Category Archives: Congress

The Trump administration’s defense of the indefensible goes off the rails (updated)

President Donald Trump on Monday, with his sycophant Vice President looking on adoringly with puppy dog eyes, announced that the plaque bearing the text of the poem by Emma Lazarus,”The New Colossus,” mounted inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, with its famous inscription of “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” is no longer operative in America.

Someone please check to see whether Stephen Miller has had this plaque removed from the Statute of Liberty.

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 8.18.15 AM

Also on Monday, a recording of immigrant children calling out desperately for their parents after being separated from them by United States immigration authorities was released by the investigative news site Pro Publica. The audio went viral in the media.

Also on Monday, These photos were the Trump administration’s attempt to quiet criticism. They’re only increasing critics’ horror.

As attention to the issue of child separation reaches a new high on Monday, the Trump administration [sought] to defend what critics call a “cruel” and “immoral” policy. It’s even releasing photos and video of the facilities where children separated from their parents are being held — but far from tamping down criticism, it’s only increasing critics’ horror.

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 8.32.17 AM

Children in cages, like dogs in a kennel. Yeah, this is not making your case.

Continue reading

Senate Republicans are complicit in Trump’s evil

The New York Times headline reads, Leading Republicans Join Democrats in Pushing Trump to Halt Family Separations.

The online Washington Post headline reads, Growing number of Republicans urge Trump to change policy on separating families.

Talk is cheap.  “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke.

ChildImmigrant
They look so innocent. They’re not innocent.” – Donald Trump

Steve Benen reports, So far, no Republicans endorse the Dems’ ‘Keep Families Together Act’:

The official line from the Trump White House is that critics of the administration’s practice of separating children from their parents at the border should simply change the law. The argument is indefensibly wrong: Donald Trump chose to implement a policy that separates these families, and he can change course at any time.

But Democrats have more or less accepted the challenge anyway, and have proposed specific legislation to prevent the Republican president from keeping his current policy in place. Vox.com highlighted the Senate Dems’ effort to pass the “Keep Families Together Act,” which was introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Continue reading

SCOTUS punts on two gerrymandering cases

The U.S. Supreme Court began the day with 19 argued cases yet to be decided. This included two of the most highly anticipated cases of this term involving political gerrymandering, Gil v. Whitford (Wisconsin) and Benisek v. Lamone (Maryland).

Today the U.S. Supreme Court disappointed everyone by punting on these two cases. It was an anticlimactic end to these gerrymandering cases, which are likely to return in the future with additional cases moving through the appellate courts pipeline.

In Gil v. Whitford (.pdf) Chief Justice Roberts held that “The plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate Article III standing.”

The right to vote is “individual and personal in nature,” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U. S. 533, 561, and “voters who allege facts showing disad- vantage to themselves as individuals have standing to sue” to remedy that disadvantage, Baker, 369 U. S., at 206. The plaintiffs here al- leged that they suffered such injury from partisan gerrymandering, which works through the “cracking” and “packing” of voters. To the extent that the plaintiffs’ alleged harm is the dilution of their votes, that injury is district specific. An individual voter in Wisconsin is placed in a single district. He votes for a single representative. The boundaries of the district, and the composition of its voters, deter- mine whether and to what extent a particular voter is packed or cracked. A plaintiff who complains of gerrymandering, but who does not live in a gerrymandered district, “assert[s] only a generalized grievance against governmental conduct of which he or she does not approve.” United States v. Hays, 515 U. S. 737, 745.

Continue reading

Trump flip-flops on immigration bill, using separated children as hostages for his border wall

Yesterday morning, “President Trump said he would not sign a carefully crafted GOP bill addressing the predicament of Dreamers, news that caught House Republicans by surprise and left the legislation on life support.” Trump crushes hopes for compromise DACA plan. “I’m looking at both of them,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” aka “Trump TV” in an interview Friday morning from the White House lawn. “I certainly wouldn’t sign the more moderate one.”

By Friday evening, Trump had flip-flopped. White House says Trump backs GOP immigration bills, despite comments opposing them. One official says Trump misunderstood Fox News’ question.

The White House said Friday that President Trump supports House legislation that closely tracks his priorities on border security and limiting legal immigration, walking back comments he made on national television rejecting the GOP bill.

The reversal came after hours of confusion on Capitol Hill, where Trump’s words roiled an already fragile internal debate between conservative and moderate House Republicans who have been trying to find an immigration compromise after months of false starts.

The president fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said, referring to legislation drafted by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and a separate compromise measure.

Continue reading

History, Role Reversal, and Hypocrisy this week in Quebec, Singapore, and Washington DC: Our Country May be at a Cross Roads in our Foreign Policy.

Throughout the history of our country since World World War Two, our Presidents have uniformly engaged in building and solidifying multinational alliances, over time, with like-minded nations that promoted democratic capitalism institutions and social justice ideals. They have also been fairly uniformly firm towards major potential adversaries, holding to the motto of “peace through strength” and engaging, again over time, with these nations in mutual economic and military understandings. Despite grievances from the occasional fringe element on both the right and left, this is how Presidents have largely conducted foreign policy since 1941. This is in danger of being turned upside down by President Donald Trump as he chastises our allies, threatens our multinational alliances, embraces our adversaries, and runs summits like an episode of a reality television show.

Continue reading

GOP train wreck on immigration coming next week

The other day I told you that the House schedules vote on two DACA bills destined to fail:

So now we have the hardline Goodlatte-MsSally bill from the GOP House Freedom Caucus, which does not have the votes to pass Congress, and a so-called GOP moderate bill still being drafted that will fall far short of the Dream Act and the bipartisan measure that couples a path to citizenship for Dreamers with beefed-up border security.

House Republicans have released a first draft of their new “compromise” immigration bill, the “Border Security and Immigration Reform Act.”

The nearly 300-page bill is one of two that the entire House will vote on next week. It is considered a GOP “moderate” alternative to the GOP conservative bill proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

Riiight.

The New York Times reports, House Immigration Bill, Pitched as Compromise, Tilts to a Harder Line:

The draft bill, circulating among lawmakers on Thursday afternoon and up for a vote next week, closely adheres to President Trump’s vision for an immigration overhaul. In addition to protecting the young immigrants, it provides billions of dollars for a wall on the southwest border while imposing new limits on legal immigration.

The bill would also toughen rules for asylum seekers. And it would address the separation of children from parents under the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal border crossings by mandating that families be kept together while in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security, according to a summary of the measure.

In effect, the measure would offer Democrats and immigration moderates in the Republican Party a difficult choice: accept hard-line changes to much of the immigration system in exchange for protections for young undocumented immigrants and what appears to be a modification of the wrenching policy of splitting up families at the border.

Continue reading