Donald Trump unable to explain where his fake immigration crime statistics come from

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 12:07

If you haven’t already heard, Donald Trump declared a national emergency a short while ago in order to use executive powers to fund the construction of his useless border wall—the one that most Americans do not want. The one that even the Republican-controlled Congress didn’t get around to funding during the last two years of its tenure. Saying that Trump’s wall is a farce is doing a disservice to farces. The excuse Trump gave for building the wall, in between contradicting himself, is that there is humanitarian and security “crisis” at our southern border. To support this, Trump has spouted completely made-up “facts” about immigrant and violent crime rates.

All available government and private data contradict the Trump administration’s assertions. There are fewer undocumented immigrants coming across out southern border. The rate of crime among undocumented immigrants is lower than the national average for any group of people. This has been covered extensively in the media.

Categories: Politics

Where is Trump getting border wall money? From funds intended for military family housing upgrades

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 12:06

With most of Donald Trump’s projects, he’s rarely the one to pay the final bill. Whether it is creating a bogus charity to spend money at his own golf properties or using licensing agreements to put his name on buildings constructed with other people’s money, his cons are legendary. Unfortunately, his latest con is one that will hurt military families the most. When Congress refused to allocate billions of dollars to build an unnecessary wall, something the Constitution specifically states is within its powers, Trump stepped forward to declare a national emergency. The only emergency is that Donald Trump will never deliver on his central 2016 campaign promise, and he knows that will put his 2020 re-election in doubt. 

With this new declaration, he is appropriating money from other areas of the government so that a mere 55 miles of new wall will be constructed ahead of the 2020 election. Where is Trump going to draw $8 billion from? $3.6 billion of it will come from funds that were intended for military construction projects—new and improved housing for military families, many of whom live in squalid conditions, including housing full of mice and mold. Only days ago, lawmakers held a hearing to discuss the conditions of housing for military families, and what the families described was the stuff of nightmares. From the Washington Post:

Crystal Cornwall, a Marine Corps spouse, told lawmakers about termites falling though light fixtures at an air base in Mississippi and mice chewing through infant pacifiers at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Categories: Politics

Trump announces national emergency, saying 'I didn't need to do this'

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:55

Within the course of 50 minutes in the Rose Garden, Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday and then proceeded to make it both legally and politically indefensible in one fell swoop. #Winning

After his initial announcement, Trump ultimately said that he could have done the wall “over a longer period of time," but he was choosing not to. "I didn't need to do this," he admitted, without realizing he was admitting anything, "But I'd rather do it much faster.”

Rather. Welp, if there was any question about whether Trump would be a messaging trainwreck on this issue, there isn't now. In fact, GOP senators, who have already been registering their deep unease with such a move, are now on the hook for defending executive overreach that the chief executive actually admitted was overreach in his very own announcement. My god, how could Trump possibly be worse at this?

Most Republican senators who are not already willing to go on the record against Trump's declaration will spend the day the running from reporters on Capitol Hill. Except for Sen. Lindsey Graham—his 2020 bid is clearly urgent enough that he will defend anything Trump does.

But that's not all folks—legally, Trump just ensured this thing is dead in the water. Remember when a federal judge blocked the administration from taking away temporary protections from hundreds of thousands of settled immigrants? Yeah, that decision came on the heels of Trump's “shithole countries” slur. Or how about the three do-overs the White House underwent on Trump's Muslim ban? Trump's own words on the campaign trail were repeatedly used to demonstrate his animus toward Muslims. 

Whatever the case, it is an absolute certainty that when the White House counsel’s office prepped him for this announcement, it didn't say, "and make sure to mention that you don't actually need to do this."

That was just Trump adding a rhetorical flare of doom. Nancy Pelosi is quietly expressing her personal gratitude. 

Categories: Politics

Democrats on Trump's 'national emergency': 'Plainly a power grab by a disappointed president'

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:46

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pushed back hard against Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to grab money for his border wall. “The President’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe, stealing from urgently needed defense funds for the security of our military and our nation,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement released while Trump’s rambling, ranting remarks were still going on. “This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed President, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process.”

