Sunday, August 27. 2017
The big story, one I have nothing on below, is probably what Hurricane
Harvey is doing to Texas as I write -- and as I look at the forecast map,
will keep doing through Wednesday. I watched one woman on Fox News going
on about how this disaster will finally give Trump the chance to appear
presidential and gain back some of his lost support. I noted how the
governor of Texas was thanking the federal government for their support.
Evidently this won't be the week when Republicans go around quoting
Ronald Reagan on how the scariest words in the English language are
"I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." In point of fact, the
party that wants to reduce government so small it can be drowned in a
bathtub doesn't have a very good record in responding to natural
disasters (or, really, any kind of disaster -- cf. 9/11 as well as
This week's scattered links:
Zeeshan Aleem: Nikki Haley's path to the presidency runs right past
Trump: Notes that "The UN ambassador's profile is rising as she
runs her own show," and quotes Sen. Lindsey Graham as saying, "She
sounds more like me than Trump." I wonder if Haley didn't get the
idea that UN Ambassador would be a plum presidential stepping stone
from House of Cards. It certainly gives her opportunities to
poise bellicose for the press. Of course, if people start talking
her up, Trump might get jealous and sack her. On the other hand,
that's probably in her plan as the next step.
Randall Balmer: Under Trump, evangelicals show their true racist colors.
Zack Beauchamp: Sebastian Gorka, Trump's most controversial national
security aide, is out: Obviously the next to go after Bannon got
sacked, at least he took the time to write a blustery resignation
letter, vowing to fight on against the administration's "globalists"
in Trump's name -- as the old joke goes, now he'll be outside the
tent pissing in.
Alvin Chang: We analyzed 17 months of Fox & Friends transcripts.
It's far weirder than state-run media.
Since Trump was elected, Fox & Friends has taken a special
place in the media landscape. It's clear that the program is in something
of a feedback loop with the president. But contrary to what CNN president
Jeff Zucker says, this isn't state-run television "extolling the line out
of the White House." Scholars tend to say state-run media usually aims to
keep the rank and file in line, while demobilizing the populace and
deflating political opposition. Most of it is very boring. Watch some
live Chinese state-run media and you'll immediately understand. . . .
What we found is that Fox & Friends has a symbiotic
relationship with Trump that is far weirder and more interesting than
state media. Instead of talking for Trump, they are talking to
The regular hosts -- Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Ainsley Earhardt --
and their rotating cast of guests increasingly view their role as giving
advice to the president. They prognosticate on what the president, his
staff, or his party should do. And it's all couched in language that makes
it seem they are on his side -- that the damning news reports from
mainstream media were unfair obstacles to his presidency.
That is in contrast to what Fox & Friends was before Trump.
In 2013, media scholar Jeffrey P. Jones argued that Fox & Friends
creates an ideologically homogeneous community and reinforces it by creating
a high school-like atmosphere. "The show is designed to thrust the viewer
into a common-sense groupthink, complete with all the rumours, smears,
innuendo, fear-mongering, thinly veiled ad hominem attacks, and lack of
rational discourse they can muster -- you know, just like high school,"
But in the 2016 election, the man who loves their show and listens
to their political and cultural ruminations became the leader of the
Fox & Friends went from being the bully on the periphery
to the prom king's posse.
Esme Cribb: Trump's Afghan Strategy: 'Killing Terrorists,' Not Nation
Building: Quick summary of Trump's Monday night "Afghanistan Strategy"
speech. Despite all the "pillars" and "multi-pronged strategy," what this
sounds like is that he's shelving the COIN theory -- all that stuff about
protecting Afghan communities and helping them develop -- and returning
to the core competency of the US military, which is wholesale slaughter
of anyone who gets in our way (aka, "killing terrorists"; who are these
"terrorists"? well, the people we kill). To accomplish this he'll allow
the generals to requisition whatever forces they want, with no review
from the White House let alone Congress. And he's set the standard for
ending the war so high that it's become a moot point. In effect, he's
put the war on autopilot, where the only real goal is to punish the
Afghan people for America's failure to secure any form of stability.
This approach is not unprecedented in American history: Nixon did the
same thing in Vietnam when he reduced US troop levels while winding
up with a murderous rampage, hoping to impress on the world that while
a people may defy the United States, they will suffer mightily for the
affront. The only word that described this is sadism: having failed
to impose American will, the only way Trump can recover his sense of
power is by inflicting suffering on others. Trump's concept of "America
First" doesn't seem to extend much beyond "fuck everyone else" (nor
does his concept of America extend to many people living here).
