Ex-Flunkies Steve Bannon and Kash Patel Warn Trump Is Serious About Revenge
AJ McDougall – December 5, 2023
Kash Patel promised Steve Bannon, a fellow member of the former Trump adviser club, that the former president means to deliver on the vengeance he has vowed to exact should he win re-election to the White House next year. While hosting Patel on his War Room podcast Tuesday, Bannon asked if he felt “highly confident” that a fresh Trump administration could quickly “get rolling on prosecutions.” Patel, who held a number of national security roles in the Trump administration, replied that they already had “the bench for it.” Without naming said members of the bench, Patel continued, “We will go out and find the conspirators, not just in government but in the media… We’re going to come after you—whether it’s criminal or civilly, we’ll figure that out. But yeah, we’re putting you all on notice and Steve, this is why they hate us. This is why we’re tyrannical.” During the episode, Bannon issued his own warning. “And I want the Morning Joe producers that watch us,” he said, addressing the MSNBC staffers directly, “and all the producers that watch us—this is just not rhetoric. We’re absolutely dead serious.”
Trump doesn’t sound like somebody trying to get elected
Rick Newman, Senior Columnist – December 5, 2023
Donald Trump promises more of the same if he wins the 2024 presidential election — more of the protectionism that defined his first presidential term, more dismantling of government, more slashing and burning of the system that many Trump supporters think is rigged against them.
But he may be misreading what voters want. Trump found surprise success in 2016 with his populist, America-first agenda, but voters didn’t love all of it. Plus, the electorate has changed since Trump first won the White House.
In 2016, most Americans agreed with Trump that Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was a bummer. But not anymore. Public approval of the ACA has grown from around 40% in 2016 to nearly 60% in 2023, according to polling by KFF.
Republicans, who uniformly opposed the law when in passed in 2010, warned of socialized medicine, soaring costs, and other dire developments. Big surprise: That was hyperbole.
Repealing the ACA would cause hardship well beyond blue states and districts. The state with the most ACA enrollees is Florida, which leans red and which Trump won in 2016 and 2020.
Voters in the six swing states likely to determine the 2024 outcome — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — would be among those affected if a second-term Trump repealed the ACA. Biden won all of those states in 2020 by a combined 312,000 votes. Around 3.2 million people in those six states get health coverage through the ACA. The data doesn’t reveal how many of those 3.2 million people are swing voters who could tip the election one way or the other, but some of them certainly are.
Georgia is a stark example of the risk Trump faces by threatening, once again, to kill the ACA. Nearly 850,000 Georgians get coverage through the ACA. Biden won the state in 2020 by less than 12,000 votes. So whatever portion of those 850,000 are not die-hard Trumpers would have a new incentive to vote for Biden.
Trump also wants to impose a new tax of 10% on virtually all imports to the United States. That’s a political head-scratcher. Trump already tried something like that the first time around when he slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and about half of all goods coming to the United States from China. Many economists slammed the tariffs as a foolish idea likely to raise costs for Americans, kill jobs, and undermine growth. The Tax Foundation estimates the tariffs amounted to an $80 billion tax hike during Trump’s term. Voters soundly disapproved of the tariffs and Trump’s overall trade war.
Trump’s across-the-board 10% tariff would be costlier, with the Tax Foundation estimating it would add $300 billion per year to consumer costs — at a time when voters’ biggest economic concern is inflation. Vowing to raise taxes is not a normal campaign promise, so maybe it’s possible Trump actually believes his own gobbledygook about foreign producers paying the tariff, which is patently untrue. At any rate, any politician threatening to raise costs for consumers is giving his political opponents a gift, and Biden is sure to attack that one as the 2024 election heats up.
Trump also has some explaining to do about his fight with labor unions and his trash talk relating to auto workers. In September, when unionized workers at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis went on strike, Trump criticized Shawn Fain, president of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, saying “auto workers are being sold down the river by their leadership.” Then he went to Michigan to give a speech at a non-union plant whose workers weren’t on strike, where he said “the workers of our country … are getting screwed.”
Fain and the UAW ended up negotiating a four-year raise of at least 25% for workers at the Detroit Three, which promptly led to wage hikes at many nonunion auto plants. Biden played the strike well, expressing solidarity with striking workers, touting his lifelong support for unions, and even showing up at a picket line. Trump’s campaign website, by contrast, still features a video in which Trump says, “What’s happening to our auto workers is an absolute disgrace. Auto workers are getting totally ripped off by Crooked Joe Biden.” Doesn’t seem that way, but hey, maybe Trump is playing three-dimensional chess.
Why a Second Trump Presidency May Be More Radical Than His First
Charlie Savage, Jonathan Swan and Maggie Haberman– December 4, 2023
Donald Trump has long exhibited authoritarian impulses, but his policy operation is now more sophisticated, and the buffers to check him are weaker.
In the spring of 1989, the Chinese Communist Party used tanks and troops to crush a pro-democracy protest in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Most of the West, across traditional partisan lines, was aghast at the crackdown that killed at least hundreds of student activists. But one prominent American was impressed.
“When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it,” Donald J. Trump said in an interview with Playboy magazine the year after the massacre. “Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak.”
