Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals makes a point while delivering prepared remarks before a group of attorneys last Friday at a luncheon in a legal firm in lower downtown Denver. David Zalubowski/AP
By Carrie Johnson
President Trump has selected federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill a Supreme Court seat that has sat vacant for nearly a year, setting up a blockbuster confirmation hearing that could put the new White House's domestic political agenda on trial in the U.S. Senate.
The selection fulfills an early campaign promise by Trump to nominate a solidly conservative judge with a record of strictly interpreting the U.S. Constitution. Gorsuch, 49, sailed through an earlier confirmation process for a spot on the federal appeals court in Denver.
Only weeks after his nomination in 2006, the Senate confirmed him by voice vote. The American Bar Association rated him as "unanimously well qualified" at the time.
Gorsuch has a sterling legal pedigree. He clerked for two Supreme Court justices, Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. He also served as a clerk on the second most important appeals court in the country, in Washington D.C., for conservative Judge David Sentelle.
Like Justice Antonin Scalia, whom he is in line to replace, Gorsuch has cultivated a reputation as a memorable and clear author of legal opinions. He also considers himself to be an originalist. Lawyers who practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, where Gorsuch currently works, said he is a popular and approachable judge.
SCOTUSblog, the leading Supreme Court blog, described some of Gorsuch's parallels to Scalia as "eerie."
"He is an ardent textualist (like Scalia); he believes criminal laws should be clear and interpreted in favor of defendants even if that hurts government prosecutions (like Scalia); he is skeptical of efforts to purge religious expression from public spaces (like Scalia); he is highly dubious of legislative history (like Scalia); and he is less than enamored of the dormant commerce clause (like Scalia)," the blog wrote.
Among other rulings that came to national attention, Gorsuch sided in favor of "religious freedom" claims made by the Little Sisters of the Poor and the owners of the craft company Hobby Lobby, who challenged language in the Affordable Care Act that required them to pay for contraceptive coverage for employees. The Supreme Court backed those Hobby Lobby challengers, in a divided vote, in 2014.
In a lecture to the conservative Federalist Society in Washington more than three years ago, Gorsuch elicited laughter from the audience as he quoted from the 1853 Charles Dickens novel Bleak House, referenced the work of the late novelist David Foster Wallace, and discussed irony and the law.
"Like any human enterprise, the law's crooked timber occasionally produces the opposite of the intended effect," he said. "We turn to the law earnestly to promote a worthy idea and wind up with a host of unwelcome side effects that do more harm than good. ... We depend upon the rule of law to guarantee freedom, but we have to give up freedom to live under the law's rules."
Off the bench, Gorsuch in 2006 published a book called The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, criticizing the practice and defending the "intrinsic value" of human life. He also contributed to The Law of Judicial Precedent last year.
President Donald Trump nominates U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth Circuit to the Supreme Court, replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
By Katie Pavlich
During a meeting with pharmaceutical industry executives and experts Tuesday morning at the White House, President Donald Trump vowed to cut a number of burdensome regulations on the industry in an effort to bring production of medical drugs back to the United States.
“I'll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market. that includes price-fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare, which is what's happening. But we can increase competition and bidding wars, big time,” Trump said according to the White House pool report.
“So what I want, we have to get lower prices, we have to get even better innovation and I want you to move your companies back into the United States. And I want you to manufacture in the United States. We're going to be lowering taxes, we're going to be getting rid of regulations that are unnecessary.”
President Trump has called for a comprehensive tax reform plan to be passed by Congress this year in order to benefit all American industries and businesses.
Monday, January 30, 2017
BREAKING: Trump fires acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she orders Justice Department lawyers to stop defending refugee ban.
By Katie Pavlich
President Donald Trump kicked off his second full week in the Oval Office by meeting with small business owners at the White House and signed an executive order requiring the elimination of two federal regulations for every new regulation being implemented.
"The American dream is back and we’re going to create an environment for small business like we haven’t had in many, many decades, " Trump said. "We are going to simplify, reduce, eliminate regulations."