Pelosi and Schumer sounded the alarm about the effect of Trump’s actions on the Constitution: “This issue transcends partisan politics and goes to the core of the Founders’ conception for America, which commands Congress to limit an overreaching executive. The President’s emergency declaration, if unchecked, would fundamentally alter the balance of powers, inconsistent with our Founders’ vision.” Calling on congressional Republicans “to join us to defend the Constitution,” they conclude that “The Congress cannot let the President shred the Constitution.”

Pelosi and Schumer weren’t the only Democrats sharply criticizing Trump’s move.


“President Trump’s ‘national emergency’ is so low priority he didn’t even start his speech with it,” tweeted Rep. Jim Himes. Sen. Jeff Merkley tweeted that “This ‘national emergency’ is a fraud and should be thrown out in court immediately. @realDonaldTrump, take a look at the Constitution someday. You might learn something.”

Categories: Politics

Donald Trump's rambling emergency announcement was an hour of absolute insanity

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:44

Hello, 25th Amendment? As it turns out, there really is a crisis.

Anyone who didn’t believe there is a national emergency is clearly wrong. Because Donald Trump is a national emergency, and he demonstrated it forcefully on the White House steps Friday morning in an emergency announcement buried deep in taco salad of nuttiness.

Trump stumbled out of the White House, apparently breathless and confused, and opened by fumbling around about trade negotiations in China, but had nothing really to report on those other than “who knows” if anything would actually be done. Then he wandered around the world, talking about the UK, Syria, North Korea … anything but getting to the point. And then, without any transition, he began talking about the border, then the economy, then the stock market, then the border again. Then he smiled and chuckled over the joys of his El Paso rally, then he zigged to Israel, then he genuinely fell into his fantasy of women, “three, four women,” being tied up in the back of a van with tape over their mouths. Yes, Trump’s emergency declaration included his women-with-tape-on-their-mouths fantasy, and Trump insisted that “Nancy knows, and Chuck knows” that these women won’t be coming through ports of entry.

Finally, in words that will surely ring through history, Trump declared, “So, I’m going to be signing a national emergency, it’s been signed many times before,” before going on to claim that it was no big deal, and nothing to make a fuss about. To support his overthrow of congressional authority, Trump gathered up a clutch of “angel moms” and forced them to stand up and fumble out pictures of their children. From there, he actually began bragging about how much better China is than the United States because they have a death penalty for people who sell drugs.

That thought of China apparently dragged Trump back into a few minutes of talking about the China trade deal, and then … bam, back to the national emergency again. “Something signed many times, many, many times, by other presidents.” In fishing around for some kind of legitimacy, Trump then talked about how he might piggyback on an existing emergency order around drug cartels.

Then he went back to bragging on the economy, and claimed that if a Democrat had been in office, the economy would have been “down the tubes” instead of “through the roof,” saying that it’s because he’s created such a great economy that “far more people” are trying to enter the country today “than ever before.” Which is … a huge lie.

Categories: Politics

Twitter Really Is the Best Way to Understand Donald Trump

Kevin Drum - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:42

President Trump is talking. That is, he’s stringing words together into vaguely sentence-like constructions. Let’s listen in via my carefully curated Twitter feed. I guarantee that this captures the spirit of Trump’s remarks better than any normal media story you’ll read:

Categories: Politics

Amazon Spokesman Blames AOC For New York Exit

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:37

It's Alexandria versus Amazon? Alexa, who won that legendary battle? NBC reports:

"If you talk to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it's 'Never Amazon,'" [Amazon spokesperson Jodi] Seth said. "If you talk to [New York City Councilman Jimmy] Van Bramer, it's unions." (New York is still a heavily unionized town, and Amazon's opposition to unions was frequently cited by those who fought the project.)

The main frustration for opponents of Amazon's project was the $3 billion that the company had been awarded in state and city incentives — a cost that opponents said would have been paid for by New York residents. Many also feared that the move would lead to gentrification and higher housing prices.

Following Amazon's announcement, Ocasio-Cortez, who represents a district adjacent to the project, commended "dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors" for defeating "Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world."

Ocasio-Cortez also tweeted her amusement that Amazon blamed her personally for the split:

Categories: Politics

Mom from family separation lawsuit says traumatized daughter screams 'Mama, mama' in the night

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:35

A child’s first plane ride should be a fun one, perhaps part of a journey to visit grandma, or maybe a trip to Disneyland. But for “L.E.A.,” it was one that tore her away from her mom. The child and her mother, Leticia, fled Guatemala last May, only to be separated by U.S. agents at the southern border. Leticia was sent to Nevada, while L.E.A. was flown, by herself, thousands of miles away to New York. They would not see each other again for months.

