Trump’s Nominee to the Supreme Court: Who is Neil Gorsuch?

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee to the United States Supeme Court. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, 10th Circuit file photo.

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to the United States Supeme Court. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, 10th Circuit file photo.

President Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, who is currently on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, for the Supreme Court.

Judge Gorsuch, an Episcopalian, has written a book in opposition to assisted suicide entitled, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. In the book, he said “Human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

Note the caveat he put in that statement, “by private persons.” I interpret that to mean that he supports the death penalty.

I think it is important that he wrote this book in 2006, which means he was not writing it to promote himself vs a vs this nomination.

He is married to his college sweetheart and only wife, Marie Louise. Mrs Gorsuch is originally from Britain. Judge Gorsuch referred to his wife as “Louise” in both his book and during the announcement of his nomination. The couple has two daughters.

I am particularly glad that Judge Gorsuch is a solid family man who has two daughters. I’m hopeful that this will give him an understanding of issues that pertain to violence against women and women’s human rights, in particular sexual assault and rape.

Judge Gorsuch has been roundly endorsed by such heavyweights as Robert P George, who has this to say:

Gorsuch and I have worked together on academic projects, most notably when I was the editor of the Princeton University Press book series for which he wrote “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia” — an impressive, deeply scholarly book that was praised by bioethicists (including the liberal Daniel Callahan and the conservative John Keown) as well as academic lawyers — in 2006. The book critically engages the work of scholars (including myself) across a range of disciplines and representing a spectrum of viewpoints. Gorsuch went the extra mile in ensuring that his treatment of the work of other writers — especially those with whom he disagrees — was sympathetic and impeccably accurate. His sheer fair-mindedness was the thing I found most striking about working with him.

In selecting Gorsuch, President Trump has without question fulfilled his pledge to appoint a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia — a conservative intellectual leader. Even those of us who refused to get on the Trump train after his nomination have to acknowledge that. But one respect in which Gorsuch is unlike Scalia is that he is not fiery or pugnacious. Rather, his demeanor is scholarly — one might even say bookish. He is not a fierce debater. I recall being with him at an academic conference at which a graduate student contradicted and challenged a comment he had made. Far from bristling or even returning fire, he encouraged the student to develop her argument further, graciously acknowledging merit in the point she had made.

The one blot on his record that I have found is not his blot, but his mother’s. His mother, Anne Gorsuch, was the first woman appointed to head the EPA. She was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. During her tenure, she evidently ignored the agency’s statutory mandate by refusing to hear cases, and limiting regulations on toxic waste disposal.

She was later cited for Contempt of Congress for her refusal to submit documents. She resigned her position as head of the EPA.

This concerns me because of the heavy concentration of oil industry advocates in President Trump’s cabinet appointees. Oil independence is a matter of national security. But we must develop our oil resources with the common good as our goal, which means we must balance the demands of the oil industry with public needs and the public good. That will not happen if the industry has too much control of governance.

I haven’t written about this yet, and now is not the time. But I wanted to add that caveat to this round-up of praise for Judge Gorsuch’s nomination as a bit of a warning. When it comes to people, all our idols have clay feet of one sort or the other.

Having said that, I, for one, intend to get behind Judge Gorsuch’s nomination. Hopefully, the Senate will conduct reasonable and intelligent hearings on his fitness without the usual craziness.

 

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Read it Yourself. Here’s the Full Text of Trump’s Immigration Order.

Photo Source: White House web site file photo.

Photo Source: White House web site file photo.

This is the full text of President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration. In my opinion, it is poorly drafted and incomplete. It is also getting into areas that would be better handled by legislative action. It is not enough to just say that the people who oppose what you do are all evil and bad. You need to do a good job yourself. I am putting it here so you can read it, and decide for yourself. How could it have been worded to avoid the unintended consequences that have cropped up in its wake.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements

EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –

BORDER SECURITY AND IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT IMPROVEMENTS

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.) (INA), the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (Public Law 109 367) (Secure Fence Act), and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (Public Law 104 208 Div. C) (IIRIRA), and in order to ensure the safety and territorial integrity of the United States as well as to ensure that the Nation’s immigration laws are faithfully executed, I hereby order as follows:

Section 1.  Purpose.  Border security is critically important to the national security of the United States.  Aliens who illegally enter the United States without inspection or admission present a significant threat to national security and public safety.  Such aliens have not been identified or inspected by Federal immigration officers to determine their admissibility to the United States.  The recent surge of illegal immigration at the southern border with Mexico has placed a significant strain on Federal resources and overwhelmed agencies charged with border security and immigration enforcement, as well as the local communities into which many of the aliens are placed.