Trump also added that Dodd-Frank is a "disaster" and said his administration plans to take aim at the legislation, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in 2010.
The order comes a week after Trump took executive action to ease the burden of Obamacare regulations.
Arguments to the contrary ignore the Constitution and misstate federal law.
By Andrew C. McCarthy
On Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order calling for heightened vetting of certain foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States. The order temporarily suspends entry by the nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. It is to last for 90 days, while heightened vetting procedures are developed.
The order has predictably prompted intense protest from critics of immigration restrictions (most of whom are also critics of Trump). At the New York Times, the Cato Institute’s David J. Bier claims the temporary suspension is illegal because, in his view, it flouts the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. This contention is meritless, both constitutionally and as a matter of statutory law.
Let’s start with the Constitution, which vests all executive power in the president. Under the Constitution, as Thomas Jefferson wrote shortly after its adoption, “the transaction of business with foreign nations is Executive altogether. It belongs then to the head of that department, except as to such portions of it as are specifically submitted to the Senate. Exceptions are to be construed strictly.”
The rare exceptions Jefferson had in mind, obviously, were such matters as the approval of treaties, which Article II expressly vests in the Senate. There are also other textual bases for a congressional role in foreign affairs, such as Congress’s power over international commerce, to declare war, and to establish the qualifications for the naturalization of citizens. That said, when Congress legislates in this realm, it must do so mindful of what the Supreme Court, in United States v. Curtiss-Wright (1936), famously described as “the very delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations – a power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress.”
In the international arena, then, if there is arguable conflict between a presidential policy and a congressional statute, the president’s policy will take precedence in the absence of some clear constitutional commitment of the subject matter to legislative resolution. And quite apart from the president’s presumptive supremacy in foreign affairs, we must also adhere to a settled doctrine of constitutional law: Where it is possible, congressional statutes should be construed in a manner that avoids constitutional conflicts.
With that as background, let’s consider the claimed conflict between the president’s executive order and Congress’s statute. Mr. Bier asserts that Trump may not suspend the issuance of visas to nationals of specific countries because the 1965 immigration act “banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin.” And, indeed, a section of that act, now codified in Section 1152(a) of Title 8, U.S. Code, states that (with exceptions not here relevant) “no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence” (emphasis added).
Even on its face, this provision is not as clearly in conflict with Trump’s executive order as Bier suggests. As he correctly points out, the purpose of the anti-discrimination provision (signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965) was to end the racially and ethnically discriminatory “national origins” immigration practice that was skewed in favor of Western Europe. Trump’s executive order, to the contrary, is in no way an effort to affect the racial or ethnic composition of the nation or its incoming immigrants. The directive is an effort to protect national security from a terrorist threat, which, as we shall see, Congress itself has found to have roots in specified Muslim-majority countries.
Because of the national-security distinction between Trump’s 2017 order and Congress’s 1965 objective, it is not necessary to construe them as contradictory, and principles of constitutional interpretation counsel against doing so.
Nevertheless, let’s concede for argument’s sake that there is conflict. At issue is a matter related to the conduct of foreign affairs – a matter of the highest order of importance since it involves foreign threats to national security. If there were a conflict here, the president’s clear constitutional authority to protect the United States would take precedence over Congress’s dubious authority to limit the president’s denial of entry to foreign nationals.
But there is no conflict.
Federal immigration law also includes Section 1182(f), which states: “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate” (emphasis added).
Section 1182(f) plainly and sweepingly authorizes the president to issue temporary bans on the entry of classes of aliens for national-security purposes. This is precisely what President Trump has done. In fact, in doing so, he expressly cites Section 1182(f), and his executive order tracks the language of the statute (finding the entry of aliens from these countries at this time “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States”).
While Bier ignores the president’s constitutional foreign-affairs authority (although Trump expressly relies on it in the first line of his executive order), he concedes that Trump is relying on a statute. He theorizes, nevertheless, that because Section 1182(f) was enacted in 1952, whereas the non-discrimination provision (Section 1152(a)) was enacted years afterward, the latter must be deemed to have amended the former – thus removing the president’s authority to impose class restrictions based on the aliens’ country of origin.
