Wednesday Reads: I am, I am, I am…We are….We can’t.Posted: November 16, 2016
I am a woman. I am Latin. I am disabled. I am a victim of sexual violence. It’s personal. My uncle is gay. My cousins are Muslims. It’s personal. My husband’s maternal grandmother was a Jew who escaped Hitler when he invaded Poland. My great-grandparents come from Sicily, Spain and Cuba. It’s personal. I have a daughter who suffers from endometriosis and ovarian cysts. I have a son who has Type 1 Diabetes. It’s personal. My kids have friends who are Black, Mexican, gay, Haitian. I have friends who are Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, agnostic, Wiccan and atheist. My brother had Down Syndrome. I had to have an ectopic pregnancy aborted at 4 months. It’s personal. We are all a part of this crisis. It is personal to all of us. We can’t allow our country to become a fascist state.
This is the situation:
An architect of anti-immigration efforts who says he is advising President-elect Donald Trump said the new administration could push ahead rapidly on construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall without seeking immediate congressional approval.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped write tough immigration laws in Arizona and elsewhere, said in an interview that Trump’s policy advisers had also discussed drafting a proposal for his consideration to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.
Kobach, who media reports say is a key member of Trump’s transition team, said he had participated in regular conference calls with about a dozen Trump immigration advisers for the past two to three months.
Trump’s transition team did not respond to requests for confirmation of Kobach’s role. The president-elect has not committed to following any specific recommendations from advisory groups.
Kobach told Reuters last Friday that the immigration group had discussed drafting executive orders for the president-elect’s review “so that Trump and the Department of Homeland Security hit the ground running.”
To implement Trump’s call for “extreme vetting” of some Muslim immigrants, Kobach said the immigration policy group could recommend the reinstatement of a national registry of immigrants and visitors who enter the United States on visas from countries where extremist organizations are active.
Kobach helped design the program, known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, while serving in Republican President George W. Bush’s Department of Justice after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by al Qaeda militants.
Under NSEERS, people from countries deemed “higher risk” were required to undergo interrogations and fingerprinting on entering the United States. Some non-citizen male U.S. residents over the age of 16 from countries with active militant threats were required to register in person at government offices and periodically check in.
NSEERS was abandoned in 2011 after it was deemed redundant by the Department of Homeland Security and criticized by civil rights groups for unfairly targeting immigrants from Muslim- majority nations.
Then there is this:
Which is way…not normal.
At least in a democracy.
I’m not sure what I expected from a Trump administration, but at least I expected Donald Trump to be the actual President. Now, I’m not so sure.
Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has not strayed far from Trump’s side during the campaign, and is always the last person to see him before any decision, may take on a significant role in the White House. A very significant role.
Trump made an unprecedented request for his children to receive Top Secret clearance. Odd, considering that just visiting Daddy doesn’t require the highest security rating in the country.
Now, Trump has also asked that Kushner attend the Presidential Daily Brief after he receives his Top Secret security clearance. This request is beyond unprecedented. Frankly, it’s disturbing.
– Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) November 15, 2016
We already suspect that Trump never expected to get elected. Now we have to wonder if he’s just not capable of leading, and must bring in a ringer: Kushner. After all, Kushner already seems to have an inordinate influence in the Trump transition team.
Oh, and let’s not forget that Kushner is also a newspaper publisher.
At some point in time, does anyone have the authority to tell the President-elect that his request is totally cracked?
In other not normal news, you have heard that Trump has twice dumped his press corp:
Dear President-elect Trump,
We, a group of diverse journalism associations representing thousands of journalists from the nation’s capital to every corner of the country, begin this letter on a hopeful note. Your administration is a blank slate and we are eager to work with you to perpetuate one of this nation’s great strengths: our freedom of the press.
As the new leader of the free world, we expect that you will preserve longstanding traditions that ensure coverage of the Trump presidency. The idea of a press pool that covers all of the president’s movements is one that dates back to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration. Every president of both parties has treated this important tradition with respect. The role of the press pool is critically important to our country, whose citizens depend on and deserve to know what the president is doing. This isn’t about access for the press itself, it’s about access for Americans in diverse communities across the country. Your constituents receive information from a variety of platforms to learn about what our president is doing.
Being president is an enormous responsibility and working with the White House Correspondents’ Association to ensure journalists’ access is one small but important part of that. We call on you to commit to a protective press pool from now until the final day of your presidency. We respectfully ask you to instill a spirit of openness and transparency in your administration in many ways but first and foremost via the press pool.
We also call for access to you via regular press conferences and pool sprays and to your key decision-makers. You have an opportunity as incoming president to set the tone for your staff speaking on the record for the sake of transparency. We also hope your administration will improve response rates to FOIA requests as a way to show the American people, and the world, that the republic belongs to the people.
A great America depends on having sunlight on its leaders. We expect the traditions of White House press coverage to be upheld whether in Washington or elsewhere. Again we, a joint group of diverse journalism associations, speak as one as we respectfully ask that you take these steps to ensure access to our members covering your administration.
The National Press Club
National Press Club Journalism Institute
Society of Professional Journalists
Mizell Stewart III
American Society of News Editors
Radio Television Digital News Association and Foundation
Reporters Without Borders/RSF
Committee to Protect Journalists
Sandy K. Johnson
National Press Foundation
National Association of Black Journalists
President, Board of Directors
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
Native American Journalists Association
Asian American Journalists Association
National Association of LGBTQ Journalists
Elisa Lees Munoz
The International Women’s Media Foundation
Regional Reporters Association
President, Board of Directors
Online News Association
Journalism and Women Symposium
National Press Photographers Association
More for you…with the tag #NotNormal
You have to click here for the tweet to see the video. I could not get the thing to embed.
