The bureaucrats are revolting

Global Chaos

That's what the New York Times' Michael Shear and Ron Nixon say that Trump's executive order banning citizens of 7 predominantly Muslim countries unleashed—and for anyone who visited JFK Airport (or, hell, Twitter) over the weekend, you'll know their assessment is pretty spot-on.

"Wherever you fall political spectrum, hard to be anything but appalled by story of how immigration order came about," tweets former Senior Aide to President Obama, David Axelrod.

"This is insane," replied political writer J.R. Hennessy to the revelation that when Homeland Security secretary John Kelly spoke with other legal experts and officials who had not been asked to review the executive order, someone turned on the TV to discover that “The president is signing the executive order that we’re discussing.”

"Insane" doesn't go far enough for Politico's Eric Geller, who screencapped the same section of the Times piece that Hennessy did, but wrote, "This is BONKERS AF oh my god."

Elsewhere, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, opted for the more sober but no less devastating, "Breathtaking negligence" to describe Trump's process for signing the order.

And it's not just protesters and journailsts upset with the travel ban. LAWFARE reports that "Numerous Foreign Service officers and other diplomats have drafted a dissent memo expressing opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order."

Here's Geller again: "Wow. State Dept dissent memo on Muslim ban: 'We are better than this ban.' Hundreds of FSOs expected to sign."

The voters may have spoken, as Trump is fond of saying. But it might not matter if, as KETV's David Earl puts it, "The bureaucrats are revolting."

Meanwhile, a lot of posts are popping up on social media arguing that what Trump's done isn't so different from orders signed by President Obama and even the U.S.'s erstwhile-peanut-farmer-in-chief and liberal hero Jimmy Carter. But according to the Washington Post's Juliet Ellperin, Obama rejects these comparisons, offering words of encouragement to protesters. Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis also told the outlet, "The President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion."

Seems like a pretty straight-forward anti-discrimination message with little to unpack. But the piece's writer, Ellperin, explains the understated yet major significance of the statement in a tweet:

"Obama said he would only comment on Trump when US's 'core values may be at stake.' It took him 10 days to speak out."

Moving on...

...to Trump's much-anticipated/dreaded decision on who will replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. many are throwing out guesses as to who might take the seat of the conservative gadfly once described uncharitably by Gawker as "A Twitter Egg." Could it be the Heritage Foundation's John Malcolm? Transgender rights opponent Luther Strange? Dan Aykroyd from "Nothing But Trouble"?

Who cares! Or at least that's what some Democrats in Congress are saying, according to Politico's Burgess Everett, who reports that Senate Democrats plan to filibuster Trump's Supreme Court nominee no matter who it is. (The only exception? Obama's favored pick, Merrick Garland). London School of Economics professor and recent VICE contributor Brian Klass' tweets are cold as ice on the matter ("Paul Ryan has lost his spine. And Democrats seem to have found theirs") while activist and blogger Michelle Kinsey Bruns spits hot fire on the GOP—a party that last year, in a brazen breach of protocol and tradition, stalled Obama's SCOTUS pick for an extraordinary period of time until he was out of office. "YES. They have no right to this seat," Bruns says. "It was for Obama to fill—period. @SenateDems, don't you give an inch on this."

Stunning news

That's NPR's Rickey Bevington description of a new The Wall Street Journal piece by James V. Grimaldi revealing that Tom Price, Trump's nominee to head up the Health and Human Services department, received "privileged, discounted offer on biomedical stock." ProPublica's Alec McGillis wonders glibly, "How did a congressman getting a discount on a stock buy that netted him ~$300K escape notice in vetting? Oh, right." (The "Oh, right" refers to McGillis' and others' opinion that the vetting of Trump's appointees wasn't exactly very robust compared to previous administrations' appointees').

One huge story from the weekend that's still rsending shockwaves through digital and physical networks of politicians, bureaucrats, military personnel, journalists, the intelligence community, and all-around concerned citizens is the upsetting (to many) news that top Trump adviser Steve Bannon—whose biggest claim prior to the Trump presidency was the work he did "mainstreaming white nationalism," in the words of Vox's Zach Beauchamp, at the website Breitbart—will now have a full seat on the National Security Council's "principals committee" while the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence have been "downgraded" and are no longer slated to attend every meeting. While some like the Washington Post's Ashley Parker are focused on the "Nice Bannon v Flynn palace intrigue in Trumpworld" revealed in the piece, others are simply appalled.

"Steve Bannon is a white supremacist. His presence in the White House & on National Security Council is a disgrace," tweets Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated.

And still others, like former National Security Adviser under Obama, Susan Rice, are just bewildered. Rice tweeted, "This is stone cold crazy. After a week of crazy. Who needs military advice or intell to make policy on ISIL, Syria, Afghanistan, DPRK?"

 

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