Put aside that Trump is principally relying on his inherent constitutional authority, and that the class restriction he has directed is based on national-security, not racial or ethnic considerations. Trump’s executive order also expressly relies on an Obama-era provision of the immigration law, Section 1187(a)(12), which governs the Visa Waiver Program. This statute empowers the executive branch to waive the documentation requirements for certain aliens. In it, Congress itself expressly discriminates based on country of origin.
Under this provision, Congress provides that an alien is eligible for the waiver only if he or she has not been present (a) in Iraq or Syria any time after March 1, 2011; (b) in any country whose government is designated by the State Department as “repeatedly provid[ing] support for acts of international terrorism”; or (c) in any country that has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security as a country “of concern.”
So, not only has Congress never repealed the president’s sweeping statutory power to exclude classes of aliens from entry on national-security grounds; decades after the 1965 anti-discrimination provision touted by Bier, Congress expressly authorized discrimination on the basis of national origin when concerns over international terrorism are involved. Consequently, by Bier’s own logic, the 1965 statute must be deemed amended by the much more recent statute.
Bier concedes that, despite the 1965 anti-discrimination statute, President Jimmy Carter barred entry by Iranian nationals in 1980, after the Khomeini revolution led to the U.S.-hostage crisis. But he treats Carter’s restriction based on national origin as an aberration. Instead, he insists, we should place more stock in the federal courts’ affirmation of the 1965 anti-discrimination provision during the 1990s — specifically, in a litigation involving an alien from Vietnam who had fled to Hong Kong and objected to being required to return to Vietnam to apply for a visa when applicants from other countries faced no such requirement.
But there is no inconsistency here. Bier perceives one only by overlooking the salient national-security distinction. The discriminatory treatment of Iranians was rationally rooted in anti-terrorism concerns, and was clearly proper. The discriminatory treatment of the Vietnamese alien was unrelated to national security or terrorism, and thus problematic. Trump, like Carter, is quite properly acting on national-security concerns.
One can debate the policy wisdom of the executive order, which is plainly a temporary measure while a more comprehensive and thoughtfully tailored policy is developed. The seven countries the president has singled out are surely hotbeds of radical Islam; but he has omitted other countries – e.g., Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of the 19 suicide-hijackers who attacked our country on 9/11 – that are also cauldrons of jihadism.
Furthermore, as I have argued, the real threat to be targeted is sharia-supremacist ideology, which is inherently hostile to the Constitution. Were we to focus our vetting, unapologetically, on that ideology (also known as “radical” or “political” Islam), it would be unnecessary to implement a categorical ban on Muslims or immigrants from majority-Muslim countries. That is critical because non-Islamist Muslims who can demonstrate loyalty to our constitutional principles should not be barred from admission; while Islamists, on the other hand, are not found only in Muslim-majority countries – other things being equal, a sharia supremacist from the banlieues of Paris poses as much of a threat as a sharia supremacist from Raqqa.
Yet, all that can be debated as we go forward. For now, there is no doubt that the executive order temporarily banning entry from specified Muslim-majority countries is both well within President Trump’s constitutional authority and consistent with statutory law.
— Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
By Matt Vespa
As the Left and some Republicans lose their minds over President Donald J. Trump’s executive order on immigration, let’s not forget that the list of concerned countries that the Trump administration outlined in the order is based on the one signed into law by the former Obama administration. So, it looks like the Obama White House set the groundwork (via Mic News):
According to the draft copy of Trump's executive order, the countries whose citizens are barred entirely from entering the United States is based on a bill that Obama signed into law in December 2015.
Obama signed the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act as part of an omnibus spending bill. The legislation restricted access to the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens from 38 countries who are visiting the United States for less than 90 days to enter without a visa.
Though outside groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and NIAC Action — the sister organization of the National Iranian American Council — opposed the act, the bipartisan bill passed through Congress with little pushback.
At the initial signing of the restrictions, foreigners who would normally be deemed eligible for a visa waiver were denied if they had visited Iran, Syria, Sudan or Iraq in the past five years or held dual citizenship from one of those countries.