It was a throwaway line in a wide-ranging interview, delivered to a journalist profiling a 43-year-old celebrity businessman who was not then a player in nationalpolitics or world affairs. But in light of what Mr. Trump has gone on to become, his exaltation of the ruthless crushing of democratic protesters is steeped in foreshadowing.
As he runs for president again facing four criminal prosecutions, Mr. Trump may seem more angry, desperate and dangerous to American-style democracy than in his first term. But the throughline that emerges is far more long-running: He has glorified political violence and spoken admiringly of autocrats for decades.
What would be different in a second Trump administration is not so much his character as his surroundings. Forces that somewhat contained his autocratic tendencies in his first term — staff members who saw their job as sometimes restraining him, a few congressional Republicans episodically willing to criticize or oppose him, a partisan balance on the Supreme Court that occasionally ruled against him — would all be weaker.
As a result, Mr. Trump’s and his advisers’ more extreme policy plans and ideas for a second term would have a greater prospect of becoming reality.
A Radical Agenda
To be sure, some of what Mr. Trump and his allies are planning is in line with what any standard-issue Republican president would most likely do. For example, Mr. Trump would very likely roll back many of President Biden’s policies to curb carbon emissions and hasten the transition to electric cars. Such a reversal of various rules and policies would significantly weaken environmental protections, but much of the changes reflect routine and longstanding conservative skepticism of environmental regulations.
Other parts of Mr. Trump’s agenda, however, are aberrational. No U.S. president before him had toyed with withdrawing from NATO, the United States’ military alliance with Western democracies. He has said he would fundamentally re-evaluate “NATO’s purpose and NATO’s mission” in a second term.
He has said he would order the military to attack drug cartels in Mexico, which would violate international law unless its government consented. It most likely would not.
He would also use the military on domestic soil. While it is generally illegal to use troops for domestic law enforcement, the Insurrection Act allows exceptions. After some demonstrations against police violence in 2020 became riots, Mr. Trump had an order drafted to use troops to crack down on protesters in Washington, D.C., but didn’t sign it. He suggested at a rally in Iowa this year that he intends to unilaterally send troops into Democratic-run cities to enforce public order in general.
“You look at any Democrat-run state, and it’s just not the same — it doesn’t work,” Mr. Trump told the crowd, calling cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco crime dens. “We cannot let it happen any longer. And one of the other things I’ll do — because you’re supposed to not be involved in that, you just have to be asked by the governor or the mayor to come in — the next time, I’m not waiting.”
Mr. Trump’s plans to purge undocumented immigrants include sweeping raids, huge detention camps, deportations on the scale of millions per year, stopping asylum, trying to end birthright citizenship for babies born on U.S. soil to undocumented parents and invoking the Insurrection Act near the southern border to also use troops as immigration agents.
Mr. Trump would seek to expand presidential power in myriad ways — concentrating greater authority over the executive branch in the White House, ending the independence of agencies Congress set up to operate outside of presidential control and reducing civil service protections to make it easier to fire and replace tens of thousands of government workers.
More than anything else, Mr. Trump’s vow to use the Justice Department to wreak vengeance against his adversaries is a naked challenge to democratic values. Building on how he tried to get prosecutors to go after his enemies while in office, it would end the post-Watergate norm of investigative independence from White House political control.
In all these efforts, Mr. Trump would be backed in a second term by a well-funded outside infrastructure. In 2016, conservative think tanks were bastions of George W. Bush-style Republicanism. But new ones run by Trump administration veterans have sprung up, and the venerable Heritage Foundation has refashioned itself to stay in step with Trumpism.
A coalition has been drawing up America First-style policy plans, nicknamed Project 2025. (Mr. Trump’s campaign has expressed appreciation but said only plans announced by him or his campaign count.) While some proposals under development in such places would advance longstanding Republican megadonor goals, such as curbing regulations on businesses, others are more tuned to Mr. Trump’s personal interests.
And neither effort for which he was impeached succeeded. Mr. Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into opening a criminal investigation into Mr. Biden by withholding military aid, but it did not cooperate. Mr. Trump sought to subvert his 2020 election loss and stoked the Capitol riot, but Vice President Mike Pence and congressional majorities rejected his attempt to stay in power.
There is reason to believe various obstacles and bulwarks that limited Mr. Trump in his first term would be absent in a second one.
Some of what Mr. Trump tried to do was thwarted by incompetence and dysfunction among his initial team. But over four years, those who stayed with him learned to wield power more effectively. After courts blocked his first, haphazardly crafted travel ban, for example, his team developed a version that the Supreme Court allowed to take effect.
Four years of his appointments created an entrenched Republican supermajority on the Supreme Court that most likely would now side with him on some cases that he lost, such as the 5-to-4 decision in June 2020 that blocked him from ending a program that shields from deportation certain undocumented people who had been brought as children and grew up as Americans.
Republicans in Congress were often partners and enablers — working with him to confirm judges and cut corporate taxes, while performing scant oversight. But a few key congressional Republicans occasionally denounced his rhetoric or checked his more disruptive proposals.
