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R.G.’s Roundup: Big Holes, Budget Tricks, and Trump

Our Favorite Political Reads of the Week.

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Beyond here there be dragons, or at least the most interesting articles I’ve read this week by other writers.

In West Texas, abandoned well sinks land, sucks tax dollars

By Jim Malewitz

Texas Tribune

When I was a child, I had a thing for dead-end streets. I’d make my parents drive me around to find dead-ends. There was one in Shreveport that was particularly fascinating because there was a dead end on either side of a bayou and only needed a bridge to connect the roads. Near my house in Dallas, there was a street with two dead ends, separated by about a fifty-foot copse of trees. So what is the next best thing to a dead end? A big hole. How could I resist sharing with you a story about a big hole that wastes tax dollars.

PECOS COUNTY — The rusty pipe poking up from desert scrubland just south of Imperial would be easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there. But the once-forgotten water well — a reminder of ranch life here decades ago — has developed an almost magical power: No matter how many taxpayer dollars the state throws into it, it threatens to suck up more.

Little by little, the long-abandoned well has dramatically altered the surrounding landscape. This land used to be flat. Now, it’s fissured, it’s sinking — and it has cost taxpayers more than a million dollars and counting to repeatedly repair a two-lane road near the well. If the state has to re-route the road, the cost could rise to $15 million.

Analysis: A Senate budget that takes more off the top than it first appears

By Ross Ramsey

Texas Tribune

Having worked for several years with Ross Ramsey, I can tell you the banker’s son is about as mookish as you can get. He lines up paperclips in his desk drawers by their colors. But that auditor’s eye of his also helps him capture details of the state budget that may easily pass by others. In this story, he tells us about the secret budget cuts that the Senate wanted us to ignore.

Texas senators diligently assembled a proposed state budget over the last six months, and then finished off their careful work with a chainsaw.

For all of the care put into the $213.4 billion plan by Sen. Jane Nelson and others, the budget delivers one big spending cut with a broadax instead of a scalpel.

After pages of detailed spending suggestions, this item — shown in full so you can savor the Legislature’s poetic prowess — appears in a section titled Agency Non-discretionary Transfer Provisions.

A day for history and for hope and for anxiety

By Lisa Falkenberg

Houston Chronicle

At the risk of turning this into old home week, I also have to note the inauguration column written by my former colleague Lisa Falkenberg. She went to a Houston restaurant party to join some local Republicans in watching the swearing-in of Donald J. Trump as president.

“Go somewhere else. This is our Friday spot,” said the 30-something woman who declined to give her name.

When I told her that Mama Ninfa was a longtime Republican, she shrugged. It wasn’t about party – she had voted Republican, worked for Republicans, she said, but Trump is no conservative. She wasn’t sure what he was.

None of us are. For many, that’s part of his allure. He doesn’t fit into a box. He promises to put people before party. He says what he thinks. He doesn’t adhere to precedents, or the rules of political correctness. He appears to be his own man.

That’s also what scares the hell out of others. We’re off the grid here. Solid, time-honored boundaries defining civility, discretion and conflicts of interest are suddenly made of grape jelly. For anyone who’s ever read “Thirteen Days,” Robert F. Kennedy’s memoir of the delicate, patient decision-making that saved the world from nuclear annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Trump’s Twitter fits are terrifying.

Texas Public Safety Threat Overview January 2017

Colonel Steve McCraw, Director

Texas Department of Public Safety

There is a temptation to call this: You’ll never be safe; give us more money. This report is not a traditional piece of journalism. In some ways it is propaganda as the Texas Department of Public Safety makes a pitch for $1 billion in funding for its role in securing the Texas border with Mexico. (State leaders want to cut that down to about $800 million.) But for anyone looking for information about crime on the border and the threat of terrorism by extremist or drug lords, it is an interesting read. Just put salt on it first.

Texas faces the full spectrum of threats and hazards. The globalization and convergence of crime and terrorism; an unsecure border with Mexico, powerful and ruthless Mexican cartels, violent transnational and statewide gangs, and serial criminals; worldwide terrorist organizations and lone-offenders; cyber intrusions and threats; the unpredictability of catastrophic natural disasters and pandemic diseases; the high loss of life from vehicle crashes; the large amount of nationally significant critical infrastructure in Texas, and the dramatic and continued increases in the state’s population – all of these factors have resulted in an asymmetric threat environment in our state that requires constant vigilance to minimize the danger to our citizens and their families.

By the time you’re done reading the report, you may find the dust bunnies under your bed are your best friends. It is full of statistics and anecdotes, though that will give you something to think about.

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  • José

    Obviously we need a new kind of border security, the kind that secures the beauty and accessibility of La Frontera, the marvelous stretch of country shared by Texas and our good neighbors to the south. We need security to preserve and protect the border region and its residents, human and otherwise, from ugly and unnecessary contaminants, including that preposterous monument to a Yankee man’s ego.

  • BCinBCS

    As much as $15,000,000,000 (15 billion dollars) for a border wall and $1,000,000,000 (1 billion dollars) to enforce it in Texas. Why don’t we simply use the money to pay the Mexicans to stay out?

