1. Is this what a “pivot” looks like?
A) DACA & the Wall
In the last day the “President” has seemed to “pivot” on a couple of positions. In moves that defy basic physics, our Chief Executive seems to be able to occupy two positions in the same space at the same time! Can someone explain where we stand, exactly, on DACA and “border security?” After Wednesday night’s Chinese dinner with Chuck and Nancy, the Toddler-in-Chief announced that there was a “deal” on DACA which included increased border security and no funding of his wall. He had earlier Tweeted: “No deal was made last night on DACA” but then, later in the day, said something was “in the works.” Pelosi and Schumer issued a joint statement claiming “no final deal” was reached but “Trump broadly agreed to DACA protections and negotiations on border security.” According to Schumer: “We have reached an understanding on this issue.” Trump had also said “The wall will come later” but then Tweeted “The WALL, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.” While claiming he was not creating a path to citizenship or offering “amnesty” (despite Brietbart calling him Amnesty Don) he also Tweeted: “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military. Really!” As noted in the NY Daily News (09/15) “Even Trump aides appeared confused by the back and forth.” And, while we’re talking “back and forth . . . “
B) Charlottesville, redux
Just when we thought the Charlottesville “both sides” brouhaha had been put to rest --- even after the Congress passed a nonbinding resolution (that Trump signed) condemning groups like the KKK and Neo-Nazi’s --- the “President” just couldn’t choke back his white supremacist impulses. After meeting with the only Black Republican Senator, Tim Scott (SC) for a half hour on Thursday morning, the Short-Bus-Rider-in-Chief said:
I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what's going on there. You have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also, and essentially that's what I said. Now, because of what's happened since then with Antifa — you look at really what's happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, 'Gee, Trump might have a point.' I said, 'You've got some very bad people on the other side also,' which is true.
Once again, contrary to any facts, Trump simply makes things up. As usual, “a lot of people are saying and people have actually written . . . “ Really? Does he mean Brietbart, FoxNews, Alex Jones --- or actual, credible sources? To equate the Anti-Fascist movement with the KKK and Neo-Nazi’s is absurd --- and Tim Scott told Trump exactly that. In Senator Scott’s own words:
“I shared my thoughts of the last three centuries of challenges from white supremacists, white nationalists, KKK, Nazis. So there’s no way to find an equilibrium when you have three centuries of history versus the situation that is occurring today.”
While Dumb-and-Dumber-in-Chief said, “That makes sense,” at the time, it did not stop him from going after AnitFa later the same day, talking to reporters on Air Force One.
2) We’re not just “leaving the light on.”
You may be familiar with Tom Bodett’s voice on those Motel 6 commercials, assuring you “we’ll leave the light on for you.” The ads have been running since 1986. You might be surprised to find out, however, that in Arizona, the land of “Sherriff Joe” Arpaio, Motel 6 employees did far more than “leave the light on.”
As reported in today’s NY Times, “Employees at Motel 6 locations in Arizona regularly handed over to the government information that led to its hotel guests being detained and deported, the company had acknowledged.” A spokesperson for the Texas-based company (a subsidiary of Trump supporter Steven Schwartzman’s Blackstone private equity firm) noted that these actions were “implemented at the local level without the knowledge of senior management.” Immigration lawyers associated with the case claim “the practice was widespread, and not limited to one state.” It seems that if you have an “Hispanic” surname and check into a Motel 6, your name, etc. is forwarded to ICE. While there was some claim that this was being done by individuals who worked at Motel 6, the fact that it also occurred in Washington State certainly raises questions about “company policy” --- and the ACLU is on the case!
3) A bad day for Mob movies
If you aren’t a big fan of Mob movies (and tv shows, like The Sopranos) and you don’t religiously read the obituary page of the NY Times, you may have missed the passing of Frank Vincent (80) and Gastone Moschin (88). Moschin was primarily an actor in Italian films but played the “dapper crime boss gunned down by Vito Corleone” in Francis Coppola’s The Godfather, Part Two. Though the part of “Don Fanucci” is small, Moschin made it quite memorable and it’s an integral part of the Corleone mythology. Frank Vincent (Gattuso) was best known as Billy Batts in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and his quote (to Joe Pesci) “Now go home and get your fuckin’ shine box” shortly before Pesci’s character is unceremoniously whacked was even printed on tee-shirts. Vincent appeared on The Sopranos as crime boss “Phil Leonardo” where, after “30 episodes (he) ultimately (met) a gruesome end.” Both of these gentlemen were great character actors who, if you saw them on screen, were quite recognizable, even if you didn’t know their names. So, it’s ciao and godspeed to two great “bad guys.”