Here's the Sunday edition of Marty Merzer's "I'm-not-making-any-of-this-up midday Minority President update ™"
Merzer, a retired Miami Herald staff writer is compiling these reports from his well-stocked bunker somewhere in Northern Florida. (Read his previous updates here and here.)
(Posted on the New Yorker magazine's website after Merzer posted today's update on Facebook is this chilling bit of info on Trump's Muslim ban: "The Presidential order that Donald Trump signed on Friday barring all refugees and citizens from seven Muslim countries from travel to the United States was reviewed by virtually no one. The State Department did not help craft it, nor the Defense Department, nor Justice. Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, “saw the final details shortly before the order was finalized,” CNN reported."
And also this on White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who Merzer mentions in his update below: "On Saturday, the President announced three more executive actions, one of which changed the composition of his National Security Council. Trump reserved one seat on the Council for his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, the former chairman of the right-wing Web site Breitbart News, who has no experience in foreign relations. Trump also limited the roles of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of National Intelligence, with a memo that said they will only attend meetings when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.” The erasure of the line between national security and Bannon’s politics, which have included an embrace of white nationalism, was deeply troubling.")
In the meantime, let Marty know how much you enjoy and appreciate his efforts by sending him a note. (Contact him here.) ..... or by sending him a Facebook friend request.
By Marty Merzer
Here is Sunday’s I'm-not-making-any-of-this-up Minority President midday update:
- First, there is no mandate for any of what follows. Here are the numbers: 231,556,622 Americans were eligible to vote in 2016; 200,081,377 Americans were registered to vote in 2016; 136,629,046 Americans cast presidential votes in 2016; 62,979,879 Americans voted for the Minority President.
- Hence, the Minority President was elected by 46.1 percent of the Americans who cast presidential ballots, 31.4 percent of the Americans who were registered to vote, and 27.2 percent of the Americans who were eligible to vote. That last figure translates roughly into the applicable percentage of American adult citizens. This means that only about one of every four American adults voted for the Minority President.
- As you probably know, two federal judges — one in Brooklyn, one in Virginia — issued orders late Saturday blocking part, but not all, of the Minority President’s unprecedented anti-Muslim immigration orders. The courts’ actions, which represented the first judicial response to the Minority President’s overreach, likely will be appealed by the White House and could reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, at many airports, border agents reportedly were ignoring the judges' orders Sunday morning and continuing to enforce the new immigration bans.
More on this below, but:
- In a less noted but particularly ominous executive order, the Minority President removed the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence from the National Security Council's Principals Committee and added to it his consigliere -- white supremacist, alleged anti-Semite Stephen Bannon. As its name suggests, the National Security Council weighs top-level matters of national security and foreign policy. It is a key element of the nation's defense infrastructure. Bannon now has a higher status there than the nation's top military and intelligence officers.
- Until recently, Bannon ran the neo-Nazi, fake news, conspiracy website Breitbart. Last week, Bannon and the Minority President escalated their campaign of intimidation against the Washington Post and the New York Times, the two legacy print operations still sufficiently muscular and still sufficiently devoted to journalistic principles to properly monitor the White House.
- Bannon and extreme right-winger Stephen Miller reportedly wrote the Minority President's inaugural address and many of the recently issued executive orders. Several years ago, Bannon was quoted as saying: "I'm a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
- At 8 a.m. Sunday, the Minority President went at it again, tweeting this: “Somebody with aptitude and conviction should buy the FAKE NEWS and failing @nytimes and either run it correctly or let it fold with dignity!” Again, the NY Times is not failing - its circulation has increased since the election. Again, fake news is not factual news that doesn’t please you.
- Though the White House has been unfurling a lot of camouflage and propelling a lot of chaff, it is important to remember this: Still unresolved is the issue of election tampering on behalf of the Minority President by the FBI. Still unresolved is the issue of election tampering on behalf of the Minority President by Russia and its WikiLeaks front operation. Still unresolved is the magnitude of the connections and relationships between Russia and the Minority President and between Russia and those close to the Minority President.
- The Minority President spoke Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has destabilized neighboring nations, bombed children and other civilians in Syria, and allegedly has condoned the murders of journalists and other critics or opponents. The two reportedly enjoyed the chat immensely and found that they had a lot in common.
Returning to the immigration issue:
- This morning, on Fox News Sunday, White House Minister of Propaganda Kellyanne Conway said: “Anyone who has been detained…can expect to be released.” If they are not deemed to be a threat. On Saturday, she tweeted: "Get used to it.... and he's just getting started."
- Republican gnome Rudy Guiliani said in a interview on Fox "News" that the immigration policy was, indeed, intended as a Muslim ban and then was covered with a fig leaf of bureaucratese.
- Before the judicial orders late Saturday, large and spontaneous protests erupted outside international airports all over the country, again signaling the lack of a sweeping mandate for the actions taken by the Minority President and those around him. In some cases, combat veterans brought their children to the protests. "My daddy fought for the freedom of all," one sign said.
- In numerous acts of resistance, many people of principle and integrity (and courage) rose to the occasion.
- The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted: "Lawyers are stationed at airports across U.S. If you know someone entering country, tell them not to sign anything before talking to lawyer."
- The office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted a photo showing men and woman sitting on the floor of a terminal, hunched over laptops: "LITERALLY on the ground. Volunteer lawyers are working pro-bono on a Saturday preparing habeus corpus petitions for detainees at JFK." (Photos are attached to this post.)
- Also in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told transportation officials to allow protesters unimpeded travel to the airport. "I have ordered the Port Authority to reverse its decision regarding the JFK AirTrain," he said. "The people of New York will have their voices heard."LITERALLY on the ground. Volunteer lawyers are working pro-bono on a Saturday preparing habeus corpus petitions for detainees at JFK. pic.twitter.com/ddUeQBi7AY— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) January 28, 2017
- In San Francisco, as demonstrators flocked to the airport known as SFO, the BART public transportation issued a wonderfully subversive tweet: "You can take BART to all kinds of weekend events - also, direct service to SFO is running great right now."
- The human toll was incalculable and often unbearably touching. Iranian refugee M. Tayfeh, a Ph.D candidate and budding entrepreneur, said he suddenly was unable to travel from Canada to a business opportunity in San Diego. He tweeted: "Called Delta airlines, told the lady about my story. I was very angry. She apologized for Trump. Then [she] cried. I was not angry anymore."
- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other universities advised international students to postpone travel home or anywhere abroad.
- In Tallahassee, psychologist Sara Hart tweeted the MIT announcement and this at 9:26 a.m. Saturday: "@floridastate is there a statement like this I just haven't seen? Our international students and faculty are scared right now." She tweeted this at 6:49 p.m. Saturday: "Still no word @floridastate? I have an Iranian passport holding grad student. What do I tell her?"
- Constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe tweeted: "Trump must be impeached for abusing his power and shredding the Constitution more monstrously than any other President in American history."
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.” Someone on Twitter called Trudeau the new leader of the Free World.
- Eliot A. Cohen, who served Republican President George W. Bush in the State Department, tweeted: "This isn't normal. Its not humane, its not thought through, its not necessary, its not wise, its not decent and above all, its not American."
- Television writer David Slack tweeted: "Remember sitting in history, thinking 'If I was alive then, I would’ve….' You’re alive now. Whatever you’re doing is what you would’ve done."
- Melania Trump, who is an immigrant, still has not filed for divorce.
- And so on...