Tag Archives: foreign policy

Something So Wrong: August 2017

  • On August 2, Trump endorsed the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, an immigration reform bill introduced in the Senate by Tom Cotton (Arkansas) and David Perdue (Georgia). The bill would sharply reduce the number of immigrants granted permanent residency status (green cards) each year. It would redefine family-based immigration priorities, removing a path for siblings and adult children of US citizens to become permanent residents. It would institute a point-system for green card applicants, favoring those who speak English and who have job skills. The bill would cap refugee admissions at 50,000 per year.
  • On August 8, Trump responded to North Korea’s threats against the US by saying that any more threats would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” The UN Security Council voted unanimously on August 5 for a new set of sanctions to pressure North Korea to curtail its development of nuclear weapons after several successful tests of intercontinental missiles. North Korea, responding to the new UN sanctions, threatened retaliation against the United States on August 7 boasting that the US would pay “thousands of times” for the sanctions. In response to Trump’s warning, North Korea issued a statement on August 9 that its military was “examining the operational plan” to launch a strike against the US territory of Guam.
  • On August 12, various white nationalist groups staged a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The so-called “Unite the Right” rally was ostensibly in protest of the city’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. The City Council earlier, on June 5, had changed the name of the park—formerly known as Lee Park. The Lee statue was commissioned in 1917. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. During the rally, a 20-year-old who identified with the white nationalist movement, intentionally drove his car into a group of counter-protesters gathered to protest against racism and hatred, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19. In response to the violence, Trump said: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.” He gave no explanation of what he meant by blaming “many sides” for the violence, and he did not condemn the white nationalist group that had organized the rally.
  • On August 14, Trump told Fox news that he was “seriously considering” pardoning former Arizona sheriff Jo Arpaio, calling Arpaio a “great American patriot.” Arpaio was convicted in July of criminal contempt of court for defying a federal court order to stop detaining people based on mere suspicion of being illegal immigrants. Due to be sentenced in October, Arpaio faces up to six months in prison. Arpaio was an outspoken Trump supporter during the presidential campaign, and he was a speaker at the Republican National Convention.
  • On August 15, Trump again blamed “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville. He described what he called “alt-left” demonstrators as “very, very violent” people who “came charging with clubs in their hands” against the “alt-right,” who were there “to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.” In advance of the rally, however, one of the organizers of the “Unite the Right” said the planned rally was “about an anti-white climate within the Western world and the need for white people to have advocacy like other groups do.”
  • On August 25, Trump tweeted: “I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio.”
  • On August 25, the Trump White House issued an order to the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security to implement its directive banning transgender people from military service. The order temporarily excluded persons currently serving in the military, stating “no action may be taken against such individuals” until the secretary of Defense comes up with a plan to address such military personnel. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis requested that a panel of experts study the matter and report back to him.

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Some other stuff for later,

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The Next President: Who is Jill Stein?

In 2000, 2.8 million people voted for Ralph Nader as the Green Party presidential candidate. Jill Stein is running for president as the standard bearer of the Green Party in 2016. She has no chance of winning. Her motivation for running—and the motivation of those who would vote for her—can only be explained by a combination of self-gratification and the belief that simply making a statement is important in today’s national politics.

Stein graduated from Harvard Medical School and practiced internal medicine for 25 years. She became an activist protesting coal fired power plants in Massachusetts and later served on the board of the Boston chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. She advocated for campaign finance reform in Massachusetts. She is a musician who has recorded several albums in a folk-rock band, Somebody’s Sister.

Stein ran unsuccessfully for governor in Massachusetts in 2002 and again in 2010, finishing both times in last place. She ran for state representative in 2004, losing to the incumbent candidate in a three-way race. She lost the race for Secretary of the Commonwealth in 2006. She was elected to serve in local government as a Town Meeting Representative in Lexington, Massachusetts in 2005 and 2008. She first ran for the presidency as the Green Party’s candidate in 2012, receiving 0.36 percent of the vote (about 470,000 votes). In August, 2016, she was nominated to run again as the Green Party candidate along with Ajamu Baraka as her vice-presidential running mate.

Baraka is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and was the founding director of US Human Rights Network, an organization that seeks to apply international human rights standards to the United States. An outspoken opponent of the death penalty, he serves on boards of several organizations dedicated to human rights advocacy.

The next chapter is tracking six focus issues during the current presidential election process. TNC has summarized the positions of the major party presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Where does Jill Stein stand on these issues?

On immigration:

Do you favor immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship?

Stein opposes deportation and favors immigration reform including a path to citizenship. She supports the DREAM Act. She believes that “predatory U.S. foreign policy” has driven the wave of “refugees” to the United States and that “we are then criminalizing these refugees once they come here by detaining, deporting, and night raiding them.”

On health care:

Do you support the ACA and efforts to improve or expand it?

Stein favors a single-payer health care system. She believes that the ACA is fatally flawed and appears to support repeal of the law, calling Clinton’s support for the ACA “a critical mistake.” She would replace the ACA with a “Medicare for all” plan.

On the Iran Nuclear Deal:

Do you support the nuclear agreement with Iran?

Stein supports the Iran nuclear agreement, and sees it as a step toward nuclear disarmament. She favors “better ties” with Iran.

On Climate Change:

Do you believe that human activity is largely responsible for climate change and do you favor regulation of emissions?

Stein has proposed a “Green New Deal” to address climate change and stimulate the economy. “She has adopted a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030, calling for a “mobilization” that would create “20 million new jobs. She has called climate change “an emergency expounded by racial disparities.”

On the Minimum Wage:

Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage?

Stein supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

On campaign finance:

Do you support campaign finance reform?

Stein’s Power to the People Plan calls for public campaign financing and “abolishing corporate personhood.”

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Some other stuff for later,

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