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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Real American tells it like it is

by digby

He seems nice.

The first 8 days

by digby

Trump's approval rating since inauguration:

That's, uhm, not good.

By contrast, George W. Bush, who  also lost he popular vote and took office under dubious circumstances had a 57% approval rating at this point in office. Trump can't get above his popular vote total.

At this point it doesn't mean anything because he's got the same amount of power and ten times the ego of a president who did win in a landslide and he's determined to use it to do everything he wants. But you can see why he's hurrying so fast. In some polls he's in the mid-30s and it's hard to see how he can keep Republicans on board if he continues to sink.

Of course, they're all obviously terrified of him because he'll call them names on twitter so maybe that's not really an issue.

Snowball effect of Ryan's dreams

by digby

Yes, they want to kill people with their "health care" plan. They also want to impoverish them. This will help on both counts:
A new report by EPI Research Director Josh Bivens finds that repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will cost the economy 1.2 million jobs in 2019, with jobs lost in every state. The report looks at the effects of cuts to both spending and taxes that would occur under a full repeal.

The $109 billion in spending cuts would have a disproportionally negative effect on states with the highest share of low and middle-income families and those states that took up the ACA Medicaid expansion, while the $70 billion tax cuts would disproportionately benefit those states with the largest share of households in the top 1 percent. Because low- and moderate-income households tend to spend a much higher share of marginal increases in disposable income, the overall effect of ACA repeal would be less spending and slower demand growth across all states.

“If the ACA is repealed, working peoples’ purchasing power will be significantly reduced, which means they will spend less on goods and services in the local economy,” said Bivens. “Job growth will be constrained due to this decrease in spending. Any spending boost from lower taxes as a result of ACA repeal would be swamped by spending cutbacks low- and middle-income families would have to undertake after losing access to Medicaid or subsidies in insurance exchanges.”

18 states would see employment losses greater than 0.5 percent of their current state under-65 population: New Mexico, Kentucky, Oregon, Montana, West Virginia, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Colorado, Arizona, Washington, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Vermont, Maryland, Ohio, Michigan, and Delaware. While all states would lose jobs, states whose economies would be harmed the least are those that never took up the Medicaid expansion, as well as those with a larger share of households in the top 1 percent.
The report points out that the most important reason to worry about this is the 20 million people who stand to lose health insurance because of this daft insistence by the Republicans that the ACA is some kind of communist plot and must be replaced with a market based plan which the ACA actually is.  But this will also be a disruption on a grand scale since the health sector represents 1/6th of the economy. A lot of jobs are also at stake.

I'm sure they'll find a way to blame Obama and the Democrats for it so that will work out fine for him politically. And anyway, there's going to be a yuuuge influx of money into the military industrial complex and for wall building  at the border so maybe it will all even out.

QOTD: Sean "Baggy Suits" Spicer

by digby

Senator Pat Geary in Godfather Part II

They'll make 'em an offer they can't refuse:
“The voters are gonna remember what senators stood in the way of when President Trump tried to install his agency and department heads the next time their name is on the ballot.”
If you know what I mean ...

Ok, now we're seeing the way they're planning the deportations

by digby

I don't know if "taxpayer help" applies to public schools or perhaps even the use of any public services that are funded by the taxpayers, but it wouldn't surprise me.

This is very, very ugly:
The Trump administration is considering a plan to weed out would-be immigrants who are likely to require public assistance, as well as to deport — when possible — immigrants already living in the United States who depend on taxpayer help, according to a draft executive order obtained by The Washington Post.

A second draft order under consideration calls for a substantial shake up in the system through which the United States administers immigrant and nonimmigrant visas overall, with the aim of tightly controlling who enters the country, and who can enter the workforce, and to reduce the social services burden on U.S. taxpayers.

The drafts are circulating among administration officials, and it is unclear whether President Trump has decided to move forward with them or when he might sign them if he does decide to put them in place. The White House would not confirm or deny the authenticity of the orders, and White House officials did not respond to requests for comment about the drafts on Monday and Tuesday.

If enacted, the executive orders would appear to significantly restrict all types of immigration and foreign travel to the United States, expanding bars on entry to the country that Trump ordered last week with his temporary ban on refugees and people from seven majority Muslim countries.

While Trump’s immigration ban last week focused on national security and preventing terrorism, the new draft orders would be focused on Trump’s campaign promises to protect American workers and to create jobs, immediately restricting the flow of immigrants and temporary laborers into the U.S. workforce. The administration has blamed immigrants who end up receiving U.S. social services for eating up federal resources, and it has said immigrant workers contribute to unemployment among Americans who were born in the United States.

“Our country’s immigration laws are designed to protect American taxpayers and promote immigrant self sufficiency. Yet households headed by aliens are much more likely than those headed by citizens to use Federal means-tested public benefits,” reads one draft order obtained by The Post, titled “Executive Order on Protecting Taxpayer Resources by Ensuring Our Immigration Laws Promote Accountability and Responsibility.” The draft order provides no evidence to support the claim that immigrant households are more likely to use welfare benefits, and there is no consensus among experts about immigration’s impact on such benefits or American jobs.
This one's a Bannon special designed to send electrifying thrills up the legs of their poor, sad forgotten white voters. And it will. This will be among the most popular actions the president will have taken among his own folowers.

Let's see if he has the nerve to set off the inevitable nuclear reaction among those who are not such big fans. I'm betting yet.

Trouble brewing in the inner circle?

by digby

I wrote about the latest Palace intrigue for Salon this morning:

Last night President Trump fired Sally Yates,the acting Attorney General because, citing both the law and the constitution she ordered the Department of Justice not to defend his ban on Muslims from certain countries entering the US. Republicans all applauded the firing, calling her insubordinate because it was her job to carry out his orders, no questions asked. Democrats hailed her as a hero for asserting the independence that's supposed to be conferred upon the office. To back them up they produced footage of Senator Jeff Sessions himself telling her in her confirmation hearing that she was obligated to say no if she believed the president's order were unlawful.

At this point it would behoove the Senate to think very, very hard about whether it makes sense to confirm Sessions as the new attorney general. It's hard to imagine that would ever say no if Donald Trump wanted him to execute and unlawful order. On the other hand, it's also hard to imagine that Trump would ever ask him to execute an unlawful order he didn't enthusiastically agree should be executed so perhaps it's a moot point. Nonetheless this crisis should induce Democrats to stiffen their spines and vote against Sessions. According to this Washington Post article,this is just a preview of what's to come:
The early days of the Trump presidency have rushed a nationalist agenda long on the fringes of American life into action — and Sessions, the quiet Alabam­ian who long cultivated those ideas as a Senate backbencher, has become a singular power in this new Washington.

