February 4th, 2017

Why didn’t the Trump administration make it clear whether Iraqis who helped the US would be affected by his immigration EO?

I’ve said before that Trump and his advisors should have ironed out a lot of things and clarified them before releasing his immigration executive order. Sloppiness is wrong on two scores: it leads to bad outcomes for many people, and it opens the administration up to valid criticism. It forces officials to play catch-up, scrambling to correct misperceptions and revising the order as originally written. A little bit of this is to be expected; nobody’s perfect. But there’s been an unacceptable and needless level of it this time.

For example, as I’ve written earlier, why not allow people already in transit on airplanes to arrive under the old rules? Why not make it crystal clear at the outset that it doesn’t affect green card holders? Both would not only have made the order more well-thought-out, but would have deprived Trump’s opponents of countless talking points and illustrations of hardship and outright stupidity. For an example of both hardship and stupidity: why, of why, couldn’t the administration have stated that people who helped the US military in Iraq—and to whom we promised a safe harbor here—were exempted from the ban?

These are not esoteric categories, either. That last one is in the nature of an obvious no-brainer. It doesn’t take nit-picking lawyers to figure out most of the exemptions that needed to be covered and communicated. Trump himself wouldn’t necessarily have been expected to think of these details (although it would have been nice if he had). But what about the teams of advisors and lawyers who ordinarily help with these things?

Initial reports claimed that Trump and his closest advisors didn’t run this by the Office of Legal Counsel at the DOJ. Allahpundit at Hot Air commented:

Dropping an EO of this magnitude on DHS at the last minute, with little notice and little regard for its legality, on the say-so of Bannon and Miller is…not something you’d do if your top priority is rolling out a clear, well-tailored reform to immigration policy. It’s something you’d do if your top priority is making a nationalist splash to show that “Trump means business” or whatever. If he gets sued over it — and he will, a lot — well, then, that only proves the depth of his commitment to nationalism. Trump’s politics has always been a politics of confrontation. Signing a vague, sloppy order over which the left was sure to go berserk is thus a feature, not a bug, of the new system.

A feature to many of Trump’s most fervent supporters, that is. But not to me. I’ve said I’m going to call them like I see them. I will give praise when I approve of what he does, and criticize him when I don’t. This is one of those latter times. And let me add once again that I am in favor of more rigorous vetting for immigrants, in particular the inclusion of some sort of ideological test, and I think visas should be somewhat more restrictive as well. But do it in a smarter way.

It doesn’t seem as though the situation of those Iraqis who helped us has been cleared up even now. These people would be very unlikely to need extra vetting; they are well known to those Americans who served there and whom they risked their lives to assist. However, one category of these immigrants seems to have been cleared up after initial confusion—those who already hold Special Immigrant Visas:

Department of Homeland Security officials initially did not respond to requests for comment on whether Trump’s executive order represents a blanket ban on Iraqi nationals with Special Immigrant Visas, or SIVs, who served as interpreters for the U.S. military; on U.S. service members who are citizens of the seven Muslim countries; and on Iraqi pilots and officials who come to the U.S. to train with the U.S. military.

DHS spokeswoman Gillian Christensen later told Foreign Policy that under the order, Iraqi SIV holders are to be treated essentially the same as legal permanent residents, such as green card holders.

But the exemption should not just apply to people holding visas at the moment (although that’s certainly important). It’s about the future, and keeping promises to people in the general category of helpers. And from the following statement, found in the same article as the Christensen quote, it appears that even those who had already been approved for SIVs remain somewhat uncertain of their status:

Fred Wellman, a retired Army officer who served for 22 years, including four combat tours, said the executive order blocking those who served with the U.S. military is “very personal to me.” One interpreter he worked with is struggling to get by in Erbil, Iraq, while another, who was approved for an SIV, was due to come to the United States this spring but is now in limbo.

“My first interpreter was murdered by Al Qaeda and we were able to get his family here very quietly in 2005,” Wellman told Foreign Policy Monday. “Now we have thousands stuck, and it will make it incredibly difficult to get local help now and in the future if we don’t keep our promises to those who risked their lives and now pay a price for it at home.”

This is a rare issue on which Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree. I can see no excuse for any delay on the matter. Prior to January 30, Trump’s Secretary of Defense Mattis requested that the administration act on this, and a bipartisan letter from some members of Congress was sent as well:

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers have sent a letter urging President Donald Trump to honor a request by Secretary of Defense James Mattis to exempt Iraqis who served as “interpreters, aides and other allies who risked their lives alongside U.S. personnel in Iraq” from the recent national security executive order.

As far as I can see, members of Congress are still making the same request. Another letter has been sent, the content of which was announced yesterday. This one was signed by 15 Republicans and one Democrat.

One of Trump’s big selling points was his supposed devotion to the military. I doubt that most military people, particularly those who served in Iraq, would be in favor of this sort of unexplained foot-dragging. This was the time for Trump to have shown people that he could be tough and firm in protecting the American people and yet careful to also protect others to whom we promised protection, and clear about the intent of the EO towards all relevant classes of person it might have affected. He failed (rather dramatically) to do so, and the consequences have been to give the left a great deal of ammunition—not to mention sowing alarm and fear among people who don’t even fall under the rubric of the EO but have are needlessly panicked because of all the confusion.

Immigration was one of the main centerpieces of Trump’s platform. He began his presidency run about a year and a half ago. He’s got a lot on his plate, but the substance of the EO should have been well-chewed and digested before the announcement occurred.

[NOTE: There’s also the fallout from the temporary halt issued by a judge:

President Donald Trump’s government moved swiftly Saturday to comply with a federal judge’s order halting his immigration ban — even as Trump denounced the judge.

The Department of Homeland Security announced it has suspended all actions to implement the immigration order and will resume standard inspections of travelers as it did prior to the signing of the travel ban.

William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection has quite a bit to say on the matter of two court rulings on this; I recommend reading the whole thing. Here’s an excerpt:

How can we have such different decisions out of two separate federal courts [in Seattle and one in Massachusetts that reached the opposite conclusion]? It’s because the people seeking to overturn the Executive Order only need to win once, the government needs to win in every district court. That is why an appellate court needs to weigh in on this.

The Seattle TRO is outrageous. As of this writing, there is no indication in the 9th Circuit electronic PACER docket that an application for relief has been filed by the government.

Hopefully the government will be in front of the 9th Circuit quickly to obtain a stay of the TRO, and if that fails, the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to the merits, there are serious issues of whether a state has “standing” to challenge the refusal of the federal government to allow entry into the U.S. of foreigners who themselves have no legitimate claims as to visa denials.

The issue is not whether the Executive Order is wise, it’s over who gets to make the decision on what constitutes necessary security procedures with regard to foreigners wanting to enter the U.S. That decision in the past always has been reserved to the executive branch.

I hope that the administration expected these court challenges. If not, they were incredibly naive. Again, this back-and-forth oscillation gives the impression—and probably rightly so—of a chaotic rollout (remember that phrase from Obamacare?), and of amateur hour.