Some more links on Trump and Afghanistan:
Andrew J Bacevich: The conflict in Afghanistan is Trump's war now:
True enough, in the sense that Trump could have stuck to his campaign
rhetoric and ordered withdrawal, ending America's 16-year (or, actually,
38-year) war in Afghanistan. Failure to do that stamps the war with his
hand, much as Obama's 2009 "surge" added to his personal responsibility
for the war. On the other hand, saying "From this point forward, blaming
President Obama for whatever happens in Kabul or Kandahar or the Hindu
Kush won't work," won't work either. No matter how poorly Trump's generals
perform, Trump will never give up blaming Obama.
David Faris: Why Trump's Afghanistan plan will end in utter failure.
Emran Feroz: Fearful Villagers See the US Using Afghanistan as a "Playground
for Their Weapons".
Rod Nordland: What an Afghanistan Victory Looks Like Under the Trump
Plan: Allegedly, this show of force sets the stage for talks that
reconcile the Kabul government with the Taliban, but also note: "The
last Taliban leader to espouse peace talks, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad
Mansour, was killed in an American drone strike last year." And despite
President Trump mentioned "victory" four times and "defeat" of the
enemy seven times in his speech. But it remains unclear what victory
would even look like.
In another New York Times article,
Julie Hirschfeld Davis/Matthew Rosenberg: Trump Seeks a Clear Victory
in a Murky War, the best they can offer is: "For Mr. Trump, winning
looks a lot like a very long war."
Daniel Larison: Trump's Awful Afghanistan Speech.
Mark Perry: How the Brass Talked Another President Into a Losing
John Feffer: Avoiding War With Pyongyang: alternate title, "Trump
and the Geopolitics of Crazy." Good in-depth article, which points out
that the US (Jimmy Carter, at least) has successfully negotiated with
the DPRK before, that in terms of crazy vs. crazy Trump and Kim Jong-un
have little if anything on Nixon and Mao in 1970, and that despite all
those sanctions North Korea has been cautiously changing toward the sort
of market economy corporations love doing business with in China. Now,
if only someone in Washington was listening. Another report suggesting
that Kim Jong-un might not be the crazier of the adversaries is:
Jon Schwarz: North Korea Keeps Saying It Might Give Up Its Nuclear Weapons --
but Most News Outlets Won't Tell You That.
Rebecca Gordon: Is Anything the Moral Equivalent of War? Reading the
title, I recognized the phrase but couldn't place it, perhaps because it
never made sense to me: at least from the early Americanization of the
Vietnam War I never saw anything moral in war, so couldn't imagine any
virtuous activity as being its "moral equivalent." The phrase turns out
to have been coined by
William James in 1906 attempting to find an alternative activity to
the "martial spirit" that warmongers like Theodore Roosevelt were so keen
on promoting. The phrase was then popularized in a
1977 speech by President Jimmy Carter where he tried to marshall
America's militarist spirits to tackle the "energy crisis." As you no
doubt recall, the American people responded by voting Carter out of
office, choosing instead to bury their heads in Reagan's "morning in
America" fantasy. Probably didn't help that the acronym militarists
gave the speech was MEOW, but the fact is that by 1977 even real war
didn't satisfy James' MEOW demands. A couple years earlier the Army
had given up on the draft because way too many of those impressed into
service could be trusted to carry out orders -- the obvious advantage
of the no-draft army is that volunteers were much less likely to "frag"
their officers. On the other hand, even "professional" soldiers are
likely to have joined for purely economic reasons, which only made
sense if their risk was minimal. Gordon plays a bit with MEOW theory,
noting that war "requires from whole populations a special kind of
heroic focus, a willingness to mobilize and sacrifice, a commitment
to community or country . . . it also requires people to relinquish
their own petty interests in the service of a greater whole." That,
at least, is the idea behind America's many metaphorical wars -- on
crime, poverty, drugs, cancer -- none of which have been particularly
successful, possibly because Americans no longer seek MEOWs -- or, in
most cases, let real shooting wars impose much on their everyday lives.
