Category Archives: International news

Due process? Who needs it?

Donald J. Trump, the champion of due process and the rule of law, has decided, um, that he wants to toss it all out the window in his quest to rid the United States of every single person who comes here illegally.

The president launched another Twitter tirade today in which he suggested rounding up every illegal immigrant he can find and then sending them back immediately to their country of origin.

“No court cases,” he said. “No judges,” he added. Just round ’em up. Get rid of ’em.

This kind of red — and raw — meat plays well with his base. That’s his audience anyway. The rest of us? He doesn’t care.

According to The Washington Post: “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country,” Trump wrote. “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents.”

The president continued in a second tweet, “Our Immigration policy, laughed at all over the world, is very unfair to all of those people who have gone through the system legally and are waiting on line for years! Immigration must be based on merit — we need people who will help to Make America Great Again!”

There he goes yet again. He is painting every illegal immigrant with the same broad brush, presuming that every one of them is here to bring havoc to Americans, that they want to kill us, rape us, sell us illegal drugs, kidnap our children and then peddle them as sex slaves.

Due process? U.S. immigration law gives illegal immigrants certain rights, such as the right to have their cases heard by a judge. The president doesn’t give a damn about that.

Get rid of all of them, he said.

His posture is not going to “make America great again.” It is going to make us a pariah state.


‘Merit-based’ immigration policy? Define ‘merit’

What is seemingly lost in all the furor over the “zero tolerance” debate and the fate of children taken from their parents at the southern border is a key element of Donald Trump’s proposed immigration policy.

The president said it again just this week. He wants a “merit-based” immigration policy that allows for a greater degree of selectivity. If you have something to contribute to the United States … you’re in. If you’re, um, not so meritorious, well, call us when you deserve to be admitted.

Trump wants to restrict legal immigration while eliminating illegal immigration. I am with him on the effort to make all immigrants enter this country legally, with proper documentation.

It’s the caveat he is seeking to attach to legal immigrants that bothers me in the extreme.

I am the grandson of immigrants. All four of my grandparents came to this country at the turn of the 20th century. They weren’t highly educated. They didn’t bring special talents or skill — although my maternal grandfather was fluent or conversant in about seven languages, owing to his years of service as a merchant seaman.

I am unclear whether any of them would have made the cut under Donald Trump’s plan to institute a merit-based immigration policy.

Here’s another thing to consider: Two of my grandparents came from Greece, two came from Turkey. I am wondering here and now whether Trump considers Turkey — a predominantly Muslim nation — to be a “sh**hole country” along the lines of El Salvador, Haiti or anywhere in Africa.

This nation — with the exception of Native Americans — is made up of people who all were immigrants. Most of our ancestors came here voluntarily; others of them were forced to come here — as slaves!

To suggest that we set the bar higher than many immigrants can clear is to deny our nation’s history and its tradition of being a land that opens its doors — along with its arms and heart — to the rest of the world.

Do we stay engaged or do we withdraw?

The United States has pulled out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council.

Donald J. Trump doesn’t like the council’s bias against Israel, nor does he like the human rights records of many of the nations that are members of the council.

The president’s response? He decided to withdraw. He’ll let the Human Rights Council do whatever it does without direct U.S. involvement.

That’s no way to lead, Mr. President. Hey, it’s a form of “leading from behind,” which is what Trump so often accused his predecessor, Barack Obama, of doing.

My own preference would be for the United States to stay engaged in the Human Rights Council, exerting pressure on the U.N. body to cease its bias against Israel and to remind many of its members that they have little moral standing to talk about human rights abuses.

I refer to nations such as Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Venezuela, and Cuba as members of the HRC. I get that those nations all have hideous human rights records.

Why does the president want to withdraw from yet another world body? He’s backed out of the Paris climate accord, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, threatened to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement.

He recently refused to sign the joint communique of the G-7 economic powers that met in Quebec. What’s more, Trump has threatened to launch a worldwide trade war with our most reliable trading partners and allies.