In 2017, then-Senator Bob Corker rebuked Mr. Trump for making reckless threats toward North Korea on Twitter, and then-Senator John McCain provided the decisive vote against Mr. Trump’s push to rescind, with no replacement plan, a law that makes health insurance coverage widely available.
It is likely that Republicans in Congress would be even more pliable in any second Trump term. The party has become more inured to and even enthusiastic about Mr. Trump’s willingness to cross lines. And Mr. Trump has worn down, outlasted, intimidated into submission or driven out leading Republican lawmakers who have independent standing and demonstrated occasional willingness to oppose him.
Mr. McCain, who was the 2008 G.O.P. presidential nominee, died in 2018. Former Representative Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach Mr. Trump for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, riot and helped lead the committee that investigated those events, lost her seat to a pro-Trump primary challenger. Senator Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and the only G.O.P. senator who voted to convict Mr. Trump at his first impeachment trial, is retiring.
Fear of violence by Trump supporters also enforces control. In recent books, both Mr. Romney and Ms. Cheney said that Republican colleagues, whom they did not name, told them they wanted to vote against Mr. Trump in the Jan. 6-related impeachment proceedings but did not do so out of fear for their and their families’ safety.
Personnel Is Policy
Perhaps the most important check on Mr. Trump’s presidency was internal administration resistance to some of his more extreme demands. A parade of his own former high-level appointees has since warned that he is unfit to be president, including a former White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly; former defense secretaries Jim Mattis and Mark T. Esper; the former national security adviser John R. Bolton; former Attorney General William P. Barr; and others.
Mr. Trump in turn has denounced them all as weak, stupid and disloyal. He has privately told those close to him that his biggest mistakes concerned the people he appointed, in particular his choices for attorney general. The advisers who have stuck with him are determined that if he wins a new term, there will be no officials who intentionally stymie his agenda.
Such staffing efforts would build on a shift in his final year as president. In 2020, Mr. Trump replaced advisers who had sought to check him and installed a young aide, John McEntee, to root out further officials deemed insufficiently loyal.
Depending on Senate elections, confirming particularly contentious nominees to important positions might be challenging. But another norm violation Mr. Trump gradually developed was making aggressive use of his power to temporarily fill vacancies with “acting” heads for positions that are supposed to undergo Senate confirmation.
After Mr. Trump left office, there were manyproposals to codify into law democratic norms he violated. Ideas included tightening limits on presidents’ use of emergency powers, requiring disclosure of their taxes, giving teeth to a constitutional ban on outside payments and making it harder to abuse their pardon power and authority over prosecutors.
The debate on the House floor largely played out on a premise that reduced its urgency: Mr. Trump was gone. Democrats argued for viewing the reforms as being about future presidents, while Republicans dismissed it as an unnecessary swipe at Mr. Trump.
“Donald Trump is — unfortunately — no longer president,” said Representative Rick Crawford, Republican of Arkansas. “Time to stop living in the past.”
Charlie Savage writes about national security and legal policy. An individual winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting about presidential power, he is also the author of the books “Takeover” and “Power Wars.”
Jonathan Swan is a political reporter who focuses on campaigns and Congress. As a reporter for Axios, he won an Emmy Award for his 2020 interview of then-President Donald J. Trump, and the White House Correspondents’ Association’s Aldo Beckman Award for “overall excellence in White House coverage” in 2022.
Maggie Haberman is a senior political correspondent and the author of “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.” She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on President Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia.
Trump’s revenge? GOP braces for daily blasts from ‘orange Jesus’
Burgess Everett, Olivia Beavers and Meridith McGraw – December 4, 2023
Congressional Republicans are steeling themselves for a return to daily life with Donald Trump — which means constant, uncomfortable questions about his erratic policy whims and political attacks.
With Trump far ahead of the GOP primary pack and leading President Joe Biden in some polls, Republicans are getting a preview of future shellshock akin to their experiences in 2016 and his presidency. It’s likely to continue for the next 11 months. And perhaps four more years after that.
Trump’s recent call to replace the Affordable Care Act is triggering a particularly unwelcome sense of deja vu within the GOP. Even as many Senate Republicans steered away from Trump over the past couple years, now they’re increasingly resigned to another general election that could inundate them with the former president’s often fact-averse and hyperbolic statements.
But Hill Republicans are girding to treat Trump the third-time nominee the same way they did Trump the neophyte candidate and then president. They’re distancing themselves and downplaying his remarks, which touch on policy stresses like his urge to end Obamacare and political grievances like his vow to come down “hard” on MSNBC for its unfavorable coverage.
“He is almost a stream of consciousness,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), one of only three Senate Republicans who will remain in office after voting to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial — the other four have either already left or plan to next year. It’s “analogous to when every day he would tweet,” Cassidy added, “and 99 percent of the time it never came to anything.”
Even so, Trump’s return threatens to spark the same clashes with the Hill GOP that took a heavy political toll on the party, perhaps to an even stronger degree than his first term. Some potential flashpoints are evident in his agenda: Trump is likely to tap nominees who rankle Senate Republican leaders and pursue a polarizing bid to reshape the civil service into a less independent force.
