Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Trump declares war on California cities

by digby

There was a time when Republicans would have had a fit at the idea of the president sending in federal authorities to deal with something that is clearly a local and state issue. "Local control" and "states' rights" were their watchwords. But no longer:
President Trump has ordered White House officials to launch a sweeping effort to address homelessness in California, citing the state’s growing crisis, according to four government officials aware of the effort.

The planning has intensified in recent weeks. Administration officials have discussed using the federal government to get homeless people off the streets of Los Angeles and other cities and into new government-backed facilities, according to two officials briefed on the planning.

But it is unclear how they could accomplish this and what legal authority they would use. It is also unclear whether the state’s Democratic politicians would cooperate with Trump, who has sought to embarrass them over the homelessness crisis with repeated attacks on their competency.

Trump’s directive is part of his broader effort in recent months to shine a light on problems in California and a number of major U.S. cities, including Baltimore and Chicago. He has complained about what he says are years of failed Democratic leadership that have led to sustained poverty and crime.

Top officials representing the White House and the Department of Housing and Urban Development arrived in California this week for a round of meetings. A particular focus has been the “Skid Row” section of Los Angeles, officials said. The president is directly involved with the initiative, officials said, and has asked for updates.

Officials representing the Justice Department were also part of the tour, according to two government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details they were not authorized to discuss.

Among the ideas under consideration are razing existing tent camps for the homeless, creating new temporary facilities and refurbishing existing government facilities, two officials said. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning hasn’t been publicly revealed. The changes would attempt to give the federal government a larger role in supervising housing and health care for residents.

I predicted this a couple months back when I saw this:

Tucker Carlson had been granted an interview with Trump in Tokyo which produced this very strange exchange:

No one is sure what Trump meant by asserting that the homeless "phenomena" started two years ago. Homelessness has been an issue in America for many decades and in fact the numbers are lower than they were 10 years ago, although they have increased slightly over the past two years. Nor has anyone been able to pin down what Trump has supposedly done about the situation in Washington to make it more palatable for visiting dignitaries.

Nonetheless, it is true that there has been a sharp increase in homelessness in some cities, resulting in contentious political debates about the root causes and what can be done about it. In Los Angeles County, for instance, an estimated 60,000 people are homeless, a 12% increase from the year before. The consensus, if one can call it that, is that the rising cost of housing and lack of new construction, along with ongoing mental health and drug crises have converged into a situation where many more people are living in the streets as well as cars, RVs and temporary shelters. The city and state have appropriated money to create new shelters and try to get a handle on the other problems — but that takes time and is probably an inadequate solution in any case.

On a local level, this is a major topic of conversation. There are homeless encampments in numerous public spaces, and a serious public health problem is developing. But you can be sure that whatever Trump might do to "intercede" will not help. His administration has drastically cut funding for health care programs and Housing and Urban Development projects. His "solutions" are almost always punitive measures that make things worse.

The extent of Trump's knowledge about all this comes from Fox News — and mostly from Tucker Carlson himself. You'll note that Carlson didn't use the term "homeless" when he asked Trump that question. He asked him why American cities "have a major problem with filth." Trump understood exactly what he was getting at, because he watches his show. Carlson is all over this story day after day.

Media Matters has been following the evolution of this theme on Fox News for a while, finding that over the last couple of months "the network has painted a grim picture of American cities as 'almost Third World in their decay,' facing 'a complete breakdown of the basic needs of civilization,' and filled with 'drugged-out zombies chasing barefooted babies.'" These segments concentrate on West Coast cities like L.A. and San Francisco, characterizing their Democratic leaders as favoring their "rich friends" and pushing "socialist solutions." Fox folks would prefer something a little bit harsher, shall we say.

Clearly, Carlson and the other Fox pundits have made an impression on Trump. When the president was asked at his Tokyo press conference whether he agreed with Vladimir Putin that Western liberal democracy is obsolete, it was obvious he had no idea what Putin was referring to. Trump is such a profoundly ignorant person he understood "Western" to mean the American West Coast, and "liberal democracy" to mean the Democratic liberals responsible for the "filth" in California's big cities. It's obviously on his mind.

I would guess this particular Fox News meme going to become an issue in Trump's re-election campaign. It's clear he thinks it could be a winner. As he told Carlson in the interview, “This is the liberal establishment. This is what I’m fighting, It’s a terrible thing that’s taking place.”

It's highly unlikely that he will convert any Democratic voters in the big cities by denigrating their local leaders. But that isn't really the point. As the Atlantic's Ronald Brownstein tweeted in response to Trump's comments in the interview:

I doubt that Trump is crunching any numbers. He doesn't do that. But his instincts tell him that his vaunted base hates the big blue cities — because the big blue cities hate him. And Tucker Carlson is handing him the talking points about "filth" and "third world decay" that he can use to demonize the homeless in the same way he dehumanizes immigrants. (You'll notice that he conflates "sanctuary cities" with this issue in his answer to Carlson)

And he may have some inkling that this issue is divisive among Democrats as well. Homelessness is most urgently a problem for the people who can't afford shelter, but it also has many local residents and businesses up in arms. He's undoubtedly unaware of what the Republicans used to call "wedge issues," but if he can drive a wedge between liberals, over pretty much anything, he's had himself a good day.

Don't be surprised if the president comes up with something truly draconian to "solve" the problem. One of Trump's other informal advisers, Fox News' Jesse Watters, suggested that there is only one final solution to the homeless problem: "Bulldoze the 50-block radius, and you institutionalize everybody and detoxify them, and then you let them out."

I'd like to think that was just right-wing hyperbole. But this is a president who is presiding over the brutal incarceration of hundreds of child refugees as we speak. Is it really so hard to believe he wouldn't propose something like that in the heat of the upcoming campaign? And isn't it disturbingly easy to imagine that his followers would start chanting, "Lock them up"?

He has no legal authority to do this. Bus he's a fascist at heart so he might just do it anyway. To own the libs.