When you really think about it, conservatives have wanted to take this country back to the beginning of the republic ever since Reagan was elected in 1980. After all, Antonin Scalia and the Originalists (which is a great name for a rock band, yes?) made their political and philosophical careers on interpreting the constitution according to what they believed to be the framer’s intent. And as long as Scalia and Thomas and the far right were on the fringe, it looked like the country might avoid the embarrassment of living in the 1790s.
That’s all changed, hasn’t it?
If the first month of the Trump administration was a bit of an organizational mess, the second month is proving to be a full court press on the nation’s values and mission. What was once a pair of bedrock beliefs–that anyone who could make a contribution to society was welcome here, and that a free press was the major check on executive and congressional power–seem to be under assault by the president (shudder) and his minions in the White House. They are now committed to actually breeding hatred, suspicion, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-intellectualism and undermining news organizations and journalists who dare to cover them critically.
Gone are the days, if they ever existed, where Americans could take some solace in the idea that Donald Trump was more moderate than his campaign words and that he would try to unify the country around change that would benefit the working and middle class. His screed in front of the Conservative Political Action Conference was a call to arms against fellow Americans who understand that fear and suspicion are the enemies of representative democracy, and Sean Spicer’s press wall against those news organizations that the administration blames for negative coverage is a dangerous admission that the Trump White House has little regard for facts or interpretation.
It makes sense, then, to think that we might be on the verge of new Alien and Sedition Acts (and reading the first paragraph of this entry made me laugh. The Soviet Union is gone, so just substitute Trump’s America). Far-fetched, you say? Banning immigrants is on the check list. Muzzling the press and making it illegal to criticize the president? Former, yes, the latter, not out of the realm of the possible. These laws were terrible enough in the 1790s, but they would be a catastrophe today. The president and Steve Bannon seem to be in agreement on challenging every mainstream media organization and demonizing their reporters and executives. They champion their own press that has, shall we say, a spotty record when it comes to reporting actual facts. They want to plug press leaks too. Anybody seen G. Gordon Liddy around?
Of course, this is all a great big Hypocrisy Woodstock love-in. When the press was using Russian leaks about Hillary Clinton, Trump encouraged more. When James Comey bombshelled the election 10 days before the vote, Trump was exultant. Now he’s blaming the FBI for being against him. And there will be more verbal attacks on other agencies as they inevitably will need to come into conflict with the White House, because it’s clear that Trump cannot be wrong. But don’t worry; he’ll tweet what’s correct.
None of this is normal. None of this has a precedent. None of this conforms to any notion of responsible presidential behavior. None of it. We are moving in reverse. Time to dig our heels in.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told immigration advocates that lawmakers will not take-up immigration reform this year. As a result, an amendment to deport DREAM-eligible immigrants — which passed with overwhelming GOP support in June — will be the only immigration measure to have received a vote on the floor of the House in 2013.
McCarthy’s remarks came after a week-long lobbying blitz from business groups, religious organizations, and immigration advocates. Proponents argued that comprehensive reform will provide a boost to the nation’s economy, create jobs for U.S. citizens and immigrants in the agriculture, retail trade, and construction sectors and bring millions of people out of the shadows.
But despite a series of constructive meetings with advocates, McCarthy explained to protesters camped outside of his district office in California that Congress did not have enough time to consider reform in the 16 remaining legislative days. The comments contradict reports of GOP leaders “struggling to come up with an agenda” to fill the end of the year with the House “facing no immediate cataclysmic deadlines.” Members come back from a week-long recess on Tuesday.
Last month, 186 Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill that amends the measure passed by the Senate in June by “striking a controversial border security measure that would add 700 hundred of miles of fencing and 20,000 border control agents along the U.S.-Mexico border” and replacing it with a “border control plan that was passed unanimously by the House Homeland Security Committee last spring.” That proposal “instructs the Department of Homeland Security to write a plan that could ensure the apprehension of 90 percent of illegal border-crossers in high-traffic areas within two years and across the entire southern border within five years.”
Three Republicans — Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) — have co-sponsored the comprehensive bill. House leadership, however, is wary of allowing a vote on a measure that does not have the support of the majority of the Republican caucus and worry that advancing any immigration proposal that triggers a conference with the Democratic-controlled Senate would deal a blow to the House in final negotiations and open House Republicans to conservative primary challengers.
It seems no one wants Piers Morgan. A few days ago we told you about a petition on the White House’s website that asks for Piers Morgan‘s deportation because of his anti-guns advocacy. That petition, now with 81,000 signatures is well pass the 25,000 threshold required for an official response from the White House.
And now that’s more: Another petition has popped up asking the Obama administration to keep Piers Morgan in the United States, because, according to the petition, “No one in the UK wants him back.” This petition so far has only 5,254 signatures, short of the 25,000 needed for an official White House Response.
Other interesting petitions on the government website includes two petitions to revoke Westboro Baptiste Church‘s 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Status, the first petition getting over 43000 signatures and another petition getting over 58000 signatures.
There’s also a petition to impeach all politicians who signed the Grover Norquist Pledge “in violation to their oath the the government of the U.S” This petition has a little over 8500 signatures.
Oh, these Republicans and gun lovers have found a new target, a new way to divert attention away from the real problem and point the rest of our attention to the shiny new object – British born, Piers Morgan. Morgan’s crime? Calling for more gun control laws to protect the lives of Americans.
On his CNN Show for December 21st, Morgan had NRA defender and executive director of Gun Owners of America Larry Pratt
on for a heated exchange following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, one calling for more gun control and the other blaming everything and everyone else but guns for the carnage happening regularly in America. The heated debate between Pratt and Morgan escalated, causing Pratt to say, “It seems to me you are morally obtuse. You seem to prefer being a victim to being able to prevail over the criminal element. I don’t know why you want to be the criminal’s friend.”
Morgan fired back, “you’re an unbelievably stupid man aren’t you? You have absolutely no coherent argument. You don’t actually give a damn about the gun murder rate in America.”
Well, that exchange between Morgan and Pratt got someone very angry. They went to the White House’s website and started a petition to get Morgan deported. Petitions must receive a total of 25,000 signature to get a response from the White House, but Morgan’s deportation petition is gathering signatures at an unbelievable rate. When I began writing this post, there were 48,129 signatures. When the post was finished some five minutes later, there were 48,900 signatures on the petition.