Other sources of tension will be political. Trump could try to force an ouster of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, if the Kentucky Republican even tries to keep the top job under another Trump presidency. House Republicans could see their own leadership shakeup if Trump is elected, since the former president has the power to purge a leader he dislikes.
“One thing I’m pretty certain of is that the leadership is all up in the air. And I don’t think any of them survive after this term,” said Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio), a Trump ally who recently began airing public criticisms of Speaker Mike Johnson.
Trump’s first four years as president were a time of nearly constant tension within the establishment GOP, which wanted another nominee in 2016 but gradually fell in line behind him. Those stresses boiled over after the violent riot of Jan. 6, 2021, with many Republicans savaging Trump for stoking the Capitol insurrection and 17 Republicans in both chambers opposing him at his second impeachment trial.
Most of those 17 Republicans will be gone from Congress by the end of 2024. Those who will remain are slowly resurrecting a familiar dynamic: pushing aside worries that he’ll lose again to Biden and minimizing his online screeds and less palatable policy proposals.
“I’m under no illusions what that would be like,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who served as the GOP whip during Trump’s first two years as president and voted to acquit Trump. “If it’s Biden and Trump, I’m gonna be supporting Trump. But that’s obviously not without its challenges.”
The retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who voted to convict Trump at two impeachment trials, put it more bluntly. He recalled meeting with a health secretary during Trump’s administration to delve into the president’s policies: “They had nothing. No proposal, no outlines, no principles.”
“He says a lot of stuff that he has no intention of actually doing,” Romney said of Trump. “At some point, you stop getting worried about what he says and recognize: We’ll see what he does.”
Trump is paying little heed to how Republicans on Capitol Hill are reacting to his candidacy or plans for a second term. While only 13 of the 49 Republican senators have endorsed Trump, he has racked up over 80 House GOP endorsements and the list is expected to grow. In a statement, Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said the former president’s “second term will be one for the ages” and attacked Biden.
Even for those who liked Trump’s policies during his term, his related slew of controversies is an inescapable part of the deal.
“We have a lot of people on our side that utilize Donald Trump for their political benefit,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) said, people who “get really tired of answering questions about Donald Trump. And I don’t think that’s fair to the president. You don’t get the good without … the whole package.”
Another House-Senate GOP split is also likely to emerge if Trump continues steaming toward the nomination. Senate Republicans can win back the majority next year even if he loses the presidential election, given their red-leaning map.
But in the House, Republicans’ future is more deeply intertwined with the vacillations of the mercurial ex-president. And many of Trump’s House GOP critics don’t even want to entertain the idea of trying to govern alongside him; in interviews, some simply shook their heads and furrowed their brows in feigned fatigue.
“Shit, yeah,” Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) replied when asked whether his colleagues are worried about clashing with Trump. “The orange Jesus?” he added with a laugh.
Trump’s allies argued that his second term would be smoother than the first, notwithstanding the reality of his chaotic exit from office and subsequent indictments.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), an influential voice on the House’s right flank, said Trump has “learned that there are people who [he] can trust and can’t trust.”
Miller, a former Trump aide, said that the presidential frontrunner would look more closely to “allies like me who are moderately pragmatic, that are all in on the America First agenda,” than more unpredictable conservatives like the eight (including Biggs) who voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He dismissed those Trump allies as “the freak shows within our party.”
Trump’s team is confident of their broader relationships in the House and predicted GOP senators would fall in line behind pro-Trump colleagues like Sens. J.D. Vance of Ohio and Rick Scott of Florida. Indeed, Johnson has endorsed Trump for president and recently met with him at Mar-a-Lago on the sidelines of a political fundraiser at Trump’s club. The two men, who have a good relationship since Johnson’s days on the Judiciary Committee during Trump’s first impeachment, had a friendly conversation and smiled for a photo together.
Johnson also supported Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, as did most House Republicans. Most Senate Republicans, on the other hand, did not — which could mean more static toward McConnell and his allies should Trump reclaim the White House.
A Trump adviser laughed off a question about McConnell’s relationship with Trump, arguing “there’s not much that Trump hasn’t said on that himself.”
McConnell’s office declined to comment for this story. He’s made zero effort to rejuvenate his partnership with Trump, which crumbled after Jan. 6.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) argued that McConnell and Trump could still rekindle their partnership, “remembering that there’s pre-election and then there’s post-election. Things change after people become elected.”
Another Republican close to Trump’s campaign specifically mentioned Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), whose reelection Trump threatened to oppose, as a potential target of future ire. (Thune won his race handily in 2022.)
In an interview, Thune acknowledged that Trump was in a strong position but said he likes what he’s hearing from former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign. Thune advised fellow Republicans to “be prepared to respond to similar types of ideas and proposals and statements in the future” from Trump as the primary accelerates.
Other Republicans who served during the first Trump presidency are reluctant to make any predictions about the future — beyond expecting the unexpected.
Still, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) said plenty in the GOP dread Trump’s return to the political spotlight but “everybody is being more private about it.”
“I wouldn’t expect him to be different,” Simpson said, adding that many colleagues worry about “four years of revenge … we just have to wait and see.”
Texas is about to follow Arizona through the immigration gates of hell
Phil Boas, Arizona Republic – December 4, 2023
To say the U.S.-Mexico border is in chaos is to actually understate the problem.