Leticia now joins Elena, “Dania,” and three other families in seeking millions in damages after being forcibly separated and traumatized by the Trump administration. “The government intentionally subjected these six parents and their children, who were as young as five, to extraordinary trauma that will have life-long implications,” law firm Arnold & Porter said in a statement.

L.E.A. is that 5-year-old. Leticia said that during the first part of their separation, not one official gave her information on her daughter’s whereabouts, or if she was even alive. She was only able to find her because a fellow detainee gave her the number of a social worker, who was then able to locate the girl in New York. “About one month after being forcibly separated from her daughter,” a legal filing in the case states, “Leticia and L.E.A. were finally able to speak to each other on the telephone.”

It would still be months until they were reunited. During this time, officials tried to deport Leticia after she failed her initial asylum interview through no fault of her own. “The asylum officer, claiming they were out of time, ended the interview before Leticia finished explaining why she feared for her life in Guatemala.” By then a federal judge had ordered the reunification of separated families, but officials threatened Leticia with a taser unless she signed their documents. It took an emergency filing from her attorney to block her imminent deportation.

Leticia and L.E.A. were finally reunited after four months and a day, but the separation has taken its toll despite their being together again. “L.E.A.’s suffering has continued since her release,” the legal filing continues. “She has nightmares. Leticia is often woken by her daughter in the middle of the night, still asleep and sweating, screaming, ‘mama, mama.’” Friday, Feb. 15, marks 204 days since a federal judge’s reunification deadline, but children stolen from families at the border are still in U.S. custody. Family separation remains a crisis.

Categories: Politics

In a single year, Trump has had 10 judicial nominees who don't agree with school desegregation

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:10

The presidency of Donald Trump has not been a successful one for him—except for the obscene amount of havoc and pain he has inflicted upon the most vulnerable people in our society. As part of his reign of terror, Trump has appointed a record number of conservative federal judges, many of whom hold absolutely frightening views on race, religion, and reproductive justice. In fact, their retrograde views seem to be a necessary qualification for becoming a judicial nominee under this administration. 

As an example, Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court decision that ended school segregation, has been universally supported in the legal community. It is considered to be beyond debate. Yet Trump has put forth at least ten judicial nominees in the past year who refuse to offer an opinion on Brown.  As Mother Jones reports, earlier this month, Trump’s nominee to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Neomi Rao, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She is positioned to take the seat left vacant by Brett Kavanaugh when he was confirmed to the Supreme Court. In her hearing, Rao refused to answer whether she thought Brown was correctly decided. 

Asked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) whether the court had made the right decision in Brown, Rao replied, “As a judicial nominee, I think it’s not appropriate for me to comment on the correctness of particular precedents.”

When pressed for a yes or no answer, Rao only replied that the case was “an incredibly important decision of the Supreme Court.”

Categories: Politics

Trump Plans to Steal $6 Billion From National Defense for His Wall

Kevin Drum - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:09

The shutdown crisis is over:

President Trump is speaking at an event in the Rose Garden, where his acting chief of staff says he will announce that he will sign spending legislation to avert a government shutdown and at the same declare a national emergency with the aim of securing about $6.5 billion more to build his long-promised border wall without congressional approval.

….Trump is eyeing about $600 million from a Treasury Department drug forfeiture fund and $2.5 billion from a Department of Defense drug interdiction program, according to officials. In addition, the president wants to use $3.6 billion in military construction funds to help build his new border barriers. Of the different pots of money, White House officials believe only a military construction account requires a national emergency designation.

Maybe some budget expert can help us out here. My first question is: What’s the point? There are only seven months left in the fiscal year, and I doubt Trump could spend $6 billion in seven months even if nothing (i.e., lawsuits) stood in his way. Second: What was the Pentagon planning to do with this money? A mere few months ago we were being told that our military was in such dire ramshackle shape that it desperately need a huge budget increase. Did that turn out not to be true? Were they wasting so much money that they won’t even notice that they’re losing $6 billion? Inquiring minds want to know.

