Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Erickson Report, Page 3: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages - the Outrages

The Erickson Report, Page 3: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages - the Outrages

Turning to the Outrages, you know about the business with the citizenship question on the 2020 census, news about which will likely have changed between the time I do this and the time you see it. But I'm going to lead with how it stands are this moment because it ultimately leads to something darker.

First, just in case you didn't know, the Constitution requires that the census count people, not just citizens, for the purpose of, among other things, distributing representation in the House of Representatives. The idea being that members of Congress are supposed to represent all the people living in their states or districts, not just the citizens living there.

On June 27, the Supreme Court at least temporarily blocked the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census on the grounds that, in John Roberts' words, the reason for the change was "contrived." The case was remanded to District Court to see if the administration could come up with anything better.

It had already been revealed at the District Court level, before the case got to SCOTUS, that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lied when he said the change was the result of a request from the Justice Department supposedly to better enforce the Voting Right Acts - you know the one the entire GOPper party is against - only to have it shown that he specifically asked the DOJ to come up with a reason to ask about citizenship.

Wilbur Ross
What's more, evidence came out in late May that the actual, conscious purpose of the question was to depress participation by Hispanic and Latinx immigrants and even citizens and thus enhance right-wing rule - because those folks tend to concentrate in areas more generally Democratic, which would lose representation through an undercount. That evidence is now the subject of a separate discovery process, one which the White House tried and failed to stop and while it technically was not part of the Supreme Court's decision, it's hard to imagine the justices weren't aware of it.

Okay. June 27, SCOTUS blocked the question. On July 2, the administration admitted defeat and stated that it had begun printing the census forms, minus the citizenship question.

On July 3, Tweetie-pie threw a tantrum, said the news that the administration had given up was "FAKE!" and so forced the DOJ to go back to district court with red faces and say they were still looking for legal pathways to include the question. The judge gave them until the afternoon of July 5 to come up with something, a deadline they failed to meet.

So of course the upshot of all this is that TP man is considering using an executive order to force the question into the census by ordering the Commerce Department to include it.

Which raises something else, something dark but which we can no longer ignore. Trying to force a citizenship question into the census by executive order would essentially mean defying the Supreme Court's order and the Constitution, which specifically assigns the job of overseeing the census to Congress. Which shouldn't surprise us since he has long defied Congress, denying its Constitutional authority over declaring war, denying its right to exercise any sort of oversight whatsoever, openly avowing that Congress can only know what he chooses to tell them.

He even defies the idea of leaving office, because those constitutional limits don't apply to him any more than any other ones do.

In March 2018, Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for abolishing term limits and making himself president for life, saying "I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot someday."

In April of this year, he said during a White House event for the Wounded Warrior Project that he would remain in the Oval Office "at least for 10 or 14 years."

On May, he retweeted Jerry Falwell Jr.'s tweet that "Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for" the Mueller investigation.

Damage from July 3 air strike
On June 16 he said in a series of tweets that his supporters "would demand that [he] stay longer" than 2024, which is when he would leave office if he won the 2020 presidential election.

People keep saying about this "it was a joke." Sorry, when you go to a thing at least four times, that's not a joke. That's something you're thinking about.

Nancy Pelosi: Are you listening?

Our other outrage is a bit of a reminder for you:

Early on July 3, an air strike hit a migrant detention center outside Tripoli, killing over 60 people and wounding scores more.

It was part of the campaign by the self-named Libyan National Army, lead by Trump-endorsed warlord Khalifa Haftar. The LNA, which holds eastern and much of southern Libya, launched an offensive in early April to seize control of Tripoli from forces aligned with the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord.

The World Health Organization estimates that almost 1,000 people have been killed during the fighting, with 5,000 more wounded.

The UN Security Council has struggled with how to deal with the renewed violence because shortly after the offensive began, both the US and Russia declared that they could not support any resolution calling for a ceasefire. The Council couldn't do more than issue an anodyne denunciation of the July 3 attack because the US would not agree to anything more.

So what's the reminder? It's that in 2011, President Hopey-Changey, the Amazing Mr. O, loudly cheered on by a significant part of the supposedly progressive community, actively participated in the NATO-backed overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi's regime under the false pretense of "protecting civilians."

He sought no approval from Congress; he did not even engage in the wimpy and meaningless charade of "consultation." Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even told a Congressional panel that the White House would ignore any attempts to invoke Congress's war powers. In short, he did all the things that that same community denounced when done by someone who isn't a Democrat.

And as was predicted at the time by at least some - me, for one - the result of the overthrow was not to protect civilians but to fracture Libya into a multi-sided civil war from which, eight years on, it has still not emerged.

If you endorsed what Obama did then, if you embraced the fiction of "humanitarian intervention," those dead refugees - and the many others who have died in these last years - are on your conscience.

And if you find that statement outrageous, too damn bad.

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