Wednesday, Thursday…

Trump’s new “it’s not a Muslim ban you guys, just an executive order that targets predominantly Muslim counties” goes into effect on Thursday.

Or does it?

The first Wednesday hearing, taking place in Maryland at 9:30 a.m., was ordered by US District Judge Theodore Chuang, in a case brought by two nonprofit refugee organizations, as well as individuals affected by the order. The International Refugee Assistance Project and HIAS, Inc., are going broad, asking for an order “enjoining Executive Order 13780 in its entirety.” Among those representing the plaintiffs in the case are lawyers from the national ACLU, the ACLU of Maryland, and the National Immigration Law Center.

The second Wednesday hearing, taking place in Hawaii at 9:30 local time (3:30 p.m. Eastern Time), was ordered by US District Judge Derrick Watson, in a case brought by Hawaii and an individual affected by the order. Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin has brought in the Hogan Lovells law firm, including former US Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, to help represent the state. Slightly more limited than the litigation taking place in Maryland, Hawaii is seeking a temporary restraining order halting enforcement of sections 2 and 6 of the new executive order — the travel and refugee provisions.

Since the judiciary hasn’t been dismantled quite yet, we again pin our hopes on to the “so-called” judges who “interpret the law”, a “power” given to them by “the constitution”.

(Year Zero/Day Fifty-Two)

A Defanged Order? Not Quite.

Trump’s reboot of his “Muslim ban” executive order reads half like a poorly-edited Wikipedia article and half like a pseudo-intellectual high schooler’s Livejournal rants about how the “normies” just don’t understand. If Stephen Miller was in charge of writing it, the analogy is especially apt.

Our opinion on the whole deranged anti-immigration project has not changed substantively. The emphasis on protecting religious minorities in other countries (read: Christians) was removed, but taking into account the administration’s long-standing rhetoric and the language of the first executive order, that’s transparently a legal hedge for future court cases. Gone is the inclusion of Iraq in the list of countries affected by the ban; gone too is the indefinite revocation of asylum to Syrian refugees. Visa holders will be exempt, and the ban won’t take effect until March 16th to avoid chaos at airports – or bad optics.

But the ugly spirit of the order remains. Once the ban ends, if indeed it survives injunctions, the Refugee Admission Program will be forced to cut off yearly admissions into the United States at 50,000. USRAP had planned to admit 110,000 refugees in 2017. Given the distance between now and January 2021, we should not take much comfort at one “defanged” but still awful and xenophobic executive order.

(Year Zero/Day Forty-Six)

Are You Ready For Travel Ban 2.0?

After a vigorous public reaction and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against the “Muslim Ban” executive order, the Associated Press is reporting the Trump administration has regrouped. A new travel ban will be issued on Wednesday.

Trump initially planned to sign the new order last week, but spokesman Sean Spicer said the president was holding off “to make sure that when we execute this, it’s done in a manner that’s flawless.”

Translation: this time there were a lot more lawyers at their meetings. How the new order will differ from the old remains to be seen, but if I had to venture a guess I’d say “just enough that it has a better chance of winning the court cases that are sure to come.”

It may just be a coincidence that Trump apparatchiks have spent the last few weeks hammering home the risible notion that spontaneous uprisings of protesters are actually professional provocateurs, making fortunes on the Soros payroll. A more likely explanation is, as has been the case with the media, Trumpland functionaries have been testing how far they can delegitimize the opposition before their next big move.

That’s the story I’m sticking with until George sends me a check.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

Synchronicity works in mystifying ways. Less than a day after we last visited the topic of deportation, evidence of the administration’s plan to use the National Guard to speed up the expulsion of undocumented individuals has come to light. The leaked memorandum, drafted by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, would mobilize up to 100,000 troops in an 11-state roundup.

There is modern precedent for using the Guard this way. As we’ve noted before Barack Obama turned deportations up to 11 during the eight years he was in office, including deploying some 1,200 guardsmen to monitor the U.S./Mexico border in 2010. Before him, George W. Bush sent 6,000 troops to border states in 2006 to provide logistical support to Customs and Border Protection agents.

The difference would be in the sheer size and scope of their powers. In neither case did the National Guard storm into peoples homes and snatch them away. In neither case was the National Guard authorized to arrest and detain non-citizens as though they were ICE agents.

The White House, ever eager to deny, well, everything, made its usual fervent declamations. The Associated Press report is “irresponsible” and “100 percent not true” quoth the Spicelord. Trump escalated his fascist rhetoric by branding the media “the enemy of the American people.” DHS claimed the leaked memo was a “pre-decision draft” that never made it to the Secretary.

A widespread human collection operation would be a boon to the companies that run private ICE prisons. So it’s good for the economy! Who cares if they earn their money from blood and tears?

Were this directive to be issued, it would depend on the cooperation of the states where the National Guard would be deployed. Shaun King is reporting that some guardsmen are willing to risk a court marshal rather than be party to this travesty.  Still, If you live in California, Arizona, New Mexico,Texas, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas or Louisiana, it behooves you to call your governor and voice your strident opposition. And make your attic habitable, just in case.

(Year Zero/Day Twenty-Nine)

No, We Get It. We’ve Been Disturbed By That Withered Troll From The Get-Go.

That’s why we have nothing to add to the dawning horror/rising bile that arose following Dear Leader’s leisurely stroll through crazytown this morning (though it is intriguing to see America’s de facto Pravda Fox News on something resembling our side).

Instead, we turn your attention to the little-noticed story of how the Congressional Hispanic Caucus was iced out of a meeting with ICE.

After being scheduled Tuesday, the meeting was abruptly canceled by ICE. A Republican leadership aide said that ICE then reached out to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office to arrange a bipartisan meeting, which they set for Thursday.

Members of the CHC had tried to attend the Thursday meeting in the Capitol despite not being on the guest list, but were asked to leave, prompting them to hold a hallway news conference in protest and to point fingers at the administration and speaker’s office.

Look, ICE, we get it. You’re riding high on the vastly expanded powers the Troll-in-Chief gifted you, allowing you to sink to exciting new lows. “Finally, we get to uphold white supremacy with 100% more disgusting amorality! We can target a hypothermia shelter in a church to arrest homeless immigrants! We can detain a woman seeking domestic abuse protection at a courthouseWe can arrest DREAMers legally protected during the Obama era because fuck it, the new guy doesn’t deep down think they’re people! What if we just start abducting brown American citizens? Maybe we should find out!”

But given the tenuousness of Dear Leader’s perceived legitimacy, you might want to wait, I don’t know, at least three months before you ramp up your dispicably racist free-for-all. At least pretend the people you so clearly despise have a seat all the table?

I’m not telling you how to do your jobs – because if I was in charge, your jobs would be to demolish every ICE prison, then jump off a very tall cliff – but think about the optics. The optics! Have you forgotten how to pretend that your mission is to “protect America”? For shame.