Sessions’s ideology is driven by a visceral aversion to what he calls “soulless globalism,” a term used on the extreme right to convey a perceived threat to the United States from free trade, international alliances and the immigration of nonwhites.
Sessions’s nomination is scheduled to be voted on Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but his influence in the administration stretches far beyond the Justice Department. From immigration and health care to national security and trade, Sessions is the intellectual godfather of the president’s policies. His reach extends throughout the White House, with his aides and allies accelerating the president’s most dramatic moves, including the ban on refugees and citizens from seven mostly Muslim nations that has triggered fear around the globe.
Even Republicans should be leery of confirming this man as the nation's most powerful law enforcement official. But they are afraid. As former GOP congressman Richard Jolly told Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC last night, "the reason Republicans won't speak out is because we have a president who will destroy you with a single tweet."

Still, it's not entirely impossible. If the Democrats all stuck together it would only require three Republicans to say no. I have no idea who those profiles in courage in might be. And anyway, Sessions has ideological tentacles throughout the new new administration. According to the Post:
The author of many of Trump’s executive orders is senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, a Sessions confidant who was mentored by him and who spent the weekend overseeing the government’s implementation of the refu­gee ban. The tactician turning Trump’s agenda into law is deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn, Sessions’s longtime chief of staff in the Senate. The mastermind behind Trump’s incendiary brand of populism is chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who, as chairman of the Breitbart website, promoted Sessions for years.
So even if he ends up back in the Senate, his antediluvian ideology will be over-represented in the Trump administration. There's no escaping it.

Of course a big part of the problem with the Trump administration isn't ideological, although that's certainly an issue. It's also the incompetence and that's turning out to be overwhelming. It's no longer a simple matter of an amateur hour convention or a poorly planned inauguration. It's not even about a clownish display of celebrities traipsing through the lobby of Trump Tower and calling it a transition. They have a real job now and they are executing it very, very poorly. (One might even say that they are running the country the way Donald Trump ran the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City --- which went bankrupt.)

And then there is the palace intrigue, the details of which are leaking like the Titanic to every reporter in Washington. Over the past few days we've been hearing a lot about Sessions and his proteges and about Steve Bannon, Trump's apparent Razputin who has been elevated to an exalted position as adviser on foreign policy. And this raised the question of what happened to the crazed alt-right General, Michael Flynn, who was supposed to be Trump's Patton, MacArthur  and Blackjack Pershing all rolled into one. Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times got the scoop on that: it looks as though he has seriously lost favor.

While Flynn was a favorite of Trump's when he was heaping contempt upon Hillary Clinton, evidently he hasn't worn well with the boss since they vanquished her. They say he talks too much and his son has been a thorn in their side. There are also whispers about him being too close to certain fringe characters which is true but also self-serving since Bannon and Trump himself are closely tied to the same elements. According to the NY Times' juicy dish, Rex Tillerson, James Mattis and Mike Pompeo all convened a meeting this week and didn't invite poor Flynn because he was the subject of discussion. The claws are definitely out.

This may be the most encouraging bit of news we've had since Trump was inaugurated. Sessions and his crew are scary ideologues. Bannon is a frighteningly adept propagandist with a dangerous worldview. Mike Pence and Paul Ryan are far right conservative movement zealots with a blank check. Trump himself is unfit and over his head.  And the whole administration is clearly incompetent on every level. But Michael Flynn seems to be certifiably unhinged even by the standards of this unbalanced crew so if they are looking for ways to ease him out, thank goodness for small favors. One less kook in a White House full of them is a baby step in the right direction. We'll take it.


Push comes to shove

by Tom Sullivan

"Military" vehicle flying "Trump" flag caught on video Sunday in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by invisibleky.

When it comes to faith, it often seems people who talk about it the most understand it the least. The same is true of our vaunted American principles. We love our Constitution and Bill of Rights. We venerate the Founders and American principles: separation of powers, the rule of law, not of men, equal protection, etc. But for many, when push comes to shove, faith in them is a mile wide and an inch deep. Has push come to shove?

From Huffington Post:

President Donald Trump on Monday quietly replaced the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, following a chaotic weekend during which DHS customs officials struggled to interpret and comply with Trump’s controversial executive order barring travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

In a statement released late Monday evening, the newly confirmed DHS secretary, John Kelly, announced that Thomas Homan had been named the new acting director of ICE. The statement did not mention Daniel Ragsdale, who was being replaced.
Ragsdale stays on as deputy director. As associate director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, Homan received the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Service.

Trump also fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates Monday night. The Obama appointee was "weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration," the White House said in a statement. Don't miss the wording:
The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States. This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.
You well remember the sound legal advice that came out of the last Republican Office of Legal Counsel. The George W. Bush White House waited until its second term to start firing Department of Justice officials for following the law rather than the president's wishes. Donald Trump, Man of Action, isn't waiting.

The International Business Times reports:
Meanwhile, Dana Boente, the new acting attorney general, overruled the advice of Yates that the president’s travel ban was not lawful and should not be defended.

"Based upon the Office of Legal Counsel’s analysis, which found the Executive Order both lawful on its face and properly drafted, I hereby rescind former Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates January 30, 2017, guidance and direct the men and women of the Department of Justice to do our sworn duty and to defend the lawful orders of our President," Boente wrote in a statement.
What is in question is whether the Trump administration will even adhere to the barest of norms and legal principle. As reports come out that Trump's Customs and Border Protection officers are ignoring multiple court orders halting Trump's travel ban, Dahlia Lithwick writes:
The situation has forced observers to reckon with a question that has little or no precedent in American history: What happens when the federal government or its agents refuse to honor a court order handed down by a federal judge? By definition, it has to be different from what happens when, say, a state lawmaker flouts the word of a federal judge, since in the past, such cases have involved the president himself sending in the U.S. Marshals to enforce the law. But who will be on what side if things escalate, and the executive branch itself explicitly and continuously refuses to follow the rulings of the judiciary? At what point does the conflict turn into a full-blown constitutional crisis?
But most likely, “there will be several rounds of brinksmanship before this rises to the level of a constitutional crisis,” University of Chicago Law School professor William Baude told Lithwick. Expect a ramping up of pressure in attempt to gain compliance and avoid sending anyone to jail for contempt of court.
What happens if Trump and his people simply decline to back down, even after a judge gives them an opportunity to comply? According to Waldman, that’s when a judge could call the U.S. Marshals in to enforce the order. In the case of Dulles, that could mean pitting U.S. Marshals against armed agents at airports. “This,” Waldman wrote, “is what sets us up for a darker, dangerous turn.”
Lithwick's post reassures that Trump does not yet control all of the executive branch, and many career officials and Obama administration holdovers remain. Like Sally Yates. Obviously, Lithwick posted a mite too early.