  • WUSRPH

    The Wall
    Street Journal’s conservative Editorial Board rips hard into Trump:

    “His path to the Presidency as an outsider always implied on-the-job-training.
    This week’s lesson: The world is not a Republican primary. President Trump’s
    Twitter broadsides against Mexico have unleashed a political backlash that has
    now become a diplomatic crisis with a friendly neighbor … Doesn’t the ‘art of
    the deal’ include giving your negotiating partner room to compromise? When Mr.
    Trump visited the Journal …we asked if the U.S. should encourage political
    stability and economic growth in Mexico. ‘I don’t care about Mexico honestly, I
    really don’t care about Mexico,’ he replied. That’s obvious, but he should
    care—and he will have to—if Mexico regresses to its ways before its reformation
    began in the 1980s. For decades our southern neighbor was known for one-party
    government, anti-Americanism, hyperinflation and political turmoil … Mr. Trump
    is a foreign-affairs neophyte, but he is already learning that nations can’t be bullied like GOP
    candidates or CEOs. They have their own nationalist political dynamics and when
    attacked they push back.”

    • José

      This will be a new experience for DT. Never had to search for a job or have to interview since his Daddy hired and supported him. Never had to work for someone other than himself. Always able to get away with telling others what to do and getting rid of anyone who said No. That worked in his shady business deals where he could stiff vendors and file bankruptcy to shed his losses, and use threats and BS and a legal staff to break the will of those who fought him. Somehow he managed to use that bag of tricks in the nomination and general election campaigns, But being President is a whole different deal. Bigger stage, more scrutiny, more accountability, and a better and stronger set of people who aren’t easily cowed by an empty suit. Oh he’s going to learn a lot and in a short period of time, and he ain’t gonna like it.

      • WUSRPH

        Let us hope that it isn’t the American people or the nations of the world that have to pay the price for his lessons.

    • Gloriarclayton

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    • BCinBCS

      Doesn’t the ‘Art of the Deal’ include giving your negotiating partner room to compromise?

      He might understand some of the lessons in The Art of the Deal if only he had written it.

      • BCinBCS

        Or if only he had read it.

  • BCinBCS

    R.G has presented this weekly Roundup on politics and I would like to do a Roundup on the latest in the continuing saga of Obamacare repeal. Like R.G., I will turn to an article; one presented in New York Magazine on January 17, 2017.

    It begins:

    The history of the development of the Republican alternative to Obamacare since the beginning of the health-care debate, in 2009, has been an endless loop of loud promises that a full plan will be announced soon, followed by quiet admissions that it will not. Seventeen days ago, Donald Trump promised a vote to repeal the law ‘probably some time next week’ with a vote for a replacement ‘very quickly or simultaneously, very shortly thereafter.’ At a meeting in Philadelphia yesterday, Trump and his House Republican allies produced no agreement on a plan. If there is a consensus, it is that there will be no replacement plan at all.

    It discusses repealing the ACA and replacing it piecemeal:

    You may not need 2,700 pages of legislative text [like Obamacare had]. But you can’t blow up the health-care system and replace it with a series of piecemeal measures. Any real plan to provide even crappy coverage — let alone the better, more affordable coverage Trump has repeatedly promised — is going to need to be paid for. Making those trade-offs means figuring out some big-picture strategy for where the money will come from.

    The reason health-care reform is done by assembling a big bill with a high page count is that all the stakeholders want to know beforehand whether the final product will be acceptable to them. Hospitals or insurers or doctors or drug makers might be willing to accept provisions that hurt their bottom line if there are other provisions that help them. But they won’t support passing a bill that hurts them on the promise of getting help in a future bill, because they don’t know whether the future bill will pass. Going step by step is a talking point, not a plausible way to actually write laws.

    The article comes to the conclusion that Republicans can’t come up with a replacement:

    Several Senate Republicans have expressed severe reservations about repealing Obamacare without having a replacement. Now the House is admitting there isn’t going to be a replacement. So now the choice falls to Republicans to either defeat repeal, or allow the system to hurtle toward chaos.

    Numerous members expressed fears about the backlash they would face by snatching coverage from 20 million Americans. They have spent eight years promising to implement something better, and the Republican Party is still gawking at a whiteboard trying to figure out step one.

  • John Bernard Books

    Dems and their friend Joe Straus say you can’t cut your way out of a deficit you must spend spend spend your money…..yes Joe and Obama said that.
    Dem’s greatest fear is budget cuts

  • BCinBCS

    It’s a bit old – it was reported last Tuesday (January 24th) – but it indicates the mind-set of the Comrade who inhabits the White House:

    Trump believed that the media would cover him more favorably after he was inaugurated, according to an Associated Press report citing two anonymous sources close to the President, but instead believes it has worsened. The President said that the negative press has not allowed him to ‘enjoy’ the White House on his first weekend in office, according to an anonymous source who spoke with him also cited in the report.

    All I have to say is: “Es tut mir furchtbar leid!” /s

  • SpiritofPearl
    • St. Anger

      we just crossed over into theocratic tyranny.

      trump just used the bill of rights to smear fecal matter* on the statue of liberty.

      * Censored.

      • SpiritofPearl

        Where are our leaders? Are they struck dumb? Sherrif Sally Hernandez seems to be the only one left standing.

    • BCinBCS

      Pearl, you should have included a warning along with that twitter post.

    • BCinBCS

      Friday, January 27th was Holocaust Remembrance Day and Comrade Trump decided that it was a good day to sign an executive order banning refugees from entering the United States. (Why is no one complaining about how EO’s are unconstitutional like they were when President Obama used them?)

      From the Huffington Post:

      President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday that bans Syrians from taking refuge in the United States, halts the U.S. refugee resettlement program for four months and temporarily blocks people from a handful of unnamed countries from entering the U.S. at all.

