Thursday, February 01, 2018

Cruising the Web

The Democrats seem to have adopted a position of desiring to refuse any deal on immigration. Their base is demanding that they don't deal with Trump and that they don't give way on anything that would limit immigration so that's their position. The result is that they're basically telling the people affected under DACA to forget about getting their situation resolved because the Democrats are too busy resisting Trump. They've moved so far to the left on immigration that they've moved past positions that they held just a few years ago. For example, Steven Hayward found this video of Chuck Schumer from 2009.
Illegal immigration is wrong plain and simple. Until the American people are convinced that we will stop future flows of illegal immigration, we will make no progress on dealing with the millions of illegal immigrants who are here now and on rationalizing our system of legal immigration... When we use phrases like ‘undocumented workers,’ we convey a message to the American people that their government is not serious about combating illegal immigration, which the American people overwhelmingly oppose. "If you don’t think it’s illegal you’re not going to say it. I think it is illegal and wrong and we have to change it.
Now Democrats love calling them "undocumented workers and object calling them illegal. But here is Schumer saying nine years ago in 2009. Remember, that was when Obama was president and the Democrats controlled both houses with a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the Senate, yet didn't do anything on immigration. But back then Schumer was enunciating proposals that would make many Republicans happy today. Schumer could make a deal with Trump today with what Schumer outlined as his seven principles in 2009.
1. Illegal immigration is wrong. A primary goal of comprehensive immigration reform must be to dramatically curtail future illegal immigration.

2. Operational control of our borders, through significant additional increases in infrastructure, technology and border personnel must be achieved within a year of enactment.

3. A biometric-based employment verification system with tough enforcement and auditing is necessary to significantly diminish the job magnet that attracts illegal aliens to the United States and to provide certainty and simplicity for employers.

4. All illegal aliens present in the United States on the date of enactment of our bill must quickly register their presence with the United States government and submit to a rigorous process of converting to legal status and earning the path to citizenship, or face imminent deportation.

5. Family immigration is a cornerstone value of our immigration system. By dramatically reducing illegal immigration, we we can create more room for family immigration and employer-based immigration.

6. We must encourage the world’s best and brightest individuals to come to the United States and create the new technologies and businesses that will employ countless American workers. But we must discourage businesses from using our immigration laws as a means to obtain temporary and less expensive foreign labor to replace capable American workers.

7. We must create a system that converts the current flow of primarily low skill illegal immigrants into the United States into a more manageable and controlled flow of legal immigrants who can be absorbed by our economy.
If Schumer proposed this today, he'd be drummed out of leadership.

Hayward alsolinks to a 2015 clip of Bernie Sanders blaming the Koch brothers for the idea of having "open borders." So just two years ago, this was Bernie Sanders' position on having open borders - you know that Koch Brothers' plot.
It would make everybody in America poorer —you're doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don't think there's any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don't believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.

You know what youth unemployment is in the United States of America today? If you're a white high school graduate, it's 33 percent, Hispanic 36 percent, African American 51 percent. You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers, or do you think maybe we should try to get jobs for those kids?

I think from a moral responsibility we've got to work with the rest of the industrialized world to address the problems of international poverty, but you don't do that by making people in this country even poorer.
That could sound like Trump today. But that was Sanders back in 2015. But now the party has moved way to the left of positions that their leaders would have fought for in the past. Damon Linker writes at The Week that "liberals have lost their minds over immigration."
Policy positions adopted by their opponents, which liberals of the past would have considered wrong but perfectly legitimate, are now deemed morally unacceptable threats to our form of government — a hazard to the soul of American democracy akin to the danger that an outbreak of a deadly plague would pose to individual American bodies.

Nowhere has this change been clearer or more dramatic than on immigration, and never more so than in reactions to the proposal floated by the White House late last week. In return for providing a permanent path to citizenship for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, the Trump administration hopes to gain approval for significant cuts to legal immigration.

There are three ways to respond to such a proposal. The first is to make a pragmatic case that cutting legal immigration will harm the economy. The second is to make a moral case that cutting legal immigration will betray America's highest ideals. Both responses implicitly presume that there will be legitimate arguments made on the other side and that those arguments may well prevail in the back and forth of public debate.

But a surprisingly large number of liberals are taking a third, and very different, approach — not claiming that cuts to legal immigration shouldn't be made, but that the very act of proposing and defending them in the first place is morally illegitimate. These liberals appear to believe that immigration restrictionists should be excluded on principle from participating in public debate and discussion about immigration policy in the United States.

