Monday Reads: Shocking TimesPosted: January 30, 2017
It’s difficult to try to make sense of the last 10 days using any normal construct. Just the fact we’ve seen enormous international protests come together across the world nearly spontaneously with more in the works tells me these are not normal times. We’re two Mondays into the Drumpfocracy and this is my second Monday writing about massive protests. Chaos and division are resplendent throughout the Drumpfdom.
A friend and Dharma sister sent me a quote from historian and Boston College Professor Heather Cox Richardson today describing the Muslim Executive Order as a planned “shock event” staged by Steve Bannon. The purpose of this event is to basically “create confusion and chaos so that the administration can present itself as the only entity capable of restoring order” as paraphrased by blogger JohnFEA. Cox Richardson writes:
What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with last night’s ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries– is creating what is known as a “shock event.” Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order. When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event.
She’s already landed herself on the Fifth Column style website called “The Professor Watchlist”.
Heather Cox Richardson, a history professor at Boston College, has also found herself in the database. In an article on Bill Moyers’s website she objected to the crudeness of the Professor Watchlist project. She said she does not publicly identify with any political party and believes “American democracy is the form of government that comes closest to bringing that principle to reality.”
She’s written a recent book “To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party”. She was interviewed by WBUR in the fall on the party and its rank and file. There’s a podcast of that interview here. I particularly like her description of the purge of the party in the party that was a direct result of right wing christianists and so-called “movement conservatives”.
…When [Movement conservatives] took over the Republican Party and got rid of the traditional Rockefeller Republicans, if you will, Lincoln Republicans. When they read them out of the party, what they did is they wedded the party’s machinery to this quite extremist idea that most Americans don’t really believe. The moment we’re in now, that movement conservative ideology has led to the Ted Cruzes and the Paul Ryans, yes, but what it’s done is it created the demographic that feeds the white-nationalists — the hatred that most Americans don’t really embrace.”
One of my friends noted that she was called a “Muslim-loving whore” this weekend. The entire debacle is certainly dividing us and creating massive chaos. I pity any one who has got a flight to take. The airports are alive with protests. Town and City Squares are alive with protest. We can’t seem to protest enough these days.
An executive order referred to widely among protesters as a “Muslim ban” on immigration travel has led to thousands of people protesting all over the country. The protests began on Saturday and are continuing today. At the source of the controversy is President Donald Trump’s latest executive order, which temporarily blocks 130 million people from entering the United States. The order itself never explicitly uses the word “Muslim.” What it does is temporarily ban citizens of Iraq and six other Muslim-major countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen) from entering the United States. (Syrian immigration was indefinitely suspended.) Comments from Trump to media about expediting immigration for Christians sparked additional controversy, but those comments weren’t actually in his executive order. Federal judge Ann Donnelly granted an emergency stay of the executive order. Meanwhile, Trump said the ban was put in place to review the vetting process and protect the United States from radical Islamic terrorists. But protesters are disagreeing vehemently with the ban. Some of the people who were were originally detained have since been released.
Merkel took upon herself as the evident new leader of the Free World to explain that the US is a signatory to the Geneva Convention. She also had to tell him about the document and its purpose. What kind of idiot did these people elect? What have these bigoted crazy people done to us?
Donald Trump’s executive order to halt travel from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia – has provoked a wave of concern and condemnation from international leaders and politicians.
A spokesman for Angela Merkel said the German chancellor regretted Trump’s decision to ban citizens of certain countries from entering the US, adding that she had “explained” the obligations of the refugee convention to the new president in a phone call on Saturday.
“The chancellor regrets the US government’s entry ban against refugees and the citizens of certain countries,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.
“She is convinced that the necessary, decisive battle against terrorism does not justify a general suspicion against people of a certain origin or a certain religion.
“The … refugee convention requires the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds. All signatory states are obligated to do. The German government explained this policy in their call yesterday.”
We’re an international pariah state like never before. I don’t think it was even worse during the Nixon years when I traveled during the height of the Vietnam War and did everything I could while in Europe to convince people I was not an American.
What appears to be most disturbing is that the Executive Branch has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to enforce the ban regardless of the stays by four separate judges. Many airport security personal have blocked lawyers and congressman from seeing detainees. This has seriously breached rule of law here.
Here’s Trump’s latest Executive Order: “Trump signs executive order requiring that for every one new regulation, two must be revoked”. How the fuck does that work?
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday morning requiring that for every new federal regulation implemented, two must be rescinded.
“This will be the biggest such act that our country has ever seen,” Trump declared moments before signing it inside the Oval Office. “There will be regulation, there will be control, but it will be a normalized control where you can open your business and expand your business very easily. And that’s what our country has been all about.”