      “I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don’t want them here,” he said at a swearing-in ceremony at the Pentagon for Secretary of Defense James Mattis. “We don’t want to admit into our country the very threats we are fighting overseas.”

      Trump approved the refugee ban amid the biggest refugee crisis in history and on Holocaust Remembrance Day, which honors the millions of people killed during World War II, many of whom tried to flee to the U.S. but were turned away.

      Of course, he exempted from this ban countries with whom and within which his company has done or wants to do business. The most notable being Saudi Arabia home of Wahhabism and fifteen of the nineteen 9-11 hijackers.

  • John Bernard Books

    Remember this dems?
    “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama said Tuesday .”
    http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/01/14/obama-on-executive-actions-ive-got-a-pen-and-ive-got-a-phone/

    Howzat working out for you….

  • John Bernard Books

    Of course there is no voter fraud…
    “State Rep. Christina “Tita” Ayala, D-Bridgeport, was arrested Friday on 19 voting fraud charges.
    Ayala, 31, is accused of voting in local and state elections in districts she did not live, the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office said in a press release.”
    http://allenwestrepublic.com/bridgeport-state-rep-christina-ayala-arrested-on-multiple-counts-of-voting-fraud/

    I’m starting to believe there is….

    • TacoRub

      You ever heard how on certain days, in a very certain way, the sun can shine on a dog’s arse if you wait long enough? Voter fraud is as rampant as sense in Ted Cruz.

  • BCinBCS

    David Brooks has an interesting op-ed over at the New York Times. In it he examines the mood of Comrade Trump’s party and presidency and compares it to that of Ronald Reagan’s. He states:

    The mood of the party is so different today. Donald Trump expressed the party’s new mood to David Muir of ABC, when asked about his decision to suspend immigration from some Muslim countries: “The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What, you think this is going to cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place.”

    Consider the tenor of Trump’s first week in office. It’s all about threat perception. He has made moves to build a wall against the Mexican threat, to build barriers against the Muslim threat, to end a trade deal with Asia to fight the foreign economic threat, to build black site torture chambers against the terrorist threat.

    Trump is on his political honeymoon, which should be a moment of joy and promise. But he seems to suffer from an angry form of anhedonia, the inability to experience happiness. Instead of savoring the moment, he’s spent the week in a series of nasty squabbles about his ratings and crowd sizes.

    Desperate to be liked, Trump adopts a combative attitude that makes him unlikable. Terrified of Mexican criminals, he wants to build a wall that will actually lock in more undocumented aliens than it will keep out. Terrified of Muslim terrorists, he embraces the torture policies guaranteed to mobilize terrorists. Terrified that American business can’t compete with Asian business, he closes off a trade deal that would have boosted annual real incomes in the United States by $131 billion, or 0.5 percent of G.D.P. Terrified of Mexican competition, he considers slapping a 20 percent tariff on Mexican goods, even though U.S. exports to Mexico have increased 97 percent since 2005.

    In the summer of 2015, according to a Pew Research Center poll, Republicans said free trade deals had been good for the country by 51 to 39 percent. By the summer of 2016, Republicans said those deals had been bad for America by 61 percent to 32 percent.

    It’s not that the deals had changed, or reality. It was that Donald Trump became the Republican nominee and his dark fearfulness became the party’s dark fearfulness. In this case fear is not a reaction to the world. It is a way of seeing the world.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/27/opinion/the-politics-of-cowardice.html

    • BCinBCS

      In the comments section to the article by David Brooks is this reply:

      El Jamon
      New York

      I am not a wealthy man. According to Donald Trump, I would be a loser. I changed diapers. I am an attentive, nurturing father. I built a modest business. I am devoted to my spouse. We’ve been through thick and thin, better or worse and we still remain devoted and deeply in love. Our home is modest. Our car is not luxurious. I served my country and paid for college myself, without ever taking a loan or dime from my parents. And I am happy because I am grateful. Every single day, I am grateful for this life, better or worse, rich or poor. I’m even grateful for the trials and struggles I’ve had. I’m grateful for the wisdom life’s difficulties and set backs have provided. The man in the gilded tower is not grateful. He is not wise. He is steeped in fears that, though we see the same television news stations, and read many of the same papers, I do not share. Why is it that someone who had never wondered how he was going to pay for college, someone who (unlike myself) was backed by the generosity of the happenstance of wealthy parents, someone who cycles through luxury, why is he not grateful? Why is he so angry? Look at this wealthy, powerful man’s face. He is tormented, even twisted by his fears, and envy and pride, despite the evidence and, as he often brags, the rewards of his greed and gluttony. Why do I, a poor man by comparison, live in a state of gratitude, while he is in service to his envy and wrath? I view Mr. Trump’s fear, lust and sloth and I do not envy him.

      Well and eloquently said.

    • José

      After yesterday I’m becoming more convinced that things are progressing pretty much as planned for Team Trump. The parallels to world events of 80 years ago are disturbing. Provoke a crisis to create and deepen divisions. That helps to solidify your base. The other side gets worried and wearied. It just wants things to be peaceful again. So they compromise, meaning that you make incremental progress without losing anything. Repeat and repeat.

      What alarms me is the way that Republicans are appeasing and accommodating him. Not enough history majors in the group. It is imperative to stand up for truth and principles, and do it now instead of later. This ain’t over and it won’t be pretty.

      • BCinBCS

        They don’t need to be history majors, simply willing to learn from history.

        • SpiritofPearl

          Or read a book.

