thing going on, and all of that stuff contributes to the present. Native American zones were everywhere, of course, and for the region of which we speak here, that included hundreds of languages, many language groups, and numerous entirely different but often overlapping or intermingled lifeways (such as foraging, bigly civilization, and all the arrangements to be found on the small-group-forager to pyramid-building-nation spectrum).

America did not become a first-Native then Anglo-European country that then had Mexicans show up to fix our roofs and run Tex-Mex style taco trucks. Mexican culture, or more broadly speaking New World Hispanic culture (or some other word, you pick) was in place, across a huge area, long before the United States took its current form, and a whopping big chunk of the eventual United States was part of that. And no, I’m not talking about Texas, or even New Mexico, or the Southwest, or the land ceded to the US in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. I’m talking about a big blobby thing that includes regions from Atlantic Florida to California, from the Rio Grande to the Great Lakes, overlapping with other big and small blobby things that were French, English, Dutch, Creole, Acadian, Russian, and so on.

So don’t call what we eat “Tex-Mex” because that implies that we are America sans Mexico. We are Mexico. Even up here in Minnesota, the Cowboys sometimes spoke Spanish. A cowboy IS a Spanish-American thing. And out east, the dogs still barked in Dutch. And our northern beginnings are as French as anything else.

America is part Mexican, but not because they came to us. Rather, we come from them.

Trump Doubles Down on Immigration; Promises Tacos for Everyone

I was half expecting Trump to soften on immigration. The logic of that? His main supporters, who hate all immigrants and are a bunch of racist slobs will vote for Trump no matter what he says because the are morons. But, the fence sitters, the amoral “Good Republicans” who would vote for him because they have learned to fear Democratic economic policies (this group are also all morons) might vote for him if he was less crazy sounding.

But no, that didn’t happen. Instead, he embarrassed our nation buy telling the President of Mexico, to his face, that he’s going to have to pay for this wall. Then he gave the most clearly hateful immigration speech yet.

But, there will be taco truck on every corner. Trump is going to lose and there will be taco trucks on every corner. THEY PROMISED!!!!!!

The gentleman speaking on behalf of Trump makes a very interesting, racist point. Mexican culture is dominant. The Spanish never conquered Mexico, we are told. If you don’t control Mexicans, they will take over. If you don’t realize that, it is just because you haven’t been to Mexico lately. Seriously, he said that!

And, he tells us that for this reason, if Trump doesn’t win this election, there will be a taco truck on every corner. Because, I guess, that is what a dominant culture does.

I’m going to be really pissed if there are not taco trucks on every corner at the end of this. Dammit.

“I am forced to conclude that your work is bad science”

Elizabeth Chin has written an excellent scholarly takedown, in the form of a “letter from your thesis reader,” of Jason Richwine’s 2009 Harvard PhD dissertation, ” IQ and Immigration.”

I’ve not read Richwine’s thesis, though I probably will at some point. And you probably haven’t either. But, you’ll still find Chin’s post informative and compelling.

It is here: What Jason Richwine Should Have Heard from his PhD Committee

While you are on the subject have a look at this: Harvard Students Demand Investigation Into Jason Richwine’s Thesis On Hispanic IQ

Hat tip: Jennifer Raff.

SCOTUS will review Arizona’s Immigration Law

Moments ago, the Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to review a highly controversial Arizona law. This promises to be one of the more significant things they’ve done in a while.

The deck is stacked for a more conservative ruling because Justice Kagan will recuse as she worked on the law while in the Obama administration.

Continue reading SCOTUS will review Arizona’s Immigration Law