The Swamp

I decided to put all of my “controversial” writings (ie. politics) on this blog from now on. I’ve been fairly idle with political commentary for years but I was inspired to start up again, as you might guess, by the election of Donald Trump. There was such an incredible explosion of fear, outrage, and yes, gloating, that I just had to start writing again. My feelings about politics in a nutshell is that everyone is wrong about everything.

Behind the Tweet: Possibility of New Election

It’s time for another episode of Behind The Tweet. This time, another “rogue” account:

“GOP worried if they press Rus-Pres ties & impeach, possibility of new election could occur; smartest play for dems – promise no redo.” – @RogueSNRadvisor

If you still held any lingering doubts about whether these rogue accounts were fake, this should seal it for you.

Either it’s fake, or senior White House advisers are dumb as rocks, which would be even more alarming.

Hopefully I don’t have to explain why this made me laugh out loud, but in case you aren’t aware of how things work in the U. S., the Constitution, the Presidential Succession Act, and the 25th Amendment spells out quite clearly what happens when a president is impeached. Or more precisely, who takes over after a president stops serving.

There is no possibility of a new election. Until 2020.

Vice President Mike Pence will become president if Donald Trump is impeached. (It’s possible, but I think the chances are still slim at this point.)

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will become president if both Donald Trump and Mike Pence are impeached simultaneously. (A very highly unlikely possibility.)

I’m not entirely sure how a new vice president is selected in either of those cases, but I’m sure it’s spelled out somewhere.

The point is: Whoever wrote that tweet is spreading lies and misinformation, essentially trolling liberals.

On Sally Yates

From old drafts, c. January 31, finally remembering to post:

Regarding the firing of Sally Yates as temporary Attorney General: I don’t like the ugliness of it, but Trump is well within his rights to fire her or anyone else who refuses to carry out his directives.

He could have done it gracefully or like a big old meanie, and of course he chose the latter, sounding very much like a tyrannical dictator in his statement. The clear intention is, “You will be loyal to me or you will be fired.” He’s trying to run the federal government like a private corporation.

Anyway, the real mistake that Yates made was being *publicly* disloyal. No administration would tolerate that.

In the larger picture, I’m a little concerned about whole swaths of people in government suddenly trying to defy the president and getting fired. Most of the government is run by an assortment of bi-partisan folks. If all the leftward-leaning partisan folks get fired, it leaves only rightward-leaning partisan folks, and suddenly the everyday workings of the government take a huge swing over to the right wing. That’ll be great for Trump, but possibly not so great for whoever follows him. (Yes, someone else will follow him.)

Piers Morgan Demonstrates Centrism In America

On Real Time with Bill Maher, Piers Morgan did an excellent job of demonstrating what it’s like to be a centrist white guy in America right now. The above clip is just one example.

Say something completely reasonable and true? Get shouted down, because it doesn’t fit the left’s current narrative that the world is ending. And because it comes from a white guy, the opinion is automatically invalid (because the narrative is that of course white guys don’t get it because Trump’s agenda won’t hurt white guys).

I don’t agree with the travel ban but calling it a “Muslim ban” is 100% propaganda. Even calling it a “travel ban” is a bit broad.

Fun with 8 US Code 1182

I watched Sean Spicer’s press conference when I got home tonight, and one part struck me as information I had not heard before. He cited 8 US Code 1182 as the president’s authority to suspend immigration in his Executive Order (around 7:00 in the video). He read it out loud, and it sounded pretty clear-cut to me. It was the first time I heard any mention of where they derived their authority.

I couldn’t help but notice that I heard it first from the Press Secretary and not from any media outlet.

Anyway, I went to my Googles and looked it up to verify it. (I have to take it on faith that Cornell has the real and accurate text of the U.S. Code on their web site.) Here’s the whole section:

(f)Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline.

Emphasis mine. I’m no lawyer but that sounds pretty clear to me. Sure looks like the President can basically do whatever he wants with immigration.

Can’t Keep Up

It’s official: I can’t keep up with Trump anymore.

Every day he signs new orders, says new things, writes new tweets, and I don’t have time to keep reading them and trying to figure out what the heck they mean or whether to push the panic button or not.

