New World Orders.

Free speech keeps getting more important, True Believers.

Free speech keeps getting more important, True Believers.

Living in the Brave New World of 2017 is pretty interesting already. In the first week of office, Donald Trump (President of the United States) has made a series of Executive Orders. In many ways, he has looked to fulfill some of his campaign promises by using executive orders. Here are the 17 orders he has signed so far (it’s a hell of a list):

-Multi-pronged orders on border security and immigration enforcement including: the authorization of a U.S.-Mexico border wall; the stripping of federal grant money to “sanctuary cities;” hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents; ending “catch-and-release” policies for illegal immigrants; and reinstating local and state immigration enforcement partnerships.

-Two orders reviving the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access piplines. He also signed three other related orders that would: expedite the environmental permitting process for infrastructure projects related to the pipelines; direct the Commerce Department to streamline the manufacturing permitting process; and give the Commerce Department 180 days to maximize the use of U.S. steel in the pipeline.

-An order to reinstate the so-called “Mexico City Policy” – a ban on federal funds to international groups that perform abortions or lobby to legalize or promote abortion. The policy was instituted in 1984 by President Reagan, but has gone into and out of effect depending on the party in power in the White House.

-He signed a notice that the U.S. will begin withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Trump called the order “a great thing for the American worker.”

-An order imposing a hiring freeze for some federal government workers as a way to shrink the size of government. This excludes the military, as Trump noted at the signing.

-An order that directs federal agencies to ease the “regulatory burdens” of ObamaCare. It orders agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement” of ObamaCare that imposes a “fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”

-Bans refugees and residents from seven Muslim nations.

-Restructure the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.

-Lengthen the ban on administration officials working as lobbyists.

-Improve efforts to defeat ISIS.

That’s a whole lot to take in. Like most people, I’ve been preoccupied with the one fourth from the bottom, “banning refugees from seven Muslim nations.” It seems completely inappropriate, and the tales being told of enforcement of this order at airports are nothing short of horrifying.

During World War II, boatloads of Jewish refugees were turned away at Ellis Island, and sent back to Nazi controlled Europe, and a clearly grim fate. It is one of the more shameful pages in the history of that time for America, and it frankly sickens me to think that we are in some way now repeating that action. Additionally, painting all Muslims with the “broad brush” that Mr. Trump seems to is nothing short of dangerous policy, and contradicts the core values written in the First Amendment.

That’s the same Amendment that lets me be critical here, in my own web comic, without fear of reprisals. I’m hoping that someone is going to sit down with our president, and explain this amendment to him soon.

There’s a huge amount to go over in the creative community’s response to this ban on refugees entering America. I think one of the most powerful was a Tweet, from J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series: “When I worked for Amnesty International in the 80s, these were the kind of stories told by political prisoners in dictatorships.”

Dictators invariably work out of self interest, and it is well worth noting that Trump selectively blocked entry by individuals from countries to which he has no business ties to, and those that he does were omitted. Ironically that doesn’t bar entry from individuals from any of the primary countries which were involved in the 9/11 attacks. So…in terms of being an effective policy in the “War on Terror,” by definition…it can’t be.

It’s just fear filled bigotry.

Here’s a quick test. If you replace the word “Muslims” with any other group of people, does it seem like it might be unfair? That’s because it IS. Islamophobia has made significant portion of the United States afraid of a group that quite frankly, is as diverse as any other religious group on the planet. Barring them from immigration access to the United States is as reprehensible as when we did it to the Jews in the 40’s…worse, because now we KNOW BETTER.

Word of travelers being detained, questioned, and arrested at airports around the country has spread like wildfire across social media. Protests have broken out at major airports, being led by a large group at New York City’s JFK airport. Lawsuits are already being prepared, and judges restricting some of the more onerous parts of enforcement. That stuff? That’s how we armor up in our Iron Man suits, True Believers. By being active, and not letting things get any more out of hand than they have.

Pretty much every day, I wake up and ask for a “Damage Report” on the core values that define where I live. The fact is…we still have the actual laws in place that make a dictatorship hard to do, and due process for those laws. We can still Vote, even if it’s not for a new president. All of that stuff is more important than ever.

Honestly…I thought that he would sort of…calm down in office. That the hateful rhetoric would cease, and the realities of office would set in. I shudder to think of what our “leadership” will be like in the event of another act of terror, or an Orlando “Pulse” shooting.

Remember…”evil flourishes when good men fail to act.” I used to have that on the wall of my classroom.

It’s a Big Deal.


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