    • SpiritofPearl

      Read a recent article about how Reagan was, in private, quite dark in his world view. That “morning in America” was his public face to suck in the bubbas.

  • BCinBCS

    Y’all know Republican Lamar Smith who represents the Texas 21st District; you know, the guy who chairs the Science, Space, and Technology Committee? Well, in a more in-depth article in Vox about how he is trying to politicize science and make it more “conservative”, they reported how he “gave a floor speech Monday in the House in which [he] lauded the president, celebrating his many accomplishments. [But] according to Smith, you may not be familiar with those accomplishments, because the media won’t tell you.

    ‘Better to get your news directly from the president,” Smith said. “In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.’

    Let that sink in.

    Yea, let that sink in because if it doesn’t embarrass you that this man represents our great state on first blush then letting it roll around in your head might bring that fact to light.

    Everyone needs to decide what they want to believe, vetted, verifiable facts or alternative facts. Your choice.

    http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/1/27/14395978/donald-trump-lamar-smith

    • SpiritofPearl

      Call his office and complain.

      • St. Anger

        i have complained to his office before. i am a constituent.

        they responded with a thinly veiled “eff off.”

        • SpiritofPearl

          Who cares? You got your point across.

          • St. Anger

            who cares indeed?

            if the guy can get elected 15 straight times while telling his constituents where to shove it, then what is the point?

          • WUSRPH

            Gerrymandering…

          • SpiritofPearl

            Because it makes them work for their paycheck . . .

            Obviously the folks who voted for him are getting what they want. Don’t you live in Harris County?

    • Gunslinger

      Of all the news recently, this struck me as the most damaging. What a insufferable kiss a$$, he is.

  • BCinBCS

    A Texas mosque was set on fire just hours after Trump signed an executive order restricting migration from Muslim-majority countries.

    The Islamic Center of Victoria was set on fire around 2 a.m. on Saturday, according to local reports.

    Victoria Fire Marshal Tom Legler told the Victoria Advocate he had no theories about the cause of the fire, but he is seeking assistance from state and federal fire investigators.

    “It’s a house of worship,” Shahid Hashmi, the president of the center, told the Victoria Advocate, as he watched the center burning. Hashmi also said he will not speculate about the cause of the fire, but mentioned the center was burglarized last week.

    The fire in Victoria comes just three weeks after an Islamic Center under construction in Austin was set on fire and destroyed.

    I guess that First Amendment religious protection applies only to Christians.

    https://thinkprogress.org/islamic-center-of-victoria-fire-8a683f632a7a#.uewoauwt1

  • John Bernard Books

    WASSUP do you agree?
    “Obamacare architect Ezekiel Emanuel recently penned a piece of propaganda for The Atlantic promoting that death at the age of 75 is best for everyone.”
    http://www.truthandaction.org/obamacare-architect-die-age-75/

    Yes I understand Ezekiel is a LLL and an idiot.

  • SpiritofPearl

    1) Trump’s EO is unconstitutional because it targets Muslims. This was always the plan:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&a=&v=NF2k11QQW0g

    2) The two countries with the largest Muslims populations, Indonesia and India, are NOT included in the ban.

    3) The countries from which the 9/11 terrorists came, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are NOT included in the ban.

    4) No Muslim countries that does business with Trump are banned.

    Conclusion:

    Performance art for the Bubbas . . .

    • BCinBCS

      Pearl, I don’t watch a lot of Fox News so when I listen to the overreactions of Guiliani and the host I can’t help but think of the observation by Eric Loomis about the wall with Mexico that I quoted in the prior BB posting and how it is also applicable in this instance:
      The idea of the wall Muslim ban is to make scared old white people in rural America feel more secure.

      • SpiritofPearl

        Bubbas . . .

      • SpiritofPearl

        My purpose for using the Rudy clip is to illustrate that the ban IS a religious exclusion.

  • John Bernard Books

    Do you hate cops and love terrorists….
    “She looks at the officer and says, “What are we serving, pig today?” Kazanjian said. “The poor guy walked out, you know, hurt. That’s coming from the mayor of the city?””
    http://www.wptv.com/news/region-martin-county/stuart/stuart-mayor-apologizes-for-pig-insult-directed-toward-police-officer

    why are dems anti-American…..

  • John Bernard Books

    A $50 Dollar Lesson

    Recently, while I was working in the flower beds in the front yard, my neighbors
    stopped to chat as they returned home from walking their dog. During our friendly conversation, I asked their little girl what she wanted to be when she grew up.
    She said she wanted to be President someday.
    Both of her parents, Democratic Party members, were standing there so I asked her,
    “If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?”
    She replied… “I’d give food and houses to all the homeless people.”
    Her parents beamed with pride! “Wow…what a worthy goal!”
    I said…”But you don’t have to wait until you’re President to do that!”
    “What do you mean?” she replied.
    So I told her, “You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and trim
    my hedge, and I’ll pay you $50. Then you can go over to the grocery store where the
    homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.”
    She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked,
    “Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?”
    I said, “Welcome to the Republican Party.”

    Its your choice LLL or republican….

    • TacoRub

      Crass to use this tired old joke with millennials who you certainly do not know or understand.

      • John Bernard Books

        I agree you certainly don’t get it…

  • WUSRPH

    I expected Trump to have a run in with the courts, but not this soon…It will be interesting to see his reaction if he continues to lose as the issue moves up the system toward the SCOTUS. If he were to lose there I fully expect him to “pull an Andrew Jackson” and defy the Court by refusing to obey its ruling. That would set off a constitutional crisis….but it has to come sometime.