Rule of law, not of men? Ask CBP officers and the guys in the trucks what they believe in. Then pay attention not to what they say, but to what they do.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The torture lovers

by digby

Has anyone polled the support for concentration camps and genocide recently? I'm wondering how many of my friends and neighbors are all in on those too. I mean, if you're for torture what other limits can you logically have?

Thoughtful governance

by digby

Trump always talks about how the Chinese are "winning" because they don't over-regulate like we do

Who needs it, amirite? Lets just take a meat ax to everything and see what happens:

“This will be the biggest such act that our country has ever seen,” Trump declared moments before signing it in the Oval Office. “There will be regulation, there will be control, but it will be a normalized control where you can open your business and expand your business very easily. And that's what our country has been all about.”

The executive order signing, which fulfills a campaign pledge, comes after the president held a listening session with small-business leaders.

“If you have a regulation you want, No. 1, we’re not gonna approve it because it’s already been approved probably in 17 different forms,” Trump said. “But if we do, the only way you have a chance is we have to knock out two regulations for every new regulation. So if there’s a new regulation, they have to knock out two.”

The president added that “it goes far beyond that.” “We’re cutting regulations massively for small business — and for large business,” he said. “But they're different. But for small business, and that’s what this is about today.”

The executive order calls for agencies to pinpoint “at least two” current regulations to be repealed for each new proposed regulation. And it says the net incremental cost for fiscal 2017 should “be no greater than zero,” meaning the cost of new regulations should be offset by existing rules that will be rescinded.

To hell with it. Let's just get rid of all of them. Let's really have some carnage and maybe we'll be able to compete with the rest of the world for once.

I don't know if his voters are aware of it, but regulations save white lives too.

Trump's jobs plan: work until you drop dead

by digby

EPI examines Trump's jobs claims:

On the White House website, the Trump administration announced a new goal of adding 25 million new jobs over the next ten years, an extraordinarily audacious, or simply innumerate, target. If their plan were successful, it would require raising employment rates well above what we can realistically hope for given the aging of the population and historical evidence on these rates. Now I happen to love optimistic agendas, but to the extent that this goal is not fantasy based on “alternative facts,” it can mean only one of two things: either the United States needs an enormous influx of immigrants, or a much higher share of the elderly population needs to be put to work.

Read on for the details.

This one might actually be real.They are certainly not going to invite more immigrants. So it's up to the duffers. If Ayn Rand fan Paul Ryan is in charge, his social security destruction plan will ensure that old people work until they drop dead. He will also do away with age discrimination laws so if you were counting on staying with your employer until you are 80 and keeping your health insurance (Medicare will be a largely worthless voucher too) think again. Lemonade stand maybe?

Seriously, this is more idiotic hype from Trump who is probably going to turn this country into the dystopian hellscape full of the suffering and carnage he already thinks it is. There won't be 25 million new jobs.  It's totally absurd.

His voters like be stroked and lied to and he's going to tell them whatever they want to hear. But he's going to make their lives immeasurably worse. I'm sure they'll blame welfare queens and gays and illegals and feminazis for ruining everything but it won't change a thing.



Diplomatic resistance

by digby

From Lawfare:
Consider this a major bureaucratic uprising on the part of career foreign service officers against the President on his executive order on refugees.

Numerous Foreign Service officers and other diplomats have drafted a dissent memo expressing opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States. ABC reported this morning on the draft, which is likely to be submitted today.
Here’s a copy of the actual draft. We are hearing that literally hundreds of foreign service officers are planning to be party to the dissent memo; it’s still unclear exactly how many. We have redacted all names and personally identifiable information from this document.
This is the nub:
"We do not need to place a blanket ban that keeps 220 million people — men, women, and children — from entering the United States to protect our homeland. We do not need to alienate entire societies to stay safe. And we do not need to sacrifice our reputation as a nation which is open and welcoming to protect our families. It is well within our reach to create a visa process which is more secure, which reflects our American values, and which would make the Department proud."
Sean Spicer said earlier today that government employees "can get with the program or they can go."

So that's where we are.

Confusion reigns

by digby

LA has one of the largest Iranian populations outside of Iran. And they are scared to death about this. Just one story of many in today's LA Times:
Marzieh Moosavizadeh and her grandson follow a routine when she visits almost every year from Iran.

The 75-year-old, who travels in a wheelchair and speaks little English, struggles to find direct flights to Phoenix, where he and his family live. So they meet in Los Angeles and he escorts her on the last leg of her trip.

This time was different.

Moosavizadeh landed at Los Angeles International Airport a day after President Trump signed an executive order banning citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran, from entering the United States.

Moosavizadeh’s plans to catch her last flight were upended when she said she was held at LAX for nine hours with dozens of other passengers who, like her, had no idea whether they would be released or sent back to their native country.

“Sitting there for eight hours, for somebody who has arthritis, is very, very hard,” Moosavizadeh said while recounting her detention in an interview with The Times in Persian while her son translated by phone. “Please, tell Mr. Trump when they make these kind of decisions, think it all the way through.”

For Moosavizadeh, who her grandson said has held a green card since 1997, the anxiety set in when she landed shortly after 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Customs officers scanned her passport, held it up next to her head and told her to wait. Then, they ushered her to a room where she said a couple dozen passengers — Iranians, Africans and Asians — were being held.

She sat there for two hours before officers led her, along with a handful of others passengers from her flight, to another room filled with travelers from Iran. She spent the next several hours there.

At about 6 p.m., Moosavizadeh’s wheelchair attendant offered her a cellphone to call her grandson.  

She told him to go eat and rest — she heard she’d be held for a few more hours. He told her to stay calm, he wasn’t going anywhere.

Every hour or so, Moosavizadeh said, officers would come by to escort passengers to the bathroom or drop off 8-ounce water bottles. The English-speakers implored them for answers.

It’s out of our hands, the officers said. Their fate was up to their superiors.

