Media Ignores or Denigrates President Trump’s Event Honoring Angel Families

President Donald Trump stands alongside family members affected by crime committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, Friday, June 22, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

Friday, the White House did what it should have done before announcing the zero-tolerance policy on the border. President Trump held a meeting with the group called Angels Families, they are the families of people who have been killed, mostly murdered, by illegal aliens and they represent a living reminder of why we should be rigorously enforcing our immigration laws. While the media is obsessed with the stories of illegals who are being deported after living for years in the US, often with the benefit of identity theft, they have been stone silent on the damage done by illegals. There have been claims that illegals are no more prone to crime than any other group but the fact that illegals comprise about a fourth of the inmates in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons says that is not true. As I posted a few weeks ago, the notion being pushed by many on the left that MS-13 is an imaginary bogeyman created by white nativists is lunacy.

President Trump on Friday blasted what he described as a media double standard on immigration, as he honored families whose loved ones were killed by illegal immigrants and accused the press of ignoring them to focus on the plight of migrants caught crossing the border.

After a week of saturation coverage on illegal immigrant parents separated from their children — a policy Trump reversed under public and political pressure — the president stressed that so-called Angel Families have been “permanently separated.”

The families, whose children and other relatives were killed by illegal immigrants, echoed that message during the White House event.

“You don’t hear these stories,” said Steve Ronnebeck, whose 21-year-old son Grant was killed by an illegal immigrant over a pack of cigarettes. “But this is permanent separation.”

The family members joined Trump and Vice President Pence at the event Friday, holding photos of their departed loved ones.

“These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones. The word you have to think about is ‘permanently,’” Trump said Friday. “Because they were killed by illegal immigrants. These are the families that the media ignores. This is a very unfair situation.”

Of course, the coverage the event received was focused on slamming Trump.

But, much like the image of the little girl crying, there was a helluva lot more to the story.

This is the kind of thing the White House needs to do more often. It needs to continue highlighting MS-13. It needs to highlight how the trafficking of illegals and narcotics — which, by the way, go hand in hand as illegals are often funneled into an area of the border to draw law enforcement there while drugs are coming in by a different route — have made life for farmers, ranchers, homeowners, and travelers much more dangerous. What the administration is trying to do on the border is correct, but their packaging and sales pitch needs substantial work.

This is the whole event cued up as President Trump comes into the room:

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George Will Endorses Nancy Pelosi For Speaker of the House But Does Anyone Care?

Conservative columnist and pundit George Will, is interviewed in this office in the Georgetown section of Washington on Tuesday, April 22, 2008. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

If there was ever a sign that the coalition that Reagan assembled in 1980 is completely and irreversibly ruptured it came this week. Earlier in the week, long time Republican check-casher operative Steve Schmidt earlier withdrew from the Republican party calling the idea of enforcing immigration laws immoral. Yesterday, George Will, long a fixture in Beltway conservative circles, went one step further. He actually endorsed Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House:

The principle: The congressional Republican caucuses must be substantially reduced. So substantially that their remnants, reduced to minorities, will be stripped of the Constitution’s Article I powers that they have been too invertebrate to use against the current wielder of Article II powers. They will then have leisure time to wonder why they worked so hard to achieve membership in a legislature whose unexercised muscles have atrophied because of people like them.

Ryan and many other Republicans have become the president’s poodles, not because James Madison’s system has failed but because today’s abject careerists have failed to be worthy of it. As explained in Federalist 51: “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.” Congressional Republicans (congressional Democrats are equally supine toward Democratic presidents) have no higher ambition than to placate this president. By leaving dormant the powers inherent in their institution, they vitiate the Constitution’s vital principle: the separation of powers.

In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream. So, to vote against his party’s cowering congressional caucuses is to affirm the nation’s honor while quarantining him. A Democratic-controlled Congress would be a basket of deplorables, but there would be enough Republicans to gum up the Senate’s machinery, keeping the institution as peripheral as it has been under their control and asphyxiating mischief from a Democratic House. And to those who say, “But the judges, the judges!” the answer is: Article III institutions are not more important than those of Articles I and II combined.