This is absurd.
Such a position seems to argue that we should have totally open borders. This was a fine principle when we were still filling up the continent as we were back in the 19th century and before we had generous social welfare policies providing poor people with enough aid on which an immigrant family could live. Linker notes the huge increase in immigration which we've seen in the past 50 years.
The increase during the intervening five decades was a product of democratically enacted policy. The liberal position amounts to saying that the U.S. should be forbidden from changing this policy, with the country locked into continuing on our current course, no matter what voters think or want.

That is an untenable position in a country that professes to be democratic — yet it is one that growing numbers of liberals are quite eager to adopt.
Linker describes how liberals have been depending on the courts to fight back against Trump by declaring his policy positions "unconstitutional and therefore politically illegitimate." It's not enough to oppose those positions in the political sphere.
Over the past year, federal courts have repeatedly taken stands against Trump administration policies, often on the flimsiest of legal or constitutional grounds. Increasingly, political argument itself is taking the same form, with liberals asserting that Trump Policy X is not just bad for reasons a, b, and c, but that it transgresses some unwritten standard of moral rightness that renders it prima facie unacceptable and illegitimate. Most often the rationale offered for this judgment amounts to the assertion that the policy, or the motive behind it, is racist (or nativist, or xenophobic, or sexist, or homophobic, or transphobic).

And so it has been with the administration's proposal to cut rates of legal immigration, which liberals are lambasting in large part because they are convinced that it (along with its primary author, Stephen Miller) is racist.

The problem is that determining what is and what is not racism is itself partially a political act — which means that liberals can't claim an exclusive right to make such determinations unless they want to be persuasively accused of trying to usurp political power for themselves.

This is abundantly clear from liberal reaction to the administration's proposal to cut legal immigration. During the same decades when the immigrant share of the population has risen to historically high levels, immigration from Mexico has come to dominate. Where once immigrants from a large number of countries were dispersed throughout states across the nation, that is no longer the case.
He points to the growth of Mexican immigration since 1980.
The liberal position appears to be that, even though these trends came about as a result of deliberate changes in immigration policy since 1965, American citizens cannot dislike or wish to alter them in any significant way because that would be racist. Americans may therefore either affirm the status quo or passively accept it, and perhaps be permitted to favor slight adjustments to the mix of considerations that go into the decision regarding who gets approved for work visas and green cards. But actually cutting the number immigrants admitted annually or making changes that could result in a drop in the number of Mexicans relative to those from other countries of origin? That is unacceptable — because, apparently, morality requires that immigration levels remain frozen at their current levels, even if it means that the cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and racial character of the country changes significantly as a result. About such issues, morally acceptable citizens can have no negative opinion.
But a lot of people do have worries about these changes. The liberals are trying to transform the argument to say that anyone who wonders about whether these numbers are good for the country is, by definition, a racist and should be thrown out of the political debate. There are a lot of Americans who would then be considered deplorable. But when you define disagreement with your position as racist, you rule out any ope of compromise.
Politics at its most fundamental level is a debate about who we are — all of us. The intensifying tendency to set the terms of that debate in such a way that only liberals can take part isn't going end well. Those who end up excluded will claim that their opponents are just trying to win dirty.

And they will be right.

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It's all enough to make people wonder, as Jason Riley writes, if the Democrats even want a compromise on immigration.
First, we had Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, stroll out of a private meeting with the president and share with the media Mr. Trump’s crude remarks about immigrant homelands. Mr. Durbin had to know that by publicizing the alleged comments, he was jeopardizing any potential deal. His intent was to sabotage the discussions, not advance them.

A few days later, after the White House released an immigration framework detailing the president’s priorities, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected it out of hand as a “wish list” for “anti-immigration hard-liners.” Given that those hard-liners dismissed the very same White House framework as a sop to Democrats like Mr. Schumer, the senator’s criticism seems rather curious.

The administration’s proposal includes a multiyear path to citizenship for Dreamers, an end to the Diversity Visa lottery, a reduction in family-based migration, an increase in merit-based visas, and funding for additional barricades along the Mexican border. None of those provisions, mind you, come out of the blue. All of them were included in a bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013, with support from Messrs. Schumer and Durbin, before dying in the House. At least the immigration restrictionists are being consistent....

The Democrats don’t sound like a party that wants to tackle immigration reform and help productive people who find themselves in America illegally through no fault of their own. They sound like they’re looking for an issue to run on in the November midterm elections. For a taste of what’s coming, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, called the White House immigration proposal an effort “to make America white again.”

