Tag Archives: executive order

Wanting next POTUS to rescind transgender ban

Donald Trump took office as president and began issuing a flurry of executive orders, even though he criticized Barack Obama for his use of executive authority when he was president of the United States.

One of the orders he issued revoked an Obama order that allowed transgender Americans to serve openly in the U.S. military. Trump listened to his base of supporters and rescinded the previous order.

He is now getting his re-election campaign ramped up. Many of the Democrats seeking to succeed him want to yank the transgender ban off the books and allow those patriotic Americans to don the uniform of their country while serving in the military.

I fully support lifting the ban. Even the Washington Examiner, a newspaper friendly to the Trump agenda, has urged the president to take a second look at the transgender ban.

Trump offered a number of dubious assertions seeking to justify his decision to rescind the previous executive order. The worst of those reasons had something to do with the money that the Defense Department would be spending on personnel who would be in various stages of what is called “gender reassignment.” The counter argument to that notion, of course, came from those who noted the enormous amount of money the Pentagon spends on medication to correct maladies such as, oh, “erectile dysfunction.”

Without doubt, though, the most ironic aspect of Trump’s decision dealt with his denying Americans’ desire to serve their country when, back in the day, Trump avoided/evaded such service during the Vietnam War. He secured the now widely derided medical exemption relating to alleged “bone spurs” that Trump said he suffered on his feet.

For this president to deny Americans the opportunity to serve, which they seek to do voluntarily, is ridiculous on its face.

Furthermore, I equate the military transgender ban with the idiotic Bathroom Bill that the 2017 Texas Legislature considered enacting. You’ll recall that one, yes? The Senate approved a bill that required people to use public restrooms in accordance with their gender at birth; it was meant clearly to discriminate against transgendered individuals. The Texas House, led by then-Republican House Speaker Joe Straus, killed the idea in a special session.

Whoever succeeds Trump — whether it’s after this upcoming election or the next one — has vowed to restore some justice to our military ranks. My fervent hope is that the opportunity comes sooner rather than later.

Tie goes to the GOP with SCOTUS decision


The U.S. Supreme Court’s non-decision on President Obama’s executive order regarding illegal immigrants just demonstrates the need to get that ninth seat on the court filled.

OK, the president lost this one. The court came down 4 to 4 to uphold a lower court ruling that had set aside the president’s executive order that granted temporary amnesty to around 5 million undocumented immigrants.

His order would have spared millions of families from the fear of deportation, particularly those families with children who were born in the United States and, thus, were American citizens.

Now, their future is a quite a bit more uncertain.

Everyone knows that the court would have ruled 5-4 had Justice Antonin Scalia had been present to decide. He wasn’t. He’s now deceased. The president has nominated a moderate jurist to replace him. Senate Republicans won’t give Merrick Garland a hearing and a vote because they want the next president to make the selection.

So, the tie vote means the Republicans win this round.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “I think the Constitution was upheld and this idea that there is a separation of powers — that no one person gets to make up law — was upheld,” Paxton said. “That’s a great thing for America.”


But is it? Is it a great thing for those families that have come here to carve out a new life and for their children who were born here and who have considered themselves Americans for their entire life?

We can’t change the court’s non-decision now that it has acted — although I remain a bit dubious about how a tie vote actually settles anything. It reminds me a little bit of how court cases are decided on “technicalities.”

Obama and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton both say the permanent answer must rest with Congress. Clinton vowed to seek congressional action if she’s elected president this fall.

Do I — as a layman — like how the court “decided” this case? Not in the least.

But you play the hand you’re dealt.

It does show quite brightly, though, why it’s important to fill that ninth seat on the Supreme Court — and why Merrick Garland deserves a hearing and a vote of the Senate.

Absence same as 'no' vote? No … it isn't

I really do like having Ted Cruz in the U.S. Senate.

He offers so much grist for folks like me on which to comment.

The freshman Republican senator said this the other day about his absence on a vote that confirmed Loretta Lynch as the latest U.S. attorney general: “Absence is the equivalent of a ‘no’ vote.”