If you’ve followed Never Trump commentary for the past year, and sadly I really had no choice, you know that the unifying force there is not principles or political philosophy or the faux-religious outrage, it is simply a visceral dislike of Trump. I don’t have a problem with visceral dislikes of people, but don’t try to piss on my leg and tell me its raining. Don’t tell my you oppose Trump on principle when it is obvious that is simply not the case.

George Will joins people like Steve Schmidt and Tom Nichols in taking the position that they’d rather see progressives win than to be personally offended by Trump’s success.

There were two interesting threads on this on Twitter. One is probably more of interest to Never Trump people who aren’t interested in going full metal progressive just to be able to say I’m a righteous man. The second is a very insightful threat by former RedState contributor Dan McLaughlin.

This is a point I’ll return to in a future post, but the raw classism in this shows the degree to which movement conservatism has stopped being something that can be embraced by working class voters and has been turned into a political circle jerk for would-be pundits who think they are better than most everyone else…in other words, the flip side to the wet-behind-the-ears douches writing at Mother Jones, The New Republic, or Vox whom we’ve mocked for years.

Well, if you call “strange new respect” nothing, sure.

For that matter, show me the Never Trump argument that does the same.

And they won’t be for a simple reason that the British didn’t welcome Benedict Arnold. For the same reason that Genghis Khan executed the men who betrayed his arch enemy and delivered him to Genghis Khan (there is a lesson there for how we should treat the remaining Never Trump faction in the future). In the words of Julius Caesar, “I love treason but hate a traitor.”

Dan McLaughlin offers up why cutting off your nose to spite your face is not a great political strategy.

This is the real point. The only representatives that are going to survive a real bloodbath are those in districts carried by Trump by large margins. The “moderates” and, in some cases conservatives, who are winning fairly narrow victories are going to be wiped out as Democrats vote against them and Trump supporters don’t turn out to vote.

Here is where I think Dan gets it wrong. Of course a large number of Never Trump people are going to vote Democrat because, again, their opposition is not really anchored in anything but personal animosity towards the guy. And if they think electing a Democrat House will hurt Trump they will jump on it in a minute.

I would even go a step further. With a Democrat House, Trump is in very real danger that a bill of impeachment will be voted on. The trial in the Senate will go nowhere but the asterisk will always be by his name. How do you think Trump will react to that possibility? By continuing his current policies or by making an accommodation with the Democrats on judges and appointments?

The real problem with Will’s idea is that a minority party is powerless to do even the things that you like. If you don’t like the way the GOP is acting, the real question is do you think the Democrats will act more to your liking?

In the end, I don’t suspect that very many people will listen to Will because not very many people listen to Will. And those that do listen to him, for the most part, aren’t going to act to put a Democrat in charge of the House.

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John McCain’s Staff Director Urged Lois Lerner to Use the IRS to Punish Tea Party Groups and Where Is He Now?

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, acknowledges a fellow Navy veteran during a Phoenix Memorial Day Ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, Monday, May 30, 2016, in Phoenix. At age 79, running what may be his last campaign, McCain finds himself on uncertain terrain. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

 

After the Democrats got their clock cleaned in 2010, they and their progressive allies turned to the tried and true Obama era method of using law enforcement authority to pursue political goals. Eventually, the IRS admitted it had targeted conservative groups improperly and this resulted in the resignation and contempt of Congress citation for Lois Lerner, and earlier this year, a multi-million dollar settlement to the targeted groups. Now, thanks to the indefatigable Judicial Watch, we know there was another player involved: the sainted John McCain. On April 30, 2013, John McCain’s staff director and counsel, Henry Kerner, was at a meeting with Lois Lerner where the subject was how to rein in 501(c)4 groups who were, in the view of the group, primarily political.

Lerner and other IRS officials met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Senator McCain had been the chief sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act and called the Citizens United decision, which overturned portions of the Act, one of the “worst decisions I have ever seen.”