Everyone knows that Donald Trump made The Wall a central plank of his campaign, and Democrats are now feigning shock that additional border security is a precondition of broader immigration reform. They’re also playing down Mr. Trump’s willingness to compromise.

Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, explained on “Fox News Sunday” that the administration initially planned to extend protection only to the 690,000 Dreamers who received work permits under the Obama -era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Democrats, however, wanted to include a larger number of people who were eligible for DACA but too afraid to apply.

The White House complied, said Mr. Short, and the resulting proposal went “further than many people thought [the president] would in providing not just permanent residence but also a pathway to citizenship for roughly 1.8 million people.”

...For their part, Democrats must decide if it’s worth keeping the Dreamers in limbo for the sake of opposition to a wall in particular and Mr. Trump generally. The president seems to understand that he’s not going to get everything that he wants on immigration. When will Democrats reach the same realization?

Ben Shapiro examines how the Democrats have gone from being a "loyal opposition" to being simply the anti-Trump party.
Democrats sat.

Now, Republicans were anti-Obama, certainly. But they didn’t sit through his State of the Union addresses. They cheered when they agreed, and they sat when they disagreed.

But Democrats just sat.

They didn’t just sit, actually. They grimaced. They groaned. They booed and hissed. And it wasn’t just that they disapproved of Trump on policy. It’s that they refused to stand for things they supposedly believe in because they hate Trump so much. Paid family leave? They sat. Infrastructure spending? They sat. Amnesty for 1.8 million illegal immigrants? They sat.

And then they sat some more. They sat when Trump touted the American flag. They sat when Trump touted American freedom. They sat when Trump touted low black unemployment rates. They sat when Trump cheered American opportunity.

They sat because the Democratic Party has become a party focused on one figure and one figure only: Donald Trump. That’s a high-risk, high-reward strategy. It’s high-risk because it assumes that the American people despise Trump as much as they do — and last night, the polls didn’t show it. Americans liked Trump’s speech. They thought Trump was channeling something unifying. They saw Trump as a man trying to get things done, and cheerleading for other Americans. Democrats sat through all of that because they believe that Americans hate Trump the way they do — that Americans hate Trump more than they love what makes America excellent.

Because Democrats despise Trump so much, the chances of any sort of bipartisan deal are dead. On virtually everything. And that’s great news for Trump and conservatives, since Trump can now make virtually any concession to make himself look moderate, knowing Democrats will turn it down; meanwhile, conservatives don’t have to worry about Trump cutting a bad deal, because Democrats have no intention of cutting any deal.


Lachlan Markay and Andrew Desiderio write over at Daily Beast about how Trump outsmarted the Democrats during the State of the Union. They argue, and it certainly seemed that way, that Trump was basically trolling them. He and his speechwriters knew that the Democrats were so far into their #Resistance pose that Trump could strike a pose of his own of reasonable bipartisanship and the Democrats would look like they were uninterested in compromise. He knew also that he could include messages that the great majority of Americans would endorse or be glad to hear and the Democrats, by looking like they had been swallowing sour prunes, would present the worst possible face to the audience.
Democrats did their best to show their displeasure with Trump’s address—with many lawmakers rolling their eyes, shaking their heads, and groaning at some of the president’s remarks. Others looked down at their cell phones for much of the evening.

Even before Trump started, the indifference and rancor was evident. When the president made his way to the podium, Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) remained seated, reading a newspaper.

The structure of the speech seemed designed, at times, to produce this imagery. Trump led with positive economic news and a rundown of companies investing in the United States or awarding their employees raises or bonuses. With cameras attuned to the members of Congress in the crowd, the economic talking points produced memorable dichotomies between the ostensibly positive news heralded from the podium and the sour faces of congressional Democrats in the crowd.
My 10th graders immediately picked up on this. They'd mostly never watched a State of the Union address before so they weren't aware of all the staged applause from the president's party and stiff posture refusing to stand from the opposing party. All they noticed was how angry the Democrats looked the whole time. I expect that a lot of people came away from that speech noticing that. And if they didn't watch the speech, then they saw the clips and memes afterwards.
After the speech, one senior administration official gloated to The Daily Beast that “Dems have been putting down thousand-dollar raises for a month. Tonight they did it on camera, in front of millions.”

