Friday, February 3, 2017

What Trump's travel order should be compared to

Sar Shalom

One of my coworkers was once in the Air Force where he worked at a missile silo in combat targeting. For launching missiles, only officers have sufficient authorization to select a target at which to direct a missile, while for the most part only enlisted personnel have the knowledge of how to operate the systems that deliver the missiles to any specified target. Therefore, combat targeting requires pairing enlisted personnel with officers in order to have both the authorization to launch a missile to a specified target and the technical capacity to do so.

Occasionally, the Air Force would send inspectors to rate the capability of the officers to deliver missiles to their targets. Invariably, when the inspectors would come, this coworker of mine was the enlisted airman paired with the officer in order to give the officer the best chance of passing. However, one time that the inspectors came, he was paired with an officer who insisted that he knew all about what he needed to do. Since this officer insisted he knew what he was doing, my coworker simply let him go ahead, and wound up being the only officer to fail when assisted by him.

Donald Trump is essentially that officer. As I have explained before, I can respect decisions reached through a reasonable decision-making process, even ones with which I would disagree or have unease. However, as is clear in Trump's travel order, he thoroughly bypassed the inter-agency process and disregarded everyone in Congress, including those in his party, instead relying exclusively on "security specialists" like Steve Bannon to create his order. The result is an order that disrupts such threats as graduate students conducting medical research and a YU student evacuating the remaining Jews from Yemen while alienating those whose cooperation we need to actually do anything effective about the threat. It is true that there are threats in the world. However, we have procedures in this country to confront these threats and we have professionals, both uniformed and civilian, in government service who deal with assessing whether or not there is some inadequacy in those procedures and, if so, what additional procedures could be implemented that would achieve the greatest improvement in security for the least disruption in societal function.

Like the relationship between that officer to my coworker, Trump is in a position of authority over those professionals. Also like that officer, he lacks the competence to do what he claims is his objective and should rely on those who have the competence. Unfortunately for this country, unlike the officer, there is no inspector overseeing Trump with the power to impose any consequences for his disregard of the expertise of those who know about attacking this nation's challenges.


  1. Once you realize two things, everything becomes clear: Trump is Putin's bitch and the only thing Republicans care about is "more money for the rich." Everything else is for show. Trump doesn't care about safety, the ban is a sop to the hates and racists who take great pleasure in demeaning and scapegoating others. Trump doesn't care about the Ukraine, Israel or anything else, his personal wealth is his only goal.

    1. Joseph, you may very well be correct, but you are asking us to take your views on faith.

      "...his personal wealth is his only goal."

      The thing is, I do not know that to be true and I feel pretty confident that you do not actually either.

      There is no question to my mind that there are plenty of things that should give us considerable pause concerning Trump, but as people continue to spit hatred at the guy for everything that they can possibly find it becomes harder and harder to discern legitimate criticisms from group-think and mass-hysteria.

    2. Putin's bitch? That is a very revealing comment. The hatred in the heart perhaps showing?

      And when it comes to the rich, it's the Democrats who occupy the more lofty status these days, though they pretend the opposite.

      Rank Name Wealth
      1 Bill Gates $81 billion
      2 Jeff Bezos $67 billion
      3 Warren Buffett $65.5 billion
      4 Mark Zuckerberg $55.5 billion

      Never knew a Democrat that refused money.

    3. joseph: You make a completely ad hominem case. The responses show the consequences of doing so.

      oldschool: "Never knew a Democrat that refused money."
      Explain Gates and Buffett asking for their taxes to be raised.

      Jacob: want a scarecrow? You seem to have a talent for jousting with strawmen.

    4. Once you realize two things, everything becomes clear: Obama was the Ayatollah's bitch and the only thing Democrats care about is "more money for their rich donors" at home, and in the Clinton's case, from abroad. Everything else is for show. Obama didn't care about safety, daylight between the US and Israel, support for BLM, were sops for haters and racists who take great pleasure in demeaning and scapegoating others. Obama didn't care about the Ukraine, "I'll have more flexibility after the elections" (to Putin), Israel or anything else, his personal legacy was his only goal.
      Thanks, Joseph. I never realized how easy it is to do what you do!

    5. As if raising their taxes matters. What's one less billion? No one prevents them from sending more to the Treasury. You may not believe Democratic and progressive affluence abounds, but it does, despite the claims of concern for normal people, so long as they are Democrats.

      You seem to miss the whole point that Democrats these days love to attack others and claim virtue, yet they engage in the same or worse behavior than they criticize.

    6. The two assumptions (D good, R bad, + victimology scale)
      are widely help by Progressives. That's my straw man?
      You can plug in any one into this model, and you'll
      get an accurate prediction of how they are viewed by Progressives.
      Try Milo.
      Is there a better explanation?

