President Clusterfrack

I said this in the comments on my last post, but wanted to put it above the fold. This is from Charles Cooke on the refugee ban:

The way that this was rolled out showed a staggering incompetence by the Administration. According to detailed reports, this was crafted by Rudy Giuliani as a way to get a Muslim ban through the side door. It was put out without vetting by the Office of Legal Counsel or the Department of Homeland Security (according to DHS, they were literally discussing on the phone when Trump signed the order). I know there are those of you who will say, “Good! Fuck the bureaucrats!” But those bureaucrats exist for a reason: to prevent screwups like this; to execute the President’s orders within the bounds of the law and the Constitution. The initial order exempted green card holders, but racist conspiracy-theorist Steve Bannon and Trump confidant Steve Miller overrode that. It was rolled out on a Friday with minimal instructions given to customs agents.

As a result, there was total chaos. Border agents had no idea what they were supposed to be doing and were detaining people at random, trying to pressure them into surrendering their green cards and asking them questions about politics. People in transit — including children, people visiting sick relatives, PhD students, volunteers who helped us in Iraq — were suddenly thrown into an unknown situation. Airports erupted in protests and confusion. There are even reports of federal agents refusing to comply with the court order to cease or the later DHS Secretary’s order to let in green card holders.

The engine of state is vast and complicated. You can’t just issue executive orders like you’re playing an online Be The President game. Our federal agents and agencies need what the hell they are supposed to be doing. Citizens, permanents residents and immigrants need to know what the rules are, not have the rug jerked out from them when they get off of a plane.

Had Trump said something like this: “One week from now, we will temporarily stop immigration from the seven countries that Obama designated as problems. Green card holders, dual citizens and those in transit will be allowed in. After we review our vetting procedures, we will consider whether or not to lift the ban,” people would have opposed it. But there would not have been the chaotic angry scene we saw this weekend.

(Trump is on Twitter saying that if he’d done this, a bunch of “bad hombres” would have rushed to get in under the ban. This is a monumentally ignorant thing to say. It is a very long and time-consuming process to get visas from those countries — to say nothing of booking travel. You can’t do it in a week. This a fantasy concocted to give post facto justification to his incompetence.)

Trump’s first week has been marred by these kind of unforced errors. And it may get worse, with him having elevated Bannon to the NSC in place of the DNI and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Is this what we elected? Is this what we want? Chaos, protests and confusion? A President who rules by executive orders put together by crackpots? Four (or God help us eight) years of blunders, mistakes and Constitutional violations?

Maybe some people want that. But don’t call it conservatism.

Comments are closed.

  1. AlexInCT

    The engine of state is vast and complicated. You can’t just issue executive orders like you’re playing an online Be The President game. 

    Man, if Obama had only not been allowed to do this, instead of being encouraged to do so and given cover when he did it, with the bad being swept under the rug and hidden, I wonder if Trump would have been able to carry on doing so. Now however, this practice is a huge problem, even though he promised he would do this. Or maybe the problem is with the fact that he promised to do this and did it? I for one am not going to take people that say if he had only vetted it properly that they would have been OK with it seriously. They are full of shit and would have been throwing the same tantrum, now only ahead of it trying to undermine it in the first place. But sure, act as if you have no agenda all you want.

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  2. AlexInCT

    Alex, it’s gonna be so much fun watching your increasingly desperately defenses of this incompetent nincompoop.

    Go for broke man. At least you have stopped pretending you are anything but a lib finally.

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  3. Aussiesmurf

    Alex’s word salad didn’t even make any sense.  I challenge anyone to diagram the first sentence.   Or, later in the post, you’ve got this :

    “now only ahead of it trying to undermine it in the first place”.

    What??

    Hal’s point is quite clear – the backlash against these executive action of the US President would have been much lessened if the restrictions on US entry had been enacted in an efficient and co-ordinated way, with clear attempts to minimise disruption for certain categories of people.  This is a pretty self-evident point, but Alex engages in some kind of deranged “Obama did it too, but now people are against it even though Trump said he would do it” rant.