Some 2.5 million migrants have been encountered trying to illegally cross the border in fiscal 2023, topping the record of the year before.
As quickly as the state of Texas can put up razor wire to stop the influx, the federal government is cutting it down.
Democratic governors and big-city mayors in Illinois, New York and Massachusetts have screamed at the Democratic White House to get control as migrants flood their social services.
Even Jesse Jackson — yes, Jesse Jackson — is scolding the feds for failing to secure the U.S.-Mexico line.
“Laws need to be enforced at the border,” the long-time civil rights leader said, as reported by Politico on Thursday.
Texas mimics Arizona’s immigration law
Today in Arizona, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will temporarily close their crossing at Lukeville to free up agents to help manage the rising level of migrant encounters between ports of entry, reports Arizona Republic writer José Ignacio Castañeda Perez.
But the real madness comes from Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott is poised to walk through the gates of hell by signing a bill that looks very much like Arizona’s notorious Senate Bill 1070, signed into law in 2010.
Texas Senate Bill 4 would make it a misdemeanor for a person from a foreign nation to illegally enter or attempt to enter Texas at a location other than a lawful port of entry.
“If a police officer has probable cause to believe a person crossed the Rio Grande, that person could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of up to six months in jail, Texas Tribune reporter Uriel J. García explained.
“If the person has been previously convicted of entering Texas illegally under SB 4, the charge could be increased to a second-degree felony, which carries a punishment of two to 20 years in prison.”
Those convicted of the law would then be returned to a port of entry and ordered to return to Mexico. If they refuse, they could face a felony charge, Garcia explained.
Arizona Republicans argued this before
Tell me where you’ve heard this before:
SB 4 merely follows federal immigration law, the bill’s sponsor in the Texas House, Republican David Spiller, said.
That was the reigning argument when Arizona Republicans passed and signed into law SB 1070, meant to shrink the size of Arizona’s undocumented immigrant population through aggressive state enforcement of the federal law.
In time, much of that Arizona law was gutted by the federal court.
Spiller argues that SB 4 is significantly different than Arizona’s controversial law in that it would focus exclusively on people who have recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally into Texas, not the undocumented who have been living illegally in Texas for years.
The opponents of SB 4 are lining up to legally challenge the State of Texas if and when the bill becomes law. And they are not appreciating the distinctions Texas makes from Arizona’s beleaguered SB 1070.
“(This is) one of the country’s most radical anti-immigrant laws — EVER,” the ACLU of Texas said. “If Gov. Abbott signs #SB4 into law, we’ll sue.”
“Senate Bill 4 is the broadest, most invasive piece of legislation to ever potentially challenge the very nature of our federal and state power,” said Texas state Rep. Victoria Neave Criado, a Dallas Democrat and chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.
“The power to enforce immigration is unquestionably, exclusively a federal power.”
The biggest problem with Arizona’s SB 1070
The problem with Arizona’s SB 1070 was that it opened fissures between the white and Latino communities in a border state where the Latino population is a significant and growing part of the community.
No matter how many assurances Arizona Republicans offered that SB 1070 would not target legal citizens, Latino citizens and their allies were unconvinced.
They saw SB 1070 as a target on the back of every person with brown complexion. Feelings were raw. And many Latino citizens talked about leaving the state.
Then-President Barack Obama stood with then Mexican President Felipe Calderón to oppose Arizona’s law.
“In the United States of America, no law-abiding person — be they an American citizen, a legal immigrant, or a visitor or tourist from Mexico — should ever be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like.”
The times have changed on immigration
Already, the office of Mexico Foreign Minister has said in a statement that the proposed Texas law “categorically rejects any measure that allows state or local authorities to detain and return nationals or foreigners to Mexican territory.”
Good luck trying to send detained migrants back to Mexico, immigration experts tell the Texas Tribune. Mexico is under no obligation to receive those people.
“In fiscal year 2023, about 83% of the 1 million immigrants encountered by Border Patrol on the Texas-Mexico border were not Mexican citizens,” the news organization reported. “Many are coming from Central and South America, Asia or Eastern European countries.”
Without a doubt the earth is shifting on immigration.
During the 2010s when SB 1070 made Arizona a national flash point, you did not hear the howls of Democrats worried about unchecked immigration.
Democratic cities were lining up to boycott Arizona, along with national conventions and arts and entertainment, including Kanye West and Rage Against the Machine.
The real damage was eroded trust
But the boycotts never did real damage to Arizona. The real damage was the erosion of trust between Latinos and the majority white population.
Much of the white business establishment had begun to see this too late and tried to fend it off, but the damage was done. I remember this newspaper entertaining a delegation of some of the most distinguished Latinos in our state speaking to us with real anguish and fear.
The federal court would dispense with much of the law, and it was never enforced. But both parties would work for a decade to avoid the wrenching emotions of that time.
For a decade after, Arizona’s GOP-dominated Legislature and governor’s office steered cleared of similar iron-fist immigration measures.
Many of the politicians who pushed SB 1070 would eventually be driven from office, and the author of the bill, Russell Pearce, would see his gambit to follow SB 1070 with roughly a half-dozen follow-up bills unravel.
