It is the job of the president to execute the law

I’m throwing this out here with full acknowledgement that I’m no constitutional expert. If I’m wrong about this, let me know in the comments.

It is the job of the president to execute the law.

In 2013, Obamacare was the law and Republicans tried to block enforcement of the law by defunding it. By presiding over a government shutdown, Obama temporarily suspended some government operations, but his goal was to enforce the law.

Also, Obama’s standoff didn’t last long enough to prevent government agents from carrying out their duties. We don’t know what Obama would have been done had the enforcement of law been seriously compromised.

Today, there is no law to build a wall. You can argue that the wall will make it easier to enforce existing law, but not everyone agrees about that. And there is a difference between making a law easier to enforce and fulfilling your duty to enforce it. I can ask my boss for a new workstation to make my job easier, but that’s not the same as doing my job.

Today’s standoff is seriously affecting our agencies’ ability to enforce the law. For example, as noted in ABC News’s website, “FBI and ICE agents are trying to track criminals and terrorists, but can’t pay informants, pay for travel or even cover investigative expenses.”

What we had before was the president trying to enforce the law, and shutting down the government for a little over two weeks in order to get funding to do so.

What we have now is the president trying to get funding for something that is not a law by holding the government in limbo for long enough to diminish the execution of the law.

It is Congress’s job to make law and it is the president’s job to execute it. This standoff doesn’t put Congress in violation of their constitutional duties, but it puts the president in violation of his.

Donald Trump is failing in his constitutional duties to enforce the law of the land. In doing so, he is violating the Constitution and breaking the law. Again.

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It seems like I’m among a large group of people who got the Covington/Native Drummers thing wrong.

I don’t like the idea of defending a kid in a MAGA hat, but if I wanted to be a reactionary ignoramus who ignores evidence that conflicts with my initial assumptions, then I’d get a MAGA hat of my own.

If you look at Nick Sandmann’s “smirk” in the context of a kid who stood still as an elder, Nathan Phillips, walked up to him and chanted in his face, then the smirk becomes more like what the kid described in his statement – a smile showing that on the one hand, he’s not going to back down but on the other, he’s not going to do anything aggressive. Had it been an old man in a MAGA hat who walked up to a kid who smiled in return, we would be cheering that smile.

In this case, it was the kid who was wearing the MAGA hat. And his friends were laughing at adults.  That all sucks.  But this kid, who so many doxed and vilified, didn’t do what so many of us assumed he did.  He didn’t get in the face of a Native American elder.  The elder got in the face of the kid.   

He’s still just a kid. He’s no older than the kids who the right wing vilifies for speaking out after the massacre of their classmates. He’s no older than many who are murdered by authority figures before wingnuts in MAGA hats assume without evidence that they must have deserved it

If we don’t admit when we’ve made assumptions that were later contradicted by evidence, than we become like them. I’d rather defend one of them than become one of them.

Editing note: This post was extensively expanded. The original was just one paragraph.

Why the wall is a bad idea

When I first posted this it was just a list, but after reading and responding to a tweet from a friend, I felt a need to elaborate. There are a lot of people going without a paycheck now and the pain is getting real. Imagine being forced to choose between vital medicine and the electric bill. I’ve read some Trump supporters ( or perhaps Russian trolls ) belittling the struggle by pointing out that back pay will be coming, but there are some people in situations that can’t be put on hold. And not everyone can save three or four months in advance just in case the government doesn’t keep its promises.

But as terrible as the current situation is, it’s important to keep in mind what a terrible idea the wall is. The amount of long-term hardship that will be caused by funding the wall has to be balanced against the hardship of standing against it. It’s not just about Democrats showing backbone and it’s not just about appeasing the Democratic base.

Here are some reasons why the wall is such a idea.

1) The wall would require the seizure of land from thousands of property owners, many of whom will suffer significant property losses.  

2) The wall would divide communities such as the Tohono o’odham Native Americans in Arizona

3) The wall will cause disastrous environmental damage , such as habitat destruction and the disruption of animal migration patterns

 4) Trump can’t be trusted.  Repeatedly, Trump has offered deals in exchange for funding, and then changed his mind about those offers.

5) We don’t know how much it will cost, what it will look like, or how effective it will be.  Everywhere else in the world, and until now in America, big projects are planned first.  Trump wants his money first.  We don’t even have a working prototype.  

6) The people don’t want it.  Even among those who voted for Trump because they wanted the wall did so believing that Mexico will pay for it.  

7) It will encourage more hostage taking.  If we give Trump a win on this, he will only cause more damage the next time he doesn’t get what he wants.

Absurd lies for all to see

The absurd lies that Donald Trump told the troops when he finally got around to visiting them in Iraq , about a 10 percent raise and about that raise being the first in 10 years, are on the White House’s website. That surprised me because the White House has edited transcripts to hide Trump’s failures in the past, but at least for now, these lies are there for all to see.


You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years — more than 10 years.  And we got you a big one.  I got you a big one.  I got you a big one.  (Applause.)

They had plenty of people that came up.  They said, “You know, we could make it smaller.  We could make it 3 percent.  We could make it 2 percent.  We could make it 4 percent.”  I said, “No.  Make it 10 percent.  Make it more than 10 percent.”  Because it’s been a long time.  It’s been more than 10 years.  It’s been more than 10 years.  That’s a long time.  And, you know, you really put yourselves out there, and you put your lives out there.  So congratulations.

There was no 10 percent pay raise, and the 2019 pay raise isn’t the first pay raise in 10 years. It’s not even the biggest. The military has been getting a pay raise every year for a long time, and the 2010 pay raise was much bigger than the one Trump is bragging and lying about.

Say what you want about lying politicians. We have never had a president lie like Donald Trump does, and we’ve ever had a president show such disdain for our troops.