Categories: Politics

Twitter reacts to Donald Trump's 'emergency' declaration

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:02

As the Orange Buffoon detailed the national emergency our nation currently faces—that emergency being Trump facing the wrath of his rabid base over his epic fail to get his racist wall—Twitter went, “Huh?”



Categories: Politics

Trump declares an emergency in the middle of the worst Trump speech ever—and that's saying something

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:00

Donald Trump walked into the Rose Garden on Friday morning, and, as expected, abused the National Emergency Act to appropriate funds for a wall along the southern border. What many probably didn’t expect was a speech so bumbling, random, and scattered that it made the average Donald Trump speech play like Shakespeare. 

Mexico wouldn’t pay for his wall. Congress wouldn’t pay for his wall. So the “great dealmaker” simply determined to steal the money from other projects—including those genuinely effective in reducing the flow of drugs into the United States.

Protect Democracy is standing by to file a lawsuit to halt Trump’s theft of $6.7 billion dollars. Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro is ready with a resolution to end Trump’s declaration in Congress. One or both of these may fail, and NBC reports that Trump is prepared to veto anything that reaches his desk. But there’s little doubt that court actions will keep Trump’s attempt tied up for months and prevent any actual construction on the border. In fact, it may well confuse the situation enough that the fencing authorized by Congress in legislation is also put on hold. 

To get his money, Trump will take money from the Department of Defense from funds that were requested by the Pentagon and approved by Congress. These are funds that were earmarked not just for addressing emergencies, but for building military infrastructure. Trump is essentially stealing classrooms and homes from military families, taking hospital beds away from veterans. And he’s taking money from proven, effective programs to interdict drugs to fund a boondoggle that every expert agrees will not address the issue. What’s very likely to happen is that Trump will not get his wall, but that effective programs will be wrecked in the process.

The National Emergency Act was intended to deal with emergencies. As in situations that hit so fast, such as the events on 9/11, that some response is required before Congress can convene. What the authors of the act never even contemplated was a situation in which the executive branch might use the National Emergency Act to simply overrule the outcome of negotiations within the legislative branch. 

Categories: Politics

Republican Bill Weld Announces He May Challenge Trump, And Other News

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:44

It's finally Friday. Boy, doesn't every week feel like it lasted a year?

Former MA Gov. Bill Weld, who's kind of a flake (now identifies as libertarian) is looking at running for the Republican nomination. Will this open the door for a primary fight? Who knows? He's not a really big name, and Republicans are just deer caught in the headlights where Trump's concerned:

Categories: Politics

'Bring Back The Childhood Diseases!' Says Wife Of White House Communications Director

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:42
'Bring Back The Childhood Diseases!' Says Wife Of White House Communications Director

Anti-vaxxers are literally a pox on the nation. Here, the wife of the Communications Director for the White House and former co-president of Fox News tweets something incredibly irresponsible out there, and it'll likely get received by Trump cultists just in time to make more kids sick. That these Trump people are dangerous sociopaths is not hyperbole, not Fake News. That's just what they are.

Source: Washington Post

Darla Shine, the outspoken wife of White House communications director Bill Shine, has been tweeting about childhood diseases, claiming that illnesses such as measles, mumps, and chickenpox “keep you healthy & fight cancer.” Health experts warn that the claim is not true and adds to misinformation that could cause harm.

Darla Shine, who has been known to tweet out stories with anti-vaccination claims, wrote Wednesday on Twitter that “The entire Baby Boom population alive today had the #Measles as kids."

She added: “I had the #Measles #Mumps #ChickenPox as a child and so did every kid I knew — Sadly my kids had #MMR so they will never have the life long natural immunity I have. Come breathe on me!”

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Categories: Politics

Happy National Emergency Day!

Balloon Juice - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:25

We all know that there’s no national emergency on the southern US border. We all also know that this will not stop the President in declaring a national emergency this morning. The devil will, of course, be in the details. Specifically we’ll need to see not what the President actually says this morning, though that is likely to be hyperbolic and factually incorrect, but what the actual declaration says. Because the drafting of it was surely a fight between the President’s senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, who has a bachelors degree in what is generally reported as political science, and the actual attorneys at the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel and the White House Counsel’s Office who are trying to mitigate potential damage by keeping the declaration as close to constitutional (constitutionally adjacent?) as possible.

Here’s the live feed:

I leave you with the timeless wisdom of Vice President Pence regarding what the President is going to do today:

Expect the crazy to go the whole day…

Open thread!

