national security concerns

Trump travel ban gets another big defeat in court

The judicial branch is officially resisting the Trump administration.

Since Friday, when a federal judge put Trump’s executive order banning visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries and nearly all refugees from entering the US, the president has issued a steady stream of invective at the judiciary — claiming the judge undermined national security and blaming him for hypothetical future terrorist attacks. He’s taunted the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for taking more than a day to issue a ruling he claimed was an “easy D.”

And his Justice Department, during oral argument at the Ninth Circuit, essentially argued that — due to the extensive power the executive branch gets over immigration — the courts didn’t have the power to review or strike down the executive order at all.

In a unanimous ruling Thursday, a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel upheld the lower-court order — keeping the ban on hold for at least another couple of weeks.

Furthermore, the panel rejected the DOJ’s argument — forcefully.

So forcefully, in fact, that it’s hard not to wonder if the judges weren’t, at least a little, trying to push back against the president’s attitude as well:

[T]he Government has taken the position that the President’s decisions about immigration policy, particularly when motivated by national security concerns, are unreviewable, even if those actions potentially contravene constitutional rights and protections. The Government indeed asserts that it violates separation of powers for the judiciary to entertain a constitutional challenge to executive actions such as this one.

There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy. See Boumediene v. Bush,553 U.S. 723, 765 (2008) (rejecting the idea that, even by congressional statute, Congress and the Executive could eliminate federal court habeas jurisdiction over enemy combatants, because the “political branches” lack “the power to switch the Constitution on or off at will”). Within our system, it is the role of the judiciary to interpret the law, a duty that will sometimes require the “[r]esolution of litigation challenging the constitutional authority of one of the three branches.” Zivotofsky ex rel. Zivotofsky v. Clinton, 566 U.S. 189, 196 (2012) (quoting INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 943 (1983)). We are called upon to perform that duty in this case.

The government’s argument wasn’t as unprecedented as this passage makes it sound — it was an extension of the “plenary power” doctrine that gives the courts very little review over immigration decisions. That’s why the forcefulness of the ruling is surprising. In an otherwise relatively cautious and technical ruling, the three judges on the Ninth Circuit panel reserved their strongest language for defending the role of the courts against what they saw as executive overreach.

Trump’s tweets have raised serious concerns about his attitude toward the independence of the judiciary; his own Supreme Court nominee has issued (mild) criticism of the president’s attacks. But the thing about undermining the independent judiciary is that you can only do it by intimidating the judges. And the judges who wrote the Ninth Circuit order have made it abundantly clear that, even in the name of national security, they will not cede their power as a co-equal branch.

President Trump was, unsurprisingly, unhappy. And his response was, in one sense, an attempt to double down on the argument that hadn’t persuaded the Ninth Circuit panel. But his response — “SEE YOU IN COURT!” — made it clear he’s had to accept that this is a question for the judicial branch now.
Opinion | I helped prosecute Watergate. Comey’s statement is sufficient evidence for an obstruction of justice case.
Any experienced prosecutor would see these facts as establishing a prima facie case.

Philip Allen Lacovara, a former U.S. deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department, served as counsel to Watergate special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski.

In prepared testimony released on the eve of his appearance Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI director James B. Comey placed President Trump in the gunsights of a federal criminal investigation, laying out evidence sufficient for a case of obstruction of justice.

Comey proved what Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael S. Rogers carefully avoided admitting in their testimony on Wednesday — that the president had specifically attempted to shut off at least a major piece of what Trump calls the “Russia thing,” the investigation into the misleading statements by fired national security adviser Michael Flynn concerning his role in dealings with the Russians. This kind of presidential intervention in a pending criminal investigation has not been seen, to my knowledge, since the days of Richard Nixon and Watergate.

Comey’s statement meticulously detailed a series of interventions by Trump soliciting his assistance in getting the criminal probe dropped. These details are red meat for a prosecutor. Presumably, the team of experienced criminal prosecutors that special counselRobert S. Mueller III has assembled will be following up on this crucial testimony, which rests on contemporaneous memorandums that Comey was sufficiently alarmed to prepare immediately after receiving the president’s requests.

