Monthly Archives: February 2017

A Declaration of Independence

From Declaration17; see commmentary and analysis there and sign on to endorse the Declaratiion

Declaring Independence from the Policies and Practices of President Trump

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary and appropriate for the People to disassociate themselves from the policies and practices of the President, they should publicly state the reasons that impel them to declare their opposition.

We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all persons are created equal. That they possess certain unalienable and natural rights; that among these are life, freedom, justice, liberty, equality, fairness and opportunity. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted. That the President and the Administration are bound to protect, preserve and defend these rights, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed, the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the laws of the nation. That when, as now, the policies and practices of the President and the Administration become destructive of these truths, it is the right of the People to declare their independence from the policies and practices of the President and the Administration.

When the President implements and/or advocates policies and practices inconsistent with the Constitution, the rule of law, and fundamental American values, it is incumbent upon the People to speak out and to take action, individually and collectively, to oppose, challenge and resist, where necessary and appropriate.

Such has been the case of President Donald J. Trump and his administration since his inauguration on January 20, 2017.

The grievances listed below—actions taken by President Trump and his administration—raise serious legal and constitutional issues or undermine American values:

He signed the Executive Order (EO) entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The EO, among other actions, temporarily suspends the operation of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and indefinitely bans the entry of Syrian refugees; temporarily suspends entry of all persons from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen; and institutes exceptions and preferences for refugees who are members of a religious minority and claim religious persecution.

Numerous legal cases alleging such challenges to this EO were brought in federal courts around the country. In the days following the EO, at least seven federal district courts temporarily halted the implementation of the EO, in whole or in part, though one of the courts denied a motion to extend a temporary restraining order (“TRO”).

In State of Washington v. Trump, Judge James L. Robart granted a TRO on February 3, 2017. On February 9, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the Government’s emergency motion for a stay pending appeal of the TRO issued by Judge Robart. On February 16, 2017, the Government filed a brief with the Ninth Circuit stating, “Rather than continue this litigation, the President intends in the near future to rescind the order and replace it with a new, substantially revised executive order. …”

He signed the Executive Order entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.” The EO targets “sanctuary” jurisdictions, stating that it is the policy of the executive branch to “[e]nsure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal Funds, except as mandated by law” and “as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes[.]” Funding conditions not germane to the purpose of the funds raise a serious Tenth Amendment constitutional question.

He signed the Executive Order (EO) entitled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.” The EO declares that it is the policy of the executive branch for a wall along the southern border with Mexico to be built. The EO orders the Secretary of Homeland Security to design and construct the wall, to allocate funding to the wall, and to prepare a Congressional budget request. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 (“SFA”) is one of the statutes this EO relies on. The SFA authorizes the government to act as “necessary and appropriate.” The U.S. Supreme Court has held that under such a statute, “no regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly more harm than good.”

He has declared that his administration would “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, thereby enabling tax-exempt churches to endorse or oppose political candidates and to engage in lobbying activities. Courts have held that the Johnson Amendment does not violate the First Amendment.

His administration removed all references to Civil Rights from the White House website.
His administration removed all references to LGBT Rights from the White House website.
His administration removed all references to Climate Change from the White House website.
His administration removed all Spanish language content from the White House website.
His administration directed personnel at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services not to send out press releases or to create social media posts, blog entries or official website content and to consult with senior officials before speaking to the news media.

He told Congressional leaders three to five million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote in the November 8, 2016 Presidential election, citing little or no evidence and undermining the electoral process.

He believes that water-boarding is effective in eliciting information and has said that people at the highest levels of intelligence have informed him that torture in general is similarly effective.

He stated, “The press has become so dishonest … Many of our nation’s reporters will not tell you the truth …” and his Assistant and Chief Strategist stated that he considers the media to be the “opposition party” and that the media should “keep its mouth shut.”

He reacted to federal Judge James Robart’s granting a nationwide TRO regarding parts of the EO “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” in a twitter post stating, “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially take law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned.” President Trump also tweeted, “Just can’t believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and the court system.”