I know people on the left who believe that the chaos was intentional, and the goal was to discourage travel and immigration to the US. I don’t happen to agree, but I admit that it’s a real possibility. And I’ll add my old mantra: we’ll see.]

79 Responses to “Why didn’t the Trump administration make it clear whether Iraqis who helped the US would be affected by his immigration EO?”

  1. Chester Draws Says:

    I travelled via the US recently. I shan’t be doing it again during Trump’s presidency.

    Not because I dislike Trump, because I disliked Obama too, but because Trump has made it too risky and more effort than it is worth. All that money so I can transit?

    He might find that the US airlines aren’t too pleased with the downturn in business. That tourism operators aren’t too pleased either. I thought he was trying to bring jobs to America? Because his first actions are having the opposite effect.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Chester Draws:

    I agree that the EO and the confusing manner in which it was announced is likely to have a negative effect on travel to this country. And an unnecessary one, at that.

  3. Vanderleun Says:

    Well, it’s very early days yet and’

    “Initial reports claimed that Trump and his closest advisors didn’t run this by the Office of Legal Counsel at the DOJ. ”

    why would the Trump office have any reason to trust the Obama DOJ not to leak or otherwise sabotage the order.

  4. neo-neocon Says:


    That doesn’t mean they don’t run it by their own appointees.

    For example, wait a few days till Sessions is in place. What’s the huge rush over a few days? Trump also has a White House Counsel appointed by Trump.

    What’s more, if Trump trusts NO ONE at the DOJ and doesn’t consult lawyers but relies solely on people like Bannon, he’s going to be in hot water over and over again. Heck, he could have consulted Andrew McCarthy, unofficially. There are tons of people who could have given him better advice than he got.

    Plus, are you really suggesting that it should have taken the DOJ to have considered the Iraqi helpers and their plight? Or green card holders? Give me a break; these are no-brainers.

    Trump the Great makes errors, you know.

  5. Ann Says:

    Some of us were hoping that Trump would turn to VP Pence for advice. But no; instead it’s the two Stephens, Bannon and Miller, calling the shots. Not reassuring at all.

  6. OM Says:


    If Trump can learn it is a good thing that the limitations of the Stephens has been revealed this early. A big rule in business is make the boss look good; here the minions let the boss down. Bannon and Miller failed on this one it appears.

  7. Roy Lofquist Says:

    No nit shall go unpicked.

  8. Steve S Says:

    All this concern over the Iraqis who served with our forces, and who provided aid and assistance to our efforts, has me puzzled: Obama gave the order for troop withdrawal from Iraq in 2011; how is it that 5-6 years later we are still dealing with visa issues concerning these brave Iraqis who assisted us? How is it that they have not long since been ex-filtrated?

    Have they always had the opportunity to emigrate to the US, but chose not to? Have they been travelling back-and-forth, and suddenly could not do that? If they are so endangered, why are they still in Iraq years later? What was the Obama Administration doing about them for all these years?

  9. KLSmith Says:

    Like I said before, this was an own goal by team Trump. We saw during the primary debates how little he prepped and studied the issues. All bluster and bragging. Presidenting is hard and all we can do now is keep our fingers crossed.

  10. KLSmith Says:

    Steve S: why would that be more important to Obama than tee times and parties?

  11. GRA Says:

    It’s better when hot air is backed by substance and details. Trump should learn from Obama’s mistakes.

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve S:

    First of all, there are still US troops in Iraq, the number having increased after the rise of ISIS. This article, for example, written 2 days ago, says there are presently 5,000 US troops in that country. Do you think for a moment that they are not getting help from Iraqis who put their own lives in danger in order to help the US in the fight against ISIS?

    Second, it can take a long time to get approval to come here, even for those who have helped us. I’ve read many articles on the subject over the years, but here’s a recent article:

    That request came in 2011 when Shinwari [the Iraqi helper] asked Zeller to sponsor his Special Immigrant Visa, so he could moved to the United States. Special Immigrant Visas are distributed to nationals who have worked for the U.S. government in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now face direct threats on their life as a result of that work. While the visa programs offer interpreters a chance at a new life in the United States, the vetting process is extensive and can take years to approve, if they get approved at all.

    By 2013, Shinwari still had not received his visa, and the United States was aggressively transitioning military bases over to Afghan national security forces. The Afghan National Army didn’t want Shinwari or other translators on base anymore, thinking they were American spies. He found himself out of a job. Furthermore, the Taliban had placed a bounty on his head and it was only a matter of time before they tracked him down and killed him.

    “You’ve got until October to make good on that promise or I’m a dead man,” Shinwari told Zeller.

    Zeller quickly put together an advocacy campaign, pressuring the government to grant his translator’s visa. Thanks to this effort, Shinwari landed in the United States on Oct. 29, 2013. This was the day that the conception for Zeller’s nonprofit organization, No One Left Behind, was born.

    Three years later, No One Left Behind has become a national advocacy group for interpreters who served with American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Founded by Zeller and Shinwari, the organization provides assistance to those newly arrived in America with housing, employment, and cultural adjustment…

    [Here’s Zeller speaking] Well, let’s just flash forward now, there are 5,000 U.S. uniformed military personnel in Iraq right now; there’s another 7,800 contractors. Let’s just bump it up to 8,000. That’s 13,000 people. That’s a division. They don’t all speak Arabic and Kurdish. So they’re likely relying on the use of those local nationals.

    We’ve got Special Forces teams in Syria right now, you think they’re rolling around speaking the local dialect? No, they’re working with the locals there. This could already have immediate impact on our military operations if our allies suddenly realize that we’re going to practically abandon them…

    Are interpreters applying for special immigration visas go through a different vetting process compared to refugees and others who have applied and received visas?

    Let’s start out with the fact that they’re vetted from the first point of hire. It wasn’t like they walked up to an American base and yelled at the wall, “Hey, I speak English.” And someone was like, “Ya, here’s a gun, go on patrol.” Just to be on the base, they had to be polygraphed at least once. Their phone calls were likely monitored.

    Their emails were likely read. They had no rights to privacy. The extensive interviews that they had to undergo, security checks just to be able to give them the privileged access to American military personnel, was substantial.

    On top of that, they have to get a recommendation. They have to get nominated for this thing [visa] by either a uniformed member of the military or a civilian member of our government. Either way, it has to be a U.S. government official. Somebody has to put on U.S. government letterhead, “I nominate this person for a visa, and here’s why.”

    And here’s the criteria they’d have to meet to earn that. They have to at least serve a year with our military or our civilian agencies in support of the war effort. That service would be have to be deemed both honorably and valuable. If they clear that hurdle, they then have to prove they are in duress, that someone is actively trying to harm them.

    And if they clear that hurdle, they then have to undergo the most extreme form of vetting that our national security apparatus can muster. It literally involves an independent investigation. The intelligence community, the military, and the Department of Homeland Security all have to run their own investigations of each applicant. … The decision to let them in must be unanimous, and if it’s not, not only are they barred entry for life, they’re also put on the no-fly list forever. Simply put, if I am a bad guy, if I am al Qaeda or ISIS, this is not the visa program through which I’m trying to sneak people in.
    What solutions would you recommend to the current administration?