But it's also because our conventional thinking about war corrupts and
perverts these metaphorical wars, which is something Gordon does go
into at more depth. She also suggests that the War on Terror is itself
yet another metaphorical war, even though this one is fought with bombs
Josh Marshall: Thoughts on Trump's Speech: On Tuesday's rally in
Aside from the rambling weirdness, the big things are these. President
Trump spent something like forty-five minutes in a wide-ranging primal
scream about Charlottesville, ranting at the press, giving what might
generously be called a deeply misleading and dishonest summary of what
he actually said. It all amounted to one big attack on the press for
supposedly lying about him.
There were some other points that were momentary and perhaps easy
to miss but quite important.
- Trump essentially promised he would pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a
major sop to the anti-immigrant, white nationalist base.
- Trump suggested he would probably end up withdrawing from NAFTA
because negotiations will fail. That statement will have major
- Trump threatened to shut down the government to force Congress's
hand on getting his border wall.
- While grandiosely not mentioning the names of Jeff Flake or John
McCain, he nonetheless went after them and made his opposition to both
quite clear. Presidents don't generally attack members of their own
party going into a midterm elections.
More links related to Trump's speech in Arizona:
Jenna Johnson: As Trump ranted and rambled in Phoenix, his crowd slowly
Just before President Trump strolled onto the rally stage on Tuesday
evening, four speakers took turns carefully denouncing hate, calling
for unity and ever so subtly assuring the audience that the president
is not racist. . . . Meanwhile, a supporter seated directly behind
stage even wore a T-shirt that stated: "Trump & Republicans are
Then Trump took the stage.
He didn't attempt to continue the carefully choreographed messaging
of the night or to narrow the ever-deepening divide between the thousands
of supporters gathered in the convention center hall before him and the
thousands of protesters waiting outside.
Instead, Trump spent the first three minutes of his speech -- which
would drag on for 75 minutes -- marveling at his crowd size, claiming
that "there aren't too many people outside protesting," predicting that
the media would not broadcast shots of his "rather incredible" crowd
and reminiscing about how he was "center stage, almost from day one,
in the debates."
Dara Lind: Joe Arpaio, the anti-immigrant sheriff That Trump wants to
save from prison, explained. Also on Arpaio, see:
Noah Feldman: Arpaio Pardon Would Show Contempt for Constitution.
Heather Digby Parton: Trump in Arizona: Threats, paranoia and a dark
lesson in white history.
Charles P Pierce: I Have No More Patience for Trump Supporters:
Before we get to the other stuff, and there was lots of other stuff, I'd
like to address myself to those people represented by the parenthetical
notation (Applause) in the above transcript, those people who
waited for hours in 105-degree heat so that they could have the G-spot
of their irrationality properly stroked for them. You're all suckers.
You're dim and you're ignorant and you can't even feel yourself sliding
toward something that will surprise even you with its fundamental
ugliness, . . .
A guy basically went mad, right there on the stage in front of you,
and you cheered and booed right on cue because you're sheep and because
he directed his insanity at all the scapegoats that your favorite radio
and TV personalities have been creating for you over the past three
On Friday, Joe Arpaio became the first person Trump issued a
presidential pardon for. See:
Dara Lind: The real reason Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio:
[Arpaio's contempt of court conviction ] was a predictable consequence
of the way he'd run his department -- guided by a philosophy that as
long as law-enforcement officials were grabbing headlines by going after
undesirable people, the public wouldn't care so much about how it was
The Trump administration has turned that philosophy into a matter of
federal rhetoric (such as Trump's "joke" urging officers to be rough
with suspects when shoving them into the backs of police cars) and policy
(in walking back court-enforced federal oversight of police departments).
President Trump himself is liable to tweet angrily about "so-called"
judges when he doesn't get his way.
Joe Arpaio is lucky that he was convicted under a president who cares
more about the order Arpaio professed to maintain than the laws to which
he was supposed to adhere. But Donald Trump is far luckier that he had,
in Arpaio, a model for how such a politician could operate.
Lind also wrote:
Trump's Arpaio pardon sends a message to sheriffs: I'm your
get-out-of-jail-free card; also see:
Lawrence Douglas: Why Donald Trump pardoned the unpardonable Joe Arpaio;
Andrew Rudalevige: Why Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio isn't like most
Conor Friedersdorf: The Arpaio Pardon Is a Flagrant Assault on Civil
Scott Lemieux: The disturbing lessons of Trump's shameful Arpaio pardon.
