Sunday, January 29, 2017

What If You Could Get A Time Machine And Go Back To 1946 when Baby Trump Was In His Crib?


You remember Anne Frank, the Dutch girl with the diary during the German occupation of Amsterdam, right? She could be a 77-year-old woman living in Boston or Atlanta or Laguna Niguel today but she was denied a U.S. visa because she was Jewish and seen as a danger. Nice diary, though, right? Utah Republican, Jason Chaffetz, one of the most partisan hacks in Congress, announced yesterday that he's considering a bill to require presidents to undergo independent mental health exams. It has finally begun to dawn on Republicans that electing a mentally unbalanced narcissist and psychopath to the White House and then enabling him, is, to say the very least, not patriotic... and not safe. Yesterday Trump suddenly announced that he had dropped the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the National Security Principles Committee and replaced them with neo-Nazi crackpot Steve Bannon.

I'm not an observant Jew but this past June I was in St. Petersburg, Russia-- a city with incredibly beautiful public buildings-- and I visited the Grand Choral Synagogue. It's the second biggest synagogue in Europe and was the first synagogue built in Russia's then-capital. It opened in 1893. My teenaged grandfather and his brothers and sisters left Russia in 1905 after a series of pograms had killed thousands of Jews across the country including in small, rural villages like the one his family lived in. When he got to St Petersburg to board a ship for America, the Grand Choral Synagogue was 12 years old. He wasn't any more religious than I am but he had never been in a grand building of any kind before. He prayed at the synagogue the night before leaving for America. When his ship got to New York only he and one brother were allowed, arbitrarily, to enter the U.S. 10 brothers and sisters wound up in Bahia and Recife in Brazil. Almost my whole family lives in Brazil and speaks Portuguese. The U.S. turned them away because Jews were looked down on and feared, the way Germans and the Irish and Italians and Chinese had once been looked down on and feared. Hours after Trump announced his ban on Muslims, a Texas mosque was burned down. It reminded people of when Hitler's and Goebbels' anti-Jewish rhetoric resulted in the burning of synagogues across Germany and Austria in 1938.

Trump has brought this back-- but for Muslims. And it started yesterday. Right after he was declared the winner of the presidential election, several state universities across the country-- including here in California-- wrote to their students studying abroad to warn them that once Trump took over the possibility of some of them not being allowed to re-enter the U.S. would be a real possibility. That started yesterday. Reuters reported that Trump included green card holders in his Muslim ban, in other words, barring legal permanent residents from returning to the U.S. The first report in yesterday's NY Times indicated that Friday night "refugees who were in the air on the way to the United States when the order was signed were stopped and detained at airports" and that the Trump Regime will be entangled in law suits immediately as a result.
The detentions prompted legal challenges as lawyers representing two Iraqi refugees held at Kennedy Airport filed a writ of habeas corpus early Saturday in the Eastern District of New York seeking to have their clients released. At the same time, they filed a motion for class certification, in an effort to represent all refugees and immigrants who they said were being unlawfully detained at ports of entry.

...It was unclear how many refugees and immigrants were being held nationwide in the aftermath of the executive order. The complaints were filed by a prominent group including the American Civil Liberties Union, the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center, the National Immigration Law Center, Yale Law School’s Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization and the firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

The lawyers said that one of the Iraqis detained at Kennedy Airport, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, had worked on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq for 10 years. The other, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, was coming to the United States to join his wife, who had worked for a U.S. contractor, and young son, the lawyers said. They said both men were detained at the airport Friday night after arriving on separate flights.

The attorneys said they were not allowed to meet with their clients, and there were tense moments as they tried to reach them.

“Who is the person we need to talk to?” asked one of the lawyers, Mark Doss, supervising attorney at the International Refugee Assistance Project.

“Mr. President,” said a Customs and Border Protection agent, who declined to identify himself. “Call Mr. Trump[anzee].”

Trumpanzee has shut down the White House call-in lines but you can leave him a message at his hotels and other shady businesses. Most mainstream Jewish groups are horrified but, predictably, the very right-wing Zionist Organization of America is on Trump's side. ZOA's extremist president, Morton Klein (no relation) says his organization "is appalled that leftwing Jewish groups are wrongly analogizing this humane, reasonable, security-based draft Executive Order to U.S. restrictions in the 1930s on Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi Germany. A ZOA official who had several relatives on the SS St. Louis is particularly offended that leftwing Jewish groups are attempting to analogize President Trump’s humane draft Executive Order to Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s refusal to allow the SS St. Louis, which was carrying over 900 Jews, land in the United States.  Europe’s Jews in the 1930s – 1940s had no safe zones to flee to: Britain had slammed shut the door to the area that is now the State of Israel. Most importantly, Jewish refugees posed no threat to the United States. No Jewish immigrants flew airplanes into buildings, or massacred scores of innocent people at a holiday party or nightclub or marathon or drive trucks into innocent citizens.

"As Homeland Security Committee Chair Congressman Peter King put it: 'in [previous] refugee situations [Bosnian refugees in the 1990s, Jew in the 1930s], the refugees coming were not a threat to the United States. . .  the Jews [in the 1930s] . . . should have been let in, because they were no threat to the United States, plus they needed, of course, the relief from the horror they were going through. In this case [Syrian refugees], we have no idea who we’re getting. And a lot of these refugees . . . were [already in Turkey and] going to Europe for economic gain. And, you can understand that, but do you open up all your borders, not knowing who’s a real refugee, who’s coming for economic reasons, and who is affiliated with ISIS?'... ZOA strongly praises President Trump for his wise and humane order that protects Americans."

