Your Monday Morning Roundup Because There’s Just So Much Happening All The Time And You Were Probably Drunk Most Of The Weekend

The Federal Court for the Eastern District of New York’s emergency stay on the Trump administration’s de facto “Muslim Ban” is being systematically ignored. It’s kind of a big deal.

Disobeying a court order “is a big deal for any government official — federal, state, local, executive, legislative, whatever,” said Abner Greene, a law professor at Fordham University. “Obedience to specific court orders is what keeps us from being a banana republic or fascist dictatorship. That’s a really big deal.”

The chaos “doesn’t just risk a constitutional crisis,” argued Michael Dorf, a professor at Cornell Law School. “Assuming the report is accurate, it creates one.” If the Trump administration believes that the court orders limiting the president’s executive order are unlawful, it can file an emergency appeal, Dorf noted. But “outright defiance,” he added, “can only be deemed disrespect for the rule of law.”

Two suspects have been arrested in the Quebec City mosque shooting that left at least six people dead.

Angela Davis makes the case for a more militant defense of vulnerable populations.

Not all of the government’s behavior has altered radically. Glenn Greenwald provides a clear-cut example.

Were this weekend’s especially unpleasant shenanigans a trial balloon for a coup? And why should you be concerned about Rosneft?

I want to highlight a story that many people haven’t noticed. On Wednesday, Reuters reported (in great detail) how 19.5% of Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company, has been sold to parties unknown. This was done through a dizzying array of shell companies, so that the most that can be said with certainty now is that the money “paying” for it was originally loaned out to the shell layers by VTB (the government’s official bank), even though it’s highly unclear who, if anyone, would be paying that loan back; and the recipients have been traced as far as some Cayman Islands shell companies.

Why is this interesting? Because the much-maligned Steele Dossier (the one with the golden showers in it) included the statement that Putin had offered Trump 19% of Rosneft if he became president and removed sanctions.

Related: the left wing needs a gun culture, and fast.

Confessions of a former culture warrior.

It’s tempting to write Nate Silver off after he got fascist election pie in his face, but the guy has a point.

Batten down the hatches – the new SCOTUS nominee will be announced Tuesday. Taking into account the respect the president has for the judiciary (read: none), there’s a high possibility his pick will have personal loyalty to Trump and/or help lay the legal groundwork for what comes next.

It’s Day Eleven of Year Zero in Trump’s America…

Ten Fun Facts: Steve Bannon Edition

1. Steve Bannon should not be confused with “Race” Bannon from Johnny Quest, though he is dangerous obsessed with race. “Race” Bannon should not be confused with Mike Pence, as despite all evidence to the contrary, Pence is not actually a cartoon.

2. The surname “Bannon” can be traced back to Ireland and means “white”, which is also a common description for the conglomeration of mainly European ethnic groups whose cultural/political hegemony Steve Bannon seeks to maintain at the expense of all other groups.

3. There is no direct evidence that Steve Bannon strangles kittens for pleasure.

4. Despite the hysterical bleating of certain liberal Democrats and communists, the executive order Donald Trump issued Saturday reorganizing the National Security Council is not a bloodless “fascist coup”. It merely excludes the director of national intelligence and military chiefs of staff from meetings unless it is determined their presence is required; concomitantly, it gives Steve Bannon a permanent seat on the NSC, expanding his role from chief strategist (a standard political role) to one that will have direct input on military and intelligence matters. If it were a fascist coup, would it look like The Donald giving an important job to one of his best buds and upend the serving military establishment? Actually yes, yes it would. We’re looking at a coup here.

5. Steve Bannon drafts the president’s executive orders so that Donnie has plenty of time to eat Doritos, watch TV and play with his phone.

6. Steve Bannon is not an anti-Semite. Just ask The Federalist.

7. Mr. Bannon recently told the media to “keep its mouth shut”. Presumably in the spirit of fairness he included among the organizations who should be muzzled forthwith.

8. If there were any direct evidence that Steve Bannon strangles kittens for pleasure, he would use the shadowy apparatus of the federal government to guarantee that said evidence (as well as the person or persons in possession of it) were eradicated.