Douglas may have the best quote:
What unites these acts of teardown are their cheapness, cynicism and
recklessness. They are cheap: requiring nothing in the way of the hard
work of shaping and negotiating policy. This is a politics of fatigue,
indolence elevated to administrative practice. They are cynical: the
performance of a president-cum-snake-oil-salesman, working to dupe his
credulous audience that his bogus recipes constitute the promised potent
tonic. And they are reckless, profoundly reckless, as they represent a
contempt for the rule of law and for the norms of constitutional
In pardoning Arpaio, our unpresident has undone the principle that
informs the practice of pardon; he has sided with the lawless renegade
against our federal judiciary and the constitution itself.
Also on Arpaio, here's a link to a 2008 story, about how
taxpayers had to pay $1.1 million "to settle another of Sheriff Joe
Arpaio's lawsuits," also "on top of the more than $43 million the
county has paid for the jail lawsuits":
Matt Shuham: 'Arizona Republic' Slams Arpaio Pardon: Trump Made It
Clear Racism 'Is a Goal';
A Phony Murder Plot Against Joe Arpaio Winds Up Costing Taxpayers
By the way, there is a case for presidential pardons. Here's a story
where the power was used constructively:
Ted Gioia: The Jazz Pianist That John F. Kennedy Saved.
Josh Marshall: Trump Is Killing McConnell in Kentucky: Latest PPP
poll gives McConnell an 18% approval rating vs. 74% disapproval -- a
drop which necessarily includes a lot of Republicans who have followed
Trump's lead in blaming McConnell for Senate inaction on Trump agenda
items. Also note that Trump's approval rating in Kentucky is still up
at 60%, so he has way more sway there than nationwide. Still unlikely,
I think, that Trump can convert such dissatisfaction into a viable
primary challenge, but these numbers don't prove that he can't.
Corey Robin: Will Steve Bannon's war tear apart the Republican party?
The right-wing racial populism that once served the conservative cause
so well is now, as even the most conservative Republicans are acknowledging,
getting in its way. Whatever the outcome of the civil war Bannon intends
to fight, it'll be waged against the backdrop of a declining rather than
an ascendant movement, with the tools of yesterday rather than tomorrow.
That is why, having had seven months in the White House to prosecute
his populist war on the Republican establishment -- something Buckley and
his minions could only dream of in 1955 -- Bannon now finds himself staring
into the abyss of a website, hoping to find there a power he couldn't find
in the most powerful office of the world.
Robin also wrote
When Political Scientists Legitimate Torturers, about John Yoo's
featured role in next week's American Political Science Association
get together. Yoo was one of lawyers who rationalized the Bush-Cheney
craving for torture, in a series of legal briefs that were pretty
sadly tortured themselves. Robin cites Victor Klemperer arguing that
the intellectuals who celebrated the Third Reich should be held as
more guilty than the henchmen who merely carried out the crimes.
Indeed, as I recall, there was a special session of the Nuremberg
trials that focused on lawyers and judges. Lawyers like Yoo were
in a position to prevent crimes from happening, and their failure
to do so -- indeed, their active efforts as enablers -- should
never be forgotten.
Dylan Scott: Why Obamacare didn't implode: Specifically, why every
county in the country has at least one insurance company offering private
coverage under ACA, contrary to recently raised alarms. Still lots of
money to be made out there, at least as long as the federal government
keeps paying subsidies. And while counties with no coverage are simply
wasted, being the only insurer in a county is especially profitable.
Matt Taibbi: The Media Is the Villain -- for Creating a World Dumb Enough
for Trump: More on how constant chaos and disaster has been good for
business. The more general charge -- that the media have created the very
conditions in which someone like Trump could become president -- could
use a little more sharpening, but he does get this far:
We learned long ago in this business that dumber and more alarmist
always beats complex and nuanced. Big headlines, cartoonish morality,
scary criminals at home and foreign menaces abroad, they all sell.
We decimated attention spans, rewarded hot-takers over thinkers, and
created in audiences powerful addictions to conflict, vitriol, fear,
self-righteousness, and race and gender resentment.