Henry Kerner asked how to get to the abuse of organizations claiming section 501 (c)(4) but designed to be primarily political. Lois Lerner said the system works, but not in real time. Henry Kerner noted that these organizations don’t disclose donors. Lois Lerner said that if they don’t meet the requirements, we can come in and revoke, but it doesn’t happen timely. Nan Marks said if the concern is that organizations engaging in this activity don’t disclose donors, then the system doesn’t work. Henry Kerner said that maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous. Nikole noted that we have budget constraints. Elise Bean suggested using the list of organizations that made independent expenditures. Lois Lerner said that it is her job to oversee it all, not just political campaign activity.

You can read the meeting summary here.

What is notable in this is that it is Lois Lerner assuring McCain’s staffer that systems are in place to police the system, but McCain’s guy doesn’t think they are working fast enough.

This is not the first time that McCain has been accused of having a hand in the IRS crackdown of conservative groups and the reason the story was plausible is because McCain’s contempt for conservative grassroots groups and his love of incumbent protection schemes of all types was pretty well known. In April 2015, as more and more details of the IRS abuse were becoming known. Judicial Watch issued a press release saying that McCain was working with Michigan Senator Carl Levin to limit the impact of the Citizens United case. McCain denied the allegation

“Like so many Americans, I was shocked and appalled by revelations that the IRS inappropriately singled out conservative groups for scrutiny, and that our tax system was used to target political opponents.

“As Ranking Member of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, I devoted significant time and resources to help get to the bottom of this disturbing abuse of power by the IRS. Any article suggesting otherwise is simply wrong, and ignores the facts of my actions over the last several years.”

Ironically, McCain cites the same meeting where his staff director suggested using audits as a way of driving these small nonprofits out of existence as proof that he was on the ball on IRS abuse and uses it as a way to slam Lois Lerner.

This brings us to Henry Kerner. He now heads the Office of Special Counsel, that is the office charged with overseeing the protection of whistleblowers, the enforcement of the Hatch Act, and the integrity of the federal personnel system. He got that job because President Trump nominated him.

In fairness, the President has the authority to directly appoint around 3,000 federal employees. Most of them he doesn’t know and couldn’t pick out of a two-man line-up. But is the cupboard really so bare that we have to rely on McCain staffers, particularly one that now looks damned complicit in the targeting of conservative nonprofits, to fill those jobs?

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BREAKING. Conservative House Immigration Bill Fails

This is not a huge shock to anyone who has watched the GOP moderates in action for the past decade.

The so-called Goodlatte bill, which gave DREAMers legal status but no path to citizenship, that ended chain migration and which funded President Trump’s wall, went down to defeat.

The “compromise” bill, which was a compromise in the same way that the Treaty of Versailles was a compromise, was supposed to be voted on today but it didn’t seem to have the necessary votes and leadership rescheduled it for tomorrow.

There is a better than 50-50 chance that it fails to. As I understand it, the discharge petition on a hard core amnesty bill has timed out (I’m subject to correction on that) and that puts the GOP at the August recess with no immigration bill. And that, ladies and gentlemen, might just be the best we can hope for.

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Did a Federal Judge Just Kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?


Elizabeth Warren’s monster, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), has had a couple of close calls with extinction. In October 2016, a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit ruled the structure unconstitutional for a very good reason: it is. The way it is established it combines the authority to make what amounts to laws, enforce the laws, and adjudicate cases under those laws. The agency is free from Congressional oversight and it doesn’t even get its appropriation from Congress, it simply draws from the Federal Reserve whatever sum it desires. In January 2018, the DC circuit sitting en banc reversed the panel. But, as Jonathan Adler at Volokh Conspiracy writes:

In my view, Supreme Court review of the underlying question will come relativey soon, and the D.C. Circuit’s decision is unlikely to prevail. Recent Supreme Court decisions, such as that in Free Enterprise Fund, suggest a majoirty of justices on the Court would like to contain precedents such as Humphrey’s Exectuor and are unlikely to bless the CFPB’s unique structure. If I am right, this means a mjaority of the Court is likely to embrace the position adopted by Judge Kavanaugh or Judge Griffith, not that laid out by Judge Pillard. Time will tell — and we will need time to thoroughly review the D.C. Circuit’s latest handiwork.