Working behind the scenes to help Arizona’s moderate Republican lawmakers dismantle those follow-up Pearce bills was a retired judge of some note — former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Learn from us, Texas. Don’t go there
Texas Republicans, like Arizona Republicans, aren’t likely to care about what Mexican officials think about our state immigration laws. They can thump sand.
They’re not likely to flinch at rock bands canceling concerts, or California cities boycotting them.
But they will feel the sting of their fellow Arizonans and Texans — Latinos who are their friends, colleagues, neighbors and family members — who feel betrayed by laws that no matter how you write them are likely to distinguish by race.
The Texas governor would be wise to learn from Arizona and its encounter with the abyss.
So far, President Joe Biden and his immigration officials have not commented on the Texas bill.
They may be waiting for the Texas governor to generously take from the White House the lightning rod that is illegal immigration.
This number will shape Earth’s future as the climate changes. You’ll be hearing about it.
Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY – November 30, 2023
Consider that 3 degrees Fahrenheit is the difference between a raging fever and a healthy toddler. Between a hockey rink and a swimming pool. Between food going bad or staying at a safe temperature.
Now consider that Earth is about 2 degrees Fahrenheit hotter on average than it was in the 1800s. It’s little wonder that has already led to measurable shifts in the climate: The last eight years have been the hottest in recorded history and 2023 is expected to be the hottest yet.
But there’s a looming threshold that will dictate the future of planet Earth. It could have cascading effects on how hot the planet gets, how much seas rise and how significantly normal daily life as we now know it will change.
The number is 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.
World leaders at an annual gathering beginning Thursday will be spending considerable energy pondering that number, although they will use the Celsius version: 1.5 degrees.
“We can still make a big difference and every single tenth of a degree is enormously important,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Representatives and negotiators from 197 nations are gathering at an event called COP (Conference of the Parties) in the United Arab Emirates, a 13-day meeting that comes at what scientists say is a critical moment in the fight to keep the already dangerous effects of climate change from tipping over into the catastrophic.
Research published last month estimated humanity has only six or so more years before so much carbon dioxide has been pumped into the atmosphere that there’s only a 50% chance of staying below the threshold.
Why 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit is so important
In 2016, the United States and 195 other parties signed the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change aimed at lowering the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to keep global warming at bay.
All the nations that signed the Agreement pledged to try as hard as possible to keep the global average temperature increase below 2.7 degrees, and to definitely keep it below a 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit rise. (Only the Agreement said it in Celsius, which comes out to the smoother-sounding 2.0 degrees Celsius and 1.5 degrees Celsius.)
The numbers sound pretty small – but they aren’t.
A few degrees is a big deal
The difference between 65 degrees and 67.7 degrees (that critical 2.7-degree difference) isn’t even worth carrying a sweater. So why does it worry climate scientists?
It’s because they’re thinking about global temperature averages, and when the global average goes up, the extremes go way up.
Why is it important to not let the Earth warm an extra degree?
The difference between an aspiration of no more than 2.7 degrees warming and a serious commitment to no more than 3.6 degrees might not seem large.
But multiply the extremes and their effects, and each results in a vastly different world. One is difficult, resulting in a less reliable and more chaotic climate than the one we live with today. The other verges on a movie cataclysm.
At their heart, the 13 days of COP28 negotiations are the place global governments sit down to hammer out just how much each will lower its carbon emissions, though many other climate change topics are on the table as well.
The Earth crossed a key warming threshold in 2023, with one-third of the days so far having an average temperature at least 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than preindustrial levels. On Nov. 17, it reached 2.07 degrees above. This year is expected to be the warmest in recorded history, warmer than any other in 125,000 years.
What is COP28?
COP28 is the annual United Nations meeting of the 197 parties that have agreed to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, originally adopted in 1992. The meeting is the decision-making body of the countries that signed onto the U.N. framework. It is held to assess how well nations are dealing with climate change and set agendas and goals.
How important is this COP?
In a major report, the UN’s climate change body said earlier this month that global greenhouse gas emissions need to fall by 45% by the end of this decade compared to 2010 levels to meet the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Things are not going in the right direction. Instead, emissions are set to rise by 9%.
COP28 is where changes can be made.
Scientists say humanity has about a decade to dramatically reduce heat-trapping gas emissions before thresholds are passed that may make recovery from climate collapse impossible.
To do so will require cutting nearly two-thirds of carbon pollution by 2035, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said. That means ending new fossil fuel exploration and weaning wealthy nations away from coal, oil and gas by 2040.
“Humanity is on thin ice – and that ice is melting fast,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the spring. “Our world needs climate action on all fronts – everything, everywhere, all at once.”
This year is set to be the hottest ever recorded, the UN said Thursday, demanding urgent action to rein in global warming and stem the havoc following in its wake.
The UN’s World Meteorological Organization warned that 2023 had shattered a whole host of climate records, with extreme weather leaving “a trail of devastation and despair”.
“It’s a deafening cacophony of broken records,” said WMO chief Petteri Taalas.
“Greenhouse gas levels are record high. Global temperatures are record high. Sea level rise is record high. Antarctic sea ice is record low.”
