Sunday, January 29, 2017

1/29/17: Document the Atrocities of the Trump Reich: The Muslim Ban and Bannon in the National Security Council

1.  The ban on citizens of certain countries entering the United States took force on Saturday.  The countries listed were Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Trump defends the ban as an anti-terrorism measure.  But this does not hold water: *

The most famous radical Islamic terrorist act in the United States took place on 9/11/2001.  Fifteen of the men committing the massacres were Saudi Arabians, two came from United Arab Emirates, and one each from Egypt and Lebanon.  Yet none of those countries are in Trump's ban list.   Neither does the list include Afghanistan or Pakistan, both known as areas with terrorist bases.**

You may have noticed how rapidly Trump has attacked his chosen goal of breaking the world.  He has done more damage in a week than most termites get done in a decade.

But haste makes for not just waste, but errors.  There's a reason for the slow passage of important government decisions, and that reason includes thinking all the consequences through as well as getting information and opinions from all the affected parties.  This does not seem to have happened with the Trump's Muslim ban,*** and the outcome is not only unjust (as it was doomed to be from the beginning), but also chaotic.

2.  Stephen "Hitler" Bannon, the ex-editor of Breitbart, is now a very powerful man in the Trump administration:

In a separate presidential memo, Trump reorganized the National Security Council to, along with other changes, give Bannon a regular seat on the principals committee — the meetings of the most senior national security officials, including the secretaries of defense and state.
That memo also states that the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will sit on the principals committee only when the issues to be discussed pertain to their “responsibilities and expertise.” In the previous two administrations, both were included as regular attendees.

Please read that twice, before sticking knitting needles in your eyes.  The polite Washington Post describes Bannon like this:

The changes affirm the ascent of Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart, a conservative website that is popular with white nationalists, who has emerged as Trump’s political consigliere and the keeper of the president’s populist flame.
Raw Story restates the description in more realistic terms:

Bannon — who famously compared himself to Star Wars villain Darth Vader, former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney and Satan — has already exerted a heavy hand over the formulation Trump’s foreign policy agenda, aides say, and is extending his influence ever deeper into the administration’s workings.
The former Goldman Sachs executive presided over the expansion of from a fringe right-wing web community to a sprawling hub of the so-called “alt-right,” a collection of white nationalists, racists, anti-feminists and neo-Nazis.
On the council, Bannon will be privy to some of the country’s most highly classified military and intelligence secrets. Typically membership on the council is reserved to the president and key administrators and is, as columnist and author Dan Froomkin said Saturday night “off limits to political hacks.”
Bolds are mine.

And so is the worrying and fretting over the fact that we now have an Alt Right provocateur sitting at every meeting of the National Security Council, while the director of the national security and the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will only be invited in if Trump feels like it.


*  Even if Trump's list didn't omit countries from which past terrorists are known to have come from, it's idiotic to assume that, say, al Qaeda or ISIS, could be stopped by bans of that type.  They would simply send Frenchmen or Germans or Brits over if all majority-Muslim countries were added to the list.

** The parents of Omar Mateen, who killed forty-nine people at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub, came from Afghanistan.  The parents of Syed Rizwan Farook, who killed fourteen people at an Inland Regional Center at San Bernardino, California, came from Pakistan, and so did his wife and co-killer, Tashfeen Malik.  Granted, both Mateen and Farook were born in the United States, but if certain countries are going to be listed as greater risks for producing terrorists, it shouldn't really matter if the risk appears in the second generation, right?  At least in the way Trump thinks.

But note the impact of demonstrations at the airports!  We can defeat Trump's worst ideas if we work for the goal together.

***  For a ban against Muslims this is obviously intended to be.  All listed countries are majority-Muslim.  The ban is religious profiling a particularly revolting type, because it assumes that all citizens of the listed seven countries have higher than average likelihood of being terrorists, including all those who are not particularly religious or at least not particularly violent.