    …when these people get these visas, they’re not coming here illegally. They’re not crossing over our southern or northern border illegally. They‘re not coming as tourists or students and overstaying their visa. They’re doing this the right way. They’ve gone and jumped through every hurdle we could possibly put in front of them.

    We’ve finally said, “Okay, you’ve done everything proper. You’ve earned your visa. Here is it, this is your legal ticket to the U.S.” And then they go to take that ticket and in so doing, they they’re going to be leaving their country of origin forever. So they sell everything. They sell the house, they sell of the items. … Imagine doing all of that and only to get as far as a neighboring country and be turned around. Where are they going to go live? What are they going to do?

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    Roy Lofquist:

    Oh, really? Nits?

    Read this and see if you still call it nit-picking.

  14. Roy Lofquist Says:

    Yes, nits.

    Trump acted expeditiously to address a matter that threatens actual violence against our country and citizens. The threat is real, given past infiltration by terrorists that have cost many lives, the recent history of infiltration into Europe resulting in massive loss of life, and the announced intentions by terrorist organizations to bring Jihad to our shores.

    The lack of “proper vetting” that so many complain about would have taken quite some time – months if done the Washington way. This lack of vetting has caused some temporary discomfort and inconvenience for a small number of people. The one claim of actual harm caused by the EO was quickly shown to be bogus.

    Cry your crocodile tears as you try to explain to the people of San Bernadino or Orlando that we had to make sure that we dotted all the “i”s and crossed all the “t”s.

    Trump acted on one of his primary duties – to protect us from foreign enemies. Nor did he act precipitously or capriciously – the seven countries named in the EO were so designated by the Obama administration.

    It is certain and inevitable that Trump will make some bad decisions. If you continue to pick nits then all people will hear when he really screws up is “wolf, wolf, wolf”.

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    Roy Lofquist:

    I’m so glad to see that you think that promises made to helpers who might be killed during the interim, and who have relied on the word of the US to protect them, are nothing more than nits.

    I’m so glad to see that you think the future safety and efficacy of our military in far-off places, who rely on helpers such as these who will be much more difficult to recruit in the future (according to the military, not according to me), is also nothing more than nits.

    And I’m so glad to see that you think that the vetting process described in my comment to which I called your attention is inadequate and will be improved on by the Trump administration. And if you think that people who have been vetted in the way described in that comment, and who have risked their lives to fight terrorists and to aid the US in that fight, are going to turn into San Bernadino type terrorists, than you are too far gone to be reasoned with.

    I wonder how far you intend to go in making excuses for the errors this administration has committed. You really need to learn the distinction between crying wolf and pointing out real errors that matter, both in the human and in the strategic sense.

    For my part, I hope they right this important oversight and learn from it.

  16. parker Says:

    Think first, then act. It is obvious some essential issues were not considered. This makes the administration look amateurish. I want Trump to succeed, he needs to think things through with competent advisors and then act. Rome was not dismantled in a day.

  17. blert Says:


    I read the EO.

    Those assisting our military are SPECIFICALLY called out as exempted… in any of the 7 nations.

    It’s right there in the enumerated exceptions — in classic legalese.

  18. blert Says:

    I would’ve stressed that the primary motivation is COUNTERFEIT documents — especially passports.

    These are readily available due to the civil strife in those lands.

  19. expat Says:

    Another thing Trump should have done was deflate the Musim-majority countries meme used constantly by the MSM. He should have said up front that six of these countries have enclaves of terrorist groups beyond control of the governments and that we would work quickly with those governments to improve both their and our vetting procedures.

  20. Yankee Says:

    Perhaps the bigger issue to take away from the reaction to President Trump’s executive orders is that it has become clear that many on the Left want open orders, and will not accept any restrictions of any kind for immigration, and will try to get their way by any means necessary.

    This is just the beginning of a long process. The media may make things look dramatic now, but (to borrow a phrase from his predecessor), Mr. Trump is “on the right side of history.”

  21. expat Says:

    Maybe Trump could use eminent domain to take over the properties Mark Zuckerberg is buying to protect his own home from the hoi polloi. After all, we will desperately need places to house all those refugees from Somalia.

  22. Roy Lofquist Says:


    When the house is on fire it is not the time to check the inspection certificates on the fire hoses. You may not think we are at war but the Islamists certainly do.

    As Commander in Chief Trump has to make decisions as to the conduct of that war. There are trade offs. Sometimes they are anguishing. Sometimes commanders have to send soldiers to certain death.

    In this case Trump judged that there is a clear and present danger that Islamists would take advantage of the chaos and confusion, or perhaps state collusion, to enter this country with the intent to cause grievous harm. He ordered a temporary halt to travel from those countries until he could assess the process used to prevent this from happening.

    The trade off, hypothetical in this case, pales in comparison to the potential danger. It matters not that Obama, for whatever reason, was remiss in his responsibility to ensure our safety. It is the President’s responsibility, his call, Commander in Chief.

    Perhaps you’re not familiar with the parable of the sheep, the wolves and the sheepdog. You might find it interesting.

    I, for one, am glad that we now have a sheepdog as president, as opposed to a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  23. Ann Says:

    It just gets better and better — O’Reilly told Trump that Putin is a killer. Trump’s reply: ‘You think our country is so innocent?’

    I guess he does read books after all, maybe those by Chomsky and Zinn.

  24. Roy Lofquist Says:


    I have one word for you – plastics.

    Sorry, wrong movie. I meant to say drones.

  25. neo-neocon Says:


    Do you really think the 15 members of Congress petitioning Trump didn’t understand the EO? Why do you think they wrote the letter?

    What about General Mattis, the Secretary of Defense? Is he so stupid he doesn’t get it, either? And General Petraeus? See this.

    At first it was thought that even those Iraqis who had helped us and already held the special visas would not be able to travel (in fact, one was held up at the airport on his way here). Then, days later, it was clarified that those already holding visas would be exempt. But that’s not the subject of this post. I have written here about people waiting, with their lives on the line, and who do not yet hold visas although they have applied and for whom the visa process has been halted.

    See this article from Stars and Stripes. An excerpt:

    The Pentagon will advocate for visas for “proven” partners who have assisted U.S. forces in any of the seven majority-Muslim nations affected by President Donald Trump’s immigration ban – not just Iraq, spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said Thursday.

    The immigration ban was enacted Jan. 27 in an executive order signed by Trump at the Pentagon. It prevents citizens from Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, Sudan and Libya from entering the United States for 90 days. Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely. All other refugees are banned for 120 days.

    The ban had a direct effect on the military. U.S. special operators have partnered closely with local forces on the ground in several of the affected nations as part of the U.S. war on terrorism and against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.

    The majority of the people who are affected by this [executive order] would be the Iraqi people who have helped us, such as translators,” Davis said. “But there are people in other countries too who are impacted … who have demonstrated similar levels of action that have been in support of important U.S. military operations,” Davis said.

