Flynn made a mistake

Michael Flynn has something of a reputation for a provocateur. He likes conspiracy theories, he enjoyed rallying the crowd with yells of ‘LOCK HER UP’ and others, and is quite happy to attack people and their thoughts and opinions on his twitter account, much like his boss. And these things are annoying but they don’t amount to much.

When he was found to have been to Russia for dinners and events it was concerning. When he was found to have been seated next to officials and near Putin himself it was disconcerting. But that seemed to be the end of it. He denied any discussion of politically sensitive topics, the Vice-president Elect validated these claims. So yes concerning, but if nothing happened then it can simply be another show of Russian favoritism this administration has already shown.

And now we learn he did in fact discuss the sanctions and the impact Trumps election would have on them with the countries ambassador, the month before Trump became president.

Because of course he did.

The perspective head of the National Security Council meeting with the representative of a nation known to be challenging American influence at every turn it can (up to some manipulations during the election, which as best I can tell amounted to spamming emails and fake stories and hacking the DNC and RNC as best they could) is bad enough. But discussing national security details with said representative, before he has even been appointed officially? You cannot do that.

Seriously, you can’t. It’s illegal.

Any other administration I would say Flynn was done. But this is Trump, so who really knows.

This means of course that not only did Flynn lie, he made Pence lie (I would hope unknowingly) about it as well. This is legitimately dangerous, reckless and should result in termination of a man who flagrantly disregarded norms, laws and common sense to reveal information to a country that has proven itself open and willing to oppose American interests.

My guess? Ain’t nothing gonna happen.

Citation:
The Atlantic: Michael Flynn’s Debacle

Thoughts on the Repeal of the Travel Ban.

Today the panel of Judges rejected the appeal for the reinstatement of the so-called “Muslim Ban”. By pushing back against Trump, the judicial branch has not only made clear its position on dangerous, and unconstitutionally backed, executive orders, it has also made clear that it will not be bullied into a position more in line with the Presidents own, as Trump tried to do.

Is this a good thing? Well by legal standpoint yes, the arguments made on the decision had little to do with morality or political leanings and were based on Constitutional law and precedent in the court system, not only validating this case (regardless of what Trump and his cronies will try and insinuate) but also establishing the independence of the court system, not beholden to either side of the political sphere.

And certainly, I think this is a good thing. Morally I could not find reason to justify this ban, and even ignoring the incompetence of its implementation, the danger it placed on the people fleeing these nations, the flagrant bigotry and dangerous assumptions based seemingly on religion and geography on those seeking safety and protection for them and theirs disturbed me. Concerned me. And yes annoyed me (as I mentioned in an earlier post, a toddler was handcuffed and forced to the walls due to the circumstances of her parents. A Toddler).

Still for now this only means one of Trumps proposed laws has been forced back. What that means for his future endeavors and those of his ideologues, and what he plans to do against the Judiciary as we can almost guarantee he will want some form of revenge, is anyone’s guess.

 

Citation:
Politico: Court Decision on Trumps Ban

Conservatives reveal plan to combat Climate Change, Republicans most likely to block it

Today respected Republicans have revealed a plan to combat climate change, primarily through a carbon tax. This would entail placing a $40 tax for every ton of carbon dioxide gas released with the tax rising over time. The proceeds of this tax would be sent to the American public as a quarterly check with some estimates claiming that a family of four would receive $2000.00 over the course of a year. So yeah, that’s it. Conservatives come up with a decent plan to deal with Climate Change, democrats would certainly support it (at this point they’ll support anything to deal with climate change) and the Trump administration could tout this as a victory. Simple.

Well no, not quite.

The above implies that Republicans, the party that has denied climate change since its inception will up and decide to change their minds because a few conservatives suddenly decide they want a “seat at the table” (Barker, one of the main proponents of the bill says). As it is I don’t see it happening, especially with Trump openly questioning the existence of the phenomena (and that’s not even mentioning the infamous “Chinese hoax” tweet).

Until such time as the party, or enough of them in the house and senate anyway, decides to acknowledge the realities that we face, Climate change, extremism in the west and an incompetent president, I very much doubt this bill is anything but dead in the water.