Earlier today, a federal judge for the Southern District of New York also concluded the CFPB is unconstitutional, below is from page 103.

In reaching the question of the constitutionality of Title X of Dodd-Frank, which established the CFPB as an “independent bureau” within the Federal Reserve System, 12 U.S.C. § 5491(a), the Court acknowledges the en banc holding of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in PHH Corp. v. CFPB, 881 F.3d 75 (D.C. Cir. 2018), upholding the statute. Of course, that decision is not binding on this Court.7

Respectfully, the Court disagrees with the holding of the en banc court and instead adopts Sections I-IV of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s dissent (joined in by Senior Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph), where, based on considerations of history, liberty, and presidential authority, Judge Kavanaugh concluded that the CFPB “is unconstitutionally structured because it is an independent agency that exercises substantial executive power and is headed by a single Director.” Id. at 198.

Also most respectfully, the Court disagrees with Section V of Judge Kavanaugh’s opinion wherein he determined the remedy to be to “invalidate and sever the for-cause removal provision and hold that the Director of the CFPB may be supervised, directed, and removed at will by the President.” Id. at 200. Instead, the Court adopts Section II of Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson’s dissent wherein she opined that “the presumption of severability is rebutted here. A severability clause ‘does not give the court power to amend’ a statute. Nor is it a license to cut out the ‘heart’ of a statute. Because section 5491(c)(3) is at the heart of Title X [Dodd Frank], I would strike Title X in its entirety.” Id. at 163-64 (citations omitted).

What Judge Preska is saying is that not only is the structure broken, but it is not her job to untangle constitutional and unconstitutional parts so she is declaring the entire agency to be unconstitutional.

Next up is a real gut check for Donald Trump and Mick Mulvaney. Will they do the right thing and repeat the case they made to the DC Circuit, that is, that the CFPB should be dragged out into the street and shot dead? Or have they become attached to it and will try to save it?

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BREAKING. Supreme Court Allows States to Tax Internet Sales


Back in 1992, the Supreme Court ruled, in Quill Corp. vs North Dakota, that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause prevented states from collecting sales tax on retailers who did not have a physical presence in the state. This decision, arguably, set off the boom in internet commerce that spawned Amazon and Overstock and other major online retailers. But the matter was far from settled. In 2015, the Supreme Court decided the case of Direct Marketing Association vs. Brohl. Colorado had tried to sidestep Quill by requiring online retailers to provide Colorado a list of all their Colorado customers. The Court upheld the injunction but in his opinion on the case, Kennedy invited a case to overturn Quill. That case manifested itself in Wayfair vs. South Dakota. And, today, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court took back what it had given in 1992.

The justices, in a 5-4 ruling against Wayfair Inc, Overstock.com Inc and Newegg Inc, overturned a 1992 Supreme Court precedent that had barred states from requiring businesses with no “physical presence” in that state, like out-of-state online retailers, to collect sales taxes.

The ruling opens the door to a new revenue stream to fill state coffers – up to $13 billion annually, according to a federal report – while imperiling a competitive advantage that e-commerce companies had over brick-and-mortar rivals that already must collect sales tax.

“Rejecting the physical presence rule is necessary to ensure that artificial competitive advantages are not created by this court’s precedents,” Kennedy said.

The win was welcomed by groups representing brick-and-mortar retailers and decried by e-commerce advocates.

The ruling puts an end to a legal regime that “distorts free markets and puts local brick and mortar stores at a competitive disadvantage with their online-only counterparts,” said Deborah White, general counsel of the Retail Industry Leaders’ Association.

South Dakota was backed by President Donald Trump’s administration in the case. The law could yet face legal challenges on other grounds, Kennedy noted.

The ruling is likely to lead other states to try to collect sales tax on purchases from out-of-state online businesses more aggressively. It also likely will lead to many consumers paying more at the online checkout. Forty-five of the 50 states impose sales taxes.