The WMO published its provisional 2023 State of the Global Climate report as world leaders gathered in Dubai for the UN COP28 climate conference, amid mounting pressure to curb planet-heating greenhouse gas pollution.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said the record heat findings “should send shivers down the spines of world leaders”.
The stakes have never been higher, with scientists warning that the ability to limit warming to a manageable level is slipping through humanity’s fingers.
The 2015 Paris climate accords aimed to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — and 1.5C if possible.
But in its report, the WMO said 2023 data to the end of October showed that this year was already around 1.4C above the pre-industrial baseline.
– ‘Not just statistics’ –
The agency is due to publish its final State of the Global Climate 2023 report in the first half of 2024.
But it said the difference between the first 10 months of this year and 2016 and 2020 — which previously topped the charts as the warmest years on record — “is such that the final two months are very unlikely to affect the ranking”.
The report also showed that the past nine years were the hottest years since modern records began.
“These are more than just statistics,” Taalas said, warning that “we risk losing the race to save our glaciers and to rein in sea level rise”.
“We cannot return to the climate of the 20th century, but we must act now to limit the risks of an increasingly inhospitable climate in this and the coming centuries.”
The WMO warned that the warming El Nino weather phenomenon, which emerged mid-year, was “likely to further fuel the heat in 2024”.
That is because the naturally-occurring climate pattern, typically associated with increased heat worldwide, usually increases global temperatures in the year after it develops.
The preliminary report also found that concentrations of the three main heat-trapping greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — reached record high levels in 2022, with preliminary data indicating that the levels continued to grow this year.
Carbon dioxide levels were 50 percent higher than the pre-industrial era, the agency said, meaning that “temperatures will continue to rise for many years to come”, even if emissions are drastically cut.
– ‘Climate chaos’ –
The rate of sea level rise over the past decade was more than twice the rate of the first decade of satellite records (1993-2002), it said.
And the maximum level of Antarctic sea ice this year was the lowest on record.
In fact, it was a million square kilometres less than the previous record low at the end of the southern hemisphere winter, the WMO said — an area larger than France and Germany combined.
Meanwhile, glaciers in North America and Europe again suffered an extreme melt season, with Swiss glaciers losing 10 percent of their ice volume in the past two years alone, the report showed.
Dramatic socio-economic impacts accompany such climate records, experts say, including dwindling food security and mass displacement.
“This year we have seen communities around the world pounded by fires, floods and searing temperatures,” UN chief Guterres said in a video message.
He called on the leaders gathered in Dubai to commit to dramatic measures to rein in climate change, including phasing out fossil fuels and tripling renewable energy capacity.
“We have the roadmap to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5C and avoid the worst of climate chaos,” he said.
“But we need leaders to fire the starting gun at COP28 on a race to keep the 1.5 degree limit alive.”
Some Republicans sound alarm after Trump revives focus on Obamacare
Kristen Holmes, Alayna Treene and Kate Sullivan – November 30, 2023
Former President Donald Trump’s renewed focus on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare, has alarmed some Republicans scarred by the GOP’s failure to deliver on promises to dismantle the law and who view the issue as a political loser with the American people.
Many on Trump’s team said they were surprised by the former president’s recent declaration on his social media website Truth Social that replacing Obamacare would be a priority of his administration, as Obamacare had not been a focal issue in ongoing policy conversations and the campaign has not yet drafted any kind of health care policy alternative. One Trump adviser told CNN the post came “completely came out of nowhere,” and said the team “has not been talking to him about health care.”
Some Trump advisers who spoke with CNN also conceded that calling for the termination of a health care law that provides millions of Americans coverage and is largely viewed favorably by the public is a political loser going into 2024. Republicans have tried and failed for years to implement substantial changes to Obamacare and the party has largely abandoned efforts to campaign on the issue.
The resurrection of the health care battle has given Democrats fresh political ammo, and the Biden campaign quickly seized on Trump’s threats. The campaign held a press call with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, whose state will become the 40th to expand Medicaid on Friday, to respond to Trump’s comments. The campaign also on Thursday released an ad focused on health care and prescription drug costs, attempting to draw a sharp contrast with Trump. The ad – which features a pediatric nurse who calls Trump’s health care policies “troubling” – will run in media markets in seven states that will be key to Biden’s 2024 electoral map.
“There are very few issues where Republicans are at a greater disadvantage then health care. The Biden campaign desperately wants the election to be about health care and abortion. If the election is about those two issues in 2024, then Democrats will have a great night in November,” Ken Spain, a GOP consultant and former communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told CNN.
“The concern that Republicans have always had about Trump is his lack of discipline. The question is, is this really an issue he intends to campaign and formulate a strategy around, or is this just another lapse in discipline?” Spain added.
Health care “was a loser in 2018 and it’s a loser now,” one Trump-aligned Republican operative told CNN, referencing the 2018 midterm elections that ushered in a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.
Trump’s health care legacy while in office is viewed by many Republicans as lackluster at best. His failure to fulfill his core campaign promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare – even with a GOP monopoly on power in Washington – was an early blow to Trump, who had painted himself as the ultimate dealmaker.