Transnational criminal organizations operate sophisticated drug- and human-trafficking networks and smuggling operations on both sides of the southern border, contributing to a significant increase in violent crime and United States deaths from dangerous drugs.  Among those who illegally enter are those who seek to harm Americans through acts of terror or criminal conduct.  Continued illegal immigration presents a clear and present danger to the interests of the United States.

Federal immigration law both imposes the responsibility and provides the means for the Federal Government, in cooperation with border States, to secure the Nation’s southern border.  Although Federal immigration law provides a robust framework for Federal-State partnership in enforcing our immigration laws    and the Congress has authorized and provided appropriations to secure our borders    the Federal Government has failed to discharge this basic sovereign responsibility.  The purpose of this order is to direct executive departments and agencies (agencies) to deploy all lawful means to secure the Nation’s southern border, to prevent further illegal immigration into the United States, and to repatriate illegal aliens swiftly, consistently, and humanely.

Sec. 2.  Policy.  It is the policy of the executive branch to:

(a)  secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border, monitored and supported by adequate personnel so as to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and acts of terrorism;

(b)  detain individuals apprehended on suspicion of violating Federal or State law, including Federal immigration law, pending further proceedings regarding those violations;

(c)  expedite determinations of apprehended individuals’ claims of eligibility to remain in the United States;

(d)  remove promptly those individuals whose legal claims to remain in the United States have been lawfully rejected, after any appropriate civil or criminal sanctions have been imposed; and

(e)  cooperate fully with States and local law enforcement in enacting Federal-State partnerships to enforce Federal immigration priorities, as well as State monitoring and detention programs that are consistent with Federal law and do not undermine Federal immigration priorities.

Sec. 3.  Definitions.  (a)  “Asylum officer” has the meaning given the term in section 235(b)(1)(E) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(1)).

(b)  “Southern border” shall mean the contiguous land border between the United States and Mexico, including all points of entry.

(c)  “Border States” shall mean the States of the United States immediately adjacent to the contiguous land border between the United States and Mexico.

(d)  Except as otherwise noted, “the Secretary” shall refer to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(e)  “Wall” shall mean a contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous, and impassable physical barrier.

(f)  “Executive department” shall have the meaning given in section 101 of title 5, United States Code.

(g)  “Regulations” shall mean any and all Federal rules, regulations, and directives lawfully promulgated by agencies.

(h)  “Operational control” shall mean the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.

Sec. 4.  Physical Security of the Southern Border of the United States.  The Secretary shall immediately take the following steps to obtain complete operational control, as determined by the Secretary, of the southern border:

(a)  In accordance with existing law, including the Secure Fence Act and IIRIRA, take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border;

(b)  Identify and, to the extent permitted by law, allocate all sources of Federal funds for the planning, designing, and constructing of a physical wall along the southern border;

(c)  Project and develop long-term funding requirements for the wall, including preparing Congressional budget requests for the current and upcoming fiscal years; and

(d)  Produce a comprehensive study of the security of the southern border, to be completed within 180 days of this order, that shall include the current state of southern border security, all geophysical and topographical aspects of the southern border, the availability of Federal and State resources necessary to achieve complete operational control of the southern border, and a strategy to obtain and maintain complete operational control of the southern border.

Sec. 5.  Detention Facilities.  (a)  The Secretary shall take all appropriate action and allocate all legally available resources to immediately construct, operate, control, or establish contracts to construct, operate, or control facilities to detain aliens at or near the land border with Mexico.

(b)  The Secretary shall take all appropriate action and allocate all legally available resources to immediately assign asylum officers to immigration detention facilities for the purpose of accepting asylum referrals and conducting credible fear determinations pursuant to section 235(b)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(1)) and applicable regulations and reasonable fear determinations pursuant to applicable regulations.

(c)  The Attorney General shall take all appropriate action and allocate all legally available resources to immediately assign immigration judges to immigration detention facilities operated or controlled by the Secretary, or operated or controlled pursuant to contract by the Secretary, for the purpose of conducting proceedings authorized under title 8, chapter 12, subchapter II, United States Code.

