Survey finds 2 million non-citizens illegally registered to vote

8179175517_59499213ce_zA 2013 survey of Hispanics in America found that of the 56% who were here illegally, 13% said they were registered to vote.  If that percentage holds today, that would mean that as many as to 2 million Hispanic non-citizens are on the voting rolls.

The survey did not ask how many actually voted, though for non-citizens registering itself is illegal.  The findings are a mathematical extrapolation, though this is common in this kind of research.

These findings would support the findings of a much-disputed Old Dominion study that concluded that over a million non-citizens voted illegally in the last election.  It also gives credence to President Trump’s claim of widespread voter fraud.

The numbers are significant, though not enough to give Trump the popular vote.  But they refute the claim constantly being made by Democrats, the media, and fact-checkers that there is “no” evidence of illegal voting. [Read more…]

Are U.S. spies staging a “soft coup” against the Trump administration?

6357759479_0d038eded2_oPresident Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn lost his job because someone leaked records from his phone being monitored, recording him telling the Russian ambassador that sanctions against his country would be eased.  Such phone intercepts are the work of U.S. intelligence agencies or possibly the FBI.  They are top secret.  It’s a crime to release bugging transcripts.  Nevertheless, someone in the intelligence bureaucracy gave them to a reporter.  Something similar evidently happened with the President of the United States, no less, with the leak of phone conversations between Donald Trump and world leaders, such as the embarrassing account of his spat with the Prime Minister of Australia.

Evidently, our national intelligence agency–or at least some individuals that work for it–are working to undermine our elected president and his administration.

Whatever you think of Donald Trump, this is dangerous.  At least two reports have come out on the subject, excerpted and linked after the jump.  Eli Lake calls what happened to Michael Flynn a “political assassination.”  He says that while the FBI might have been tapping his phone as part of the larger investigation of the Russian connection with Trump’s administration, Flynn was planning to reform the intelligence bureaucracy, which would be a motive for trying to get rid of him.  Damon Linker, who opposes both Trump and Flynn, nevertheless is highly concerned about the usurpation of an elected government by our shadowy spy world, accusing it of trying to stage a “soft coup” that is a threat to our democracy. [Read more…]

Trump’s national security advisor resigns

Michael_T_FlynnMichael Flynn, President Trump’s national security advisor, has resigned.  He was caught negotiating with the Russian ambassador over sanctions before taking office.  It is illegal for a private citizen to do so.  Flynn also lied to Vice-President Pence about it.

The pressure for him to leave evidently came from Trump himself.

Embattled White House national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned Monday night, two sources tell CNN.

His departure came just after reports surfaced the Justice Department warned the Trump administration last month that Flynn misled administration officials regarding his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians. [Read more…]

Chicken sacrifices and overturning the travel ban

512px-Santeria_sacrificeWe now have an answer questions about the appeals court’s legal reasoning in throwing out President Trump’s  seven-nation travel and immigration ban.  The judges did so, in part, by invoking his campaign speeches that he would ban entry to America for all Muslims.  This shows, they said, that the intent of the ban was to discriminate against Islam.  Even though nearly all of the world’s Muslims were unaffected by the ban and can still enter the country.  Just not citizens of seven countries with a history of terrorism.

Politicians say things all the time without their being relevant to interpreting actual laws.  Are we to interpret JFK’s “ask not what your country can do for you” in such a way that it limits welfare applications?

But the courts were following a Supreme Court precedent.  In 1993, a Florida city passed an ordinance forbidding the slaughter of animals.  Lawmakers at the time themselves said that this would be a way to get rid of the Santeria religion, which practices the sacrifice of chickens and goats.  The court ruled that the ordinance forbidding the public killing of animals was a violation of the Santeria followers’ freedom of religion.  So this, in the minds of appeals court justices, justifies rejecting the seven-nation ban, because of what Trump said about all Muslims.

But these cases are not remotely similar, are they?  Not being allowed to sacrifice chickens to prevent all Santerias in the community from practicing their religion.  Not allowing citizens of seven nations into the USA does not affect all Muslims, as Trump was originally saying.  Trump clearly changed his earlier focus from religion to national origin.  If he had listed all Muslim nations, religion being the basis for categorizing them, yes, that would be religious discrimination.  But here nations associated with terrorism is the criterion.

Whether you are pro-immigration or anti-immigration, for Trump or against him, can’t we agree that this legal reasoning is specious?

Photo:  Santeria sacrifices by James Emery from Douglasville, United States (Santeria Sacrifice) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Appeals court rejects Trump’s immigration ban

SeaTac_Airport_protest_against_immigration_ban_02 (1)The lower court that blocked President Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven terrorist-plagued countries was upheld by an appeals court.  Next stop, more than likely:  the Supreme Court.

I understand that lots of people are pro-immigration and feel compassion for refugees from some of these dangerous countries.  But I’m curious about the legal reasoning.  As I understand it, the executive branch has the statutory authority to regulate immigration, including excluding citizens of nations on the basis of national interest.  And I can’t see how this ban is discriminatory.  This isn’t the ban on Muslims that Trump proposed during the campaign.  Most of the world’s Muslims can come in, just not those from the seven countries with a history of terrorism.

But Trump is thwarted, which makes him angry.  And, as is his custom, he responds to criticism by “hitting back,” slamming the “so-called judge” that delivered the initial decision, which does not help his case with the judicial branch.  Even his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, was bothered by that.

UPDATE:  Here is the statue in U.S. law, which was not even referenced in the judges’ ruling:

“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

According to this analysis, the judges’ ruling focused on two issues:  (1) the administration’s contention that the executive order was “unreviewable” by a court, which was predictably rejected; (2) that the president’s campaign statement about not allowing Muslims into the country invalidated what would otherwise be a lawful order. (That makes no sense whatsoever!)

UPDATE:  Trump now says he will not at the present time take the case to the Supreme Court.  He will pursue it in lower courts.  And he may rewrite the order so that it passes legal muster.

Photo:  SeaTac Airport protest against immigration ban by Dennis Bratland (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Should tax-exempt churches be allowed to preach politics?

37_Lyndon_Johnson_3x4In 1954, President Lyndon Baines Johnson pushed through a law that would revoke the tax-exempt status of churches and other non-profit organizations if they get involved with politics.  President Donald Trump wants to get rid of that law.

What do you think?  Granted that an overtly political focus can make a church this-worldly instead of attending to the Kingdom of Heaven.  But shouldn’t churches have the right to teach whatever they please as a matter of religious liberty?  And doesn’t political speech deserve special protection from the Constitution?  But can you foresee problems if the Johnson amendment were to be thrown out (such as churches being used to launder political contributions)?

 

Photo of Lyndon Baines Johnson by Arnold Newman, White House Press Office (WHPO) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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