This is how you “make America great”? This is how you “put America first”?

Nope. It’s a prescription for isolating the world’s most indispensable nation from the world community. The Human Rights Council needs improvement, to be sure.

The more constructive posture would be to have our voices heard — at the table.

Is the president creating a crisis where none exists?

I keep getting this feeling in my gut that Donald J. Trump’s insistence that we have an immigration “crisis” is a figment of the president’s imagination.

Or worse, it is a ploy he is using to curry favor with Americans who have this fear about immigrants of all stripes, legal or otherwise.

Trump keeps harping on the flood of immigrants pouring through our “open border” to do harm to Americans. He is managing to cast all immigrants in the same ultra-negative light: They’re murderers, rapists, drug dealers, sex traffickers, kidnappers.

Here’s the nasty part of it: Trump appears to be succeeding in this hideous effort.

The media are covering this “zero tolerance” story with zeal and aggressiveness. The children who have been separated from their parents and sent to something called “tender age” internment camps have broken our hearts. Former first ladies have issued statements condemning the practice.

I keep asking myself: Why? Why are we reacting with such hysteria over this story?

I heard a statistic the other day about how border crossings are down. Yet to listen to the president tell it, the nation’s southern border is awash in people pouring northward into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

I don’t spend a lot of time along the Texas border with Mexico, although I recently did travel to Laredo. My wife and I spent a few nights at a Texas state park along the Rio Grande River. We also spent some time on the road traveling southeast along the river.

What did we see during those few days along the border? We saw Texans going about their daily lives. We looked at families playing at parks. We saw people shopping. They were enjoying meals. They were walking their pets along city streets.

We saw life continuing at a normal pace.

We did not see a community in crisis. We didn’t see a region gripped by a flood of illegal immigrants/criminals.

This was two years ago. Has it changed dramatically since then?

I think not.

I also believe the president of the United States — who launched his first political campaign in 2015 with a pledge to curb immigration along our southern border — has created a crisis where none exists.


Was there a message in the jacket? POTUS says ‘yes’

So-o-o-o-o. It turns out first lady Melania Trump was sending a message after all with that weird jacket she wore today.

That’s according to Donald J. Trump, who wrote via Twitter:

“I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!

But … wait! Mrs. Trump’s staff said she wasn’t sending a message with the jacket. She was photographed with the “I REALLY DON’T CARE … ” message on the back while she boarded an airplane bound for South Texas; the first lady made a surprise visit to an immigrant center near McAllen.

Man, I hope she lost the jacket when she visited with those who are holed up in the Rio Grande Valley awaiting disposition of their case … not to mention getting reunited with their children who the president ordered taken from their parents.

As for the media message mentioned by Donald J. Trump’s tweet, something tells me he made it up — kind of like the way the president does with most statements that fly out of his pie hole … or flutter into cyberspace.

Is he lying or just unaware?, an online news and commentary service, has suggested that Donald J. Trump told another whopper when he said North Korea has committed to “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” calls the president a liar on that one. Imagine that.

I’m going to give Trump a bit of the benefit of the doubt on that one. I don’t believe he knows what he and Kim Jong Un agreed to when they met earlier month in Singapore. Thus, he might not be lying purposefully; he is ignorant of the agreement.

Here is what reported: Well, here’s what the joint agreement says on that: “Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” It shortly afterward adds a vital caveat: “[T]he DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

That is not the same as Kim agreeing to “a total denuclearization of North Korea.” Not at all. Not even close.

It’s seriously egregious for the president to deliberately deceive us on a statement that carries such an enormous impact on the prospect for world peace.

It also is damn grim if the president simply doesn’t understand, or grasp, or comprehend what he and a fellow head of state agreed on.

Yet there was the president at that rally this week in Duluth, Minn., declaring that he and Kim Jong Un have reached an agreement to remove the nukes from North Korea’s weapons arsenal. The crowd at the rally offered throaty cheers and an “atta boy!” at the president. Except that he didn’t tell them the truth. points out correctly that the two men didn’t get anywhere the finish line when they parted company in Singapore.