Sec. 6.  Detention for Illegal Entry.  The Secretary shall immediately take all appropriate actions to ensure the detention of aliens apprehended for violations of immigration law pending the outcome of their removal proceedings or their removal from the country to the extent permitted by law.  The Secretary shall issue new policy guidance to all Department of Homeland Security personnel regarding the appropriate and consistent use of lawful detention authority under the INA, including the termination of the practice commonly known as “catch and release,” whereby aliens are routinely released in the United States shortly after their apprehension for violations of immigration law.

Sec. 7.  Return to Territory.  The Secretary shall take appropriate action, consistent with the requirements of section 1232 of title 8, United States Code, to ensure that aliens described in section 235(b)(2)(C) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(2)(C)) are returned to the territory from which they came pending a formal removal proceeding.

Sec. 8.  Additional Border Patrol Agents.  Subject to available appropriations, the Secretary, through the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, shall take all appropriate action to hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents, and all appropriate action to ensure that such agents enter on duty and are assigned to duty stations as soon as is practicable.

Sec. 9.  Foreign Aid Reporting Requirements.  The head of each executive department and agency shall identify and quantify all sources of direct and indirect Federal aid or assistance to the Government of Mexico on an annual basis over the past five years, including all bilateral and multilateral development aid, economic assistance, humanitarian aid, and military aid.  Within 30 days of the date of this order, the head of each executive department and agency shall submit this information to the Secretary of State.  Within 60 days of the date of this order, the Secretary shall submit to the President a consolidated report reflecting the levels of such aid and assistance that has been provided annually, over each of the past five years.

Sec. 10.  Federal-State Agreements.  It is the policy of the executive branch to empower State and local law enforcement agencies across the country to perform the functions of an immigration officer in the interior of the United States to the maximum extent permitted by law.

(a)  In furtherance of this policy, the Secretary shall immediately take appropriate action to engage with the Governors of the States, as well as local officials, for the purpose of preparing to enter into agreements under section 287(g) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1357(g)).

(b)  To the extent permitted by law, and with the consent of State or local officials, as appropriate, the Secretary shall take appropriate action, through agreements under section 287(g) of the INA, or otherwise, to authorize State and local law enforcement officials, as the Secretary determines are qualified and appropriate, to perform the functions of immigration officers in relation to the investigation, apprehension, or detention of aliens in the United States under the direction and the supervision of the Secretary.  Such authorization shall be in addition to, rather than in place of, Federal performance of these duties.

(c)  To the extent permitted by law, the Secretary may structure each agreement under section 287(g) of the INA in the manner that provides the most effective model for enforcing Federal immigration laws and obtaining operational control over the border for that jurisdiction.

Sec. 11.  Parole, Asylum, and Removal.  It is the policy of the executive branch to end the abuse of parole and asylum provisions currently used to prevent the lawful removal of removable aliens.

(a)  The Secretary shall immediately take all appropriate action to ensure that the parole and asylum provisions of Federal immigration law are not illegally exploited to prevent the removal of otherwise removable aliens.

(b)  The Secretary shall take all appropriate action, including by promulgating any appropriate regulations, to ensure that asylum referrals and credible fear determinations pursuant to section 235(b)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1125(b)(1)) and 8 CFR 208.30, and reasonable fear determinations pursuant to 8 CFR 208.31, are conducted in a manner consistent with the plain language of those provisions.

(c)  Pursuant to section 235(b)(1)(A)(iii)(I) of the INA, the Secretary shall take appropriate action to apply, in his sole and unreviewable discretion, the provisions of section 235(b)(1)(A)(i) and (ii) of the INA to the aliens designated under section 235(b)(1)(A)(iii)(II).

(d)  The Secretary shall take appropriate action to ensure that parole authority under section 212(d)(5) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)) is exercised only on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the plain language of the statute, and in all circumstances only when an individual demonstrates urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit derived from such parole.

(e)  The Secretary shall take appropriate action to require that all Department of Homeland Security personnel are properly trained on the proper application of section 235 of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (8 U.S.C. 1232) and section 462(g)(2) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 279(g)(2)), to ensure that unaccompanied alien children are properly processed, receive appropriate care and placement while in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security, and, when appropriate, are safely repatriated in accordance with law.

