Week 6: February 26–March 4

Read of the Week

Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War

By Evan Osnos, David Remnick, and Joshua Yaffa

A very well written article that gives alot of background on what Russia’s aims are and why they continue to be hostile to the West. Their discussion of the election interference was very enlightening.

Be Vewy Vewy Quiet!
I’m hunting for a Wussian Spy…

Sessions mislead the Senate during his confirmation hearing about his ties to Russia

This completely overshadowed the Republican President’s address to Congress earlier in the week, and it’s more evidence that their campaign’s ties to Russia have not been completely uncovered.

Coverage by The Washington Post with an assist by The New York Times.

I believe the Russia affair will continue to nag the Administration from now through the next elections. There is very little short of Congressional hearings that would clear this up, and the Republicans don’t want to spend time on those as it wastes legislative time and can only harm their party. The President’s party nearly always loses seats in the midterms and the GOP is well aware of that, which means they have a very limited amount of time to get their agenda passed.

If there is, in fact, any evidence of coordination or illegal communication between the campaign and Russia, this will derail the party for the foreseeable future. Something that Russia probably viewed as favorable as well, since their goal is to turn our Democracy in on itself, and #45’s election was just an unexpected windfall.

Immigration: Muslim Ban

Again this threatens to completely overwhelm anyone in the breadth of people affected by this. I’ve been focusing alot on the “Extreme Vetting” angle, but we should also be thinking about the people who are directly affected by this policy.

Vetting incidents:

  1. A Nigerian software engineer was detained at JFK until he could prove that he knew the answers to some complex Computer Science questions. Except that it’s doubtful that any of the CBP agents knew the answers either. Eventually they managed to contact his employer who confirmed he worked there. Nigeria is not on the list of countries indicated by the Executive Order.
  2. An Australian software engineer was similarly detained earlier in the year at Newark airport.
  3. An Australian Children’s author who has traveled to the U.S. hundreds of times before, was detained for two hours, assaulted, and aggressively questioned by CBP in Los Angeles.
  4. Muhammed Ali, Jr., a U.S. citizen, was detained for two hours at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after telling CBP that he was a Muslim.
  5. A Jordanian with a valid US-visa was detained and then deported by CBP in Chicago this January after explaining to agents that he was born in Syria but left as a child to Jordan and that both of his parents are Jordanian.

More stories of the indirect impacts of this policy:

  1. A Garmin Engineer was shot and killed in Kansas by a man who allegedly yelled ‘get out of my country’. This hits very close to home for me and is yet another example of how disastrous the President’s handling of this has been.
  2. ‘This President has blood on his hands’: Anger at Indian’s shooting in Kansas by Yashwant Raj
  3. Four Mosques Have Burned In Seven Weeks — Leaving Many Muslims and Advocates Stunned by Albert Samaha and Talal Ansari
  4. I Was a Muslim in Trump’s White House by Rumana Ahmed
  5. Wave Of Bomb Threats Against Jewish Centers Soars To 100 This Year by Mike Hayes and Claudia Koerner
  6. Techies weigh in on Trump’s immigration policies by Sara Ashley O’Brien
  7. Banned a website described in the previous story which tells the story of six immigrants directly affected by the change in policy.

Immigration: Mexican Ban

There’s way too much for me to cover all of this in detail. ICE has been very busy. This story stands out for me:

Authorities Arrest 22-Year-Old Dreamer After She Speaks To Media by Dana Liebelson and Elise Foley

The State of Trump’s State Department

by Julia Ioffe

“This is probably what it felt like to be a British foreign service officer after World War II, when you realize, no, the sun actually does set on your empire,” said the mid-level officer. “America is over. And being part of that, when it’s happening for no reason, is traumatic.”

How Trump Is Trying to Govern America Like an Internet Troll

By Katherine Cross

In an ordinary year, this would seem like crass rabble-rousing from a magazine well known for it, but this seems restrained compared to the weird mix of Authoritarianism and Incompetence we’ve seen so far.

Our President’s Emotional Bait and Switch

by Andrew Sullivan

Sullivan again manages to explain both the unwarranted hope and crushing reality of our current President’s abusive relationship with the media and the American people.