    The U.S. recently conducted operations against the Islamic State militants in Libya, and U.S. special operators have worked with local forces supporting the Government of National Accord against cells of the Islamic State group there.

    The U.S. has maintained a special operations presence in Yemen to assist the pro-government forces. On Sunday, a raid in Yemen that Davis said yielded “actionable” intelligence against al-Qaida led to the death of Navy SEAL Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens.

    The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that Iraqis translators and others who have obtained special immigrant visas based on their service to the U.S. in Iraq would not be impacted by the ban.

    “We are pleased that the U.S. government has determined it is in the national interest to allow Iraqi special immigrant visa holders to continue to travel to the United States,” Davis said.

    On Thursday, Davis said the department was working to identify people to advocate for who have been affected by the ban.

    “We want to make sure that [their service] is taken into account when they face the U.S. immigration process,” Davis said. He did not say how many people may be affected, but added: “A lot of people who currently serve – a lot of our veterans – owe their lives to these people, literally.”

  26. neo-neocon Says:

    Roy Lofquist:

    You’re not paying attention to what I wrote.

    We will not be able to operate around the world with the help of local populations unless our word on this is good. Trump’s order potentially sabotages the fight against Islamic terrorism far more than it helps it. The chances of any of these particular people (the ones who already have risked their lives to help us and to fight terrorism) becoming terrorists is just about zero. If you fail to understand that, you’re not thinking straight.

    There is no reason whatsoever not to exempt these people. Did you read the description of the vetting process? You’re not being logical.

  27. Roy Lofquist Says:


    I pay very close attention to what you write. I disagree with your conclusions.

    “Trump’s order potentially sabotages the fight against Islamic terrorism far more than it helps it.”

    The key word here is “potentially”. That is a hypothetical, speculation. That a person or persons might slip into this country and cause harm during the time devoted to extensive review is also speculative. However, the latter contingency is far, far more probable given our experience. The latter is also imminent and dangerous.

    The President is charged with making these decisions. Arm chair generals and Monday morning quarterbacks can kvetch at leisure. The President gets to write condolence letters to the families.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    Roy Lofquist:

    If you’re seriously saying that there is more likelihood that (a) someone who risked his life to help the US fight terrorism in Iraq will become a terrorist than it is that (b) our letting such a person be killed for his pains will discourage others from helping us in the future, then I really think you’ve taken leave of logic.

    I mean that quite seriously. It’s not a matter of mere disagreement. There’s no way in which your reasoning seems to make sense to me.

  29. parker Says:

    No, it is not hypothetical, its real. When natives who put their lives, and the lives of their families, on the line to assist our forces, are not protected, it is very real. Only a fool would say otherwise. Armchair quarterbacks need to look into the mirror before denouncing others as armchair quarterbacks.

    Take a deep breath and grow the fuck up.

  30. Roy Lofquist Says:

    Where in Hell did you people get the idea that I implied that people in Iraq who aided US armed forces were terrorism risks? Talk about not reading what other people write!

    I respectfully request that you review my comments and point out where that happened. If you can find it I will extend a maximum mea culpa and never darken your door again.

  31. neo-neocon Says:

    Roy Lofquist:

    But that is exactly why I indicated you must not have read (or perhaps you haven’t understood) my post or my comments to this post. Because that particular group is the topic being discussed here. That is what I am particularly criticizing. That is the topic in the title. That is what my comments were about.

    When an entire group of fairly intelligent people take your comments in a certain way and it’s not what you intended, perhaps you need to entertain the idea that it is you who have not been all that clear about what you’re objecting to and what you’re saying.

  32. parker Says:


    It might be a good idea to review you previos posts as a neutral observer. That is rather difficult, but perhaps beneficial.

  33. Roy Lofquist Says:


    The title of your post is:

    “Why didn’t the Trump administration make it clear whether Iraqis who helped the US would be affected by his immigration EO?”

    You then went on to castigate the administration for being sloppy.

    I quote blert:

    “blert Says:
    February 4th, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    I read the EO.

    Those assisting our military are SPECIFICALLY called out as exempted… in any of the 7 nations.

    It’s right there in the enumerated exceptions — in classic legalese.”

    You then attempted to discredit blert by citing a letter from 15 Democratic congressmen and an article from Stars and Stripes, the National Enquirer wannabe.

    Your initial premise was in error, as evidenced by the actual text of the EO.

    I understand that you viscerally dislike Trump. It saddens me that you have allowed that to color your otherwise excellent and entertaining commentary.

  34. Roy Lofquist Says:


    You seem to deal mainly in invective. I try to avoid that when possible but for you I will make an exception. How about I suggest an unnatural act with a mackerel, sideways.

  35. Roy Lofquist Says:


    A postscript:

    You write: “When an entire group of fairly intelligent people take your comments in a certain way and it’s not what you intended,”

    I have reviewed the thread and as far as I can tell only you and Parker have taken exception to my comments.

  36. KLSmith Says:

    Ann @ 10:04pm
    Trump’s reply sounds like something the last POTUS would’ve said.

  37. JTW Says:

    Given the current status of DHS and DOJ as hotbeds of people intent on causing Trump to fail, I’d not be at all surprised (in fact I’m convinced) that people within the departments and the TSA are deliberately misinterpreting the EO and mishandling it in order to cause trouble for the president.

    The EO is clearly about issuance of new visa and stricter vetting of existing visas.
    And don’t forget that no visum is ever a guarantee that you’re going to be admitted to a country. The USA is fully within their rights to deny entry to anyone, except (by existing law) people with US citizenship.

    And if president Trump decides to implement a temporary ban on issuing visa and entry to people from a group of countries identified by even Obama (muslim lover supreme) as a serious threat to national security because of the high number of quran thumping muslims there who think killing infidels is a nice thing to do on the way to the tea house in the morning, so much the better.

  38. Frog Says:

    Exempting friendly nationals who have assisted the US military, e.g. as translators, applies only to Iraqis, for Pete’s sake.
    When was the last time we had troops in Sudan, Yemen, Iran?
    Let’s get real.
    Read the EO instead of the MSM, as blert has, and consider all the facts.
    There is unseemly haste here by some to condemn Trump. The oft-repeated meme remains: Trump is not smart (anti-Trumps of course are very smart).

  39. Frog Says:

    Read this on the esteemed Judge Robart:

  40. Frog Says:

    And the pleading before the 9th Circuit, which includes the entire EO:

  41. OM Says:


    For such a smart guys, Larry and Curly don’t seem to have gotten this one right. You may say it’s not so but if that is the case why is it an issue? They frogged it up when it was brought into the daylight last Sunday.

  42. OM Says:


    Could have, should have, didn’t have to because it was all there in the “legalise.” And yet Larry and Curly were ineffective in pointing that (the legalise) out in the roll out or in the subsequent days.

    Pull that mackerel out of your own eye.

  43. Big Maq Says:


    I have one word for you – plastics.

    Sorry, wrong movie. I meant to say drones.” – Roy L

    No really funny.

    We have long complained about the left making false moral equivalents.

    Yet, when it suits “us”, it is perfectly fine to do the same.

    The US is FAR from Putin’s Russia.