    7. Did anybody read the dossier? Trump to get 19% equity in the Russian oil company, now we learn that Russia has subsidized the sale of 19.3% of its oil company to some unknown shell company in the Caymans. Wonder who that could be?

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. Read the whole thing. It is pure speculation. Could as well be a movie script.

      You are now pushing fake news. Is this actually what you find a credible source, the dossier?

      You are the one actually reacting to Russian strings. Pavlovian. After Ben Rhodes, the fiction writer turned national security expert, lied so much to you about Iran and Israel, who could blame Russia for feeding fake news that progressives would swallow whole and create division and weaken American society. Oh, and that guy Soros to fund the "grassroots" and groups like BLM and J Street.

      The treatment of Trump and the deplorables is worse than anything he or they have done. Fascist behavior has become commonplace and the purveyors are largely to the left of center. The false outrage of what Trump says in private while flaunting the same in public with hate filled rants and violence.

      Trump said why he ran. You just refuse to hear it. Trump already made his fortune. Just because Clinton and soon Obama monetize the their public service, you seem to believe it's the norm. Integrity!

      One thing must be said for Trump. He certainly knows how to get his detractors to obsess over silly things that hardly matter. The media, too. He is clearly in your heads.

      In spite, he has overcome all odds and prevailed, unlike his predecessor, who faced no adversity and skated through. Maybe he is smarter and more effective that you imagine. And everyday he must continue to defend against people that believe he is Hitler.

      It's two weeks since he's been in office. Ever considered giving him a chance? Or will you keep looking for anything to stigmatize while pretending not to know that the leaders you admire are more corrupt and inept?

  2. Most of Liberal Supergod FDR's initiatives in Great Depression were quickly overturned by the Supreme Court for more or less the same reason - that while the theory was sound, the rollout was rushed and flawed. This is why FDR attempted to pack the court with more than 9 flunkies.

  3. This post, like others that detract from DJT, speaks with an authority that is unfounded.

    The temporary review brought forth by the EO is completely Constitutional and there is precedent.

    If the author wants to buy in to the narrative put forth by those that will oppose anything Trump does, fine. But so much is projection from people that know less than they imply, and who have been proven wrong at every turn.

    1. He can submit it for interagency review. Almost certainly, doing so would have resulted in modifications that would have prevented the side-effects mentioned and others.

      Learn to distinguish between types arguing about process and arguing about the final decision.

      "The temporary review brought forth by the EO is completely Constitutional and there is precedent."

      That has absolutely NOTHING to do with the argument I presented. Was there input from military or security professionals you think I'm ignoring? Do you have a reason to believe it should not be needed?

      To borrow your method of argumentation, all you care about is guarding DJT against objections. You don't care that I raise the issue you DJT's non-consultation with experts. You only care that I use that as a basis to criticize his action.

    2. Side effects? Or do you mean hysteria.

      Maybe you should do some learning yourself, or be more clear. Maybe if you were more interested in the substance, rather than process, you'd be better served. Spare the condescension.

      You do not get to decide what is relevant to the discussion either. You really don't know if there was or was not input, despite your implication that there was none and that Trump is incompetent.

      Your last paragraph is incomprehensible.

    3. A Yemenite Jew being detained after coming back from a trip to evacuate Jews from Yemen is hysteria? An Iraqi-Yazidi politician being unable to pick up an award in Washington is hysteria? Researchers being unable to attend conferences here is hysteria?

      As far as input that Trump took in making his decision, I will need some time to find what I've come across before regarding the professionals. However, I do have something fairly explicit from the Republicans in Congress:

      With the apparent exception of General James Mattis, Trump’s terrific pick for Secretary of Defense, Trump wants to hear from as few experienced people as possible who might moderate his positions. How else to explain his appointment of Steve Bannon—publisher of the incendiary Breitbart website that recently included a “Black Crime” section—to the National Security Council while giving the boot to the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? “Who needs to hear from intelligence or military professionals,” Max Boot sarcastically writes in Foreign Policy, “when you can hear from the publisher of Breitbart?”

      Everyone from the far-left to the Trump’s Republican critics are angry. “In the future,” said Michael McCaul, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, “such policy changes should be better coordinated with the agencies implementing them and with Congress to ensure we get it right—and don’t undermine our nation’s credibility while trying to restore it.”

      “It would have been smarter to coordinate with us,” Virginia Representative Dave Brat said in an interview with The Atlantic. “They could have done a better job announcing how the complexities were going to work in advance.” Brat, by the way, isn’t a Democrat or a Never Trump conservative. He is a right-wing populist and one of the president’s political allies. At least for now, anyway.