    • SpiritofPearl

      He kicked off the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the DNI from the NSC, added Bannon (white supremacist blogger) and Kushner (realtor and yellow press publisher). Dangerous times!

  • TacoRub

    There’s a scene from an old movie, “Villa Rides” where Pancho sits in front a few of the Mexican rebels who defied him and gives each an opportunity to escape while holding a long-barreled six shooter. The only catch is that they run and jump over a big wall before he fires and sends them in a higher direction. Funny thing, I see the Blonde Jackass as the one who will end up as the runner and end up strewn over some political fence as an example of the limits of power for budding jackasses like Cruz.

  • John Bernard Books

    Wait PRESIDENT Trump bars terrorists from entering the US and dems are upset?
    Why are dems anti-American

  • John Bernard Books

    When was your last Klanbake?
    “The 1924 Democratic National Convention, also called the “Klanbake”, held at the Madison Square Garden in New York City from June 24 to July 9, 1924,”
    http://armored-column.com/the-democratic-klanbake-1924/

    Yes dems are racist…

  • WUSRPH

    “Disobeying a court order “is a big deal for any government official — federal, state, local, executive, legislative, whatever,” said Abner Greene, a law professor at Fordham University. “Obedience to specific court orders is what keeps us from being a banana republic or fascist dictatorship. That’s a really big deal.” (Huffington Post)

    So which will we be—–a banana republic or a fascist dictatorship?

    • John Johnson

      An interesting email I received:

      “Wouldn’t it be interesting if, at some point during his Presidential term, Donald Trump asked, “Oh, by the way, has anyone in Washington DC ever heard of the McCarran-Walter Act Of 1952”?

      A Law for almost 65 years.

      Here are the historic facts that would seem to indicate that many of the people we elect to work for us in Washington DC do NOT have the slightest idea of what laws already exist in OUR country.

      After several terrorist incidents were carried out in the United States, Donald Trump was severely, criticized for suggesting that the U.S. should limit or temporarily suspend the immigration of certain ethnic groups, nationalities, and even people of certain religions (Muslims). The criticisms condemned such a suggestion as, among other things, being un-American, dumb, stupid, reckless, dangerous and racist. Congressmen and Senators swore that they would never allow such legislation, and our current President called such a prohibition on immigration “unconstitutional”.

      As Gomer Pyle would say, “Well, Surprise, Surprise!” It seems that the selective immigration ban is already law and has been applied on several occasions.

      Known as the McCarran-Walter Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 allows for the “Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by the President, whenever the President finds that the entry of aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. The President may, by proclamation, and for such a period as he shall deem necessary, may suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants or impose any restrictions on the entry of aliens he may deem to be appropriate.”

      And who do you suppose last utilized this process? Why it was Democrat President Jimmy Carter, no less than 37 years ago, in 1979, to keep Iranians out of the United States.

      But he actually did more. He made ALL Iranian students, already in the United States, check in with the government. And then he deported a bunch of them. Seven thousand were found in violation of their visas, and a total of 15,000 Iranians were forced to leave the USA in 1979.

      So, what say you about all of the criticism that Donald Trump received from the Democrat Senators, Representatives, a few Republican malcontents and Obama?

      Additionally, it is important to note that the McCarran-Walter Act also requires that an “applicant for immigration must be of good moral character and in agreement with the principles of our Constitution.”

      Therefore, one could surmise that since the Quran forbids Muslims to swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, technically, ALL Muslims should be refused immigration to OUR country.”

      Authenticated at http://library.uwb.edu/ stati c/ USimmigration/1952_ immigration _and_nationality_act.html

      Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952

      • WUSRPH

        Well aware of it. In fact, if I remember correctly I cited it back when we were discussing other issues dealing with protests, etc. Of course, parts of it have been declared unconstitutional….

        I suppose you are going to ban and deport all Seventh Day Adventists, too, since they can not swear loyalty……They also used to say that Roman Catholics could not be good Americans since they were loyal to a foreign potentate, The Pope….Times change and people, hopefully, learn from past mistakes.

        What is funny about your post is that it is a classic “but they did it too” defense…Because others have done something does not mean that when Trump does it we should just accept it…..It could well have been wrong when it was done in the past…..FDR rounded up the West Coast Japanese (but not the few who lived elsewhere in the country) and put them in camps…..The SCOTUS even upheld it…It was wrong when he did it…….Would you cite what FDR as justifying Trump rounding up all Muslims? Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus and suppressed newspapers. Does that justify The Donald doing it? I would hope not….Personally, I like to think that I would have opposed FDR and Lincoln, just as I oppose The Donald now……

        P.S. What will be your position if The Donald refuses to obey the courts? I presume you will cite Andrew Jackson then.

        • John Johnson

          Were Carter’s actions declared unconstitutional?

          With regard to your question about fealty to Trump or the Constitution and SCOTUS rulings, I will always side on the court’s side even if I disagree. The recent ruling which gave corporations the same rights as living and breathing US citizens torqued me, and I look forward to a new ruling down the road. Overreach by any branch is dangerous and gets us closer and closer to insurrection and ruin.

          • WUSRPH

            Not that I know of BUT there was one MAJOR DIFFERENCE between what Carter did and what Trump is doing. Carter broke off diplomatic relations with Iran at the same time…..This gave a special reason for revoking visas for Iranians……Trump is continuing diplomatic relations, as far as they exist now, with all the countries but telling them their people are not wanted. That is quite different.

