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Other View: President Trump's latest tweetstorm signals major concessions may lie ahead

But make no mistake: If you read between the lines, Trump’s tweets actually signal the clear outlines of a deal that would, in fact, protect hundreds of thousands of young people brought here illegally as children, on terms that might end up proving acceptable to all sides—with the crucial exception of a few very loud voices on the right, who may be able to derail any such deal, as will be argued below.

Congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday night that they had reached a tentative agreement with Trump to protect the dreamers via legislation, in exchange for border security measures that don’t include more spending on the border wall Trump wants. This caused a fury among some of Trump’s nationalist media supporters, who screamed that Trump was selling out his base. That led Trump to appear to backtrack in his tweets Thursday morning:

“No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote. 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.

“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really! They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own—brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security.”

Yes, the very same Trump who railed against Barack Obama’s protections for the dreamers as “executive amnesty” and just scrapped those protections himself did just say those things. A few points:

Trump just made a big concession and signaled the weakness of his political position. Trump basically just endorsed the main arguments for protecting the dreamers: They are largely blameless for their plight, and they are currently making positive contributions to American life. This will further infuriate the hard-line screamers: They are deeply determined to advance the impression that undocumented immigrants as a class are nothing more than a destructive, invasive, criminal presence, the dreamers very much included.

But this signals that Trump knows going through with driving the dreamers underground and subjecting them to deportation is politically and substantively untenable. He basically just told the screamers to accept this obvious truth. Yes, Trump could of course change his mind tomorrow. But that doesn’t change the fact that his current position got it right: He has implicitly conceded that this would indeed be politically devastating. Trump is desperate to sign things he can call accomplishments. Chances are that he wants to sign something protecting the dreamers. The question is: On what terms?

Trump signaled there is a workable deal he’d probably accept. Trump just redefined building the wall as “new renovations to old and existing fences and walls.” This hints at the possibility that a deal could be reached in which Congress appropriates money that does not meaningfully fulfill Trump’s pledge to build a massive new wall, yet also allows him to tell his base he is winning on the wall in some way regardless. Republicans continue to say they must have border security money in any deal protecting the dreamers, and Democrats have signaled they can accept such an outcome, provided it doesn’t end with Trump erecting the massive, symbolic Talisman of Trumpism he hopes for. There’s probably some way to finesse all these things in ways Democrats and Trump and Republicans would grudgingly accept.

The right can still kill such a deal—here’s how. If it looks as though such a deal has a real chance, look for the hard-liners to try to kill the deal with poison pills. People who are knowledgeable about this issue expect them to tell Trump that his base is in revolt, and that if he must protect the dreamers, he has to throw his base a few added measures, such as a requirement that employers use E-Verify screening to determine whether workers are undocumented, and money to expand Trump’s deportation force. Immigration advocates can accept E-Verify, if it is packaged with legalization of most undocumented immigrants, but without that, it would render many of them unable to support themselves, leading them to self-deport (the whole point).

Democrats would not be able to accept a deal that would mean substantially more deportations and self-deportations, which is why the right would insist on such measures. To summarize: There is probably a deal in trading increased border security (without a wall) for protection for the dreamers, but not one that trades increased interior enforcement for it.

Treat the claims about Trump’s base with skepticism. The hard-liners are pushing the idea that Trump’s base will desert him if he agrees to protections for the dreamers. As Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, put it, this would leave the base “disillusioned beyond repair.” But a recent Politico-Morning Consult poll found that 68 percent of Trump voters favor legislative protections for the dreamers. I don’t claim to know what they think, but let’s not treat it as uncontested fact that the base would hate such an outcome. Many news accounts are doing this. But it seems perfectly plausible that, if Trump were to bless a deal that includes both increased border security and protections for the dreamers, many of his voters would be fine with that.

The hard-liners are pushing the contrary line for strategic reasons—it makes it more likely that they can get Trump to demand the poison pills they want and kill any such deal. But there is no reason for observers and commentators to play along.

Letter: God is warning us

God is warning us

As a nation we have rejected God’s laws of liberty. George Mason, father of the Bill of Rights, understood that God judges nations for their public positions. At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he stated: “As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, so they must be in this one.” God’s judgments appear to be happening in the form of fires, hurricanes, floods, drought, tornadoes, etc.

Our Constitution contains many principles of liberty that has resulted in most free and prosperous nation in the world.