Passengers were afraid to talk to one another, Moosavizadeh said. No one knew whether they’d be released or sent back to Iran.

“Most of them, they thought they were going to get deported,” she said, through her son.

At one point, she was taken elsewhere for questioning. Customs officers asked her when she last visited the U.S., who she lives with in Iran and where she gets her income.

When she returned, she snacked on almonds she’d packed in her purse.

“Thank God I put them in my purse, otherwise I didn’t have anything on me,” she said.

Meanwhile, in Phoenix, her sons frantically refreshed news articles and peppered her grandson, Siavosh Naji-Talakar, with questions he couldn’t answer. Huddled among throngs of boisterous protesters demanding the detainees be released, Naji-Talakar could do little but wait. 

Over and over, they chanted, “Let them in!” They said they wouldn’t leave otherwise. 

Some offered Naji-Talakar food and a couch for the night, others money for a hotel room.

Nearby, the detainees heard the cries, faintly. They had no idea, though, if those who had gathered were there to support or decry them. A customs officer, Moosavizadeh said, told the group that it wasn’t safe for them to let them go.

Eventually, officers began calling passengers one by one. Detainees were taken away, alone or in pairs, while those left behind wondered if they were being released or deported.  

“We all thought they were going to give us hard time first and then send us back,” Moosavizadeh said.

She added that she wants Trump to know that Muslims condemn Islamic State.

“They might be Muslim, but they’re not a part of us,” she said. “We are all brothers and sisters and we don’t believe in their values — at all.”

Moosavizadeh’s name was among the last ones called, at about 1 a.m. 

Finally, she said, she was “released from prison.”

When she spotted her grandson in the crowd, she felt like she was flying. 

He saw her too, and bolted.

“I pushed people out of the way, I was like, ‘Get out of my way,’” Naji-Talakar said. “I ran up to her and gave a big old hug.”

That’s when the cheering and chanting started again.

Over and over, “We got grandma!” 

This is just awful. And for no good reason, none. Our threat level from refugees and foreign visitors from these countries is minuscule compared to the threat from some sick person with an AR-15 coming in an mowing down little children in a grade school or people watching a midnight movie or workers in an office or any of the tens of thousands of shootings, purposeful and accidental, that happen every single year in this country.

Donald Trump wants to make that situation worse by letting loose a flood of weapons on the streets of America even as he detains 75 year old ladies from Iran. It is insane.

You tell me who's keeping us safe.

Rah, rah Razputin

by digby

I wrote about Trump's Razputin for Salon this morning:

There was so much going on in President Donald Trump’s first week of presidential decrees that it was hard to keep track of it all. The most acute problem, in that it immediatelyaffected people’s lives, was the executive order issued on Friday that banned entry to the United States for immigrants, refugees or visitors arriving from a list of certain Muslim-majority countries designated as having terrorist activity. On Saturday when it became clear that the ban was taking effect immediately and people were being denied entry or told at their point of origin that they could not board U.S.-bound planes, all hell broke loose.

Nobody understood the rules. Passengers were being held and interrogated. Chaos ensued at international airports all over the country. Protesters gathered en masse at terminals to show their solidarity. Immigration lawyers arrived to help detainees and their families navigate a system that nobody understood — because it was arbitrary and constitutionally dubious. The world reacted with disbelief.

Finally several federal judges issued stays, for a variety of reasons, in response to suits filed by civil liberties and immigration attorneys around the country. Even hawkish constitutional experts were appalled.

It was a shocking moment in American history.

But we shouldn’t have been too surprised. Trump had promised to bar Muslims from entering the country during the campaign, famously making a speech after the San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack, saying it had to be done until the U.S. “could figure out what the hell is going on.” He modified his remarks later, apparently at the urging of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who bragged that he had told Trump he could bar Muslims from gaining admittance only by nationality rather than religion (while offering priority to those practicing a different religion) or he would run afoul of the Constitution. Now the Trump administration has absurdly proclaimed that it was just following former president Barack Obama’s lead (an assertion refuted by The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler.)

On Saturday it soon became apparent that the order did not just apply to refugees or even visa holders but was also being used to deny entry to legal U.S. residents — green card holders who had been out of the country. It wasn’t long before leaks filtered out of the administration that Trump’s senior strategist, former Breitbart chief Steve Bannon, had personally overruled a Department of Homeland Security’s official finding that such legal residents would not be included in the ban. After an uproar, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly finally clarified that legal residency would not be “a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations,” basically meaning that individuals would not be denied entry and deported simply for being legal residents instead of citizens. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a member of Trump’s supposed party, wryly observed: “You have an extreme vetting proposal that didn’t get the vetting it should have had.”

The situation remains confused and fluid. But the fact that Bannon had the ability to do what he did suggests that he’s going to use his power to advance his white nationalist agenda. And his power is growing substantially. While the Muslim ban got most of the attention over the weekend, it was also revealed that Bannon had been named a permanent member of the National Security Council, even as the administration denied that status to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence.

When asked to explain this, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on ABC’s “This Week” that “the president gets plenty of information from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” and pointed out that Bannon is a “former naval officer” with a “tremendous understanding of the world and the geopolitical landscape that we have now.” Bannon left the service in 1983.

Indeed, Bannon’s “understanding” of the world is exactly what has people concerned. Bannon has become Trump’s most influential adviser and (along with Stephen Miller, a former aide to attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions) seems to be guiding Trump toward his goals, even if the president is clueless about the details or the ramifications. Bannon is a radical white nationalist whose main objective, as he has openly admitted, is to blow everything up — essentially to destroy the existing social and political order. What that leaves us with after the smoke clears is anyone’s guess, since he is notably vague on the endgame.

Recall that a year before he joined the campaign, Bannon was telling people that he was Trump’s unofficial “campaign manager” and was quoted in an email as saying, “Trump is a nationalist who embraces [Sen. Jeff Sessions’] immigration plan.” Nonetheless, as recently as last summer Bannon told Vanity Fair that Trump is a “blunt instrument for us. I don’t know whether he really gets it or not.”

At this point, it seems obvious that it doesn’t really matter. Trump is a narcissist with a very few simple bedrock beliefs, most of which intersect nicely with Bannon’s propaganda and tactics — which happen to intersect with global right-wing nationalism, manifested in the U.S. as the alt-right. This movement was well described by Vanity Fair’s Henry Porter in an article about Trumpism and Brexit:

They mistrust the political establishment and elites, in general; their rhetoric on immigrants is sometimes openly racist; they have a longing for past glories and the old order of things; they are very, very angry; and they present new levels of immunity to verifiable facts and expert opinion.