This was undoubtedly the plan, the way to keep us ordinary citizens from keeping an eye on the government, forcing us to rely on media organizations to distill it down for us, which they always do wrong.

P.S. I don’t think it’s time to push the panic button yet, but this Republican ideal carried forward from the Bush administration of creating a locked-down police state is very annoying.

Weekend Immigration Protests

By the way, there is much more to talk about regarding the Executive Order on Immigration and its impact over the past weekend (detainees at airports, ACLU, stays, etc.), but the news is flying around so fast and furious that it’s basically impossible to sort out what’s real and what’s fiction right now. Depending on who you listen to, everything is either back to normal, or there are armed stand-offs between all three branches of government. (That is an exaggeration for comedic effect, I have not actually heard that–either claim, actually.)

I’m fairly confident nobody is being taken to “black sites” though.

Behind the Tweet: Rumors are true

Here’s another beauty:

That’s completely preposterous. Pure fear-mongering. Throwing gasoline onto a fire. Whatever other metaphor I can think of.

I don’t believe these “rogue” government Twitter accounts are real for one second. I was instantly suspicious the moment I saw them.

Why?

Because real government whistle-blowers go to the press, where they get protection.

Also, you know, I read some of their tweets. Like the one above. They aren’t credible. They’re probably the same anarchists who protest in the streets regardless of who wins an election.

Tonight I’m seeing people circulate the idea that @RoguePOTUSStaff is a Russian disinformation campaign.

I don’t necessarily agree with that either, but I’m at least happy to see the people who were enthusiastically ready to follow the rogue government accounts into battle, are now showing some doubts.

I guess the only way to kill one fiction is to invent an even bigger fiction. 🙂

Executive Order On Immigration

I’m not pleased with Trump’s Executive Order restricting immigration.

It runs contrary to the spirit of America.

I understand the need to vet immigrants, but a universal ban on immigration, particularly banning refugees from war-torn Syria, sends a really bad message to the world that I’m embarrassed to be a part of.

I’m particularly embarrassed by the priority given to Christian immigrants. That, in my opinion, is the work of Mike Pence, who I’m increasingly worried is pulling Trump’s puppet strings.

That being said, I cannot find the specific language in the Executive Order which prioritizes Christians over other faiths. I can’t help but wonder how you prove someone is a Christian or not anyway. Oh, here it is, it’s hidden:

“the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”

So it’s not “Christians” per se it’s “minority religions in the country of origin.”

Regardless, that is a direct violation of the American principle of religious neutrality.

Lest we give up hope, however, here is some good news.

The ban only lasts 90 days:

“I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order”

There is language in the Executive Order which allows exceptions:

“the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.”

And … well, there are elections coming up in 2020.

UPDATE

Saturday night a federal judge in New York ruled that people with valid visas could not be sent back to their country origin. That’s how separation of powers is supposed to work. It’s only temporary, though. The judge’s ruling is only going to help people stuck in airports, it won’t have any effect on future immigration.

Behind the Status: This is funny to us

Note: This is my first post after making some changes to the site’s infrastructure. I hope it’s still working.

Here’s another fun bit of conservative propaganda I found on Facebook:

Once again I have to point out that you can make any political point with data and statistics, liberal, conservative, or any variation between.

And here’s another reminder that I still don’t know the source for that picture of the National Mall or when it was taken. However, calling it “not accurate” is … not accurate, as I’ve discussed before.

Now about that voting map. First let’s point out that we can’t tell just from that Facebook post whether the map is real or not, since there is nothing showing the source. Some guy could have made that image in Photoshop for all we know. But let’s assume it’s true because I’ve seen similar maps from a wide variety of sources, and it’s consistent with voting patterns from the last three presidents.

The most obvious thing I can say about that map is that while it looks like the amount of red totally dominates the amount of blue, in reality there are probably more people in the blue places than in the red places. That’s because most of those blue areas are probably urban areas, and most of those red areas are probably rural areas where you might not see another person for hundreds of miles.

I have to caveat the above statements with “probably” because the map is colored only with red and blue. It should be colored largely in shades of purple. The map makes it look like everyone in the red areas voted for Trump. In reality, those counties are colored red if more than 50% of voters went for Trump. If you were to color the map in such a way that it only showed red in places where 100% of voters went for Trump, there would not be very much red on that map.