We, the undersigned, hereby publish and declare that we will oppose, challenge and resist, when necessary and appropriate, any and all policies and practices that are antithetical to the natural and constitutional rights of the People. These rights include but are not limited to, free speech, a free press, a right to protest and a right to redress grievances, probable cause for allegations of criminal activity, due process and equal protection under the law.

The United States of America was founded on the above-mentioned principles. They have always been aspirational—not a description of what is, but of what we must strive to become. Even in the face of fierce opposition, history has demonstrated our country’s willingness to strive for and make progress towards inclusion, equality, safety and opportunity for all. We are proud of America’s values. They lay the foundation of our collective pursuit of happiness. We cannot and will not give them up. The People have prevailed in the past, and will prevail once again, in upholding core American values.

February 23, 2017

The Uses of Outrage

by Paul Krugman, New York Times, FEB. 27, 2017

Are you angry about the white nationalist takeover of the U.S. government? If so, you are definitely not alone. The first few weeks of the Trump administration have been marked by huge protests, furious crowds at congressional town halls, customer boycotts of businesses seen as Trump allies. And Democrats, responding to their base, have taken a hard line against cooperation with the new regime.

But is all this wise? Inevitably, one hears some voices urging everyone to cool it — to wait and see, to try to be constructive, to reach out to Trump supporters, to seek ground for compromise.

Just say no.

Outrage at what’s happening to America isn’t just justified, it’s essential. In fact, it may be our last chance of saving democracy….

read more at New York Times

Trump’s Bizarre Usage of the Term “Enemy of the People”

dianeravitch, 7/26/17

Trump has embraced terminology that has long been stigmatized.

In his Inaugural Address, he boomed out his endorsement of “America First!” Did he know the historical use of that phrase? Did he know that it was used by isolationists in the late 1930s who wanted America to stay out of the war beginning in Europe? Did he know of its association with isolationism and anti-Semitism? Did Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, who allegedly wrote the speech, know?

Now he refers to the free press as “an enemy of the people.” Journalists who criticize him are vendors of “fake news” and thus “enemies of the people.” The New York Times says the phrase was frequently used by Stalin to demonized opponents as “enemies of the people.” …

read more at dianeravitch

Shoker! Rediculous chocker Trump attaks and dishoners English with ever-dummer spellings

bt Danba Milbank, Washington Post, 2/7/17

The English language was unprepared for the attak. It was destined to loose. And, inevitably, it chocked.

The Trump White House on Monday night, attempting to demonstrate that the media had ignored terrorism, released a list of 78 “underreported” attacks. The list didn’t expose anything new about terrorist attacks, but it did reveal a previously underreported assault by the Trump administration on the conventions of written English.

Twenty-seven times, the White House memo misspelled “attacker” or “attackers” as “attaker” or “attakers.” San Bernardino lost its second “r.” “Denmark” became “Denmakr.” …

read more at Washington Post

I will not “work together”…

The words below, all by Thomas J. Gray as posted on Facebook, 1/28/17, deserve to be widely read by all who wish to resist any of all of the current horrors being imposed upon this country and the world by the Usurper-in-Chief:

Some people are saying that we should give Donald Trump a chance, that we should “work together” with him because he won the election and “he is everyone’s president.” This is my response:

I will not “work together” to build a wall.
I will not “work together” to persecute Muslims.
I will not “work together” to shut out refugees from countries where we destabilized their governments, no matter how bad they might have been, so that we could have something more agreeable to our Oligarchy.
I will not “work together” to lower taxes on the 1%.
I will not “work together” to increase taxes on the middle class and poor.
I will not “work together” to help him line the pockets of himself and his cronies.
I will not “work together” to weaken (or demolish) environmental protection.
I will not “work together” to sell American lands to companies which then despoil those lands.
I will not “work together” to remove civil rights from anyone.
I will not “work together” to waste trillions more on our military when we already have the strongest in the world.
I will not “work together” to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.
I will not “work together” to slash funding for education.
I will not “work together” to increase the immunity the police already have when they kill people of color (or anyone!) who is unarmed and does not pose any real threat.
I will not “work together” to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
I will not “work together” to allow torture and “black ops” prison sites.
I will not “work together” to “take their oil.”
I will not “work together” to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.
I will not “work together” to eliminate the minimum wage.
I will not “work together” to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that Trump and his supporters are wrong on the facts.
I will not “work together” to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.
I will not “work together” to increase the amount of nations that have nuclear weapons.
I will not “work together” to put even more “big money” into politics.
I will not “work together” to violate the Geneva Convention.
I will not “work together” to give the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.
I will not “work together” to deny health care to people who need it.
I will not “work together” to increase the profits of the insurance companies.
I will not “work together” to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of an alleged “pre-existing condition.”
I will not “work together” to increase voter suppression.
I will not “work together” to normalize tyranny.
I will not “work together” with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators.

I will not “work together” with Donald Trump or anyone who supports him, as I view him as an enemy of this nation and the principles on which it was founded.

(n.b. There is also a derivative version, somewhat modified withoiut attribution and posted by Democratic White House 2020, also on Facebook, 2/12/17.)

Mental health professionals: “incapable of serving safely as president”

from Lance M. Dodes, M.D., 2/13/17

To The Editors of the New York Times

Charles M. Blow (column, nytimes.com, Feb. 9) describes Donald Trump’s constant need “to grind the opposition underfoot.” As mental health professionals, we share Mr. Blow’s concern.

Silence from the country’s mental health organizations has been due to a self-imposed dictum about evaluating public figures (the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 Goldwater Rule). But this silence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer.

Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).

In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.

Lance Dodes, M.D.

Joseph Schachter, M.D., Ph.D.

Susan Radant, Ph.D.

Judith Schachter, M.D.

Jules Kerman, M.D., Ph.D

Jeffrey Seitelman, M.D., Ph.D.

Henry Friedman, M.D.

Babak Roshanaei-Moghaddam, MD

David Cooper, Ph.D.

Dena Sorbo, LCSW, BCD

Joseph Reppen, Ph.D.

Ernest Wallwork, Ph.D.

Judith E. Vida, M.D.

Richard Reichbart, J.D., Ph.D.

Joseph Abrahams, M.D.

Leslie Schweitzer-Miller, M.D.

Cheryl Y. Goodrich, Ph.D.

Lourdes Henares-Levy, M.D.

Alexandra Rolde, M.D.

Dr. med. Helen Schoenhals Hart

Eva D. Papiasvili, Ph.D.

Mali Mann, M.D.

Phyllis Tyson, Ph.D.

Era A. Loewenstein, Ph.D.

Marianna Adler, Ph.D.

Henry Nunberg, M.D.

Marc R. Hirsch, Ph.D.

Lora Heims Tessman, Ph.D.

Monisha Nayar-Akhtar, Ph.D.

Victoria Schreiber, M.A., L.M.S.W.

Penny M Freedman, Ph.D.

Merton A. Shill, JD. LLM., PhD.

Helen K. Gediman, Ph.D.

Michael P. Kowitt, Ph.D.

Leonard Glass, M.D.

Trump Is Violating the Constitution

From David Cole, The New York Review of Books, 2/23/17. Here is the center of his argument about the “emoluments” forbidden by the US Constitution:

Two days after inauguration, his administration announced that Trump would not release the returns even if an audit were complete. Trump has somewhat gleefully asserted that the conflict-of-interest rules don’t apply to the president. He mixed together personal business and official diplomacy during several meetings and conversations with foreign officials during the transition. And despite his widespread private holdings in commercial real estate, condominiums, hotels, and golf courses here and around the world, he has refused to follow the lead of his predecessors by selling his assets and placing the proceeds in a blind trust. Instead, he has transferred management, but not ownership, of the Trump Organization. He retains his ownership in full. And he has assigned operational responsibility not to an independent arm’s-length trustee, but to his sons, Eric and Donald Jr.

As a result, President Trump almost certainly began violating the Constitution the moment he took the oath of office.

read the article at The New York Review of Books