Authoritarianism: May 20–26

Cindy Brown
May 26, 2018 · 21 min read

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  1. <sigh>

For those of you who can hear:

2. <sigh>

3. Not swampy at all.

4. Hmmm. Just dump the GOP and caucus with the Dems already you guys.

Denham and nearly two dozen of his fellow Republican lawmakers have now joined together, spurred by pressure back home and frustrated by the GOP leadership’s lack of action on a heated issue that has long stymied the party. They could represent the best chance that dreamers — beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — now have to secure legal protections under President Trump.

They are pitted against the conservatives who dominate the Republican rank-and-file and have campaigned against “amnesty” for people who are in the country illegally. The conservatives take their cues on the issue from a president who has angrily demanded a crackdown at the border but has also promised at times to solve the dreamers’ dilemma once and for all.

5. CBP and ICE need to be disbanded and replaced with an actual, functional agency, not this goon squad.

6. Because a huge swath of the media is fucking stupid, that’s why.

7. <sigh>

8. Yep.

9. Good read.

10. Tainted Justice

11. Трамп is demanding an investigation into why the DOJ is investigating him :-P

12. You would think more of the Republican base would be upset by this. That’s their donations at work…

13. Quite a few have made a similar observation about Rosenstein’s response to Трамп’s extraordinary demands.

See also

14. Because of course.

15. They just keep chipping away at this.

16. Policestate. Wasn’t controversial in the House at all.

17. Wonder how long this will last. Also, how much damage it will do while it does.

Just nine months ago, Trump and McConnell were locked in a bitter feud in the wake of the GOP’s failed effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Now, they are plotting together to keep control of the Senate in the midterm elections, with each realizing the other is crucial to his success.

“We’ve talked a lot about the Senate situation, the races, what he can do to help,” McConnell said. When it comes to energizing conservative voters this fall, McConnell said of Trump: “Only he can make that argument. He’s got the biggest megaphone.”

18. They’d rather see regime change than keep the sanctions treaty in place.

The new U.S. policy laid out a dozen new demands that put the Trump Administration on a collision course with the Iranian government — and falls only rhetorically short of supporting an uprising by the Iranian people. “At the end of the day, the Iranian people will decide the timeline,” Pompeo said, when asked how the new policy would play out. “At the end of the day, the Iranian people will get to make a choice about their leadership. If they make the decision quickly, that would be wonderful. If they choose not to do so, we will stay hard at this until we achieve the outcomes that I set forward today.”

We’re stiffing our allies, too.

The strategy leaves the United States at odds with the five other major powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia — that were equal partners to the nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the most significant non-proliferation agreement in more than a quarter century. The five other major powers have committed to adhering to the deal, with the European Union considering legislation that will nullify the effects of U.S. sanctions on foreign companies that continue doing business with Iran. The new U.S. strategy does, however, reflect the ambitions of key U.S. allies in the Middle East, notably Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

19. More on the current administration’s efforts to kill women and keep them second class citizens (unless attached to suitably wealthy white dudes).

20. Breakdown of how it is that Трамп is suddenly going on and on about being “spied on” by the FBI. Also, the speed at which Трамп changed the narrative to their actions covering up the investigation rather than the new revelations about money and campaign assistance from Gulf nations is staggering. The same speed at which the MSM went along with this pivot is depressing.

In particular, it cites this:

Also related:

21. Goldman Sachs says this. Goldman Sachs! I will temporarily refrain from my usual profanity-laced rants on this company to post this:

Asshole company. Hope it DIAF with all members living in poverty for the rest of their lives.

22. Swamp.

23. I suppose it’s the Environmental Poisoning Agency now. (Video, autocaptioned, by Democracy Now!). Worthwhile to contact/push your senators to keep Pruitt’s feet to the fire. Also probably worthwhile testing your water. <>

And of course it wouldn’t do to have any of this reported on:

24. And another source of huge problems in terms of keeping the citizenry accurately informed:

25. Food for thought.

26. Welp. We should be bankrupt at an even faster rate with these greedy sociopaths draining everything they can as fast as they can.

27. Interesting… (I also find it interesting that half of the Senate is on the Senate Banking Committee…)

The Senate Banking Committee approved an amendment in an overwhelming and bipartisan 23–2 vote that would block Trump from easing sanctions on ZTE without first certifying to Congress that the company is complying with U.S. law.