    Putin and his circle are highly likely behind the murders of reporters and political opponents who were rather challenging to him.

    America’s use of drones targeting jihadists is supposed to be equivalent to that?

    I don’t think so.

    Only on the facile surface level is this equivalent (killing = killing).

    Many (most?) of trump’s arguments seem to merely serve the moment for him.

    Cover for trump who is fast and loose with facts, ideas and morality, if you want to.

    Join the crowd for whom trump can do no wrong.

    But, please, just don’t complain when the left employs the very same behavior.

    Simply, red vs blue team.

  44. Big Maq Says:

    “I have reviewed the thread and as far as I can tell only you and Parker have taken exception to my comments.” – Roy L

    “Oh no, you are misreading and misrepresenting my writing”

    Seen through that argument here before, with more carefully written prose (dissembling?).

    Count me amongst those who “misread” what you wrote.

  45. Big Maq Says:

    @Neo – thanks for the writeup.

    As I said elsewhere, for a billionaire who campaigned on his superior “competence” (and how everyone else was “stupid”), this single event (to say nothing of the many little ones) should blow away that illusion – and, remember that our foes are watching and learning.

    Pure extreme hubris.

    It’s inexcusable, on so many levels.

    Yes, we need some major changes. But nothing replaces well thought out plans, and well executed rollout and implementation.

    Good “intentions”, if we grant that, will only get you so far.

    False “urgency” will get you nowhere with such incompetence.

  46. neo-neocon Says:


    And I would urge YOU to read the quotes in this reply of mine to blert. Blert is not the expert on this. The quotes are from military officers (including Mattis and Petraeus), and some of them are from an article on the subject in Stars and Strikes (military news periodical) quoting other officers. I urge you to read the entire comment.

  47. Roy Lofquist Says:


    I’d like to respond to you but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what you said.

  48. Frog Says:

    Neo, that is why I posted the 9th Circuit link. I did not quote from others, regardless of rank or station. I posted the source. Plus background info on the Seattle judge and how he got his post, which may give us some insight into his allegiances, independent of any claim he is a Republican appointed by W (as if the latter are material!).

  49. Cornhead Says:

    If the 9th Circuit doesn’t reverse the trial judge on Monday or Tuesday, Trump should issue a new EO. Revoke the old one and provide exceptions like neo pointed out.

    I proposed my idea earlier on Power Line. This would be classic Trump. Seattle case would be moot. Dems would have to start over. Federal cases are assigned randomly. Maybe Robart doesn’t get the new one.

  50. Roy Lofquist Says:

    @Big Maq,

    I have no illusions about the Russians. They tried to kill me once. I tipped more than a few with people who lost good friends and brothers in arms when the Russians shot down a C130 reconnaissance aircraft in 1958 after it inadvertently entered Armenian airspace.

    My reference to drones was a guess as to the meaning of Trump’s reply to Bill O’Reilly, who was trying to provoke Trump into say something controversial.

    Russia is Russia. It is a major player in the war against radical Islam. Trump is trying to forge an entente based on mutual interests in defeating barbarism.

    There are those hostile to Trump – cold warriors facing irrelevance and partisan politicians – who are invoking The Sins of the Fathers in an effort to thwart him.

    See “Nattering nabobs of negatism” for some giggles.

  51. neo-neocon Says:

    Roy Lofquist:

    You quote blert on what the EO says, but neither you (nor he) can explain why both General Mattis and General Petraeus, as well as the other officer quoted in my comment in answer to blert, did not agree with blert and seem to think the order did not contain the exemption that blert says it did.

    Nor does blert cite the part of the EO on which he is basing his claim. Nor do you. Blert says “it’s right there in the enumerated exceptions — in classic legalese.” Where? Quotes on which you or blert are relying in making this claim? I read the EO as well—(you can find the EO here), and I do not see any such mention, in “classic legalese” (whatever that means) or not.

    Here is the portion on exceptions:

    …I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons [from the 7 suspect nations, which in the EO are referred to as “Countries of Particular Concern”] for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

    Basically, the enumerated exceptions involve diplomats and their staff (C-2 visas are explained here, and the “G” type of visas listed are explained here).

    In the EO is also a general exception that is not described in any detail when first mentioned, except that it reserves the right to the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to, “on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.” This section of the EO offers no indication of who this would apply to, or how often (or if such visas would ever be issued at all); it is merely a statement that individuals could be allowed in despite the EO, if the Secretary of State and/or the Secretary of Homeland Security decide to let that particular person in. At this point in the EO, there is no mention of and no suggestion that this applies, or could apply, to any particular class of persons as a rule or as a matter of policy. It merely mentions a “case-by-case basis” if it is “in the national interest.” Basically, it reserves the right for those two Cabinet members to make individual exceptions if they so desire. So although these two Cabinet members could decide at their discretion to make an exception for a particular person who helped the military, there is no indication that this would ever happen, no guarantee or rule or order, and no indication that there might need to be one, much less a suggestion that any such class of people (those who had helped the US military) would take priority. And in fact, I could locate no mention or reference in the EO to that group or class of persons at all as having any claim to an exception from the temporary suspension of travel here.

    The EO later mentions that, when the refugee program resumes, “the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality. ” That does not apply to the group we are talking about here, those who assisted our military.

    Another section about exceptions is this:

    (e) Notwithstanding the temporary suspension imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may jointly determine to admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis, in their discretion, but only so long as they determine that the admission of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest — including when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution, when admitting the person would enable the United States to conform its conduct to a preexisting international agreement, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship — and it would not pose a risk to the security or welfare of the United States.

    So, that expands a bit on the previous more general mention of the SOS and of Homeland Security being able to issue case-by-case exceptions. There are three categories mentioned here: (1) victims of religious persecution who are members of religious minorities in their countries; (2) those who are being admitted pursuant to an international agreement [this clause was put in there to cover official agreements with other nations, and in particular Obama’s agreement with the Australian PM about taking its refugees off its hands, the agreement that Trump objected to as a bad deal but which he says he will abide by]; and (3) people already in transit, a small group that involves those traveling at the time the EO was issued.

    None of these exceptions are about the class of people we’re discussing in this thread. Nor did blert or you cite the wording you are interpreting as being about the class of people (nationals in Iraq and other places who have helped the US military) we are dealing with here.

    You don’t seem to be reasoning logically. Nor do you feel you need to cite what part of the EO you are referring to.

    What’s more, on the more general topic of my opinion of Trump, if you check out all my posts about Trump and the immigration order, you will see that I agree with some of it and disagree with some of the way it was communicated (poorly communicated, that is) to the public, and how many obvious and important details were left out. Your accusation about my visceral dislike of Trump coloring my commentary indicates to me that you either have not read the majority of my posts on this issue, or you have not understood them. Many of my post-election posts on Trump have praised things he’s done. Some have not. This is one of the “have not.” When I see things he’s done or said that are good, I will say it. When I see problems with something he’s done or said, I will call him on them. Period.