Citation:
Time: Republicans tell their party its time to address climate change

Settlement developments in Israel and the future of a two state deal.

Israel has not only just signed into law an act which retroactively legitimizes settlements on the west bank (territory not owned by Israel) but enacted a plan to build 6000 more homes along the same bank. This was meant with significant international disapproval from European nations but only received a tepid warning from Trump and the United States, that “it might be harder to have peace” if this goes forward. Which is certainly one way to put it. Here’s another:

If this goes forward, there may well be no peace deal. No two states, maybe not even one state. Actions like this, and more from an emboldened Israeli right could well lead to war.

 

Remember, it’s not just Hamas that despises Israel, Jordan, Afghanistan, Iraq and a great many other Arab and African nations do not recognize Israel as a state, and actively oppose when given the opportunity in arenas such as the United Nations.

 

But that is not the chief concern here. The two state deal is a cornerstone of Middle-east policy, well hypothetically, and even nominal support from the Israeli government is needed to ensure a relatively peaceful status quo. Is this preferable? No. Frankly any treaty which established some land for the Palestinians and the safety of Israel would be better than what currently exists, but this law and these plans have far too much potential to inflame a situation already delicate in its structure.

 

This is still developing, and I have little more to add to this. But unless the Left in Israel pushes a strong attack to ensure the stability of this fragile peace is maintained and built upon, unless the right realizes that any overt conflict with Hamas and the Palestinians, especially over this matter, is an excuse that the opposing nations will gleefully use to launch their own offenses against Israel, I will retain grave concerns for the future of Israel, the Palestinians, and the region.

 

Citations:
Israel passes Provocative Law to Retroactively Legitimize Settlements: NY Times

The Conflicts of an Ill-thought out Immigration Ban.

The concept of an immigration ban isn’t by any stretch a new one. And yes, controlling who gets into a country from where is the right of any nation-state, as well as one of its responsibilities. Which is of course the key word for these sorts of decisions: responsibility. The responsibility to plan out any such policy, to coordinate with lawyers and legislators, to ensure it works within current immigration law, to inform and direct the agencies involved, so as to ensure not only the efficient application of the new but also the caveats, the exceptions, the basic expectations of decency that immigration of travelers and refugees implies.

 

Which is why it’s so confusing (irritating) that Trump, Bannon and Miller seemed to do none of these things.

 

They did not coordinate with Homeland security, which would have to actually operate this ban. They did not coordinate with lawyers or legislators to ensure no conflicts arose between the executive order and the current law. They did not coordinate with the immigration office, so to ensure citizens, green card holders, translators who had risked their lives for a country that was not theirs or indeed any other such organization. And then they were shocked when, of course, it didn’t go to plan.

When people protested in mass and spontaneously at airports all across the United States. When social media exploded in response to stories of the above translators being prevented from being brought in, lawyers offering their services for free, toddlers being handcuffed because of their nationality. All of which could have been avoided if they had only done their job, communicated with their people, their government as they were expected to do, and crafted a law that made sense.

 

Now none of this is to imply that this immigration ban, this executive order, isn’t illegal (it is).

Nor is this to imply that, despite claims to the contrary, that this order is in anyway similar to Obama’s 2011 policy (it isn’t).

 

But to recognize the problems inherent in this order the conflicts that arose and the lessons that need to be drawn from this both from the opposition to Trump and to the administration itself is of paramount importance. That an ill-thought out scheme not only produces instability and massive protest in response, and must therefore be mitigated and coordinated to be as effective and (most importantly) quietly to ensure a minimal level of fuss, but simply shows Trump and his administration to be, to be frank, incompetent must be avoided from now on.

But the opposition must take this not only as a weapon, but motivation. Build from this spontaneity because as the above states, these positions, these plans they aren’t going away. They will persist and only maintained opposition, from lawyers, NGO’s, candidate’s incumbent or new, will be able to not only oppose but effectively stymie the development of any further policies that attempt to fundamentally change a nation that assumes the title of leader of the free world.

 

Citations:

Independent: Trumps travel ban illegal

Business Insider: Differences between Trumps plan and Obamas Policy