Meet Me in St. Louis

Never again for the first time.

Traveling to the United States on a tourist or business visa is a straightforward process: You apply at the local embassy or consulate, sit through an interview if someone wants to know you better, pay your fees, and done. Depending on season and demand, takes three to six weeks.

This is how nineteen of the twenty 9/11 hijackers entered our country. The twentieth arrived on a student visa.

None were refugees.

Were a similar plot hatched today, it would likely follow a similar path. Of the various means to reach U.S. soil, refugee status is the most tortuous — a series of referrals, interviews, reviews and background checks that can take two years.

And even then, it’s a crapshoot: In 2016, the United States admitted almost 85,000 refugees, including 12,500 Syrians. Almost 8 million tourist and business visas were issued the year before.

None of this is new information, especially in the context of contemporary politics. The subject came up early in the presidential campaign. And now that the campaigner who raised the issue is president, he has decided to make innocent people pay the price for his glorification.

And on Holocaust Remembrance Day, no less.

When America was great, America was not always great. In 1939, we turned back more than 900 Jewish refugees from Germany aboard the St. Louis, most of whom were forced to return to Europe, about 250 to their deaths. During the war, we created refugees of our own citizens, imprisoning Japanese-Americans in squalid camps.

Even today, Canada — Canada!far outpaces us in accepting refugees from Syria, while our president seeks to become best buds with one of the men who’s helping create them.

We are a nation of grubby people pretending to high ideals. They are enshrined in our founding document and national culture. They are emblazoned on the base of our most iconic statue. They may be disregarded by our nation’s leaders as willfully as our nation’s Christians disregard the Beatitudes, but those of us who have been inspired by them can never escape their power, never escape the shame when our nation fails to live up to them.

Donald Trump has shamed America. It isn’t the first time, and unfortunately for humanity, it won’t be the last.


I’m not able to wrap my head around this.

¡Andrew!, I’m picking up 200 postcards tomorrow. I’m sending 100 to Steve. I’m going to write one postcard for every fucked up issue. I need to read more about my house member. If you like, we can have postcard parties. Beers would be nice.

¡Andrew! I have added our congress critters to my contacts, and calling the Spokane office is the best way to get through.

ACLU lawsuit successful, nationwide stay of the EO granted.

@Dodgerblue: Period? I’m still looking for any loopholes.

Stay context from tech site The Verge, whose editor happens to be a lawyer.

Stay seems to apply only to folks in air or already landed. But the ban lasts 120 days. No word yet on broader effects of ruling, if any.

If you don’t have the time for full-throttle Indivisible, here’s a handy short guide to Calling Your Congresscritter. I suspect me and Cory Gardner’s staff will soon be recognizing each other by voice.

@nojo: Yes. Now the question is will everyone will be released from the airports or held in detention until the hearing at the end of Feb? That’s plenty of time to try to certify a class. Lawyers were sitting on the floors at JFK, O’Hare, SFO writing habeas petitions. Congress has plenary power to get rid of this piece of shit EO. We’ll see if the dems bring anything to the floor. I was hoping Congress would fly back to DC this weekend. Ha!

The groundswell is huge. This will not stand, but irreparable harm will come to millions if Congress doesn’t walk this shit back. The EO is in violation of the anti-establishment clause, and he’s demanding a loyalty oath that would fucking apply to tourists. This is a new form of unhinged.

@JNOV: Not to mention the EO is in violation of the 1960s laws that said we can’t discriminate w/r/t race/religion/ethnicity/gender when it comes to refugees and immigrants.

And please throw some bucks to ACLU — I can personally vouch for half if not more of their immigration/race/criminal justice peeps. And the national group & affilliates had a long fucking night running from airports to courthouses.

@SanFranLefty: Yup. Trump is on very shaky ground, and I am sure someone knew that but did this to wreak havoc.

In other news, I’m waiting for one of the EOs he signed today to leak. Supposedly it bans the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs from Principals Committee meetings. If what I saw is correct, Bannon and Kushner will be present but the JCoS will only be at meetings that involve the military. Um…I think all NSC business does, because those listening are military. Those translating are military. SMH. Somewhat related, I was helping a JAG veteran who ended up in the sandbox as a translator. What he did had nothing to do with lawyering. They call it “The needs of the [branch].” The military can fuck you so hard.