There isn't a news executive alive low enough to deny that we use
xenophobia and racism to sell ads. Black people on TV for decades were
almost always shirtless and chased by cops, and the "rock-throwing
Arab" photo was a staple of international news sections even before
9/11. And when all else fails in the media world, just show more
cleavage somewhere, and ratings go up, every time.
Donald Trump didn't just take advantage of these conditions. He
was created in part by them. What's left of Trump's mind is like a
parody of the average American media consumer: credulous, self-centered,
manic, sex-obsessed, unfocused, and glued to stories that appeal to his
sense of outrage and victimhood.
We've created a generation of people like this: anger addicts who
can't read past the first page of a book. This is why the howls of
outrage from within the ranks of the news media about Trump's election
ring a little bit false. What the hell did we expect would happen? Who
did we think would rise to prominence in our rage-filled, hyper-stimulated
media environment? Sensitive geniuses?
We spent years selling the lowest common denominator. Now the lowest
common denominator is president. How can it be anything but self-deception
to pretend this is an innocent coincidence?
Paul Woodward comments
much responsibility does the media have for creating Trump?), but
doesn't really get to the heart of the problem. I don't have time to
start unpacking this here.
Jean M Twenge: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? "More comfortable
online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than
adolescents have ever been. But they're on the brink of a mental-health
crisis." I've long been impressed with arguments about how technological
change shapes how we view the world -- most memorable was John Berger's
"Moment of Cubism," which attributed the sudden emergence of abstract
art to the extraordinary mechanization circa 1900. As a "baby boomer"
(b. 1950), I noted that all generations had their gaps, but ours seemed
to be exceptionally large, contrasting the despair of depression and war
my parents came of age in to the relative prosperity and security of my
youth -- and, of course, I noted the technological factors, especially
television. Indeed, it's tempting to blame nearly everything bad that's
happened since on television (and, I'd add, its advertising) -- although
more recent social critics have moved on to blaming computers and the
internet, which have become vastly more immersive with the advent of
smart phones. On the other hand, I've learned to lean against most claims
of generational change, recognizing that continuity has a powerful way
of reasserting itself. For instance, when I read this:
My friends and I plotted to get our driver's license as soon as we could,
making DMV appointments for the day we turned 16 and using our newfound
freedom to escape the confines of our suburban neighborhood. . . .
But the allure of independence, so powerful to previous generations,
holds less sway over today's teens, who are less likely to leave the
house without their parents. The shift is stunning: 12th-graders in
2015 were going out less often than eighth-graders did as recently
I think the anomaly here was back in the 1950s/60s, when cars (and,
belatedly, roads) seemed to open up vast new vistas to explore and to
experience. Since then cars have become ordinary and so utilitarian,
while their maintenance costs have become more onerous -- something
to be put off as long as possible. Meanwhile, air travel has become
the portal to new vistas. I suspect her data on dating can be given
a similar explanation. Still, I was struck by this, partly because
the statistics given seem to be so significant:
Girls have also borne the brunt of the rise in depressive symptoms
among today's teens. Boys' depressive symptoms increased by 21 percent
from 2012 to 2015, while girls' increased by 50 percent -- more than twice
as much. The rise in suicide, too, is more pronounced among girls.
Although the rate increased for both sexes, three times as many
12-to-14-year-old girls killed themselves in 2015 as in 2007, compared
with twice as many boys. The suicide rate is still higher for boys, in
part because they use more-lethal methods, but girls are beginning to
close the gap.
If total numbers are very small such a sudden jump might not be
significant, but I suspect it is. I'd be more inclined to look for
causes in the politico-economic sphere: increasing inequality chokes
off opportunity for most people, persistent war generates terror,
and American stupidity on things like climate change is enough to
bum out any sentient being, but those things will hit the young much
longer and harder than I can relate to. I grew up in a time when it
was easy to be optimistic, yet even then my teen years were the most
depressing of my life. Smart phones obviously steal time away from
other things teens used to do, but as someone who had no appreciable
social life back then I'm tempted to think the change may be for the
better. But like all change, the blessings are mixed, and it would
be better if we understood and appreciated that.
Matthew Yglesias: 4 stories that actually mattered this week:
Trump announced a "new" strategy for Afghanistan; Republicans were
consumed with weird infighting; Obamacare's empty counties all got
filled; Health care at a crossroads.