Donald Trump, as many of us have noted repeatedly since he became president, doesn’t know what the hell he is doing.

Only Congress can fix it? How did POTUS do it?

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made it clear: Only Congress can fix the situation regarding the policy that enabled Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to separate children from their parents at the border.

The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, said the same thing.

So did the White House press office.

What, then, happened today? The president signed an executive order doing the very thing he and his aides could be done only by congressional fiat.

Was the president lying? Did he tell the nation’s DHS secretary to lie? Did the secretary lie on her own, all by herself?

More shallow idiocy from POTUS

Check out this image from a meeting today that the president of the United States had with small business leaders.

He was talking to them about his “zero tolerance” policy, the one that allows children to be taken from their parents at the border. Donald Trump equated all illegal entrants into the United States with vicious gang members intent on bring death and destruction to this country.

He made no mention, of course, of those who are fleeing persecution in their own country or their pursuit of a better life in the Land of Opportunity.

Then to show how much he loves the nation he was elected to govern, the president decided to hug the flag. Yep. He hugged Old Glory. He wrapped the Stars and Stripes in his arms in some sort of childish demonstration of his patriotic fervor.

He made me laugh. Out loud.

A quote from the famed author Sinclair Lewis has been making the rounds, in which he said, “When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a bible.”

That’s a big harsh, in my view.

However, the president’s shallow demonstration — with that goofy flag hugging routine — while it plays well to his base, illustrates a level of superficiality I’ve never seen in the Leader of the Free World.

Until now.

‘I, alone, can fix it … ‘

You might recall the bold — and reckless — declaration that Donald J. Trump made after being nominated by the Republican Party to run for president of the United States.

“I, alone, can fix it,” he said, referring to the myriad ills he said were afflicting the nation at the time.

Many of us ridiculed the nominee for that statement. No president can do much of anything “alone” without help and cooperation.

Guess what. None of us saw the crisis that is developing at this moment with a Trump administration policy that allows for children to be taken from their parents at the nation’s border. It’s a hideous policy. It is the creation of an administration that has demonized illegal immigrants, portraying them as criminals intent on murdering, raping Americans, selling them drugs.

Here’s more to ponder: Donald Trump can ease this crisis “alone,” with a signature and a phone call.

The president can halt the “zero tolerance” policy all by himself. It is not a product of a “Democrat bill,” which he has contended falsely.

It turns out the 2016 GOP presidential nominee was more truthful than we imagined at the time when he said “I, alone” can repair this or that.

If only he would act.

He has created a crisis. The president needs to fix it.

First ladies speak out; pay attention, Mr. POTUS

When do you recall this ever happening?

Five women who share a common bond have spoken out in virtual unison demanding that the presidential administration end a policy that has ignited a national firestorm over the way it treats families.

I say “virtual unison” because one of those women — first lady Melania Trump — finds herself in the most awkward of spots. Her husband, Donald John Trump, is responsible for enacting the policy of yanking children from their parents as they enter the United States.

Mrs. Trump has called on “both sides” to find a solution to the crisis. I’ll get back to her in a moment.

The four former first ladies — Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and Rosalynn Carter — have spoken out separately, but are saying essentially the same thing: The policy must end!

Laura Bush calls the policy “immoral” and said it “breaks my heart” to see these children — many of them infants and toddlers — wrested from their parents’ custody and taken to virtual cages, where they are kept while immigration authorities sort out how to deal with their illegal entry into the United States.

As for the current first lady, I recognize that she is hamstrung by the fact that she’s married to the man at the center of all this madness.

I cannot know this as fact, but I only can imagine how the president might have reacted when he learned of the statement that came from his wife’s office about her desire to see this policy ended.

The “both sides” element of Melania Trump’s statement suggests to me that it disguises her actual belief that the policy is wrong on its face and it needs to change … immediately, if not sooner.

Sadly, the president isn’t inclined to heed anyone’s advice, let alone from his wife.