There you have it. He missed the vote because he had a prior commitment to attend a fundraiser back home in Texas. Cruz had voted earlier on a motion to end a filibuster on Lynch’s nomination; he voted to keep the filibuster going.

The filibuster was broken, the vote took place, Lynch had the votes to win confirmation. So, what was the point of Cruz being there to cast his expected “no” vote on Lynch?

Well shoot, senator. It mattered because you didn’t put it on the record. It’s not part of the Senate’s official voting record.

I’m still uncertain precisely why Cruz disapproves so strongly of Lynch’s ascending to the office of attorney general, other than her support of President Obama’s executive order granting temporary amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. I guess Cruz doesn’t much like the notion of an attorney general supporting the policies of the president who appoints her to the Cabinet, where everyone serves at the pleasure of the president of the United States.

That’s been the mantra of other senators who opposed Lynch, even those who said upon the announcement of her appointment that she is “highly qualified.” Some of those former supporters changed their mind when she declared her backing for the president’s action on immigration.

I think it’s strange. Then again, that’s just me.

What the heck. Sen. Cruz was entitled to attend the fundraiser. He’s running for president, after all. Let’s not assume, though, that this issue of non-voting on this confirmation — as well as other key votes he’s missed while campaigning for the White House — will disappear.

It’s the price a sitting member of Congress pays when he or she seeks the highest office in the land. Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton paid it when they ran in 2008. Sen. Cruz can expect the same thing in 2016.



Governing looks like the old way

So, this is what the new style of governing looks like on Capitol Hill.

Republicans control both legislative houses. The Senate wants to move away from the stalemate over funding the Department of Homeland Security; it wants to vote on a “clean” funding bill that doesn’t contain measures to strip out President Obama’s executive action on immigration. The House of Representatives — led by its TEA party coalition — wants to stick it to Obama.


Neither side can persuade the other chamber that their way is the right way.

We’re stuck.

Ain’t governing fun?

House Speaker John Boehner is having a difficult time corralling the rebels in his GOP caucus. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has done a better job of taking control of the Senate.

DHS has enough money to function until Friday. Then lawmakers either (a) vote on yet another short-term deal or (b) vote on a “clean” bill that might just anger the House TEA party rabble rousers enough to try to oust Boehner as speaker.

Meanwhile, the agency charged with protecting our borders from oh, you know, drug smugglers and terrorists is being kicked around like an unwanted critter.

This isn’t the way it was supposed to work when Republicans took control of government’s legislative branch.

GOP plays with fire over immigration

When you play with fire, the saying goes, you’re going to get burned.

So, what has the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives done right out of the chute? It has voted to defund President Obama’s executive order that seeks to reform the nation’s immigration policy.

Which voting bloc is most interested in this activity? Why, I do believe it’s the Hispanic voter, the very folks that Republicans say they need if they have any hope of winning the White House in the 2016 election.


Why, then, the interest among those Americans? Well, the immigration-related executive order seeks to delay the deportation of about 5 million illegal immigrants. No, they can’t vote. But they have a lot of supporters among Hispanic American citizens who do vote and those individuals are likely to remember what the House of Representatives and the Senate — which also is in GOP hands — will seek to do to Obama’s order.

The GOP has done a two-fer. They defunded the deportation plan. In a second vote, they decided to take the teeth out of the DACA provision. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and it sought to delay deportation of children who came here illegally, either by their parents or those who were part of that mass migration across our southern border.

There well might be hell to pay if Republicans insist on these tough measures.

Is the president going soft on illegal immigration? Of course not. The Obama administration has set deportation records left and right for the past six years. The president, though, intends to start improving the system while allowing those who are here illegally some time to apply for legal resident status or become U.S. citizens.

Republicans are having none of it.

It will cost them.




Off your duff, Congress, and move on immigration

If nothing else at all, President Obama’s decision to proceed with an executive order delaying the deportation of 5 million illegal immigrants has shamed Congress into doing something — anything! — constructive to engage in this debate.


There’s been a lot of accusatory talk from Republicans about the president defying “the will the people,” or “circumventing the Constitution,” or even acting “lawlessly.”

They have no plan.