    The fact that Trump previewed this kind of discriminatory policy doesn’t mean people have no right to be opposed to it.  You were there when many people spoke up against him originally, right?

    But on Alex’s planet, the following things are always terrible :

    Anything that moderates or [US definition of] liberals support.
    Any newspaper articles that criticise right-wing policies (all of same are the product of ‘DNC operatives with bylines’)
    Any use of funds by government besides military expenditure and MAYBE law enforcement (but not enforcement of regulations – that’s terrible).
    Any scientific evidence regarding climate change (which is a conspiracy, fostered by a worldwide cabal of scientists (from different countries and speaking different languages), government officials, mathematicians and many, many other people)
    Literally anything that Pres Obama did.  Depending on the day of the week, Obama was either a blithering affirmative action nincompoop who could barely tie his shoes, or a criminal mastermind, who engaged in a diabolical conspiracy to get elected (and re-elected) but somehow forgot in his eight year tenure to take away everyone’s guns and to bring in his One World Government.
    All other countries of the world, who are all a bunch of socialist or communist hellholes that are insanely jealous of the United States.
    Any restrictions on the sale of firearms, because….well, just because.
    Any criticism of Alex, which makes you a ‘butt buddy’ with other liberals, a ‘libtard’ a ‘moron’ or other delightful terms.
    Michelle Obama, because the way you show your dislike for her is to call her ‘Moo-chelle’, because you’re twelve years old, I guess.
    Elites, which is never really defined.  It can’t mean all rich people, because Alex think many of them are awesome.  If I had to say, Alex appears to think that it means ‘people with an advanced education, who are therefore less (?) qualified to comment on political matters’
    Any individual who receives any financial benefit from the government.  It is apparently morally wrong for them to vote in their financial interest, although it is perfectly appropriate for right-wingers to vote in favour of promised tax cuts that benefit them disproportionately.  Corporations can receive massive subsidies from government as long as they have nothing to do with renewable energy.

     

    Anyway.  Back to work.

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  4. stogy

    Awesome list, Aussiesmurf (had me laughing and nodding), but if you could figure out a way to add “collectivists” and “Marxists”, then it would really be complete.

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  5. Christopher

    Man, if Obama had only not been allowed to do this, instead of being encouraged to do so and given cover when he did it, with the bad being swept under the rug and hidden, I wonder if Trump would have been able to carry on doing so.

    A friend of mine on Facebook put it best:

    **Obama Executive Order**

    Libertarians: This is an outrage! This is an unconstitutional power grab!

    The right: This is an outrage! This is an unconstitutional power grab!

    **Trump Executive Order**
    Libertarians: This is an outrage! This is an unconstitutional power grab!
    The right: But…but…Obama did it first

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  6. Aussiesmurf

    @CM You’re low-balling it, surely.  I get the idea that Alex thinks that everyone who has ever died in European or Russian history died due to communism / socialism / cultural marxism

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  7. stogy

    This just came up in my feed, for anyone still thinking that Trump might be on the right track in terms of foreign policy and national security. Apparently, in the new makeup of the NSC the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been demoted to an advisory role (only on request), and replaced by Bannon and perhaps Kuschner (?), both people with very limited experience in national security matters:

    The president compounded this error of structure with an error of judgment that should send shivers down the spine of every American and our allies worldwide. Even as he pushed away professional security advice, Trump decided to make his top political advisor, Stephen Bannon, a permanent member of the NSC. Although the White House chief of staff is typically a participant in NSC deliberations, I do not know of another situation in which a political adviser has been a formal permanent member of the council.

    […]
    Indeed, rumors are already circulating that Bannon and senior adviser Jared Kushner are the go-to people on national security issues for the administration, again despite the lack of experience, temperament or institutional support for either. Kushner has been given key roles on Israel, Mexico and China already. History suggests all this will not end well, with rivalries emerging with State, Defense, the Trade Representative and other agencies.
    Combine all this with the president’s own shoot-from-the-lip impulses, his flair for improvisation and his well-known thin skin. You end up with a bad NSC structure being compromised by a kitchen cabinet-type superstructure and the whole thing likely being made even more dysfunctional by a president who, according to multiple reports,does not welcome advice in the first place — especially when it contradicts his own views.