In February 2016, the Obama administration added Libya, Somali and Yemen to the list of countries one could not have visited — but allowed dual citizens of those countries who had not traveled there access to the Visa Waiver Program. Dual citizens of Syria, Sudan, Iraq and Iran are still ineligible, however.
So, in a nutshell, Obama restricted visa waivers for those seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen — and now, Trump is looking to bar immigration and visitors from the same list of countries.
Yet, I don’t remember the Left freaking out over this. I certainly don’t remember them going indiscriminately insane when the Obama White House stopped processing Iraqi visas for six months when—surprise! —Al-Qaeda operatives feigned refugee status to get relocated to Bowling Green, Kentucky. And yes, some of the applicants worked as intelligence assets and interpreters for the U.S. military, according to ABC News. But remember, that was when a Democrat was in the Oval Office, so it was okay back then.
Here’s the text of the order.
Via The Atlantic this is what it will and will not do. Most importantly, the publication adds that this technically isn’t a Muslim ban, as people from Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, can still visit the country:
Who is affected?
For 120 days, the order bars the entry of any refugee who is awaiting resettlement in the U.S. It also prohibits all Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. until further notice. Additionally, it bans the citizens of seven countries—Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen—from entering the U.S. on any visa category. This appears to include those individuals who are permanent residents of the U.S. (green-card holders) who may have been traveling overseas to visit family or for work—though their applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis, a senior administration official said Saturday.
Is this a Muslim ban?
Technically no. The ban includes seven majority Muslim countries, but by no means are these states the most populous Muslim countries, nor are they among the top sources of Muslim immigration to the U.S., nor have they produced terrorists in the same numbers as other Muslim countries not on the list.
So, it’s not really a Muslim ban and the nations that Trump listed are the ones that were drafted by Obama.
The fall of the house of Obama
By William Haupt III
“If you are a success, your performance will always exceed you expectations.” (Aaron Armon)
Barack Obama’s farewell address to the nation was both familiar and discordant. It was familiar because the rhetoric was reminiscent of his two campaigns and it was discordant because of his disconnection from the reality of the country he was leaving behind. He sounded as if he never stopped whistle-stopping and was still vote harvesting. He spoke of America’s founding axioms and today’s continual challenges.
Mr. Obama was determined to leave office planting the seeds for future progressives. He said America’s founders set forth a path for all Americans to achieve a common and greater good. He cited our founders as men who made sacrifices and compromises when they wrote our Constitution. He insisted that is how he governed.
Yet at a debate over raising the debt ceiling he told Republicans:
“I won this last election and you lost. Deal with it.” (Barack Obama)
He spoke about his desire to bring equality to all Americans. He called for “a new social compact” to guarantee all people receive what they need. He admonished right to work states and said we need to give workers the power to unionize for better wages across America.
He claimed we need to increase taxes on business and individuals who earn the most. They should be sharing this with those who are in need. He reiterated government’s role was evolving and US citizens had become more dependent on their assistance.
How soon we forget President Ronald Reagan told us:
“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” (Ronald Reagan)
His artful speech lacked disconnect with reality. His idea about giving government more control over our lives by increasing the taxes on our producers and giving more money to those who want handouts sounded like the rhetoric he preached for eight years. This was a repeat performance to set the stage for the next up and coming progressive running for office.
Obama strapped economic growth by over regulating the free market. This discouraged businesses to expand and hire. Many either gave up looking for work or took jobs beneath their pay grade. Although this made Obama’s numbers look good, his “under-employment” numbers were the worst in our nation’s history.
He never recognized that:
“A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.” (Plato)
Obama’s farewell address was discordant in its notable detachment from America’s current political expectations and their growing distaste for progressives. The working man’s choice and underdog Donald Trump, won the presidency during an era when liberals have suffered troubling losses in state legislatures, our governors’ mansions and in Congress.
Across the country, Americans are rejecting the progressive agenda as more ideological than equitable. Americans want to know their leaders care more about their upward mobility than inequality. They want their elected officials to be more concerned about jobs than green energy, climate change or rehashing racism.
