Us Against Them
January 27, 2017
During the winter months, my wife and I are lucky to live in New York City. What an experience. I thank God we are fortunate to do so.
Last Saturday, the day after the inauguration of our great new President Trump, I was subjected to a different New York City. I was on the bus, going from the West Side to the East Side. I did not know there was going to be a demonstration.
Two gay guys got on the bus, with signs. The people on the bus let out a big cheer. I responded with boo. Well, that led to quite a mean exchange of words. There was a woman sitting across from me who couldn’t have been more supportive, and also the bus driver. It was a case of us against them.
The demonstrations literally took over. My wife and I walked over 85 blocks that day, confronting meanspirited people. I know we could have argued the entire time with them, but we figured let them drown in misery.
As for these so-called celebrities, why don’t they move to another country? This lowlife Madonna should be arrested for her crazy talk. At this point I have no use for liberals. I read their hate-filled letters. Probably because they hate themselves.
Oh well, with that I just want to say God bless President Trump and his beautiful family.
February 2, 2017
Completely overshadowed by the Trump administration’s unconstitutional immigration ban was its executive order targeting immigrants inside the United States. Its broad sweep is not only cruel, but also unconstitutional.
First, Mr. Trump repeatedly promised humanitarian treatment to immigrants residing in the U.S. Yet no such treatment is offered in the order. Rather, according to Mr. Trump, the “faithful exercise” of the immigration laws of the United States is impossible “if we exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.” This cannot square with his promise of humanitarian treatment toward those who had been protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, among other groups.
Second, in what seems a lifetime ago, the G.O.P. bristled at the “executive overreach” of the Obama administration. Now, however, they shamelessly tolerate Mr. Trump’s executive order promising an unlawful crackdown on jurisdictions that willfully “shield aliens from removal.” With no effort to demonstrate any “significant threat” posed by cities, counties, or state agencies that decline to take part in federal immigration enforcement, these entities are condemned under Mr. Trump’s order.
With the goal of punishing what he labels as “sanctuary jurisdictions,” Mr. Trump’s order would force state and local authorities to enforce federal immigration statutes. This edict is coupled with a threat against any local government that does not follow federal orders to enforce immigration laws. The order explicitly provides that any “jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply . . . are not eligible to receive Federal grants.”
Mr. Trump’s effort to bully local governments under the threat of financial penalty flies in the face of Supreme Court precedent forbidding federal interference with local law enforcement. In 1997 (in an opinion by the late Justice Scalia), the Supreme Court prohibited the federal government from ordering local officials to enforce federal law. Further, in 2012, the Supreme Court ruled (ironically, in connection with a challenge to the Affordable Care Act) that the government cannot use the threat of funding cuts to “coerce” states into adopting federally demanded policies. Mr. Trump’s order willfully flouts both of these constitutional rulings.
Mr. Trump’s order further evidences the immoral and unlawful ends his administration is willing to follow to further the ultraconservative ideology of his White House cronies. Mr. Trump has at his disposal constitutional means to effect immigration reform; the American people should demand that he follow that route instead.
February 1, 2017
I pass on a recent missive: I bake “trumpets” bigly, ethnic nation A list and sold great in America. “Trumpets” they are not, contrary to corrupt media reporting, ”little crooked cakes.” I would never grab one, let alone kiss one!
The corrupt media says that three million voters tossed their Trumpets, so what? I won. They are all aliens, probably dead anyway, losers.
“Trumpets” will be made in America (or Russia). Putin likes them. Putin likes me. Don King likes me.
Let them eat Trumpets. After I read it.
I passed this through the extreme vetting of my 5-year-old grandson. His reaction was “sad.”
All good things,
Checks and Balances
February 5, 2017
Weekend number two of the Trump presidency, and I find myself on circuit overload and a bit bug-eyed by the daily psychodramas of our new chief executive. Love him or hate him, he is the president of the United States. There are standards and a certain decorum to be expected. He has no right to inject himself and interfere with a court case or criticize a judge on his core competence and promote fear. Basic civics: There are three separate and equal branches of our government, as defined by the Constitution.
For the president to criticize a judge in the Ninth Circuit Court who disagrees with his immigration ban (that was a ban, then wasn’t a ban, and now is a ban) is unacceptable. To inject himself in a legal case, to belittle or besmirch Judge James Robart by calling him “a so-called judge,” to speak with reporters about the court case, stating “We will win for the safety of the country, we will win,” as well as the various other twitty tweets as the case is being adjudicated in court, stinks.
The president of the United States is weakening our basic democratic institutions. He must and will be stopped. His bad behavior on many levels is a detriment to the country. No need to get into the telephone calls, the hissy fits, the bragging, the exaggerations, the alternative facts, the bullying, the mocking, the love of that TV camera, the flash flash, click click, Oval Office daily show and tell-TV news performances!
The president of the United States should not and does not posture, get involved, insert self, or criticize, intimidate, or pressure the courts. It is called checks and balances. He does not use his mouth, his office, or his many powers to influence the U.S. judicial system. The judicial system is a separate and equal independent entity, and sacrosanct. It and only it upholds the law according to the Constitution. The mob does not rule, yet.
What this celebrity apprentice banana republican president has done and continues to do is not acceptable. This is what happens in fascist dictatorships, tinhorn dictatorships, and authoritarian regimes, where the courts become the instrument of the Great Leader, Sun King, Wicked Queen, the strong man, the tyrant, Big Daddy, or Big Brother. Remember, in order to get respect, you have to give respect.
Two weeks in, and it’s protest-o-rama — protest every weekend, everywhere — all over the world. Fasten your seatbelts, there is major turbulence ahead.