The Senate did pass an immigration reform bill a year or so ago, but the House of Representatives sat on it. They dithered and dilly-dallied, stalled and stymied any move to enact some improvements in federal law that bottles up efforts by undocumented immigrants to attain legal status and work toward eventual citizenship.

So now Obama has taken action.

I keep looking at the order he signed and wonder: What is in it that angers the GOP so much?

It prioritizes the arrest and deportation of criminals; it seeks to put more federal security on our southern border; it enables children of illegal immigrants who were born in the United States to stay with their parents; it allows illegal immigrants to, as Obama said, “come out the shadow” and work openly and, yes, pay federal personal income taxes.

My main objection to the order was in its timing. I believe the president should have waited for the new Congress to take its seat. Oh well, he ignored the advice from a middle-of-the-country blogger. My feelings aren’t hurt, Mr. President.

Now it falls on Congress to get off its collective duff and approve a comprehensive immigration reform bill that helps restore the nation’s role as being the Land of Opportunity for all.




Gov.-elect Abbott saying (far) right things

Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott, once upon a time, was considered a mainstream Republican. Reasoned, cautious, yet dedicated to basic conservative principles of smaller government and low taxes.

Then he got bit by the tea party bug.

The state’s next governor now declares he plans to sue President Obama over that executive order issued this week that delays deportation of 5 million illegal immigrants, more than 1 million of whom live in Texas.


The Texas Tribune reports: “In a statement, Abbott said Obama’s order ‘circumvented Congress and deliberately bypassed the will of the American people. I am prepared to immediately challenge President Obama in court, securing our state’s sovereignty and guaranteeing the rule of law as it was intended under the Constitution,’ Abbott added.”

Well, consider this for just a moment. President George H.W. Bush in 1990 issued an executive order that did the very same thing for 1.5 million illegal immigrants. Bush, a Republican, did it for compassionate reasons. Didn’t the current president cite compassion for families in issuing his own order?

Where, dare I ask, were the calls of indignation when President Bush issued the executive order? It was done quietly, with little fanfare.

That was then. Today’s climate seems to require fanfare, blustering, posturing, finger-pointing, threats and challenges.

Therein perhaps lies the crux of what’s going on here.

Greg Abbott, the once reflective and deliberative man of the bench, has become just as shrill as the rest of what has become the “mainstream” Texas Republican Party.


TV networks miss a chance to engage viewers

This post will be brief, so I’ll get right to the point.

The major broadcast networks and a major cable network are blowing a chance to stay engaged in the immigration by declining to broadcast the president’s remarks tonight on the executive order he is about to issue.


ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox have said “no thanks” to carrying the speech live. CNN and PBS will carry it.

Given all the debate, discussion, finger-pointing, threats and lies told to and about all sides in this debate, I would have bet the proverbial farm that the networks would carry it live. It’s kind of a big deal, given what congressional Republicans have threatened to do when the president signs the order.

Silly me. The broadcast networks have dramas and comedies to show.


Don't shut down the government

Mitt Romney is quite capable of making sense.

Take his view on a threat to shut down the federal government to get back at President Obama for enacting an executive order to help fix a broken U.S. immigration system.

The crux of Romney’s view on that idea? Don’t do it, Republicans.

Will someone on Capitol Hill listen to the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee?


The tea party crackpots are threatening to shut ‘er down by withholding money to fund the government past its Dec. 11 deadline. They’re going to get angry if — and likely when — the president signs an executive order that delays deportation of about 5 million illegal immigrants.

I agree with them that the president need not pick this fight. But he’s likely to do it.

The Republicans’ response really shouldn’t include shutting down the government. In case they have forgotten, a lot of Americans rely on the federal government. Many thousands of them draw their paychecks from the government, for example.

Romney was asked on “Face the Nation” this morning about a possible shutdown. “Well, I think there’s got to be more productive ways for us to be able to impress on the president the need to work for a permanent solution, as opposed to a temporary stop-gap solution,” Romney replied.

Shutting down the government punishes people who have been turned into political pawns.

Is that what Republicans really and truly want to do?

Listen to Mitt, OK?