Monday, January 30, 2017




OH mY god, my Arm Is Still in a Cast and My Already Questuionable Abilitities To ??Type ReMain Seriously Curtailled


Trump's Muslim ban.

Or, has Trump for the first time since he descended an escalator to announce he was running for 
president back in the summer of 2015 finally gone TOO far? 

First up, stuff written by other people:

Experts question legality of Trump's ban 
on Muslim countries 


The future of President Trump's executive order suspending immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries may come down to a legal battle between his powers as commander in chief and discrimination limitations established by Congress.

A federal judge in New York issued a temporary, nationwide stay on the order late Saturday night. Lawyers, pushed along by a growing group of protesters, spent the day trying to free immigrants who were traveling when Trump's order was released, leaving them either detained at U.S. airports or stranded overseas.
But the legality of Trump's order won't be completely clear until it faces more hearings in federal court as Trump's Department of Justice squares off with a team of lawyers from civil rights and immigration advocacy groups.
Supporters of Trump's plan say he is standing on firm legal ground to ban immigrants and refugees temporarily from those countries because they pose a national security threat. Trump's order opens by citing the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and explains that the immigration suspension is necessary to give the federal government time to strengthen its vetting procedures for people coming from terror-prone countries.

"Throughout the history of this country, courts have given, for obvious reasons, the executive extraordinary latitude in making determinations associated with national security," said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that advocates for lower levels of legal and illegal immigration. "And this is a national security judgement, something that courts would never want to interfere with."

Critics of Trump's plan say his national security argument is undercut by his repeated calls on the campaign trail for a "Muslim ban" and his comments Friday that he wants to prioritize the immigration of persecuted Christians over Muslims. Trump's ban also applies to everyone from Syria.
David Leopold, a Cleveland immigration attorney and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said a president clearly has a right to bar certain immigrants or groups of immigrants from entering the U.S. Trump's order cited a long-standing federal law that allows a president to bar entry to any immigrants or group of immigrants who the president deems "detrimental to the interests of the United States."

"But what the Trump administration failed to do," Leopold said, "is understand that nothing in our law justifies banning an entire religion, banning an entire nationality. He's going to have to answer how he can say that all of Syria is detrimental."

Leopold's argument rests largely on the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which forbids discrimination against immigrants based on their "nationality, place of birth, or place of residence." The U.S. had previously used an immigration system that set a limit on the number of people who could enter the U.S. from each country, a system that heavily favored immigration from western Europe.

But that law has been set aside by presidents during national emergencies, according to Michael Hethmon, senior counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which provides legal support to legislators and politicians who want to reduce immigration. 

Hethmon uses the example of President Carter, who in 1980 barred some Iranians from entering the U.S. during a crisis over 52 Americans being held hostage in Tehran. He said that case mirrors what Trump is facing now — the United States facing a large number of people in specific countries who are trying to harm the U.S. 

"The court will say, 'There's a rational basis for picking these seven countries,'" Hethmon said. "They're all in the midst of civil conflict, they're all places where terrorist networks that are particularly dangerous to the U.S. exists. There are multiple reasons why refugees from these countries merit additional, or even extensive, scrutiny."

The seven are Iran, Sudan and Syria — which comprise the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism — plus Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

The key for a court to understand the true intent behind Trump's order — whether it's a religious ban or a national security concern — could lie in one paragraph of his executive order. It declares that once the refugee program is reinstated, the Department of Homeland Security must prioritize refugee claims made by persecuted religious minorities. 

"Whoever drafted the order, I think they thought they were being incredibly clever immunizing this from legal scrutiny," said Jens David Ohlin, an international law professor at Cornell Law School. "But they might have shot themselves in the foot with that one." 

Ohlin said that one section, which he said was the only piece of the order that did not pin itself to the national security argument, may open the entire order to questions about favoring one religion over another. It also follows comments Trump made to the Christian Broadcast Service on Friday, when he said Christians had been treated unfairly under the U.S. refugee program and they needed to be prioritized in the future.

"Courts are going to be giving really serious scrutiny to that one," Ohlin said.

As legal questions continue to swirl over Trump's order, only one certainty exists. "This is the start of a wave of litigation," said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

But then...

by Kevin Drum

Harold Pollack on President Trump's immigration fiasco:
The President’s team had months to prepare this signature immigration initiative. And they amateurish, politically self-immolating effort that humiliated the country, provoked international retaliation, and failed to withstand the obvious federal court challenge on its very first day.

Given the despicable nature of this effort, I’m happy it has become a political fiasco. It also makes me wonder how the Trump administration will execute the basic functions of government. 

This astonishing failure reflects our new President’s contempt for the basic craft of government.

This sure seems to be the case. For the barely believable story of just how incompetent the whole exercise was, check out this CNN story. It will leave your jaw on the floor.