Continue Reading … 


Pope says migrants' rights should override national security concerns

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis urged political leaders on Monday to defend migrants, saying their safety should take precedence over national security concerns and that they should not be subjected to collective deportations.
His challenge to politicians, made in a comprehensive position paper on migrants and refugees, again appeared to put him at odds with the restrictive policies of a number of governments dealing with growing popular anti-immigrant sentiment.
“Solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience – from departure through journey to arrival and return,” he said in a message ahead of the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
Calling for “broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally,” he said the human rights and dignity of all migrants had to be respected regardless of their legal status.
“The principle of the centrality of the human person … obliges us to always prioritize personal safety over national security,” he said.
This appeared to be a reference to fears voiced in many European countries that refugees inflows could lead to security problems in their host countries. He said it was necessary “to ensure that agents in charge of border control are properly trained.”
He called for “alternative solutions to detention” for illegal immigrants and said “collective and arbitrary expulsions of migrants and refugees are not suitable solutions”.
Francis said migrants should be seen as “a true resource for the communities that welcome them” and be given freedom of movement, access to means of communication, access to justice and everyday rights such as opening a bank account.
Francis, an Argentine who has made defense of migrants a major plank of his papacy, has criticized anti-immigrant stands by national leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump. Last year, Francis condemned then-candidate Trump’s intention to build a wall on the border with Mexico.
Migrant children deserved particular protection, the pope said. They “must be spared any form of detention related to migratory status,” guaranteed access to primary and secondary education and have the right to remain when they come of age.
Francis’s message immediately drew the ire of the right-wing Northern League party in Italy because it implicitly supported a controversial law proposal that would grant citizenship to children who are born in Italy of immigrant parents.
“The universal right to a nationality should be recognized and duly certified for all children at birth,” the pope said.
Northern League leader Matteo Salvini responded: “If he wants to apply it in his state, the Vatican, he can go right ahead.”
World leaders are due to commit their countries to two global compacts, one on refugees and the other on migrants, by the end of 2018 under the auspices of the United Nations.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

If and when Republicans come out from hiding, enterprising journalists should ask them a series of questions:

If Trump continues to receive foreign monies in violation of the Constitution what will you do?

Republicans lambasted Hillary Clinton for coming to the State Department while her husband was getting paid for speeches and their foundation was accepting foreign money. Why are you not insisting on a similar standard for Trump?

Does it bother you that his children will be running businesses and he will be reaping the profits from all sorts of businesses that have matters before the federal government or are affected by laws and regulations? If Clinton attempted this wouldn’t you be calling for impeachment?

Do you favor hearings and/or legislation to address Trump’s conflicts?

Do you agree with the unanimous assessment of our intelligence agencies that Russia was behind the hacking? If so, are you concerned Trump and his aides are calling this “ridiculous”?

If the president does not act on intelligence that is factually beyond dispute in defense of U.S. interests is he fulfilling his constitutional obligations?

Donald Trump still has not released his tax returns so we do not know the extent of his financial ties, if any, to Russia. Does that concern you?

Trump’s pick for national security adviser traveled to Russia, gave a speech for which he was paid (how much we do not know), says Russia’s propaganda outlet RT is just like CNN and retweets attacks on all Muslims and “fake news” accounts. Should he be in the NSA position? Will you subpoena his financial records to determine his connections to Russia and whether those pose a national security concern?


Republicans need to get out from under their desks 

This is when we find out if Republicans in Congress are deplorable or not.

East Wind Theory

In his last vow, this conversation takes place between Sherlock and John
Sherlock: The game is never over, John. But there may be some new players now. That’s okay. The east wind takes us all in the end.
John: What’s that?
S: It’s a story my brother told me when we were kids. The east wind, this terrifying force that lays waste to all in its path. Seeks out the unworthy and plucks them from the Earth. That was usually me.

With that in mind, the theory is as follows.
East wind means Eurus, his sister. So when Mycroft was telling Sherlock this story, he was talking about his Sister. Presumably she did something bad to Sherlock, meaning she was taken away from the family. It is clear she is detained to some extent as Mycroft has to use a middle man to contact her, and doesn’t mind being put on hold. Similarly, he has ‘regular updates’ perhaps about how her mental health is, or if she is still a threat. As well as this, Sherlock is a national security concern, yet Moriarty is dead. Why would he be so concerned? This bad thing happened on the day on the beach, when Sherlock is young and he is running with his wellies and the dog. He has had this memory in the past two episodes, which speaks volumes about his significance. I believe this is the day Eurus tried to harm Sherlock, thus when he has the memory at the side of the Thames in 4x02, he screams in pain. This is unusual as his childhood is often a place of comfort for Sherlock, as shown in 3x02 when Mary shoots him, he recalls his childhood dog to calm him.
So, the sister tried to harm Sherlock and she was taken away, but she is angry and one day she will come back and she will hurt him for it. Mycroft knows this: ‘East wind is coming Sherlock, it’s coming to get you’. The way in which Mycroft refers to East wind in the first half of the sentence implies that it is a proper noun. East Wind is the sister. She is coming to get Sherlock to seek revenge. She killed Mary, she has shot John and now she’s coming for Sherlock.
Army Corps Denies Easement For Dakota Access Pipeline
The decision essentially halts the construction of the oil pipeline right above the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and it also comes as protests at the site continued to grow.

