Category Archives: Trump administration

Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban – Update

In my opinion, the best lie is the one that is just a little bit tainted with truth. Those lies are the best lies. About two weeks ago, President Donald Trump (yeah, it still does not sound right) signed an executive order which asked for increased scrutiny of persons wanting to immigrate to this country from several lands. I say several lands because if you actually read his executive order, first of all it is kind of a headache because it is long and nonspecific. The order does not actually say Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. So, let us actually read what the order says I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

Now, this whole thing gets complicated. It appears that President Trump’s executive order refers to the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.” This was a bill that was tacked onto the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. So, it is kinda hard to say that this was a Obama administration initiative. The bill was actually written by former Congresswoman Candice Miller, Republican. To make matters even more confusing, this bill, HR 158, simply canceled the Visa Waiver Program. So, essentially, what this did was force travelers from Syria and Iraq to get visas the old-fashioned way through interviews at the American consulate. So, President Obama had the choice of signing this huge omnibus spending bill into law which would allow the government to continue to operate or to veto it because of this bill which was tacked on by Congresswoman Miller. You tell me, does this sound like an Obama program?

So, because this is an confusing enough, Donald Trump said, “My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.” Um, this is not exactly true either. So, in response to the May 2011 arrest of two Iraqi refugees on terrorism charges in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Obama administration decided that immigrants from Iraq deserved increased scrutiny. This was not a ban. It was increased scrutiny. So, on one hand, Donald Trump was right President Obama did do something in 2011 and his policy was relatively similar… Kind of but not really.

This is not the kind of thing you should NOT be arguing over at the water cooler. It just is not worth it. There are tons of details and for the most part, when you are arguing over water cooler nobody knows the details. The reason I bring this up was because I heard the argument in the emergency room. Two doctors were going at it. One was accusing the other of hypocrisy because “Obama did the same thing.” No, Obama did not. Go back and read. While it is important to engage our fellow Americans. It is not important to discuss the details of a ban that is a ban verses Obama’s ban that was not a ban. Got it.

Finally, I think that the President has the power to control who is coming into this country. I think that’s in the Constitution. I don’t think that we can argue that. Instead the argument is what kind of convoluted nonsense did Trump put in his executive order.  Oops. I just got an email from my (our) constitutional scholar Linda Monk. I was wrong!!! Article I gives the power of immigration to Congress and NOT the president.  Article I, Section 8 – The Congress shall have Power to establish as uniform Rule of Naturalization. There it is in black and white.  Article II deals with the President. It says in Section 2 – The President shall be Commander in Chief of the  Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States. The president’s powers with regard to immigration are implied. So, Congress needs to pass a law restricting immigration from those 7 countries. That would be lawful!

Gorsuch – No, Not Today

No. I am sorry. I cannot support Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court of the United States. It is not that he is unqualified. This guy is plenty qualified. He is the Peyton Manning of law. He has the pedigree. He has clerked for all the right people in all the right places. He went to the right schools – high school, college, law school, and postgraduate education. The point is not whether he is qualified. Neither is the point whether I agree with his ideology. I do not. Instead, we should be focusing on the fact that Neil Gorsuch is all about process.

President, let me underscore this, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Mister Garland was eminently qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice. Yet, empowered by purely partisan politics, the GOP-led Senate decided to make up their own criteria about who they are going to the vet and who they are not. This is all about the Democrats deciding that it is time to grow a backbone. Sometimes, you need to draw a line in the sand and say, “This is about principle.”

We can go into all the ins and outs of why the Republicans were 100% wrong about not even granting a hearing to Merrick Garland. They were wrong. They knew that if they actually held hearings Merrick Garland would come off as someone who was thoughtful, intelligent, and, God forbid, Supreme Court material. So they decided to obstruct, block, and thwart Garland in every way. Now, if we allow Neil Gorsuch to move forward, we have rewarded the Republicans for obstructionism. This cannot happen.

Every now and then, you must stand up for what you believe. Do you believe in the Constitution? Do you believe that we are a land of laws? If so, we must force the Republicans and Donald Trump to nominate Merrick Garland even if they decide to vote him down. He must go through the process. It is the right thing to do. It is the American way.

News Roundup – John Oliver, Trump, Bowling Green, Yemen

I didn’t watch the Last Week Tonight show after the election. John Oliver was exactly right. This is NOT normal. Trump is not normal. We have no idea what Trump is going to do. This is a leaky White House. I really, really want to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, but I still believe that he does not have the intellectual curiosity to be a good president. Remember, we had a long national discussion about Bush and his lack of being curious. He just accepted information that was given to him. You simply can’t do that.

Great opinion piece by John Marshall at Talking Points Memo. He argues that Trump was never a populist; rather, he is a nationalist. This could be a good thing, but it could also be interpreted negatively. From the perspective of a nationalist, it would seem that the fact that America is an open and inclusive society, where we embrace and love this melting pot, is one of our strengths. Trump, however, has adopted a different type of nationalism.

Paul Krugman has put my fear into words. It seems like we are picking fights with everyone. Why do we want to pick a fight with Australia? BTW, what does “putting Iran on notice” actually mean? I have a bad feeling that we are going to be at war with someone pretty soon.

There is so much going on that it is easy to miss things like a raid on a compound in Yemen. For me, American casualties are never a good thing. We need to think long and hard about everything we are doing any time an American soldier dies. Was the raid worth it? So far, I don’t have any idea. I understand the problems in counterterrorism. The purpose of this raid was to stop what exactly? As the American soldiers approached the target they knew that they had lost the element of surprise. So why press on? Was this that important? I don’t know. We lost a $75 million MV-22 Osprey (an aircraft that got a terrible reputation 20 years ago as it was being developed).

Have you heard anything about the Bowling Green Muslim Massacre? Nope, neither had I.

So, it is Black History month. The White House usually does something to honor Black Americans. Trump was Trump. He started on the topic of Black History and covered the basics – Martin Luther King, Fredrick Douglass and Harriett Tubman. He then veered off the subject into nothingness. It isn’t that I think that our president needs to be an expert on Black History, but he should at least pretend that it is important to America. That’s all that I ask…maybe that’s too much.

What stories are you following?