Quick Takes: Trump Threatens to Militarize the Southern Border

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Trump’s latest:

President Trump said on Tuesday that he planned to order the military to guard parts of the southern border until he can build a wall and tighten immigration restrictions, proposing a remarkable escalation of his efforts to crack down on migrants entering the country illegally.

Mr. Trump, who has been stewing publicly for days about what he characterizes as lax immigration laws and the potential for an influx of Central American migrants to stream into the United States, said he was consulting with Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, about resorting to military deployments…

It was not immediately clear what Mr. Trump meant by the remarks, or what the rationale would be for deploying United States troops to patrol or even seal the border at a time when the numbers of people being apprehended crossing illegally are down to their lowest level since 1971.

You’re up, Sec. Mattis.

* The tension between the White House and the state of California is heating up.

The Trump administration openly threatened one of the cornerstones of California’s environmental protections Monday, saying that it may revoke the state’s ability under the Clean Air Act to impose stricter standards than the federal government sets for vehicle emissions.

The announcement came as the administration confirmed it is tearing up landmark fuel economy rules that formed a key part of the effort by the Obama administration and California officials to combat global warming — and as the Justice Department sued to block a state law that limits the federal government’s ability to sell any of the 46 million acres it controls in California.

* Ali Velshi had an interesting take on Trump’s continuing attacks on Amazon.

* If you remember, the next strategy for the Parkland students has been to organize town halls while members of Congress are home for their spring recess. Here’s how that is going:

* Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has some thoughts on Roseanne.

Even though I disagree with Roseanne Barr’s politics, she is as brilliant a comedian today as ever. She moves through every episode the way Pig-Pen moves through Peanuts comics, except instead of dust and dirt churning around her, her dysfunctional family swirls in chaos, with her acting as the gravitational force that holds them all together. She’s a formidable character portrayed by an admirable artist. She deserves all the praise she’s getting — for her artistry.

But when it comes to politics, Roseanne Conner is more Archie Bunker than a right-wing Maude. In All in the Family, we were never meant to take Archie’s conservative rantings seriously, any more than his son-in-law’s liberal pre-fab slogans. Likewise, Roseanne Conner’s red-state politics are presented with the same cringe-worthy pomposity as her sister Jackie’s (Laurie Metcalf) kneejerk liberalism. Like Stephen Colbert’s empty-headed host character on The Colbert Report, both Roseanne and Jackie spout vague platitudes that are meant for comic conflict, not for formulating political opinions.

* Finally, I dare you to watch this one and not feel a tinge more optimistic about the human race.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.