This morning on the treadmill I flipped the TV over to Fox news. I like to vary where I get information from and hadn’t been on Fox in awhile. Fox & Friends was running their Saturday edition. What unfolded in the half hour span was nothing short of an authoritarian’s delight.
Last week Michael Flynn stepped down as National Security Adviser when CNN broke the news of improper contact with Russia during and after the election and prior to taking office. This past Thursday the news broke that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus tried to get the FBI to dispute media reports about the Russian interference. As President Trump is so able to do, Friday was a diversion from all of this when certain news groups were banned from a White House presser. Cue the Outrage Machine about a free press vs. an authoritarian state. Continue reading
Happy President’s Day 2017… 45 bits of arcane trivia for you to pursue on this day for two of our favorite Chief Executives. Continue reading
The first month of President Trump’s term has been marked by turmoil. What your politics are determines what that turmoil is. For the political left, it has been one gobsmacking outrage after another. For the right, it has been a hounding media blowing up every little Trump tweet and tither into a scandal of Watergate proportions. But if you sift through the silt, you will see that President Trump hasn’t really done much governing at all in his first month.
While Trump was swift to issue a torrent of Executive Orders, he is ahead of the typical president but lags behind President Obama. Trump issued 12 Executive Orders in his first month, Obama had 16. Trump actually takes 3rd place, with Harry S. Truman edging him out by a single order. By comparison, George W. Bush issued 7, Bill Clinton 6. Continue reading
On Monday, President Trump’s pick for the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, was confirmed in an historic Senate vote where the Vice President had to vote to break a 50-50 tie. Why historic? Because a Vice President had never in 200+ years ever had to break a tie for a Cabinet secretary. How did it get to 50-50? Educators and concerned parents bombarded Senate offices (Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania) with emails and phone calls in opposition to DeVos, who had a historically bad hearing and seems vastly unqualified for the position. Two GOP Senators voted in opposition, causing the tie.
But what emerged in this fight over DeVos’s nomination underscores what the left faces over the next two years: GOP lawmakers do not believe their re-election is in jeopardy despite massive public outcry. As Mike Gecan wrote in the Daily News, Democrats are getting played. Continue reading
The argument being made by the Executive Branch in why they have blocked immigration and even valid entry visas (Green Cards) from seven Muslim-majority nations has been in the case of “National Security”:
First, to clarify the President’s statement yesterday, the stay on his immigration ban does not throw open the borders but instead takes it back to what was in practice 10 days ago. There is still no easy entry for immigrants and refugees, as the vetting process has been strengthened over the past several years. It may not be to the level the President wishes, but he can easily change that working with the GOP majority in Congress and whip through new legislation.
But secondly,. the President has provided no evidence that an imminent terrorist threat through entry from these places is warranted. What resulted in the immediate stay on the ban, before 24 hours had passed, were rulings that stated the government was harming the Due Process rights of those seeking entry to the United States.
Another key piece that could lead to the overturning of the actual Executive Order banning entry hinges on whether or not this is a “Muslim Ban.” The White House denies it and the actual Executive Order does not specify religion. But the ACLU has argued in Boston courts, where one of the limited initial stays on the ban occurred, that when as a candidate the President promised to ban Muslims, spoke publicly of preferring entry of one religious group over another and then in widely published reports asked Rudy Giuliani how to make a Muslim Ban legal, regardless of the printed word this is indeed a Muslim ban.
This morning brought a flood of Twitter reaction to President Trump blasting a judge, who late Friday put a nationwide block on his Executive Order. Raise your hand if you expected the President to go on the offensive over night. See? That was expected. Move along, nothing to see here.
Whether the President cares, the a federal judge is part of an equal and independent branch and cannot be fired like he did a week ago to acting Secretary of State Sally Yates. Those on the left were, wrongly, outraged at that firing: Continue reading
It’s easy to just boil over with the overdosing of negative news coming out of the White House. But is it worth the anxiety? I’m going to try and put the “outrage” people are feeling into political or historic context. So I’ll attempt, if at least for myself, look through a wider lens. Is this really as bad as the media claims it to be? Continue reading