Monday, June 27, 2016
Just don't call it tyranny
Don't look now but Trump is all for executive orders:
Trump has already promised to be as aggressive as Obama on executive orders on a wide range of issues. Early in his campaign, for instance, he vowed to use the power of the pen to give all cop killers the death penalty. More recently, in his response to the shooting death of 49 people inside an Orlando gay club this month, he pledged to use executive power to implement one of his signature proposals: A temporary ban on Muslim immigration (even though the shooter was born in New York).
“The immigration laws of the United States give the president powers to suspend entry into the country of any class of persons,” Trump said June 16, two days after the shooting. “I will use this power to protect the American people.”
Check out a few of his other proposals:
• Tighten regulations on money-transfer companies: The cornerstone of Trump's candidacy has been a promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. While Congress approves spending for construction projects, Trump says he can force Mexico to pay for it by taking control of an estimated $26 billion that is wired to Mexico from the U.S. every year.
Trump has said he would halt these remittances “on day one” by rewriting banking rules to expand the federal regulations on companies like Western Union and PayPal. He'd then add a new rule to block undocumented immigrants from wiring money outside the borders.
• Cancel visas and increasing visa fees: Trump says he could increase his leverage on Mexico's leaders by making it harder for their people to live and work in the U.S. The country accounted for about 14 percent of the 10.9 million visas issues by the U.S. in 2015, according to State Department data. Only Chinese visitors, who received one of every four U.S. visas last year, took more. Trump’s administration would have broad discretion in choosing who to give visas, and how much to charge, said John Sandweg, a former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security.
• Increase wages for certain foreign workers, and require companies to hire Americans first: Foreign workers hired for high-skilled jobs, like software engineering and research, must be paid a prevailing industry wage, as determined by a Labor Department database. Trump says requiring higher wages for those who receive H1-B visas will deter companies from hiring foreign workers. U.S. companies want more of these visas, not fewer, but it’s something President Trump could do with the rule-making process, Sandweg said. Similarly, Trump could change rules to try to force companies to search for new hires first from the country's pool of unemployed workers before turning to overseas labor.
• Mandatory deportation for all undocumented immigrants with criminal records, and detentions for those caught at the border: Like Obama and Bush before him, the Trump administration would set parameters on how to focus the deportation budget. Obama has focused resources on violent criminals, but Trump could undo that to go after those with traffic offenses.
• Stop defending NATO allies: Trump used his foreign policy address on April 27 to echo concerns shared by many U.S. officials that most of the 28 nations in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization don’t spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense, as required by the agreement. “The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense—and, if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves,” Trump said. As commander-in-chief, Trump could take that unprecedented step, foreign policy experts said.
“He would risk blowing up the entire alliance over what could be an exchange rate or accounting issue,” said Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.
• Cancel the Paris climate accord and stop paying U.S. tax dollars into UN global warming programs: During a May 26 speech in North Dakota, Trump said he would yank U.S. support from the Paris agreement to slash carbon dioxide emissions that 195 nations endorsed last December. There isn't much Trump could do to kill the accord itself. The deal isn't a treaty, and it doesn't require Senate ratification. Instead, it goes into force automatically when at least 55 parties, accounting for 55 percent of global emissions, have ratified the pact. Still, under Trump, the U.S. could sit out future United Nations negotiations designed to deepen carbon cuts over time. And because individual country commitments are voluntary, Trump could easily walk away from the U.S. pledges at the cost of alienating other world leaders.
• Scrap “job-destroying” energy regulations: Trump singled out Obama's new limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants -- and the “waters of the U.S.” rule that defines what waterways are under the government's jurisdiction. He would also rescind “any regulation that is outdated, unnecessary, bad for workers or contrary to the national interest.”
• Approve the Keystone XL pipeline
• Reverse moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands
• Declare China a currency manipulator
• Bolster the U.S. military presence in the East and South China Seas: Increasing troop levels here will help strengthen America’s ability to negotiate with the Chinese, Trump says. Obama’s administration sent about 300 additional troops with combat aircraft and helicopters into the area earlier this year in response to a border dispute between China and the Philippines. Trump has not said how many more troops he’d like in the region.
That's not a comprehenisve list. But I especially like the last one. For those who actually believe that Trump's nationalism is confined to trade, they should probably think again. Many a trade war has erupted into a shooting war --- and Trump talks just as much about being "respected" as he does about commerce. He's itching for a war, don't think he isn't. And his preference would be a big one. Because he has very big hands.
digby 6/27/2016 02:00:00 PM