      “Ha! That’s my formal response,” said an anonymous Republican Congressman to The Atlantic about White House Spokesman Sean Spicer’s claim that House and Senate Republicans wrote Donald Trump’s immigrant and refugee policy. “There was precisely zero coordination with us on the drafting of this executive order.”

      Michael Totten,

    4. "A Yemenite Jew being detained after coming back from a trip to evacuate Jews from Yemen is hysteria? An Iraqi-Yazidi politician being unable to pick up an award in Washington is hysteria? Researchers being unable to attend conferences here is hysteria?"

      Yes. A little bit. And Trump is not the first President to make some clumsy moves early on. And this is not because I just love him so gosh darned much, but because, yes, there is quite a bit of unhinged hysteria.
      Note the current meme: "Muslim ban" That's quite irrational in itself when 87% of Muslims worldwide are in no way affected, and non-muslims in those 7 countries are.
      You've presented several links and quotes from those critical of his policy, including an anonymous Republican, but none from those who are supportive.

    5. As for calling it a "Muslim ban:" Strictly speaking, the order is not a ban against Muslims, and note that I did not raise that objection. However, in the words of Michael Totten (who is on Abu Yehuda's blogroll) pointed out, Giuliani said in an interview that the order is what he crafted when Trump asked for something that would function like a ban on Muslims that would pass legal muster. Totten continued: "That is why thousands of protesters are streaming into airports all over the country, and that is why so many of them are calling Trump’s executive order a Muslim ban even though it is not. What the president wants is as obvious as a skyscraper to everyone who isn’t plugging their ears. Trump didn’t want to hear from any experienced professional who might convince him to water down his executive order. Rudy Giuliani's team had already gone far enough" (italics in original).

      Find me someone who knows about assessing security threats from potential entrants to this country who says something in support of the order, and I'll include it. Someone who just says "there are really bad people out there, Trump understands that" does not qualify.

  4. Do we know this?:

    "... as is clear in Trump's travel order, he thoroughly bypassed the inter-agency process and disregarded everyone in Congress, including those in his party, instead relying exclusively on "security specialists" like Steve Bannon to create his order."

    I think that we can all agree it was rolled out a bit clumsily resulting in some inconvenience for a number of people.

    Your argument is dependent on the idea that Trump bypassed the "inter-agency process."

    I am not exactly sure what that is or just who he conferred with beyond his inner circle.

    1. "I am not exactly sure what that is"
      Start with

      Got to head home for Shabbos now.

    2. "Do we know this?:

      "... as is clear in Trump's travel order, he thoroughly bypassed the inter-agency process and disregarded everyone in Congress"

      Regarding Congress, I posted the quotes proving in in response to oldschool. I recall reading something suggesting that that is the case regarding the executive agencies, but it will take some time for me to find it.

    3. Found something of an answer. In

      DHS Secretary John Kelly was not asked for a legal review of the order.

      Steve Heifetz, who served in security roles in the three previous administrations said, "The details of it were not thought through."

      James Carafano, a vice president of the Heritage Foundation and Trump transition team member said that little was shared with career officials of DHS.

      James Mattis was not consulted.

      As for my resting my case on the procedures, contrast that to Andrew Exum's response to the recent operation in Yemen:

    4. "Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said he was fully aware that President Trump would suspend travel from seven majority-Muslim countries Tuesday.

      Pushing back on a New York Times report that he learned about the order while on a Coast Guard plane when an aide saw Trump signing it on television, the retired Marine general said he "knew it was coming."

      "I knew he was going to sign an order about a year and a half or two years ago before he became the president-elect," he said, adding later that he "certainly didn't learn about it on an airplane."

      "James Jay Carafano, a vice president of the conservative Heritage Foundation who is a member of Trump’s transition team, said the firewall was erected because of a fear of leaks, the New York Times reports."

      The NYT? Really? They hate the guy.

  5. As a matter of US law there are few if any obstacles to unilateral un-appealable executive controls on who can and cannot enter the US. There isn't any Congressional role unless you're talking about actual immigration laws per se. But this is not a law or a quota. It's a hold to an existing law. And that is something the SC has rarely if ever seen fit to overrule or reverse on. The only time the SC typically gets involved is WHEN the Congress gets involved if for example, they erected a law that named a specific person which is a Bill of Attainder, or, if Congress decided to pass a law that itself overrode an existing law or EO that barred entry or re entry of a specific group of people to the US - - think Gitmo in this instance.

    But broadly, unless a law actually said 'No Irish, No Jews No Chinese' there's no Constitutional basis for fighting a law that points to countries of origin. And historically Congress until now has resisted landing on the wrong side of history on this issue. Would we expect to see Congress attempting to pass a law NOT barring Wehrmacht soldiers from emigrating to America during WW2 or Chinese nationals in North Korea during the Korean war or even a law barring any second look at Russian Army officers wanting to 'emigrate' to the US today?


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