Kennedy wrote that the 1992 precedent that affirmed that a physical presence is required – a case called Quill v. North Dakota – was “flawed on its own terms” and was especially problematic due to the rise of internet retail.

In the digital era, the costs of complying with different tax regimes “are largely unrelated to whether a company happens to have a physical presence in a state,” Kennedy wrote.

The ruling comes against a backdrop of Trump’s criticism of Amazon, the leading player in online retail, on the issue of taxes and other matters.

Amazon, which was not involved in the Supreme Court case, collects sales taxes on direct purchases on its site but does not typically collect taxes for merchandise sold on its platform by third-party venders, representing about half of total sales.

This was the line up: Kennedy delivered the decision. He was joined by Thomas, Ginsburg, Alito, and Gorsuch. Roberts wrote the dissent which was joined by Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

I think the Supreme Court got this right–and I can say that freely and with my head held high now that I’ve been told so many times that I’m not a conservative. The tax holiday was essential to jump starting internet commerce but its time the training wheels came off. The real losers were the small businesses that had only one or a handful of storefronts and couldn’t compete with the giants like Amazon because the market had been distorted by allowing Amazon to operate free of sales tax. To continue the tax break would, in my view, be only a step removed from crony capitalism. It means that states, like Texas, can continue to operate on a sales tax basis without pressure to add a state income tax.

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The Family Separation Executive Order and What, If Anything, It Means

In response to a media maelstrom over a policy that has been in effect for about 20 years, President Trump issued an executive order that at first looked like a craven retreat from a principled stance, if hard-nosed and unpopular, on enforcing the law. On second look, I’m not sure what has actually changed.

Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of this Administration to rigorously enforce our immigration laws. Under our laws, the only legal way for an alien to enter this country is at a designated port of entry at an appropriate time. When an alien enters or attempts to enter the country anywhere else, that alien has committed at least the crime of improper entry and is subject to a fine or imprisonment under section 1325(a) of title 8, United States Code. This Administration will initiate proceedings to enforce this and other criminal provisions of the INA until and unless Congress directs otherwise. It is also the policy of this Administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources. It is unfortunate that Congress’s failure to act and court orders have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law.

Key takeaway: zero tolerance is still in effect. Family unity is a secondary, not a primary consideration.

Sec. 2. Definitions. For purposes of this order, the following definitions apply:

(a) “Alien family” means

(i) any person not a citizen or national of the United States who has not been admitted into, or is not authorized to enter or remain in, the United States, who entered this country with an alien child or alien children at or between designated ports of entry and who was detained; and

(ii) that person’s alien child or alien children.

(b) “Alien child” means any person not a citizen or national of the United States who

(i) has not been admitted into, or is not authorized to enter or remain in, the United States;

(ii) is under the age of 18; and

(iii) has a legal parent-child relationship to an alien who entered the United States with the alien child at or between designated ports of entry and who was detained.

Nothing new there. Just a note, the policy is not directed only at illegals but also asylum seekers.

Sec. 3. Temporary Detention Policy for Families Entering this Country Illegally.

(a) The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary), shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, maintain custody of alien families during the pendency of any criminal improper entry or immigration proceedings involving their members.

(b) The Secretary shall not, however, detain an alien family together when there is a concern that detention of an alien child with the child’s alien parent would pose a risk to the child’s welfare.

What would be the test for a risk to the child’s welfare?

(c) The Secretary of Defense shall take all legally available measures to provide to the Secretary, upon request, any existing facilities available for the housing and care of alien families, and shall construct such facilities if necessary and consistent with law. The Secretary, to the extent permitted by law, shall be responsible for reimbursement for the use of these facilities.

(d) Heads of executive departments and agencies shall, to the extent consistent with law, make available to the Secretary, for the housing and care of alien families pending court proceedings for improper entry, any facilities that are appropriate for such purposes. The Secretary, to the extent permitted by law, shall be responsible for reimbursement for the use of these facilities.

Nothing new.

(e) The Attorney General shall promptly file a request with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to modify the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Sessions, CV 85-4544 (“Flores settlement”), in a manner that would permit the Secretary, under present resource constraints, to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings.

