Monday, March 06, 2017

Trump Doesn't Understand The American System Of Government And Bannon Is Encouraging Him Towards Tyranny


I'm hearing anecdotal evidence from all over the country that people are tense and disturbed and attributing their change in mood to Trump. I know it sounds unbelievable-- and maybes' just people I know-- but everyone sounds on edge. People are seeing psychiatrists and self-medicating and getting off the wagon and everyone seems nervous and depressed... Have you seen any of that too? I don't mean the freaks on the right descrating Jewish cemeteries or burning mosques or starting fights (or even Mika Brzezinski); I'm talking about normal regular people-- neighbors, friends, relatives, random folks who aren't even that involved with politics.

I'm proud to say I serve on the board of People For the American Way with Khizer Khan, an American citizen for over 3 decades who takes the Constitution super-seriously. According to multiple reports he was told his "freedom to travel abroad" is "under review" and had to cancel appearances in Toronto this week. Silver lining: maybe Trump will be impeached even sooner than anyone expected. You remember him right? He's the Muslim American Gold Star father who aroused Trump’s ire and the Democratic National Convention when he spoke about his son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, being killed in combat in Iraq. According to Rosa Hwang, a senior producer at CTV National News, Khan cancelled a speech he was scheduled to give in Toronto after being informed that his travel privileges are "under review."

"This turn of events is not just concerning to me, but to all my fellow Americans who cherish our freedom to travel abroad. I have not been given any reason as to why." None of us have but this comes just as so-called-president Trumpf signed his second attempt at a Muslim Ban Monday morning behind closed doors.

Farhana Khera president of a civil rights legal organization, Muslim Advocates, and Jonathan Swift, the organization's legal director, penned an OpEd for the NY Times that ran a few hours ago, pointing out the new ban's fatal flaw: "it constitutes unlawful religious discrimination."
Let’s be clear: This revised order is a Muslim ban. All the countries he has excluded are more than 90 percent Muslim. Three of them-- Iran, Somalia and Yemen-- are more than 99 percent Muslim. Even though Mr. Trump tailored his order to survive legal challenges, as his former adviser Rudolph Giuliani conceded on national television, his objective is clearly to exclude Muslims.

The Trump administration argues that the ban protects the country. Yet by excluding Iraq from the order, Mr. Trump has cleared travel from one of the two countries from which Islamic State terrorists operates. Moreover, the Department of Homeland Security concluded last month that “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.” Former national security officials from Democratic and Republican administrations have made clear that the January order does not make our country safer. Instead, the bigotry that Mr. Trump spews at news conferences and on Twitter have been a boon for terrorists’ recruitment efforts.

The twisted worldview does not match reality. Muslims have been part of America for centuries, since the first slave ships arrived in the 17th century. Today, Muslims represent 1 percent of the United States population: They are our teachers, doctors, neighbors and co-workers.

American Muslims will suffer a particular harm from this executive order: Those who have ties to the banned countries won’t be able to see their family members and close friends. American Muslims will also be deprived of the instruction from the leading Islamic scholars who are from those countries.

Thousands of Muslim men and women serve in the armed forces; many have given their lives defending our nation and our ideals. They contribute to the diversity that has always been our nation’s pride and strength. President George W. Bush paid tribute to this in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks when he said, “There are thousands of Muslims who proudly call themselves Americans, and they know what I know-- that the Muslim faith is based upon peace and love and compassion.”

President Trump and his top advisers would be wise to listen to President Bush. The Muslim ban and President Trump’s relentless attacks on Islam are not just an assault on thousands of patriotic, innocent Americans-- they violate our Constitution and our most fundamental American values and beliefs.
Joan Walsh, writing for The Nation asserts, correctly, that the real goal of the travel ban is to make America white again. Bannon, she wrote, insists Muslims don't have the right DNA for democracy.