That worldview is reflected in far right movements and parties in the U.K. (the UK Independence Party), Germany (the Alliance for Germany), the Netherlands (the Party for Freedom) and France (the National Front), among others, and some of these movements have also been cultivated by the Russian president Vladimir Putin. (There is evidence of his government’s attempts to meddle in European elections, in a similar fashion to what allegedly happened in the U.S. during the recent presidential campaign.) This is the worldview that is likely to inform President Trump on policy.

You can see this perfectly manifested in the first week’s orders on (nonexistent) voter fraud, immigration and deportation policies. The ban on Muslims from certain countries has particular national security implications, in that experts believe it will be a splendid propaganda tool for ISIS and will drive a wedge between the U.S. and many of its allies — something that fits perfectly with Bannon’s overall “blow it up” philosophy.

As Bannon said last summer, Trump is just a “blunt instrument” and at this point it doesn’t matter if he “gets it” or not. In his new role as Trump’s Rasputin, Bannon is now in a position to literally make his dreams of destruction come true.

Politics and Reality Radio --Everything Is Awful; The Big Lie Behind Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’; More Bathroom Bills?

with Joshua Holland

This week, we'll play an excerpt from a previous interview with Rebecca Hamlin, an assistant professor of legal studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an expert on refugee resettlement. She shoots down the very premise of Trump's hamfisted and likely unconstitutional "Muslim ban."

Then we'll be joined by Ryan Cooper from The Week to discuss the flurry of outrageous executive orders that have come out of the Trump White House during the first week of his regime.

Finally, we'll speak to Salon columnist Amanda Marcotte about Trump's move to reinstate the global "gag rule" for information on abortion, a new fetal heartbeat bill making its way through Congress and Texas wingnuts following North Carolina's bold adventure in potty-politics with its own "bathroom bill."

Rolling Stones: "She Smiled Sweetly"
Guns 'N' Roses: "Live and Let Die"
John Lee Hooker: "Baby Lee"

As always, you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes, Soundcloud or Podbean.


All appetite and instinct

by Tom Sullivan

Dan P. McAdams, chair of the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University, attempted to answer the question, Who are you, Mr. Trump, when you are alone? in an Atlantic cover story on Donald Trump last June. After Trump's first week as president (which McAdams never thought would happen), Atlantic interviewed him to see how his views had shifted. He replies (emphasis mine):

The first is that I would double down even more on the idea that what you see is what you get when it comes to Trump. The piece starts off with this uneasy sense that Donald Trump is playing a role. I wanted to get behind the mask, but by the end I’m frustrated because there’s a lot less behind the mask than you expect. You expect there to be some kind of deeper philosophy that might explain what he will do as president, and that’s very difficult to find. So I end the piece by arguing that he’s always fighting to win, even when it’s not clear why.

Now that Trump has won the election, we’re seeing this dynamic continue to play out. He’s still fighting, even though the election itself, and the battle that was the campaign is over. Most candidates want to win the election so that they can become president, but it seems like Donald Trump wanted to become president so that he could win the election. It’s all about winning, but even now that he’s won he can’t seem to let go of the fight. He continues to fixate on the election, and is now disputing—without evidence—the numbers on Hillary Clinton’s victory in the popular vote count. I think he’s going to continue to create chaos and attempt to emerge out of the confusion and uncertainty he creates as a victor.
A nation whose identity is so wrapped up in its faith is nevertheless idolatrous, I argue, often worshiping faith itself and missing any more soulful meaning. A priest I know once said Americans believe it's important that a man have faith. Not faith in anything in particular, just faith. Freedom is an idol like that for many Americans. It is an empty worship word. Freedom is an end in itself. More is always better But not freedom from anything or to do anything, just freedom. For Trump, it seems winning works the same way. Winning is an end in itself. But like the dog that chases the car, he doesn't know what to do with it once he's caught it. With King Midas, gold became a thing to acquire more of, not for a particular purpose or to satisfy a financial need. Possessing it and acquiring more became an end in itself. One might say the same about winning and power. For those so addicted, the hunger can never be satisfied.

For a dozen years I have described the modern corporation as an "artificial person," simply less intelligent and well-rounded than the androids of Ridley Scott's "Alien" movies. Instead, more like the shark from "Jaws," a soulless creature driven primarily by appetite and instinct.

For years I've warned that in fetishizing business, we as a people risked becoming what we beheld and devolving into homo corporatus, or else becoming slaves to our own creation. Ridley Scott's "Alien" films portray "the Company" as a faceless, democracy-supplanting engine of profit, a legal rather than technological or biological threat. Like Goldman Sachs, the fictional Company is everywhere. But until last night, I still thought of corporate personhood in the real world as an abstraction. Like McAdams, I missed Trump's victory. I never saw this coming — governance by a walking, talking corporation in sad, human form. Appetite and instinct and little else. When Mitt Romney said, "Corporations are people, my friend," my first thought was, "Yeah, but would you want your kid to marry one?" Now I guess someone should ask Melania's parents.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Trump's Week One

by digby

In four minutes:

*h/t to Bill Maher, although I've been making this joke privately for a while ...
Chart O' the Day

by digby

Via Vox, you are more likely to be killed by your own clothes than an immigrant terrorist.

If you exclude the 9/11 attacks from this data, you’re more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than a terrorist attack executed by foreigners — by a whole lot.

And 9/11-style attacks are far less likely today than they were before 9/11. These plots are intrinsically difficult to pull off: They require huge amounts of planning, organization, and preparation. This makes them much easier to detect than, say, a random person who decides to buy a gun — especially since the US government has devoted an extraordinary amount of resources since 9/11 toward disrupting plots abroad.

“15 years without a mass-casualty attack is more than luck,” Dan Byman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University, writes for Vox. “The US government’s counterterrorism efforts — in the form of military strikes on terrorist infrastructure, CIA-led international intelligence cooperation, FBI domestic investigations, and Department of Homeland Security border security — deserve much of the credit.”

Later in the paper, Nowrasteh breaks down the numbers by visa status — whether the terrorist was here as a student, for example, or had a green card. The 9/11 attackers mostly came in on tourist visas.

But perhaps the most interesting breakdown concerns refugee visas. Despite all of the panic from Trump and Breitbart News about ISIS members sneaking in as refugees, this kind of thing is incredibly rare (partly because of the intense vetting that refugees, and Syrian refugees in particular, are put through). The odds of being killed by a refugee terrorist? One in 3.6 billion.