          • John Johnson

            That is one of the weakest retorts I have ever seen from you.

          • WUSRPH

            There are many legal differences between the two actions…..taking action against foreign nationals from a country with which we have no diplomatic relations (in this case Iran) is quite normal. What Trump has done is not. It constitutes a deliberate diplomatic affront to the nations involved…..which I am certain is clearly the intention.

          • BCinBCS

            One is action against a country with which we have severed diplomatic relations and the other is action against a religion. And JJ, you can give me all of the talking-point reasons that it’s not but that will not alter the fact that is exactly what it is.

          • WUSRPH

            He won’t try to convince you otherwise because he believes in banning Muslims and doubts the loyalty of those who are American citizens. He has made that apparent many times, including in the his quoting the e-mail that included a provision calling for banning all Muslims, above.

          • John Johnson

            Is that all the quoted email said? As usual, you see what you want to and ignore the rest. You were a professional obfuscator most of your working life. It is tough for a guy like me to keep up with all the twists and turns you take and “yeah, but’s” you use.
            You are excellent at it.

          • John Johnson

            You are into apples and oranges now. The entire world has changed since the Carter years. We now hold onto trying to maintain diplomatic relationships in divided nations who are involved in civil wars and breeding terrorism because, for some reason, we feel a need to stick our noses into their business. The seven countries were named as terrorist havens and I’m not sure just how we are supposed to know the good guys from the bad. After all, the name John Johnson got me on an onerous list within my own country.

            This is a red herring issue which you malcontents want to blow up out of all proportion. It does not bode well for what is going to come if you keep it up.

          • WUSRPH

            More threats for exercising our rights……I thought this was the United States of America not the post-Weimar Republic.

          • Jay Trainor

            http://ethicsstupid.com/personalities/fact-checking-a-reader/

            On the matter of whether Trump’s ban is constitutional, Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe said, “I believe Trump’s unprecedented proposal would violate our Constitution. Both the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses and the equality dimension of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.”

            “Tribe, a constitutional law expert,” NBC News reports, “said Trump’s proposal also conflicts with the Constitution’s general prohibition on religious tests outside of the immigration context. ‘It would also conflict with the spirit of the No Religious Test Clause of Article VI.’ ”

            “Beyond the law, Tribe said it was also notable that using religious discrimination for immigration would be ‘impossible to administer’ and ‘stupidly play into the hands of extreme Islamic terrorists.’ ”

          • BCinBCS

            JJ: “The entire world has changed since the Carter years.

            Just because the world has changed is no reason for us to change the ideals of this country.

        • BCinBCS

          Thank-you W for your reply.
          Sometimes great (and horrible) men do bad things.

    • John Johnson

      Who is defying a court order?

      • WUSRPH

        As noted above, there have been consistent reports that immigration, etc. is not complying with the court orders to allow access to the detainees. That, if deliberate, would constitute a violation of a court order. (See answer above)

      • John Bernard Books

        The acting atty gen refused to carry our Prez Trump’s executive order and was fired. Expect more for the lawless….

  • SpiritofPearl

    So if Steve Bannon nominates Ted Cruz for SCOTUS, what happens in Texas if he is confirmed? Will Abbott nominate McCaul as his replacement in the Senate?

    If Steve Bannon nominates Abbott, will Patrick automatically become governor?

    • John Bernard Books

      clueless bozo

    • SpiritofPearl

      “This user is blocked.”

      • John Johnson

        Hahaha. Pearl is the epitome of “I can dish it out, but can’t take it”. She hasn’t a clue.

      • WUSRPH

        Won’t happen….Trump said it would be someone on his two lists…..Cruz did not make either one….but you are right that if Abbott were to leave the governorship for any reason, Patrick automatically moves up……That might not be that bad since he could do less harm as governor than he can do as Lt. Governor.

    • José

      The Senate might confirm a Cruz nomination simply because they DO loathe him. It’s one way to get Junior Senator Rabble-rouser out of their hair so that they can do their mischief in peace.

  • John Johnson

    Wow! I just read through all the posts here. What a bunch of baseless blather.

    Over 100 lawyers set up shop in the DFW international terminal hotel meeting room, set up tables and waited for the press to arrive.

    Only a handful of international travelers were delayed processing at DFW because of Trump’s EO. All have been cleared and released to go on their way.

    Out of approx $400K incoming international travelers on the day the EO was put into effect, only 385 were detained.

    Just months after 9/11, thousands of American citizens found their names on a “no fly” list…mine included. Thousands of common names like mine, and even Sen Ted Kennedy’s, somehow got included.

    There were no ACLU attorneys calling my number. There were no protests. It took me several months, and about $75 to get off this list. I had to gather an original birth certificate with a raised, embossed seal from Dallas County and and also submit a copy of my driver’s license and passport in order to secure a KTN (Known Traveler Number). This took well over a month.

    I certainly didn’t like it, and I know others didn’t either, but there was no mass uprising and the press gave it no legs. I don’t remember reading much about it at all. Compare this to the few green card holders who were simply detained for a few hours, and the uprising that has occurred.

    Obama is now chiming in because Trump’s actions have been compared to his, Bush’s and even Carter’s travel bans, and he didn’t like it. The fact that Trump’s bans were only put in place for countries Obama and his Congress named as terrorist havens seems to be overlooked, as well.

    Imagine the rancor that would have taken place if every time Obama used Bush’s actions as a defense or excuse for his, Bush called up the press and started defending himself and criticizing Obama.