Lindsey Graham must have enjoyed being booed in Clemson Saturday, because it sounds like he wants more of the same, announcing that he backs Trump's unconstitutional travel ban and congratulating him for exempting people with visas, green card holders and people from Iraq. I'm sure there are other Republicans in the same unconstitutional camp as ole Lindsey. But that's very different from what I'm hearing from Members of Congress who actually take the Constitution seriously. Ted Lieu (D-CA) was the first Member I saw putting out a statement after word leaked out that Trump had signed the ban this morning.
25 days after his first unconstitutional immigration ban was rejected by the courts, Donald Trump has signed a new executive order that is-- once again-- as harmful as it is incompetent. This monumental waste of federal resources is wrong on all levels-- strategically, morally, and from a national security perspective.

Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0 is nothing short of a strategic failure. A leaked DHS report from his own cabinet called citizenship from the banned countries an unreliable indicator of threat. If the banned countries in question are such a threat, then why does this second ban arbitrarily drop the nation of Iraq? And why does the ban go into effect on March 16th?  Where’s the urgency in that?  This second executive order just makes zero sense.

As studied by the CATO Institute, the chances of being killed by a refugee committing a terrorist act is 1 in 3.6 billion. For perspective, the chances of being struck by lightning twice is 1 in 9 million. That’s why members of Trump’s own administration recognize that banning women and children fleeing from terrorist groups isn’t just morally bankrupt-- it’s bad for national security. It hands our real enemies like ISIL and al-Qaeda a powerful recruiting tool and undermines our relationships with partners abroad.

Trump is quick to tweet about who is American and who is un-American. As an immigrant, veteran, and member of Congress, I can tell you there is nothing more un-American than undermining our fundamental value of accepting those who are fleeing tyranny, those who want to start a better life in the United States. This order is based on bigotry and must-- once again-- be opposed.
Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) rfeel the same way. "Barring people based on their nation of origin or the religion they practice isn’t just a policy change-- it’s a tacit admission by our new president that he is incompetent to lead in ways his predecessors were not," he said in a statement for his constituents. "And to be clear, the only difference between this Muslim ban and the last one-- which was found unconstitutional by four federal judges-- is the time Trump and his cronies spent scheming up a plan to get it past our legal system. Regardless of how successful they are at side-stepping the judicial branch’s rightful check on executive power, they cannot implement this ban without Congressional Republicans providing funding. It remains to be seen if the GOP will stand by our Constitution, our separation of church and state, and the international order that hinges on American leadership, or if they will vote to rubberstamp this president’s hateful agenda and wrecking ball diplomacy. I will fight this Muslim ban and every other corrosive policy Trump pursues that betrays who we are as a people and leaves our nation fundamentally less safe."

Mark Pocan (D-WI), who represents the Madison area, tried to clam the people in his district impacted by this. "Although Steve Bannon didn’t write this new Muslim ban in the dead of night," he said, "it does not mean the ban is any less harmful to America and our image around the world. Rehashing this hateful and divisive travel ban not only sends the wrong message to immigrants and refugees, it also makes our country less safe. The President should be focused on helping working families struggling to make ends meet, not waging an unconstitutional war on our core American value of freedom from persecution and discrimination. I will stand alongside the people of my district and fight with my colleagues in Congress against this prejudice and division. My office will continue to work to support residents and visitors experiencing difficulties as a result of the travel ban while the courts ultimately decide the fate of this unconstitutional ban."

Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), the congressman who came up with the idea to boycott the Trumpanzee inauguration, issued a statement an hour after Trump made his move:
This is just the same stuff on a different day. If you called xenophobia a rose, would it not smell just as foul? Our President, who clearly has a hard time distinguishing facts from fiction, is continuing to take us down the wrong road, the road away from security, morality, and prosperity.

 As I said in January, the President should have faith in the strength of our own country and the vitality of her citizens and culture. A nation of 300 million people that has blazed a trail for the world for more than 240 years can withstand 50,000 or 100,000 moms, dads and children fleeing for their lives. We always have and we always should.   The poem on the Statue of Liberty says “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” not “We are scared of you, come back later when we feel better.”
One last congressional reaction-- Pramila Jayapal from Seattle, who's been fighting this kind of ugly, divisive bigotry all her life:
The president has been forced to recognize-- through the clear signal sent from several courts and in our streets-- that his original travel ban was both unconstitutional and ineptly executed. The new order recognizes that we must honor the visas of those who already have been given clearance to come to the United States, as well as expressly excludes legal permanent residents and dual citizens from the ban. It also excludes Iraq from the list of countries, another clear sign that such a ban would hurt our coalition efforts for peace in the Middle East. It should not have taken the courts and nationwide protests to stop such an order from taking effect in the first place. The president was irresponsible in throwing the country into chaos and putting fear in the hearts of millions of families across our country and world.