28. More on government censorship

29. Mike Pence’s legacy.

That the “domestic gag rule” is now being proposed by the White House serves as confirmation that Pence, though he appears to take a back seat to the president in the public eye, has been quietly exerting political influence within the Trump administration, particularly when it comes to outlawing abortion and limiting women’s rights.

30. Wow. Of course in a twisted way, Трамп’s supporters probably will love him for being “so much himself” & “telling it like it is” or some stupid shit like that…

Click through for the clip showing the quote:

31. By the way, in the midst of all that bloviating and lip flapping and other general attempts to mimic an indignant human being, remember that Трамп was actually warned about the Russians by the FBI in 2016.

32. Useful info on how propaganda works. By the way, ask yourself how familiar each Propaganda Suggestion is in many other contexts…

33. Don’s con, aided and abetted by Mikey. By the way, remember that earlier tidbit in an Authoritarianism report or three back about how the Ukraine dropped their end of cooperating on the Manafort investigation? Yep.

34. Nice.

35. Yowsa. Clapper seems to be all out of fucks to give.

36. Well THAT is interesting. Of course, now you get to define “critical twitter users.” Or was that critical in terms of criticizing or being critical to operations? Hm… Also, it’s unclear whether the ruling means Трамп has to go back and unblock people. I suppose we get to wait and see if he blocks new people after this ruling. Also, muting is not covered at all.

37. Jesus.

38. Because of course.

39. WHA-- ARGHH!! Granted, I want to note here, directly by Трамп himself.


40. Treasonweasels.

41. Oh FFS.

42. This is why I keep up with this weekly summary. You can trace the arcs from my first weeks to now… and really see the pace of change.

The picture becomes more alarming when we consider that individuals adapt not only to their own dishonesty but also to that of others. Research Harvard professors Francesca Gino and Max Bazerman shows that people are less likely to criticize the unethical actions of others when such behavior increases gradually over time. Politically speaking, this suggests that voters (and perhaps even the president’s own advisors) may desensitize to the president’s falsehoods in the same way that they do to overused perfume, making them less likely to act to correct this pattern of behavior. The absence of sanctions could in turn be interpreted as a “green light” by the president.

43. When you’re bent on deregulating everything…

44. Unsurprising. Except I think Stahl’s recounting of this isn’t using the actual words he used. He’s never that coherent when speaking or tweeting. “Discredit” and “demean” seem to be much too large for his present vocabulary :-P

45. Of course.

46. …of course

The memo presented three options without endorsing any of them: conducting a “red team/blue team” exercise to “highlight uncertainties in climate science”; more formally reviewing the science under the Administrative Procedure Act; or deciding to just “ignore, and not seek to characterize or question, the science being conducted by Federal agencies and outside entities.”

It did not consider touting federal scientists’ findings.

Although administration officials did not adopt a formal policy in the wake of these deliberations, in practice they have largely ignored the findings of U.S. government researchers. As a result, these scientists have continued to sound the alarm on climate effects such as sea-level rise and wildfires — even as top Trump officials emphasize that they can neither endorse nor repudiate these findings.

47. And yep:. We have a shambolic self-obsessed man posing as POTUS; he’ll accomplish zero except the degradation of the US global position. Now, fair enough that our turn is over since signs have been pointing that way long before Трамп, but I’d rather downgrade gracefully instead of hard reset.

Former officials and experts experienced with North Korea and northeast Asian diplomacy warned that the U.S. was now in a far worse geopolitical position — and that the pivotal nations of China and South Korea would blame Trump for the collapse of the summit. The dynamic that North Korea established in February, where it led a charm offensive at the Winter Olympics and portrayed itself as the driver of international events, is likely to prove far more durable than any summit, they said.

“We’re not just going to revert back to the way things were ahead of the Olympics,” said Abraham Denmark, the Pentagon’s senior Asia policy official during the Obama administration.

“North Korea’s international stature has grown significantly. Kim Jong-Un’s legitimacy is far greater than it was before. The U.S. is increasingly seen as the outlier in the region, not engaged.”

Note that he canceled without giving SK, nor any U.S. reporters still in NK, heads up on his statement. And the commemorative coin will continue…

48. >.< (ArmsControlWonk is a nuclear arms control policy expert).

49. Remember, she was hired for her batshit stupidity, vapid ideas, malignant racism and contempt of law.

“Inside the school,” Espaillat asked, “if a principal or a teacher finds out that a certain child is undocumented, or his or her family members are undocumented, do you feel that the principal or teacher is responsible to call [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and to have that family reported?”