“Democrats boxed themselves in on this,” another White House official said after the speech, giddy over the optics, however fleeting, of “grumpy, out of touch” Democrats.
I don't know that one good SOTU will have much impact in November or in helping to pass any of Trump's agenda items. But it served to change the conversation for a few days away from what a terrible person Trump is to how seemingly indifferent the Democrats are to good news for the country because they'd prefer to be attacking Republicans than acknowledging that the economy is improving and the tax cuts on corporations which they'd been blasting for the past two months might actually be playing a role in improving economic forecasts.

The issues the Democrats refused to applaud make quite a list.



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Michael Wolff keeps becoming even more noxious. He's doubling down on insulting Nikki Haley.
Controversial author Michael Wolff is hitting back at Nikki Haley after the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations denied having an affair with President Trump.

In an interview with theSkimm, Wolff said Haley “seems to have embraced” the rumor that he started.

Haley, however, in an interview last week with Politico, called the claim that she was romantically involved with Trump “highly offensive” and “disgusting.”

Wolff, the author of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, fueled the claim during an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time” earlier this month, pointing to a passage in his book about Haley.

“It is absolutely not true,” Haley responded.

When theSkimm confronted Wolff about Haley being “distraught” about the rumor, he brushed off her comments.

“Or she seems to me — I would say she seems to have embraced it,” Wolff said. “All she does is hammer on this fact. I mean, if I were being accused of something, and I am not accusing her of anything. She hasn’t tried to avoid this, let’s say.”
That's a pretty trick he's trying to play - if she responds to his insinuations she's embracing the accusation. And I bet, if she didn't respond, he'd be able to crow that she hasn't denied it.

How funny. The Washington Post changed their headline on Trump's speech when they got pushback on social media. After getting tweets criticizing their headline, they changed the headline an hour later.

I've been discussing with my AP Government class the ways that Congress has tried to rein in the president and the Executive Branch. One of the steps they've taken is to create the position of inspectors general to investigate alleged wrongdoing within government departments and agencies. As Peter Hasson points out, the Democrats thought they were doing something beneficial for them by asking the inspector general in the Department of Justice, an Obama appointee, to investigate whether the FBI had an anti-Clinton bias in their investigation of her private server. The only problem for them is that the inspector general is finding the exact opposite.
Documents obtained and published by conservative watchdog Judicial Watch also suggest that McCabe may have steered the Clinton investigation away from an indictment.

The emails show McCabe’s wife emailed him a report in True Pundit, an anonymously written, pro-Trump website, which quoted an FBI source accusing McCabe and other FBI officials of soft-pedaling the Clinton investigation because they were rooting for her to win....
The Peter Strzok-Lisa Page texts about the Clinton investigation and Trump were brought to light because of the inspector general's investigation.
During the Clinton investigation, Strzok led the interviews of top Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin — neither of whom faced consequences for making false statements in those interviews.

Comey drafted a letter exonerating Clinton months before the investigation ended, and months before the FBI ever interviewed Clinton and her aides. Comey’s draft originally described Clinton’s handling of the server as “grossly negligent” — a term that carries legal significance but was later charged to “extremely careless.”

Strzok, who later conducted the interviews with Clinton and her aides, is reportedly responsible for watering down the investigation’s conclusion months before it was finished. He was also a key agent in the investigation into Russian meddling, before being taken off of the probe in July.
Without that inspector general assignment to report on all this, none of this would have been brought to light.

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This exchange perfectly represents how absurd media coverage of politics is these days: CNN's reporters pondered what the symbolism was of Melania wearing white to the SOTU is.
And after being teed up by CNN host Jake Tapper, Bennett tried to read into the secret message the First Lady was trying to send, with her dress. “You know, she's wearing a cream-colored suit there, which I find interesting. Remember last year the female Democratic Senators all wore white,” she recalled while claiming it was to protests Trump’s anti-woman policies.

“Listen, it could be a total coincidence, but I just find a lot of the stuff she does these days, to look at it twice,” Bennett continued.

“I think Maureen Dowd called her the “Slovenian Sphinx,” everybody looking at her and trying to decipher the mysteries,” Tapper quipped, apparently buying into the ridiculousness.
So they're basically admitting that they have no idea if there is any meaning behind anything they're saying, but they just love speculating about it. Since they're admitting that, what reason is there for anyone to listen to them? And, by the way, how about she chose white to stand out on camera?

MSNBC's Joy Reid demonstrates how deep the gap is between what people of the left believe about this country and average Americans. Really? Is that the position of the left about "church, family, police, military and the National Anthem?"

But then the ACLU is complaining
about how many times Trump used the word 'America' in his speech Tuesday night. They find that just oo exclusionary. Apparently, an American president shouldn't refer to America. Is that really what the left wants to argue?