And yet, there's also one tidbit that makes me wonder if the chaos attending the rollout was quite as unintended as we think: Friday night, DHS arrived at the legal interpretation that the executive order restrictions applying to seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen — did not apply to people who with lawful permanent residence, generally referred to as green card holders.

The White House overruled that guidance overnight, according to officials familiar with the rollout. That order came from the President's inner circle, led by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. Their decision held that, on a case by case basis, DHS could allow green card holders to enter the US.
The decision to apply the executive order to green card holders, including those in transit, is almost insane. Whatever else he is, Steve Bannon is a smart guy, and he had to know that this would produce turmoil at airports around the country and widespread condemnation from the press. Why would he do this?

In cases like this, the smart money is usually on incompetence, not malice. But this looks more like deliberate malice to me. Bannon wanted turmoil and condemnation. He wanted this executive order to get as much publicity as possible. He wanted the ACLU involved. He thinks this will be a PR win.

Liberals think the same thing. All the protests, the court judgments, the press coverage: this is something that will make middle America understand just what Trump is really all about. And once they figure it out, they'll turn on him.
In other words, both sides think that maximum exposure is good for them. Liberals think middle America will be appalled at Trump's callousness. Bannon thinks middle America will be appalled that lefties and the elite media are taking the side of terrorists. After a week of skirmishes, this is finally a hill that both sides are willing to die for. Who's going to win?

Kevin Drum

Kevin is a political blogger for Mother Jones. Email Kevin 

And then....

Trump backs off tough stand on green-card holders 
Tribune Washington Bureau 
By Hannah Allam, Michael Doyle and Tim Johnson

WASHINGTON —The Trump administration took a major step back late Sunday from its temporary ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, issuing a clarification that the order does not apply to green-card holders “absent the receipt of significant derogatory information.”

“In applying the provisions of the president’s executive order, I hereby deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement. “Accordingly, absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.”

Kelly’s statement came hours after White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump’s executive order would not apply to legal permanent residents “going forward” and after federal judges in Boston had ruled that border security agents could not detain permanent residents or anyone with a valid U.S.-issued visa.

Kelly’s action came after a day of conflict over the order that was played in the nation’s busiest international airports Sunday.

Scenes of family members waiting for detained loved ones dominated international arrival terminals, while volunteer attorneys worked around the clock to stop deportations and free detained passengers.

Trump’s directive reportedly was imposed with little notice or guidance to the relevant authorities, creating havoc in arrival halls and triggering late-night legal challenges in federal courts.

Even after Kelly’s statement there were still unanswered questions about what the government intended to do about refugees who had received permission to come to the United States before Trump signed his order Friday afternoon. Two court rulings questioned whether Trump could reject by executive action valid immigration documents issued by the government itself.

Airports remained the frontline in the battle. Crowds gathered at airports in Miami, Dallas, Cleveland, Charlotte, N.C., New York, Washington, San Francisco and Chicago. Exasperation grew on all sides, and some immigration officials threw up their hands.

“They finally stopped talking to us altogether and told us to call President Trump,” said Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the White House, and a chanting crowd of hundreds also besieged the entrance to the Trump Hotel a few blocks away.

But the White House showed no signs of backing down. Trump and his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, rejected charges of constitutional overreach. Priebus said the list of banned nations for travel may expand to “Pakistan and other countries.”

A Priebus statement that the ban would not apply to permanent U.S. residents from those countries “going forward” went unexplained, and there was no new document from the White House changing what Trump had signed on Friday.

A Trump statement issued in the afternoon provided no clarification, though Trump did say the U.S. would begin issuing visas “to all countries” after the 90-day ban lapses.
“My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months,” the statement said. “The seven countries named in the executive order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting.”

“Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world — a horrible mess!” Trump said in a Twitter post Sunday morning.

Priebus, on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said the Trump administration issued the 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen because they were “most identifiable with dangerous terrorism taking place in their country.”

“Perhaps we need to go further,” Priebus said.

About 325,000 foreign travelers entered the United States Saturday, and 109 of them were singled out because of their countries of origin and underwent extensive questioning to ensure “that they didn’t do anything nefarious overseas,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.

The White House website still did not list the executive order Sunday afternoon, nearly 48 hours after it was issued.

The class-action lawsuit challenging the deportations of those detained as a result of the executive order was filed in federal court in Brooklyn about 5 a.m. Saturday.

Judge Ann Marie Donnelly, of the Brooklyn-based U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, heard oral arguments at a hastily arranged session about 7:30 p.m. Saturday. An attorney from the Justice Department had to call in for the hearing.

Donnelly issued her stay about 9 p.m. Saturday night. While it is temporary, and does not lock in her longer-term decision expected in February, it shows her skepticism about at least part of the Trump order.

“The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that (their) removal … violates their rights to due process and equal protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” Donnelly wrote.