Sec. 12.  Authorization to Enter Federal Lands.  The Secretary, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Interior and any other heads of agencies as necessary, shall take all appropriate action to:

(a)  permit all officers and employees of the United States, as well as all State and local officers as authorized by the Secretary, to have access to all Federal lands as necessary and appropriate to implement this order; and

(b)  enable those officers and employees of the United States, as well as all State and local officers as authorized by the Secretary, to perform such actions on Federal lands as the Secretary deems necessary and appropriate to implement this order.

Sec. 13.  Priority Enforcement.  The Attorney General shall take all appropriate steps to establish prosecution guidelines and allocate appropriate resources to ensure that Federal prosecutors accord a high priority to prosecutions of offenses having a nexus to the southern border.

Sec. 14.  Government Transparency.  The Secretary shall, on a monthly basis and in a publicly available way, report statistical data on aliens apprehended at or near the southern border using a uniform method of reporting by all Department of Homeland Security components, in a format that is easily understandable by the public.

Sec. 15.  Reporting.  Except as otherwise provided in this order, the Secretary, within 90 days of the date of this order, and the Attorney General, within 180 days, shall each submit to the President a report on the progress of the directives contained in this order.

Sec. 16.  Hiring.  The Office of Personnel Management shall take appropriate action as may be necessary to facilitate hiring personnel to implement this order.

Sec. 17.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 25, 2017.

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Pope Francis Highlights the Role of Mary in 2017

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/

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5 Quick Takes on the Trump Travel Ban

 

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, by Fibonacci Blue https://www.flickr.com/photos/fibonacciblue/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, by Fibonacci Blue https://www.flickr.com/photos/fibonacciblue/

For what it’s worth, I support the idea of immigration reform, including limiting immigration from countries with which we are engaged in hostilities.

I do think the roll-out on the Executive order which touched off all these demonstrations was amateurish, as was the wording of the order itself. It had way too much sloppy, off-the-cuff verbiage, where unintended consequences could and did occur.

Pushback on something like this is to be expected. That’s why presidents are usually not so careless in how they draft these things. Governance takes a lot more thought and hard work than sloganeering. That’s because governance is the real deal, with real consequences on real people’s lives.

Here are a few bits of reportage on the topic of the recent immigration executive order. I chose them based on the fact that they were not trying to scandalize, but were simply reporting the situation. I am putting them before my readers in an effort to encourage you to think and let think.

Every side has another side, and good laws are made by respecting that other side and listening to what they have to say, then revising if there is merit to the criticisms.

That’s called thinking, and working toward the common good.

From the Telegraph, Trump’s travel ban explained in 90 seconds.

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Another objective bit of reporting from CBS.

Trump supporter, defends travel ban on British TV.

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Former Iraqi interpreter for US speaks in support of the ban.

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A calm and open discussion without name-calling and craziness from PBS.

 

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Taking Off Until Monday.

I’m taking a long weekend. I’ll try to be back Monday.

Here’s hoping you have a great March for Life, a wonderful weekend, and a Holy Sabbath day.

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Pope Francis’ Tweet for the Day

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/

“I love to repeat that Christian unity is achieved by walking together, by encounter, prayer and preaching the Gospel.” Pope Francis

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Come On News Folk, Cover the March for Life

I love this one. The Hunters for Life sign is so Okie. I love Oklahoma. Copyright: Diocese of Tulsa. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved.

This is a photo of the Tulsa March for Life a couple of years ago. I love this one. The Hunters for Life sign is so Okie. I love Oklahoma. Copyright: Diocese of Tulsa. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved. 

Every year we march. Tens of thousands of us march for life in the cold and the mush, year after year. We march in Tulsa and San Francisco and Washington, DC.

And every year the news folk ignore us. This unprofessional black out is a big part of why so many pro life people do not believe them when they try to tell truth about other things. They have destroyed their own credibility with these people by decades of denial of what the marchers themselves have experienced, which is a huge outpouring of protest of Roe and love for the unborn.

This has alienated and bred mistrust in generations of pro life people concerning the mainstream media.

mrcNewsBusters is trying to do something about this. They have issued a call for the news networks to cover this year’s annual March for Life. Hopefully, it will bear fruit.

From mrcNewsBusters:

RESTON, VA – The Alliance for Fair Coverage of Life Issues announces its second annual #CoverTheMarchcampaign today, calling on the media to cover the 2017 March for Life and cover it fairly. The annual event held in Washington, D.C. draws hundreds of thousands of peaceful participants from all over the country. This year’s March for Life, Friday, January 27, marks the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand.

