The impact of Trump’s “Muslim ban” continues to expand in scope. What’s going on? When it was first signed last week, Trump’s executive order to forbid entry into the US of nationals from 7 majority-Muslim countries caused a lot of chaos and confusion. It was unclear just how far-reaching its impact would be. Now, we have a better idea:over 100,000 visas have been revoked, according to the Justice Department.
It was really only a matter of time: a proposed executive order would curtail LGBT rights on the basis of “religious freedom,” a common conservative line of attack. What’s going on? While not an actual executive order yet, there is a proposed EO circulating which would allow persons, religious organizations, and some companies to refuse service to LGBT people, and also to allow them not to provide contraceptive coverage as required by the Affordable Care Act, all on the basis of “religious freedom.
Trump announced his Supreme Court nominee last night. Resistance emerged almost immediately. What’s going on? Early last year, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died. Since then, the Supreme Court has consisted of 8 justices. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, but Republicans refused to give his nominee a hearing at all, instead putting all their hopes on winning the November election (which they did) so they can put forth their own choice (which they have).
Some Senate Democrats are boycotting confirmation hearings for Cabinet positions, holding up votes. What’s going on? In response to the abrupt firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who refused to uphold Trump’s Muslim ban, Senate Democrats are boycotting confirmation hearings for Treasury and Health and Human Services departments. This is holding up confirmation votes, as well. Why is it important? One of the responsibilities of Senators is to confirm Presidential appointments to Cabinet departments, judgeships, and other government positions.
Trump’s war on government regulation–that is, the government doing its job–continues. What’s going on? Trump has signed a new executive order stating that for every new regulation created, two more must be removed. In addition, the costs of new regulations for fiscal year 2017 must be zero. This means that any new regulations put into place must be paid for by removing existing regulations. Why is it important? “Regulation” has been a dirty word in conservative circles for decades.
Trump’s executive order to essentially ban Muslims from certain countries from entering the US has caused a firestorm of opposition. What’s going on? Though it was announced earlier in the week, Trump signed an executive order on Friday to ban nationals from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, even if they had valid visas. This resulted in at least a hundred people being detained in US airports, their legal status uncertain.
It’s been a very busy week. Let’s take a moment to examine all the orders Trump has enacted so far. Rather than fit these square pegs into the round hole of my usual format, I’ll just list the executive orders and their implications. You’ve probably heard of most of these already, or even read my posts about them throughout the week. * Affordable Care Act "relief." This allows states to delay or avoid implementing aspects of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").
Today, conservatives are holding a “March for Life,” which is a euphemism for denying female-bodied people their reproductive rights. This is part of an overall and long-term political attack on female bodily autonomy. What’s going on? The March for Life is held every year in Washington, DC. This year, its profile has been raised by the presence of Vice President Mike Pence–essentially an endorsement of the march by the Office of the President.
The Trump administration is spreading lies again. Time to fight back with the truth. What’s going on? Over the past few days, the Trump administration has claimed there were “millions” of illegal votes cast last November. Why is it important? Through statements like these, Trump undermines the legitimacy of our government. Ironically, he is attacking the legitimacy of his own victory, so it might be tempting to allow him to kneecap himself on this issue.
Trump is now trying to expedite final approval for the Dakota Access Pipeline. What’s going on? In case it didn’t come to your attention last year, efforts are underway to build an oil pipeline through parts of North Dakota. The pipeline’s course brings it to within 500 feet of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, not to mention beneath the Missouri River–a vital water source. This means that a break in the pipe would be potentially catastrophic, contaminating the land and water.