    As far as how many people in this thread have understood you to have been talking about the military people that helped us, you are correct that last night it was me and parker (Big Maq has come onboard afterwards,and I believe OM although his/her comment is a bit more difficult to understand). Parker and I seem to have been the only ones addressing you at all at the time, and we both understood you to have been referring to that, because that is basically the subject matter of the thread. At the time, I hadn’t noticed that parker’s multiple comments were all by parker rather than some of them being by separate individuals. So I’ll revise my comment about that to read, “when two fairly intelligent people take your comments in a certain way and it’s not what you intended, and they’re the only ones commenting on what you intended…” In other words, the gist of what I’m saying in this particular comment right now is twofold: (1) if you make a claim about what a document says, quote the document to support your claim; and (2) if several intelligent people (or even one) seem to understand your comments in a certain way and it’s not what you intended, you need to seriously examine whether you may have been obscure or unclear in what you were trying to convey.

  52. Roy Lofquist Says:

    @Big Maq,

    “Count me amongst those who “misread” what you wrote.”

    I invite you to cite, in whole or in part, where in my comments I implied that Iraqis who helped us were terrorist risks.

    Without some specifics I am inclined to believe that you have no basis for calling me a poopyhead other than you just don’t like what I’m saying.

  53. neo-neocon Says:


    What does the judge’s ruling have to do with what the EO originally said on the issue of the military advisors? I don’t have time right now to read your link—could you briefly explain? I certainly didn’t write that I support the restraining order (although actually, I think it would be a good thing if SCOTUS were to rule on this, preferably after the new justice is approved). What I support is Trump and his advisors having thought ahead of time of the possible glitches and/or omissions in the exceptions to the EO, and correcting them in the first place.

    Also I urge you to read this comment.

  54. Roy Lofquist Says:


    Again, please cite the particular statement or statements which you find unclear.

    You asserted that Trump committed a major blunder in the drafting of the EO. I argue that you are making mountains out of mole hills.

    Your detailed criticisms seem to be focused on my failure to emulate an appellate brief with “twenty-seven 8 x 10 colored Glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of Each one explainin’ what each one was,”

    There seems to be an epic infestation of them nits.

  55. neo-neocon Says:

    Roy Lofquist:

    No one called you a “poopyhead.” And yes, I realize you didn’t mean that anyone had literally called you a poopyhead. But if anyone looks at what Big Maq actually wrote in his comment to you, to characterize what he said as calling you a “poopyhead” seems rather extreme.

    You also suggested more generally (not just to Big Maq): “I invite you to cite, in whole or in part, where in my comments I implied that Iraqis who helped us were terrorist risks.”

    But no one is asserting that you made that statement literally, in so many words. However, you certainly seemed to be implying it by the course of some of your comments during the back-and-forth here. The point is that you kept criticizing things I wrote when I was referring to Trump’s failure to include as an exception to the original EO the people who had helped our military in Iraq and any other relevant one of the 7 countries. THAT was the main subject matter of my post, and of many of my comments, and I made that quite explicit.

    I’ve already spent way too much time on this topic, but just as one example I will cite the following–

    In one of your comments responding to a comment of mine you wrote this:

    I pay very close attention to what you [neo-neocon] write. I disagree with your conclusions.

    “Trump’s order potentially sabotages the fight against Islamic terrorism far more than it helps it.”

    The key word here is “potentially”. That is a hypothetical, speculation. That a person or persons might slip into this country and cause harm during the time devoted to extensive review is also speculative. However, the latter contingency is far, far more probable given our experience. The latter is also imminent and dangerous.

    But I have never criticized the order as a whole. In this thread, I am criticizing certain omissions in it. I made that clear, I believe. Not only that, but this is the comment from which you quoted me (in which I was replying to a previous comment of yours):

    You’re not paying attention to what I wrote.

    We will not be able to operate around the world with the help of local populations unless our word on this is good. Trump’s order potentially sabotages the fight against Islamic terrorism far more than it helps it. The chances of any of these particular people (the ones who already have risked their lives to help us and to fight terrorism) becoming terrorists is just about zero. If you fail to understand that, you’re not thinking straight.

    There is no reason whatsoever not to exempt these people. Did you read the description of the vetting process? You’re not being logical.

    That was my comment (and that link to “the description of the vetting process” describes the vetting process ONLY regarding the foreign nationals, mostly Iraqis, who had helped the US military). I started out by saying you’re not paying attention to previous things I said, and it seems to me by your subsequent quote of me that you’re still not paying attention. Why do I say that? If you read my comment, there is no question whatsoever what I’m talking about: I’m narrowly speaking of the people who helped our military. If you actually read and understood that rather clear comment of mine, then why did you not reply by clarifying your own remarks? Instead, you responded in a way that appeared to be saying that the people I was talking about were a risk. Do you see that now? In retrospect, if you didn’t understand what I was saying in that comment and were responding about the prohibitions on a more general group of travelers and/or immigrants, then you showed a lack of recognition of what I was actually saying and what I had made it clear that I was talking about.

    It is more your failure to follow the arguments being made about the helpers of the US military, and your continued need to talk about other aspects of the order (as though those other aspects were what I was writing about), that led to the apparent misunderstanding of what you were trying to say. For some reason you still don’t seem to see that.

  56. Frog Says:

    As regards your query, “What does the judge’s ruling have to do with what the EO originally said on the issue of the military advisors? ”
    Nothing, as best I can determine. I have reread quickly the EO and see no language re “military advisors.” NATO passports are OK for entry. The persecuted religious, if a minority, are OK for entry (That would be Jews and Christians and Yazidis)

  57. neo-neocon Says:


    If you haven’t already seen it, I have written a rather lengthy discussion of the language of the EO and the fact that it does not mention an exception for people in Iraq or any of the other 7 countries who have helped our military.

  58. The Other Chuck Says:

    O’Reilly to Trump:

    O’Reilly: “Putin’s a killer.”

    Trump: “…we’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think—our country’s so innocent?”

    So now we’re morally equivalent to a KGB trained thug who offs his political opponents with radiation laced food poisoning?

    Donald Effing Trump, just shut the f… up and do you job. OK?

  59. Roy Lofquist Says:


    At one time, many moons ago, I had a pretty good friend who was the proprietor of a cozy little French restaurant. Dianna Ross and Gene Wilder were regular patrons. His bete noire was a food critic from the NT Times who’s negative review revolved around the temperature of the wine he was served. My friend, quite reasonably I think, presumed that there were motives other than providing an honest review in play.

    I am on record at this site as finding Donald Trump personally distasteful, on opinion that I formed more than 30 years ago. I am pretty sure that I will strongly disagree with some of his future actions. If and when that happens you will know about it. Until then I’ll refrain from the picking of the nits. Carping is quite tiring and it’s really not good for the soul.

  60. OM Says:

    Other Chuck:

    Be careful what you say about President Trump, or you may be accused of being a “poopyhead,” or misreading, or not being sufficiently intelligent to understand the subtle nuances of his real meaning. Please get the secret Trump decoder ring with optional bluetooth headset or don’t say anything else. 🙂

  61. neo-neocon Says:

    Roy Lofquist:

    I hope you read my 3:00 PM comment to you. It contains a lot of information.

