The Monday Morning Teaser

So the government shutdown is official now: It’s Monday morning and a bunch of people aren’t going to work.

As I always say, a weekly blog can’t do breaking news very well. If you want the absolute latest on what deal is being negotiated or how likely it is to pass, check CNN or the Washington Post.

Immigration is at the heart of the shutdown battle, especially whether Trump will start deporting the Dreamers in March. He has said he doesn’t want to do that, but he also hasn’t gotten behind any agreement to let them stay. As Democrats insist on making them part of a budget deal, Trump’s rhetoric has shifted to lumping them in with all “illegal immigrants”, which he has been blaming for crime and terrorism since he started running for president.

The featured post is an answer to one recent piece of that: a recent Homeland Security/Justice Department report that supposedly backs up Trump’s claim that “the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country”. But the claim is a lie, and so the report can only back it up by doing some truly egregious manipulation of statistics, as I’ll explain in “Lies, Damned Lies, and Trump Administration Terrorism Statistics”. That’s pretty much done and should be out soon.

There may or may not be a second featured post, which is my way of saying that I had an idea, but may not get it together in time. The idea was to mark Trump’s first year by looking back at the post “The Trump Administration: What I’m Watching For“, which I wrote two weeks after the election, and see whether the things I was worried about came to pass. (In general, yes.) A shorter version of that may get folded into the weekly summary, or I might push it off until next week.

The weekly summary will have the nuts-and-bolts of the failure to avoid a shutdown — no, I have no clue how long it will last — together with a bunch of other stuff that isn’t getting much attention. (Can you believe how fast everybody stopped talking about Trump’s lawyer paying off a porn star not to talk about their affair? If that story had been about Obama, it would have been THE big scandal of his administration. We’d still be talking about it years later.)

In particular, I want to call your attention to an interview with Jay Rosen, one of the best observers of the news media; he points to the difference between Troubles (what people worry about in their lives) and Issues (what the political debate is about) and observes that “when Issues don’t speak to Troubles, and Troubles don’t connect to Issues, you have a crisis in democracy”. If you want to sum up the background situation that made Trump’s election possible and allows his administration to be such a threat to America-as-we-have-known-it, you really can’t do much better.

The uncertainty about the second featured post means that I don’t know when anything will appear, other than the terrorism-statistics post, which will be out soon.

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  • cgordon  On January 22, 2018 at 10:01 am

    The Stormy Daniel thing came and went because of bigger issues, of course, but also because absolutely no one was surprised, and the “family values” crowd doesn’t care.

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