“Sir, I think that’s a school decision,” DeVos responded. “That’s a local community decision. And again, I refer to the fact that we have laws and we also are compassionate, and I urge this body to do its job and address or clarify where there is confusion around this.”

Not so, say civil rights groups. The Supreme Court made clear in Plyler v. Doe that public schools have a constitutional obligation to provide schooling for children, regardless of immigration status. That means schools also cannot enforce measures that would deter undocumented children from registering. They cannot ask about immigration status. And according to the American Civil Liberties Union, they cannot report students or their families to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

50. Ugh.

It gets better. T’s lawyer, Flood, was apparently present for at least part of this. WTF??

51. They will just ignore this.

52. JFC…all the more reason not to cooperate with ICE and all the more reason to shut this agency down. HOW DO YOU LOSE 1.5K CHILDREN??

I want to note that much of this is a fire that was already burning; Трамп’s administration is simply pouring gasoline on it. The U.S. has a long history of separating children from parents, for example forcibly boarding Native American children away from their parents. Modern day versions have lost children, likely a percentage whisked away by human traffickers and so on.

I also want to know where the money is. Someone is making money from this state of affairs. Who and how?

And lest you think this is some one off thing, they’re preparing to scale up. And sure, let’s coopt the military into disappearing children:


Remember they are planning to separate children from parents, so this is going to pile up a lot more quickly than “just” the issue of unaccompanied minors. Here’s another piece:

Which is all why ICE needs to be abolished. Full stop.

From the ACLU. Note this has been a long time coming (these events during the Obama years). What, exactly, do you think will happen now that we have an administration that is explicitly, hatefully, anti immigrant?

And now let me administer the coup de grâce:

53. The actual fuck…what kind of shit playground politics is this?

54. T keeps trying to cast FBI investigation into Russia corruption and bribery of the GOP by calling them “spies”. This will work for his base. For the rest of us, not so much.

55. Трамп’s bottom line.

56. Remember how many judges the GOP are ramming through, after building up a huge backlog during Obama’s tenure.

Exploiting random case assignment, we find that Republican-appointed judges sentence black defendants to 3.0 more months than similar non-blacks and female defendants to 2.0 fewer months than similar males compared to Democratic-appointed judges, 65 percent of the baseline racial sentence gap and 17 percent of the baseline gender sentence gap, respectively. These differences cannot be explained by other judge characteristics and grow substantially larger when judges are granted more discretion.


57. Horrific. This is certainly not just Трамп’s administration — we ramped up considerably under Obama as well — but we’re going to see even more of this kind of killing under T’s goon squads.

58. I’m sure this won’t stop Трамп and his base from trying to gin it up, though. “Spygate” just sounds so cool, amirite?

59. But of course.

60. WSJ weighs in.

61. January 2018 — but more and more true each day.

62. Ugh.

63. Interesting. I mean, he’s still a turtle-headed obstructionist who installed Tainted Justice into SCOTUS and so on. Why would he support the Muller investigation? That alliance of theirs is likely much more fragile than it may appear.

64. Forced “patriotism”. BTW, kneeling during the anthem has nothing to do with the flag, anymore than Bostonians tossing tea into the harbor had to do with tea.


66. Watch this, from youtube, it’s okay to run it <>

67. Interesting bit of historical background on the effect Watergate had on Congress. Makes me wonder about this round.

68. Really weird to see what it is that gets Congress going, D plus R. Not missing children. But a Chinese company Трамп wants to favor.

69. Yes.

70. Oh and we’re at it again, setting up another 2008 in the near future.

71. FFS.

One of the three orders signed on Friday limits the amount of official time federal employees can spend on union duties to no more than 25 percent. It also requires the federal government to start charging union members rent for using space in federal buildings, to stop paying employees for the cost of lobbying the federal government, and to more aggressively negotiate union contracts.

Trump’s move to curtail the activities of federal unions follows a wave of laws signed by Republican governors over the past decade restricting public-sector collective bargaining and weakening government unions — moves that conservatives see as helpful in shrinking government and undermining political foes.

72. What a time to have eviscerated the EPA! \o/

73. This generation, though.

74. Everything’s for sale, guys. Ivanka gets trademarks from China and Daddy says he’ll save ZTE. >.<

The same week Ivanka’s business received registration approval, President Trump announced that he would work to save jobs at the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE. About 72 hours before his announcement, the Chinese government also agreed to loan $500 million to a project in Indonesia in which the Trump Organization is a partner.

75. Gaslighting, lying, all of it. /facepalm

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