January 5, 2017
The scene is Thanksgiving Dinner 2016. Relatives are gathered around the table. Wine is flowing and the head of the family is slicing the turkey with gusto. His wife is looking on with concern, hoping he will not cut a finger and drown the turkey in his blood.
As usual, Ronald Rump is red-faced and bellicose. Using his free hand, Mayor Dump pounded the table in frustration. “This town is a mess. I have had it and, by God, I will change it. The influx of all these Mexican rapists and Muslim terrorists, a mosque across the street from our church, traffic signs are in English and Spanish. Our corner store, run for years by Mr. White and his wife, is now actually called a bodega. This is not my America.”
Sitting to his left, Mayor Rump’s daughter, home from college, offers that she has two best friends who are recent immigrants. One is her roommate.
“Don’t bring them in my house unless they are white and Christian!” he exclaims, slicing the turkey with increasing determination and force. “In fact, I do not want your college elitist friends coming into our house if they are from any coastal states! And, oh yeah, New Mexico.”
“But Dad,” she pleads, “they have green cards and permission to get an education in the United States. They have been thoroughly vetted.”
“Look, sweetheart, I am just trying to keep this family safe. The United States is changing and it’s not what it used to be.”
With a low voice and staring at her plate, she utters, “Yeah, we are not ‘united’ states anymore.”
Then, from the head of the table, “Let us bow our heads for grace. Oh heavenly father, thank you for this bounty. Centuries ago, as our forefathers fled religious tyranny, you guided us to these shores so that we may embrace and practice freedom of religion and be safe from persecution because of the color of our skin and our beliefs in God Almighty.” Then, glancing up to look directly into his daughter’s stare, he added, “We are proud to defend our way of life, ensuring that America will be great again.”
Before he could close with “amen,” his daughter in a clear voice stated, “Don’t you mean, America can hate again, Dad?”
There was an awkward silence until her mother asked Ronald Rump, head of the family and mayor of a small town in Ohio, to pass the mashed potatoes.
February 6, 2017
To the Editor:
Australia, Australia, our dear friend way down under, where the head of the beer is the bottom of the glass. Three million square miles, population 23 million. (U.S.A. 3.8 million square miles, population 318 million.)
Twelve hundred refugees? Yes! Only 1,200! How do you translate “chutzpah” into Australian? Click, Bang.
Mr. President, happy and delighted to see that your I.I.R.R. level is perfect, excellent, and healthy. (Immediate, Instinctive, Response, Reaction.) Keep it up. You, us, U.S., are on the right track.
EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL
An Unnecessary Action
February 5, 2017
To the Editor:
A guy walks into a bar, picks someone up, and goes home and spends the night. In the morning he gets up and says to his partner, “Wasn’t I amazing?”
A short parable that illustrates the state of our new political universe. Which essentially explains the story around the travel ban.
The first question posed is what has changed in the world over the past four weeks that merited the travel ban executive order? Almost all of the million or so U.S. national security people are still in place. No new threat assessments have surfaced anywhere in the security apparatus. Nothing in the seven banned nations has changed. Given these circumstances, one can only assume that the travel ban order was an act of political perversion that has little or no basis in reality.
The anatomy of a tweet gone astray.
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump advocated for a ban on Muslims entering the country and a revision of the immigration system. Both ideas were senseless and unfounded, but resonated with lots of people. In his first week, Trump sent out an executive order encompassing both policies. The result was not exactly what he expected.
The order was based on four false premises. First, the seven countries involved in the ban were not identified by the Obama administration as meriting this level of concern. In truth, more than 20 countries were identified for special consideration because of internal instability. Second, the threat level from these countries was elevated enough to require action. Third, U.S. vetting mechanisms were insufficient to do the job correctly. Fourth, Bowling Green terror attack. All four reasons were distortions of reality fabricated by the Trump government to implement an unnecessary action.
The order was prepared by staffers from a judiciary committee, without the consent of the Legislature, in violation of federal separation-of-powers rules. The order was never vetted for questions of constitutionality or immigration violations by the attorney general or anyone else. The order was prepared and implemented without the knowledge, participation, or consent of any of the immigration or national security administrations.
Given that no advance knowledge was available and the law was never properly vetted, the government was unprepared for the chaos in implementing the order. The massive demonstrations at the nation’s airports against the order, the outcry from a large portion of our allies and almost all of the Muslim world, and the support provided for ISIS and Al Qaeda as a recruiting tool, coupled with the disrespect shown to the thousands of Muslim counterterrorism actors who are our first line of defense against attacks.
Perhaps the most egregious and disrespectful aspect of the order was not the treatment of Muslims but the trashing of the 240,000 workers in our Homeland Security Department. After 9/11, the U.S. developed the most thorough and sophisticated vetting processes in the world. We totally revamped our security apparatus and worked nonstop for 15 years to improve the system. With no one involved in creating the order having any experience in this process, it is not surprising that the president and his staff were viewed unfavorably by most of the world.
No one other than the president and his posse viewed the travel ban as anything other than a ban on Muslims. No one in the security apparatus believed that there was an elevated threat level and that this ban would address the nonexistent concern. Mr. Trump did an alternative facts con, and it is difficult to fathom why. Somewhere in the inner recesses of our new government or in the early morning fog of the president’s psyche.
The missing component, which is of great concern, is the complete lack of empathy on the part of our leaders. The willingness to subjugate people to the additional pain of having their lives turned upside down is tinged with a cold, brutal indifference. We’ve observed Mr. Trump’s lack of empathy, to the point of disdain, on dozens of occasions. America First gets scarier every day.
Polls show half of Americans support the travel ban. Listening to Kellyanne Conway describe the nonexistent “Bowling Green terrorist attack” says it all. The million-dollar question is why?