Yes, we're in grave danger from people like this:

It's nothing but bigotry. But you knew that.


Who the hell are they trying to kid?

by digby

If you want to see some fatuous nonsense, take a look at this 100% phony, unctuous language from the Trump-Bannon administration's Executive Order on the ban:
In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including "honor" killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Message: they care.

I won't say it's Orwellian because it's really beyond that. It's just plain, unadulterated bullshit on every level.

I don't know how you fight this to be honest. All I can do is continue to say that this is nuts. They commonly practice bigotry and hatred toward their fellow Americans on the basis of race, gender and sexual orientation. I think we know that. They are, in fact, oppressing people on the basis of their religion with this ban. And they are using the language of universal human rights to do it.

ICYMI: the inside story on how the ban came about

by digby

From CNN: chaos. But they don't care.
When President Donald Trump declared at the Pentagon Friday he was enacting strict new measures to prevent domestic terror attacks, there were few within his government who knew exactly what he meant.

Administration officials weren't immediately sure which countries' citizens would be barred from entering the United States. The Department of Homeland Security was left making a legal analysis on the order after Trump signed it. A Border Patrol agent, confronted with arriving refugees, referred questions only to the President himself, according to court filings.

Saturday night, a federal judge granted an emergency stay for citizens of the affected countries who had already arrived in the US and those who are in transit and hold valid visas, ruling they can legally enter the US.

Trump's unilateral moves, which have drawn the ire of human rights groups and prompted protests at US airports, reflect the President's desire to quickly make good on his campaign promises. But they also encapsulate the pitfalls of an administration largely operated by officials with scant federal experience.

It wasn't until Friday -- the day Trump signed the order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days -- that career homeland security staff were allowed to see the final details of the order, a person familiar with the matter said.

The result was widespread confusion across the country on Saturday as airports struggled to adjust to the new directives. In New York, two Iraqi nationals sued the federal government after they were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and 10 others were detained as well.

In Philadelphia, a Syrian family of six who had a visa through a family connection in the US was placed on a return flight to Doha, Qatar, and Department of Homeland Security officials said others who were in the air would be detained upon arrival and put back on a plane to their home country.

Asked during a photo opportunity in the Oval Office Saturday afternoon about the rollout, Trump said his government was "totally prepared."

"It's working out very nicely," Trump told reporters. "You see it at the airports. You see it all over. It's working out very nicely and we're going to have a very, very strict ban, and we're going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years."

The policy team at the White House developed the executive order on refugees and visas, and largely avoided the traditional interagency process that would have allowed the Justice Department and homeland security agencies to provide operational guidance, according to numerous officials who spoke to CNN on Saturday.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Department of Homeland Security leadership saw the final details shortly before the order was finalized, government officials said.

Friday night, DHS arrived at the legal interpretation that the executive order restrictions applying to seven countries -- Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen -- did not apply to people with lawful permanent residence, generally referred to as green card holders.

The White House overruled that guidance overnight, according to officials familiar with the rollout. That order came from the President's inner circle, led by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. Their decision held that, on a case by case basis, DHS could allow green card holders to enter the US.

There had been some debate whether green card holders should be even allowed to board international flights. It was decided by the Department of Homeland Security they could fly to the US and would be considered on a case-by-case basis after passing a secondary screening.

But the guidance sent to airlines on Friday night, obtained by CNN, said clearly, "lawful permanent residents are not included and may continue to travel to the USA."

As of Saturday afternoon, Customs and Border Protection continued to issue the same guidance to airlines as it did Friday, telling airlines that fly to the US that green card holders can board planes to the US but they may get extra scrutiny on arrival, according to an airline official.

Before the President issued the order, the White House did not seek the legal guidance of the Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department office that interprets the law for the executive branch, according to a source familiar with the process.

White House officials disputed that Sunday morning, saying that OLC signed off and agency review was performed.

A source said the creation of the executive order did not follow the standard agency review process that's typically overseen by the National Security Council.

Separately, a person familiar with the matter said career officials in charge of enforcing the executive order were not fully briefed on the specifics until Friday. The officials were caught off guard by some of the specifics and raised questions about how to handle the new banned passengers on US-bound planes.

Regarding the green card holders and some of the confusion about whether they were impacted, the person familiar with the matter said if career officials had known more about the executive order earlier, some of the confusion could have been avoided and a better plan could be in place.

Administration officials also defended the process Saturday. They said the people who needed to be briefed ahead of time on the plane were briefed and that people at the State Department and DHS who were involved in the process were able to make decisions about who to talk and inform about this.

Bannon and Miller were running point on this order and giving directives regarding green cards, according to a Republican close to the White House.

But even after the Friday afternoon announcement, administration officials at the White House took several hours to produce text of the action until several hours after it was signed. Adviser Kellyanne Conway even said at one point it was not going to be released before eventually it did get sent out.

Administration officials also seemed unsure at first who was covered in the action, and a list of impacted countries was only produced later on Friday night, hours after the President signed the document at the Pentagon.
Trump says "it's working beautifully." So it's working beautifully.


They ain't done yet

by digby

They may decide to keep us in too 

Think Progress: 
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told NBC reporter Chuck Todd on Sunday that the ban could be expanded in the future to include countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Egypt.

Todd asked Priebus why the executive order — which prevents citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering the country for 90 days and suspends the admission of refugees for 120 days (and suspends refugees from Syria indefinitely) — did not include a handful countries that have faced terror attacks in the recent past, or countries that have fielded terrorists who have carried out attacks on American soil. Fifteen of the 19 terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks came from Saudi Arabia — a country not covered by Trump’s recent ban, despite the fact that 9/11 is explicitly cited in the order as a reason for the ban.

“We are concerned about the issue, Chuck, and that’s why we put the seven countries initially into the executive order that were identified previously by Congress, by both the House and the Senate and the Obama administration as being the seven most watched countries in regard to harboring terrorists,” Priebus said. “But you bring up a good point. Perhaps other countries needed to be added to an executive order going forward.”

If they do this it's hard to see how they can avoid adding Europe to the ban. How many terrorist attacks have Europe and Britain endured? Dozens. And there has actually been a terrorist attempt by a British national, Richard Reid the shoe bomber.

It sounds ridiculous, but if they continue on this path, if there is a major terrorist attack, one could see the borders closed and travel restricted for Americans.