The Alliance for Fair Coverage of Life Issues, a coalition of 25 pro-life organizations and two members of Congress was formed in 2016 in response to the consistently poor coverage media outlets have given to important, newsworthy life issues. Last year’s censorship of the March for Life (which received a total of only 35 seconds of coverage from the broadcast networks) confirmed the media’s contempt for those who don’t share their liberal social agenda. Since the media covered the pro-abortion “Women’s March on Washington” this year for 4,518 seconds, they should give comparable coverage to the hundreds of thousands of peaceful pro-life marchers.

Brent Bozell, President of the Media Research Center:
“This Friday is a true test for the media. They provided massive, and fawning coverage of the pro-abortion ‘Women’s March’ just four days ago. The media’s coverage of the ‘March for Life’ in two days, both in time and tone, will tell you everything you need to know about their support for abortion. With media’s trust in the basement, they will be exposed for the partisan hacks they are if they don’t give pro-lifers the same amount of coverage. I’m not holding my breath.”

 

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Trump Signs Order to Build Border Wall

One way to bypass Customs; crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Brian Ralphs https://www.flickr.com/photos/birdbrian/

One way to bypass Customs; crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Brian Ralphs https://www.flickr.com/photos/birdbrian/

President Trump signed an executive order today to build a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. I haven’t read this order, but I question whether or not he can do this without legislation from Congress, since it involves what sounds like direct apportionment of monies and lawmaking.

Presidential executive orders are supposed to be directives concerning the enforcement and interpretation of existing law. The Supreme Court has ruled that they may not step over into actual one-man lawmaking.

This is often a fine point, and it may not matter here. There may very well be a statute on which President Trump has hung this order. However, even if there is, I am wondering how the wall will be built without Congressional appropriations.

As I said, I can’t find the order to read it directly, so what I’m saying is just a guess on my part. The president may very well have all these bases covered.

Even if that is true, I would remind Public Catholic readers that this is a massive amount of power for any president to exercise in this way. It is essentially a legislative action taken by the president alone, without Congress. It is, even if it stands legally, lawmaking by the president.

Conservatives have decried this advancing power of the presidency for a long time now. I wonder if they will reverse their opinions and support this sort of thing now that they like what the President is doing. Whether you support the president’s actions or not, it is still a move toward an elected dictator, rather than the division of powers which has served to keep us free for over 200 years.

In another executive order, the president did something to require that Federal laws concerning immigration will be obeyed, on penalty of losing Federal grant monies. Again, I haven’t seen a copy of the order, so I’m taking the White House press statements at face value.

However, I believe that anything that curbs business interests’ desire to hire the cheap labor of illegal immigrants would be far more effective at reducing the influx over the border than any wall. I think people cross the Rio Grande into this country in search of security from oppressive regimes and jobs.

From The Hill:

President Trump on Wednesday signed two executive orders on immigration, including one that directs federal agencies to begin construction of a wall on the border with Mexico, his signature campaign promise.

Trump signed the actions during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security as his aides met in the White House with two top Mexican cabinet officials, according to the Associated Press.

One of the orders signed by Trump calls for the construction of “a large physical barrier on the southern border,” according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

The other order deals with immigration enforcement and ends the “catch and release” policy that quickly returned border crossers back to Mexico instead of arresting and processing them for deportation. The policy was a fixture of the Bush administration and was later reinstated on an informal basis by former President Barack Obama.

“Federal agents are going to unapologetically enforce the law, no ifs, ands or buts,” Spicer said.

The immigration actions also seek to withhold visas from countries to make sure they take back people in the U.S. illegally who are found to have broken U.S. laws. It would also strip federal grants from “sanctuary” cities and states that do not enforce federal immigration laws.

“We’re going to strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants,” Spicer said.

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Trump Announces Massive Investigation Into “Voter Fraud.”

Photo Source: White House web site file photo.

Photo Source: White House web site file photo.

This is a small example of the kind of thing I feared when I made comments about what President Trump was going to do when he got control of the Justice Department.

President Elect Trump responded to calls for a recount (which worked out just fine for him, btw) of a couple of states’ votes in the November election by unleashing a whole trope of fantasy charges that there were “millions” of people who voted illegally in said election.

There was not one shred of evidence for these claims. He just made it up.

He didn’t seem to see that this buttressed the calls for a recount, but then, that kind of linear thinking doesn’t often come into his actions when he feels threatened. He has a well-worn track record of immediately going to the bully and the lie when something challenges his grandiosity.