These principles include: People remain free only if they are virtuous and moral; a free people cannot be maintained without religions. They meant the Judeo/Christian religion; we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights; the proper role of government is to provide equal rights, not provide equal things; the right to govern is vested in sovereign people’s authority; all things were created by God; therefore, we are dependent and responsible to Him; The USA shall be a Republic (representative democracy). The family is the core of society; therefore, government should protect its integrity; the burden of debt is as destructive to freedom as subjugation by conquest; strong local self-government is the keystone to preserving human liberty; the Constitution is structured with three branches with checks and balances to protect the people from tyrannical rulers; a constitutionally educated public is necessary to remain free; only, limited, defined powers are delegated to government with all others retained by the people and the USA has a manifest destiny to be a blessing to the entire human race.

The problems of our Republic could be solved if we restored the principles of liberty in our US Constitution as originally intended by our Founding Fathers. We must get out of the anti-American, pro-totalitarian United Nations by passing H.R. 193,

Adrian Arp


Idaho View: Why would the people of Texas help Idaho now?

This appeared in the Lewiston Tribune:

When hurricanes strike, devastated coastal regions aren’t left to their own devices. They turn to their fellow Americans to recover.

When tornadoes whip through Oklahoma, Kansas and the Dakotas, the country steps forward with rebuilding efforts.

And when earthquakes topple buildings, bridges and highways in California, it is met with a national response.

The West contends with wildland fires that destroy property and jeopardize lives while filling the air with acrid smoke.

Just as climate change’s warmer ocean conditions have produced more devastating hurricanes, longer, hotter and drier summers are blamed for more catastrophic wildland fires.

The fire season is now 78 days longer than it was in 1970. Since then, the typical summer destroys twice as many acres.

And what was once a manageable cost within the U.S. Forest Service budget has now outstripped the agency’s ability to do much of anything else—including work to prevent future catastrophes by thinning out overgrown fuels.

More than 20 years ago, firefighting consumed about 16 percent of the Forest Service budget. Today, it’s more than half.

In 1995, 52 percent of the Forest Service budget went toward managing the national forest system. That’s now down to 29 percent of the agency’s resources.

In fact, the Forest Service hires more people to fight fires than anything else.

As a result, about $700 million has been drawn out of such things as:

Recreation spending—down 15 percent.

Wildlife and fisheries habitat—reduced 18 percent.

Land management planning—cut 64 percent.

You see it in deteriorating roads, trailheads that are not maintained and campgrounds that have not been updated.

It’s getting worse.

Within eight years, the government expects two-thirds of the Forest Service budget will be consumed by the imperative of containing wildfires—and certainly not doing as much to get ahead of the problem.

What would you call that?

A natural disaster?

To cope with it, Idaho—as well as the rest of the West—needs the nation’s help.

To that end, Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., have promoted legislation that would pay for massive fires—those outside the normal range—from national emergency funds. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, is among its supporters.

“These megafires need to be properly accounted for in our annual budget by being treated as the disasters that they are,” Crapo says.

In the House, Congressman Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, has sponsored a similar measure.

“It is time to acknowledge that catastrophic wildfires should be funded like natural disasters so we can ensure that land managers have the resources they need to properly manage our forests,” Simpson said.

His 64 co-sponsors include Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho.

Last week, Crapo and Simpson joined a majority of their colleagues in passing a $15 billion emergency aid package to help Hurricane Harvey’s victims deal with flooding in the Houston region.

But in the Senate, Risch was among 17 Republicans who said no, citing his opposition to raising the debt ceiling.

“In the past, when they have combined various spending measures into one package, especially a debt ceiling increase without reforms, he has always been very reluctant to vote for it,” Risch’s spokeswoman Kaylin Minton told the Spokesman-Review’s Betsy Russell.

Much the same thing happened in the House; Simpson voted yes. While he was not among the 90 Republicans who voted no—Labrador joined 27 House members who did not vote—his spokesman, Todd Winer, told Russell: “He would have voted against it.”

The 1st District congressman—who, if he is successful, will as Idaho’s next governor plead his state’s case when trouble comes—opposed raising the debt ceiling. And he sees a difference between the federal government restoring the loss of private property in Texas and honoring its commitment to maintain lands it owns in the West.

Good luck making that case to the people of Texas—and possibly those of Florida—as well as their elected representatives in Congress.

More likely than not, they will see Risch and Labrador posturing by opposing a bill they know must pass.

There’s only so much money to go around. If you were standing in 5 feet of water, would you want to share any of it with the people who elected Risch and Labrador?