It looks more and more like the endgame might be for that "wall" both literal and figurative, to keep us in as much as keep "them" out. Trump's Real Americans would be fine with that.

Week One

by digby

Also had a huge temper tantrum over the size of his inauguration crowd, insisted he actually won the popular vote and ordered an investigation into non-existent voter fraud. His press people went to the press lied to their faces and called it "alternative facts." Oh and re-instituted and expanded the global gag rule.

Hugh Hewitt said on Meet the Press this morning that he didn't repeal DACA or the Russian sanctions in the first week so he's really a moderate.

Mr Popularity

by digby

Los Angeles Women's March, Jan 21, 2017

In case you were wondering, he's slipping rapidly:
President Donald Trump’s net approval rating dropped by eight points in his first week in the Oval Office, according to daily polls tracked by Gallup.

On Sunday Jan. 22, two days after being sworn in, 45 percent of respondents said they disapproved of Trump’s job performance and 45 percent approved. By Friday Jan. 27, the percentage who disapproved rose to 50 and percentage who approved dipped to 42.

Trump has had a busy but rocky first week in office, signing off a series of executive orders laying out major policy changes like a temporary ban on refugees and on citizens from seven majority-Muslim nations. He had a friendly meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, but raised tensions with Mexican president Enrique Peña-Nieto over his insistence that Mexico will pay for a southern border wall that the country does not want.

Other national surveys show similarly low approval ratings for the President. Forty-four percent of respondents to a Quinnipiac survey released Thursday said they disapproved of his handling of the presidency thus far, while only 36 percent approved.
He's made it clear that he's ONLY representing the so-called "forgotten" Americans --- the people who voted for him. He doesn't give a damn about any of the rest of us. The GOP congress might have to care eventually though. Maybe.

As for the popularity of the Muslim ban it's not quite as clear-cut. Throughout the campaign I was horrified to read polls showing that majorities were for it. And huge majorities of Republicans absolutely loved it. (Today, the polling suggests much of the country has mixed feelings.)

The support comes from this:

Type the word refugees into Facebook and some alarming “news” will appear about a refugee rape crisis, a refugee flesh-eating disease epidemic and a refugee-related risk of female genital mutilation — none of it true.

For the months leading up to the presidential election, and in the days since President Trump took office, ultraconservative websites like Breitbart News and Infowars have published a cycle of eye-popping stories with misleading claims about refugees. And it is beginning to influence public perception, experts say.

That shift was evident on Friday, as many Americans heralded the news that the Trump administration intended to temporarily curb all refugee resettlementand increase the vetting of Syrians.

“There really is a kind of cultural battle going on,” said Cecillia Wang, the deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union. “There’s no question that kind of xenophobic or anti-Muslim bias is infecting our political discourse about refugees.”

In speaking to pollsters about refugee resettlement, Americans tend to cite concerns about the country’s national security and economic health as their biggest worries, but they have also begun to point to disease or rape, experts say.

“This is something where the fear outruns the fact by a factor of 100 to 1 or even 1,000 to 1,” said William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who has tracked American sentiment about refugee resettlement over years. 
Infowars, July 6, 2016: Muslim Refugees Causing Rape Epidemic in the U.S.

Mr. Galston said the reaction to misleading coverage of refugees was reminiscent of the wave of measures introduced in state legislatures in recent years to stop the spread of Islamic law, despite scant evidence that it has been promoted anywhere. And while he doubted that alarmist stories about refugees were powerful enough to change people’s minds, he said the coverage played to existing fears and pushed mere differences of opinion into hyperpartisan outrage.

“I think their opinions are being intensified because the intensification of contrary sentiments is increasing polarization,” Mr. Galston said.
Breitbart, Aug. 2, 2015: Muslim Immigration Puts Half a Million U.S. Girls at Risk of Genital Mutilation

Outside his job as a police officer in Kansas, Okla., Mike Eason begins and ends his day with the television news — first CBS, then Fox, but never CNN, which he hates. Then, he scrolls through Facebook, where he’s read stories about refugees who commit violent crimes against women.

“It’s one of them Facebook things where you see Muslim men are attacking women, and stuff like that, and having no respect for them at all. I’ve got a real issue with that,” he said. “I see story after story after story, and I don’t know how true it is.”

Mr. Eason said he was skeptical of stories by unfamiliar websites like American News, but he reads them anyway. He commented on one that was posted to Facebook:
Freedom’s Final Stand, Oct. 3, 2016: Muslim Refugee Beats and Rapes Woman in North Dakota While Yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’

The post, which was shared 14,000 times, linked to a story about a case in which the authorities have not described the immigration status of the suspect, or said that he was a noncitizen. They have also discredited the claim that the man yelled “Allahu akbar” during the episode.

Nevertheless, the comment that Mr. Eason posted on the site, which he later said he could not remember making, garnered 87 likes. “If Muslims are taught hate by their religion,” he wrote, “then all Muslims are potential terrorists and should be treated accordingly. TRUMP will stop this kind of stuff.”

Sgt. Timothy Briggeman of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office in North Dakota, which is investigating the case, said such stories and responses often appeared on social media when a person in his jurisdiction with an Arabic-sounding name is charged with a crime.

“To be honest,” he said, “it’s embarrassing and it’s disheartening when anyone with a name of such ends up in the news — the comments that get thrown around. That seems to be the No. 1 remark: ‘Send them back and get rid of them,’ and, ‘We don’t need them.’”

Worries that refugees might be radicalized have also been amplified on the internet. This story was shared at least 1,400 times:
Conservative Tribune, Jan. 11, 2016: Al Qaeda Terrorists That Killed Soldiers Have Entered the U.S. Disguised as Refugees

And this one, posted by The Daily Caller, was shared more than 3,000 times, despite linking to a story with no evidence of a cover-up:
The Daily Caller, Dec. 7, 2015: Homeland Security Chair: Obama Covering Up Evidence ISIS Is Targeting Refugee Plan

The actual number of refugees who have become extremists in the United States has been estimated at between three and 12 — out of the more than 800,000 who have resettled here since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The online stories about refugees range from outright fake news to those based on a grain of truth and then stretched out of proportion. For example, the Breitbart article about genital mutilation was based on a study that estimated that a half-million women currently living in the United States have had their genitals mutilated. But most of them were immigrants who had fled here because of such treatment in their home countries.

Mr. Eason, the police officer in Oklahoma, said that part of the challenge for him in evaluating stories on the internet is that many are written with headlines that appeal to common sense.

