Nancy Pelosi’s Town Hall on CNN

Nancy Pelosi Town Hall

“As progressive anger with President Donald Trump spills over, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top lawmakers are attempting to channel the resistance into legislative victories.

The California Democrat is set to participate in a CNN town hall Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET, where she’ll discuss the party’s role in Trump’s presidency. Her appearance will come shortly after Trump announces his first nomination to the Supreme Court.” (CNN)

Photo: By … – Speaker Nancy Pelosi http://speaker.house.gov/tools/photogallery/files/0009.3.jpg, Public Domain, Link

Watch President Trump announce Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

Watch President Trump announce Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

Watch President Trump announce Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

Gorsuch is a brilliant legal scholar with strong conservative credentials. President Trump starts speaking at 14:40.

Video: The New York Times / Youtube

 

Photo: By United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit – http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article129754434.html, Public Domain, Link

President Obama’s statement on Trump

President Obama immigration ban

It’s customary for American President’s to leave office and remain silent, receding into civilian life while the new President begins to lead the nation, for better or worse. President Obama promised to follow suite, unless he felt core American values were in danger of compromise. President Obama believe’s that President Trump’s travel ban is such a danger, and he’s issued a statement through Kevin Lewis, his spokesman, to address the issue.

Though he doesn’t mention the travel ban directly, his rhetoric makes it clear that the former President, like many, finds the ban to be an example of religious discrimination: people of the muslim faith are primarily targeted by this action. However, the Trump administration denies this accusation.

It’s striking that President Obama’s statement comes so close to his departure. The ink on Donald Trump’s first executive orders is hardly dry, in only the second full week of his Presidency. And yet, according to President Obama, American values have already been challenged, to a degree necessary for an intervention.

Here’s the text of President Obama’s statement:

“President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country. In his final official speech as President, he spoke about the important role of citizen and how all Americans and how all Americans have a responsibility to be the guardians of our democracy—-not just during an election but every day. 

Citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake. 

With regard to comparison’s to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”

President Obama disagrees with immigration executive order (CNN)

 

Photo: CNN (screen capture)

Large protests erupt over Trump Administration travel ban

Large protests erupt over Trump Administration travel ban

Large protests have erupted in multiple cities across the United States, in opposition to the Trump Administration’s executive order banning visitors, visa-holders, and refugees from seven muslim-majority nations from entering the United States, for up to three months. A federal court has temporarily blocked deportations based on the new order, but detentions are still possible.

The executive order, widely derided by liberals, and a few prominent republican leaders, including Senator John McCaine, and Charlie Baker, the Republican Governor of Massachusetts, affects travelers from the following muslim-majority nations: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lybia, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia. According to the Trump Administration, the purpose of the order is to allow time for “extreme vetting” of people entering the U.S. from nation’s with a higher risk of terrorism, in order to ensure the safety of the American People.

Ironically, though, no terrorist attacks on American soil are attributed to people who came from those nations, while countries with more direct ties to terrorism and recent histories of attacks on U.S. citizens, like Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia (where the majority of the highly destructive 9/11 hijackers came from) were not included in the ban. Fueling the outrage is the apparent correlation between the ban and President Trump’s business dealings: muslim-majority nations where Trump’s company does business weren’t included.

Originally the executive order was intended to include Green Card holders, which outraged the international community, but the administration has backpedaled on that interpretation. Green Cards holders are permanent legal residents of the U.S., and getting a Green Card is an important precursor to citizenship. Many Green Card holders have lived in the United States for decades, and have jobs and families in the U.S., though they may still travel abroad on business, and for important family events, like weddings and funerals.

A ban that includes Green Card Holders would cause great hardships for many law-abiding families, and American businesses. Also hard hit are foreign students with visas, and visa-holders working in American companies, all across the country. Many industries, particularly Silicon Valley companies, and biotech firms, employ foreign nationals holding H1B visas, for highly skilled, well-educated workers doing important work, so a ban on these individuals could really hurt American companies, and by extension, the country at large. H1B Visa holders have been referred to by Physicist Michio Kaku as Ameriac’s “Secret Weapon,” because their contribution to our society, and economy, is so important.

Video: Youtube, the72tube – Michio Kaku on importance of H1B Visa

In short, President Trump’s executive order is misguided, wrong-headed, damaging to the United States, and a huge mistake. It will stir up anger, resentment, and rivalry both at home and abroad, with absolutely no major upside benefit to speak of, since terrorists incidents in the U.S., though tragic and disturbing when they happen, are still relatively rare (and unrelated to the banned nations in question, as noted above, making the ban pointless.)

The management of Face Activities calls on President Donald Trump to repeal this pointless, mean-spirited executive order. Many individuals will be negatively impacted, and some individuals, if deported, may find their very lives in jeopardy. American Universities and companies that benefit from talented foreign students and workers will also be negatively impacted, to the detriment of our society at large.

 

 

Photo: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Was President Trump’s Holocaust Remembrance Day Statement Inadequate?

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Shockingly President Trump’s official statement, on January 27th, for Holocaust Remembrance Day didn’t mention Jews or anti-semitism—-at all. That sounds incredible, but it’s true. The reason for President Trump’s strange omission wasn’t clarified adequately afterwards. According to White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks, the White House was “incredibly inclusive,” and we are left to interpret her words, which weren’t adequately explained further. Perhaps because they issued a very generic statement, that didn’t single out any specific groups or peoples that suffered during the Holocaust?  But is this adequate?

The White House statement didn’t mention the 6 million Jews who died in the holocaust, nor did it mention the term anti-semitism. Instead, the White House issued a general statement recognizing “victims, survivors, and heroes” of the Holocaust. Ironically, the Remembrance Day event was started because, in an era of revisionist history and Holocaust denial, many weren’t recognizing the suffering and deaths of the estimated 6 million Jewish people killed in the Nazi death camps during that tragic era in history.