As events unfolded, the recount upheld his win in the states in question and the popular vote tilted further and further against him. At that point the “millions of illegal” voters lie became a way to protect his threatened ego vs a vs losing the popular vote.

It appears that our president will do just about anything to protect his ego. He is so easy to bait that movie stars at awards ceremonies can do it, claims about the number of attendees at his inauguration can do it, comedians can do it. In fact, just about anybody or anything that challenges his ego can bait him out.

Lying is his first tactic when he’s challenged. Personal attacks on whomever has challenged him follow shortly. That would be disgusting in any person, much less a president of the United States, but if it ended there, it would be bearable in a there-he-goes-again kind of way.

But it doesn’t end there. He has a history of threatening and launching lawsuits; using his money to try to drive those who offend his ego down. He showed just how convoluted and determined his desire for the big get even was with the game he and Kellyanne Conway played with Governor Mitt Romney over the position of Secretary of State. This sadistic little set piece also signaled that he was going to use his power as president to play these nasty little games.

Now, President Trump has control of the Justice Department. Before his first week in office is over, he’s announced that he wants to use this power to launch a massive “investigation” into his fantasy claims of millions of illegal voters. 

This kind of misuse of government investigative powers to push forward a lie has been done before by crazy heads of state in other countries. We are not the first people to elect a mad King George kind of leader. Every one of those countries suffered as a result of this bad leadership, some of them catastrophically so.

Use of the Justice Department is a brute exercise of the brute power of government. Using it this way, to investigate a self-serving, ego-salving lie, is a clear mis-use of power. It has a chilling effect on the whole country. It will almost certainly redound onto Hispanics and other people that we’ve decided it’s ok to hate.

I don’t think this is the last or anywhere near the worst mis-use of the Justice Department for the purposes of feeding and supporting President Trump’s easily threatened ego. I think we’ve just seen the beginning of the big get evens backed by the brute force of government.

Some people just aren’t smart enough to take yes for answer. And our braggart president with his fragile ego appears to be one of them.

 

 

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President Trump Withdraws USA from Pacific Trade Deal

Flickr Creative Commons by  Neil Ballantyne https://www.flickr.com/photos/neil_ballantyne/

Flickr Creative Commons by Neil Ballantyne https://www.flickr.com/photos/neil_ballantyne/

President Donald Trump withdrew America from the Trans-Pacific Partnership earlier this week.

One of the more interesting facets of this was the high praise heaped on him by the Teamster’s Union for taking this action.

Here is a bit of what Teamster’s President Hoffa said:

“Today, President Trump made good on his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. With this decision, the president has taken the first step toward fixing 30 years of bad trade policies that have cost working Americans millions of good-paying jobs.

“The Teamsters Union has been on the frontline of the fight to stop destructive trade deals like the TPP, China PNTR, CAFTA and NAFTA for decades. Millions of working men and women saw their jobs leave the country as free trade policies undermined our manufacturing industry. We hope that President Trump’s meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Jan. 31 opens a real dialogue about fixing the flawed NAFTA.

“We take this development as a positive sign that President Trump will continue to fulfill his campaign promises in regard to trade policy reform and instruct the USTR to negotiate future agreements that protect American workers and industry.”

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.

Maybe the Democrats have ignored Labor for too long.

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God’s Help Comes in Surprising Ways

Photo Source: Copyright Rebecca Hamilton, All Rights Reserved.

Photo Source: Copyright Rebecca Hamilton, All Rights Reserved.

Mama is now famous. Her photo is right there, big and shiny, in the National Catholic Register.

Bless her bones, she keeps on keeping on. I spent most of yesterday afternoon with her. We went out for hotdogs and drinks at our favorite drive-in. Then, we went to the bank drive-through and then we went to the library.

Throughout the entire excursion, she prattled along, talking to me about everything we passed on the way. As usual, she told me, “We used to live here,” as we passed several neighborhoods and houses where we never, ever lived. Then, she tossed in, “We used to go swimming here,” as we drove past a spring-fed pond where, indeed, we used to go swimming.

She’s a treasure and a treat and a blessing. I love her so much it makes my bones ache. Every day with Mama is a gift.

I had to make one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made in my life after the cancer treatment got too much for me last year. But God, in His infinite kindness, has turned that tough decision into a blessing.

I wrote about all this for the National Catholic Register, which is how Mama became famous. I gave them a photo I took of Mama on one of our excursions to use with the article.