Categories: Politics

Donald Trump's Friday: Declare national emergency, jet off for golf weekend

Daily Kos - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 09:41

Donald Trump’s Friday morning: declare a national emergency.

Donald Trump’s Friday afternoon: jet off to Mar-a-Lago.

Things are so terrible at the border, so incredibly dangerous despite what all the statistics tell us, that it is an EMERGENCY to build a wall. The emergency is not so severe, however, that Trump doesn’t have the leisure to hang with billionaires at his private club and do some secret golfing. After a few hours of executive time, of course. The man’s got to rest up between ranting while signing some pieces of paper and getting on Air Force One.

Priorities, I tell you.

Categories: Politics

Imagine This

Balloon Juice - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 09:36

Imagine if a 37-year-old newly-elected white Democratic congressman from a safe seat asked Elliot Abrams the same questions as Ilhan Omar asked him Wednesday.  Now, imagine that the same guy advocated for a 70% marginal tax rate.

In my imagination, I’m guessing that the Abrams testimony would have perhaps gotten some play on YouTube and perhaps a mention on MSNBC.  I’m not sure about that, because these blob members sure think that their collective shit smells like roses.  And I also imagine that the 70% marginal rate proposal would have been ignored.

I don’t have a deep observation to make here, but from the perspective of pure political power, AOC and Ilhan Omar have it, and they are wielding it wisely.  Omar’s apology was pitch perfect.  AOC’s response to petty criticism on Twitter is consistently good.  The right is afraid of these women, and they should be.

Categories: Politics

Fox: Trump Is Fighting The Real Enemy

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 09:12

Media Matters has a supercut of Fox hosts conceding that President Trump's fight for the wall is primarily about reelection:

Fox contributor Dan Bongino explicitly said that Trump’s insistence on building a wall is about giving him a "political victory,” stating, "This is not about immigration. I think everybody at this table knows this.” Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy claimed Trump needs a wall "because he needs to start running for re-election." Fox’s Tomi Lahren argued, “When President Trump listens to his instincts on this, he is right, which is why he won the election in 2016. He will win on it again in 2020....”

The voters in Trump's base hate and fear immigrants, but they hate and fear Democrats more. We're the enemy. We're always the enemy. We were the enemy in the Bush years, when the right loved the Iraq War, torture, and Gitmo primarily because we hated them. We were in favor of going into Afghanistan, so the Bushies had to start another war, just to piss us off (not that they minded).

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Categories: Politics

Why So Shocked? Everything Has Always Been Okay If You're A Republican

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 09:12

You gotta love it. Morning Joe has a clip of Mike Pence speaking out in 2014 against President Barack Obama's use of executive orders in 2014:

"It would be a profound mistake for the president of the United states to overturn American immigration law with the stroke of a pen. Signing an executive order, giving a speech, barnstorming around the country defending that executive order is not leadership. I would implore the president to reconsider this path and demonstrate the kind of leadership that the American people long to see, that the administration would sit down with this newly minted Republican congress and find genuine common ground. If the president of the United States, if he were to go through with this, I think he's acting outside the consent of the government and he's not providing real leadership to solve this intractable issue facing our country the way the country would expect a leader to do."

"Wow. Things happen. You forget stuff. Does Vice President Mike Pence forget that he says that? Does he forget that's what he believed? Does he forget that's him talking about leadership and how it should be properly used as president of the United sStates? Does he forget he said that? what has happened to him?"

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Categories: Politics

Another One Bites The Dust

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 09:11

Staying three or four feet ahead of the sheriff and his posse, another Trump appointee is packing up and leaving town.

Brock Long, who investigators determined misused government vehicles during 400-mile commutes to his home in North Carolina, is stepping down as the head of FEMA, the agency chief revealed.

The unauthorized trips cost the taxpayers $151,000. He has also been politely asked to refund the cost of a family vacation to Hawaii. Funding the lavish lifestyles of Trump’s friends is eating its way through my wallet.

This is the dude who was FEMA chief during the Puerto Rico hurricane. I guess the paper towels were his idea.

Get this: before he left he sent an email to staff thanking them for this “incredible journey.” He ignored thanking them for every damn thing he could steal.

Crossposted at juanitajean.com

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Categories: Politics