“Talk about the border,” the operative said. “Talk about the economy. Talk about no more foreign wars. Don’t talk about health care.”
Advisers to Trump said the catalyst for the former president’s posts was a recent article written by the Wall Street Journal editorial board that raised concerns that patients are seeing higher costs because insurers are using work arounds to an Affordable Care Act rule. Trump included a portion of the op-ed in his initial post on the issue.
The topic had also recently been brought up to Trump during a Mar-a-Lago meeting with Jeff Colyer, the former governor of Kansas. The two discussed health care policy over lunch, a Trump adviser told CNN.
Trump’s online pronouncements about replacing the law with his own belied the fact that his campaign has not settled on health care plan.
The campaign’s in-house policy team, led by advisers Vince Haley and Ross Worthington, has been drafting aggressive proposals for a potential second Trump term, but the campaign has not been actively working on a health care proposal, the Trump adviser told CNN. The team first started floating ideas for an alternative to Obamacare in recent days — but only after Trump started posting about it online.
One person familiar with the campaign’s process said it was likely that Trump’s team would also review health care proposals put forward by outside advocacy groups, including Project 2025, a partnership of groups organized by the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation. But this person stressed the proposals by the outside groups are merely suggestions and that the campaign would look at a range of ideas before putting forward its own unique proposal.
“The campaign is not going to adopt a position that’s suicidal,” this person said, acknowledging how politically fraught the issue can be. “But it is equally suicidal not to recognize the American people’s profound cry for health care reform.”
Like many of the policy proposals Trump’s current team is drafting for a potential second term, there are also serious concerns about how the former president could successfully enact them if reelected, acknowledging the necessary obstacles Congress and the courts could pose to a new health care agenda.
Trump bringing health care back to the forefront has also reignited talk of his failure to repeal and replace Obamacare in 2017.
Members of Trump’s orbit have long blamed that failure on the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who famously voted that year against repealing the ACA with a dramatic “thumbs down” on the Senate floor, tanking the Trump administration’s efforts.
And despite Trump’s promises to release a health care plan that could replace Obamacare, Trump left office in 2020 without having produced one. Just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, Trump issued an executive order pledging to protect Americans with preexisting conditions, but the plan fell far short of a comprehensive proposal.
CNN’s Betsy Klein and Tami Luhby contributed to this story.
Trump’s 48-Hour Manic Rant Had Immediate Consequences
Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling – November 30, 2023
The GOP’s presidential front-runner had himself a bit of an unhinged social media binge over the last couple of days, using Truth Social to air his scattered grievances, attack the wife of the judge overseeing his New York bank fraud trial, and take a wild left turn by claiming sudden allyship with the broader Black Lives Matter movement.
Kicking off the rapid-fire onslaught of posts late Tuesday, Trump called MSNBC’s coverage of the Republican Party “illegal activity,” adding that the “so-called ‘government’ should come down hard” on the news outlet and “make them pay.”
Then the former president revived an old gripe that “Obamacare sucks”—thus reopening the possibility that his campaign will renew the call to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act that has dogged the GOP since that law’s inception. Less than 20 minutes later, he redirected his attention to the sexual assault allegations made against him by columnist E. Jean Carroll, spewing comments eerily similar to the ones that have already lost him two defamation cases brought by the writer, in which he claimed that the allegations were a “made up fairytale” that was “funded by political operatives” to interfere with the 2020 presidential election results.
Over the ensuing hours, Trump also warned that the indictments against him had opened up “pandora’s box,” which he followed by snubbing his Koch-backed GOP opponent Nikki Haley as “a very weak and ineffective Birdbrain.”
In yet another post, Trump said he had done “more for Black people than any other President,” including Lincoln. He also confused the support of Mark Fisher, the founder of Black Lives Matter Incorporated, for that of the larger, national movement, despite statements front and center on BLM INC.’s web page that they’re not affiliated with “any other Black Lives Matter Movement.”
But the pièce de résistance of Trump’s 48-hour digital diatribe was a string of attacks on the wife of the judge overseeing his business fraud trial, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, whose gag order on Trump had been repealed. In five separate posts, Trump uplifted a conspiracy theory that Dawn Engoron and her husband were inherently biased in his case and that Mrs. Engoron had attacked Trump and other “white male politicians” online.
“Judge Engoron’s Trump Hating wife, together with his very disturbed and angry law clerk, have taken over control of the New York State Witch Hunt Trial aimed at me, my family, and the Republican Party,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
In a statement to Newsweek, Engoron denied ownership of the account and any of its content.
“I do not have a Twitter account. This is not me. I have not posted any anti-Trump messages,” she told the outlet.
That may have been enough to convince a New York appeals court that Trump wasn’t capable of playing nice without his recently stayed gag order, which the four-judge panel dutifully reinstated on Thursday, in an attempt to halt the verbal onslaught against the judge, his court staff and, apparently, his family.
Among other measures to tackle the demographic crisis and ensure a sufficient number of recruits for the military, he advocates for a complete ban on abortions, and the Russian State Duma is already preparing various restrictions to support this stance.
In turn, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin demands that citizens, despite the hardships prevailing in the country, have “seven or eight children.”