The Army Corps of Engineers has decided to deny a permit for the construction of a key section of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The decision essentially halts the construction on the 1,172-mile oil pipeline about half a mile south of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The decision is also a victory for the thousands of demonstrators across the country who flocked to North Dakota in protest.

“Our prayers have been answered,” National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby said in a statement. “This isn’t over, but it is enormously good news. All tribal peoples have prayed from the beginning for a peaceful solution, and this puts us back on track.”

Jo-Ellen Darcy, the the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, said after talking with tribal officials and hearing their concerns that the pipeline could affect the drinking water, it became “clear that there’s more work to do.”

“The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing,” Darcy said in a statement.

In a statement, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said the tribe welcomed the decision, but he also sounded a note of caution saying he hoped the incoming Donald Trump administration would “respect this decision and understand the complex process that led us to this point.”

Archambault II went on:

“When it comes to infrastructure development in Indian Country and with respect to treaty lands, we must strive to work together to reach decisions that reflect the multifaceted considerations of tribes. Treaties are paramount law and must be respected, and we welcome dialogue on how to continue to honor that moving forward. We are not opposed to energy independence, economic development, or national security concerns but we must ensure that these decisions are made with the considerations of our Indigenous peoples.”

anonymous asked:

Hey mum.. um I'm kind of scared about the whole Muslim ban because I have family in America and am just generally concerned about what's going to happen to the refugees. I've read some articles and stuff but idk if it's not to much could you explain the situation or send me a link to a proper explanation about it?? Please answer as soon as possible

absolutely. i’m so sorry you’re afraid and concerned. i wish i could say there’s no need to be, but to be perfectly frank, concern and shock and fear and disgust are all appropriate reactions to the executive order that trump signed yesterday. the briefest list of actions in the order that take effect and impact people immediately are the following:

  • it suspends all immigration to the US from the following countries for 90 days: Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Iran, Syria
  • it suspends all refugee admission from Syria indefinitely
  • it shuts down refugee resettlement in the US for four months with exceptions made for individuals fleeing religious persecution as minorities in their country (read: christians) 

in the four months that the refugee program is shut down the secy of homeland security has been ordered to decide which countries of origin do not allow for sufficient or proper ‘vetting’ of refugees. so even after the four months is up, it’s likely the refugee resettlement program will be a shadow of what it once was. the order calls for a reduction of obama’s latest quota for incoming refugees by more than half (only 50k to be admitted per fiscal year as opposed to 110k). and likely several countries in addition to Syria will no longer be able to send refugees bc they will be deemed national security concerns. and of course let it not be forgotten that the syrian refugee crisis is the gravest humanitarian disaster in the world right now. so many people will be left stranded by this order. today people who landed in this country, traveling from the seven countries i listed above, were detained for hours and not given any explanation. people in this country whose families live abroad will no longer be able to see their family. it’s horrific and inhumane and appalling. 

if you’re as heartbroken by this as i am, i really really REALLY urge you to donate to the following orgs: ACLU, CAIR, IRC, and HIAS. and if you do so tweet your receipts to people who are matching donations (here’s a thread of several of those individuals). even five dollars can make such a difference for matching donors like this. the first two orgs (ACLU and CAIR) are pushing to sue the trump administration on the grounds of unconstitutionality (on several counts) and prove that these actions are illegal and discriminatory on the most basic level. and IRC and HIAS are incredible orgs doing life-saving work overseas to help the victims of warfare who have now lost an enormous destination of refuge bc of this order. i really can’t emphasize how fucking horrifying this decision was, and how intrinsically it flies in the face of everything i still hope this country stands for. my heart aches for the families who will be torn apart by this. i’m so sorry if yours is one of them. i’m sending you so much love and strength and solidarity. please know that even in light of something so fundamentally abhorrent, thousands and thousands of people came out tonight to fight and rally for justice. and it resulted in a small victory: a federal court ordered that the people being detained at airports today because they were in transit when the executive order was signed could not be sent back to their country. that was all the work of non-profit orgs like ACLU and protestors. i can only hope the momentum keeps growing. i’ll be fighting this injustice every single day moving forward. i’m lucky that it is the crux of the work i do for my job, but i will also be rallying and protesting as much as i am physically able. please, please, if you are reading this give what you can. show up where you can. your energy and your resolve are so needed.