9. Steve Bannon really hates voter fraud.

10. Steve Bannon recently got an erection after thinking about how much damage he’s been able to inflict on the polity of democratic society in a relatively brief period of time.

(Year Zero/Day Ten)

Resistance Is Crucial

The distance between a healthy political system and our current benighted situation remains great, but it’s crucial to resist every damaging measure the Trump administration makes. Victories are possible.

“The federal court for the Eastern District of New York issued an emergency stay halting President Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry to the US from seven majority-Muslim countries tonight, following widespread protests at airports around the country.

The court ruled on a habeas corpus petition filed by the ACLU on behalf of Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who were denied entry to the US upon landing at JFK airport in New York City and detained indefinitely by Customs and Border Patrol. Darweesh spent a decade working for the United States military in Iraq as an interpreter and engineer and had been granted an entry visa after background checks; Alshawi had been granted a visa in order to join his wife and son who are already permanent residents of the US after their similar service with the US military.

The court specifically ruled on Darweesh and Alshawi’s petition; other similarly-situated people being detained and those in transit are covered by the ruling, which is only temporary. But the point of a stay is to preserve the status quo while a permanent ruling is made — something the judge specifically reminded the lawyers for the goverment in the courtroom. And as the tweet from the National Immigration Law Center’s Jackie Vimo indicates above, the judge feels there is a likelihood of success on the merits for the case moving forward.”

Whether in the streets or in a federal court, always be prepared to punch back.

The Widening Gyre

The implications of the issuance of the executive order “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” can be grasped instantaneously. A wait-and-see approach isn’t needed, as is often the case when made party to a fateful undertaking. Were one to witness a maniac abducting a stranger off the street, dragging them into their garage, tying them to a chair and dousing them in kerosene, the implication is the stranger will be be immolated unless the maniac is incapacitated.

The Trump administration has doused the “your kind” that “we don’t like around here” with kerosene and is looking for a match. “Enhancing Public Safety” indefinitely barred Syrian refugees from being given asylum in the United States and will block upwards of 500,000 legal U.S. residents from returning home. That’s people with green cards and visas whose futures have been displaced. They already submitted to careful vetting by the federal government. Mainstream liberals would say their dues had been paid.

The alacrity with which these discriminatory edicts have rolled out points to their status as a vanguard to more draconian actions. Here we pause for a reminder, because it feels necessary to keep us in the proper context : Donald Trump was inaugurated a little over a week ago. His initial flurry of executive orders is setting the table, bending the stick… whatever turn of phrase drives home Trump and co. are on page two of their novel (come to think of it, that’s not too bad a metaphor either).

Of especial concern is the re-definition of what constitutes deportation-eligible criminality.

Mr. Trump’s order focuses on anyone who has been charged with a criminal offense, even if it has not led to a conviction. He also includes, according to language in the order, anyone who has “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense,” meaning anyone the authorities believe has broken any type of law — regardless of whether that person has been charged with a crime.

Mr. Trump’s order also includes anyone who has engaged in “fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency,” a category that includes anyone who has used a false Social Security number to obtain a job, as many unauthorized immigrants do. Anyone who has received a final order to leave the country, but has not left, is also considered a priority.

Finally, he allows the targeting of anyone who “in the judgment of an immigration officer” poses a risk to either public safety or national security. That gives immigration officers the broad authority they have been pressing for, and no longer requires them to receive a review from a supervisor before targeting individuals.

Experts on policing and the functions of the American criminal justice system – whether academically or through real-world experience – are quick to point out that if a cop wants to pull someone over or have a “quick talk” on the street they’ll do so without compunction. Not only are there scads of municipal and state misdemeanors that are selectively enforced, terminology like “person of interest” and “reasonable suspicion” give maximal legal C.Y.A.

On top of already established precedent, Trump has given police and immigration officers carte blanche to target any member of a vulnerable population they suspect of thinking of a crime before making them “illegal”. Places like Chicago and Los Angeles are asserting themselves as proud sanctuary cities, and the entire state of California is entertaining the idea of defunding its contributions to the Feds. While admirable, they almost certainly won’t do enough to stop a vortex that’s been growing since June of 2015.


(Year Zero/Day Nine)