The executive order signing, which fills a campaign pledge, comes after the president held a listening session with small-business leaders.
“If you have a regulation you want, number one, we’re not gonna approve it because it’s already been approved probably in 17 different forms,” Trump said. “But if we do, the only way you have a chance is we have to knock out two regulations for every new regulation. So if there’s a new regulation, they have to knock out two.”
The White House has yet to release text of the executive order, but the president added that “it goes far beyond that.”
“We’re cutting regulations massively for small business — and for large business,” he said. “But they’re different. But for small business, and that’s what this is about today.”
The word “shock” is used a lot in both economic and finance models. It’s best described by Taleb Nassem as a “black swan”. It suddenly disrupts normal market behavior–and depending on how severe it is–can cause problems for some time. It’s like a variety of rocks thrown into water that create ripples. This is like a hail storm of rocks falling on everything around us.
Here’s another ripple that amazes me: “US Diplomats Consider Filing Dissent Over Immigration Ban”. The White House considers the move to be highly successful.
Dozens of foreign service officers and other career diplomats stationed around the world are so concerned about President Donald Trump‘s new executive order restricting Syrian refugees and other immigrants from entering the United States that they are contemplating taking the rare step of sending a formal objection to senior State Department officials in Washington.
In recent days, drafts of a dissent memo have been circulating among diplomats and associates abroad expressing concern that the new restrictions — which Trump said would help “keep America safe” — are un-American and will actually paralyze efforts to stop terrorist attacks inside the U.S. homeland.
“This ban … will not achieve its stated aim to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States,” warned one early draft reviewed by ABC News.
Instead, the executive order will expand anti-American sentiment and “immediately sour relations” with key allies in the fight against terrorism, particularly many of the countries whose citizens are now blocked from traveling to the United States, according to the early draft.
My friend David Ferguson is writing about the other shocking news that’s disturbing both Republicans and Democrats on the Hill. “Democrats and Republicans can’t believe Trump put ‘Nazi’ Steve Bannon on National Security Council”. The Muslim ban nearly seems a sideshow to this one which could be the purpose of it all.
On Saturday, Pres. Donald Trump announced that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the national director of intelligence will no longer be included in all meetings of the National Security Council (NSC)’s principals committee. However, the president’s order said, former Breitbart.com CEO Stephen K. Bannon will be attending every meeting alongside the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and some of the highest ranking officers in the nation’s security and intelligence services.
“Chairman of Joint Chiefs and DNI treated as afterthoughts in Cabinet level principals meetings. And where is CIA?? Cut out of everything?” wrote former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice on Sunday, according to the New York Daily News.
“This is stone cold crazy,” Rice continued. “After a week of crazy. Who needs military advice or intel to make policy on ISIL, Syria, Afghanistan, DPRK?”
“Trump loves and trusts the military so much he just kicked them out of the National Security Council and put a Nazi in their place,” she said.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded by complaining about Rice’s tone, which he said was “clearly inappropriate language from a former ambassador.”
These are dangerous, chaotic times and it’s all been brought on by people that are “stone cold crazy.” Democrats on the Hill are planning a rally in front of the SCOTUS building.
Democratic lawmakers will host a rally on Monday evening at the Supreme Court to protest President Donald Trump’s recent executive order imposing a temporary ban on nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the United States.
“Tomorrow at 6:00 p.m., House and Senate Democrats will gather for a press event in front of the steps of the Supreme Court to demand the President withdraw his disreputable executive order. All Members are urged to come to express our solidarity,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a letter to her Democratic colleagues in the House.
Trump on Friday signed an order that imposed a 90-day ban on nationals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen entering the United States. The order also included a 120-day ban on admitting refugees and an indefinite halt on admitting refugees from Syria, which has been embattled in a civil war since 2011.
“We are witnessing an historic injustice unfold, and we must keep the pressure on,” Pelosi said in the letter.
“If we get a few more Republicans, I think we might be able to pass legislation to overturn it,” Schumer said Sunday at press conference in his home state. “It will be up to getting more Republicans.”
Pelosi, in the letter, echoes several of her colleagues by saying the order constitutes “a Muslim ban.”
“As Members of Congress, we take a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Democrats intend to honor that oath by fighting the unconstitutional injustice of the President’s Muslim ban.”
Now let’s hear how they are going to stop this mess. They better get a few republicans besides Lindsay Graham and John McCain to go rogue and stick with the Constitution over the mad king too.
What would Mary Richards do? Given that most of the lawyers do pro bono work at the airports are women, I say she’d take to the air waves and stand up for what’s right!!! The Boston Judge who issued the first stay is a woman too!
What’s on your reading and blogging list?