In 2017, Sessions tried to get the Ninth Circuit to remove a consent decree that limits the amount of time minors can be held in detention. The Ninth, naturally, refused because Trump is Satan. This is not going anywhere but it is a nice bit of jujitsu to hoist the Ninth by its own petard and have it decide that family detention is not allowed. If the Ninth doesn’t give relief on the detention issue, then we are right back to where we are today wish the illegal minors being placed in a group home type environment pending the outcome of the parents’s case.

Sec. 4. Prioritization of Immigration Proceedings Involving Alien Families. The Attorney General shall, to the extent practicable, prioritize the adjudication of cases involving detained families.

I don’t know if this is a new thing or not. I’m pretty sure the existing policy is first in, first out.

Sec. 5. General Provisions.

(a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented in a manner consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Section (a)(i) is key here. The administration is making clear that this order is not binding it to do anything that it doesn’t have to do.

My assessment (IANAL) is that this is an order about nothing. It says the government is not going to relent from zero tolerance and that, if necessary, it will comply with the consent decree that limits detention. At the end of that time, however, we are right back to where we are today. In Reno vs. Flores, the Supreme Court ruled by a 7-2 majority that unaccompanied minors could be held unless there was a “close relative” available to take custody of them. If their parents are in jail or an adult detention facility, then they can’t have custody of them.

Here are some takes via Twitter:

As I’ve said repeatedly, the opposition to this detention process which is two decades old has zero to do with kids and everything to do with open borders.

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Trump Budget Cuts Fail In the Senate Because of GOP Defections

In the aftermath of the budget deal, the Trump administration submitted a package of $15 billion in cuts under a process known as recission.

President Donald Trump will request a package of $15 billion in spending cuts from Congress on Tuesday, including some $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program championed by Democrats, senior administration officials said on Monday.

One official said the targeted cuts would cover “unobligated balances” or money that is not being spent. He said the cuts would not have an effect on the CHIP program itself.

The advantage of this process is that it couldn’t be filibustered. A simple majority in the House and Senate and the cuts were done. Well, the GOP being the stupid party, that didn’t happen:

The 48-50 vote rebuffed a White House plan to claw back some $15 billion in spending previously approved by Congress — a show of fiscal responsibility that was encouraged by conservative lawmakers outraged over a $1.3 trillion spending bill in March.

Nevertheless, Wednesday’s outcome was startling because one of the “no” votes came from Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who does not normally buck the White House or leadership. Burr’s office had no immediate comment.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a moderate who is one of the Republicans who most frequently sides with Democrats, cast the other “no.”

The cuts in the rescissions package included $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program, mostly from an expired account that can no longer be used; $5 billion from Energy Department programs, including a little-used loan program for advanced technology vehicle manufacturing; and smaller amounts from a variety of other programs ranging from Forest Service land acquisition to the Millennium Challenge Corp.

Independent analyses said that since most of the money would not have been spent anyway, the actual spending reduction was closer to $1 billion.

Let’s face it, if we can’t win a vote to cut money that can’t be spent, then we are truly f***ed when it comes to making actual budget cuts.

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ABOUT FACE. President Trump Is Caving to Democrats on “Family Separation”

Seton Motley | Red State | RedState.com

Several outlets are reporting that President Trump is about to cave on the “family separation” issue:

President Trump abruptly reversed course Wednesday, saying he would sign an executive order ending family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border after a public uproar over his administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

The plan, as described by administration officials, would keep families together in federal custody while awaiting prosecution for illegal border crossings, potentially violating a 1997 court settlement limiting the duration of child detentions.

“We have to be very strong on the border but at the same time we want to be very compassionate,” Trump said at the White House during a meeting with lawmakers that was opened to the media.

Read the second paragraph really slow and aloud.

According to the New York Times, the actual plan is to get out from under the court order:

Mr. Trump’s executive order would seek to get around an existing 1997 consent decree, known as the Flores settlement, that prohibits the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention — even if they are with their parents — for more than 20 days.