“A good leader will establish the people’s priorities and make it his goal to achieve them.” (Allan Smith)
The next day as Air Force One jetted the Obama’s off to vacation, people waved goodbye to the eloquent, slick speaking novelty president who articulated words such as “change you can believe in.”
The change they got from the Obama administration was doubling the national debt, scandals, disastrous foreign policy, failed stimulus programs, and total fragmentation of our nation. The litany of these abortions perpetrated on both the American people and the world by him will take years to correct.
Others waving goodbye had exploited his stimulus money on failed green energy projects.
The seniors and savers who watched him leave had seen their income fly away like his jet; due to the fed keeping the interest rates at sub zero during his time in office.
Teachers waved goodbye to the father of common core, and the bankers were delighted hoping President Trump would dump Dodd-Frank.
The only ones who mourned were those who had been on a free ride for eight years with food stamps, free cells phones, and section eight housing.
Of course there were the greens who felt short changed he didn’t outlaw all fossil fuels.
But those who had watched him destroy the greatest healthcare system in the world, cheered as they watched the US presidential Boeing 747 aircraft disappear over the horizon. This final flight marked the end of their eight year nightmare.
“One man’s daydream can easily be another man’s nightmare if it is coerced on him.” (Al Gordon)
Many who did not vote for Obama were optimistic about a few things and wanted to give him a chance. They felt the 1st black president would help put the ugly history of racially divisiveness behind us. But from his earliest stumbling effort, the “Beer Summit,” Obama proved he had no interest in dealing with this signature issue.
He actually magnified it, pre-judging racially charged cases, like the shooting of Trayvon Martin or the questionable police shooting in Ferguson, before the defendants got their day in court. Does this sound like a man who was elected on the premise to unite all American’s under one cloak? This sounds more like Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson.
“The 1964 Civil Rights Act made every American an equal part of the human race.” (Joe Collins)
What totally turned the tide of support for Obama was the disastrous launch of ObamaCare. This was a reminder to America everything that’s wrong with big government. When we were told health care would run as well as the Department of Motor Vehicles, nobody was optimistic. Have you ever tried to get anything done at the DMV in downtown LA?
When ObamaCare was passed, we were assured it would provide insurance for 32 million newl people. Yet today ObamaCare is covering fewer people than ever before. Insurance premiums have doubled for most Americans, and many have been canceled.
A year after this Frankenstein was incarnated by the resurrecting of Dr. Hyde insurance companies started fleeing from the exchanges faster than a Tennessee hound dog can dig up his favorite bone. And the expansion of Medicaid is about to bankrupt many of our states.
“You will all love the bill but you have to let us pass it before you read it.” (Nancy Pelosi)
Since there is always a list of comprehensive presidential failures every time we replace our commander in chief, we must remember there is much more testimonial than turmoil during the changing of the guard. Therefore it is only befitting to try and find accolades to remember him by even though he might have been an epic failure.
He promised to fundamentally change America, and he certainly did live up to that promise. Unfortunately for most Americans, this was not the change they wanted. His changes might have benefited a few in the minority but they did nothing to benefit the majority. It taught America that big government is worse than none at all.
“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one” (Thomas Paine)
We have the longest lasting Constitution in world history, so it must be a good one. There is no need to fundamentally change America now or in the future. From the errors of our past, let us all hope we have learned something from our mistakes.
There is no free ride for anyone. Our founders only guaranteed us the opportunity to seek happiness and riches and to put in place a government that we controlled not the politicians.
They never told us America owed us anything. We must be committed to live by the principles of our Constitution and America will always be a great nation. We must elect leaders who believe our Constitution is as sacred as a bible.
“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (JFK)
William Haupt III is a retired professional journalist, citizen legislator in California for 40 plus years, and author. He got his start working to approve prop 13. This article was written by a contributor from Franklin Center’s independent network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.