     

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  8. stogy

    Nothing to worry about here. Just keep your eyes firmly… closed!

    http://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/military-situation-in-eastern-ukraine-worsens/

    The Ukrainian foreign ministry expressed deep concern on Monday night (30 January) over the “intensification of the Russian-terrorist forces in Donbas”. Other reports, however, speak of a “creeping offensive” of Ukrainian forces in an attempt to create “new facts on the ground”.
    According to astatement, for the last two days, Russian forces carried out massive attacks across the contact line using all available weapons, including Grad rockets, 122 mm and 152 mm artillery, 82 and 120mm mortars, and tanks, all of which are prohibited by the Minsk agreements. The Russian weapons killed 8 Ukrainian soldiers and have left 26 wounded, the statement adds.

    But then it could also be the Ukrainians that are firing things up:

    Frustrated by the stalemate in this 33-month war of attrition, concerned that Western support is waning, and sensing that U.S. President Donald Trump could cut Kyiv out of any peace negotiations as he tries to improve fraught relations with Moscow, Ukrainian forces anxious to show their newfound strength have gone on what many here are calling a “creeping offensive.”
    Observers say the Ukrainians appear to be trying to create new facts on the ground, while officials and commanders insist they are fighting to stop the flow of contraband into separatist-controlled territories and fending off attempts by separatist groups that call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” to seize more territory

    Lucky with a President and his a competent team situated in the…. er situation room deep within the White House, we can have confidence that none of this will get out of hand. He’ll stand up to Putin, and talk the Ukrainians down… won’t he?

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  9. AlexInCT

    Tin foil hats people. That and anti-depressants/anti-psychotic drugs. I am buying stock there because considering the libs today, this is one heck of a lucrative business.

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  10. stogy

    Tin foil hats people. That and anti-depressants/anti-psychotic drugs. I am buying stock there because considering the libs today, this is one heck of a lucrative business.

    Such an eloquent defense of the decision to exclude the head of the Chiefs of Staff from the situation room during a potential crisis, and bring in the highly unqualified.

    Once again, I am overwhelmed by your superior intellect.

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  11. AlexInCT

    Such an eloquent defense of the decision to exclude the head of the Chiefs of Staff from the situation room during a potential crisis, and bring in the highly unqualified.

    WTF is the head of the Chief of staff? Trump’s chief of staff is Preibus. Are you saying they will only let him in if he is headless during a crisis and if not replace him with what? The people that surrounded Obama or Hillary’s staff?

    Like I said: I need to buy more stock in anti-depressants/anti-psychotic drugs, and look at starting a tin foil hat corporation. That’s where the money is at these days.

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  12. AlexInCT

    How do you fuck up relationships with Australia?  That’s like the tutorial level on the Be the President game.

    Are you saying Turnbull isn’t just one of those libs pissing their pants that the status quo might be going the way of the Dodo? I guess I learned something new.

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  13. stogy

    WTF is the head of the Chief of staff?

    Sorry, I was referring to my earlier comment on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. No longer in the situation room unless invited.

    Which might explain the clusterfrack that just happened in Yemen?

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  14. CM

    Are you saying Turnbull isn’t just one of those libs pissing their pants that the status quo might be going the way of the Dodo? 

    The ‘status quo’ was decades and decades of Australia standing very closely with America, including spilling blood in all her wars. You’d struggle to find a closer ally (certainly closer than NZ).

    Also Turnbull’s (or “Trumble’s” as Spicer appears to think) party is the ‘right’ in Australia, as opposed to the other main party (Labour) which is the ‘left’ (yes it’s a little more complicated than that because governments have recently required coalitions to form).

    The ‘status quo’ was US allies being able to trust and respect US leadership. You may make all sorts of claims about Obama (despite mocking anyone who used to being up Bush as context when talking about Obama) but that’s simply not supported by any strong evidence. Trump seems determined to risk tearing down and trashing the post-WW2 western alliance for no good reason, and certainly no gain. Particularly when he’s already provided the best recruitment ISIS could have possibly hoped for.

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