  Goal ThermometerUnfortunately, however, the president’s Muslim Ban 2.0 is driven by the same xenophobic priorities that wreaked havoc at airports around the nation and led to the shameful detentions of innocent men, women and children. It continues to single out Muslim majority countries only, drastically limits and suspends refugee resettlement, and deeply affects our relationships with countries around the world. It continues to do nothing to make our country safer, alienates our allies and gives extremists propaganda for recruitment.

President Trump is once again attempting to shut America’s door to immigrants and vulnerable refugees who are fleeing war-ravaged countries. This ‘do-over’ order still has consequences that stretch far and wide and hurt our national security. It is still extremely ill-conceived and paints wide swathes of people and countries with negative stereotypes that have little to do with a logical plan for peace and security in our country. We will continue to work in the courts and in the streets to stop this administration-- as we have done before.
The thermometer just above and to the right... that leads to the ActBlue page we've put up for the most outspoken and effective leaders of The Resistance inside Congress. These are the most crucial voices in Congress... because this Know Nothing fanatic isn't on the side of America:

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At 1:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The combined populations of the banned countries constitute barely 10% of the world's Muslim population. Therefore, the current iteration of Herr Hair idiocy, however horrendous, really can't be considered a ban on Muslims.

I'd suggest when we say things like "President Trump is once again attempting to shut America’s door to immigrants and vulnerable refugees who are fleeing war-ravaged countries" that we explain the situation fully. This is to avoid the NY Times/Wash Post habit of purposeful destruction of context that portrays the US as a completely blameless, poor, beleaguered victim of wars that appear as if from out of the vacuum of the cosmos.

We MUST specify precisely that, and how, the United State of Perpetual War FOR OTHERS is involved in the chaos of those "war-ravaged countries." And, as in the case of Iran, we need to specify the likelihood that our previous, chronic bellicosity towards it is fully intended to eventually bring frank war to it.

It bears repeating that Herr Hair, however accidentally, has signaled the real causes of the terrorism (the carefully amplified fear of which is expected to make us blind to the real threats facing the US) ... completely expected (if not also justifiable) retaliation against decades of US mass-murderous abuse of the Muslim world that has involved a much larger proportion of it than does the travel ban in question.

Also, the vast majority of refugees from OUR Mideast (& African) wars flee to Europe, where the racist reaction of citizens of our partners in said wars, do more to destabilize Europe, and fuel the rise of neo-fascism, than Putin ever could manage in his wildest dreams ... even ASSUMING the wild allegations to that effect have any basis in fact and history at all.

John Puma

At 5:38 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

One really does not know where to start commenting anymore. The Muslim ban is only one of dozens of horrors heading our way. Each one is monumental. We are now in mid air, flying off of a cliff, like Thelma and Louise. It is truly frightening. Is a soft landing even a possibility at this stage?

At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a muslim ban. It's bannon throwing his skidmarked undies against the wall to see if it will stick (2.0).

nearly all of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis. But this does not include Saudi Arabia. Clearly it's not a terrorist ban nor a full muslim ban. It's arbitrary... an exercise in tyranny, just to see if americans will let it fly.

If americans let it fly... more to come.

It's more of Hitler redux.

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John makes a very valid point. The reason the EU is veering neofascist **IS** the idiotic, illegal wars (and torture and market theft...) that **WE** started (and lost) which killed and displaced millions (in each category) and created millions of refugees along with IS and hordes of current and future terrorists. The EU nations have absorbed orders of magnitude more refugees than we have and they've also suffered several horrific terrorist events. Their veering racist-right is understandable.

Our racist right has always been there simmering... and is now in a full boil... for no particular reason. Our own terrorists tend to be dumbfucktard white Christians.
9/11 was carried out by Saudis... but nobody says we should ban Saudi travel.
If we truly wanted to reduce terrorism here, we should ban travel to/from TX and KS to start.


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