But the president, furious about the pummeling he has taken in recent days, has been casting about for an escape from the crisis, people familiar with his thinking said. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security are preparing the executive order that is designed to end the family separations.

“We’re going to be signing an executive order in a little while,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday. “We’ve got to be keeping families together.”

The order would keep families together, though it is unclear how Mr. Trump intends to claim the legal authority to violate what have been legal constraints on the proper treatment of children in government custody, which prevented former President Barack Obama from detaining families together during a similar flood of illegal immigration two years ago.

This is not multi-dimensional chess, this is a retreat.

The only way it works out for the administration is if it drags out the court fight (and as IANAL I have no idea what it takes to overcome a “consent decree” made on the part of an administration nearly 20 years ago) and wins. It seems unlikely that the Democrats are going to cooperate with legislation now that Trump is on the run. And if it loses in court, then we are right back to the binary choice of catch-and-release or the separation of “families.” More importantly, none of this helps the GOP in November or Trump now.

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Trump Has the Right Answer On the “Family Separation” Issue But Does He Have the Guts to Stick With It?

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, walks with President Donald Trump as they head to a meeting of House Republicans to discuss a GOP immigration bill at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Trump was at a gathering of congressional Republicans on Capitol Hill last night and, as might be expected, the subject of the detention of illegal child immigrants was high on the discussion list. According to Jonathan Swan of Axios, Trump is unhappy with the optics of the situation and with the situation, itself, but he knows what is at stake.

A senior administration official, after Axios asked whether Trump thinks the family separation issue is a political winner because it makes him look “hardcore” on the border:

  • “Not at all. He’s doing it to press the case with Congress. He’s moved personally, but also doesn’t want to look weak. He feels boxed in, is frustrated and knows it’s bad politics — but also understands it’s not a fight he can back down from.”
  • “This isn’t a political play at all. There are easier ways to pick fights on immigration or better cultural issues.”

I think this is completely correct.

If Trump relents on enforcing black-letter law, particularly on the border, and goes full “prosecutorial discretion” like Obama did with DACA, the people who have stuck with him through a lot of ugly stuff are going walk away from him. Right now, the only hold Trump has over the GOP leadership is that he can make the life of members very unpleasant by criticizing them and letting his supporters pound them “petitions for the redress of grievances.” Right now 55% of the GOP approve of his handling of the issue. If he backtracks that number plummets to zero AND no one takes him at his word anymore.

What is more, is the fact that we all know that this is not about illegal immigrants who are minors. This is about a) breaking Trump and b) stopping the enforcement of immigration laws. Last night, Senate minority creature Chuck Schumer declared that he would entertain no legislative solution to the problem. The only solution was for Trump to fix it. This is a variation of the same attack used when DACA was considered earlier in the year. The Democrats were trying to bootstrap a fix for DACA enrolless that is probably supported by 80% of Americans into a widespread amnesty for parent and relatives of DACA enrolless, a path to citizenship for those parents and relatives, and it gave them the ability to sponsor family members. As a result, there was no solution. But a solution to DACA was never the end game for the Democrats, they were trying to create a massive, perpetual path to legalize illegals and beat Trump on immigration.

In fact, the Democrats are so confident of what they are doing, that they don’t even bother hiding it. This is from NBC’s Benjy Sarlin:

As an aside, if you want reasons to NOT support family detention, this article is full of them.

In fact, monitoring is simply not enforceable. Ankle bracelets can work with many people because they have fixed address and their appearance is secured by bond. With illegals, none of this applies.

There you have it. The real goal here is to make catch-and-release the policy for families of illegal immigrants with no thought, whatsoever, to the moral hazard and opportunity for human trafficking we’re creating.

President Trump and his administration are, in my view, acting correctly on the issue how they process children traveling with putative family members when they are caught illegally entering the United States. He and his advisors need to hang tough on this because it is a make or break fight. If he loses it, keeping the House becomes more of a challenge, his ability to fight it out with Mueller decreases and he loses clout in Congress. None of these are good things.

The post Trump Has the Right Answer On the “Family Separation” Issue But Does He Have the Guts to Stick With It? appeared first on RedState.

Source: Red State