Some infer that the Trump Administration didn’t want to hurt any group’s feelings by calling out a specific group, like the Jewish people, for recognition. But the omission seems ominous in the light of the support from white nationalists that Donald Trump received during his campaign. And the trend to issue generalized Holocaust statements that minimize or ignore the suffering of the Jewish People is seen in nationalist movements found in Russia and Eastern Europe. So, who exactly does Donald Trump not want to offend?

In addition to 6 million Jews, millions of other ethnic, religious and social minorities died at the hands of the nazis. At the time, the world down-played the tragedy, and in many ways the nations of the world were in denial when the violence was actually happening. Many believe the tremendous death toll could have been greatly reduced had the world taken decisive action sooner.

One ship of Jewish refugees, tried to dock in the U.S., and many other countries as well, but was repeatedly denied safe harbor, in part due to fear of infiltration by Nazi saboteurs, and also likely due to anti-semitism. The refugees were forced to return to Germany, and they were ultimately murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. This story has a chilling familiarity, since the Trump Administration is in the process of limiting the flow of desperate refugees from war-torn Syria into the United States, ostensibly fearing the infiltration of Muslim terrorists. Is history repeating itself?

The management team of Face Activities denounces President Trump’s inadequate statement. President Trump should offer a full apology, and issue a new and proper one to the American People, and the World, specifically mentioning all major ethnic and religious groups who suffered, including Jews.

 

Read President Trump’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day Statement:

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
Statement by the President on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

“It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.

“Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.‎ As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent.

“In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”

 

Photo: Whitehouse.gov (screen capture)

Will Vladimir Putin have buyer’s remorse?

Donald Trump has promised to shake things up in Washington, and that appears to hold true for international relations as well. According to Trump advisor Kelly Ann Conway, the new President is meeting to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on a whole range of issues, including the Obama-era sanctions currently hampering Russia’s economic growth.

The first round of sanctions, which primarily affect Russia’s financial and energy sectors, were imposed in 2014 following the Russian invasion of the Crimea, and the second round after the hacking scandal broke late in 2016.

Trump will also speak with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Francois Hollande, who are staunch supporters of the sanctions. Trump has talked about the possibility of easing or ending these sanctions in the past. A ‘moment of truth’ style reckoning may soon be at hand. Which path will President Trump choose? His influence could likely sway the course of history on this issue, and affect the economic and political landscape of Europe for years to come, as well. Though clearly a man who plays it cool, Vladimir Putin is likely waiting for their talk with abated breath. A lot is riding on Trump’s decision, though it may not come during this first meeting.

In the interests of forging a new relationship with Russia, bearing in mind that U.S. / Russian relations are at an all-time low since the end of the cold war, and hoping to benefit from a cooperative and forward-thinking new climate, and perhaps, as many would argue, because he lacks good judgment and fails to see the importance of reining in a dangerous bully acting recklessly and selfishly on the international stage, Trump may lean towards Putin on the matter of sanctions.

However, Merkel and Hollande, leaders of nations with long, positive diplomatic histories with the U.S., may very well convince him otherwise. After all, Trump is an old-school deal maker, and surely the leaders of two of the most powerful European countries can potentially offer a range of enticing deals to win him over (as can Russia, most likely.) In the recent past Trump’s said he might favor lifting sanctions if Russia cooperates with the U.S. in fighting terrorists.

So, since the art of the deal isn’t an exact science, and Trump is a true wild card, anything can happen. This must worry Putin, who wants to get Russia out from under the harsh economic sanctions, restoring the flow of credit into Russia, and the flow of natural gas out of Russia, to bolster the Russian economy. In short, if the U.S. dropped sanctions, it would be a huge economic boon to Putin’s Russia.

Well, is Putin worried? Clearly, as the methodical KGB-trained leader who ordered a hacking campaign to smear Hillary Clinton during the U.S. election, which many believe contributed significantly to Trump’s victory, he has invested in a favorable outcome for Russia. So, we must ask, is he confident that Trump will serve the ball to his court, or is this seasoned, machiavellian leader contemplating buyer’s remorse?

Learn more about Trump and Russian sanctions (CNN)

 

Photo: By Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, Link

Trump proposes 20% tax on Mexican Imports, President Nieto cancels meeting

President Donald Trump is considering a 20% tax on products imported from Mexico, and it seems to have him in hot water with congressional leaders. This is a gigantic percentage, and it has politicians in Congress on both sides of the aisle in an uproar.

The White House showed signs of backing down, stating that the tax is just one option out of many that they are weighing. Many fear that a large import tax of this nature would have a major negative impact on our economy, affecting U.S. consumers adversely as prices soar. The tax money would go towards funding the wall the President has pledged to build to block illegal immigration along the U.S. / Mexico border.

The discussion of the tax came after Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled a meeting with President Trump, which in turn occurred after Trump signed an executive order beginning the border wall construction process, and vowing to make Mexico pay for it. To date President Nieto has categorically refused to agree to pay for the border wall, finding it an affront to Mexico and the Mexican People.

President Trump has a tough road ahead. He’s promised his base a 2,000-mile-long wall along the border with Mexico, but so far it appears the U.S., not Mexico, is going to pay for it. It seems that Trump has promised the American People the impossible, which comes as no surprise to his many detractors. Building such an undertaking is one thing, but getting another sovereign nation to pay for a gigantic construction project when it’s not in the best interest of its people seems highly unlikely at best.

Then again, President Trump’s election seemed highly unlikely as late as November, 2016. Could the border wall pledge have been a manipulative campaign promise, which then candidate Donald Trump had no intention of fully honoring?

Learn more about the proposed 20% tax on Mexican imports (CNN)

 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

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