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Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Devin Nunes

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. speaks with reporters outside the White House. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Among the biggest stories in the press so far this year has been the dust up over the FISA memo.

The memo is the work of the House Intelligence Committee and its Chairman Devin Nunes. For several weeks, Americans were treated to the suspense, not just concerning what was in this mysterious memo, but also whether it would be released to the public at all.

After two weeks of wrangling, the go-ahead to make the memo public finally was given by President Trump on Friday, February 2.

The memo, as it turned out, showed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were less than forthcoming when they presented the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) with evidence to convince the court to authorize electronic surveillance of one of then-candidate Trump’s volunteer advisors, Carter Page.

The evidence supplied by the DOJ and the FBI to get the FISA warrant – the application was presented to the FISA court on October 21, 2016, just weeks before the presidential election – was a dossier put together by Christopher Steele, a former British spy. The dossier contained allegations about Carter page and Donald Trump. The ones concerning Trump were of a particularly salacious nature.

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Ruth_and_Naomi_Leave_Moab

Ruth and Naomi Leave Moab, 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872).

When I began writing this series of posts on immigration in September 2016, my original plan was for five to seven posts and to wrap things up by early 2017. Obviously, the series grew well beyond these plans, and I find myself nearly a year and a half later sitting down to bring the work to a close.

At this point, it may be worth asking and answering the questions 1) Why I started this series in the first place, and 2) Why did it grow in length far beyond my original intent?

There are two reasons I chose to write on the topic of immigration. In the first place, it’s important, for the effects of a nation’s immigration policy cannot be reversed easily if at all.

Most other political decisions can be reversed. For example, the US passed the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcohol. This amendment went into effect in 1920 and was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933.

Immigration, on the other hand, is forever. Once immigrants are welcomed into the national family, there’s no going back. Their acceptance permanently alters the makeup of a nation. For this reason alone, it is important for legislators and citizen both to have a clear idea in mind about what constitutes proper immigration policy.

Second, for all the ink that has been spilt on the subject, I have yet to read a fully satisfactory treatment of immigration. In Immigration, Citizenship and the Bible (ICB) I review immigration commentary from across the political and religious spectrum, including secular and religious right and left. I have reviewed the works of proponents of mass, taxpayer subsidized immigration and the works of immigration restrictionists. None of the writers I have read get it right for the simple reason that none of them begin their thinking with the Scriptures.

Some writers do use Scripture when formulating their ideas about immigration, but either apply it inconsistently or misunderstand what the Bible has to say on the topic.

And because I was dissatisfied with the work that has been done up until now that I decided that what is needed is a Scripturalist take on immigration. That is, I wanted to approach immigration systematically as someone who believes the Bible has a monopoly on truth, not as someone who seeks to combine the truths of Scripture on immigration with “truths” discovered elsewhere.

Concerning the second question, Why did this series grow much larger than I had originally intended?, the answer lies in the fact that immigration is a large topic and more space was needed than I thought at first.

Apart from immigration – immigration is the act of someone coming to a new country for the purpose of taking up permanent residence – there are two other major related subject: migration and refugee resettlement.

Migration – more specifically, international migration – is the is simply the temporary movement of people from one country to another. Migrants do not intend to settle permanently, but come for various reasons, for example seasonal economic opportunity.

Refugee resettlement involves the accommodation of people fleeing their native countries. A refugee is defined as someone who, “Demonstrates that they (sic) were (sic) persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group” (USCIS).

Both migration and refugee resettlement issues are closely related to, but separate from, immigration proper. And because of the close relationship all three topics have to on another, to discuss one generally involves at some point discussing the others. This was a major reason for the growth of this series beyond the original five to seven posts that I originally thought would be the case.

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DACA_Demo_Pelosi

Dreamers interrupt Nancy Pelosi’s press conference, September 19, 2017.

It was my intention to continue a post I began last week outlining various reasons why Americans ought to reject DACA. But due to developments since my last post, I decided to take this week’s article in a similar, but slightly different, direction.

As of last week’s posting, the US federal government was still in shut down mode due to demands by certain members of Congress, who, oddly enough. insisted that funding the government should be made contingent on allowing foreign citizens to remain in the country in violation of US immigration law. The shut down ended when these same certain Congressmen realized that they were getting nowhere and folded.

But their decision to fold did not mark the end of the debate over DACA or over the DREAM Act. It just kicked the can down the road a little bit.

You see, last September President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program…sort of. According to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration would stop considering new applications for legal status dated after 9/5/17 and would allow any DACA recipients with a permit set to expire before March 5, 2018 the opportunity to apply for a two-year renewal if they apply before October 5, 2017. This deadline was recently extended by court order to allow individuals currently in the DACA program to apply for renewal up until March 5, 2018.

At the same time, Trump gave Congress a six-month window to come up with an acceptable version of DACA which he promised to sign.

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Kaepernick_Takes a Knee

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick takes a knee during the pre-game singing of the national anthem. 

It all began quietly enough. The photo that started it all, one tweeted out by Jennifer Lee Chan of Niners Nation, wasn’t even originally about Colin Kaepernick. In fact, you have to look pretty closely at the photo even to see the then San Francisco 49ers quarterback sitting by himself on the bench during the pre-game ceremonies on August, 26, 2016.

After the game in an interview with NFL.com’s Steve Wyche, Kaepernick explained the reasoning behind his protest. He said,

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL network, this was not the first time Kaepernick had protested during the national anthem, it’s just that no one had noticed it before.

On August 28, Kaepernick stated that he would continue his protest until he felt that the flag represented what it was supposed to represent and the country represented people the way it’s supposed to represent them.

From there, it became almost a commonplace to see football players, not just in the NFL but even those on the high school and college level, take a knee during the pre-game singing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

The protest movement, having simmered for over a year, was given new life with Donald Trump’s comments at a rally in Alabama last week, saying players who knelt during the national anthem should be fired.

This prompted angry reactions from many NFL players as well as from players in other sports. Remarkably, the uproar this past week following Trump’s comments has been so loud that it even managed to drive North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s threats of nuclear war from the headlines.

Such an explosive story deserves at least some commentary. So here are a few thoughts of my own.

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FNN-Fake-News-Network-900While reflecting on the big story this past week, the name Mike Tyson came to mind. Now that’s a name you probably didn’t expect to see, but go with me on this one.

From those under the age of 40 or so, I suppose the name Mike Tyson evokes more snickers than anything else. But trust me, it wasn’t always so.

Tyson took the boxing world by storm back in 1985. Tyson didn’t just win fights, he didn’t just knock guys down. He didn’t settle for mere knockouts either. No, Tyson devastated his opponents. Quite simply, I’ve never seen anyone hit harder or attack more ferociously than Tyson in his prime.

By the age of twenty, Tyson was the heavy weight champion of the world.

So why do I bring up Iron Mike? Because this week James O’Keefe of Project Veritas delivered what amounted to a journalistic version of a Tyson uppercut to CNN.

In the segments released so far, O’Keefe’s exposé has caught a CNN producer admitting that the whole Trump-Russian collusion meme is a bunch of hooey (the producer used a different word) and that the only reason CNN spent so much time on it is that it’s good for ratings. CNN anchor Van Jones was caught on tape admitting the much the same thing, that the Russian collusion story is nonsense (he used a different word, too).

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