Friday, January 27, 2017
The hundreds-of-thousands of pro-life Americans from all over the country who came to Washington D.C. for the annual March For Life received the full support of President Donald Trump. Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the event, making this the first time in the March's history, which spans 44-years, that a sitting vice president addressed the pro-life marchers. White House Counselor Kelly Anne Conway was also in attendance.
President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico with Donald J. Trump in August, when Mr. Trump visited the country during the presidential campaign. Credit Henry Romero/Reuters
Trump welcomes British Prime Minister May to White HouseBy Dave Boyer
President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, stand in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Trump welcomed British Prime Minister Theresa May to the White House Friday in his first meeting with a foreign leader.
The president greeted Ms. May enthusiastically outside the doors of the West Wing, then took her to the Oval Office, where he proudly showed her a bust of Winston Churchill that he’d returned to prominent display after former President Obama had removed it.
Mr. Trump said the Churchill bust was “the original.”
“It’s a great honor to have Winston Churchill back,” the president said as he shook hands with the prime minister.
The two leaders conferred about trade and other issues before they were to hold a joint news conference in the East Room, Mr. Trump’s first as president.
Miami-Dade Mayor Will Comply With President Trump's Immigration Executive Order, Ends De Facto Sanctuary Status
President Donald J. Trump signed executive orders that targeted sanctuary cities. Mayors from across the country—Portland, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles—vowed to defy the new president’s directive. It once again we see the urban/rural divide—with the former ready to fight to the death to avoid complying with the new order in the same manner conservative fought Obamacare through lawsuits. It could get messy, but the order has been given. One county in Florida is going to rollback its de facto sanctuary status. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued orders to his jails to start complying with President Trump’s new directive (via Miami Herald):
Gimenez cited an executive order signed Wednesday by President Donald Trump that threatened to cut federal grants for any counties or cities that don’t cooperate fully with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Since 2013, Miami-Dade has refused to indefinitely detain inmates who are in the country illegally and wanted by ICE — not based on principle, but because the federal government doesn’t fully reimburse the county for the expense.
In light of the provisions of the Executive Order, I direct you and your staff to honor all immigration detainer requests received from the Department of Homeland Security,” Gimenez wrote Daniel Junior, the interim director of the corrections and rehabilitation department, in a brief, three-paragraph memo.
Unlike cities like San Francisco, Miami-Dade never declared itself a “sanctuary” and has resisted the label ever since the Justice Department listed the county as one in a May 2016 report. Foreseeing Trump’s crackdown on “sanctuary” jurisdictions, the county asked the feds to review its status last year. A decision is still pending.
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Gimenez, a Republican who attended Trump’s inauguration last week but said he voted for Hillary Clinton, said he made a financial decision. Last year, the county declined to hold some 100 inmates wanted by the feds. Keeping them in local jails would have cost about $52,000 — a relative drop in the bucket for a county with a total annual budget of $7 billion.
In contrast, the county’s 2017 budget shows it’s counting on receiving some $355 million in federal funds — money that subsidizes elderly services, beds for the homeless, police officers and other government expenses.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
It's Done: Trump Signs Executive Orders For Border Wall, More Federal Immigration Agents, And Targets Sanctuary Cities
By Matt Vespa
As expected, President Donald J. Trump has just signed two executive orders that call for the construction of a border wall and outlines a new agenda regarding immigration enforcement. It's done. Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs reported one of the orders puts an end to catch-and-release, U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel by 5,000 people, and seeks to put an end to asylum fraud.
The second order seeks to end sanctuary cities, identify criminal illegal aliens, triple the amount of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and empower them to enforce federal immigration laws. It will also create victims advocacy office for Americans who loved ones had been victimized by people who should have never been here in the first place.
The issue of sanctuary cities reached new heights in 2015, when an illegal alien who had been deported five times killed Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier.
The World Turned Upside Down
By Victor Davis Hanson
"If summer were spring and the other way 'round,
Then all the world would be upside down."
-- Old English ballad
Legend has it that the British played "The World Turned Upside Down" after their unforeseen and disastrous defeat at the Battle of Yorktown.
Such topsy-turvy upheaval characterizes the start of Donald Trump's presidency.