Here’s part of what I said:

Cancer is about more than the person who has cancer.

It’s also about the family and friends who gather around to support you through this illness, who walk with you and take care of you and, sometimes, hold your hand as you say that final good-bye. Cancer takes a toll on everyone. The unsung heroes of cancer are those the caretakers.

There is nothing easy about having a wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter or friend with cancer. Not only are you stuck with taking care of them and adding the chores they did before they got sick to your already full list, you’ve got to face your own grief, fears of mortality and lostness; and you have to do it without the attention and support that is given to them.

Cancer is a tough bogie for everyone, not just the person who has the disease.

In my family, cancer was massively complicated by the fact that we were also caring for a 90-year-old two-year-old. My Mama, my sweet, wonderful Mama, had and has no idea that I was ever sick. She cruised through the early months of the diagnosis and treatment without picking up a thing, even though it was happening right in front of her.

In fact, she was sitting beside me in the car when the doc told me the pathology reports showed cancer. I had just picked her up from adult day care and was heading home when he called. I don’t know if it was a gray day, but I remember it that way. The doc and I talked back and forth on the speaker while she sat beside me and nattered on about the birds on top of the signal lights and the bright colors on the cars driving down the road beside us.

Not one word of it went into her addled brain, and for that I am profoundly grateful. One of the very real blessings of her dementia is that she did not have to suffer through what would have been the horrible knowledge that her baby had cancer. If she had known and understood her grief and worry would have been terrible. As it was, she never knew a thing.

That was the good part. The not-so-good part of caring for a 90-year-old baby with dementia was that she also gave no quarter to the burdens the rest of the family faced. (Read the rest here.)

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Trump Reinstates Mexico City Policy

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, commercial use attribution license, by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, commercial use attribution license, by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Yesterday, President Trump reinstated the so-calld Mexico City Policy. He issued an executive order banning the use of federal foreign aid monies by groups that perform or promote abortions as a method of family planning in other nations.

I believe that the original aid monies the ban addressed were put in place by President Richard Nixon. The first executive order banning these monies from going to groups that perform or promote abortions as a method of family planning in other nations was promulgated by President Ronald Reagan.

Reagan’s executive order stayed in place until it was rescinded by President Bill Clinton. It was reinstated by President George W Bush and then rescinded by President Barack Obama.

Now, President Donald Trump has reinstated it.

You can see the press announcement and read more about it here.

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Hyde Amendment Vote on House Floor Tuesday

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ron Cogswell Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Ron Cogswell Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

I am forwarding this alert from national Democrats for Life. Just click on the link at the bottom of the notice to ask your representative to vote “Yes!”

NO TAXPAYER FUNDING OF ABORTION ON HOUSE FLOOR TUESDAY, JAN 23.
Contact your Representative to urge a “Yes” vote
The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” this week. Pro-life Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski co-sponsored the legislation, along with Republican Congressman Chris Smith.
The legislation will make the Hyde Amendment language permanent and ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to pay for abortion.
We urge you to contact your representative and urge him or her to support the legislation. If you do not know who your representative is, please click here and enter your zip code to find your representative.
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Pro Life Women Join the Women’s Marches

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kimika Ying https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimikaying/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Kimika Ying https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimikaying/

Pro Life women marched alongside others in the Women’s March Saturday. I personally know pro life women who drove in from around the state to participate in the March for Women here in Oklahoma. I was surprised by how many of them told me they were going, and, frankly, by who they were.

These weren’t women who normally get involved in politics. They also aren’t the sort to go around carrying signs for anything, including pro life. They live their pro life convictions by not having abortions, even when it would be far easier for them to do so.

Several of these women have children that were born out of wedlock. They are raising their children without help of any sort from the baby’s father. Most of them have suffered domestic violence. Several are rape survivors.

All of them work at low-paying jobs and struggle to survive in today’s world. Participating in something like a march requires all sorts of adjustments in their lives, including taking off work and spending money for gasoline to drive across the state.

I was totally astonished when I heard that they were going to the Oklahoma March for Women, and that they were calling their friends and family members — including me — asking them to join up. I told them that I thought the March would be dominated by pro choice people. They told me that they were sure that they’d be welcome there.

I haven’t talked to them since the march, but I guess it all went well.

According to the National Catholic Register, pro life women went to the March for Women in Washington, as well. I can’t tell from the article how many of them there were. I doubt if anyone really knows.