    But in response to your earlier comment of 2:35 PM (posted before my comment of 3 PM, so obviously you are referring to earlier comments of mine) I will add that your statements once again seem oddly unrelated to what has transpired here.

    You write, addressing me:

    You asserted that Trump committed a major blunder in the drafting of the EO. I argue that you are making mountains out of mole hills.

    Your detailed criticisms seem to be focused on my failure to emulate an appellate brief with “twenty-seven 8 x 10 colored Glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of Each one explainin’ what each one was,”

    There seems to be an epic infestation of them nits.

    The main “major blunder” in the drafting of the EO that I criticized in the post and in my comments here was his failure to make exceptions in the EO for those people in Iraq and other of the 7 countries who have risked their lives to help our military.

    Yet you have not mounted a single argument that would show that this is not a blunder of Turmp’s. You call my objections nit-picking (or, in this case, making mountains out of molehills, a different way of saying the same thing as “nit-picking”). But I have pointed out more than once in this thread that it is important for several reasons, one of which is that it is very important to show that we keep such promises to people who have helped us, because we will need the help of such people in the future in the fight against terrorists. If is also the case (as I have written) that this is something that should have easily been foreseen and covered initially, and that although it was finally indicated (after prodding and petitioning with letters) that people who already have such visas will be able to come, it is important to keep on processing the others who helped the military and are in the middle of being vetted by the very rigorous process quoted by me in one of my comments in this thread.

    And you continue to think this is an unimportant issue and some sort of nit-picking and/or making mountains out of molehills? I find this astounding in a person who I am fairly certain would say that he supports the fight against Islamicist terrorists.

    I have also pointed out that neither you nor your EO authority blert have actually bothered to quote the portions of the EO that you believe support your contention that this matter was already covered in the EO wording. It was not covered (as I have recently gone into great detail about in my 3 PM post). Do you really believe a request for a quote from a document to back up an assertion about what that document is saying is an example of requiring that you or blert “emulate an appellate brief with twenty-seven 8 x 10 colored Glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of Each one explainin’ what each one was”? Or, if you’re not referring to my request that you or blert quote from the wording of the EO to show what the wording of the EO was, then what were you referring to?

    You assert several times in this thread that I am picking nits or the equivalent. None of this is nit-picking or making mountains out of molehills. It seems to me in this thread that if you don’t like an argument, or if you can’t back up what you say (about the wording of the EO, in this case), than you accuse the other person of nit-picking. That’s not much of an argument, especially in this case.

    I can assure you that the military people who fought in Iraq do not consider this nit-picking. What I have read from them and seen from them indicates they consider it a matter of grave and important concern.

    That you refuse to admit this, and that you appear to be belittling the matters we have been discussing in this thread, boggles the mind. It is not a convincing argument to dismiss the arguments here by referring to them as nit-picking. There is no other way to prove what an EO says—what its wording refers to—than to pick at the words and use quotes to illustrate the point. If those are the “nits” you refuse to pick, then don’t bother to make claims about what that EO says.

  62. neo-neocon Says:

    The Other Chuck:

    Trump seems compelled to periodically offer remarks like that. It’s either a purposeful tactic of some sort or a compulsion or habit of some kind. Either way, I wish he’d stop it, too. It’s not a good sign.

  63. Ann Says:

    As recently as the debates in the push for the nomination, Trump has said that Bush lied us into the Iraq War, so he obviously believes what he said to O’Reilly about the U.S. not being innocent. Must be very hard for him to keep the real Trump under wraps all the time.

  64. Frog Says:

    Neo: My point exactly.
    But as to those natives in bad -iq and -stan places that helped our military, time has already passed them by. It is way too late for us to help them. Obama killed them, in effect.
    So I cannot criticize the EO for leaving them out.

  65. OM Says:


    Shortened Frog-speak follows:

    ‘It sucks to be them (the terps). We must support whatever Larry and Curly did. Anyone who is thinking of helping the US in the future better remember because it will suck to be you.’

    Clue for Froggy, Obama is no longer the POTUS but US forces are still in Iraq. It’s a problem now and for the future.

  66. neo-neocon Says:


    If there was some compelling reason to leave them out, you might have an argument. But there was no reason.

    What’s more, time has not passed them by. They continued to come to this country right up to the day of the EO. There are others who are still in Iraq and in the middle of the process. We still have 5,000 troops there, with helpers and translators who have been recently recruited.

  67. Roy Lofquist Says:


    I apologize to you and your guests for being intemperate in some of my comments. I’ll certainly attempt to be more mindful of my manners henceforth.

    Unfortunately this discussion has deteriorated to something approaching bickering. By your leave I’d like to make a couple of comments to wrap up and hope to participate in future discussions on your site.

    I in no way wish to demean foreign nationals who cooperate with US armed forces nor do I question the value of their service. The crux of the matter is that there is a trade off between temporarily inconveniencing certain people and the danger of terrorists entering the country during any delay caused by further considerations of the EO. This is a judgement call. It is the Constitutional and statutory duty of the President to make this call. I happen to agree with the President but that is neither here nor there.

    As to the EO, you wrote:

    “So although these two Cabinet members could decide at their discretion to make an exception for a particular person who helped the military, there is no indication that this would ever happen”

    I note that the Secretary of DHS is retired general John Kelly who commanded the Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq in two separate deployments. He, if anybody, is very familiar with the situation and most sympathetic.

    People have the impression that Trump is impetuous and acts precipitously. I believe that that is a false impression. I think that he acted as if he would win as soon as he clinched the nomination. His transition planning actually commenced sometime last May. He’s not playing this by ear. The blitzkrieg was planned well in advance.

    Again, I apologize for any slights or ill feelings. As usual, I blame the gin.

  68. neo-neocon Says:

    Roy Lofquist:

    Apology fully accepted.

  69. Big Maq Says:

    I’m all for a “blitzkrieg” if it was based on conservative policy, well thought out, and executed well.

    So far, on all counts, trump is a mixed bag. No surprise there, really, from how his campaign was run, but definitely not the competence he campaigned on.

    Curiously, one of his closest advisors (#1 or #2?) said something shortly after the election that foreshadowed the approach and thinking we’ve seen in this EO debacle:

    “We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks” – steve bunion

    Yes, different context, but also reflective of the depth of planning actually being put in to this so-called “blitzkrieg”.

    We’ll see how it turns out, but it is fair to say that this has (and probably will continue to) overshadowed much of any good done so far.

  70. Richard Saunders Says:

    Those of us who have served in the military understand what has gone on perfectly: “Situation Normal, All . . .”

  71. Roy Lofquist Says:

    @Big Maq,

    “I’m all for a “blitzkrieg” if it was based on conservative policy, well thought out, and executed well.”

    What is conservative policy? Perhaps we might consider the words of Russell Kirk, perhaps the preeminent conservative thinker of the 20th century:

    “The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects, there being no Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the conservative creed.”