Everything is in flux in a way not seen since the election of 1932, in which Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover. Mainstream Democrats are infuriated. Even Republicans are vexed over the outsider Trump.
Polls, political pundits and "wise" people, guilty of past partisan-driven false prognostications, remain discredited. Their new creased-brow prophesies of doom for President Trump are about as credible as their past insistence that a "blue wall" would keep him out of the White House.
The media collusion with the Clinton campaign was endemic in the WikiLeaks email trove. The complicity blew up any lingering notion that establishment journalists are disinterested and principled, as they now turn from eight years of obsequiousness to frenzied hostility toward the White House.
In the media's now radically amended progressive dictionary, Senate filibusters are no longer subversive, but quite vital.
Executive orders are no longer inspired, but dangerous. Bypassing Congress on treaties and overseas interventions, or refusal to enforce existing laws, is no longer presidential leadership. If Trump follows Obama's example of presidential fiats, he will be recalibrated as seditious.
Protests against a sitting president are no longer near treasonous, but patriotic. Media collusion with the president is no longer natural, but unprofessional and dishonest. Cruel invective against the president and his family is no longer racist, but inspired.
The successful Obama electoral matrix of ginning up political support through identity politics may have been an atypical event, not a wave of the future. His two victories were certainly non-transferrable to most other liberal but non-minority candidates.
Obama's legacy is the near-destruction of the Democrats as a national party, leaving them in a virtual civil war while most of his own initiatives will be rendered null and void -- and perhaps soon forgotten.
Where do Democrats go now? Do they double down by going further leftward with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? Or do they reluctantly pivot to win back the clingers, deplorables and irredeemables whose defections cost them the big Rust Belt states?
On Nov. 7, "experts" were forecasting a Republican civil war: a disgraced presidential candidate, a lost Senate and a liberal Supreme Court for the next 30 years.
Two days and an election later, the world flipped. Republicans -- with majorities in both houses of Congress, overwhelming majorities in the state legislatures and with governorships, and a likely slew of Supreme Court vacancies -- haven't been in a better position since the 1920s.
Just as importantly, former Sen. Harry Reid and President Emeritus Barack Obama weaponized Trump by respectively eroding the Senate filibuster and green-lighting presidential fiats by "pen-and-phone" executive orders.
For his Cabinet picks, Trump ignored Washington-establishment grandees, think-tank Ph.D.s, and academics in general. He owes no allegiance to the Republican pundits who despised him or to the big-name donors who chose not to invest in what they saw as a losing candidacy.
His style is not Washingtonian, but is born out of the dog-eat-dog world of Manhattan real estate. Trump's blustering way of doing business is as brutal as it is nontraditional: Do not initiate attacks, but hit back twice as hard -- and low -- once targeted. Go off topic and embrace obstreperousness to unsettle an opponent. And initially demand triple of what is eventually acceptable to settle a deal.
Trump's inaugural address was short, tough and nationalistic, reflecting his don't-tread-on-me pledges to his supporters to fight both Washington and the world abroad to restore the primacy of the middle classes.
Trump aims through economic growth -- hoping for 4 percent GDP growth rates through deregulation, tax reform, energy production and old-fashioned Main Street economic boosterism -- to win a sizable chunk of the minority vote and thus chip away at the Democrats' base. He counts on a good-paying jobs and higher family income mattering more to the inner-city than the Rev. Al Sharpton's rhetoric or the demonstrations of Black Lives Matter.
The world has been flipped upside down abroad as well.
Weeks ago, analysts were offering Dr. Strangelove doomsday warnings of a no-fly zone in Syria imposed by a likely President Hilary Clinton on another nuclear power's air force. But now, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is talking about joining American planes to destroy ISIS.
Who is friend, foe or neutral?
Could Trump coax Putin away from his Iranian and Syrian support, or will Trump appease his newfound friend's aggressions? No one quite knows.
An American president now talks to Taiwan, doubles down on support for Israel, questions the reason to remain loyal to both the United Nations and European Union, and forces changes in NATO.
Not just policy, but the way policy is made, remains uncertain.
Up is down; down up. The future is blank.