Sunday, March 08, 2020

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

(The more things change the more they are the same thing)

For my recent stay in hospital, I took along a famous book to read -- "Dr Zhivago" by Boris Pasternak. I had read in when it first come out in 1957 but had forgotten the story totally so it should have been new to me. It was but I somehow could not get interested in it for long.  It was a good yarn but I just could not concentrate on it for long.

The book is about pre-revolutionary Russia (c. 1905) so the political scenes were of interest to me.  I did gather that they were realistic. One passage which told me that revolutionary politics  had not changed much was a description of the conversation of two Leftists of the day. Their remarks were described (on p. 49 of the first edition) as: "So imbued with contempt for everything in the world that they could quite safely have been replaced by a growling noise".  The politics of hate were alive and well back there too: "contempt for everything in the world".  Quite reminiscent of current Leftist remarks about Mr Trump.  CNN on Trump is mostly a just a growling noise


‘Flood the streets’: ICE targets sanctuary cities with increased surveillance

Intensifying its enforcement in sanctuary cities across the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has begun 24-hour surveillance operations around the homes and workplaces of immigrants living in the country illegally. The agency plans to deploy hundreds of additional officers in unmarked cars in the coming weeks to increase arrests in cities where local law enforcement agencies do not cooperate with federal enforcement.

ICE leadership has requested at least 500 special agents who normally conduct long-term investigations into dangerous criminals and traffickers to join the enhanced arrest campaign rolling out in sanctuary cities, according to an internal e-mail reviewed by The New York Times.

The request follows an earlier decision, made public last month, to deploy elite tactical BORTAC agents — immigration SWAT teams that are normally assigned to risky border smuggling, rescue, and intelligence operations — to help arrest and deport immigrants in sanctuary cities.

The expanded surveillance operations and added manpower are the latest intensification in a conflict between the Trump administration and cities that refuse to help with deportations, including Boston, New York, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Newark. The effort began last month and will run through Dec. 31, according to the internal e-mail, which called the initiative Operation Palladium.

The latest directive is simple: Arrest as many immigrants living in the country illegally as possible, and “flood the streets,” as one official involved said his bosses had put it.

Local leaders in those communities often argue that doing so could make their cities less safe by discouraging people from cooperating with the police.

Because immigration law violations are civil infractions rather than criminal ones, the officers deployed in the expanded ICE operations cannot, in most cases, obtain warrants to forcibly enter places where their subjects are hiding.

Instead, ICE officers are embarking on the aggressive surveillance campaign, which involves closely watching some individuals for more than 12 hours a day in the hopes of arresting them outside their homes or workplaces.

To achieve their goal, officers assigned to the latest operations are working longer hours, and for longer stretches of time, often 10 days in a row rather than the usual five.

“It should be really no surprise; it’s exactly what we said we would do,” said Henry Lucero, the top government official overseeing the division of ICE that conducts street arrests. He added: “If there’s no cooperation, that’s not going to stop ICE from doing its job. We are still going to try to protect the public as much as we can by arresting and removing criminal aliens from the communities before they can get another crime or make another victim.”



Donald Trump says federal government will start 'withholding funds' from sanctuary cities after winning court case on stopping extra funding

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would withhold money from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions after a U.S. court ruled that his administration could block federal law enforcement funds to states and cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The Republican president, who is seeking re-election in the Nov. 3 election, has taken a hardline stance toward legal and illegal immigration. His battle against Democratic-led 'sanctuary' jurisdictions focuses on laws and policies that limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

Cities and states that oppose such cooperation say it can discourage immigrants from coming forward to report crimes to law enforcement because of fears about their immigration status.

Since the beginning of his administration Trump has tried to slash specific law enforcement grants to places that don't comply with ICE requests for information, but his efforts have been challenged in court.

On Feb. 26, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled in favor of the administration and said the funding cuts were valid. But three other federal appeals courts have ruled against blocking such funds, setting up a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump in a tweet said it would move forward with the cuts.

'As per recent Federal Court ruling, the Federal Government will be withholding funds from Sanctuary Cities. They should change their status and go non-Sanctuary. Do not protect criminals!' Trump tweeted on Thursday, although he gave no other details.

One such 'sanctuary' policy opposed by the administration is a refusal by local jails to hold immigrants in the country illegally in detention beyond their scheduled release times so ICE officials can pick them up and process them for deportation.

Some officials in non-cooperative jurisdictions argue the requests are voluntary and honoring such 'detainer' requests means holding people without a constitutionally valid reason.

The 2nd Circuit overturned a lower court ruling directing the release of federal funds to New York City and the states of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.

Three federal appeals courts in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco have upheld injunctions barring enforcement of at least some of the administration's conditions on the funds.

In addition to the funding threats, the administration is now opening up new fronts in the battle against the cities, filing lawsuits and issuing subpoenas in what Attorney General William Barr called part of a 'significant escalation' in the fight against uncooperative jurisdictions.



Uh Oh, Trump Says What We're All Thinking: There's Something Wrong With Joe Biden

At a Fox News Town Hall on Thursday evening, President Trump openly suggested that there's something fishy going on with Joe Biden. According to Trump, Biden's many gaffes could be a sign that he's simply not mentally competent.

Super Tuesday, Trump said, came as a surprise to him. He was sure that Bernie was going to win, not only because the polls showed him in the least, but also because Biden is clearly having some mental issues. "We have this crazy thing that happened on Tuesday," Trump explained, "which [Biden] felt was Thursday. But he also said 150 million people were killed with guns, and that he was running for the U.S. Senate."