He pointed to the vetting of Syrian refugees, for example, which is currently under review as part of Mr. Trump’s executive order. As The New York Times has reported, the process involves dozens of layers of evaluation and can last up to two years.

But Mr. Eason has read stories that suggest the conditions in Syria are so bad that it is impossible to verify refugees’ stories, which has made him worry that no level of scrutiny will be sufficient.

“They were saying with them coming from these areas, it’s hard to vet them,” Mr. Eason said. “And it makes sense.”

This is a big part of our problem. When George W. Bush was president he kept a lid on this stuff, his administration aware of how easily their voters could be persuaded to dive head first into racial and ethnic hatred. That's all gone now. And the right wing media has gone crazy with this stuff, despite the fact that whatever terrorist attacks have happened in America since 9/11 have been at the hands of homegrown terrorists not refugees or immigrants.

But don't worry, that fact is going to be made clear quite soon and Trump will take measures to deal with it.

*Oh, and by the way, Breitbart's former leader Steve Bannon is reportedly extremely influential, and has now been elevated to the National Security Council, while the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs are no longer permanent members.



Worldwide furor

by Tom Sullivan

Washington Post headline: Judge halts deportations as refugee ban causes worldwide furor

A second Sad! Saturday™ for President Donald J. Trump. Where to begin? Well, first by resisting the urge for a play on the word furor, but of course worldwide just sells it. You know the Post's headline writer laughed out loud typing that. The Post reports:

A federal judge in New York blocked deportations nationwide late Saturday of those detained on entry to the United States after an executive order from President Trump targeted citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Judge Ann Donnelly of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn granted a request from the American Civil Liberties Union to stop the deportations after determining that the risk of injury to those detained by being returned to their home countries necessitated the decision.
The fact that a woman issued the emergency stay made me laugh out loud. Donnelly was joined soon after by another court in Alexandria Virginia, and a ruling by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema. Double ouch. Donnelly was appointed by President Barack Obama. Brinkema, by President Bill Clinton, according to one report.

David Atkins reminded Twitter: "As judicial blocks on Trump reach SCOTUS, remember that 4-4 rulings affirm lower courts. Trump's SCOTUS pick must be delayed at all costs."

The ACLU was defiant:
“I hope Trump enjoys losing. He’s going to lose so much we’re going to get sick and tired of his losing,” ACLU National Political Director Faiz Shakir told Yahoo News shortly after the decision was announced.
The backlash to Trump's action was instant once reports of detentions circulated. Protesters jammed airports across the country. CNN reports that the policy did not receive the standard interagency vetting experienced White House teams use:
Friday night, DHS arrived at the legal interpretation that the executive order restrictions applying to seven countries -- Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen -- did not apply to people who with lawful permanent residence, generally referred to as green card holders.

The White House overruled that guidance overnight, according to officials familiar with the rollout. That order came from the President's inner circle, led by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. Their decision held that, on a case by case basis, DHS could allow green card holders to enter the US.
Guidance sent to airlines on Friday, however, stated "lawful permanent residents are not included and may continue to travel to the USA."
Before the President issued the order, the White House did not seek the legal guidance of the Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department office that interprets the law for the executive branch. A source said the executive order did not follow the standard agency review process that's typically overseen by the National Security Council, though the source couldn't specifically say if that included the decision to not have the order go through the Office of Legal Counsel.
Despite Trump's claims Saturday that the plan was "working out very nicely," there were reports of chaos on the ground:

And reports of cheers in the air:

Digby pointed yesterday to stories about some of the people the Department of Homeland Security began detaining at airports yesterday. Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider, a former US interpreter during the Iraq War, and Sameer Abdulkaleq Alshawi were released at JFK Airport late Saturday, but it was unclear how many others remained in custody at airports around the country. It was "chaos, confusion and fear," according to ABC News. Fuad Sharif and his family got pulled off a plane in Cairo and will have to return to Iraq. He received a visa because he risked his life for the U.S. government. "I am ruined now. I don't know what to do, because I sold my house. I quit my job. My wife had job and kids left school. And I paid $5,000 for the tickets. I don't know what to do, and tomorrow I am going back to Iraq. Really, really, really, I am in terrible situation."

Twitter exploded along with airport protests across the country. At New York's JFK Airport, protesters chanted into the night, "Let them in! Let them in!" and "When Muslims are under attack, what do we do? STAND UP FIGHT BACK!!"

New York's taxi drivers joined in by halting service:

A "bigoted, cowardly, self-defeating policy," writes the New York Times Editorial Board of Trump's order this morning:

The order’s language makes clear that the xenophobia and Islamophobia that permeated Mr. Trump’s campaign are to stain his presidency as well. Un-American as they are, they are now American policy. “The United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles,” the order says, conveying the spurious notion that all Muslims should be considered a threat. (It further claims to spare America from people who would commit acts of violence against women and those who persecute people on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation. A president who bragged about sexually assaulting women and a vice president who has supported policies that discriminate against gay people might well fear that standard themselves.)

The unrighteousness of this new policy should be enough to prompt the courts, Congress and responsible members of Mr. Trump’s cabinet to reverse it immediately. But there is an even more compelling reason: It is extremely dangerous. Extremist groups will trumpet this order to spread the notion, today more credible than ever, that the United States is at war with Islam rather than targeting terrorists. They want nothing more than a fearful, recklessly belligerent America; so, if anything, this ban will heighten their efforts to strike at Americans, to provoke yet further overreaction from a volatile and inexperienced president.

But Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders who was convicted in December for inciting hate against Muslims thinks Trump's action is all good. His invitation to the White House is likely on its way.

Just two months ago, Trump called Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to express support for the city's 2024 Olympic bid. This morning, Trump's support may just have cost the city the Olympics:

The International Olympic Committee votes in September whether to award sport’s biggest event to LA, Paris or Budapest, and one of the officials who will decide their fate condemned on Saturday what was among Trump’s first acts since taking office.

IOC member Richard Peterkin, of St Lucia, posted on Twitter: “Trump’s Executive Order on immigration is totally contrary to Olympic ideals. For him, collective responsibility trumps individual justice.”
Rank amateurs. Emphasis on rank.

In case you are near a large airport, there are protests planned today across the country. Protesters in Denver reportedly thanked police for keeping them safe before leaving. Iraq War combat veteran Raf Noboa y Rivera replied, "This is key. Getting the security services to identify with us & be friendly with us will help forestall repression & make much harder."

I'm guessing he never figured he'd have to write those words about the country for which he risked his life.