The controversy attracted worldwide attention. Leaders of European U.S. allies rejected Trump’s order, and Britain’s foreign secretary called it “divisive and wrong.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said through a spokesman that the war on terrorism “does not justify placing people of a certain background or a certain faith under general suspicion.”

Foreign consternation, however, took a back seat to the fast-paced drama at U.S. airports and federal courtrooms where judges presided over rare weekend hearings.

In one typical scene, hundreds of protesters gathered at San Francisco International Airport for a second day Sunday seeking to stop the imminent deportation of two elderly Iranian visa holders in violation of federal rulings barring the removals, said Elica Vafaie of Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

Attorneys said Atlanta and Chicago airport-based officials released some people from detention, while officials at Los Angeles and San Francisco airports, initially, did not.

Lawyers reported that government attorneys in some cases were not answering their phones.

Much of the spotlight was on Judge Donnelly, who was appointed to the federal bench in 2015 by President Barack Obama. The Senate confirmed her 95-2, with strong GOP support.

But her ruling was only the first in a series in which multiple federal judges heard similar arguments, and in some cases issued similar orders.

In Boston, for example, U.S. District Judge Allison D. Burroughs and U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Gail Dein Sunday issued a related temporary restraining order blocking detention or deportation of people covered by Trump’s order. The judges’ action is in effect for seven days. Burroughs was appointed by Obama.

Late Saturday, a Virginia-based federal judge Leonie Brinkema, a former federal prosecutor appointed by President Bill Clinton, issued a more limited ruling, blocking the deportation of lawful permanent U.S. residents held at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly of Seattle, who was appointed to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan, also blocked specific deportations.

“I think there will be broader challenges, but we needed to stop the immediate harm,” attorney Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union said Sunday.

The next legal steps will unfold over a few weeks. Gelernt, deputy director of ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said the Justice Department is scheduled to file a legal brief with the Brooklyn-based judge by Feb. 12. The immigrants’ attorneys will respond within 48 hours of that.

Refugee advocates and civil libertarians said Sunday that thousands of volunteer attorneys had mobilized since Friday, often showing up at airports on their own.

In a media call Sunday before Kelly issued his statement, advocacy groups warned that travelers from countries on the blacklist were still at risk of detention or removal under Trump’s order. They recommended that travelers with concerns arrange to enter the United States at Boston’s Logan airport, where the broadest court order was in effect.

The advocacy groups listed several specific cases of authorities not complying with judicial orders to halt deportations and, in some cases, release the passengers or at least provide them access to lawyers. There were stories of people being handcuffed, asked about their beliefs and held without legal counsel; in some cases, authorities tried to coerce travelers into surrendering their green cards or accepting voluntary departures.

“Even though they’re not being deported, their legal rights continue to be egregiously violated,” Heller said.

Among the concerns of activists on the call:

—Lawyers at Dulles International Airport said they still hadn’t been able to speak to detained travelers, in violation of a federal court ruling ordering attorney access.

—A young Iranian woman in the United States on a Fulbright program was forced onto a Ukrainian plane for deportation until an eleventh-hour reprieve came through and “they literally turned the plane around while it was taxiing” and allowed her to stay, Heller said.

—A 17-year-old Afghan orphan whose entire family had been killed in a land-mine explosion was scheduled to fly to a foster family in Seattle after years of awaiting resettlement. Even though Trump’s order doesn’t include Afghan citizens, the boy was barred from boarding his flight.

“There’s no method to this madness,” Heller said.

In Dallas, airport authorities announced that all arriving passengers who had been detained were being released and would be reunited with their families “at an offsite location.”
Meanwhile, several thousand people assembled along the northeast side of the White House Sunday, chanting slogans such as, “Refugees are welcome here — no hate, no fear!” Several brought back signs they had carried during the Women’s March a week earlier, including “The whole world is watching.”

Suzanne Blue Star, a Washington resident who is a member of the Yankton Sioux tribe of South Dakota, said she was driven to come by what she called the “unconstitutionality” of Trump’s executive order.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “The rallies are going to continue (until) senators and legislators start changing their minds. These are just the warning signs of things to come.”

And as this whole debacle plays out, it bears remembering to who Trump is playing to. Those hardcore Trump supporters who put Donald in the White House are not seeing this as a debacle for their team. Nope, Trump is just doing what he said he would do and the only ones really put out by this is the media and the so-called liberal elites. To the view of Trump's hardcore support, Trump is solving a problem, not creating one. 

So if anyone is entertaining the notion that Trump's ban is finally the thing that is going to at last bring him down, you haven't been paying attention to how Trump operates for the last two years. 


A moment for blog bidness, in the face of some recent personal adversity which makes typing this blog physically difficult, I'm still trying to make this thing happen as much as I can.  

So thank you for your patience. Soon, I hop  I will once more have two functioning hands to resume this blog in earnest.

Until next time, remember to be goof to one another, 

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