"There's something going on there," the president concluded.

The leftwing media are constantly giving Confused Joe a pass -- even when he confused his wife with his sister -- but Trump isn't going to do the same. Oh no, if Biden becomes the Democrats' nominee, he will be hammered time and again on his mental fitness. And rightly so, of course. It's obvious to anyone paying attention to this race that Biden has some very serious mental issues. This isn't about "gaffes anymore." It's about Joe not being "all there."

Trump has to go after Biden on this. This isn't about scoring some cheap, easy points, but about warning Americans that they may end up with a president who simply isn't competent.

With all the things going on in America and the rest of the world, that's too big of a risk to take. We're battling this new coronavirus COVID-19 while Iran is stockpiling nuclear material. The most powerful country on earth needs a competent leader, not some old guy who should be spending time with his grandkids while his own children keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn't cause any accidents.



Betraying the Alamo

RINO George P. Bush wants to whitewash a bloody battle and make it politically correct

"Remember the Alamo!" might become a divisive political slogan as Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has accused his fellow Republican, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, of leading the Alamo restoration project "badly off track." His remarks came one day before the 184th anniversary of the fall of the Alamo, a military defeat that energized the Texas revolution against Mexico and helped America's second-most populous state enter the Union.

"Nothing defines the independent and the courageous spirit of Texas more than our iconic Alamo and, like most Texans, I treasure it. The history of the Alamo is a personal passion of mine. I do not intend to sit quietly and see this project fail," Patrick said in a statement slamming Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and grandson of President George H. W. Bush. "The job of oversight for this project is the responsibility of the General Land Office headed by Commissioner George P. Bush. It is evident to me that both the design, planning, and execution of the project is badly off track."

Bush has long received criticism over the General Land Office and the City of San Antonio's plan to "reimagine" the site of the Alamo. Texans are incensed over the plan to relocate the Alamo Cenotaph, a monument commissioned on the centennial anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo that serves as a tombstone for the men who gave their lives in the fight for Texas independence in the historic siege (February 23-March 6, 1836).

On Tuesday, Republican voters overwhelmingly approved a proposition on the GOP primary ballot stating, "Texans should protect and preserve all historical monuments, artifacts, and buildings, such as the Alamo Cenotaph and our beloved Alamo, and should oppose any reimagining of the Alamo site." Nearly 98 percent of Republican voters supported it.

Patrick slammed Bush over the Cenotaph relocation and the look and design of new buildings on the site.

"The latest [design] looks like a massive urban park with hundreds of trees—more like Central Park in New York City than Alamo Plaza," the lieutenant governor said. "We have wasted significant public dollars on designs which most Texans would immediately reject." He called on Bush to release all proposed architectural designs and threatened to move the project to another entity in the absence of significant change.

"If the General Land Office cannot handle this important job, and to date it does not appear it can, I will recommend we identify another entity to provide oversight," Patrick warned.

Late Thursday, Bush spokeswoman Karina Erickson said the land commissioner welcomes Patrick's suggestions, the Dallas Morning News reported.

"Lt. Governor Patrick brings up many great ideas -- ideas that are already incorporated in the Alamo Plan, including the intent to restore the Alamo Church and Battleground to the 1836 time period," Erickson said.

Patrick demanded that the restoration effort should include a "world-class visitor center" focused on the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, "not the 200-year history of early Spanish settlement in Texas," which is covered by San Antonio's Mission Trail. Erickson insisted that a focus on the battle will be the focal point of the restoration.

The Texas legislature approved funds for preserving the Alamo and rebuilding the plaza in 2015. Lawmakers intended for Texans and others to be able to "see the battlefield as it was" in 1836, Patrick insisted.

A recent records request exposed another controversy. Members of the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association condemned digging in a graveyard.

Yet the political battle may trace back to Bush's decision to spread rumors that he may challenge Patrick in the 2022 lieutenant governor race. Lieutenant governor is the most powerful position in the Texas government when the legislature is in session because it controls the state Senate's agenda. While the legislature is not scheduled to meet again until January 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) may call the legislature into a special session to deal with this issue, which would humiliate Bush.

In October, Bush's senior advisor, J. R. Hernandez, insisted that the land commissioner remains focused on his job, attempting to dispel rumors of a planned run against Patrick. "Over the last few months, several activists and donors have asked Commissioner Bush to consider higher office in Texas," Hernandez admitted. "At this time he is 100% focused on doing his job as land commissioner. While he wouldn’t challenge current Governor Abbott or Lieutenant Governor Patrick, if an opening presents itself he would absolutely consider serving Texans in a higher role. When that moment arises, he’s ready."

Political fireworks may be coming to Texas, and "Remember the Alamo!" may be a political rallying cry against Bush.




RELENTLESS: Economy defied early coronavirus fears in February with 273,000 new jobs, unemployment at 3.5% (Washington Examiner)

"THE APPEARANCE IS NOT GOOD": Romney could block Republican subpoena attempt aimed at the Bidens (Fox News)

POLICY VIOLATION: Facebook removes Trump campaign ads over census confusion (Politico)

FOR THE RECORD: More than 300 illegal aliens from China have been caught at the U.S. border since coronavirus outbreak (MRCTV)

LIKELY ISLAMIST TERRORISM: Explosion near U.S. embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, prompts emergency response (Fox News)

EMBEZZLING AND RACKETEERING: Ex-UAW president Gary Jones charged in corruption probe (Detroit Free Press)


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is hereHome page supplement


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