@SanFranLefty: It’s awesome – $ is pouring in, but more is always needed.

I’m going to start tutoring ESL children and adults at the local library again.

@SanFranLefty: I have no idea why no one addressed that when he met with May, he promoted his fucking golf club in Scotland.

I’m sorry, but May should have said something today about the Muslim ban. “Wellllll, the US can do whatever it wants.” Jesus! Is she that afraid of Brexit? Chances are that two years from now, his ass will be gone.

@JNOV: It leaked. Or maybe I simply saw what you did, results but not EO text itself. Meanwhile, someone suggested that once Trump learns that folks regard Bannon as the “real” power, Bannon will be out. Trump’s ego can be gamed, as Putin well knows.

@SanFranLefty: If you search for something like “ACLU match” on Twitter, you’ll find some wealthy geeks putting up matching gifts for donations.

@nojo: I find it odd that it’s not posted on the WH site. It’s a public document, right?

well, maybe all of the time i’ve spent watching dystopian shows and movies will come in handy.

@JNOV: Not necessarily. Conway said some or other EO wouldn’t be released yesterday — perhaps the ban — until it was. But the WSJ and others are reporting on the NSC, so I think we can trust the staffing news.

Until Bannon gets canned, of course. He’s acting like Cheney, but without Cheney’s position or deep understanding of DC politics. The knives will be out for him.

@JNOV: I’m well past 30, so scrstch Logan’s Run.

Meanwhile, on the ground, Our Nation’s Heroic Lawyers are asking the judge to make sure her order is being followed:

Everyone up for a Constitutional Crisis?

Fracas at LAX: Police blocking LA city attorney from talking to detainees still there. Story’s not over yet.

Plus protester arrests at Sea-Tac. (You guys still use the hyphen?) Haven’t heard about that kind of shit going down anywhere else, but Oregonians learn not to jaywalk in Seattle.

The GOPKKK also plans to steal all of Druidia’s air.

@nojo: The town, no. The airport, um…not sure.

@nojo: That movie scared the shit out of me. Plus Soilent Green Is People, yo.

What’s up with 1984 flying off the shelves? I’d think that the ones who are calling out the administration on doublespeak have read it.

There’s a protest scheduled for 5pm at Sea-Tac. They closed the light rail yesterday to keep the protesters away, and then Inslee was like, Nope – can’t do that. We’ll see what happens this evening.

Dulles CPB (Customs) defying federal court order requiring that detainees have access to attorneys. Ladies and gentlemen, we are now living in a tyranny.

@nojo: Yes.


@JNOV: Colorado’s GOP Senator finally issued a weaksauce statement against the ban, after complaining on local TV that all the calls to his office were paid protesters. He’s not up until 2020, but he knows Colorado ain’t getting redder.

@nojo: It’s just SeaTac.

I’ve been busy, and this one caught me off guard. Was this signed Saturday? Do neo-Nazis work weekends now? That’s the most unbelievable part.

@¡Andrew!: Thank you. My inner copy editor needed to know that.

The executive order was signed late Friday afternoon. When I wrote Friday night, the consequences weren’t fully understood — enough to say This Is Very Bad, not much else.

Saturday, all hell broke loose as reports of actual enforcement started coming in — and then folks started heading for the airports. JFK got the most attention, but also Dulles, LAX, SFO, SeaTac — and I just heard about a protest in Boise, bless their hearts.

The ACLU won a temporary stay Saturday night (one of many), which should have closed the matter for the moment, but it’s still spilling out all over.

Shitstorm aside, extremely heartening, and just a week in. Americans aren’t giving up their country without a fight.

Unconfirmed chatter that Bannon may be looking for an excuse to send in the National Guard.

Neil Young may need to update some lyrics.

Archaeologists finally able to pursue real dream of fighting Nazis

BERKELEY, CA—Scientists across the United States reacted to President Donald Trump’s threat of budget cuts to both the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as the National Science Foundation with cries of horror and dogged resistance. But whereas many other members of the scientific community plan to organize marches on Washington, some archaeologists have proposed embracing their gritty and leather-centric heritage, and just fight some damn Nazis already.