Speaking of the Electoral College. I thought this was interesting. With all the talk of eliminating the Electoral College lately…I know this is quoted in full, but it made some points that seemed so important, I thought it would be good to bring it to you:
Donald Trump is not yet the President-elect. Under our constitutional framework, the Electoral College will select the President next month. Electors customarily vote the way their state voted. But many states don’t require that they do so. As pundits have started to point out, a few dozen “faithless” electors could—lawfully—send Hillary Clinton to the Oval Office.
This leads to an apparent puzzle. One of the Electoral College’s purposes, at least on some accounts, is to provide a check against charismatic demagogues. For many months now, civic-minded critics have called Trump a fascist, a white supremacist, a sexual predator, a pawn of Putin, “a one-man constitutional crisis,” and “an extinction-level event” for liberal democracy. Both Clinton and President Obama have insisted that Trump is “uniquely unqualified” to be President. Clinton, moreover, received the most votes nationwide, and she might have done a good deal better if not for Republican-led voter suppression.
Critics have a variety of grounds, then, for challenging the legitimacy of a Trump presidency, and in the Electoral College they have a constitutional tool that might derail it. Yet no public officeholders have even raised the possibility. Why the reticence?
There are some obvious concerns. It would be exceedingly difficult to engineer an Electoral College bailout. If it could be done, millions of Trump supporters would feel cheated by the “rigged” system that Trump has denounced all year. Violent protests could well erupt.
As weighty as these concerns are, they don’t necessarily solve the puzzle. Clinton, after all, won the popular vote, leaving her supporters feeling cheated. If switching to Clinton would nonetheless be unrealistic or unwise, progressives could join with conservatives to find a Republican capable of siphoning enough votes from Trump to deprive him of an Electoral College majority and throw the race into the House, which could then elect this other Republican. And if a true fascist is on the verge of taking power and the opposition has a lawful means to head him off, even one that might fail or backfire, doesn’t the opposition have a duty to try?
Political judgment is complex, and it is easy to second-guess from the outside. The Democratic Party leaders and the “Never Trumpers” in Congress may be right to hold back. Even still, the fact that they so immediately and decisively abandoned the Electoral College suggests a couple of awkward lessons.
The first is that these officials do not fully believe their own apocalyptic rhetoric about Trump. He may be a demagogue, but they doubt his ultimate desire or ability to shatter our system of government. Never Trump, we can now see, was more of an aspiration than a commitment. Because again, if you truly believe that someone poses an existential threat to democracy, you do not accept his claim to the White House—and normalize his coming presidency—without attempting an appeal to the final gatekeepers, imploring them to keep faith with their country, Constitution, and conscience rather than a local voting majority. (As part of any Electoral College bailout strategy, the vocabulary of “faithless” electors would need to be resisted.)
The second lesson is that the Democratic and Republican parties are now divided not only on what they think the Constitution means but also on how they engage in constitutional conflict. The Republicans are bolder. Asking electors to reject their state’s winner would unsettle a longstanding norm, which is a serious step in a polity that depends on such unwritten traditions. But congressional Republicans have not hesitated to flout numerous conventions of constitutional government in an all-out effort to sabotage the Obama presidency, from threatening to default on the national debt to using the filibuster as a routine tactic to refusing to give a Supreme Court nominee a hearing.
Trump himself has participated in this destructive project, urging Senate Republicans to stonewall the Merrick Garland nomination and promoting the false claim that Obama’s birthplace makes him constitutionally ineligible to be President. Trump of course also refused to pledge that he would accept the results of the election, should Clinton have prevailed.
Democratic and Republican officials have both done plenty of unsavory things in recent times. But as the events of the past week reveal, a gulf has opened up between the two parties in their willingness to resort to technically lawful yet extreme measures to combat what is seen as an unacceptable outcome. Democrats, by and large, have been more beholden to a model of traditional legal process. They have been less willing to play constitutional hardball.
The refusal to play hardball reflects a restraint that is admirable, indeed essential, in ordinary times. But it can also amount to unilateral disarmament in a genuine moment of crisis.
Here, at least, it misses an opportunity not just to challenge Trumpism but also to force a bipartisan conversation that is long overdue—about whether the Electoral College is justifiable in the first place. An aggressive appeal to the electors would have risked inviting tit-for-tat retaliation by future candidates, destabilizing our system of elections and galvanizing reform efforts. Given the Electoral College’s deep democratic flaws, that prospect is hopeful as well as terrifying.
I will tell you what is also terrifying.
In the wake of Trump’s election, Texas Republicans have filed multiple bills that would ban abortions even for fetal abnormalities and require ‘proper burial’ for miscarriages.
Georgia legislator Tuesday proposed a bill that would bar women from wearing a burqa and veil in their driver’s license photo, the Atlanta Journal-Constitutionreports.
House Bill 3, sponsored by state Rep. Jason Spencer, would also subject Muslim women to Georgia’s anti-masking statute, which makes it a criminal misdemeanor to wear “a mask, hood, or device by which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer” on public property.
The Georgia anti-masking law was originally enacted to combat the Ku Klux Klan and is currently gender-specific. Spencer said his legislation is intended to apply to women in burqas driving on public roadways, but as the AJC reports, the law is vaguely written and “might also apply to any kind of public property.”
If passed, the amended statute will read:
“A person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he or she wears a mask, hood, or device by which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed or covered as the conceal the identity of the wearer and is upon any public way or public property or upon the private property of another without the written permission of the owner or occupier of the property to do so.”
Then there is this video…you only need to see it to feel the pain…on so many levels.
This is all I can post today. I am sorry it is so very late, my internet is extremely slow…and it has been acting up terribly.