    It costs a reported $100K for every refugee family to be vetted, flown, housed, fed and supplied with medical care when brought to the U.S. Meanwhile, we have the deranged, homeless people, and needy vets begging for help. What’s wrong with this picture. What are the Saudi’s, Kuwati’s and the UAE doing to help? Why aren’t they taking them in?

    We are on path for a civil war if this type of crazy pissing and moaning continues. You whiners need to get a grip. There are many more changes coming and you are not going to like them. You lost over a thousand Dem seats across the country this last election, and your shoo-in leader got her wings clipped. Want to overturn the government? Want to get your way? Then how about doing it in the proper manner. A civil, if not boisterous manner.

    This is going to turn ugly and those like you, and the media, who are ginning up a tangible insurrection are doing us great harm.

    • WUSRPH

      if Obama failed to honor a court order you’d be screaming “IMPEACHMENT”….let’s see what you say if Trump does it……

      • John Johnson

        He hasn’t! You keep looking forward and yelling and screaming about what “might” happen. Pure speculation. More goofy prognostications. Give it a rest. He is simply carrying out the promises he made to those that elected him President. He put in place a 90 day…not a perpetual ban…on the flow of refugees from seven countries named by Congress, under Obama, as terrorist havens. Give him, and his administration, time to analyze the situation and set in place a policy that adheres to the law, protects us, and saves us $ that could be spent on those here at home, who are citizens that need help, but are virtually ignored.

        • WUSRPH

          There are consistent reports that the ICE people at the various airports are not complying with the court orders requiring them to grant access to those being detained. If this is an Administration policy it would constitute contempt of court and an abuse of presidential power. At this point there is no way to know whether it is deliberate or just another screw up in a totally mishandled and screwed up process. There would have been far less problems had the WH (Bannon) had even bothered to consult with the agencies that would have to enforce the order BEFORE adopting it.

          • John Johnson

            This is just more political biased pap from you. I asked you where the outrage was when my rights, and those of thousands of others US citizens, were taken away because of our names. You ignored the question. This was supposedly a totally vetted program initiated by our new Homeland Security group. Where was the outrage? Where was the ACLU?

            The administration made a mistake on how this program was initiated. It was a minor one in the big scheme of things. It is being ginned up out of proportion by the press and you malcontents who just can’t believe that your shoo-in got Trumped.

            All those carry overs not accepting new policies; all those still on the Fed payroll who want to obfuscate and leak info; all those who continue to moan and grown who serve at the pleasure of the President will be weeded out and summarily fired. To the victor goes the spoils.

            If you want a domestic war, you are going to get one. It will be blue states against the red ones. Tone it down, or watch what happens. It will not be pretty.

          • WUSRPH

            I did not respond to your specific situation before, but let me assure you that, at the time, I found the no-fly list debacle to be just that. The very thought that a US Senator was included on the list because an IRA terrorist had a similar name or that you were included was a clear sign of total incompetence by those who prepared the lists. It was stupid and unnecessary.

            Any Administration that is unwilling to listen to the expert advice of its staff, including attorneys, is going to repeatedly screw up and most likely repeatedly violate the civil and constitutional rights of its citizens. Of course, once a policy has been decided upon it is the responsibility of the staff to implement it. If they cannot, they should resign or ask to be transferred to other duties. No one is disputing that.

            I, however, am not a member of the Administration or a staff member in any federal agency. As such, I retain—for now at least—the constitutional right to disagree with what they are doing and protest. You have accused us of being fanatical about the dangers of a Trump Administration and the lack of respect for our institutions plus the danger of authoritarianism but your own language and threats can only give strength to our concerns.

          • John Johnson

            Well, after months of thought, with Bush, his appointees, all their staff people, and major congressional committees involved, Ted and me and thousands of others had out civil rights negatively impacted. Profiling? What was it. Was there a big uprising? Nope. We suffered through it in relative silence. Compare that to the brouhaha Friday over 400 inconvenienced non-citizens. Where were you then? Did you rail about it back then? Why not? Why now? Citizens rights vs non-citizens rights??? What is wrong with this picture? I just don’t get it.

            You also failed to respond to my comments about money going to refugee importation that could be used to help our own forgotten desperate souls.

            There were no threats in my previous posts…just an observation of where all of this is heading. If 400 inconvenienced people draws this much ire from you malcontents, I predict bigtime blowups when Trump is six months into his first term and you apoplectics are exposed to some real onerous bills, both new and rescinded, and promised actions that really rain on your parade. It is going to get ugly.

          • BCinBCS

            JJ: “Was there a big uprising? Nope. We suffered through it in relative silence.

            You suffered quietly through having your own rights being restricted by the government and you are mad because others did not protest? Do you not see the craziness there?

          • John Johnson

            Someone please explain to the Professor wannabe that on Friday a small group of non-citizens were delayed by government mandate; also explain that in 2012, thousands of U.S. citizens suffered the same thing.

            One group because of country of nationality; the other because of their name.

            One group had the press swarming around them and ACLU type attorneys flocking toward them, screaming for justice; the other, individually went about having their rights reestablished quietly, at personal expense, and over an extended period of time.

            You might not have even been aware of this later group’s plight. It didn’t catch much press.

          • BCinBCS

            Implying that because a previous President made a mistake does not give license to the current President to make one as well.