“Two things made me want to be an archaeologist: my sixth grade trip to Jamestown and watching Harrison Ford punch Nazis in Raiders,” said Victoria James, a graduate student at the University of California Berkeley. “If I can’t be out in the dirt digging, I might as well do what Indy would do.”

@¡Andrew!: I was just thinking yesterday how generations of lawyers have been inspired by Gregory Peck. And they’re stepping up.

@¡Andrew!: My kid, his friends and I have an ongoing debate re: punching Nazis. I support it.

@nojo: Judge Judy. Naw. Judge Higginbotham

@JNOV: I cannot, in good conscience, advocate punching Nazis.

Nor can I help giggling like a six-year-old when I see it.

@nojo: TWICE! OMG He’s a meme!

In other news, Dems headed to the steps of the Supreme Court tomorrow at 6pm. I hope they make signs.

Have we sunk so low as a country that we can’t even punch a freakin’ Nazi?

People were having that debate online when someone punched Richard Spencer at the inauguration. I mean, maybe they missed the part about him being a gawdam Nazi??

@¡Andrew!: I don’t support the death penalty either, but I’m not shedding a tear when Dylann Roof fries.

@¡Andrew!: It’s okay to punch a Nazi. At the inauguration. On TV. Especially on TV. Twice even. At the inauguration.

Some of my kid’s friends are trying to stay true to nonviolence, and I applaud them. I, however, enjoy the Nazi punching.

@nojo: There was a mashup interspersing excerpts of the white power speech he gave after the election with the punch, for your guiltless viewing pleasure, but the Atlantic shut it down over copyright claims.
Remember: Punch Every Nazi In Solidarity (PENIS).

Unconfirmed chatter that EO affecting LGBT adoption and other issues in the works, perhaps ready this week. In case you’ve made other plans for the weekend.

@nojo: I’ve heard this also. My head is still spinning from the immigration EO and today’s special 2-for-1 deal on new regulations via EO, which is right out of the Koch brothers’ playbook.

And speaking of the immigration EO, there is one person left in the Trump admin, probably not for long, with some integrity:

@Dodgerblue: Saw a passing reference to protections for federal LGBT workers, now drowned out by the Acting AG news.

@Dodgerblue: And she’s gone. Wonder if he called her up to say “you’re fired.”

ICE director gone too. That EO was a masterstroke.

@JNOV: By whom? Trump is brilliantly rallying his opposition, much sooner and stronger than if he didn’t bully through the past ten days.

I honestly thought we’d have to wait for his base to turn on him, likely over Obamacare. Instead, everyone’s getting in top shape for the fights to come.

@nojo: I’m being whipsawed, and it’s very hard to pay attention to what the fuck is going on. It’s like a magic trick – wave this EO in his right hand while his left hand signs something that is more threatening. I’m feeling very off-kilter, and I don’t know if that’s the plan, if there’s a purpose besides a blatant power grab – I can’t think straight.

I am close to terrified. Definitely anxious. It’s as if we have someone with borderline personality disorder repeatedly pulling the rug from under us, and I don’t know who the opposition is. Republicans?

I am confused.

When the opposition lines up, they get fired or are told to quit if they can’t get with the program. ARGH

@nojo: I will say this – I’m heartened that it didn’t take long for Citizen Obama to speak up.

@JNOV: No magic trick. Just a crowd of bullies who hold federal power. We knew going in that a lot of bad shit would be going down at once, because we’re dealing with more than a Twitter account now.

Good news: The opposition is… us. All of us. It’s nice that Barry dropped a line, but the past two weekends have shown we don’t need a leader to do it for us, we’re doing it ourselves. The crowds, the phone calls, the general disruption — this is how it works. This is how it plays out.

The moment the acting AG took a stand, she knew she wouldn’t be acting for long — and Sessions is coming soon enough anyway. She was asking to be fired, and she was, and she knows well the last president to pull that move was Nixon.

I am neither terrified nor anxious, but heartened and emboldened. We’ll get through this, as long as the Nuclear Football remains at the top of the stairs.

Stand down LGBT alert. Trump decided not to mess with Obama EO. For now.

@nojo: I read that it was drafted, I’m guessing by Bannon, and on his desk, but Caligulump decided not to sign off. Probably because he didn’t want to be excluded for life from the best parties. it’s amusing how his flacks tried to turn this into a virtue, as for example “He didn’t eat a baby today!”

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