"Work out what you’re best at, and act."

Politics and News stuff is, right now, pretty goddamn painful.

It may not seem like it, but I really do try to balance the doom and gloom stuff with things that, while maybe still newsy, are a little less horrible.

So, here's this piece I just read.

I think you can learn a lot from history. “Don’t be complacent” is a good lesson. “Yes, this is really happening” is a good lesson. “Little events can spiral out of control almost in an instant” is a pretty good one, too.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm intensely, nauseously worried about where things are are right now, but I do appreciate a realistic take on events that is a little more optimistic about our chances, so I thought I'd share.


Don’t buy into the inevitability […]. That goes double if you feel like Trump is the end of the world.

Germany after WW1, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Russia during and after the Communist regime — they didn’t have strong civil societies and a strong tradition of government. The United States does. Despite how it may appear at the moment.

Believing that disaster is inevitable helps allow it to happen. Don’t be blinkered about what a Trump presidency means, but don’t believe that disaster is inevitable.

History is About the Past, That’s Kind of the Point
Why you shouldn’t buy into Tobias Stone’s end of the world article

I Don’t Think People Understand How Bad Things Are Right Now

SeaTac CBP refuses to talk to any attorneys. They told the only attorney they opened the door for that they don’t care how many attorneys show up, they don’t take orders from attorneys or judges. Senator Patty Murray showed up just after 4:00 & CBP refused to talk to her, too.

Process that: Customs and Border Patrol refused to talk to a sitting United States Senator. They have refused other senators at other airports, according to the Washington Post.

At Dulles, CBP has been stonewalling four members of the US House of Representatives, both the governer and attorney general of Virginia, and Senators Cory Booker (NJ) and Mark Warner (VA)–the latter of whom chewed out the head of CBP in person. No dice. Not even with a federal court order telling CBP at Dulles, only them, and them in particular to give detainees access to lawyers.

And they’re pulling an old trick from the national-security handbook that’s been used to evade the courts on issues like domestic surveillance:

“Lawyers and advocates still didn’t know how many people are being held in the secondary inspection area at Dulles or what their immigration status was, which led to a catch-22: Attorneys couldn’t file for contempt of court without having proof that legal residents were being detained and not being given access to lawyers, but they couldn’t get proof without getting access.” 1

At least two VA reps found out about constituents being detained at Dulles, at which point CBP released them in order to dodge the access-to-lawyers issue.

If the Executive can ignore the Judiciary, then we have a full-on constitutional crisis. The only options for enforcement of judicial orders are 1) U.S. Marshals (who are ordered around by the Judiciary but ultimately still a part of the Executive as part of the Department of Justice), in which case we have an actual armed conflict between two branches of government, or if the Marshals refuse to comply, 2) the Governor of the state, say Virginia, sends in the National Guard of the state, which leads to an armed conflict between a state militia and the federal government.

This is literally Civil War-level stuff going on.

Trump has been in office a week.

Horrifying History, Repeating

In the early 1930s, the German Nationalist Party (read: Nazis) didn't start out with concentration camps; they started out with new employment laws.

Well, there was a progression. First, no new immigrants of certain types (Jews, Romani, etc.).

Then, new employment laws aimed at 'undesirables' (previous list, plus Gays) who were already in the country (and in many cases had been for generations), making it illegal or very difficult to hire/employ them.

Stop me if this sounds familiar.

So then: "It's a real shame what happened to our Jewish neighbors, but HEY Heinrich, maybe now you can apply for that promotion…"

You know what made me think of this?

A (very) liberal guy in my feed who shared this article with the comment "Actually, as an engineer, I kind of support this…"


Donald Trump’s Next Immigration Move Said to Hit Closer to Home for Tech

Not Prescient

"Of all the prospects raised by the evolution of digital culture, the most tantalizing is the possibility that technology could fuse with politics to create a more civil society."

— Jon Katz, Wired 5.04, Apr 1997

Still the best tech writing out there at the time.

Obama rejects comparison between Trump’s immigration policy and his own, encourages protests


Obama pledged before leaving office to only speak about Trump's policy moves “where I think our core values may be at stake.”

So that took 10 days.

Obama rejects comparison between Trump’s immigration policy and his own, encourages protests
A spokesman said Obama “is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country.”

This is a constitutional crisis.

The Dulles airport CBP continues to hold detainees without access to lawyers, deporting two, both in defiance of specific federal court order.

If the CBP continues a refusal of unambiguous Federal court orders, then this is serious, serious beyond the scale of anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes: it’s the Department of Homeland Security saying that if Trump tells them to do one thing and the courts another, they will do what Trump says and best of luck to the courts trying to enforce that. Which is to say, they’re establishing a precedent that DHS actions are not subject to any sort of court review, or to anything other than the personal fiat of Trump – including their right to detain people, deport them, or hold them incommunicado.

And the Trump Administration removed the link for The Judicial branch of the federal government off the White House website.

This is a constitutional crisis.

CBP in Clear Violation of Court Orders and, by extension the Constitution

We need to nail Trump to the wall on this.

As the night wore on, it became increasingly clear that CBP was defying Brinkema’s ruling. Lawyers concluded that that meant someone was in contempt of court. The judge could theoretically send in federal law enforcement officers to force CBP to let the lawyers meet with the detainees. But sending in the U.S. Marshals—who are part of the Department of Justice—to take on Customs and Border Patrol—which is part of the Department of Homeland Security—would have been a bureaucratic clash of the titans. And, like everything else that night, it would have been unprecedented. It didn’t happen.

Then at around 11:45 pm, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker showed up.

Booker stayed back there for about half an hour, and then he pushed through the crowd of roaring protesters and—flanked by glowering policemen—addressed the crowd. After a few opening words, he held up a copy of Brinkema’s order.

“I am now of the belief that though this was issued by the judicial branch, that it was violated tonight,” he said. “And so one of the things I will be doing is fighting to make sure that the executive branch abides by the law as it was issued in this state and around the nation. This will be an ongoing battle.”

“They told me nothing, and it was unacceptable,” he said. “I believe it’s a Constitutional crisis, where the executive branch is not abiding by the law.”

Trump’s Border Patrol Defies Judge, U.S. Senator at Dulles Airport as His First Constitutional Crisis Unfolds?
Legal immigrants and refugees from seven majority Muslim countries found themselves detained as they landed at Washington Dulles International Airport as President Trump’s half-baked Muslim ban went into effect over the weekend.