          • BCinBCS

            I got the chance to watch NBC Nightly News tonight and they had a naturalized Iraqi couple who were expecting their family to join them as residents here in the U.S. except that they were prohibited by Comrade Trump’s executive order. They were highly upset because all of their plans and money spent on buying and furnishing a house and arranging the trip for their relatives had been wasted. Their relatives, stuck in Iraq, had sold their house, furniture and belongings and now had no place to stay. At the end of the story, the interviewer asked the two Iraqi-Americans for whom they had voted. Trump was their answer.

    • BCinBCS

      JJ: “We are on path for a civil war if this type of crazy pissing and moaning continues.

      You would have been right at home insisting that the oceanliner St. Louis turn around and return home.

      • SpiritofPearl

        “Civil war?” JJ wanted anarchy. Now he’s got it – as well as the dissolution of the international world order. What goes around, comes around:

        http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/white-house-to-state-department-dissenters-quit

      • BCinBCS

        JJ, there are men like Sir Nicholas Winton and then there are men like you and Comrade Trump/Bannon. I know that you are Winton’s fear while he was in Czechoslovakia?

        [Winton] risked his life to successfully save 669 mostly Jewish children from Czechoslovakia during The Holocaust by ensuring their safe passage to Britain. And then, like a true hero, he never spoke of it again until fifty years later when his wife found a scrapbook in the attic of their home that contained the names, pictures and documents of the children that he saved.

        Dubbed the “British Schindler” by the British press, he appeared on a UK television programme called That’s Life! in 1988. He was invited as a member of the audience, totally unaware that the people sitting around him were only alive because of his bravery and selflessness.

        http://www.boredpanda.com/man-saves-669-jewish-children-reunion-sir-nicholas-winton/

        .

    • donuthin2

      Get a grip? I seem to remember you doing the same kind of grousing about Obama for several years, right up to the election. Trump will get his chance but his actions during the first week are simply wrong. We will see how it goes.

      • John Johnson

        “Imagine the rancor that would have taken place if every time Obama used Bush’s actions as a defense or excuse for his, Bush called up the press and started defending himself and criticizing Obama.” Obama is the WPE.

        • BCinBCS

          I think that the main difference was that W’s actions were, for the most part, indefensible while O’s actions, for the most part, defensible.

  • WUSRPH

    Draining the swamp by appointing Cong. Pence who got an insiders deal on stock…..sure looks like he is cleaning up Washington…..

  • John Bernard Books

    Dems are used to ignoring the rule of law…
    “On Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “OutFront,” Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz reacted to Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ announcement that the DOJ will not present arguments in defense of President Trump’s immigration order by saying Yates made a “serious mistake” and has “made a political decision, rather than a legal one.”
    http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/01/30/dershowitz-acting-ag-made-a-political-decision-rather-than-a-legal-one-on-trump-eo-serious-mistake/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

    PRESIDENT Trump to acting Atty Gen….you’re fired.

  • John Bernard Books

    Prez Obama? No one told him….
    “”President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country,” Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis said.”
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-deflects-backlash-mounts-over-travel-ban-175549939.html

    Just another clueless dem….shouting, “do you know who I am?”

  • SpiritofPearl
    • SpiritofPearl

      “This user is blocked.”

  • John Bernard Books

    The reason Russia outted dems last November is George Soros.
    “Nov 30 Russia has banned a pro-democracy charity founded by hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, saying it posed a threat to both state security and the Russian constitution.”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/russia-soros-idUSL1N13P22Y20151130

    Soros’ two proteges Obama and Hillary cannot protect him anymore.

    Will Prez Trump declare Soros and his foundation a national security threat?

  • John Bernard Books

    Dems in crisis…
    “SB 3 by Taylor would expand opportunities in education by creating vehicles known as Educational Savings Accounts that would allow funding to follow the child as they move to a charter, private, or homeschool.”
    https://empowertexans.com/quicktakes/patrick-unveils-school-choice-proposal/

    Gravy train is over dems….

  • SpiritofPearl
    • John Johnson

      Wasn’t today a work day in Austin? All the Bubbas were working.

    • SpiritofPearl

      “This user is blocked.”

  • John Bernard Books
  • John Bernard Books
  • John Johnson

    The city of Dallas, after several brutal deaths and mailings by pit bulls is considering banning the breed.

    Pit bull owners are up in arms. “My dog is not vicious” is the hue and cry. Those whose dogs have killed say, “He was so loving around the family.”

    Wonder if the ACLU is going to come to the aid of these dog owners since the good dogs are being discriminated against. Wonder how those with children killed or forever scarred feel about it. You think the community is going to rally around those with pit bulls?

    You whiners are flat out goofy.

    • donuthin2

      John, John, you are getting a little desperate. You seem as though you feel boxed in by a by decision and are now trying to rationalize it with absurd equivalencies. The sooner you acknowledge your support of Trump was a mistake, you can begin the healing process.

    • BCinBCS

      Dallas wants to outlaw an entire breed because a few owners train (or abuse) their dogs to be vicious? If you cannot think of other equivalently absurd analogies then you aren’t trying.

      • John Johnson

        You don’t know much about inherent aggressive traits in some dog breeds, do you?

  • John Johnson

    Can someone please explain to me what Pearl’s regular “this person is blocked” posts mean, and why she feels a need to post it over and over again? I’m clueless. Does it have anything to do with TM blocking her once upon a time?

    • BCinBCS

      She is indicating to those that reply to her comments that they are blocked and she cannot read what they are saying.

      • John Johnson

        So what. That is the foolishness of her “blocking” people. They can respond to what she posts but she cannot offer a retort.