Bleats

Peak Merica: Talk Show Declares El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras '3 Mexican Countries'

Honestly, Fox, just try a bit.

Geography has become something of a niche subject these days and when you inhabit a big nation it’s easy to get confused about those areas where there are a bunch of tiny nations all jumbled up together like, say, the Middle East, or Europe.

However, you’d think an ostensible news source might be a teeny-tiny bit more assiduous about knowing that sort of stuff.

With the news that Trump has decided that foreign aid is just money wasted on losers and demanded that the US stop sending any help to Hondurus, El Salvador and Guatemala, US network Fox News described them as “3 Mexican Countries“.

Supposedly they meant to say “Central American”, and they apologised a few hours later. But… look, Mexican countries? Have they somehow built an empire without anyone noticing?

Now, it’s hard to be entirely sure that this was a mistake and not just explicit dog-whistling by a network never above using divisive race-based reporting as its bread and butter, especially since “Mexico” has become Fox shorthand for “everything foreign and scary’.

Still: wait, Trump’s cancelling foreign aid to Central American nations? What the actual hell does he think that’s going to achieve? Jaysus, what a dolt.

Mind you, before you get too smug about how the US doesn’t even know basic stuff about its closest neighbours, want to pick out Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, Indonesia, Vanuatu and New Caledonia on an unmarked map of Australia’s neck of the woods?

Excuse us while we go spend some time on Google Maps.

Trump's About To Launch A Fantasy National Emergency To Build His Fantasy Wall

Yep, it's one great idea after another at the moment…

There’s great news for people who would rather that the US government didn’t shutdown again following the disasterous efforts earlier this year: President Donald Trump has reportedly agreed to sign a bipartisan bill letting it stagger along as its currently doing – even though that bill doesn’t contain the US$5.7 billion he’s demanding to build a wall across the border with Mexico.

Also, in related news, he plans to declare a  national emergency so he can build a wall across the border with Mexico.

It was a METAPHOR ABOUT THE DIVISION BETWEEN THE BAND AND THEIR AUDIENCE, DON. Didn’t you listen to side 4?

“I had an opportunity to speak with President Trump and he, I would say to all my colleagues, has indicated he’s prepared to sign the bill,” explained Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. “He’ll also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time. I indicated to him I’m going to support the national emergency declaration.”

Now, historically national emergencies don’t follow timetables laid out for months in advance, and also tend to have emergency-is sort of things around them. Like natural disasters, for example, which Trump hasn’t had a brilliant track record with. Isn’t that right, US protectorate Puerto Rico?

A national emergency gives the president the opportunity to appropriate funding from other sources without having to go through the usual congressional oversight. In theory this allows the government to act more swiftly than it would otherwise be able to; in practice… well, we’ll see.

“And now, to court!”

The argument is that there’s a crisis at the Mexican border with undocumented immigration and drug smuggling. These claims have been debunked – most drug smuggling happens at airports, most “illegal immigration” is visa overstayers, and the biggest issue with US drug abuse is prescription opioids – but The Wall was part of Trump’s election pitch and damn it, he’s very into the idea.

Also, as we’ve mentioned before, that whole “…and Mexico will pay for it” part but has long since been abandoned, with Donnie even claiming he never said it.

What words mean now.

There’s also a very good chance that the Democrats – who control the House in Congress – will launch court action on the grounds that there’s no visible emergency justifying the crisis. The Department of Justice has confirmed that such a declaration would be locked up in the courts for months, so that’s a thing.

Also, just to be clear, $5.7 billion doesn’t come close to paying for the wall. Even the most optimistic estimates are in the low twenty-billions, without taking into account the legal hurdles to acquire the land along the border, the infrastructure required to support construction, and building those lift-things like they have in Game Of Thrones where Trump presumably got the idea.

Is… is this gif on a permanent loop in the White House?

Trump will also need to explain exactly which powers he plans to invoke and where the money is coming from. He’s already indicated that much will be taken from the military budget, which seems politically risky, although he’s also suggested that funds earmarked for disaster relief might be redirected too.

Which, again, Puerto Rico’s not exactly chuffed about – and neither are some of Trump’s own party members, like senator Marco Rubio.

So, to recap: Trump’s claim about a national emergency will face a well-grounded legal challenge and isn’t supported by everyone in his own party, it’ll involve vague amounts of money being taken from other departments which will create more questions and objections and it will be insufficient in any case, and is being done in order to solve a problem that doesn’t seem to exist.

Say, how’s that investigation into Russian electoral interference going?

Trump Praised America's 'Abolition Of Civil Rights' As Something Of Which He's Especially Proud, In What Sounds Eerily Like Foreshadowing

Take heed, non-white people.

Another day, another weird thing said by history’s least articulate US president. And sure, it might seem like blasting away at barrel-fish, but it should be noted when the president of the United States claims that getting rid of civil rights – you know, that whole letting black people vote and stuff – was one of the biggest successes of people of faith in the US.

“Since the founding of our nation, many of our greatest strides – from gaining our independence to abolition of civil rights to extending the vote for women – have been led by people of faith,” the prez said at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Now, obviously it’s a mistake – although it’s not entirely clear what he meant to say. Presumably he wasn’t actually foreshadowing his strategy to win in 2020 by going to a pre-1965 legal framework for voting rights?

And sure, it’s not great that a man who has been linked with white supremacists and notoriously sluggish to condemn actual Nazis should make such a slip, But he’s not wrong either, technically.

Although civil rights was spearheaded by people of faith (Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister, for example, and the churches were absolutely pivotal to the movement). slavery was very popular with some outspoken people of faith – like Confederate leader Jefferson Davis who argued that slavery “was established by decree of Almighty God… it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation.”

So maybe that’s what Trump was getting at?

And Trump hasn’t issued a retraction a clarification or an angry Twitter denial, so we can only assume that he’s OK with what he said. It did, however, get quietly amended on the official White House website to “from gaining our independence, to abolition, [to] civil rights”, so presumably someone else went “um, we should probably not have this out in the world.”

They didn’t do anything about gussying uyp this exciting piece of word salad, though: “America’s potential is unlimited because our extraordinary people are just something that is number one, no matter where you go. We have people — they love our country and they love their faith.” Is… is that meant to make sense?

Anyway: in the old words of relationship counsellors the world over: when someone tells you who they really are, believe them.

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