Le Pen denies French collaboration with the Nazis

Steve King’s pal Marine Le Pen pretends to be a “populist” and denies that her politics are the fascist politics of her father, Jean-Marie le Pen.  That pretense was damaged, perhaps along with her ambitions to be elected President of France, when she denied French complicity in rounding up Jews during WWII.

Le Pen the Younger disclaims her father’s racist baggage, and presents herself as a populist/nationalist in the model of Nigel Farage and Donald Trump (themselves notorious racists, but of the sort who make recourse to dog whistles instead of out-and-out racism, at least some of the time).

On Sunday, Le Pen disclaimed French responsibility for the notorious “Vel d’Hiv” incident in which French police rounded up 13,000 Jews and crammed them into the Velodrome d’Hiver so that Nazi occupiers could deport them to Auschwitz, saying “”I think France isn’t responsible for the Vel d’Hiv…I think that, in general, if there are people responsible, it is those who were in power at the time. It is not France.”

The remarks came just a couple weeks before the French general election, which has many around the world nervous, given the recent success of other crypto-fascist “populists” around the world.

Do I need to add that Le Pen is a Trump supporter?

Wealth inequality is correlated with CO2 emissions

If you needed another reason to put a priority on income inequality, here is one.

A new paper from a trio of Boston College researchers shows that the states with the highest degree of income inequality are also the worst offenders for carbon emissions; as the share of wealth and income claimed by the richest 10% increases, the amount of carbon-intensive consumption they engage in grows, as does their political clout, allowing them to buy laws and policies that let them pollute more.
Democrats should stand for getting rid of all regressive taxes and replacing them with a steeply progressive income tax, the opposite of what Republicans are busy doing right now.

The next Democratic President should expand the Supreme Court

Now that Neil Gorsuch has taken the Supreme Court seat stolen from President Obama, let us put aside the fantasy that someday we will be able to get along with the Republican Party like we used to.  We won’t.  It will be self-defeating to try.  When we are back in the majority, let’s plan on revising the Judiciary Act of 1869 to increase the number of Supreme Court Justices, and appoint Democratic nominees until the damage done by Trump is reversed.  They will call it court packing (and for once they will be correct), they will call it unprecedented, they will call it unfair.  And we should say nothing in response but “April 7, 2017.”

Trump suddenly cares about Syrian babies

We are supposed to believe that Donald Trump has an aversion to civilian casualties in wartime.

Yesterday’s chemical attack, a chemical attack so horrific in Syria against innocent people including women, small children, and even beautiful little babies, their deaths was an affront to humanity.

That would be a perfectly normal response from a normal leader.  But coming from the guy who falsely said this:

We have to stop the tremendous flow of Syrian refugees into the United States.  We don’t know who they are. They have no documentation and we don’t know what they’re planning.

about those same women and children.  Trump is the guy who suspended the refugee program, specifically turning Syrians away in violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Not only was he not bothered by the deaths of 93,000 Syrian civilians during the six years of the Syrian civil war, he specifically called on President Obama to leave Syria alone, not once but more than a dozen times.

He encouraged people to hate when it suited his short term political needs.  Now his short term political need is to go to war against Syria, so he pretends to care about babies long enough to launch the missiles.

Donald Trump stands by serial sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly

O'Reilly and Trump are BFFs

This will surprise no one.

Mr. Trump criticized media outlets, including The New York Times…while singling out Fox News and the host Bill O’Reilly for praise, despite reports this week that the veteran conservative commentator settled five lawsuits filed by women claiming sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. The president then went on to defend Mr. O’Reilly, who has hosted him frequently over the years.

“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” said Mr. Trump, who during the interview was surrounded at his desk by a half-dozen of his highest-ranking aides, including the economic adviser Gary Cohn and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, along with Vice President Mike Pence.

“I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled,” said Mr. Trump. “Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”

And this is only the first week of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

Trump’s response to chemical attack in Syria: blame Obama

Someone, probably the Syrian government, launched an attack using both conventional and chemical weapons that killed at least 58 people, including 11 children.  The Trump adminstration condemned the attack and called it “heinous” and “intolerable,” but then proceeded to blame the Obama administration’s “weakness and irresolution” for it.

To the extent that reality still matters, what Obama actually did was seek congressional authorization for a military offensive against the Assad regime — authorization that Spicer’s Republican allies in Congress refused to offer. A guy by the name of Donald J. Trump was especially vocal in his opposition to Obama attacking the Assad government in Syria.

Bipartisan bill would end warrantless border searches of US persons’ data

From Boing Boing:

Under the Protecting Data at the Border Act, devices “belonging to or in the possession of a United States person” (a citizen or Green Card holder) could no longer be searched at the border without a warrant. Agents would no longer be able to deny US persons entry or exit on the basis of a refusal to allow such a search (but they could seize the equipment).

It doesn’t cover visitors or visa holders, but it does have bipartisan support in the Senate (Wyden D-OR; Paul R-KY) and the House (Polis D-CO; Farenthold R-TX).

The Customs and Border Protection agency conducted more warrantless device searches in Feb of 2017 than it did in all of 2015.

U.S. citizen detained three weeks by ICE

Rony Chavez Aguilar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was held in ICE custody for nearly three weeks without being able to see a judge, and without knowing why he was being detained.  His lawsuit states

ICE Chicago did not obtain a judicial warrant to arrest Plaintiff; has not provided a sworn, particularized statement of probable cause; has not promptly brought him before a detached and neutral judicial officer for a probable cause hearing; or has not brought him before a judge to understand the charges against him and receive important advisals regarding his due process rights, amongst other procedural protections.

It’s not a new problem since Trump’s inauguration, but I’m guessing we aren’t going to hear the President reading the Riot Act to the immigration cops any time soon.

No campaign funds for Democrats who won’t fight Trump’s Supreme Court pick

GorsuchEvery Democrat should sign this petition.  Tell DSCC Chair Van Hollen: No reelection funds for any Senate Democrat who votes or strikes a deal to advance the nomination of right-wing extremist Neil Gorsuch.  You wouldn’t think there would be any Democratic Senators in that group, but there are, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, even Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who should know better.

If Senate Democrats are looking for good reasons to not just oppose Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, but to force Mitch McConnell to go nuclear to get him on the court, there’s plenty. Let’s start with the fact that this is a stolen seat. By all rights, the only person who should be considered for the court is Merrick Garland, President Obama’s highly qualified and completely noncontroversial nominee who was blockaded by Republicans in an unprecedented and unprincipled display of partisanship. You don’t like the idea that maybe it’s tit-for-tat and you don’t want to look petty. Get over it.

There are plenty of reasons based in Gorsuch’s person, however, if Democrats need them. Like the fact that Gorsuch is a right-wing extremist so bought-into right-wing extremism that he uses “Democrat” as an adjective. That’s an implicit tip-off to anyone paying attention that he is a supremely political actor and will be serving the far-right before serving the constitution. He’s an ideologue and will rule as one. There’s also little indication that Gorsuch will be an independent actor when—and it’s increasingly looking like it will be when and not if—the court has to weigh in on a constitutional crisis created by popular vote loser Donald Trump.

Further, any senator who is worried about justifying a filibuster vote to their constituents only needs one story to justify their vote—the story of Alphonse Maddin, the “frozen trucker.” Gorsuch actually ruled that Maddin was justifiably fired by his employer when he disobeyed an order so that he could save himself from freezing to death. Gorsuch was in the minority in that decision, because it was an extreme position to take, but that’s who Gorsuch is. Any senator will be able to relate that story to a constituent to justify his or her vote to block Gorsuch.