    “We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks”

    I found this article by Scott Adams addressing management style to be quite interesting:



  72. huxley Says:

    People have the impression that Trump is impetuous and acts precipitously. I believe that that is a false impression. I think that he acted as if he would win as soon as he clinched the nomination. His transition planning actually commenced sometime last May. He’s not playing this by ear. The blitzkrieg was planned well in advance.

    Roy L: Consider me among those skeptical Trump is playing 3-D chess anymore than Obama was.

    The blitzkrieg may have been planned well in advance, but that doesn’t mean it was planned well.

    Nor does it prove Trump isn’t impetuous and precipitous.

    I don’t believe Trump wings everything but it’s clear he wings some things.

  73. Big Maq Says:

    @Roy – which category would dilbert put you?

    Meat puppet or master persuader?

    In adams’ own recent words, here is a clue:

    “I’m seeing a dangerous situation forming that I assume is invisible to most of you.

    He makes “interesting” points, but as far as really being an explanation for much, start with his framework, and see if you really buy into that, first.

    I find that article hardly sufficient to explain away the (poor) execution, nor the level of planning (or lack thereof).

    The consequences for this foul up can be far reaching.

    Take one… Suppose his case is lost in the court?

    How might it hamper / hamstring future action on this front?

    Does trump double down and then try to delegitimize the “so-called” (his words) courts? Does he claim his DOJ is filled with “losers” and second rate incompetent lawyers? Does he put the courts “on notice”? Does he claim they are part of the “opposition party”?

    Nothing good could come from any of that, but trump’s behavior doesn’t rule any of it out.

    Also, remember how the court reversed obama’s expansion of DACA by EO?

    Many decried that as “proof” obama was using EOs to skirt the Constitution and legal limits to his power.

    That shadow was hard / impossible to shake.

    So then, the left would get to make the very same case.

    And, that was 2015, seven years after obama was voted in, not weeks into his presidency.


    No doubt, if it does go trump’s way, there will be hails all around about how “brilliant” trump was, and how this was his goal all along (or at least since May).

  74. Roy Lofquist Says:

    @Big Maq,

    I kinda gave up on speculation when I blew my not insignificant fortune on Segway stock.

    How would Adams define me? I dunno and can’t say that I’m much interested. If I were to characterize myself I might opt for “observer of the passing scene”.

    I said that the article was interesting. Perhaps you read too much into what I have to say.

  75. LindaF Says:

    Please consider that the chaos was intentional – not by the pro-Trump contingent, but by career employees eager to stick it to Trump. By applying the rule so stringently (they MAY have had leeway to do otherwise), they were able to make this a powerful anti-Trump action.

    For Leftists, win-win.

  76. Big Maq Says:

    @Roy – maybe too much, but referencing an article of adams’ is interesting like an article in playboy is interesting.

    May be titillating, but only serves one’s fantasy or bias rather than reality.

    adams won’t come out and say it directly, but he essentially believes that most (all?) of his readers are idiots of some sort.

    As a comparison, Nassim Taleb is rather arrogant, and is particularly vocal about the “idiot elites”. But, at least his ideas don’t depend on we trusting he has special observational powers and foresight we don’t / cannot have.

    Talib may think people are mistaken or foolish, but he hasn’t (to my knowledge) categorized the vast majority as meat puppets who can only succumb to one pied piper or another.

    There is something of a “confirmation bias” in what adams says, which makes it tantalizing for folks, and which, therefore, obscures this big picture of his “philosophy” and what it really means about his readers.

    To give him credit is to validate this proposition of meat puppetry, which seems nonsensical for anyone who believes they are an independent thinker.

    In adams’ binary world, you select option three.

    That’s okay, as I think people are FAR smarter than adams gives them credit for.

  77. Roy Lofquist Says:

    @Big Maq,

    “May be titillating, but only serves one’s fantasy or bias rather than reality.”

    Gotta disagree here, Maq. Adams’ observations about management style in dinosaur orgs vs dynamic orgs conform exactly with my own observations gathered over more than 45 years as an IT contractor in many varied industries and government entities.

  78. Big Maq Says:

    @Roy – well, as they say, in for a penny, in for a pound.

    Validate him all you want.

    If “bullshit”, as he says, is part of the way to success, I vehemently disagree, as I’ve seen that to be hit or miss, and overwhelmingly on the miss side.

    Why? Because I’ve seen several entrepreneurs spectacularly flame out once someone pulls on a thread, as the whole frame of b.s. then comes crumbling down.

    As for the rest, anyone can read about “growth hacking” or some of the crap from so-called “business / wealth gurus” and come up with similar stuff.

    Because it is trendy doesn’t mean it is true or applicable.

    When one is running THE largest organization in the world, freestyling a/b testing just won’t do.

    You don’t just throw out an EO and see what “sticks”, for gosh sakes!

    A total misunderstanding of the concept.

    The spirit of a/b testing is to experiment on a micro level and scale it, for crap sakes!

    adams is certainly practicing what he is preaching with this “bullshit”.

    Just remember what he thinks about his readers, as you shake your head up and down in agreement.

  79. Eric Says:

    “As recently as the debates in the push for the nomination, Trump has said that Bush lied us into the Iraq War, so he obviously believes what he said to O’Reilly about the U.S. not being innocent.”

    Regarding President Bush’s decision for OIF, President Trump’s campaign position echoed Russian disinformation that blatantly contradicts the law and fact basis of the Iraq intervention.

    According to the operative enforcement procedure for the “governing standard of Iraqi compliance” (UNSCR 1441), the facts show President Bush’s decision was correct. The US and our allies were right on Iraq.

    Excerpt from the answer to “Did Bush lie his way to war with Iraq”:

    For OIF, Bush properly established the trigger for enforcement was Iraq’s noncompliance with the UNSC resolutions as Clinton had done for ODF. But in a departure from Clinton’s public presentation, Bush additionally cited the pre-war intelligence, despite that the intelligence, by the operative enforcement procedure, could not trigger enforcement. OIF opponents pounced on Bush’s mistakes of presentation to shift the burden of proof away from Iraq proving it had disarmed as mandated by the UNSC resolutions and onto the US proving Iraq was armed matching the pre-war intelligence estimates. However, the presentation error does not change that Iraq’s proscribed armament was established in the factual baseline of the Gulf War ceasefire as the foundational premise of the disarmament process. The only legal and reliable way to know Saddam had disarmed, short of regime change, was Iraq proving he was compliant with “full and verified completion [of] the disarmament process” (UNSCR 1441) mandated by the UNSC resolutions enforced under US law.

    On March 6, 2003, Iraq’s “continued violations of its obligations” (UNSCR 1441) – including the basic failure to declare and destroy all its as-of-Gulf War WMD under international supervision – were validated by UNMOVIC with the Clusters document, which imputed continued intent and possession by Saddam. Upon the confirmation that “Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687” in its “final opportunity to comply” (UNSCR 1441), President Bush properly applied the operative enforcement procedure to “enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq” (P.L. 107-243).

    The truth is at the decision point for OIF, Iraq had not disarmed. Saddam was rearming and evidentially noncompliant on the weapons and non-weapons mandates of the UNSC resolutions.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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