Over the weekend, David Brooks compared Señor Trumpanzee to one of his own heroes, Ronald Reagan.
Trump is on his political honeymoon, which should be a moment of joy and promise. But he seems to suffer from an angry form of anhedonia, the inability to experience happiness. Instead of savoring the moment, he’s spent the week in a series of nasty squabbles about his ratings and crowd sizes.

If Reagan’s dominant emotional note was optimism, Trump’s is fear. If Reagan’s optimism was expansive, Trump’s fear propels him to close in: Pull in from Asian entanglements through rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Pull in from European entanglements by disparaging NATO. It’s not a cowering, timid fear; it’s more a dark, resentful porcupine fear.

We have a word for people who are dominated by fear. We call them cowards. Trump was not a coward in the business or campaign worlds. He could take on enormous debt and had the audacity to appear at televised national debates with no clue what he was talking about. But as president his is a policy of cowardice. On every front, he wants to shrink the country into a shell.

J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote, “A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a shortcut to meet it.”

Desperate to be liked, Trump adopts a combative attitude that makes him unlikable. Terrified of Mexican criminals, he wants to build a wall that will actually lock in more undocumented aliens than it will keep out. Terrified of Muslim terrorists, he embraces the torture policies guaranteed to mobilize terrorists. Terrified that American business can’t compete with Asian business, he closes off a trade deal that would have boosted annual real incomes in the United States by $131 billion, or 0.5 percent of G.D.P. Terrified of Mexican competition, he considers slapping a 20 percent tariff on Mexican goods, even though U.S. exports to Mexico have increased 97 percent since 2005.

Trump has changed the way the Republican Party sees the world. Republicans used to have a basic faith in the dynamism and openness of the free market. Now the party fears openness and competition.

Brooks frets that his party has fundamentally changed and he pinpoints that change to when "Trump became the Republican nominee and his dark fearfulness became the party’s dark fearfulness. In this case fear is not a reaction to the world. It is a way of seeing the world. It propels your reactions to the world. As Reagan came to office he faced refugee crises, with suffering families coming in from Cuba, Vietnam and Cambodia. Filled with optimism and confidence, Reagan vowed, 'We shall seek new ways to integrate refugees into our society,' and he delivered on that promise. Trump faces a refugee crisis from Syria. And though no Syrian-American has ever committed an act of terrorism on American soil, Trump’s response is fear. Shut them out... A mean wind is blowing."

A few minutes ago a liberalish friend of mine called to complain about how Trump is destroying our relationship with Mexico, causing unnecessary tension and anxiety and creating negative feelings for no reasons. When I brought up the horror at the airports he said he doesn't care about "fucking Muslim terrorists from Somalia." We're doomed. I read him Pastor Martin Niemöller's famous little homily after he was freed from a Nazi concentration camp.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Don't let Trump divide us. Please speak out. Loudly. Clearly. wo of the first congressional resisters to jump into action yesterday were Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velazquez who traveled to JFK airport to demand the release of the dozen refugees being held under Trump's unconstitutional executive order. They got one of them-- an Iraqi who fought for the U.S.-- released quickly and were still working to free the other 11 as I wrote this. Nadler's and Velazquez's statement:
Today, we saw in real human terms the damage and the absurdity of Trump’s policies. The president’s executive order is mean-spirited, ill-conceived, and ill-advised. The order almost banned a man from entering the country who has worked for the United States government for 10 years, who risked his life to help us and to help our troops, and who loves our country. Thankfully, we did not sit idly by. We took action. We demanded his release, and the release of the others who are being unlawfully detained. We are pleased to announce that Hameed Khalid Darweesh has been released and can now be reunited with his family.

This should not happen in America. We shouldn’t have to demand the release of refugees one by one. We must fight this executive order in the streets, in the courts, anywhere, anytime. We must resist. We must fight.  We must keep working to keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Constitutional Crisis Already

Three federal judges, one in New York, one in Alexandria, VA and one in Seattle all handed down rulings blocking Trump's unconstitutional orders to detain Muslim visa and green card holders at airports. Bannon had the Department of Homeland Security issue a statement that they would continue implementing Trump's illegal order. (A 4th federal judge, in Boston, has since weighed in that Trump's orders to ban legal immigrants is unwarranted and he blocked it pending further hearings.) Bannon's defiance: "The president's Executive Orders remain in place-- prohibited travel will remain prohibitted, and the U.S. government retains the right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety."

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At 6:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better to go back to '45 and give his pop a vasectomy.. with hedge clippers.

TY for the Niemoller quote. I've been imploring folks to reread it for 16 years ever since the SC coup. I thought cheney was our hitler, but he lacked a little ambition. First real crisis, this guy might decide to become our lord and savior. And we'll put on the uniform and do the salute won't we. Just like the good germans we all want to be.

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A trade deal that would bring in $133billion? Yeah, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. I love it when you global corporate, military imperialist types try to convince us rubes that even more disasterous 'trade deals' are in our benefit when they are so clearly not. Maybe guys like you will get it when Democrats lose again in 2018 or 2920 but I doubt it. You'll likely still be screaming about those evil russkies but by then nobody will care, and Democratic Party will find its rightful place in the dustbin of history.

At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the Customs and Border Patrol take an oath to defend the constitution...

At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allen Dulles was too busy getting Nazis safely into this country and other safe places so they wouldn't be tried at Nuremberg. His machinations prevented the St. Louisiana from landing here. Dulles committed treason numerous times .
I think the Dulles airport should be renamed.

At 1:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've waged a continuous "cold" war on socialism since WWII and on trade unions since the first minute of the Reagan regime, i.e 35 years.

NOW Niemoller is important?!?

The only surprise is that the country thinks it switched immediately from perfect, pristine democracy to pernicious fascism on 12:05pm 20Jan2017.

John Puma

At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ty again John. Like I always say... we're stupid. And not just sorta stupid. We're primitive stupid.


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