Trump's big mistake on health care was not realizing Republicans were
Democrats' 2018 gerrymandering problem is really bad ("a leading
forecast says they'll get 54% of the votes -- and only 47% of the
Justin Trudeau, unlike Trump, is taking NAFTA renegotiation really
After embracing orthodox Republicanism on all fronts, what's the point
Steve Bannon's "economic nationalism" is total nonsense. The
latter piece could, I think, be better argued, but it's not like
Trump (or even Bannon) has given us anything very substantial to
work with. About the only idea I've heard to advance this thing
called "economic nationalism" was a big tax on selected imports --
what we used to call a tariff -- but that's been squelched by
lobbyists for companies that import lots of stuff, like WalMart.
More simplistically, no one doubts that globalization has both
winners and losers, both inside America and outside. The problem
is our political system caters to winners and deplores losers.
Trump was able to get some votes in 2016 by appearing less part
of that system, but he never offered anything concrete to help
the victims of globalization, and the lobbyists and millionaires
he stocked his administration with aren't going to come up with
I also have problems with "Trump's big mistake," which tries
to credit Trump with wanting something better, at least during
On the campaign trail, he outlined some humane and politically popular
ideas about health care policy like that Medicaid shouldn't be cut and
that the United States should have a system that covers everybody even
if that means the government needs to pay for it. A responsible president
would move beyond peevish anger at congressional Republicans for failing
to help him fulfill that vision and start reaching out to people who can
help him. McConnell and Ryan aren't going to get the job done, but Trump's
failure to even try to work across party lines on health policy is
staggering -- and his anger at Republican leaders only makes it more
The plainly obvious fact is that Trump doesn't care what's in the
Republican Congressional bills, nor did he care what positions he took
during the campaign. Remember his victory celebration when the House
passed the second iteration of Ryan's bill, tweaked to gain right-wing
votes even though it was obvious then that the bill would have to be
scrapped and retooled to have a prayer in the Senate? If Trump cared
about his campaign promises, he would have worked to make the bill
less (not more) malevolent, but he didn't. And quite plainly, the
only complaint he has about McConnell is that his bill failed, making
Trump and the Republicans look weak. This matters not just for his
ego, but because the idea that he's some kind of juggernaut helps
to keep his business allies in line.
For background on the Confederate monuments issue,
Paul Woodward points us to a 2001 book review by
James M McPherson: Southern Comfort, which makes it crystal clear
that the Confederate states seceded to buttress and defend (and ultimately
to promote) their system of race-based slavery. That's shown well in the
quote Woodward plucked out. That much has been clear to me for a long time,
but I was struck by the timeliness (or timelessness) of the following:
As Richards makes clear, Southern politicians did not use this national
power to buttress states' rights; quite the contrary. In the 1830s Congress
imposed a gag rule to stifle antislavery petitions from Northern states.
The Post Office banned antislavery literature from the mail if it was sent
to Southern states. In 1850 Southerners in Congress, plus a handful of
Northern allies, enacted a Fugitive Slave Law that was the strongest
manifestation of national power thus far in American history. In the
name of protecting the rights of slave owners, it extended the long arm
of federal law, enforced by marshals and the army, into Northern states
to recover escaped slaves and return them to their owners.
Senator Jefferson Davis, who later insisted that the Confederacy
fought for the principle of state sovereignty, voted with enthusiasm
for the Fugitive Slave Law. When Northern state legislatures invoked
states' rights and individual liberties against this federal law, the
Supreme Court with its majority of Southern justices reaffirmed the
supremacy of national law to protect slavery (Ableman v. Booth, 1859).
Many observers in the 1850s would have predicted that if a rebellion
in the name of states' rights were to occur, it would be the North
that would rebel.
Of course, having grown up in the '50s and '60s when Senate filibusters
were almost exclusively used to frustrate majority-supported civil rights
bills, it's always been clear to me that "states rights" was never more than
an opportunistic ruse. More recently, it's become clear that Republicans
will exalt the use of any jurisdiction they happen to hold power over --
the most obvious example is how they have taken to using their state
legislative powers to overturn city and county statutes they dislike
(Missouri vs. St. Louis is a leading case-in-point). Most recently, we
see Trump and Sessions attempting to impose broad federal powers on
"sanctuary cities" -- ostensibly to force them to help enforce federal
anti-immigration law, which come to think of it isn't far removed from
the 1850s Fugitive Slave Law.