What this means on the national level, I can’t say. But from a more local perspective, I think it’s clear that these Oklahoma women were listening when our president bragged about committing sexual assault and called women pigs and dogs.

I had no idea they paid any attention to it. I don’t talk about things like that with these women. But they heard it.

What that means, I don’t know, except to say (paraphrasing Jaws) that there’s an awfully big fish out there in the water that nobody’s paying attention to.

If pro life women and pro choice women can come together on issues like rape, violence against women, equal pay, and child care, the impact will be something no politician dares ignore.

From the National Catholic Register:

Pro-abortion messages were common Saturday, Jan. 21, as activists inundated the city for the “Women’s March on Washington 2017.”

But pro-life marchers were not hard to find in the mix, including those who took offense to the removal of New Wave Feminists from the official list of event sponsors and the abundance of signs and shirts emphasizing abortion rights.

Pro-lifers interviewed by the Register were there to make clear that feminism should not be about killing the unborn. They were there to emphasize how abortion disproportionately threatens the lives of girls in many cultures around the world.

Corrine Muldoon McKinney, a 70-year-old social worker from Finger Lakes, New York, slowly worked her way to the march with the help of a walker. She last marched in Washington 45 years ago, in opposition to the Vietnam War. She loves fighting for women and social justice. Doing so, she told the Register, includes opposing abortion.

“I just passed a sign back there [on Capitol Hill] that said, ‘We’re killing unborn women.’ You know, that’s exactly true,” she said. “We need to stop killing babies. We need to stop killing girl babies and boy babies.”

McKinney, a parishioner of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Canandaigua, Rhode Island, said she would unapologetically defend babies against abortion, regardless of what other marchers thought about it.

“This is America,” McKinney said. “Why would you disavow any woman or feminist organization for opposing abortion? That is a form of bigotry, and bigotry is what we are supposedly here to oppose. I’m afraid Planned Parenthood has a little too much influence over what is supposed to be a march in favor of women.”

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Trump Invites Netanyahu to United States

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

President Trump invited Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit Washington, DC next month as part of a phone conversation between the two world leaders that was described as “very warm.”

The two did not discuss whether or not the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem. This has been a point of contention for a while now. Former President Obama refused to move the embassy, saying that the move to lead to more violence in the region. Former Secretary of State John Kerry has said that such a move could lead to “an absolute explosion” of violence in the area.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, Israeli security forces are reported to also have expressed concerns about such a move. The same article states that “a number of Arab ambassadors to Washington have met with Trump advisers and warned them of the possible consequences” of moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu also discussed the international nuclear deal with Iran and the Palestinian peace process.

For more information, check out the Christian Science Monitor. 

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44th March for Life is this Friday. Be There or Be Square.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Art4TheGlryofGod by Sharon https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Art4TheGlryofGod by Sharon https://www.flickr.com/photos/4thglryofgod/

The 44th Annual March for Life will take place in Washington, DC this Friday.

Kellyanne Conway, senior counsel to President Trump, will headline the speakers list. Also speaking will be Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Benjamin Watson, tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, Abby Johnson, Karyme Lozano, Eric Metals and Bishop Vicent Matthew, Jr.

The march will begin at 11:45 am with a musical opening, followed by a rally and the actual March for Life at 1 pm.

There will be Silent No More testimonies at 3 pm.  Marchers will then have the opportunity to visit their Senators and Representatives in their offices.

For more details, go here.

Be there or be square!

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Remember Two Things: Human Dignity and the Common Good

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons. http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons. http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

“I ask everyone with political responsibility to remember two things: Human dignity and the common good.” Pope Francis

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President Trump’s Inaugural Address: What Did He Say?

Photo Source: White House web site file photo.

Photo Source: White House web site file photo.

Rather than pre-read, parse and digest it for you, I’m going to publish President Trump’s full speech and let you read it and think it through for yourselves.

Here, without edits of any sort, is what he said:

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: Thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.
We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.
Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another — but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.
For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes — starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now.
You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.
Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation — and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.
But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future. We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
I will fight for you with every breath in my body — and I will never, ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work — rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world — but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones — and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
There should be no fear — we are protected, and we will always be protected.
We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.
In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.
We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action — constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.
We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.
It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.
So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:
You will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together, We will make America strong again.
We will make wealthy again.
We will make America proud again.
We will make America safe again.
And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.
Source: CNN
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